G4 Powerbook For Music Production

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by DUDE, Jul 18, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2003
    #1
    Hi Everyone...
    First off...I would like to say that this forum is great!!!
    I am a new member and definately a Mac fan. I am in the market to buy a new computer and have decided to go for Mac all the way. I am seriously considering the G4 powerbook 15" but now the 17" has intrigued me further. I know many people have a problem with its size but for me its actually a benefit having such a large screen to view when working. I will be using the PB mainly for music production..you know sampling, looping, multi-tracking...whatever. Considering I buy the G4 PB 17"...my ideal set up will consist of Logic 6 or Cubase SX running on OSX..a software sampler (Halion 2.0 or Logic EXSP)...the audio card will probably be the Digidesign M Box so I can benefit from having Pro Tools...for a midi controller I am looking at the small Oxygen 8 keyboard hmmmm I think thats it for starters. Obviously I want to be able to do both midi and audio based production together with some VST instruments and EFX. My question is...will the G4 PB 17" accomodate my demands and needs. I have heard from others that its a true workhorse and I shouldnt have a problem. Is there anyone out there that can shed some light on this for me possibly user experiences...pros...cons...or just good old opinions.

    Much respect and thanks in advance.
    PS...I will soon be running with the Mac gurus..LOL
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    I have a very similar setup running on the 17" at the moment, M-box ProTools and Logic 6, plus Reason ans a few other audio toys, I have a Roland 3 octave MIDI controller and a MIDIman 2x2 USB interface.

    The PowerBook is flawless for this kind of work, enough room on the screen for the Logic arrange page and Reason, or the mixer and arrange, or ProTools and plenty of plug-ins and a video window, it's plenty powerful as long as you don't expect to run hundreds of Alti-verbs, I get 8 on the 5.1 model, so I tend to use them on auxilliaries.

    As a bonus the internal speakers are plenty good enough for programming on the move, although you'll need externals to do anything serious.

    Make sure you get a USB hub, with all the dongles and the MIDI interface, you run out of ports very quickly.

    It's a great machine for mobile work, but it's equally capable as a desktop replacement, the only drawback being the lack of PCI slots, and the need to use USB or FireWire for the audio interfaces.
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #3
    you're making a good move. right now i'm running Logic 6 on a 12" PowerBook under Jaguar and it's working out perfectly. i've been using the Mac for music since i was 12 and i've been on Logic since verison 3. if you can swing the $ for the 17" i'd be a fool not to say that's a great idea, especially if portability doesn't matter to you. i bought the 12" because i do live sets (with Ableton Live) and i need something tiny. with Logic 5 and older i absolutely needed to hook up a second monitor but now with 6 it's much better because there is little need to have the mixer window open while composing. mixing in the arrange window has saved my life, i can't believe this wasn't around sooner. and you mentioned a sampler; i suggest you play with the EXS24 that comes with Logic before you drop any dough on a Halion or anything external (meaning outside of Logic). it's amazing and the MK-II version is killer. you'll get a 30 day trial when you install Logic. it's very lean on the CPU too, compared to Kontakt or Halion. having native instrument plugins in Logic is one of the things that makes it so powerful and lean. i try to use as few outside plugins (Audio Units, VST, etc) as possible. you also mentioned Cubase (yuck, just my opinion). it can be good because it's fairly easy to learn but you may feel it's a bit underpowered eventually. and i find it a bit glitchy all around, esp under OS X. if you are not married to a sequencer yet i suggest going for Logic for a lot of reasons; Apple owns it which means unmatched integration, excellent customer service (seriously they are the best), easily upgradable for life, secure and mobile w/ the XSKey dongle, the price is great; you can still buy the Logic Audio Big Box and save mega cash. what else, an interface. are you planning to record a lot of external instruments? i rarely record anything at all since i use all soft synths and samplers, the most i record is my bass and the odd sample here and there so i use a simple USB model. the emagic emi 2|6. it works great and sounds great that's the end of the story. i used to have a nice PCI card and DSP cards and all that but i sold most everything and went mobile and i'm loving it. i traded in my big keyboard an bought a little oxygen 8 MIDI controller and i can fit my whole rig in my backpack. oh, and try out Reason too, it's amazing, especially helpful when you're starting out too. oh yeah, one major thing to think about is getting an external FireWire HD to record all our audio onto. your internal laptop drive is slow and will start to hurt. you'll have FireWire 800 on the 17" (WOW) so it would be silly not to take advantage of that. great, now i'm jelous ;) and you'll need some good monitors too, i use Blueroom minipods, weird choice but they are killer. sorry about the crazy long rambling message, i just love talking shop. please report when you start to build your studio, i'd love to hear what you get and i'd be happy to help with any more questions.
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #4
    Man, I love the EMI2/6, I mix direct to a Dynaudio Air 5.1 rig from my PB's screen, Logic is a blast for that, you can't mix 5.1 out of ProTools unless you have an HD or TDM system, Logic just gets on with it:D

    Do you ReWire logic and Reason together?
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #5
    yeah, finally! it's so great now that we have it all squared away with Logic 6. the thing i'm loving the most about it is controlling MIDI in Reason from Logic. tempo changes and everything. kewlness.
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #6
    yeah, I used to do that under system 9 with the IAC buss under OMS, you could treat each reason unit as a separate midi instrument in Logic, now it's the same, but you don't need bloody OMS:D :D

    ReWire makes life so much better, but Track Freeze is my current all time fav:p
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2003
    #7
    TJWETT....no worries...LOL
    You can talk all the shop you want...it reminds me of me...LOL
    As for the whole production thing I have been at it for years. I am actually a liscenced audio engineer/producer with some credits to my name. The whole powerbook idea has come about due to my hectic schedule and constant travelling...the idea of being inspired anywhere in the world and acting on impulse to produce right then and there marvels me. Regarding sequencers I have worked on both Cubase and Logic but agree with you that Logic does rock...especially the new freeze function available on v6.0...talk about freeing up RAM...yeah!!!!
    Wintermute I am jealous that you actually posses one of these great machines...but hopefully I will have mine soon. Deciding on the PB 17 also serves as an excellent desktop replacement with the portability option too.
    Have you guys checked out Final Scratch...it is now available for OSX and wow is this the future or what :D
    Imagine showing up to a gig...booting up the PB and BAM!!!! Final Scratch in full effect. Previously it was only available for windows but since the recent upgrade everyone has changed over to the PB...more stable and definately the better operating system.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #8
    hey, sorry. i thought you were a beginner looking for buying advice. you obviously know your stuff. yeah i think you'll be real happy with the PowerBook, just one look at that display. i haven't seen one in a DJ booth yet here in NYC but i'm sure it's roadworthy. my 12" seems to be real solid. good luck and enjoy that new PowerBook.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Location:
    London - UK
    #9
    Booting...

    Imagine showing up to a gig...booting up the PB and BAM!!!!


    :) I hadn't rebooted my 15" in over 21 days accourding to 'UptimeInMenuBar'...ah the beauty of it... :D

    ...that was till my friend came round but thats another thread...:p
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    #10
    what's a good soft sampler that can be used with digital performer or as a standalone app?
     
  11. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #11
    Halion is good, as is the sampler units in Reason, I'm not sure what else is compatible with DP, I use Logic and the EXS-24 unit which is excellent.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #12
    hey, first off this board is incredible! it convinced me to make the switch over to the Mac (which i LOVE). i started using them at work (i'm a graphic designer) and it took a while to adjust... but i can't imagine life without it now.

    so i've got a PowerBook 17". i'm primarily a rock kind of guy who doesn't use much midi. i was using cakewalk sonar on my pc and honestly loved it. i was using a very basic setup and it was working just fine:

    Rodes NT1/Shure SM-57 > 4-channel Behringer Eurorack mixer > generic sound card > Sonar

    for guitar i use my Pod 2.0, sounds decent but i mic up to my fender twin when i can. i do a stereo line out from my yamaha p-80 for keyboard sounds.

    my question is: what is a good equivalent mac program that has a strong analog recording feature set. money is not an issue, i just want the best. i don't do too many advanced things in the mixing but i want something with a clear and intuitive interface and doesn't crash often (if ever!). i tried out protools 5 le for the pc and i hated it. i didn't like how things were organized. i hear that the mac version is much better... maybe it's just a matter of getting used to a new environment, like going from PC to Mac. i had the mbox as well but didn't like all that latency, and that mix knob didn't really help much (what good is having no latency when you can't hear what you're recording over??)

    any help would be appreciated!

    if any of you are interested i have two mp3's up of my band that i recorded using the above setup that came out pretty well considering. i play lead guitar. Click here. thanks again!
     
  13. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    ProTools on the Mac is a much better proposition than on PC, but if you don't like it, there's always eMagic Logic... I know it's a sequencer, but the audio facility is so advanced now that there's little to choose in functionality, I have Logic on the 17", along with reason, but I'll always go to ProTools for serious recording and mixing, but then, I have access to an HD system in a 5.1 room, so I would wouldn't I?:D

    Check out ProTools on the Mac, you could always get a MOTU 828 FireWire box (there's a 16 track version as well isn't there?) and kiss the latency good-bye, although you'll still end up using a thru hardware monitor;)

    Logic also works well with the 828.

    Other hardware systems need a PCI slot, so FireWire is probably your best bet, although Hammerfall systems from RME do some good PC card interfaces www.hammerfall.com.

    Incedentally, the M-box works well in the Mac OS, the mix function does work, I'm afraid you may have been victim to the dreaded PC functionality wormhole:D

    Have fun with the 17"
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    #14
    About to switch

    Boy have I been around the block! I have been trying to set up the same type of home music studio with a laptop.

    My original setup, using a Dell desktop/sonar/Echo Layla worked fine. As a pilot, I decided to use my time in the hotel more productively, so I bought a Dell 8200 laptop. Lot's of headaches - especially when using DXi soft synths in sonar - lot's of pops and cpu freezing. I tried everything to get the system to work to no avail.

    Well....having been a diehard PC user, and admitted Apple-phobe, I am considering the Powerbook G4 for all my music work. I must be getting old, but the thought of switching from things I have become used to is daunting.

    I have read the post above and appreciate being able to get that valuable info.

    I, too, am interested in audio recording, as well as midi music production. I am especialyy exited about the prospect of using a great sampler with a large collection of string/orchestral samples. I liked Sonar because it did a good job in combining those areas in one package. Unfortunately, my setup couldn't keep up.

    Does Emagic logic 6 do basically what sonar does?

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thanks:)
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #15
    Kontakt from Native Instruments is becoming my favorite. I also love the EXS-24 for Logic.
     
  16. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #16
    Re: About to switch

    Nothing does exactly what anything else does, there are always differences, but Emagic's Logic Platinum plus the internal ESX24 sampler module is as good as it gets for MIDI/audio IMO. There are some excellent string collections from many companies.

    Logic will do the job, Digital Performer is well liked as is Cubase SX. ProTools is obviously an audio system first, but the MIDI is usable, and it will run lots of plug-ins and will now ReWire the audio from Reason as well:D :D :D (You listening tjwett?)
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    #17
    Power Book G4 vs PC

    Thanks for the response! There is so much info out there, that it is nice to hear from other users that have gone a different path.

    Does anyone have a fairly reliable benchmark comparison between the powerbook G4 1Ghz and, say, a 3.0GHz pc?

    The latest PCs are utilizing an 800MHz FSB and hyperthreading and it would be interesting to see how they compare. My interest is in how many audio tracks/effects/plug-ins the two could handle wrt each other.

    I am considering trying a Sager 8890 (their latest) which has a 3.2 GHZ/800 MHZ FSB/7200 rpm 60-GB 1st drive/7200 rpm 2nd drive and many output options. It is configured in such a manner to potentially do a great job with audio/video. This is my last shot at the music/PC combo.

    Thanks:confused:
     
  18. macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    chicago
    #18
    lots of good info at:
    http://www.osxaudio.com/

    for anyone starting from scratch, Logic makes the most sense, imo. apple owns it, it's not tied to its own hardware (ProTools is), it's feature rich, has its own instruments, has good integration w/ others' instruments, has a big install base w/ lots o' happy users.
     
  19. mic
    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    #19
    The rookie needs some help

    I have just ordered the powerbook 15” and am ready for some music action. I am new in the music game and mostly create hip-hop beats for a local artist. We were running off some akai equipment but recently decided to switch to computer. I have done a little with reason and cubase but know nothing about anything else. The only equipment I have is the laptop I just ordered, cubase, reason, a decent keyboard, mics, guitars, and a bass. I need to know exactly what I a beginner should buy. What USB, what programs, everything. I am just a seventeen-year-old kid so my budget is limited. What should I get to start off my music career with the G4 15”. Thank you so much for your help.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    #20
    Does anyone know of a good MIDI-to-USB or MIDI-to-FireWire interface? I have a Yamaha P-80 and a PowerBook G4, and I'd like them to play well together.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Marble

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #21
    For the latter post, check out M-Audio and their many offerings. That, or visit a local music store, it's probable (especially if they have a keyboard section) that they'll have what you're looking for and they are not expensive.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    #22
    Thanks, Marble. I checked out M-Audio, but they didn't appear to have any simple cables. Does anyone make them much below the $40-50 range? I checked out the Yamaha web site, and the UX16 MIDI-to-USB connector looks about right, but only mentions support for Mac OS 8 and 9. Do you know if it's compatible with OS X?
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Marble

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #23
    This is what I was talking about. It uses standard MIDI connector cables and translates what would normally be the input and output signals from your keyboard to your computer and vice versa through a single USB cable. I've got an older M-Audio 2x2 (2 midi inputs and outputs, all I need for now) that takes signals from my Roland XP-30.

    We might be talking about something else, though. What do you mean "simple cables?"
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Sabenth

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    Hi guys i cant offer anything iam in the same boat as the first poster. iam looking at new gear for myself ive not worked for ages with audio only just started getting back into it after a 2 year break. I got myself a copy of reason 2.5 to play around with and thats whats kicked the ball rolling. so i thought id just try and ask a few questions ratther than start a new thread. Ok here i go lol.


    With latops ie the powerbooks how much battry life do you get

    can the laptops be used with power amd cam the batry be charged whilest power is on

    can you change the sound cards etc in a laptop

    i am a pc case man myself although i have a iMac orginal that i use more than pc...

    What should i go for as far as cubase and logic i know a tiny bit about cubase but bugger all about logic but the way you guys go on about logic it sounds more effecient

    thanks and sorry for high jackin the thread
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #25
    why not digidesign 002 rack? there's midi also; best quality protools LE device ever. second to protools HD/TDM hardware, but wins all other alternatives hands down.

    logic costs something in addition to some audio hardware, so the cost of fully functional logic system doesn't differ much from a 002r system, where the software cost is bundled into hardware. and, you also get quite a good bundle of software with it - propellerhead reason and ableton live to name a few; though reason is not upgradeable special version and live cannot be used standalone.
     

Share This Page