Update on Leopard and the Presonus FireStudio Project

Well, as you’ve seen from my previous posts, my sound card and leopard have been acting a little funky.  I get crackles and pops when playing back audio, and I haven’t even remotely tried to record.  Fortunately, there is a temporary fix.  All one has to do is change the sampling rate to a different rate, then change it back, and the sound quality is restored.  Which, is quite good.  Hopefully, a driver update from either Apple or Presonus should fix the issue, as both know about it.
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A lesson in Cords

Yes, that’s Cords, not Chords, as in cables.  I just learned a very valuable lesson today.  That lesson is ‘pay attention to the little details’.  I recently upgraded my audio interface for my computer.  This has been an little bit of an ordeal.  The new interface is wonderful, but… I’ve been getting some strange sounds out of it.  After fighting a couple of battle with Leopard, crackles and pops, and drivers, I clean almost all of the problems up.  Unfortunately, I was STILL getting a hum through my speakers.  I thought that it might be the monitor interfering with the cable.  So, tonight I went down to the local music store, and ended up with a little bit of an education.  I found out that my old interface’s line outs were unbalanced.  My NEW interface’s outputs are balanced.  The unbalanced cables I was using (yes, the cables are different!) was causing the noise…  I really wouldn’t have believed it, but when I hooked the speakers up, NO MORE HUM!  YEAH!

As an aside, how did I fix the crackle / pops with Leopard?  First off, I cleared the NVRAM on the computer with Ctrl + Apple Key + P + R.  Don’t ask me WHY that works, it just did.  The second thing was that I reinstalled the drivers.  That seemed to finish off the problems.

Even a Mac can have a bad day…

Well, it had to happen… I’ve been starting to get tech calls for fixing Macs.  It’s a good thing, they usually don’t need that much work. Usually, it’s just a a ‘how do I do this in OS X?’ type question.

Saturday, that all changed…

One of my clients has a Macbook Pro that he wanted to install BootCamp on.  Two weeks ago, it would have been super simple, just download the Bootcamp beta for 10.4, and install it.  I have already done that on his wife’s Macbook, and it has worked like a charm.

Unfortunately, (for him, not the rest of the world) with the release of Leopard, Apple has pulled BootCamp.  Personally, I think that’s about as silly as possible, they’ve have Bootcamp in beta working with 10.4 since they switched to the Intel Macs.  But, that’s Apple’s decision, not mine…  So, step one was to procure a copy of Leopard to install on this Macbook Pro.

Once I had a copy of Leopard for my client, I immediately started to install it on the computer.  This turned out to be Not the brightest of ideas.  I first should have backed everything up.  I would have saved me half a day on Sunday…  I started installing Leopard, everything runs fine, I walk away for a bit, then come back… to a yellow exclamation point saying ‘Leopard cannot install’

Uh-oh… time to take the Mac back to my place and try to get it working with the firewire connection.

Now, here is where Apple did some super cool stuff that I didn’t know about, and I expected the upgrade to be like a Windows upgrade.  Once the program stopped in mid-install, I thought it was hosed.  Turns out, 10.4 was still there, and able to be ran!  Try doing THAT with a Windows version upgrade. 

The next cool thing that I found out was that making complete copies of one’s hard drive is so ridiculously simple that ANY can do it.  Once I had found out that I could boot to 10.4, I hooked up an external drive and used the donationware software Carbon Copy Cloner to create a working copy of the hard drive in the Macbook Pro.  I then even tested the backup to see if the computer could boot off of the external drive booted.  That worked perfectly.  (Again, all you Windows kids, don’t try this at home).

What was funny was that once I ran Carbon Copy Cloner, the hard drive sorta fixed itself up.  I have no idea why, but I was able to install Leopard, it did it’s in place upgrade, and then I installed Windows XP.  It all went without a hitch!