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Macintosh for studio editing requirements?
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Author Macintosh for studio editing requirements?
ach_gott
I'm tired of working on PCs that seem to develop new personalities within six months of delivery. And even if my netbook doesn't, the screen is too small for editing and the processor (or buss) is too underpowered for serious stuff. I'm thinking of taking a Mac plunge.

What would the system requirements be to have 24 to 32 tracks of editing, sequencing, some plugins, some software effects? At least initially, I would not be recording directly into the computer since I have an HD24 which suits me very well indeed.

I'd like it to last a good four or more years.

Do I need to get a Mac Pro? Will a refurbished system work? RAM requirements?

Also, can I use a standard monitor instead of buying a $900 cinema screen?

Thanks all.
b3nsf
definately go mac pro with the 23 inch screen, refurb is fine, at least 2 gigs of ram, bluetooth card lets you wireless mighty mouse, but I like the wired keyboard better...get a second HD for audio, if your gonna do editting...

bravo for going mac! applause applause applause
panda30y
Do you use your wintel computer for things other than music production? I'm a mac user myself, but I know a few friends who have used their windows based computers without a hitch. A mac will become weighed down over time as well from general congestion of daily operations. I try to save my computer most of these things and keep it fairly clean, store audio on a separate external HD, and things seem to work very smooth, and I would imagine the same would be in store for a Windows based computer.

I would just make sure you can't solve these problems you are having by just using your computer more efficiently and focused than spending more money to get a new Mac.

Now on the other hand, I do feel the Mac is better for me, and I've worked on both systems. If you like the mac environment more, the workflow, and you have money to throw at it, then I say go for it. I do enjoy the operating system much more than windows or linux. My experience is that the OS doesn't crash as often as Windows, but I have a friend who runs IT at a university with hundreds of Mac and windows computers and he said that the Macs have been failing more often lately. So take my experience with a grain of salt.

You can use any monitor you want with the Mac, and yes the MacPro is ideal, but a very nice souped up iMac would probably handle quite a bit of the work and gives you a beautiful monitor, but won't be able to support much expansion. So if you are looking to jump into a Pro Tools HD setup, it wouldn't really work very well for you.
antennafarm
i think it really depends on which plugins you want to use -- and don't overlook something like the UAD-2 or powercore and whatnot.

32 tracks shouldn't be an issue by itself, unless you're running a ton of plugins.
timmah
for that load you don't really need a mac pro.

I run 48 track sessions with lots of plugins on a nearly 2 year old macbook pro 2.4ghz with 4gb of RAM.

I would say get at least 4gb of RAM (preferably 6 or 8) and buy the fastest computer you can afford. whether it's an imac or a mac pro depends on how much cash you want to spend, but both should last at least 4 years no problem. I've found OSX doesn't bog down as much as XP but housekeeping is still a good idea.

yes you can use whatever monitor you like.
Audio Resistance
What DAW are you planning on using?

My G-5 is still running fine 5 years later with only a small RAM upgrade a year ago.

However the new version of Logic is going to be only available on the new Intel chip based Macs. d'oh!

I am really bummed out because I fell like a new Mac purchase at like $3500.00 plus ram is quite steep for a daw update, but the new Logic looks really nice . Kind of like a combo of Ableton and Protools now with all the audio quantizing features.
revmutt
I tend to use Protools LE as my recorder. I don't do a lot of MIDI, don't really use plugins so for me it comes down to tracking and editing.

I am currently using a Mac Pro with an Mbox pro (which I am not thrilled with) and was using a G4 with an 001 as well.

The G4 was bought around 2001. I tend to use computers for long periods of time. I also tend to buy middle of whatever line I am buying. So I didn't buy the top of the line Pro either.

I actually am kind of cheap when it comes to anything disposable like computers, I expect them to last a long time and I don't like spending a lot of money of them. I'd really rather pay too much for a vintage fuzzbox.

Do I think one could do fine on a iMac? yes BUT the imac (and laptops) do have limitations in terms of expandability and i'm also not crazy about their disk drives which can scratch CD-rs which are shitty enough.

With both my G4 and my Pro I have been afforded assloads of internal hard drive space which is great and makes things really smooth. I have them networked and can run older versions, drop files from one to the other and all that good stuff.
ach_gott
panda30y wrote:
Do you use your wintel computer for things other than music production? I'm a mac user myself, but I know a few friends who have used their windows based computers without a hitch. A mac will become weighed down over time as well from general congestion of daily operations. I try to save my computer most of these things and keep it fairly clean, store audio on a separate external HD, and things seem to work very smooth, and I would imagine the same would be in store for a Windows based computer.

I would just make sure you can't solve these problems you are having by just using your computer more efficiently and focused than spending more money to get a new Mac.


I do... my wintel right now is a netbook, though, and not up to the task. I had to buy it unexpectedly after my old laptop was literally hit by a bus and didn't have much money. One way or the other I'll have to buy a new box. The goal would be to keep it studio use only and use the netbook for everything else.

I'm also sick of the OS's quirks, but that's unrelated to the recording process, merely an artifact from work & home usage. I am wishfully thinking of an OS where everything works together nicely.

Audio Resistance wrote:
What DAW are you planning on using?


I'm thinking of using Logic. Logic Express if possible. I used Sonar (five releases behind, but was not endeared), but as that no longer installs I'm on Reaper. More reading required. I think that it looks like an Intel-based refurb'ed pro may the may to go with a RAM upgrade and a dedicated HD for audio.

It's still going to be a sizable purchase and I'll mull it over for a while.
ach_gott
And thanks all, if you have more thoughts, keep 'em coming.
panda30y
Logic is fantastic in my opinion, and is a great value. Good time to jump in I suppose since Logic 9 was just released. If you let us know how you generally use and for what you use your daw for, it would probably help us help you better. For instance, plug in usage came up, and that's very important because they can eat up alot of cpu power!

Also, i can't believe a bus took out your computer! Those CTA drivers can get a little crazy.
DGTom
Logic is great for writing music / composing with MIDI / Softsynths, not so hot with editing audio IME. 9 may be differant.

If you like the way Reaper handles audio, you'll hate Logic for audio editing.
panda30y
That is true I suppose. I came from pro tools and the transition was a little difficult, but once I decided to start fresh and to put all my pro tools tendencies out of my mind, I got used to working in Logic with audio. In fact, all I do with logic is work with audio. So yes, the interface will throw you off for a bit, but if you watch some tutorial videos, you'll get a grasp of how the interface is.
parasitk
I'm still using my old Dual 867 "Mirrored Door" PowerPC G4 for music, and it runs great, handles plenty of tracks, etc. (dealt with 40+ tracks come mix time, although my track count doesn't often go that high.)

I maxed out its RAM (2GB I think?), and installed two internal 250+ GB hard drives which is where all the audio and project files are stored/run. I only keep applications and plugins on the hard drive that is running the OS (OS X 10.4.7). It is a dedicated music machine, I don't really run anything else on it (some video apps sometimes), and I keep it clean and healthy.

I run Digital Performer 5.x with an ancient PCI-324 card. I have two UAD-1 cards which handle most of my plug-in load, and I don't really use much soft-synths (and when I do I like to render them as audio tracks, not so much for CPU, but because I don't like running "virtual" tracks).

In other words, even an older Mac can run just fine – obviously just make sure the software you want to run will run on the system (mostly Intel and OS X 10.4.7+ these days it seems).
ach_gott
I've only just started using Reaper and I'm just discovering its audio editing this evening.

Plug-ins: I have Reaktor and Absynth, though I admit I've never used them five percent as much as I use my outboard equipment. But they didn't play as nicely as they might have with Sonar 3.

The last track I decided to record proved that having FX plug-ins would be good. Compression, reverb, etc. On a different note, I was once asked to score an ad pitch on spec, but didn't have string libraries, etc... the opportunity is unlikely to come up again, but I'm curious to try it (writing a short string piece) for my own sake. So it's reasonable to assume that at some point I'd like to be running 16 instances of a VST/AU at some point.

Absynth might become my source for pads if I can get it running well and get into programming it.

It's inevitable that I will be getting into Volta as well if I delve into the Mac world.

Mostly right now I'm doing straight audio mixdowns from the HD24, but as you can tell, I'm looking into expanding my studio repertoire a bit.

Thanks guys. Love the Wiggler for this reason. nanners

P.S., I'm happy to say that it was not a CTA bus but a bus in the Delhi airport which are far, far more dangerous. waah
science
b3nsf wrote:
wireless mighty mouse

I'd suggest skipping the Apple mouse all together. Pick up something decent like a Logitech wireless instead. Apple never did quite seem to catch on to the whole mouse design thing. meh
bf
I'm still using a dual 2GHz powermac (so an older G5 at that) for sequencing, tracking and editing and have yet to feel a need to upgrade. Much of my processing ITB is with UAD and I'm not real big on plugs.

As far as a mouse goes I'm a trackball whore. Currently using this which comes with a 5 year warranty, no questions asked from what I can tell.
b3nsf
before mighty, I'd agree with you, but the little trackball is so good for scrolling, then again everyone has different tastes, I may go with another mouse brand once the mighty breaks...(which happens according to the interwebs) very frustrating d'oh!
antennafarm
i have a might mouse and, while it's mildly comfortable for stuff like web browsing or light-use, nothing beats my $10 logitech from, like, six years ago. still kicking!
panda30y
b3nsf wrote:
before mighty, I'd agree with you, but the little trackball is so good for scrolling, then again everyone has different tastes, I may go with another mouse brand once the mighty breaks...(which happens according to the interwebs) very frustrating d'oh!


It's the trackball that breaks. The problem is that it gets very easily gunked up and requires cleaning, which can be a pain in the ass. The best solution for when it stops working well is to take a sheet of clean paper and hold the mouse upside down and rub the track ball against it. It' amazing and disgusting how much dirt and crap will come out.
b3nsf
oh man, I'm gonna try that... I want it to be clean again....

so. much. browsing.

lol
panda30y
b3nsf wrote:
oh man, I'm gonna try that... I want it to be clean again....

so. much. browsing.

lol


It might take a little while, but after 5 minutes or so if it's really bad, it should be good again. Leave your computer on to a big webpage of course so you can tell when it is working again.
suboptimal
I'm pretty tempted by the mac mini as an upgrade to my long-in-the-tooth iBook G4. The specs of one that's fully loaded compare favorably to the 13" Macbook Pro - which is at this stage at about the outer limit of my spending stomach. Since I expect I'd be working with no more than say 10 tracks (a vast number, really, for the way I work with audio) and a few plugins, I feel like it would serve me just fine. Not being someone who needs the pro level power, I'm having difficulty seeing why the high end Macbook Pros are "essential" for audio, especially considering their specs blow away what was "essential" a couple years ago - I'd rather spend the extra cash on modules, knowwhatmsayn?
science
b3nsf wrote:
before mighty, I'd agree with you, but the little trackball is so good for scrolling, then again everyone has different tastes, I may go with another mouse brand once the mighty breaks...(which happens according to the interwebs) very frustrating d'oh!

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/mice_pointers/mice/devices/130&cl=US  ,EN

Best mouse I've ever owned, and I went through quite a few searching for perfection when I used to do a lot of 3D animation and design.
b3nsf
science,

cool I think I have the older version of that one, when they first went laser and wireless, I might just plug this baby back in to the mac and see if it doesn't take a few pegs of mightiness out of the apple mouse.... thumbs up
panda30y
bf wrote:

As far as a mouse goes I'm a trackball whore. Currently using this which comes with a 5 year warranty, no questions asked from what I can tell.


I have to admit, these are fantastic. My old professor used them in the studio all the time, which gave us mice users fits, but I soon realized how nice they really were. Now I realize that many studios actually used them too, and I hear they are better for staving off carpal tunnels. A bit pricey, but you do get plenty of buttons to press and assignability with the buttons, which does help workflow as well.
science
b3nsf wrote:
science,

cool I think I have the older version of that one, when they first went laser and wireless, I might just plug this baby back in to the mac and see if it doesn't take a few pegs of mightiness out of the apple mouse.... thumbs up

I don't think you'll turn back to Apple's garbage after you get one. The battery lasts forever (I've had mine for 3 months and charged it 4 times), it's a perfect fit, at least in my hand, and it has tons of useful functionality. The scroll wheel is even motorized - you'll see what I mean when/if you get one. It's an awesome feature.
timmah
panda30y wrote:
bf wrote:




I love my expert mice.
at work, at home, so much faster than a mouse and no sore wrist!
dkcg
I have a 2.4 Ghx MacbookPro, no problems recording 10 tracks at once, but I don't use many plugins anymore so your mileahge may vary, but I don't see why a macmini couldn't handle 8-10 tracks, especially if it's an intel dual core CPU.

As for mice, I love my Wacom tablet, but it does take up quite a bit of space. One of these Cintiqs would be freakin awesome, but a hell of a lot more than i wanna spend on a screen and a pointing device, but there is pressure sensitivity (I think 1024 levels of sensitivity), only if it were multitouch....watch out lemur.
http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/cintiq-21ux.php
suboptimal
I'm leaning now toward a decent iMac, mostly because the mini has little in the way of upgrade path (I don't need 8GB of RAM, but what if I want it in the future?) and some nicer specs. Probably about to spend money on things I don't especially need, but hey, I'm on a modular forum! hyper
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