Imac for audio ??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rest44, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. rest44 macrumors member

    rest44

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    #1
    Hey everyone, I´m looking a daw to my studio and I´m seriasly thinking on going the mac way!

    My concern is that I don´t have much experience on mac systems, only a little, so I´m wondering would the iMac be an good option?? should I go 24" imac of the 20"?? or should I look into the mac pro?

    My main goal is to record and mix live bands, tipical setup drums, guitars, voices, keys, and maybe a little midi work for production.

    what do you guys think?? please help. thank
     
  2. jne381 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    #2
    Go with the MacPro for sure. If you need to record multiple tracks at once, I believe you will need the capability to add stuff to the expansion slots. I haven't recorded on my Mac in a long time, but that was the case a few years ago. I don't know if the technology has changed to allow you to do this with an iMac.

    Other than that, if you want to have all you plug-ins working during mix down, the extra RAM that you have the ability to put into a MacPro will be helpful. Not that the 3GB you can put into an iMac is shabby, but you might run out if working on a huge project.
     
  3. Sonic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    #3
    Actually I'd say the iMac is more than powerful enough, as I am a musician, using logic pro I get a trackcount higher than my friend's last-gen dual G5 Powermac (what a mouthful), with CPU to spare. Pros are it's cheap and the screen's great, it can run all firewire audio devices, only con is you can't use certain PCI cards like the UAD-1.

    Mac Pro? Overkill for multi-tracking and virtual instruments I think, but then the software is likely to evolve and get more demanding... For now an iMac can handle anything you throw at it!
     
  4. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #4
    Sounds like the iMac will be fine. Add plenty of RAM, a fast external firewire hard drive, a good firewire audio interface, and you're good to go.
     
  5. Neonguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    #5
    I would agree the Mac Pro would overkill for what you planning to do. I would say the iMac 24 will work just fine. Try add 2GB of Ram if you can.
     
  6. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #6
    I would disagree with so many that have dismissed the MacPro so far.

    If you're thinking of using any virtual instruments you'll want the option of upgrading the ram - and with the Mac Pro's limit of 16Gig, you'll have a few years of expansion. The iMac's 3Gig won't really cut it if you want to load a few more than say fifteen medium samples!

    Plus the MacPro is a solid workhorse. It is built to withstand some serious knocks (my PM got seriously beat up a few times in recording situations but it's alive to tell the take). The iMac won't take that beating. Any knock to the front and you've lost the screen etc etc.

    So; throw into the works the express slots, Hard Drive expansion (You should always have a separate drive for multitracking) faster processors, and the fact that it's built like a brick * house then the MacPro is the way to go for any serious recording work. Of Course this is all moot if your budget won't stretch that far.

    Oh; and the fact that you're thinking of going mac is an excellent move! As I said, I've been composing with my PowerMac for some time now and it never lets me down. Logic in particular is an excellent program for recording or writing, and I think you'll enjoy the sheer ease of use of the Mac Platform. Making music on a PC is serious hell compared to OSX.
     
  7. freebooter macrumors 65816

    freebooter

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    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    Daegu, South Korea
    #7
    Just to muddy the waters further, wouldn't the portability of a MacBook Pro be an advantage, given the live band scenario?
    In any case, Mac was made for audio recording, so any of your options will work well.
     
  8. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #8
    Excellent point.

    Although in my experience they're not the tough-est of computers around.

    Plus, you would still come accross the problems in my previous post.

    You've just got to weigh up the pros and cons and see what's right for you.
     
  9. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #9
    I don't think anybody "dismissed" the Mac Pro. We're suggesting that it's more computer than the OP needs. He says his "main goal is to record and mix live bands, typical setup drums, guitars, voices, keys, and maybe a little midi work for production," so it doesn't sound like he'll be needing to run 15 multi-sampled virtual instruments anytime soon.

    To say that one needs a Mac Pro to do "serious" recording is very misleading. It was only couple of years ago that people were doing serious recording with G4 Powermacs, and it's perfectly possible to do serious recording with today's iMac.
     
  10. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a

    mr_matalino

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #10
    I think it comes down to cost. An iMac is a great computer (esp the 24") for the cost. A MacPro is a better machine, for more money (plus a monitor). I think it comes down to how much money you want to spend. If you can afford the MP with an ACD, I'd do it. But the iMac is also a great computer!
     
  11. SRSound macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #11
    Speaking from personal experience, DO NOT skimp on power! Starting off, an imac may be sufficient for your needs, but soon you will get better and your mixes will become more complex, employing virtual instruments and a vast array of plugins. This is where the Mac Pro's expandability is extremely useful. So while the imac may suit your needs at the time being, go for the investment and get a machine that will grow with you. I learned that the hard way a long time ago...

    Also, if you're really thinking about tracking a live band of similar specs to what you wrote, that's easily into 24 tracks - don't think for a second that you can have one drive as your boot disk AND your recording disk for that many tracks. With a mac pro, you can have your boot disk and then record to another 1-2 dedicated drives and with SATA300, you don't have to worry about that "cannot access audio from the disks fast enough" warning!
     
  12. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #12
    Lots of options for music :) . They can be either cheap, or uber expensive, depending on how you want to go forward ;) .

    Mobile Budget system Macbook 2.0 C2D
    - External Firewire drive
    - Maximum memory
    - Mini DVI to DVI converter adapter, and external display

    Mobile Powerhouse 17" Macbook Pro 2.33 Ghz C2D
    - External Firewire 800 drive
    - Maximum memory
    - External monitor

    Budget Studio iMac 24" 2.33 Ghz C2D
    - External Firewire 800 drive
    - Maximum memory

    Extreme Studio Quad 3Ghz Xeon
    - 4 or more GB memory
    - 1x 160gb hdd for OS
    - 3x drives for scratch, and possibly for RAID configuration in the size of your choice :) .

    Honorable mention Powermac G5 Quad 2.5 Ghz
    - 4 or more GB of memor
    - 2x 250+ gb drives
    - 1x External Firewire 800 drive for portable scratch media.
     
  13. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #13
    The 24" iMac would cover most of your needs with essentially the same components as a loaded MacBook Pro. only in a desktop with an fantastic display and greater storage options.

    If you plan to do location recording then the MacBook Pro is the better option.

    The decision to upgrade to a Mac Pro Tower would depend on how many analog tracks you intend to record at the same time.

    Your choice of DAW software also makes a difference as well as your choice of interfaces and AD/DA converters.

    You might want to check out Gearslutz.com and bigbluelounge.com
    for a wealth of professional audio information.
     
  14. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #14
    The thing is, we can't begin to guess exactly what each record may entail - and as we all know, track counts mount up very quickly.

    IMHO it's great to have the feeling of a workhorse and the freedom of expansion behind you when working with a flexible artistic medium - and remembering all along that the iMac is just a consumer computer.

    I myself used a G4 a few years ago but I remember that they were never really up to scratch back then. Other manufacturers were way ahead of Apple in the processor domain - but as I said, this isn't necessarily about Processor speed.

    I've used iMacs, and they felt...well consumer. I think the poster would be happier with a pro machine. Just my opinion.
     
  15. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #15
    The iMac is great for making music.

    Firewire Interface + USB/Midi interface. End of.

    No need for MacPro, I know of someone who uses an entry level iMac for their studio and record 12 inputs at the same time...
     
  16. SRSound macrumors 6502

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    Jun 7, 2005
    #16
    ooo 12 inputs! :p What OP is talking about would require at least 24 simultaneous inputs and several dedicated recording disks.
     
  17. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #17
    The thing is, based on what the OP described, he's mainly planning to use it for live audio recording. The iMac, with a good audio interface and external FW hard drive, is more than up to the task.

    Don't make the mistake of buying into Apple's marketing hype. Apple's "consumer" iMac uses the same processor as Apple's "Pro" MacBook Pro.

    Most major recording studios were using the G4 Power Macs when they were Apple's top-of-the line "pro" computers.

    Nobody should buy a computer based on whether it "feels" pro or consumer. Those are artificial distinctions created by Apple to make people second-guess buying a less expensive machine.

    There's no question that the Mac Pro is more powerful and allows internal expansion. But that doesn't automatically mean that anyone who's interested in setting up a studio should get one.
     
  18. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #18
    Nope, I've used an 11 track hard drive recorder (12 track with 1 faulty channel) for recording a big live band of 16. Bass and vocals were on one track, snare and kick drum on another, overheads, keys, 2 guitars and 2 backing vocals mics. Worked fine...

    Of course you could just get a 54in/54out Firewire interface (sound control stock one), and pretty much any hard drive that comes with an iMac is fast enough/large enough to do some substantial audio recording...
     
  19. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #19

    I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree. Our work ethic is obviously different. If I were setting up a studio, I want to know that my computer (the CORE of my system) can handle it well. To do that you've got to part with some dosh. Don't talk to me about artificial distinctions...it's a consumer machine because it's not designed for pros. It's made out of plastic, the primary screen is not upgradable (Dual screen is a must for working with logic) there are zero expansion options (ram aside) etc etc. It 'ent good enough. Like it or lump it.

    I'm sure the OP would get by - but in order to do so he needs the 24" imac at the least because of the screen size recording that many tracks - and if you're spending that sort of money, I wouldn't waste mine by buying something that I can't upgrade.

    I withdraw.
     
  20. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

    Joined:
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    Little grey, chilly island.
    #20
    We're talking flexibility here. The more tracks the merrier! I know it depends on his Audio Interface, mics etc etc but these may change with time anyway.

    Ok now I withdraw!!
     

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