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Old Feb 16, 2008, 01:09 AM   #1
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Exclamation Using Garage Band on MacBook Air?

Obviously I know this is not as powerful as a MacBook Pro, but how would it handle basic recording using Garage Band? I am in a band who is on the road constantly, and having a nice lightweight laptop would be nicer than a bulkier one. I'd use it for some Photoshop work and to record song ideas on the go. I'd get a USB powered interface to go with it. Just how bad would the performance be? I know it's a tad bit slower, but is it still usable for these tasks? Thanks for any help guys! BTW, I'd get the $1800 model.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 01:18 AM   #2
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Not even performance-wise, I just wouldn't feel comfortable recommending the MBA for that usage. The very basic Garageband loops already take up approximately 3GBs of HDD. Odds are, as a musician, you'd want more than just the basic loops-- meaning you'd very quickly eat up the tiny bit of HDD space with loops alone-- not even counting possible songs and clips you'd make.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 05:12 AM   #3
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^ use an external drive. simple as.

Well put it this way the 1.6ghz Core Duo 2 is pretty much on par CPU powerwise with the original macbook's 2ghz Core Duo.

I know from experience that a family relation was using one with pro-tools LE & Garageband (with an external drive) and for editing / recording on the move he had very little problems with it.

He only started struggling when he bought lots of garritan orchestral plugins which are very heavy on memory and they didn't properly bounce down properly (not the macbook's fault).

So really I can't personally see why the MBA couldn't cope with basic recording in garageband.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 06:30 AM   #4
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It's fine. I used mine last night to record some guitar parts.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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I don't know why the MR forum members downplay the power of the MBA. Of course it can do Garageband without a hitch. Protools and Reason will run like a champ on the 1.6Ghz 80GB model.

Apple's G4 line ran Avid, Garageband Protools, Reason, Indesign and Quark perfectly and the G4 line doesn't hold a candle to the Intel Dual Core machines.

Remember we are talking about a dual core system, the AIR will run heavy apps beautifully. The only concerns anyone should have regarding heavy apps is if they are GPU intensive rather than CPU intensive. The music recording and DJ apps are only CPU dependent.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 01:18 PM   #6
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I am a audio Engineer major and I have some thoughts that might help you out. The air is a cool machine, no doubt. it is similar to the g4 which is still being used in some project studios that I am aware of. but there are quite a few things that I don't like about it, but that just means it is not for me. the only way I would suggest the air for any recording in garage band is if you were to use it just to record little riffs and only stuff to do a ruff draft. than transport it to your more powerful computer at home. the ssd would be a better option because they read faster, it is hard for a computer to record a good take with a hard drive that does not move as fast. I would like an air because I think that they are cool, but when i really look into the reality of that computer it is not for and audio engineer. You need to think if loosing two pounds is really worth the novelty of the worlds slimmest computer. for you to use the air to record you will also need to bring an interface, mic stand, microphone, guitar amp, no-matter what you need allot of stuff to get a good take, so I would save up and go for a MacBook Pro and have the flexibility over style, its 200 bucks more, two lb. more, and with good skill in the studio or on the go a sound that is really worth it.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 03:12 PM   #7
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how is the MBA anything like a G4? It's got a dual core processor under the hood with each core individually out performing any G4 that was ever available in a notebook
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 04:00 PM   #8
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my old 1.67GHz PowerBook can rock garageband, so yes, I think the MBA will be fine. And the OP will probably not want all the loops if he/she is recording his/her own songs. Probably the drum loops are the only important ones. If he/she's in a rock band, I doubt the funky clav loops will be of much help.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 05:49 PM   #9
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I do everything for my podcast (Baseball Prospectus Radio) on my Mac and yes, I can do it on my MBA. Skype for interviews, GarageBand and WireTap Studio for recording and editing. Aside from some USB issues that affect everything, not just my headset, it's never even stuttered. I will say that it takes a bit longer to initialize GB compared to my previous Macbook.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 05:59 PM   #10
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should be fine.

i've only played around a bit with garageband but it worked great. i am a heavy adobe illustrator user and i've been delighted with the performance of the macbook air, and i didn't expect to be. (i also have a macbook pro as my main machine.) after hearing people speak of the "underpowered" macbook air i questioned what it could do but i couldn't be happier.
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 01:16 AM   #11
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Awesome! Thanks for all the responses! I'm pretty set on picking one up in a few weeks. I figure when I'm on the road, it'll be nice to have a thinner, lighter notebook when we're going around to gigs and whatnot. I just plan on recording rough mixes so we can demo song ideas. We have a nice studio that we record the final product at anyways.. and as long as I can do basic photoshop stuff for banners and flyers, I'm set! From the way you guys were talking, this shouldn't be a problem at all. I'll get an external harddrive and the superdrive to accompany it when I need them.

Thanks again for all the help!
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