Fuck Computer Music!
Just kidding! But Holy Christ can you believe I'm still having the computer problems I described here? That was back in July and even then it felt like the whole debacle had been dragging on for a ridiculous amount of time.
Here's the crux of the problem: often, though irregularly, my computer will start receiving distortion and feedback to its audio in and/or internal mic. This is a drag but only really creates significant problems when doing live sampling in Max (which is usually the basis of my live performances).
I'm pretty sure this is not a Max problem, though. The problem occurs system-wide, even when I'm not using Max. It crops up in all applications that have an audio input and in the audio system preferences. I've re-installed Max/MSP and done extensive debugging/simplification of my Max patches. It hasn't helped.
So the problem is system-wide. Fine. I reinstalled OSX and tried to calibrate the system to remove clashing sampling rates and/or corrupted audio preference files. No dice. Surely, then, it's a hardware problem.
Well, Apple were good enough to (eventually) agree to give me a new top-board and logic-board for my computer and... it's still no better! I'm going out to buy an external sound-card this afternoon but I don't honestly expect it to help and I'll probably end up returning it.
I've asked lots of people about this and consulted forums etc but I haven't found anyone who has had a similar experience or who could tell me what the problem might be. I don't expect to turn up anything at this stage but if anyone thinks they can help then PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME!
In more positive computer music news, Cycling 74 just announced the forthcoming release of Max 5, which looks to be a major leap forward for the application's programming interface. It would be really exciting if this version of Max made it accessible to more musically (rather than technically) minded people. Honestly, such a thing could lead to a major musical revolution. Seriously!