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We had an intense thunderstorm a couple days ago. I sat out and took video with my iPad (Air 2). The sound of rain was strong, but thunder barely recorded at all, despite being quite loud. And when the thunder was happening the rain volume went way down (muted) as well. I’m guessing the Mic is noise cancelling the thunder. Is there a way to disable that or to get the iPad to record the sound right while doing video?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I wonder if covering the secondary mic(s) would prevent the noise cancellation from messing up the recording.

On my iPhone there's a related preference:

Settings > General > Accessibility > Phone Noise Cancellation
 


Thanks Ric. There doesn’t seem to be a similar setting on iPad. I’ll try covering the noise cancelling hole next storm. Or use my iPhone!
 


I haven't heard and can't find any reference at Apple to iPads having noise cancellation. My understanding was that the two mics were simply for stereo. (I certainly could be wrong.)

I wonder though if it could be an artifact of either the "Volume Limit" or "Sound Check" settings in Settings / Music?

I do know that at least my iPad Pro 12 (1st gen) mics have an early and abrupt frequency response cut-off on the high end, but that shouldn't be causing your issue.
 



Or it could be automatic gain control on the microphone that prevents the circuit from clipping the sound. That would be exactly the behavior I'd expect (as I've designed them). Loud noise causes the microphone amplifier's gain to go down, making the rain quieter. Recovery is reasonably quick and probably sounds linear (although it's exponential electronically). Until the next clap.

Note the noise canceling usually only works when the device is closely held. It does not work on speakerphone mode and may not work when an earphone is plugged in.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Note the noise canceling usually only works when the device is closely held. It does not work on speakerphone mode...
I'm not sure about that, because I've had a conversation with a friend who had his iPhone (an older one) in speakerphone mode while driving in a car, and I never heard any sounds from the car, only his clear voice like he was sitting in a quiet living room.
 


I haven't heard and can't find any reference at Apple to iPads having noise cancellation. My understanding was that the two mics were simply for stereo. (I certainly could be wrong.)

I wonder though if it could be an artifact of either the "Volume Limit" or "Sound Check" settings in Settings / Music?

I do know that at least my iPad Pro 12 (1st gen) mics have an early and abrupt frequency response cut-off on the high end, but that shouldn't be causing your issue.
Volume limit and sound check are both off.
 


You might just need a different app - a good audio recording app from a third-party.
Indeed! And I have other sound apps, but I wanted video. I have other apps for that too. 80 percent chance of thunderstorms tomorrow, hopefully I can get better results. I didn’t think to play back the videos I took last time during the storm. I took about 20 ten to fifteen second videos and for all practical purposes couldn’t hear thunder on any. I have a DSLR and video camera, I could use those. But I’m as curious why it didn’t work as I am wanting the ease of using the iPad.
 



Of course, since I want to try some things, the predicted thunderstorms missed us. Next prediction is for Saturday
 


For reasons that are somewhat embarrassing, I find myself in the position of being able to acquire an entry-level iMac Pro. As I will be moving from a 2013 iMac, that seems like a good step, but one thing really annoys me: the loss of the TOSlink connection to my old Logitech 5.1 sound system. Dolby Digital and DTS output was genuinely 5.1 channels. The iMac Pro only has stereo output through a mini-jack connection.

I know I can buy a USB device that will output multi-channel sound via an optical cable, and I'm looking for recommendations that won't break the bank. (I know I can buy something like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock, but that is overkill for my needs.)

Thanks,
Stephen
 



I still have to routinely burn audio CD copies of various recordings for clients, and have been using Toast since version 3 or 4 for doing so. The workflow has been simply open Toast, drop in an audio file (.wav, .mp3, .aiff, .m4a, whatever), and click record. Ding.

Toast 15 recently started hanging on launch when I upgraded to High Sierra, and an upgrade to 16 didn't fix anything. I've completely reinstalled everything from the OS up with the same results—the program launches two or three times then fails to do so ever again. Others online share similar stories.

I've tried Toast's pared-down Mac App Store offerings and they eventually stop working like the retail version. I've also used the freeware Burn (http://burn-osx.sourceforge.net) with success in the past but, on recent versions of macOS, it mishandles sampling rates and burns demonic, pitched-down audio. Whoops.

My current emergency workflow requires converting the file to something iTunes supports (if it's not already in a compatible format), importing it to the iTunes library, creating a temporary burn playlist, adding it to that playlist, burning the playlist to CD, deleting the playlist, and removing the file from the iTunes library. What a mess.

I understand this is a shrinking niche, but does anyone have a drag-n-drop audio conversion and CD burning utility that's known to work on High Sierra? The only other options I can find look like typical near-malware offerings from unknown developers.

Also, any older options I've found (Disco, LiquidCD, etc.) are mostly EOL and certainly not 64-bit (neither is Toast itself), meaning they're a dead end going forward past 10.14.

Thanks in advance.
 


Have you contacted Roxio? While I would like to think they've tested Toast on High Sierra, they might not have tried it. Or they may have decided that the fix is only going to be in the next version. But if enough people complain, they might move a bit faster.

If you're comfortable with the command line, you can install cdrdao via MacPorts. Among its various features, you can create a CUE file that describes an audio CD, referencing a collection of audio files (one for each track) and use it to burn said CD. It's very powerful, but there's a learning curve - not something for someone who requires a friendly graphical interface. The port hasn't been updated for a while, so you may find a bug (in particular, this one that I've shared a workaround for), but it works for me on my macOS 10.11 ("El Capitan") system, so maybe it will work for you on High Sierra.

My only other suggestion was going to be iTunes, but you say you're already doing that and not happy with it, so I'm afraid I can't be too much more help here.
 



I still have to routinely burn audio CD copies of various recordings for clients, and have been using Toast since version 3 or 4 for doing so. The workflow has been simply open Toast, drop in an audio file (.wav, .mp3, .aiff, .m4a, whatever), and click record. Ding. ...
You might try Triumph — possibly overkill for your needs, but excellent, all the same. Their short video intro will help get you started with Triumph's use of layers to organize tracks. I like the fact that a Triumph file contains all its source tracks, so I can easily archive a CD mastering project. The usual "just a happy customer/your milage may vary" caveats apply!

I believe you can also burn CDs using XLD by selecting File > Open Folder As a Disc... and then using the app's built-in CD burning tool.
 



Of course, since I want to try some things, the predicted thunderstorms missed us. Next prediction is for Saturday
I finally was able to try recording thunder again with the iPad, covering the noise cancelling hole with my finger. It partially helped, but it’s not the whole solution. I was able to hear the thunder better, but it still reduced the overall volume. I wouldn’t expect an iPad to be great at recording such sound, but I thought it would do better than it does. Maybe my iPhone will work better.
 


Is there any major reason why you can’t keep Toast 15 going on a Sierra drive?
Or perhaps a Sierra or El Capitan virtual machine to run Toast? That way, you don't have to reboot the main/current OS running other tasks. I have found the vm route to be a great solution for near, or at EOL software I still use. FileMaker Pro 12 (more than I need) among others. I have found Yosemite to be the only older Mac OS not working well in either VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop. No clue why. I do have it installed on older hardware with no issues running a ColorByte RIP.
 


… The sound of rain was strong, but thunder barely recorded at all, despite being quite loud. …
I have no direct experience with this product (and, no, I'm not affiliated with either company), but this model of Sennheiser/Apogee headset/mic is getting a lot of attention from audio pros:

http://www.apogeedigital.com/shop/ambeo-smart-headset

https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/gear-and-technology/review-sennheiser-apogee-ambeo-smart-headset

They might be a bit up-market for your budget and technical needs, but I thought you might like to know that there are some very high quality solutions, including this one that has a Lightning connector, for direct connection to your iPad. Another feature that's rare in non-pro products is Apogee's very effective "soft limit" level protection, also built into their studio products.
 


A special thanks to those who put me on the trail of CD mastering applications, rather than looking simply for disc burning alternatives. I suspect, to borrow Steve Jobs' analogy, disc burning is quickly turning into a "truck" and the remaining uses will eventually be only in the pro audio mastering field.

I'm trying Triumph, and have struck up a conversation with the developer of DSP-Quattro. I also noticed that PreSonus' Studio One, a version of which came bundled with my audio interface, features CD mastering capabilities in its Professional version.
 


I finally was able to try recording thunder again with the iPad, covering the noise cancelling hole with my finger. It partially helped, but it’s not the whole solution. I was able to hear the thunder better, but it still reduced the overall volume. I wouldn’t expect an iPad to be great at recording such sound, but I thought it would do better than it does. Maybe my iPhone will work better.
Steve, it doesn't surprise me that thunder doesn't come across well in recordings using the built-in mic. Although Apple is mum on the frequency response of mic recording on their hardware (the 20hz - 20khz range stated is for playback), it's a good bet the mic is far from flat at the low end. Older Apple IOS devices and systems used an additional low-cut filter, which couldn't be defeated. Not sure what the scoop is now, and hardware models vary wildly in low-end response, but you can count on either a gentle slope down below 120hz or so until it falls off completely by 60hz, or a steep drop, hopefully a bit lower down, possibly 75hz or so.

Apple has always used excellent mics, but even if there's a 20hz - 20khz range stated for their input, if they're not reasonably flat, the 20hz is meaningless, since it could be quite a few dBs down there and especially if the slope starts high.

Sometimes devices also have a bump in the high mids, which is great for voice, not so great for weather recording. So thunder, which has so much very low information and even subsonics that can affect our sense of it, gets the frequencies that make it so dominating live ramped down so that recordings can be not as dominating, and devices that are optimized for voice and throw out, by choice, frequencies lower and higher than is deemed we'll need, are common culprits. Even if a built in mic has a frequency response that goes that low fairly flat, if the electronics use a low cut, which can enable higher levels by cutting out energy that takes up its share of the meter, thunder won't sound so thunderous.

The noise cancelling may have been a factor, but you would still be faced with other blocks to your desired sound. You can easily beat it though, with a full-range external lightning port recording device, which would not go through the analog stages and A/D of the iPad. (Then you'll have to listen on a full-range system or headphones. Earbuds will do the chopping off of whatever the peripherals didn't. : )
 


A special thanks to those who put me on the trail of CD mastering applications, rather than looking simply for disc burning alternatives. I suspect, to borrow Steve Jobs' analogy, disc burning is quickly turning into a "truck" and the remaining uses will eventually be only in the pro audio mastering field. I'm trying Triumph, and have struck up a conversation with the developer of DSP-Quattro. I also noticed that PreSonus' Studio One, a version of which came bundled with my audio interface, features CD mastering capabilities in its Professional version.
Definitely give DSP-Quattro a try. I've been using that for CD mastering for a very long time (since v2, I believe). Even though my DAW of choice (Digital Performer) has CD mastering built in, I still assemble my CD masters in DSP-Quattro - though I get fewer and fewer requests for CD mastering these days. Now it's all about gaming the streaming services by finding that magic "loudness" to outdo everyone else's stream when the streaming services adjust for their "normalized" gain level.
 


We had an intense thunderstorm a couple days ago. I sat out and took video with my iPad (Air 2). The sound of rain was strong, but thunder barely recorded at all, despite being quite loud. And when the thunder was happening the rain volume went way down (muted) as well. I’m guessing the Mic is noise cancelling the thunder. Is there a way to disable that or to get the iPad to record the sound right while doing video?
My strong suspicion is that neither noise cancelling nor frequency response (as suggested elsewhere) is the issue. Instead, I would look at automatic gain control (AGC). This is typically enabled on simple memo-recording devices (and software), and it will do exactly as you describe: turn down the volume in response to loud sounds. The solution is to use software which lets you disable AGC, such as
(I have not used this software; it's just the first one that came up in a Google search, and it's free.)
 


Steve, it doesn't surprise me that thunder doesn't come across well in recordings using the built-in mic. ...
The noise cancelling may have been a factor, but you would still be faced with other blocks to your desired sound. You can easily beat it though, with a full-range external lightning port recording device, which would not go through the analog stages and A/D of the iPad.
I did this very thing a couple of weeks ago here in Colorado. I cannot recommend the Rode iXY-L mic highly enough. It's a very sensitive stereo mic that plugs directly into the lightning port on your iPhone or iPad. They have an app that you need to download from the Apple App Store, but once set up, it's brain dead easy.

When I get home from travel this week, I'll post the recording in the cloud and provide a link to hear what you get with this setup.
 


My strong suspicion is that neither noise cancelling nor frequency response (as suggested elsewhere) is the issue. Instead, I would look at automatic gain control (AGC). This is typically enabled on simple memo-recording devices (and software), and it will do exactly as you describe: turn down the volume in response to loud sounds. The solution is to use software which lets you disable AGC, such as
(I have not used this software; it's just the first one that came up in a Google search, and it's free.)
Automatic gain control seems to be a strong factor, and also the other factors mentioned. It’s usually raining pretty hard when I try recording thunder video with the iPad, and I’m sitting under a canvas gazebo, so the rain is quite loud. When the thunder rolls in, the volume of the rain drops, as well as the thunder being muted. Covering the noise cancelling hole helped slightly, but not a lot. So it’s a combo of frequency response, gain, noise cancelling etc.

It was just supposed to be a quicky thing to show friends elsewhere what it was like, not worth the effort to get add on devices or apps. I have other ways of recording if I wanted (translated, if it was worth the effort). Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and suggestions!
 



Any recommendations for a robust music player for iOS 11 on my iPhone 7 Plus and/or iOS 10 on my iPhone 5? I've tried Cesium; it crashes and hangs too often. I don't appreciate having to restart my iPhone while exercising, since I use FitBit and MapMyWalk.

The biggest problem is that the sound volume of songs changes willy-nilly. I have the equalizer, volume limit, and sound check all turned off. It's not the music itself - if I listen on a Mac, the song's volume stays constant. I first thought it was iOS' music control panel reacting to the touch screen, since it happens when the iPhone is in my pocket (after locking it, of course). But it's happened while I was staring at the iPhone and not touching or being close to the screen.

I can't find a way to disable the music control panel iOS insists on displaying on the lock screen. Is this possible?

I think the hard drive is failing in my Late 2009 iPod Classic 160GB. Any brand recommendations for kits to replace the hard drive with a SD card? Has anyone installed one recently? iFixit rates repair as very difficult, so I'll do this as a last resort.
 


I think the hard drive is failing in my Late 2009 iPod Classic 160GB. Any brand recommendations for kits to replace the hard drive with a SD card? Has anyone installed one recently? iFixit rates repair as very difficult, so I'll do this as a last resort.
Sam, I am going to recommend you take a look at the Tarkan iFlash iPod adapters to replace the 1.8" hard disk drive in your iPod Classic. Those drives are hard to obtain now and if found they are quite expensive, in my opinion. The iFlash are available from OWC and direct from the manufacturer. You might also consider replacing the battery while you are in there.

Tarkan iFlash @ OWC

Tarkan iFlash Direct w/guides and examples
 


The biggest problem is that the sound volume of songs changes willy-nilly. I have the equalizer, volume limit, and sound check all turned off. It's not the music itself - if I listen on a Mac, the song's volume stays constant.
Mastering levels have been much higher in recently decades than they historically had been. If your volume levels are jumping around on the iPod but not the Mac, likely you've done something on the Mac to compensate (intentional or not). Have you tried using Sound Check on the iPod?
 


Sam, I am going to recommend you take a look at the Tarkan iFlash iPod adapters to replace the 1.8" hard disk drive in your iPod Classic. Those drives are hard to obtain now and if found they are quite expensive, in my opinion. The iFlash are available from OWC and direct from the manufacturer. You might also consider replacing the battery while you are in there.
Tarkan iFlash @ OWC
Tarkan iFlash Direct w/guides and examples
Another vote for the Tarkan adapters. I used a double one (it takes two SD cards) to replace the hard drive in a friend's iPod Classic 6th gen.

iPods of different ages can manage more or less storage. Some can deal with nearly a TB of it, obviously from solid-state cards in adapters like the Tarkan. Which model will take which storage boost is listed on the Tarkan site.

My friend's Classic has been running happily with 128 GB, which appears to be the max for it, for the last two years or so. It very occasionally becomes unresponsive and needs a restart. The repair/upgrade operation had a few tricky bits, the worst being getting the case open and the second worst being disconnecting and reconnecting the battery cable.
 


... The biggest problem is that the sound volume of songs changes willy-nilly. I have the equalizer, volume limit, and sound check all turned off. It's not the music itself - if I listen on a Mac, the song's volume stays constant. I first thought it was iOS' music control panel reacting to the touch screen, since it happens when the iPhone is in my pocket (after locking it, of course). But it's happened while I was staring at the iPhone and not touching or being close to the screen. I can't find a way to disable the music control panel iOS insists on displaying on the lock screen. Is this possible? ...
You should leave Sound Check on. It's not perfect but will partially compensate for the swings in volume between tracks. ...

I still use iVolume (from the Mac App Store), which does a better job of equalizing volumes across tracks (Sound Check has to be turned on during playback) than the built in iTunes scheme. The main problem is that it won't work with Apple Music tracks because of the DRM lock.
 


It turns out my problems with Cesium are issues with iOS, not the app. I'm glad the app developer is not at fault.
Cesium said:
What the #@%! is going on with Cesium?!?
I sincerely hope no one out there is tracking Cesium user reviews as closely as I am, but if you were you would notice a concerning trend over the last 6 months. An increasing number of users report experiencing strange lags, delays, and general performance issues.

... Cesium delegates actual playback to the iOS system player (needed for iCloud and Apple Music support). This means that Cesium must communicate with the system on an ongoing basis, basically just to make sure that the two are in sync. ...

What the crash logs showed were that the system was not always returning these properties in a timely way. In fact, the app was crashing because it exceeded the iOS cutoff for inactivity – while waiting for the system player to return.

Great, so you can blame Apple again. What can be done?
...
 


You should leave Sound Check on. It's not perfect but will partially compensate for the swings in volume between tracks....
Subjective call. I personally would rather suffer the indignity of having to reach for the volume control. :)

For openers, relative track levels on an album are an artistic choice. But the dynamic range can be highly variable even within a single track, never mind on music that comes from different sources.

An automatic gain control doesn't know whether it's just hearing a soft intro, for example - it's going to raise the level to where it's been told to set it. Then the music gets louder, and it has to lower it.

The only time I might consider using this feature is in a noisy car, where you have to keep the music above the engine noise.
 


I wanted to add my comments about expanding the memory of the iPod classic. I needed a new battery and sent it off to Rapid Repair (https://www.rapidrepair.com/) and found out that they could replace the original 160GB hard drive with a larger 240GB hard drive. Since the drive is bigger, it needed a larger case that they could supply. I needed something larger, since my music library is large, and it seems to work well. The only problem is the clear plastic case I originally had no longer fits, but I managed to find an old silicone case at a swap meet that stretches, and now I have a giant iPod classic. Probably not cost effective, and some cars that allow iPod inputs cannot digest the larger hard drive. This is another option.
 


For openers, relative track levels on an album are an artistic choice. But the dynamic range can be highly variable even within a single track, never mind on music that comes from different sources.
The aforementioned iVolume has a setting to treat some or all albums as a whole, so the entire album will end up with the same setting and volume from one track to the next will be constant. I do this with "gapless" albums where the tracks are part of a whole.
An automatic gain control doesn't know whether it's just hearing a soft intro, for example - it's going to raise the level to where it's been told to set it. Then the music gets louder, and it has to lower it.
You may be misunderstanding how this feature works. Sound Check is not the same as the dynamic range compression, which seems to be what you're describing, and sounds awful for anything other than spoken word stuff.

The analysis (whether by Apple's algorithm or iVolume's) looks at the entire track (or multiple tracks, as mentioned above), and determines an "apparent" volume of the track as a whole. It then sets the entire track to be adjusted upward or downward based on that during playback.

The volume will not change during the playback of the track--if there's a quiet intro and a bombastic middle, that's exactly what you'll hear.

What Sound Check does is that, if one track has a relatively low volume level and another is on average quite loud, it attempts to adjust the two during playback, so that if you've turned up the volume on the quiet track so it sounds "normal", you don't get your eardrums ruptured when the loud track comes on.

This may or may not work for varying genres; for example, a classical piece might be intended to be quiet throughout. But, in general, particularly for most modern genres or when listening to a randomized playlist of many songs when you aren't near the volume control, it can make for a much more pleasant experience.

In its simplest form (which may be what Apple uses), it looks for the loudest, say, 5 seconds in the song, and makes that "100%" on some scale, turning the volume up or down to match. iVolume appears to use a more complex algorithm that attempts to subjectively adjust volume so pieces that "feel" quiet are adjusted up and vice versa. I don't know what it does mathematically, but it works quite well to my ears.

Another advantage of iVolume is that it provides a per-track manual override, or even adjustment, so if you don't like what it does with a particular track or album, you can turn it off or even manually adjust to your own taste.

In my case, I particularly like it, because I use shuffle play a lot and have some albums on which the average sound level seems to be abnormally low; if I don't use Sound Check I'm going to end up nearly doubling the volume every time a song from one comes up on shuffle, then getting hearing damage when the next song from another album comes up.
 


Sound Check is not the same as the dynamic range compression, which seems to be what you're describing, and sounds awful for anything other than spoken word stuff. The analysis (whether by Apple's algorithm or iVolume's) looks at the entire track (or multiple tracks, as mentioned above), and determines an "apparent" volume of the track as a whole. It then sets the entire track to be adjusted upward or downward based on that during playback.
Okay, so Sound Check has a lookahead feature, or is a lookahead volume adjuster. My bad.

I personally wouldn't find a use for that either, because I'm not a shuffle play man. Also, I don't have a problem using the volume control, in fact I'd spend more time reaching for the manual override than not.

But we're not all the same person!

Meanwhile, I'd like to take this opportunity to grouse about what a nuisance iTunes has become. Not only does it make you tap all over the place to find and play an album, it's bad at syncing an iOS device and a Mac. That's out of character for Apple, who usually have great software.
 


I think the hard drive is failing in my Late 2009 iPod Classic 160GB. Any brand recommendations for kits to replace the hard drive with a SD card?
I can't recommend a kit, because I've never done it, but you may want to look at the iFlash kit:

They sell a few different varieties depending on what kind of flash cards you want to install (SD, dual SD, up to 4 micro-SD, mSATA or Compact Flash).

Assuming it works as advertised, you should get a significant storage increase using two 128GB SD cards, four 128G microSD cards or (if you have a lot of money) two 256G or 512G SD cards. It should also greatly increase your battery run-time, since SD uses less power than a hard drive.

It would probably be a good idea to swap the battery as well while you have your iPod opened up.

If anyone here has personal experience installing/using the iFlash adapter, I would love to hear about it.
 


You may be misunderstanding how this feature works. Sound Check is not the same as the dynamic range compression, which seems to be what you're describing, and sounds awful for anything other than spoken word stuff.
Dynamic range compression is also the reason why commercials appear to be louder. With compression, the average volume is louder even if the peaks are in compliance with regulations. One time a long ago, I measured the peaks during commercials from a TV station and they were significantly and obnoxiousaly louder. I called the station and got a receptionist and told her to tell the station engineer was allowing non-compliant increase in commercial sound levels. The receptionist said that she would tell the station engineer about my measurements and allowed that she thought the commercials were louder so that you could hear the commercials in the bathroom (WC).
 


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