You can usually adjust the audio level of your Macintosh computer using the sound slider bar and also using the volume keys on your keyboard. But if you plug in a USB audio device (Focusrite, Presonus, Behringer, Rode etc) the built in Audio controls are disabled. This is so that the full volume can be sent to the device digitally which is important for professional audio applications.
But if you are just using your USB just to listen to music it is possible to adjust the volume for your own listening comfort. Here’s how to do it using a free audio utility called ‘Soundflower.
I just purchased exactly the same song from iTunes and Google Play Music to compare them. If you are interested, here are the differences.
iTunes uses AAC, while Google Play Music uses mp3. Google Play uses a slightly higher bitrate, but that probably compensates for AAC being a better algorithm. I can’t hear any audible difference. Read on to see the actual specifications of each music format.
This article is about the kind of cable you need to plug your iPhone or iPod or laptop into a stereo.
If you look on any iPod, or the back of a Mac mini, or the side of your Apple laptop you will see a round hole where you can plug in headphones. iPhones unto the iPhone 6 have a headphone socket as well. For later iPhones (the iPhone 7 and 8) you just need this adapter which turns your lightning connector into a headphone socket, and then the rest of this article applies to you as well. If you get a dock for any model iPhone including 7 and 8 it will also have a socket like this on the back.
The technical name for this socket is a 3.5mm or 1/8 inch stereo jack.
You can see one of these on the left of this iPod dock below:
Last week I was down in our local JB hi-fi buying a small sound system for my son’s 18th birthday. I wanted something that would look good, sound good, and last okay into the future. The stand out for me were these Marley Get Together speakers. I first noticed them at a friend’s house. If you are after a good looking and good sounding small speaker to give someone for Christmas around the $200 mark, I’d recommend these. Also works very nicely with a Macbook or Macbook air. Continue reading 〉
Good external microphones for the iPhone/iPad are expensive – not the kind of thing you want to buy and find out they are no good! Here’s a comparison of three external iPhone microphones: The Apogee MiC, Fostex AR-4i and Tascam iM2.
They were all tested on my iPhone 4s by recording into the FiRE iPhone recording app at full quality. On the microphones that had a volume adjustment, I adjusted it to be at the top of the green range in FiRE, quite conservative, no chance of clipping. I had the mic placed approx 20cm in front of my guitar sound-hole at the same height in all the tests. The Tascam doesn’t give any indication of levels, the Fostex has 4 LEDs on top to show the levels and the Apogee has a single LED on the front. The single LED on the Apogee seemed to give a better indication of input level than the three LED’s on the FOSTEX because the difference in brightness was easier to discern on the Apogee LED.
Lame is an mp3 encoder that is open source, which means rather than being developed commercially, it was developed by unpaid programmers sharing together. It was originally not as good as the commercial mp3 encoders. Slowly as many people worked on LAME it actually overtook the original mp3 encoder. Some people now claim it is the best mp3 encoder available. They have a pretty lame logo (see above) probably because they are unpaid programmers not graphic artists. Continue reading 〉
Nine Inch Nails – the band – have released some of their older songs in full garageband format. This includes all the individual vocal, guitar drum tracks etc. Now even if their music is not your style, it’s a great chance to have a play with some good quality recordings and have a practice at mixing them and so on.