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Cliffbanger
Nov 19, 2008, 10:13 PM
Hello all -

I've been reading this forum thoroughly to try and decide if I can use the newly released Macbook with protools. So here's my question:

It's my understanding that the new Macbooks DO NOT come with a firewire port.

Can I run a USB powered External HD with Pro Tools on the new Macbook? Or do I have to resort to buying the new Macbook Pro because Pro tools requires use of a Firewire External Drive?

Much thanks in advance!

Cliff



junior
Nov 20, 2008, 06:20 AM
I wouldn't recommend a USB drive. If you can afford it, get a macbook pro. Or go the second hand/refurbished route and get an older version of a Macbook or Pro.

joe.cavers
Nov 20, 2008, 07:19 AM
Pro Tools does not support the use of USB drives for audio/sessions. This doesn't mean you can't use it..... but its likely to cause trouble.

Go for a s/h Macbook Pro instead (older version). I did that, it was cheaper than the current Macbooks and has 3GB of RAM, handles all my sessions fantastically. I've never looked back.

JC

MowingDevil
Nov 20, 2008, 07:23 AM
Pro Tools does not support the use of USB drives for audio/sessions. This doesn't mean you can't use it..... but its likely to cause trouble.

Go for a s/h Macbook Pro instead (older version). I did that, it was cheaper than the current Macbooks and has 3GB of RAM, handles all my sessions fantastically. I've never looked back.

JC

Then how do you explain all those USB M-Boxs that Digi sells?
ProTools LE is still PT.

To the OP: you can still buy a MB w/ FireWire if thats your issue. They seem to promote it about as much as the Mac Mini but its available; its the white plastic one. Its got a FW 400 port so no you don't have to buy a Pro and it will handle any audio applications you can throw at it.

junior
Nov 20, 2008, 07:28 AM
Then how do you explain all those USB M-Boxs that Digi sells?


He's not talking about AD/DA converters MD.

joe.cavers
Nov 20, 2008, 11:28 AM
Then how do you explain all those USB M-Boxs that Digi sells?
ProTools LE is still PT.


An audio interface and a hard drive are not the same thing. Do your research in terms before you throw around sarky questions like that.

JC

MowingDevil
Nov 20, 2008, 05:41 PM
An audio interface and a hard drive are not the same thing. Do your research in terms before you throw around sarky questions like that.

JC

Sorry, I just misread the thread, overlooked the HD part...and not trying to be snarky. Don't think I need to do "research" on the subject.

Cliffbanger
Nov 21, 2008, 01:50 AM
So just to clarify, I can use an external USB drive with pro tools & the new Macbook, but it will likely cause "trouble" ? Can anyone explain further?

Thanks in advance -C

junior
Nov 21, 2008, 10:12 AM
So just to clarify, I can use an external USB drive with pro tools & the new Macbook, but it will likely cause "trouble" ? Can anyone explain further?

Thanks in advance -C

Well, basically if you go ahead and do something that Digidesign don't recommend, you're on your own once any trouble occurs. Don't do it.

Sammio2
Nov 26, 2008, 02:47 PM
I'll do my best to explain the 'trouble'...

As others have said, USB sound cards work because they are AD/DA converters, as such the bandwidth they need is significantly less than once the signal has been loaded into your DAW and processed, etc.

In simple terms, the bandwidth you get with a USB external HDD will not be enough to use as a scratch disk for ProTools. What i mean by that, is that ProTools will not be able to read/write to the drive fast enough. This in turn will cause lags in your audio, in both recording and playback.

You are better off using an internal drive, or FW400 At least. For optimal speed (if it must be an external drive) it's recommended to use a FW800 Drive.

Hope this helps
Sam

stoox
Nov 28, 2008, 03:57 PM
I was pissed to see no firewire on the new macbooks.

I bet apple will come out with a updated version in like a year or so with a firewire port.

Cliffbanger
Dec 7, 2008, 11:55 AM
Appreciate the explanation. I have heard using the internal HD with programs like pro tools will "wear out" the hard drive faster, because of the large amount of read/writes that tend to happen during audio sessions. Is this true? If not, I can keep the session that I am working on at the time local and then just store it on an external HD when working on other sessions etc.

The mere thought that I would have to do that just to have the new Macbook sickens me...

I'll do my best to explain the 'trouble'...

As others have said, USB sound cards work because they are AD/DA converters, as such the bandwidth they need is significantly less than once the signal has been loaded into your DAW and processed, etc.

In simple terms, the bandwidth you get with a USB external HDD will not be enough to use as a scratch disk for ProTools. What i mean by that, is that ProTools will not be able to read/write to the drive fast enough. This in turn will cause lags in your audio, in both recording and playback.

You are better off using an internal drive, or FW400 At least. For optimal speed (if it must be an external drive) it's recommended to use a FW800 Drive.

Hope this helps
Sam

Cliffbanger
Dec 7, 2008, 12:11 PM
Also, reading on AppleInsider's website, it says:

"Professional musicians also use FireWire in recording equipment. Others have noted that the lack of FireWire additionally rules out Target Disk Mode for managing files or cloning systems, as USB 2.0's architecture lacks the capacity to support that feature. Apple's Migration Assistant software now alternatively supports importing files from another machine over Ethernet, from USB drives, or Time Machine backups, however."

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/10/16/jobs_responds_to_outrage_over_macbooks_missing_firewire.html

I keep reading about how the Migration Assistant software will allow us to replace Target Disk Mode via Ethernet - will they be making an adatper to achieve "importing files from USB drives over ethernet" ? I'm confused to how this is possible.

junior
Dec 7, 2008, 03:29 PM
Digidesign does not support the use of the same internal drive as the OS for session files. Really, you should just go to their site and start reading up on it.

mikeinternet
Dec 9, 2008, 11:35 PM
Digidesign is just covering their ass by saying you need firewire. I use firewire but my drives can get rejected by protools at times. I just manually change them back to "record" drives in the workspace manager, and i'm good to go. I imagine at worst the possibility of issues like that.

That being said I have never actually tried working on a USB drive.

dougens
Dec 16, 2008, 11:32 AM
Pro Tools does not support the use of USB drives for audio/sessions. This doesn't mean you can't use it..... but its likely to cause trouble.

Go for a s/h Macbook Pro instead (older version). I did that, it was cheaper than the current Macbooks and has 3GB of RAM, handles all my sessions fantastically. I've never looked back.

JC

I have always used a usb external HD while running sessions in PT LE 7.4.
I have never had a problem at all and have run very large sessions. It is an advantage to have the firewire option but not essential for pro tools.
usb 2 is only slightly slower transfer than firewire 400 anyways.:D

junior
Dec 16, 2008, 03:18 PM
I have always used a usb external HD while running sessions in PT LE 7.4.
I have never had a problem at all and have run very large sessions. It is an advantage to have the firewire option but not essential for pro tools.
usb 2 is only slightly slower transfer than firewire 400 anyways.:D

I'm guessing that's tongue in cheek so I won't go into a little crusade to prove how wrong that statement is...

dougens
Dec 16, 2008, 06:54 PM
I'm guessing that's tongue in cheek so I won't go into a little crusade to prove how wrong that statement is...

afraid not mate unless i misunderstood the original post.

i run my PT sessions from and save them to my external hard drive to save processing and have never had any problems like i said.

Leddy
Dec 16, 2008, 06:54 PM
I might be slightly off topic here, but also if you are using a USB audio interface with PT LE on a MacBook or MB Pro, be careful which USB port you plug it in to as one of your USB ports is already a hub with the trackpad, iSight etc. already polling it - Digidesign have a caution on their support pages about it - you may receive audio drop-outs if you plug into that port.

Cheers,

L.

WinterMute
Dec 17, 2008, 01:00 PM
If you use a USB interface with the old MPB, you should plug it into the Left hand USB slots, as the RHS ones are on the hub with the trackpad and the keyboard.

Don't know if this is true with the new one or not.

The reason the internal OS HD causes problems is because the OS reads and writes to it constantly in operation, and this interrupts to contiguous recording of audio data. USB drives are not recommended for bandwidth reasons as described in the answers above, however it's highly likely that stereo input and output will work fine from a USB HD, where multiple input and output productions will not.

Rusty shacklefo
Dec 17, 2008, 06:39 PM
O. K. I know about close to nothing about macs and very little about pro tools. I am a musician and i'm looking into buying a type of mac I could run
pro tools in my home with. I was going to see if any one had the time to give me any feed back on getting this started, which mac is easiest to use,
what else I'll need, ETC. I know there are alot of diffrent programs and tools to choose from. I have plenty of space and a room I can make noise in at all hours. I will be using mostly real instruments unless I get into some of the stuff on these programs. Not trying to do this proffesionally just something I want to use to record music at home. At the same time this doesn't mean I want to go with low end gear. Any information would be apreciated thanks.

Rusty

Cliffbanger
Jan 4, 2009, 09:14 AM
O. K. I know about close to nothing about macs and very little about pro tools. I am a musician and i'm looking into buying a type of mac I could run
pro tools in my home with. I was going to see if any one had the time to give me any feed back on getting this started, which mac is easiest to use,
what else I'll need, ETC. I know there are alot of diffrent programs and tools to choose from. I have plenty of space and a room I can make noise in at all hours. I will be using mostly real instruments unless I get into some of the stuff on these programs. Not trying to do this proffesionally just something I want to use to record music at home. At the same time this doesn't mean I want to go with low end gear. Any information would be apreciated thanks.

Rusty


If you have the money, then what people in this thread are saying is that the new & old Macbook Pro or the older, "White Macbook" are the best options because they have the firewire port. Your best beginner setup would be to grab a MBox or an MBox Mini which comes with the program Pro Tools, and also purchase a firewire hard drive. I created this thread to find out if I can "get away with" using a USB hard drive, bc I didnt want to buy into the older macbooks and am too broke for a new MB Pro. So I did grab the new 13" macbook, and I am very glad I stuck to my guns on it. It's a beautiful notebook. I'll have to tackle this issue once I begin some serious session work on it, though.

Cliff

WinterMute
Jan 4, 2009, 04:53 PM
Buy the quickest Mac you can afford, don't buy a laptop unless you absolutely need one, an iMac is a better platform and is cheaper, a Mac Pro (even the base model) is much more upgradeable and will last longer. Get as much RAM as you can afford, 4Gb is a good place to begin. Get a large external HD or a second internal if you buy a Mac Pro.

All Mac's work in the same way, the OS is common, but the desktops have better interfacing and quicker buss speeds, making them more suited to audio recording and mixing. The recording isn't the problem, it's the Digital Signal Processing at mixdown that'll kill you, quicker machines have more power.

Protools LE with a decent interface will act like a recording studio, Logic will give you more MIDI and synth options.

Whatever you get, make sure the interface you buy is not exclusively buss powered (i.e. it has it's own power supply) and has some decent mic pre-amps, then make sure it has enough inputs to service the number of mics you may need to use, 2 is an absolute minimum, 4 is good, 8 or more is preferrable if you're gonna record ensembles.

The M-box Pro is a good place to start, but if you have some cash the 003 range is nice too.

M-audio make some good interfaces that work with the M-powered version of Protools.

Logic will do everything that Protools does, as will Digital performer or Nuendo, but for raw audio recording and editing, Protools still does the job better than most.

As I'm sure your aware, it's a matter of some personal choice as to which platform you choose.