Pro Tools with the new Macbook

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Cliffbanger, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #1
    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
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    junior

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #3
    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
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    junior

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    #5
    He's not talking about AD/DA converters MD.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #6
    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
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #8
    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
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    junior

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Sammio2

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Basingstoke, UK
    #10
    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
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    #11
    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.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #12
    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...

     
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #13
    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/article...o_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.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    junior

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    mikeinternet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oaklnad, CA
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors member

    dougens

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #16
    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
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    junior

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    #17
    I'm guessing that's tongue in cheek so I won't go into a little crusade to prove how wrong that statement is...
     
  18. macrumors member

    dougens

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    #19
    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.
     
  20. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #20
    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.
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #21
    Mac's and pro tools

    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
     
  22. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    #22

    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
     
  23. Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #23
    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.
     

Share This Page