Five Mac OS X Tricks For People Using Macs For Audio

03-25-2014 08:00 AM

There are so many handy features in OS X, too many for most of us to ever know all of them, and that’s without going into the world of terminal. However, over time we all pick up a greatest hits of useful OS X time savers. These are not Pro Tools tips but some are audio specific, some are not. Here are some of mine; OS X Audio Trick 1 - Suppress The Plips

When adjusting playback volume of built in audio using F11 and 12, you can suppress the plips by holding shift. While I’ll always be uncomfortable with running any source with a mini jack through a PA system its kind of inescapable these days. At least this can be used to hide the fact from the audience.
OS X Audio Trick 2 - Fine Control Of Volume

In some applications the jumps in volume from the built in output be a bit coarse, especially if your gain structure isn’t as it should be. While using a variable attenuator to trim the level would be better, if you need finer adjustment from F11 and 12, press option+shift.

OS X Audio Trick 3 - Straight to Sound Prefs

Option+F10, 11 or 12 opens the sound section of System preferences. Any of the volume Exposé keys will do, this also works using Option+F1 or 2 for display settings if that’s somewhere you need to go regularly. If Exposé is disabled in Mission Control (as it should be on a Pro Tools machine) you will need to press Fn to get the F keys to revert to their default Exposé behaviour. Alternatively option click the speaker icon on the menu bar to quickly change audio settings.
OS X Audio Trick 4 - Single Get Info Window

CMD+Option+I to get info for multiple files. While not specifically an audio feature I have found this to be a great timesaver when I want to inspect the properties of multiple files in Finder. Instead of using CMD+I to open a separate Get Info window for each file, CMD+Opt+I opens a single Get Info window, the contents of which update to follow the selected file in Finder.
OS X Audio Trick 5 - No More iTunes

Change file association for audio files from iTunes to Quicktime Player or VLC. Along with all the standard OS X tweaks which a Pro Tools machine ought to have I find this is a must. Although it is inadvisable to use Finder to manage the audio files in a Pro Tools session there are still plenty of times I find myself auditioning audio in Finder. iTunes is invasive and far too slow to open compared to a simple player. Quickview has made this less of a must than it used to be, but this is still useful when working with multiple files.