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View Full Version : To Mac Pro or iMac: pros and cons for music recording




Tvox
Dec 5, 2009, 08:04 PM
Hi gang,

I'm new to this list and would and in connundrum land. I want to buy a new Mac. I will also be purchasing Logic Pro and probably an Apogee duet. Here's the thing. I've read all sorts of swell stuff about the iMac Quad-core, and the price seems reasonable enough (for a Mac, anyway). You get the screen, the slick look, the power. But there are no options for expansion slots. More to the point, there are no PCI slots should I want to get something like a Universal Audio PCI card loaded up with their sweet plug-ins. They rock and they handle their own processing loads nicely. Which led me to thinking about getting a Quad-core Mac Pro tower.

Here's the thing about the current Mac Pros: Huge discussions on MacRumor boards about problems associated with excessive temperature levels in/around the Xeon processor chips when it comes to audio processing, even from just running iTunes. Kernels frying, motherboads melting, Apple being cagey with head in the sand, that sort of thing. I would very much like to avoid that kind of trauma.

So. What are my options here? (besides waiting 6-12 months in hopes that Apple fixes the heat problem.) I want a quiet, reliable machine to do home studio recording. I do not have an unlimited budget and fear getting burned, so to speak. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



thegoldenmackid
Dec 5, 2009, 08:45 PM
I'd still get the Mac Pro, the new iMac's aren't exactly the most immune to problems, they actually seem to be one of the more problem plagued machines that Apple has introduced of late. The expansion and longevity of the Mac Pro is something that really could be taken advantage of. I don't know if I'd get the Apogee, but I'd definitely get the Mac Pro.

Oh, one thread please, from The Rules (http://guides.macrumors.com/Help:Forum_Rules#Things_Not_to_Do):

One thread. Do not post a thread more than once. Post a new thread in the proper forum. If the topic is relevant to more than one forum, pick the best fit or most specific forum and post it only once.

Tvox
Dec 5, 2009, 08:52 PM
Yikes! Ok, I'll delete that post haste.

pkoch1
Dec 5, 2009, 10:21 PM
I would agree to go with the Mac Pro if you can afford it (plus a screen!). I haven't had any major problems with mine, and it will probably last much longer than an iMac.

justit
Dec 24, 2009, 12:07 PM
I sold my 08 Mac Pro due partly to noise. It's much more silent than a PC tower, but you do hear some fan noise from either MP fans or the GPU fans (it runs a full sized GPU board, not an integrated GPU chip) through a mic.

I chose the MP back then when it was the only option for memory expansion to 8GB+, and it's ECC type memory is more expensive.

The new iMacs finally have good memory expansion, for apps like Logic Pro. The only drawback is the single internal drive, but a firewire 800 external drive is fine for audio if you need more capacity.

If you're running a real studio and you can take the MP out of the recording booth, then it makes sense. It just takes longer to get a return on your money.

zimv20
Dec 24, 2009, 12:32 PM
there are no PCI slots should I want to get something like a Universal Audio PCI card

well, that's the key right there, isn't it? guess you have to decide how important that is to you.

dunno how concerned you are about noise in the room. i am overly so, to the point that i've got my powermac tucked inside a closet and have cable extenders everywhere. can't do that with an imac.

(now the loudest thing in my room is this Dell monitor i've got [which is louder than i think it needs to be]).

MythicFrost
Dec 25, 2009, 01:20 AM
Hi gang,

I'm new to this list and would and in connundrum land. I want to buy a new Mac. I will also be purchasing Logic Pro and probably an Apogee duet. Here's the thing. I've read all sorts of swell stuff about the iMac Quad-core, and the price seems reasonable enough (for a Mac, anyway). You get the screen, the slick look, the power. But there are no options for expansion slots. More to the point, there are no PCI slots should I want to get something like a Universal Audio PCI card loaded up with their sweet plug-ins. They rock and they handle their own processing loads nicely. Which led me to thinking about getting a Quad-core Mac Pro tower.

Here's the thing about the current Mac Pros: Huge discussions on MacRumor boards about problems associated with excessive temperature levels in/around the Xeon processor chips when it comes to audio processing, even from just running iTunes. Kernels frying, motherboads melting, Apple being cagey with head in the sand, that sort of thing. I would very much like to avoid that kind of trauma.

So. What are my options here? (besides waiting 6-12 months in hopes that Apple fixes the heat problem.) I want a quiet, reliable machine to do home studio recording. I do not have an unlimited budget and fear getting burned, so to speak. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
The next generation of Mac Pro's will be here soon, very likely in 2-3 months - around march, if you decide to get a Mac Pro, I'd wait for the new ones.

ChrisA
Dec 25, 2009, 11:12 PM
Hi gang,

I'm new to this list and would and in connundrum land. I want to buy a new Mac. I will also be purchasing Logic Pro and probably an Apogee duet. Here's the thing. I've read all sorts of swell stuff about the iMac Quad-core, and the price seems reasonable enough

If an "Apogee duet" is good enough to handle your recording needs you do NOT need a Mac Pro. Even the little Macbook can handle two tracks just fine.

But them you say logic Pro and not Logic Express. So I'm thinking you might be doing surround sound or maybe this is for live performance? Basically I'm trying to figure out what you would be doing with the computer. You are going to have to add some details

Noise is an issue. The iMac can be silent and the Mac Pro can be put into another room with some cable extender boxes.

thegoldenmackid
Dec 29, 2009, 03:48 PM
You don't need a Mac Pro or a Duet, both seem like overpaying most the time.

ChrisWB
Dec 29, 2009, 06:25 PM
If you will be recording at any sort of professional grade you will need two hard drives in your machine. One hard drive should have the programs, the other should be where the programs save files. You do not want to record onto the same hard drive that the recording program is on.