Which Apple for DAW?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by guitarplayer, Jan 2, 2008.


  1. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    I'm having problems with my Windows PC firewire driver to my Mackie
    Onyx. I think I'm overloading my PC and there is apparently a known
    issue with the Mackie firewire driver for Windows. Apple seems to be
    geared more toward recording and multi-media and I'm hoping replacing
    my PC with a (more powerful) Mac will be a step in the right direction.

    I'm considering replacing my Windows based PC with an Apple and was
    wondering whether a MacBook would be a decent choice? I would prefer
    it over an iMac for the portability. My budget is $1k or less which means
    I'm looking at a used computer. I one on craigslist with 2ghz
    Duo, 2 Meg RAM, 60 Gig HD. Although the HD is small I'm wondering if it
    would be doable to add an external HD (they're relatively cheap for a
    500 Gig HD!) via firewire. Would a macBook like this handle the job?
    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. indexless

    indexless Member

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    It should work fine, get the most ram you can of course. You can always use off computer drives for storage, I use several fire wire drives, works great. THe thing that knocks me out is the fact that there is just no real drive noise, even my last MacBook was too loud to record with a mic, my MacBook Pro just kills me it's so quiet.
    Good luck!
     
  3. jpfeiff

    jpfeiff Member

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    I use a four year old iBook for recording music, so a newer MacBook should work just fine, too! The basic answer is--the best machine you can afford!
     
  4. eru

    eru Member

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    that would work fine. I've run Pro Tools LE, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, Logic Express, etc. on a similar spec'd macbook and Logic was the only one that didn't run great.
     
  5. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    Thanks for the replies! I'm leaning toward a MacBook because of the portability and because I already have a nice large flatscreen I can
    hook up when using it in my studio. I also have a couple of rooms in
    my house that have great acoustics so it would be great to be able
    to more easily move my stuff around. Thanks again!
     
  6. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    I just got an Imac for recording, and I would say that its as portable as a notebook for your purposes. The imac was cheaper than the MacBooks and the screen and keyboard are much better IMHO.
     
  7. onemind

    onemind Member

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    I would guess right after MacExpo, you'll be able to get a new (older stock) Macbook for around 899. I'd say a little patience here will pay off nicely. I usual a dual G5 for recording, it's generally flawless, but far from portable. Lately I've been desiring an intel based Mac Pro Tower, but hoping for a speed bump soon.
     
  8. Bantha

    Bantha Member

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    I use 2 macs. A Mac Pro dual intel in the studio and a macBook Pro for live recording. The suggestion I would give (other than the ones given) is make sure it has a firewire 800 port and use an external drive to record to via the firewire 800. Especially if you are tracking multiple instruments and/or vocals at the same time.
     
  9. Grun

    Grun Supporting Member

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    Just picked up a mac book. 2.2/2 gig. Using generic (comp usa) fire wire case with a seagate barracude 160 on firewire 400. tracking 4 tracks live no problem.
     
  10. bbocaner

    bbocaner Member

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    If you're buying used, I have a dual G5 tower for recording and it's great -- but even the low-end Intel macs are MUCH faster... which means more plug-ins etc before it bogs down.
     
  11. 52ftbuddha

    52ftbuddha Member

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    This discussion is of great interest to me also. I have lived with the PC for a very long time and are looking at logic with longing thanks to its new interface. Rather than start a new thread I thought I would ask similar. I run Reason 4 NI Komplete 5 and want to run logic 8 I only record at the most 4 tracks at a time but live and die with what were VSTi's and will now be something else. No one can give me decent benchmarks like the five towers test. Can anyone give benchmarks on the new apple products or direct me some. As much as I like the mac pro laptop or tower I would much rather buy both a macbook and an Imac than one of the other. It seems far harder to get real benchmarks on the Mac product than the PC unless you only are interested in the Mac Pro which people will talk about all day. Thanks.

    rob
     
  12. eru

    eru Member

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    Benchmarks are almost all garbage.

    What plugins did you use before?

    My MacBook (2.0ghz, 2gb ram, internal hard drive used) ran several RTAS or AU synths (depending on Pro Tools vs. Ableton Live or Logic) and processors simultaneously, usually with Reason running through ReWire. It never really had a problem running anything but Logic. The problems with logic had to do with the MacBooks not having an independent video card and the program taking a lot of power to draw the scrolling waveforms. For some reason, no other DAW seems to have this problem.

    Most of my production/recording came not from guitar work but from DJ work and dance music production, which is arguably more computer-intensive. Most of the time, every track (lead, pads, drums, bass, fills, effects, etc.) comes out of software, so there's a good chance the macbook will work just fine for what you want.
     
  13. einstein

    einstein Member

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    macs on ebay used are a lot of bang for the buck. Everybody wants the newest but most of us wont use all the power they offer. Most of them are already upgraded and many people want the new dual core for their day job, so they dump the powerbook g4. You can get a wicked powerbook g4 for like 5 or 6 hundred $.
     
  14. retro

    retro Member

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    I agree, a little patience might be good if possible and see what comes out of MacExpo this month...current new MacBook models will definitely drop in price if replaced with new versions.
     
  15. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    I've always liked the size and looks of the Mac Mini. They also seem to be very quiet which is good for recording. I already have a nice large flat screen monitor, keyboard and mouse so it seems to make sense. Since
    I'm cheap and I don't want to buy a new machine I've seen used minis with 1-2 gig RAM and around 1.8 Ghz Duo and usually around 80 gig HD.
    They only have 1 Firewire 400 port and I wonder if that will be a) Fast enough for a A/D interface and if I want to connect an external firewire HD for storange can I do that since there is only 1 port? Apple offers a stackable external HD which fits on top (or bottom) of the mini so you can stack multiple HDs for external storage. My only concern is the horse power and the single firewire port. I wonder if anyone has or is using a mini for studio recording?
     
  16. eru

    eru Member

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    Most firewire drives can be daisy chained (they have two ports). The only time you have to watch out is when a hard drive has fw400 and fw800 because they can typically only chain with other 800 devices and have to be at the end of a 400 chain.

    I routinely chain an RME interface and 2 fw hard drives when recording my DJ setup using my 2 fw400 port on my macbook and it's not a problem.
     
  17. jrm

    jrm Member

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    I too am very interested in the mac mini. I've been tlakign to a seller on craigslist about last years imac, but I have a feeling he is going to sell it before I can meet him tomorrow... bummer. So I'm looking at the mac mini for a media production machine. Not running anything too intense though (probably just garageband, maybe some kind of midi sequencer, photoshop). Looks like it might be a good tool. Or is the consensus to always wait until after the expo and see if the prices on everything else dop?
     
  18. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Member

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    From what I can see it looks like the mini has some things going for it as
    far as Price, Size and low noise level. The only downsize I can see is the
    possible lack of horse power. From other threads I've read I get the
    impression that many studios use older macs successfully with Logic Pro
    or Pro Studio with no problems. I suppose the main thing would be the
    size of the RAM.
    In my case, since I already have a nice flat screen, keyboard, etc., the
    mini is a cheap way to get into the Mac world of recording. Logic Pro is
    around $500 so cheap hardware is attrative to me right now. If course
    I don't want to have to replace it in 6 months or a year.

    Has anyone had expierence using the Mini for recording?
     
  19. mr breaker

    mr breaker Member

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    I've been using a mini with Logic, and it's working great for me. I have the first intel version, and I put 2 gigs of RAM in it.
     
  20. tacorivers

    tacorivers Silver Supporting Member

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    I thought about the mini when I bought my Imac. My problem with the mini is that the upgrade possibilties are very limited. I can put up to 4 megs of RAM in my imac.

    Plus, the top of the line mini (dual processor + 2 megs of RAM) was not much less than my imac.

    There was a listing for a mini with Logic preinstalled on ebay for $700. I don't know if its still there.
     

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