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OS X Tutorial: Learn about Audio MIDI settings

Macs are great tools for musicians and can easily be configured as a digital studio with Audio MIDI Setup. Here's how to make the most of this little-known feature.

Macs are ideal for creative people, especially in the area of audio and musical creation, and at the centre of this market dominance lies Apple’s Core Audio software suite and its Audio MIDI Setup (AMS) graphical interface.

Indeed, Macs are famous for having all the necessary features to interface with all levels and types of music-making or audio-editing and recording tools. Obviously, the powerful Core Audio set of drivers, which provides an extensively configurable environment for input and output audio and MIDI devices, is essential to this dominance. Not only because the convivial and clever AMS software is able to leverage all the functionalities available from Core Audio; but also because graphic interface greatly contributes to the success of Macs in the world of music making. Let us introduce you to the important points of how to configure your digital studio.

Step 1: Locate and launch
Open a Finder window and, from your Applications folder, find the Utilities folder. Locate the Audio MIDI Setup software. Double-click to launch it.

Step 2: AMS menus
The menus presented by AMS is the standard Apple set for any application. The most relevant ones are the Audio MIDI Setup and Windows menus.

Step 3: Preferences
The Audio MIDI Setup Preferences only offer three categories: General, Audio and Info. These settings are informative and have little impact on operation.

Step 4: Window menu
The Window menu is used solely for the opening and closing of the two main application windows; namely, the Audio Devices and MIDI Studio

Step 5: Audio Devices window
The Audio Devices window is simple. On the left is a list of connected and powered-up audio devices and on the right, detailed info for the selected device.

Step 6: Audio Device list
The microphone and speaker pictograms indicate the default input and output devices. The smiley face indicates the default output for sound effects.

Step 7: Audio Devices options
The Audio Device options panel displays info on the selected device, including if it is an input or output device, its hardware source and its sound format.

Step 8: MIDI Studio window
This window displays MIDI devices that are powered- up, installed and connected to your Mac. It is useful to describe and publish your MIDI configuration.

Step 9: MIDI Studio toolbar
The MIDI Studio toolbar provides the basic tools to create MIDI configurations – from adding, removing and configuring MIDI devices to testing.

Click on the image to zoom in and view the annotations.