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In The Studio: Optimizing OSX Lion For Audio

Helpful tips to prevent problems and make it work together better

By Jon Tidey October 12, 2012

This article is provided by Audio Geek Zine.


Apple computers are almost studio ready right out of the box. There is very little required from the user in terms of optimization.

—Enable secondary click in Mouse Preferences

—Disable Natural scrolling direction in Mouse Preferences

—Set scrolling to without inertia in Universal Access>Mouse>Mouse Options

—Change show spotlight from CMD+Space to Option+Space in Keyboard>Keyboard Shortcuts

—Disable Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible in Energy Saver preferences

These are just some of my own suggestions.

My friend Randy Coppinger recently posted about Pro Tools and Spotlight Indexing, advising to disable the Indexing service because it could interrupt long recordings.

I personally use Spotlight more than the dock or desktop shortcuts so I don’t think I could live without that. I’m not a Pro Tools user anymore and I have not had any issues with Spotlight. If Pro Tools is your DAW, why not test your system with and without Spotlight?


Randy’s advice reminded me of when I was using Pro Tools, and while doing long test records, it would often stop after an hour of recording. It turned out to be that Time Machine was trying to back up the files that were still recording.

Switching Time Machine to “Off” and doing manual backups after recording solved the problem. (This was a few years ago.)

On my new iMac I use Gobbler to backup my audio projects off my external FireWire drive and Time Machine with a USB2 drive dock to backup my important files on my system drive. Both of these require minimal thought and effort, once configured are completely automatic.

Have a backup plan, no one wants to hear your sad story about losing a year of work on an album because you didn’t backup.

I highly recommend taking some time to set up your Time Machine options to keep the backup from filling up with unnecessary files. Things like Melodyne transfer files, temp files, the trash, Dropbox (since it is already backed up to the cloud).

Excluded folders:

1) Recording Drive (backed up separately)

2) ~Trash (this is a hidden file)
3) ~/Library/Audio/Apple Loops (that overused junk that comes with Garageband and iMovie)

4) ~/Library/Caches (system and application temp files)

5) ~/Music/Celemony (Files generated by Melodyne)
6) ~/Downloads (usually this is recently downloaded installers and unsorted documents)
7) ~/Dropbox (duh, this is already in the cloud)
8) ~/Music/GarageBand (don’t exclude if you actually use GarageBand)
9) ~/Music/iTunes (don’t exclude if you actually use iTunes)
10) ~/Desktop/TEMP (I use this folder for Reaper’s peak files and auto backups, this is emptied monthly)

Read the rest of this post


About Jon

Jon Tidey
Jon Tidey

Producer/Engineer, EPIC Sounds
Jon Tidey is a Producer / Engineer who runs his own studio, EPIC Sounds, and enjoys writing about audio on his blog


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