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is there a sound system that works with Apple computers?

2641 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  macbookman13
I've been looking at Phoenix and QSI and they both work with PCs only. I could load windows on my mac but it's a pain and it takes up a lot of room and I'd only ever use it for updating sound software. Do any of the major sound systems interface with Macs?
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Use bootcamp to run Windows and you only use up some of your disk space.
I run Parallels allowing me to run the Phoenix program at a moments notice.
You don't need a high-end computer for this. Get a used computer from a school or some organization just to run and store your Phoenix stuff. A used E-machine can be had for 150-200 dollars or less.
That's an interesting idea--get an old and discarded windows machine. My mac (a macbook pro) is jammed to the gills with video and audio. I had Parralels installed for a while and it took a lot of space


The only problem is I've been exclusively a mac user since 1985--windows is a dark void to me.


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"You don't need a high-end computer for this. Get a used computer from a school or some organization just to run and store your Phoenix stuff.


I have an ANCIENT Gateway 120 MHz. Pentium 1(!)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif laptop running Windows 95/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif that at least had a LAN card in it (the CD drive had died /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif in it). Since I had already purchased the Phoenix programmer for use with my desktop PC's, I had the serial programming cable on hand, & Phoenix now has the software available as a download from their website.:cool:  I downloaded it with the old Gateway's LAN card temporarily hooked to my cable modem's router, as a "work-around" to the dead CD drive.  Although the CD drive is "croaked"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif, the Gateway has 2 healthy battery packs!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif


It now has a "second life"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif as a dedicated sound-system programming PC (for BOTH my Phoenix 2K2 & P5 boards), enabling me to make programming changes OUTSIDE on the garden railroad!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue2.gif


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I have an old Compaq Presario laptop with a 166 MMX pentium, Win 98, 48 megs of RAM & a 1.5 Gig H-D 
that I picked up for $25... I have it loaded up with a bunch of specialty programs, including the popular sound 
files.. Why tie up Ur serious computer with things that most any old antigue laptop will run fine and can be 
picked for next to nothing...
Paul R...
It should not be a problem using the Mac with a Phoenix, Just open the Mac and locate the rail pickups and chuff switch, attach the Phoenix, cut the wires to the Mac speaker and wire the speaker to the Phoenix. Simple, Now you have to widen all your tunnels and bridges to clear the Mac, but other than that, no problem.
Bad BOB!! BAD!!   Took me a minute to figure it out, but as they say, I was born at night, but it wasn't last night! 

The other thing with the Phoenix that's a bit annoying is the cable itself is a 9 pin connector.  Not USB!  Good luck finding the 9 pin connector on your Macbook!  I have the regular Macbook and I do love it for all things sound and audio!  If only Phoenix had been developed under that platform, we could probably load whatever sound file we record!  Imagin having your favorite railroad locomotive's whistle and being able to load it up!  Or... if you're a real sicko like me,  you could record yourself saying "Outta my way!" for the crossing warning.  Kinda funny.  In a sick way! 

I just got a new computer here at work.  the old laptop has the Phoenix software on it.  When the old lap top gets 'recycled', I think it will have a great life in my basement!

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Warning - Be sure to read the warning at the bottom of this post.

There is something called a USB Locobuffer (MS100 replacement) made to work with Digitrax Loconet. And there is a program made by JMRI called "Decoder Pro" that is open source and uses Java as it's operating system. The developer uses a Mac to write the Decoder Pro products.

Decoder Pro will supposedly run on a Mac and let you program the sounds in any of the Digitrax decoders like the SFX064, the Sound-Bug and others. Both the sound-bug and the SFX064D or very powerful DC and DCC programmable sound cards. Using that combination you could, supposedly, load any sound project into those decoders, load individual sounds, change the keys that activate the sounds, set the volume level and other settings in the sound cards, etc.


Note that I said Supposedly. I am not a Mac user. I have tried to install the JMRI software on my PC several times over the years. At best I can get it to sort of function for a while. Then a new version of Java will load into my PC and I have to spend weeks corresponding with the developer to attempt to straighten it out.

I Have had no luck at making the JMRI software work with the Loconet/Digitrax products. Further I find the JMRI user interface entirely confusing. I do use the SFX064 and other sound cards from Digitrax and find them to be exciting new products with a lot of possibilities. User developed sound projects are popping up on the net and even some on the Digitrax site. This is a new generation of sound card, unlike anything else. I have used the Digitrax SoundLoader program and the chip manufacturers assembler to make some very interesting sound projects, but, those are only available for the PC.

While I find the JMRI stuff to be less than useful on the PC, you might have better success using the Mac since that is what the developer writes the code on. But, I can not say for sure if that is the case.
If you want to spend some time learning about the SFX sound decoders and figuring out how the JMRI software works, you will find the Digitrax SFX decoders to be very versatile. 

As you can tell, I am not a big fan of Decoder Pro, but, for a Mac, it MAY be just what you need.

If I were you, I'd really look at the JMRI software, perhaps even call the developer and explain your needs, and verify it does what you need prior to spending any money on the hardware you will need.
Nah!, If I were you, I'd buy a PC   /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif

(Dont take this as a recomendation of any product, it is simply an avenue you might wish to persue.
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Another idea could be to use a pc owned by a friend in order to load the Phoenix program. Getting the engines to the computer might be a little harder, but you would not have to buy a pc.
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