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Apple Notes By Martin Russ
Published January 1999

DSoundPro to the rescue: Triggering stereo samples via OMS from an external MIDI keyboard can all be accomplished from the on‑screen virtual keyboard.DSoundPro to the rescue: Triggering stereo samples via OMS from an external MIDI keyboard can all be accomplished from the on‑screen virtual keyboard.

The SOS web forum is already producing its fair share of Mac‑related queries. Martin Russ responds to a couple...

There's a hidden side to Sound On Sound. Lurking behind the Internet URL of" target="_blank lie the SOS Discussion Forums — a place where SOS readers can exchange questions, answers and advice, and where you can even find SOS writers and columnists dropping in too. Somewhat overshadowed by the large numbers of PC Frequently Asked Questions is the Apple Music area, where Mac enthusiasts gather around the encouragingly infrequent problems. It is from this area that two questions caught my eye, and they are about to catch yours, because quite a lot of this column deals with them.

Mounting Tension

Make your own plug‑ins and audio interfaces... A very nice Christmas present from Steinberg!Make your own plug‑ins and audio interfaces... A very nice Christmas present from Steinberg!

The three types of CD that most Mac users will be most familiar with are Mac CD‑ROMs, where the CD contains files just like a floppy or a hard disk, audio CDs, where the stored information is sound, and which will also play in your Mac CD player; and Mixed‑mode CD‑ROMs, which contain a mixture of data and audio tracks, and which can often work with more than one type of computer (Macs and PCs, for example).

If you use an Akai sampler, you'll probably have also encountered Akai‑formatted sample CD‑ROMs. This format is specific to Akai samplers only, and if you put one into a Mac's CD‑ROM slot and wait, the computer will be unable to read it and will produce its characteristic 'Eject or Initialise?' dialogue box.

Apple Notes reader Michael Price asked, via the SOS web pages, about mounting Akai CD‑ROMs on Macs. 'Mounting' is one of those words which computer‑people have hijacked and given a new meaning — in this case, it means loading a CD‑ROM onto a computer so that you can get at the files on the CD via the computer. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew there was a way to do this on a Mac with Akai CD‑ROMs, but not being an Akai user, I had never followed it up. It was time to do some detective work...

Searching, Please Wait...

If you look inside a Mac OS System Folder, and open up the Extensions folder, you will find some driver files that are associated with your Mac's CD‑ROM hardware. 'Apple CD‑ROM' is the basic enabler file, but there are also some additional files which provide extra functionality. 'Audio CD Access' is fairly self‑explanatory, but 'High Sierra File Access' is less so (it's named after the location where a group of experts defined this CD‑ROM format); and 'Foreign File Access' is actually the file which allows you to read PC‑formatted CD‑ROMs in your Macintosh! Without this extension in place, you will be confronted by the same 'Eject or Initialise?' dialogue you get when trying to read an Akai‑format disc. You might think the obvious solution is a file called 'Akai File Access'. Unfortunately it isn't that simple, as I discovered when I went looking for more information...

I soon found some technical data on the Akai floppy disk and CD‑ROM formats, at, but there was nothing on how to actually read them from a Mac. However, further searching eventually led to Interval Music Systems' TransferStation utility (at, which lets you mount CD‑ROMs in the Akai format (and Roland too) onto the Mac desktop, as well as do SCSI transfers.

I reported my findings back to Michael, and discovered that he had found a solution of his own on Gallery Software's site: their Interpreter software (available from allows you to mount Akai CD‑ROMs onto the Mac desktop. Michael also mentioned a very useful Akai sampler‑related web site: www.fsphy.uni‑ thanks go to him for that link.


Jonathan Mullen posted to the SOS Apple Music Discussion Forum to see if anyone knew how he could trigger sound samples via OMS on a Mac from an external keyboard. Stephano Daino's shareware DSoundPro sample editor and synthesizer provides one solution: with a few mouse clicks, it was possible to trigger a sample in DSoundPro on my Mac from an external MIDI keyboard via OMS, and conversely, to use DSoundPro's on‑screen virtual keyboard to trigger one of my expander modules. DSoundPro's home page is at:

Apple News In Brief


After the intense speculation about the PCI‑like connector on the iMac (see September and November's Apple Notes), the official line from Apple is: "There is no internal expandability to the iMac other than DRAM and VRAM. Apple will not publish specs nor assist nor encourage development for any other internal expansion connector."


Possibly the most interesting music news for programmers for a while was the announcement by Steinberg in late October that the VST and ASIO interfaces would be available free of charge to third‑party developers (I've already got my email request in the queue!). More information will follow as it becomes available.

Making Contact!

I've given out my email address before in Apple Notes, and if you do a search on the Internet, you'll find me relatively easily. But now SOS have made it even easier for you to drop me a line: you can reach me at the email address I'd love to hear from you!