Who here uses their Mac for recording?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by guitargeek, May 4, 2003.

  1. guitargeek macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    #1
    As I'm sure some of you know, I'm still on a PC. I could easily just reinstall Windows and cakewalk and then do a few upgrades to my machine and I'd have a working studio (since everything I've tried for recording under linux sucked). However, I've basically refused to use Windows again, so I was wondering if you use your mac for recording, and if so, what are the specs and what did you add to it. I really just want to know the minimum requirements for a decent home recording setup; processor speed, RAM, what you're using for a sound card, etc. I can't afford anything yet, but I just want to know what I'm looking at in the future. Thanks! :)
     
  2. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    #2
    i do recording...got an ibook with digital performer and other motu hardware...works great! one thing you definitely need is maxed out ram...its a MUST for recording. a G4 helps..but even my ibook can handle quite a bit...though it gets bogged after about 24 tracks of audio....never though with midi...not sure what your doing or would be using.
     
  3. yadmonkey macrumors 65816

    yadmonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Western Spiral
    #3
    I record acoustic music and let me simply say - do your research before getting involved with a Powermac. They are very very loud, even after Apple "improved" them. Also, Apple uses a proprietary power supply, so that excludes most of the cooling/quieting solutions on the market without additional modifications. If you get one, you should be able to either:

    1) Put it in a closet. This is the best solution for noise, though you will probably have to spend up to $100 for high quality USB and monitor extension cables. If you are using a CRT display, beware that the new Powermacs have 2 outputs for digital displays, but include a VGA -> DVI adapter. The adapter works fine, unless you need to extend the monitor cable and it seems that no matter how good the cable is, you'll get video ghosting or bleeding. I am using a good CRT with just a 10' Belkin Gold cable and it ghosts like a motherfricker. I'm hoping a better adapter will fix that. The other drawback with the closet solution is that the Mac itself becomes less accessible for swapping disks, etc. Or...

    2) Be ready to mod your Mac and void your warrantee. There's a solution coming from Verax, a German company, to silence your Powermac for about $270. Or you can check out solutions that are less expensive but more difficult at www.g4noise.com or...

    3) Live with a loud hum in your recordings.

    I understand that it takes a lot to cool a dual processor machine, but Apple was seriously short sighted by not making available some sort of quieting option. I am plugged into the music industry and let me tell you that the one industry which never turned its back on Apple is starting to get peeved. Want proof? Digidesign, who makes Pro Tools, the industry standard for recording music, is now demoing all of their hardware on PCs.

    After saying all that, I do believe that Mac is the best platform to run Pro Tools once you get the noise problems solved and Pro Tools has some outstanding consumer-grade products like the Mbox and the Digi 001.
     
  4. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #4
    I use a PowerMac running Logic, Reason, Ableton Live and a number of other synths, plugins, etc. I can't express how great Ableton Live is for both live performance and in the studio. You can get by with something like an iBook or eMac with maxed RAM, depending on what you want to do. for basic guitar recording you can do pretty good with a decent USB audio interface. checkout M-Audio for some good solutions. right now you can pick up Logic Audio for 2 hundred and change and be up to date and runnning in OS X with some nice synths and plugs. again, please do yourself a favor and run a demo of Ableton Live, you'll be impressed. and no i don't work for them or anything.

    ableton: http://www.ableton.com
    logic: http://www.emagicusa.com
     
  5. guitargeek thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    #5
    Hmmm... that's something to think about. honestly, I'm not looking for anything too expensive, either, so perhaps an Emac or ibook would be prefered, or do those have the same noise problem?

    That's really what I was wondering... I'm really just looking to create some decent quality demos and record my song ideas, as my little Tascam four-track doesn't quite cut it anymore :) I also want to be able to put several mics on the drums when I'm playing with other people, and not just one single overhead (because, hey, I've only got four tracks!).

    Another question: Is the 900 Mhz G3 comparable to the 867 Mhz G4? Or is the G4 still going to trounce the G3?
     
  6. yadmonkey macrumors 65816

    yadmonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Western Spiral
    #6
    eMacs are much quieter and where Macs are concerned, probably give you the most bang for your buck. I don't think they even use a fan for cooling, whereas the Powermacs have 4 internal fans, which are the major noise culprits.
    Oh man, you are going to be sooooo happy to leave that Tascam unit behind - I sure was! :D
    The G4 will outperform the G3, though I'm not exactly sure how noticible it will be. The portability of the iBook is really attractive. If you got a small setup, like the Mbox, you could bring the rig to practices or gigs. However, this also limits your i/o options, using a small rig.

    You are going to hear all sorts of advice on this and what audio hardware to get, but I must say that I really dig Pro Tools. Its the industry standard and the software is super-intuitive with tons of plug-ins available. However, the Mbox will limit you to 2 channels of input and that sounds like it might not be enough for you. The next up in the line is the Digi 001, which is the sweet spot in the Pro Tools LE line as far as what you get for your money... but you will require a free PCI slot to use it and the eMac and iBook won't help you there. Plus, then you start getting into room ergonomics to quiet the beast down.

    You could spend less money and get a quiet PC for use with the Digi 001, though for all the noise trouble I've had, I must say that Mac OS 10.2 is enough of a pleasure to use to make it worth it. I use XP daily and it doesn't come close.

    MOTU and other people also make some great interfaces, but I don't think any of them can match Pro Tools software. Sorry if I am just confusing you - there are no easy answers. No matter what setup you get, remember that there will always be one more thing to get to make it all work, so budget a little more cash than you expect.
     
  7. yadmonkey macrumors 65816

    yadmonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Western Spiral
    #7
    One more thought... now that I've freaked you out about the noise of G4 Powermacs, it might not be such a concern to you if you are recording loud music - you did mention you record with drums. My problem has been in recording quiet acoustic music.
     
  8. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #8
    well it depends...if you are using something like Logic which is optimized for the G4 then obviously the G4 will do better BUT if you are using something like Ableton Live which is not optimized for the G4 then the difference will be negligible. in some cases a 900 mhz G3 might actually be faster than an 867 mhz G4 at certain tasks, but still it would only be very slight so i wouldn't even count that. either should serve your purposes just fine and you'll get sufficient tracks and effects for your needs. enjoy your new soft studio and congrats on leaving that old 4 track behind! you'll be psyched.
     
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #9
    -guitargeek

    My $0.02 is that do not purchase a Tascam 428, 224, or 112.

    Great hardware, but the Software (drivers) are terrible. This is true to xp users as well.

    Worst waste of money in my recent life.

    But, if you wish to read further...

    Tascam User Forums: Computer Audio
     
  10. guitargeek thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    #10
    hehehe, the Tascam i'm using right now is actually a cassette deck! w00t!

    I wasn't really looking at them anyways.

    Thanks for all the info, guys, I really appreciate it.
     
  11. andrewlandry macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    i just bought (and recommend highly) the logic EMI production kit. it's $650, comes with logic gold, plug-ins, a few softsynths a sampler and an audio interface that has 6 inputs as well as digital in and out. it's a really good setup if you need multiple inputs (more than two) at once. a nice thing is because the hardware is made by the same people that made the software, it just work right out of the box. this setup can quite easily monitor and record w/effects six separate channels at once (which sounds like what you are looking for to record the drums). For your uses, an iBook would provide adequate power and it is extremely quiet (it has no fan).

    i tried to post a link to the production kit, but it didn't work. you can find it by going to http://www.apple.com/ clicking 'software' under 'third party products' on the left side of the page. then click audio and it will be there.
     
  12. Genie macrumors 6502a

    Genie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Location:
    heaven
    #12
    I too use my Mac for recording.

    My little brother is building me this incredible Windows machine for $700 - like a 3GHZ P4 but I can't imagine what software I would use to record on Windows. ProTools is about all I would try but it doesn't seem as cool for composition and stacking as DP4.
    I'm using DP4 right now.
    Advice is welcome.
     

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  13. pianojoe macrumors 6502

    pianojoe

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Location:
    N 49.50121 E008.54558
    #13
    I have a G4 800 DP running LAP 6.1 under OS X with a MOTU 828 and a MOTU Fastlane. Since I don't have a dedicated recording room: For recording "delicate" music I switch of the big G4 and use my 12" PowerBook instead. It's super silent (because just recording a few tracks with no big software instruments involved doesn't make the fan come on). Afterwards I copy the project over to the big G4. Works fine with me...
     
  14. mymemory macrumors 68020

    mymemory

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Location:
    Miami
    #14
    Look, I had studios worth $20.000 in equipment until not too long ago a saw a guy making tons of money with a $5000 worth in equipment. Based on that experience I can tell you this:

    Get any G3 mac, if is a Powerbook good if is iMac, iBook good, that depends on you.

    All you need is:

    G3 processor or better (on any platform).

    40 or 60 GB hard drive internal or external.

    At list 256MB of ram, I like 500 MB.

    I will sugest you the Digidesing M-Box (with prottols included). The M-box I think is compatible with about any software.

    Now, forget about dual processors, in audio that is just a waste of money, with a G4 400 computer you are way satisfy about processor power. Do not listen to other people that recomend you to get a powerfull computer. I have been making electronic music for at list 14 years and I have seen avery single set up and technology.

    I have a powerbook 500 and I'm running Diogital Performer with no problem, I'm only looking for a M-Box eventually just to have decent audio quality.

    The problem is not the equipment if not what you can do with it, a good Engineer can do anything with any set-up (considering the limitations) but todays Mac equipment are way too fast for any audio application, actually they are way too much since 3 years ago.

    Now, if you are starting for "0" that is the set up that I would recomend you, if you work with midi get a Midi Time Piece XP or something like that. Do not get cheap in your midi interfaces.

    That is my 2 cents.
     
  15. Genie macrumors 6502a

    Genie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Location:
    heaven
    #15
    Size [sometimes] matters

    For normal audio projects you really don't need much.

    I use the dual 1Ghz for huge projects with almost all audio - high bit rate audio. A normal track count for me is about 80 tracks.

    Between audio, system and backups I'm using one Terabyte of HD space right now.
    But part of that is for a movie.

    Reverb also eats CPU.;)
     

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