Advice for newbie (one for the audio buffs)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RGIR20FEBK, May 21, 2015.

  1. RGIR20FEBK macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    New to the forums and terrible at introductions, so, I'll get straight to the point.

    I'm in the market for my first iMac. I'm lookung to get one which is geared towards home music production. I studied Music Tech at college a few years ago and this is where I first used a Mac and Logic Pro (8, I think it was) and I absolutely loved it.

    My set up will be the iMac (of course), Logic Pro X, Steinberg UR22 audio interface and a pair of Yamaha HS8 speakers. The kind of music I'll be producing will mainly consist of plug-ins, things like a few software guitar amps, one or two software bass amps (for bass modelling) drums (I'll probably stick with Logic's own Drum Kit Designer) and a few piano, synths, strings and things like that. Nothing more than ten tracks, I'd imagine. I'm also planning on plugging my guitar straight into the audio interface and running a software amp through the speakers.

    So, considering all that, after a lot of time and research, I'm thinking of getting the current mid-range iMac - the 21.5-inch, 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
    (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz), 8GB (two 4GB) memory
    memory, 1TB hard drive. I'm confident that 8GB will be enough for my planned small set up.

    The main question is...which storage option should I go for? I'm thinking of the Fusion Drive, as it combines the best of both worlds - speed and good storage - but I've heard a few things about it not working well with Logic Pro and audio interfaces...but then again I've also heard that an update fixed that issue. If I went with the specs listed above and the Fusion Drive, would that be enough for my requirements?

    Long post, I know but I wanted to give context and as clear a picture as I could.

    Any questions feel free to ask and thanks in advance!
  2. sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
    You'll need an SSD. You'll definitely want to not have Logic itself or the project you're working on stored on a spinning drive. It's way too slow. Logic itself, with the plug-ins and do-dads will take up to 100gb of space. Even a fusion drive isn't really a good bet for audio. Between that and your OS plus however big your project is, you will have long spilled over onto the spinning drive. Plus the more storage on the SSD part of the fusion drive which is taken up with storage, the slower that SSD will run.

    Having lived and worked in a house where we kept a full studio in the basement I've seen the difference. You'll want the SSD and be happy that you have it.

    Logic is also a bit RAM heavy and you'll need 16, not 8. 24 is probably overkill if you're on a budget.
  3. RGIR20FEBK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2015

    Thanks for the response!

    So, considering what you said, it might be a better option to invest in 16GB of RAM and go for the 256GB Flash Storage (which I'm assuming is an SSD?) I am on a bit of a budget, so.

    Should I then get an external hard drive to store my Logic projects on or...? Because I doubt 256GB will last very long at all :p

    Thanks again
  4. apfelmann macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    isn't an external SSD also an option for logic project files? I have an 256GB internal SSD and plan to use an external SSD when the internal is full ...
  5. sasha.danielle, May 22, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015

    sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
    Absolutely on both counts. Just keep in mind that with 256 you might be a bit tight for space if you get all the plugins etc. Any projects you're not currently working can go on the external. You'll want to keep whatever you're working on in the moment on the internal ssd. This means you'll be doing some juggling with files, but that's not the hugest deal. I have a friend who runs a mobile recording and production company off of a 15" MBP with a 256gb ssd. Also the projects themselves, even with more tracks than you indicated, don't really take up a ton of space. They probably wouldn't ever go above 3gb.

    Is it thunderbolt?

    If you're not working on them, it doesn't really matter. It's like cold storage. If you are, the transfer rate on the USB will be your bottle neck. If you want to run them off of an external, thunderbolt is the better bet. But they're expensive so you might be just as well buying more ssd on the internal from the get go.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just wondering, how much disk space does Logic (plus all its plug-ins and other files) consume?

    You could get the 1tb fusion drive -- which is actually a 128gb SSD -and- a 1tb HDD -- and then "de-fuse" them.

    You would then have a 128gb SSD for booting and apps (Logic), and you could use the 1tb HDD for file (project) storage. The SSD would run at full speed all the time.

    One other question, unrelated:
    Since you have a Steinberg interface, why haven't you given Cubase a go...?
  7. sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
    It'll be about 100 GB with everything, which wouldn't fit onto the SSD portion of a FD also including your OS.
  8. RGIR20FEBK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2015
    Ok, so considering everything, I think I'll go for the 2.7Ghz, 16GB RAM, 256 Flash Storage iMac and get an external drive later on. I'm on a budget, so.

    When I get an external drive, I'll use the internal drive for Logic Pro itself and current projects and store anything else on the ExD.

    This should do well and it was what I was thinking of doing anyway, so thanks for all the help :)


    As I'm still quite new to the Mac world, I don't want to mess around de fusing drives, etc. I like to keep things simple ;)

    And I don't actually have the Steinberg audio interface yet. That's just the model I'm planning on using and as I said in my original post, I used Logic in college and loved it and I've been keeping up with it on and off over the years and I'm really excited to start using it.
  9. sasha.danielle, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: May 23, 2015

    sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
    Looks like a great machine!

    Can you update RAM in the 21" models like you can in the riMac? If so you can also save yourself a bit of change by getting the RAM upgrade from OWC instead of Apple and install it yourself.
  10. RGIR20FEBK thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2015
    As far as I know, it's not possible to upgrade the RAM in the 21" models, that's why I'm going for the 16GB now.

    Just a question about external drives; does it matter what kind I get in the future? If the internal drive is SSD then, for example, an HDD should be all right? It's just for storage, anyway, so I'd assume it's not of great importance unless you're really bothered about speed but as I'll be using the ExD for storing "cold" Logic projects and other things, I'm thinking a USB 3 external hard drive will be fine.
  11. sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you're going to get an iMac for music production, get the 27" model.

    You will need the extra screen real estate!

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