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Chapter 1. Installing & Configuring Cuba... > Checking the Mac OS X Sound Card

Checking the Mac OS X Sound Card

You can easily check Mac OS X to verify that your sound card is properly installed and that the operating system has loaded the proper drivers to use it. Your exact setup will not likely be like mine, but it should be fairly close. The following example will work if your audio interface has a control panel in the Mac OS X System Preferences panel; not all will, and if your card does not, there are two places to look. First, check the documentation that came with the audio interface for further information related to the location of the device's control panel. Second, use the OS X Audio MIDI Setup utility, which is described in relation to MIDI interfaces a few pages ahead in this chapter in the section “Checking the Mac OS X MIDI Interface.” You can use the Audio MIDI Setup utility to view and configure both audio and MIDI hardware.

What Makes a Good Sound Card?

talk about your hardware setups and find out whether other people with a computer setup like yours have been happy using the sound card you are thinking of using. (Steinberg hosts a site for users to share their experiences—both good and bad—at www.steinberg.net/en/ps/support/forums. Use the Search function to find posts or threads on the cards you're interested in checking out.) Many hardware manufacturers also host mailing lists or newsgroups related to their hardware. I use an RME sound card, and the RME newsgroup has helped me keep my system working well.

The third question to consider is whether you have any specific and unique needs. Do you need digital I/O? Do you need microphone preamps or some kind of on-board synthesis or sampling capability? Do you collaborate with someone else who has a particular system that would be good for you to mirror? No two computer audio users are alike, and your setup may have a few quirks that influence your choice of sound card.

Once you've answered these three questions, you'll know the key options to look for in a sound card. Before you buy, check a variety of local dealers and online music retailers' sites to find the specs of cards that will fit your needs. It's also a good idea to check the return and exchange policies of the vendor from whom you buy your gear.



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