• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Computer for recording

homerayvaughan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,743
I have threatened before to buy myself a Macbook pro, I am seriously looking at one now. No hard core recording planned at the moment, but looking at what I should get for specs regarding processors, ram...would it be worth looking into a solid state drive...I see they offer "flash" hard drives, is it more or less the same as SS? I know solid state drives are a lot more expensive...I'll need a new interface as well. Just guitar amp bass, mic'd, and loops for drums for now. Just for ideas and such. Is garage band a good program, or would any particular interface be an improvement? I have a friend who is getting into pro tools, not sure it's worth it. He mentioned file sharing, so if he and I both had a PT set up, we could share tracks and send to have someone record on, is this possible if I had a different program?
 

GuitarKidd

Member
Messages
3,609
Actually, I just bought a iMac last night. It's the basic one. I managed to play around with Garageband for a few minutes before it got to late, and full version vs. the iPad version is fantastic. Very intuitive. I installed the drivers for my POD HD500 and it recognized the Pod and set up was very easy.

As for vocals, I'm not sure yet which direction I want to go. I'm debating getting a basic condenser kit and using the HD500 for vocals, or going with an interface like the Focusrite Scarlet Package.. which looks very attractive, so check that out.

As for sharing tracks, between PT and GB, I'm sure it can be done some how but can't answer that one for you.
 
Messages
65
You're better off building a PC....WAY cheaper than a Mac. I built mine for super cheap.


Things to consider when building a PC

Storage Space
CPU
RAM (tons of it)
CPU
...Did I mention CPU?

Processor (CPU) speed is very important. You need a fast processor to "process" all that info ;)


I have an Intel Core i5 (3.2 Ghz) with 16GB of RAM. I run Windows 7, and Cubase 5. No issues at all, runs quick like a charm. The only thing I don't have is a Firewire I/O...but I'm not a fan of Mac products. I think they're overpriced.
 

stratology

Senior Member
Messages
1,497
I have threatened before to buy myself a Macbook pro, I am seriously looking at one now. No hard core recording planned at the moment, but looking at what I should get for specs regarding processors, ram...would it be worth looking into a solid state drive...I see they offer "flash" hard drives, is it more or less the same as SS? I know solid state drives are a lot more expensive...I'll need a new interface as well. Just guitar amp bass, mic'd, and loops for drums for now. Just for ideas and such. Is garage band a good program, or would any particular interface be an improvement? I have a friend who is getting into pro tools, not sure it's worth it. He mentioned file sharing, so if he and I both had a PT set up, we could share tracks and send to have someone record on, is this possible if I had a different program?
SSD=Flash memory. Get it if you can afford it. Once you start using it, you'll never want to go back to hard disks...

Get as much RAM as possible, apart from that, any MBP can handle what you're planning to do.

Garageband is definitely good enough to get you started. If you run into it's limitations, upgrade to Logic or Digital Performer. Protools only makes sense if you've bought into the system in the past and can't get out. Protools only makes sense if you buy into the (expensive) HD stuff, Protools LE cannot compete with others on the market, IMHO.

Avoid everything (DAW, plug-ins) with hardware copy protection (iLok, USB dongles).

For basic 2-track recording, the built in audio interface is good enough, but you'll probably want to upgrade to an external audio interface at some point. So many choices, some are good at everything without being great (Motu), some focus on Mic preamps (Presonus), some on converters (Apogee), for more than 2 channels I would avoid USB, better to get Firewire or Thunderbolt.

And don't forget about studio monitors. Computer speakers or headphones may be ok for editing, but not for mixing.
 
Last edited:

homerayvaughan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,743
I don't want to build a PC...not the direction I wish to go in, I would need the portability of a laptop. I considered a Windows laptop, but many are bloated with programs and crap that need to be removed, and, well, are subject to Windows issues we are all aware of. So, looking at Macbooks specifically...
Stratology, thanks for the info...I'll do some research on the interfaces, what you've explained is pretty much what others have said as well. I have a decent set of headphones I think that will get me started. I have some small M Audio powered speakers but I don't know how good they are. I'll just be doing 2 tracks at a time at the most.
 

stratology

Senior Member
Messages
1,497
Which VST's would you recommend?
VST is a proprietary plug in format by Steinberg. Some apps can use it (Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer), others can't (Garageband, Protools, ..).
The standard plug in format on OS X is Audio Units (AUs). Most plug ins are available in this format.

Countless plugs out there, some that I really like are from PSP and u-he, Klanghelm has some cheap, great-sounding plugs as well.
 

Guyotron

Member
Messages
148
I don't want to build a PC...not the direction I wish to go in, I would need the portability of a laptop. I considered a Windows laptop, but many are bloated with programs and crap that need to be removed...
With every laptop I've ever owned, I've always blown away the preinstalled OS and installed fresh. I used to build my own studio PCs, and it was fun, but this most recent time I went with a Dell XPS 17 laptop. It gave me a pair of fast disks, decent RAM, fast CPU and no problems whatsoever over the last 2-3 years. We've been recording into it via USB 2.0 and limited ourselves to 8 simultaneous tracks in the past, but we're now using a new Roland Studio Capture interface. Last week we recorded 14 simultaneous tracks during the session with no drop outs (damned drummers and their need to record every damned thing they hit). Very happy with PCs and Cubase for the last 10+ years.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,396
.
I'm not a fan of Mac products. I think they're overpriced.
You know nothing about them yet you don't like them.
That's brilliant.
So remind us why we should take your advice?

Btw - when was the last time Microsoft or any other PC s/w makers gave
you a DAW for free like Apple did with GB?
Yes, GarageBand is free, unless you want all the loops and then it's $5.
What a ripoff!

You know that OSX Mavericks is free as well?
Can't remember the last time MS gave away Windows for free.
Add that into your price next time.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,396
I don't want to build a PC...not the direction I wish to go in, I would need the portability of a laptop. I considered a Windows laptop, but many are bloated with programs and crap that need to be removed, and, well, are subject to Windows issues we are all aware of. So, looking at Macbooks specifically...
I built PC A/V editors for 10 yrs and it sucked. Patches, updates, bad drivers, badly coded s/w, etc..
Windows is a hassle if you want to do anything multimedia production on it for the very reasons you mentioned.
I've been on Macs for 3 yrs now, running Win7 via boot camp, and I'll never go back.

I buy all my Macs for Apple's online stores, specifically the "refurbished" section.

store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

You can save a few hundred bucks, but everything is as good as new.
Plus you get the full 1 yr. Apple warranty, and you can buy the Apple Care extended warranty as well. You can't do that if you buy used from anywhere else.

The refurbished stock is constantly changing so check it often if you don't aww what you want the first time.
 

homerayvaughan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,743
So how much of a difference is it for recording if I were to get a 2.0 ghz processor vs the 2.3? $500 price difference.
 

vibrostrat43

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,265
I would say there's not a huge difference...RAM and flash storage make more of a difference than processor will imo
 

homerayvaughan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,743
Also, is 16GB of ram overkill? I only plan on recording 1-2 tracks at a time max. Was thinking of doing 8GB ram and getting more flash storage...
 

GuitarKidd

Member
Messages
3,609
I will add that after a few more days of playing with the iMac and Garageband, it's so flippin' easy. I'm still learning GB and mastering and EQ techniques, but so far, I'm really impressed with it. I also transported a few tunes I did on my iPad into the full GB version and can tweak and edit all I want.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,396
Also, is 16GB of ram overkill? I only plan on recording 1-2 tracks at a time max. Was thinking of doing 8GB ram and getting more flash storage...
16GB of RAM is what I have in my MBP.
It's plenty for Logic, GB, Reaper, PT, etc..

Here's the thing: don't pay extra for Apple RAM. If you can add it yourself because RAM is cheap.
Some of the Apple MBPs and iMacs no longer allow you to add RAM because the RAM has been soldered to the board.
So make sure you check to see if the computer you are buying allows you to swap the RAM yourself.

The other key item you'll need is an external USB2.0/firewire drive to record and mix your tracks to.
Do not record and mix to your system drive. Let it handle running the software and plugs, store the data externally to take a load of your system.

The other big upgrade to consider is a SSD for the main drive of you Mac.
It's not as critical as having an external drive to record/mixing tracks to and from but it's a cool upgrade to consider. A 5600rpm drive is fast enough for audio editing. The only reason you'd want a faster drive is if you want to edit video because that's where speed and bandwidth become important.

Because I edit audio and video on my MBP I opted to bite the bullet and buy a Crucial M500 960GB SSD for $460.
Crucial are the only company making a near 1TB SSD and considering the price of the nearest competitor I thought it was a bargain.

Good luck.
 

stratology

Senior Member
Messages
1,497
I disagree: it's perfectly ok to use the system drive for recording, especially if you have an SSD.

I have the same 960GB Crucial SSD in my MBP, great upgrade...
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,322
I disagree: it's perfectly ok to use the system drive for recording, especially if you have an SSD.

I have the same 960GB Crucial SSD in my MBP, great upgrade...
A lot more people are doing it these days, even regular hard drives. It isn't practical because you are going to run out of space real soon, but the technology has gotten faster so it just isn't the wild & crazy thing it used to be.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,322
MAC vs PC

I am a PC user for ProTools and I WILL admit I still face driver issues. I will get everything working and love it, but if I try to change anything it can put me in a tailspin to get it working again.

Example - I have a ProTools session where I use a Digi003 and an 11-Rack. I have Addictive Drums on an aux track, plus I have my Fishman Midi Guitar pickup plugged in that sends on channel 1 (midi).

My downfall came when I instantiated SampleTank and tried to plug in a USB keyboard (M-Audio). I couldn't get ProTools to see the keyboard midi. The computer saw it (I tested with a 3rd party app) but I couldn't trigger the SampleTank with it.

So, I tried re-booting, and the next thing I know (I have been fighting this a lot) the Eleven-Rack became the ProTools controller. (The Digi003 went "dead"). I finally got this all fixed, but I am asking the Mac users...

Mac Users.... Do you have ProTools System with an 11-rack, USB keyboard, Digi003 (or other control surface) and Addictive drums, and were you able to plug everything in without any hiccups?
 

Monotremata

Member
Messages
1,338
but I'm not a fan of Mac products. I think they're overpriced.
Overpriced compared to what?? Ive had 4 main Mac's in my "studio" since 1999. How many PC's would one have gone through in that time??

My blue and white G3 rocked it from 1999-2002 and was still good to go but I replaced it with a brand new 800Mhz G4 to jump on the OS X bandwagon (the G3 still runs Debian Linux just fine to this day). That 'lowly' G4 PPC Mac lasted me 9 years running Logic 5/6/7/8 up until 2011 when I decided to replace it with a dual core 2Ghz G5 I bought for like $200 off ebay. That lasted a good year, and is still here running as well, but I was still stuck in the same boat of my software no longer being updated because it was the old PPC architecture. 2012, bought myself a 6 year old Mac Pro off ebay that Im typing on right now and it has no signs of letting me down at all. In fact once my tax return gets here, I think a nice 2008 Mac Pro that will let me run Logic X is in order after I buy my new monitors..

If you ask me, you get what you pay for. The only reason a Mac isnt 'worth the money' is if youre one of those people that needs to run and jump on the latest and greatest chipset everytime Intel revs one, and sorry but the performance gains by doing that are often marginal at best.
If you want a machine to perform a job, thats what Mac's do, and they get it done just fine.
Are you a gamer or do you just wanna get the job done and track and mix some songs??
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom