Keeping your Mac in top shape when using real time applications such as Pro Tools is essential for a great session.
These optimizations can solve potential error messages resulting from background system activity. Performing these optimizations prior to your session will help achieve maximum performance in Pro Tools.
Snow Leapord Max OS X Optimizations
- Disable Screen Saver
- Remove F12 Keystroke from Dashboard
- Check FileVault Status (Disabled)
- Disable Spotlight Keystroke and Hard Drive Indexing
- Disable Computer / Monitor / Hard Drive Sleep Options
- Network and Bluetooth
- Disable Automatic Software Update
- Disable Time Machine
From your desktop go to the Apple menu in the top left hand corner and choose System Preferences.
When they open the first thing you want to do is disable the screen saver.
Disable Screen Saver
- Click the Desktop & Screen Saver icon
- Switch to the Screen Saver tab
- Grab the slider and move it to the full right position to turn it off completely.
Remove F12 Keystroke from Dashboard
In the Exposť tab there's a key command assigned to the dashboard function, F12. This is the key command that is used by Pro Tools, so you want to free it up or assign something else to it.
- Click the Exposť & Spaces icon
- Switch to the Exposť tab
- At the bottom of the Exposť tab in the Dashboard section change the first drop down to blank or another key.
Check FileVault Status (Disabled)
The FileVault system on your Macintosh encrypts all of the files in your Home Folder, and then un-encrypts them every time you need them. Make sure FileVault is off.
- Click the Security icon
- On the FileVault tab click Turn Off FileVault.
Disable Spotlight Keystroke and Hard Drive Indexing
Now Spotlight is the Mac's search engine. It uses the same key as the record function in Pro Tools, Cmd + Space.
Now when this is turned on the Cmd + Space keystroke triggers Spotlight in the top right hand corner of your screen, and this is what's going to happen every time you hit record in Pro Tools. So you want to make sure that you turn this off.
- Click the Spotlight icon
- On the Search Results tab uncheck the tick box that says Spotlight menu keyboard shortcut.
Now, let's go to the Privacy tab and drag in your Audio Drive to disable indexing of that drive. In fact, go ahead and add your main Macintosh Hard Drive too because indexing can interrupt you at the most inopportune time like while you're cutting a nice vocal track.
Disable Computer / Monitor / Hard Drive Sleep Options
Let's go to the Energy Saver.
- Click the Energy Saver icon
- Drag the Computer sleep slider to the far right to disable computer sleep mode.
- Drag the Display sleep slider to the far right to disable display sleep mode.
- And also, uncheck the Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible option.
Network and Bluetooth
Now as far as the Network Settings these can be different depending on the computer that you own, but if you have AirPort installed turn it off while you're recording or while you're working in Pro Tools.
- Click the Network icon
- Select AirPort in the Network Pane
- Click Turn AirPort Off
Now if you have a FireWire port in the Network Pane you want to make sure that it's configured to be off especially if you own a 003.
- Select FireWire in the Network Pane
- Change the Configure option to Off.
You'll have to Apply the Network Settings when you go back to the Control Panel.
Now Bluetooth can be a problem for real time music applications so you really want to make sure that your Bluetooth system is turned off while you're in session.
- Click the Bluetooth icon
- Uncheck the On option
Disable Automatic Software Update
Just configure this so that it doesn't do it automatically. This is mainly to prevent auto updating your OS version, which has the possibility of causing compatibility issues.
- Click the Software Update icon
- Uncheck the Check for updates option.
Disable Time Machine
Finally, turn the Time Machine system off. You can always do your backups manually.
- Click the Time Machine icon
- Switch the switch from On to Off
And that's it! You are done.
This pre flight check will become second nature after a while, allowing you to have a better Pro Tools experience.
You can also get to the System Preferences by coming down to the Dock and clicking on the Gears icon or go up to the Go Menu, choose Applications and when the window opens scroll down until you see them.
That concludes this Pro Tools Tutorial.
You will be able to get help with using Pro Tools and learning how to make beats by posting a thread in the Producer Talk forum, and by asking other Producers who upload their beats in the Homemade Beats forum.
The tutorials I post, are not tutorials that I have written or recorded. They are simply rough audio transcripts of the videos embedded in the tutorials. The videos have been found freely available online, unless otherwise stated.