Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro Line; Models Compared

Apple today refreshed its MacBook Pro line in a long-awaited update, moving the Apple laptops in line with recent advancements in Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs. There are some caveats when you pull apart the line, however – the 13″ models miss out on the new CPUs in this lineup, at least – and you’ll pay to get some of the better improvements. Of course, a Mac is a Mac; for many readers, it’s the reliability of the combination with the Mac OS that is likely to be the deciding factor. The best news is, the 15″ and 17″ models …

READ MORE →

VJ Video Review: Uncompressed HD Mixing with Matrox MXO2 Mini and Laptops

Matrox MXO2-Mini review for VJs. Uncompressed HD mixing laptop to laptop. from vade on Vimeo. Enough of low-resolution hardware mixing. Our friend Anton aka vade has dreamed for some time of doing full, uncompressed HD mixing of two laptops. And he means laptops — not luggable towers or anything like that. It’s a common enough scenario. These days, most visualists practice their art on computers. To collaborate, that means mixing those visuals together. But by the time you plug in an Edirol V-4 or even our beloved Vixid – love that hardware as we do – you lose a significant …

READ MORE →

Apogee ONE: USB Interface with Internal Mic, Guitar, Mic In, $249

What do most musicians really need out of an audio interface? The answer to that question can vary wildly, but for a whole lot of people, it’s as simple as wanting to get an instrument and/or vocals in, and a basic, high-quality stereo mix out. That’s it. That’s part of why Apogee’s new compact ONE audio interface could be a huge hit on the Mac. Let’s reduce its specs to the basics: It lets you plug in a mic, with a preamp and phantom power It lets you plug in an instrument (high impedance — so think your guitar or …

READ MORE →

Apple MacBooks: Reappearing FireWire, Disappearing ExpressCard

As you no doubt heard, Apple today refreshed their MacBook lineup with across-the-board adjustments to pricing. I’ll let other sites comment on the news more generally, as this is a music site, not a notebook site. But the big news for audio in terms of I/O, just so you don’t miss that: FireWire on more models: Finally, you can again get a 13” MacBook (now called MacBook Pro) with onboard FireWire – a FW800 connector. That’ll restore the use of audio interfaces and certain high-speed storage, and means the MacBook is again a good choice as an audio machine at …

READ MORE →

Apple Restores FireWire, Lowers Prices; ExpressCard Now Only on 17”

Apple giveth and Apple taketh – again. FireWire, back on the whole line. First, off, the good news coming out of Apple’s hardware refresh today: FireWire is again on the 13” MacBook, which is now confusingly called the MacBook Pro. It’s a FW800 port, too, which can be nice for fast storage. That means you can get a US$1199 machine with FireWire, a new SD card slot, and a decent if not dazzling NVIDIA 9400M. It seems that Apple heard the loud chorus of people frustrated with the lack of FireWire. My Canon HV20 HDV camera thanks you, Apple. Good …

READ MORE →

Apple Restores FireWire, Lowers Prices; ExpressCard Now Only on 17”

Apple giveth and Apple taketh – again. FireWire, back on the whole line. First, off, the good news coming out of Apple’s hardware refresh today: FireWire is again on the 13” MacBook, which is now confusingly called the MacBook Pro. It’s a FW800 port, too, which can be nice for fast storage. That means you can get a US$1199 machine with FireWire, a new SD card slot, and a decent if not dazzling NVIDIA 9400M. It seems that Apple heard the loud chorus of people frustrated with the lack of FireWire. My Canon HV20 HDV camera thanks you, Apple. Good …

READ MORE →

Images from OFFF: When Designers Make MacBook Graffiti, and Other Pictures from Portugal

The OFFF Festival, held last week in Lisbon, Portugal, has to be one of the most visually stimulating places I’ve ever been. Herds of bright-faced, young, handsome European artist boys and girls pack by the thousands into an old steel mill. In a cavernous, resonant concrete bunker, the echo of excited chatter never really stops. Instead, to be noticed, presenters have to create visual flash – visual demos here are everything. It almost seems like it shouldn’t work. I notice a few bloggers complained about sometimes-disorganized presentations, the difficulty in hearing (tough for me, and the presentations were in my …

READ MORE →

Mac USB Audio: M-Audio Says Avoid the Left-hand USB Port, All Ports Not Equal

MacBook USB port, under scrutiny. Photo: Kevin Hiscott. Is your MacBook Pro a rightie? Something’s going on with the one or two left-hand USB ports on all MacBook Pros. I’ve heard some issues with hard disks, and now some problems with audio. (Controllers are evidently just fine.) The solution: use the right-hand USB port for audio instead. Updated: Reader Adam suggests that this is probably due to a difference in power delivered to the respective ports. USB audio requires more power, and so odds are you’re under-delivering on the left-hand ports. I’m inclined to think that this is exactly what’s …

READ MORE →

Updated $999 White MacBook Becomes Good Budget Choice: 9400M GPU

Photo: Rob DiCaterino. Apple apparently isn’t killing the white, $999, plastic MacBook at the low end of its line any time soon. They’ve even gone so far as to update the model – and that turns out to be a very good thing for visualists who want to go Mac on a budget. Previously, you had a sort of painful choice on the Mac line: 1. Get TV out and FireWire with the original white MacBook, but have to settle for the lousy Intel X3100 integrated graphics – something that, speaking as an owner of one of these models, I …

READ MORE →

Apple’s 17” MacBook Pro: 3 USB Ports, FW800, Mini DisplayPort, LED Backlight

It’s port talk time again. As I suspected, Apple’s 17” MacBook Pro does get one additional port. You get 3 USB ports and one FireWire 800 port – though this means that, even though there’s almost no hardware that supports FW800, you’ll need an adapter for FW400 devices like HDV/DV cameras. At least unlike the non-Pro current-gen MacBook, you can use your video camera with that adapter, though, and three USB ports I think is more sensible. The MBP does lose the dedicated FW400 port on the previous model, but because this shared the same bus, you didn’t get a …

READ MORE →