A 13" Unibody MB or MBP? Piano player looking to make music.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jpsince88, May 9, 2010.

  1. jpsince88 macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2010
    Hey everybody,

    I'm in the market for my very first MacBook. I've done hours, days and weeks of research on both the MB & MBP but can't seem to decide which notebook would be best for me.

    I'm looking produce R&B/soul music with the help of my Casio MIDI keyboard and GarageBand. I'm not too big on guitars, laying down drum tracks or synth leads - I'm a singer who is also a self-taught pianist who's been playing for two years and am trying to make good use of my free time by making music (particularly piano tracks).

    The one thing that makes me want to get a MacBook is GarageBand. I've played around with the program a handful of times on other people's Macs.. I am very impressed with how easy it is to use (especially for beginning musicians as myself).

    Other than that, I don't really see myself using Adobe Photoshop or any other graphic-designing programs or playing too many video games. I'd like to be able to surf the Internet with ease, and browse through my ridiculously large library of music. :D

    I know for a fact that whichever notebook I end up buying, I will be incorporating the use of a vocal condensor mic and some sort of audio interface to connect the mic and my keyboard.

    I definitely have the funds to buy either of the two, but also.. I definitely would love to save a little, if not, as much money as I can but still be able to buy a product that will suit my needs.

    Everybody has their own reason for wanting a Mac.. Apple's products are most definitely the business.

    Whether or not you're a musician or not, I'd love your input on my situation.
  2. Jamo12 macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2009

    Speed-wise they are not very different for what you will be doing. The question is do you want the better battery, aluminum design, and back-lit keyboard? Personally I believe the extra ~$200 is worth the extra ports, slightly thinner, more durable, 2 more gig of ram, back-lit keyboard, better battery and if you ever do need the extra power it is there for you.

    Get the low end 13" MBP if you can afford it. If that ~$200 is too much then the MB is fine.

    My 15" (which is a good as the new 13" minus the better battery) is amazing for garage band stuff BTW.
  3. jpsince88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2010
    I appreciate the info!

    A friend of mine also brought up the idea of upgrading the RAM on the new MB from 2GB to 4GB for about $100 more if I didn't want to drop the extra $200 for a MBP.

    I like his thinking and in addition, I don't think I would be making use of the SD Card Slot and FireWire port.

    Also, what are the possibilities of running programs such as Adobe CS4 or a computer game such as StarCraft 2 on a MB? I'm guessing with 4GB of RAM, the notebook would run them a lot better than with the default 2GB?
  4. Jamo12 macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2009
    I would still vote for the MacBook Pro. Both would be able to run all those things okay with 4 gig ram.

    But I still think it is good to have the options for an SD card slot and Firewire, just in case. I never thought I would use either but I have used the SD card multiple times.

    Still if you upgrade the RAM it is only $100 for more a more durable body, much better battery, smaller package, better processor (though not by much), and a much much better graphics card. AppleCare is even the same price.

    Still go for the MBP. (Oh and get AppleCare in the first year. It could save you a ton)
  5. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Simply get the macbook. Microcenter if you have one near by is having a sale for 800$ w/instant discount. White keyboard really gets dirty though :p

    Bring the BLACK macbook back!! I think that was the most sexiest laptop from apple & glad that i bought one!
  6. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    That is what I did about 3 weeks ago, I bought a brand new MB for $799 at Microcenter.com (you have to go pick it up at the store). It is much faster than I thought - at least 2x faster than my previous 4 year old XP PC. (some microcenters also have open box specials, likely from returned MB's that were stocked, for as low as $720) Anyway, since I also use Photoshop, which did not have any major speed issues with 2gb ram, I went out and upgraded the ram myself to 4GB and put the 2gb from my MB into my iMac. This is just as fast as the new low end 13" MBP (Okay, about 90-95% as fast).

    Since I got it for such a great price I may actually sell it in about 10 months for the next generation 13" MBP. The reason is that at the end of the first year I would likely buy Apple Care. So instead of spending about $200 for AC, I may just sell it while it has warranty time left and get a new model with a new battery and 1 year warranty. Doing this makes the MB more of an investment. Battery life is very good on the MB. The only thing the MBP has that I would prefer is the backlit keys.

    If you want to save money and have a MicroCenter in driving distance, then give the MB a serious look.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Get the low end 13" MBP if you can afford it. If that ~$200 is too much then the MB is fine"


    If you're going to be into music creation/production, you NEED firewire!

    At some point, you're going to want to add an audio interface. There are USB2 interfaces, but -- by and large -- you will get far, FAR better performance from firewire.

    The biggest issues regarding USB vs. firewire in audio interfaces are bandwith, latency, and driver problems.

    Bandwith and latency are far less problematic with firewire. But most importantly, you will almost certainly NOT have "driver problems", because (for most firewire-based interfaces) there simply aren't any drivers with firewire. The Mac OS has something called "CORE Audio" drivers that are a part of the system software itself. You just plug in your interface, and it's "recognized" by the OS and made available to all your audio peripherals automatically (with firewire, that is).

    Spend some time browsing the digital audio forum here at macrumors, or at a place like gearslutz.com, and you will see lots of postings from folks using USB interfaces and having "driver problems". You WON'T have such problems with firewire.

    Having said that, I'd like to recommend Echo as a good producer of reasonably-priced firewire-based interfaces. I use an AudioFire8, but the AudioFire4 looks to be just as good (a few fewer inputs) and costs about $200 less.

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