USB C Hates Me More Than I Knew

I spent my lunch break trying to convince my two USB audio interfaces not to fuck up in GarageBand. I failed miserably.

I guess I must have got the M1 MacBook Pro around the time of my surgery because I haven’t tried to do very much recording since then. I’ve done some, and definitely had lagging issues, but nothing even remotely as bad as it was today.

I tried using different USB adapters and it didn’t help. I tried bypassing my USB hub and it didn’t work. I tried different USB cables and it didn’t work. I tried only using the interface for input and using the Mac’s headphone out of output and that actually made it worse because the input lagged but the output didn’t so the tracks ended up out of time.

I actually have four songs that are a lead guitar track away from being finished. They are bad songs with really bad performances (especially the vocals) and they have timing issues everywhere because of the lagging. I’d still like to finish them off before the end of September, but I’m at the point where my recording setup is basically useless.

I think the solution is a USB interface that outputs directly into USB C. I think the old USB connections are too slow and the MacBook is too fast that the two can’t work together.

I am so fucking pissed off right now.

I guess maybe the next OS update might include a software fix for my issues, but I doubt it. I think my amazing 16 channel interface is now obsolete.


I forgot Something

I’m working from my parents house today. I have an absolute mountain of work to do, but fortunately I only have one meeting today and it was over by 10:30.

The pandemic sent us all home for a year and a quarter and counting which means we don’t hold meetings in person which means we’re teleconferencing like crazy. I have two tools for this process. A webcam that sits on top of my monitor and a headset mic/headphones that allows me to keep the other end of the conferences private from whoever is home with me, and cut down on ambient noise making it’s way to those on the other end of the line.

After over a year of use, the webcam is dying. It could be the cable or the USB connector, I don’t know. I just know that sometimes the image is a mess. I’ve switched to using the webcam built into my laptop. When I work from my parents house I can use the webcam built into one of the monitors I’m borrowing from my brother’s workstation.

Unlike the webcam, the headset is still firing on all cylinders. When I work at my parents house I bring it with me.


I forgot it today.


I feel naked without it. How quickly we become dependent on little, seemingly insignificant things.

USB Fail Part 2

The plan was to plug a DAC and the USB powered speakers I bought into two USB ports on my monitor. That way I could use the speakers on both my MacBook Pro and my work laptop. It didn’t work. The DAC and the speakers had power, I could switch them both on, but the MacBook Pro couldn’t find them. It wasn’t an option in my sound preferences. I moved the DAC to my final USB-C port on the MacBook itself (via an adapter) and it worked fine. I listened to a little King Crimson to test drive (Epitaph) and it sounded 10 times better than the speakers built into the monitor. I doubt I’d use them to mix a song or anything, but they sound great for watching Netflix (I test drove it with an episode of Community. The one where Jeff takes a pool class and they meet an Abed look alike).

So it didn’t work the way I planned, but I wasn’t really intending to use the speakers with the work machine anyway. It would have been nice to have the option, but I don’t really need it. It worked well enough on the Mac though, and that’s the important part. So we’ll say it’s only a partial fail.

USB Fail

I tried to add something to my work desk and I failed. Temporarily, but still failed. My work desk is in my bedroom. It used to be in the office with Jen’s, but early in the pandemic when both of us started working from home full time we were stepping on each other’s toes, figuratively speaking, when we both had conference calls at the same time. At first I started taking calls in the bedroom and then working in the office, but after a really short time I moved everything into the bedroom and setup a second desk. I still have a desk in the office, it just doesn’t have a computer on it anymore.

Pre-pandemic, when Jen was working off hours and I wasn’t, I would sometimes sit on my computer in the office with headphones on doing whatever. Music, surfing, writing, watching TV shows or movies. Whatever. Now I do that in the bedroom which means I don’t need to wear headphones. I had a DAC and some nice speakers in the office but I didn’t really need them in the bedroom, and they also took up more space than I had available. We have a homepod mini in the bedroom (two of them, actually) and when I’m on my MacBook I like to air play all of my audio through them. When I’m on my work laptop I run the audio through my headset mic that I use for conference calls. I don’t like to run my work machine through speakers, I like to keep it to headphones. While I work though I often listen to music or podcasts and for that I use my iPad and air play through the homepods.

Recently, for non-work time use, for steaming video I have been choosing to use the speakers built into my monitor rather than air play to the homepods. I think it’s because the homepods are on the other side of the room and in order to watch TV through them I have to crank up the volume quite a bit. It sounds great, but I feel like everyone else in the house can hear what I’m listening to (even though they can’t) and that bothers me. If I use the speakers in the monitor I can keep the volume way down. Unfortunately, they sound like shit.

So yesterday I ordered a little pair of USB speakers for my work desk. The plan was to plug them into a USB input on the monitor so that I could use it for both computers without having to switch any plugs. Unfortunately, I failed miserably in this attempt.

The speakers are USB powered… but they don’t connect to the audio via USB. They have an eighth inch phone plug for that. Shit. My monitor doesn’t have an input for that, and neither does my MacBook (I honestly don’t know if the work laptop does or doesn’t and I am too lazy to check, even though the laptop is literally an arm’s length away from me as I type this). I was on amazon, saw an inexpensive set of speakers that said USB and bought it. I didn’t read it close enough. Ironically, Jen has the same speakers and bought them for the same reason and made the same error. We’re kinda awesome like that, aren’t we? We finish each other’s sentences AND we screw up our computer audio plans in the same way.

The solution is easy. I have two USB inputs on my monitor, so I just need to grab the DAC from the office desk and use that. That’s what Jen did. That’ll work fine. I just didn’t want to have to add three things to this desk instead of two (two speakers, of course).

I had another item delivered by amazon today too. I didn’t screw this one up. It was Tide Pods. Let’s do some laundry, kids!

The only other outstanding online order I have is the attenuator I ordered for my 30 watt amplifier. I got a notification that it’s shipping label was printed on March 9th. Running the tracking number tells me that it still hasn’t shipped. It’s been a week and it hasn’t shipped yet. It’s just sitting there, missing me. Not a complaint, of course, there is a pandemic going on. I ordered from a home business and life is rough. I just really want to get this thing so I can crank the amp without causing injury and property damage.

And that, my friends, is what’s up with me today. Well… that and work and everything. Whatever, you know what I mean, right?