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Monday, August 6, 2007

Pro Sound for Macs

A Mac's built-in sound is acceptable for many sound-related pursuits, such as editing audio for use on both Webcasts and real-live radio shows. But for true professional audio, you may want to upgrade your Mac's capabilities with an expansion card or device.

NuBus or PCI upgrade cards can do two things for you. First, they can give you a better array of ports, such as RCA-style phono jacks, to give you better quality connections for your channels of audio input. Second, cards and components can enable you to input multiple tracks of audio at once, thus using your Mac as a digital mixing board where each individual track can be managed independently.

For example, if you were recording a rock band with a single audio-in port, you'd have to mix the instruments — guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums — using a mixing board before the audio gets into the Mac. That limits your ability to isolate the tracks and make the guitarist louder or add some sound effects to the bassist's riffs. With equipment that supports multiple audio inputs, you can bring in each individual track and computerize it to death.

Such hardware solutions are offered by Korg, DigiDesign, Lucid Audio, and Emagic, among others. They work in tandem with audio software from Macromedia or DigiDesign to manage all those sound tracks.

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