Amatuer Musician - 13" or 15" Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hshukla76, May 10, 2011.

  1. hshukla76 macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2009
    I am getting ready to purchase a Macbook Pro from Powermax. I am debating between the 13 inch I7 2.7 Dual Core or the 15 Inch I7 2.0 Quad Core.

    I am leaning towards the 13inch fora few convenience reason - first is the lower cost, second the portability, I commute into NYC and I like the portability of the machine.

    The macbook will not be my primary machine, I have a desktop with a 20 inch screen and I5 quad core, running Ubuntu linux and Win 7.

    What I would like to do is set this machine up to use as digital audio station to write and record music. I would like to be able to record 4-5 tracks (Guitar, Bass, drums and vocals) separately and at times simultaneously.

    The reason I also want to save some money on the MBP, is because I will need to buy a usb interface that can handle 4-6 analog inputs for recording. If any one has recommendations on what to use as interface to be able to record to the Mac. I expect this to run me at least 300-400 dollars.

    Any advice would be extremely helpful thank you. Has anyone had success using the 13 inch to record music?
  2. mugtastic macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2006
    you can record more than 6 tracks at a time with MUCH less powerful machines than those. i commonly record 8 tracks of live drums on a 2.0 core duo original macbook.

    i use a motu firewire interface (firewire is better than usb for this type of stuff), but presonus, m-audio, alesis etc. are all good.

    the big choice you have to make is how many tracks you need to record at a time.

    interfaces tend to come as 2, 4 or 8 analog inputs. it also depends on your sources. mics need preamps - lots of interfaces have 2 preamps and the rest 1/4" analog inputs, some have a preamp for every input.

    good luck and have fun!

    for any portability i'd recommend 13"
  3. hshukla76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2009
    Hi Mugtastic - My current setup is a Simmons Electronic Drum kit, I will probably mic a small 1x12 Cab and a second guitarist with a similar setup, and the Bass will probably be a direct box for recording. I would probably have a max of two vocal mics.

    That setup would have a mazimum of 4 XLR Mics, and 3 quarter inch inputs. It could 5 XLR due if the I use the XLR output on the Direct box.

    To start with I plan on using Garage band, but at some point I would like to explore either pro tools or logic express or studio. Do you have any experience with either of these apps ? If so is their a specific one you recommend.

    Thanks for your feedback I appreciate it.
  4. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2011
    Does the kit have a midi out? That would be awesome, as if you had an interface with a midi in, you could record the drums that way, and it'd give you a lot more flexibility to play with the drums sound post-session. It'd suck if you wanted a bit more kick, or whatever, but were stuck with what you had recorded. Just something to consider in ya interface shopping.
    Logic runs like a champ on my 2010 13inch MBP, so you should be fine with the new 13 I reckon. Once it's in a backpack or similar you'll hardly notice it (but then I carry an upright bass around a couple of time a week!) has a bunch of useful info (some of it may be a little old, but generally I think the way things are explained means you can apply the knowledge to different products/situations if need be). Worth considering that if you do at some point want to record a fairly standard acoustic kit, you're looking at at least 6-8 inputs (kick, snare, hi hat, 3x toms, plus overheads)
  5. mugtastic macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2006
    ok so you need an 8 input firewire interface like mine (motu ultralite).

    it only has 2 mic preamps so i use other standalone ones of varying quality (and price).

    you could get a cheap mixer + interface, or a mixer with an interface in it (i believe the alesis ones are like that.

    garageband is great. record lots of tracks, edit simply, lots of effects and amp models.

    pro tools is good for compatibility (lots of pro studios still use it) but there are hardware and learning curve restrictions. i've never used it.

    cubase and logic are good once you get to know them, which i have only minimally done.

    i chose ableton live as my daw for it's simplicity. it's more designed as a loop/sample/dj based program but it is also a fully functional multitrack recorder and i found it quite user friendly and stable on my mac.

    get up to speed with garageband then explore other options if you're needs demand it.
  6. hshukla76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2009
    Mugtastic and Doghouse Mike thank you for your responses. I feel much better going with the 13 inch MBP after hearing your feedback. I will check out the tweakheadz website and the Motu ultralite. Thanks again.
  7. mugtastic macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2006
    btw - if you find the cost of interfaces etc. more than you'd hoped, the base 13" is more powerful than last years top level 17", so it will handle this stuff just fine.
  8. hshukla76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2009
    I had read that about the base model MBP 13", I hope to have the MBP last 3-4 years, I figure the extra boost will keep me going in that last year. One more question - what is your advice on the Lion upgrade ? Should I wait till it gets released or purchase the MBP now ? Thanks again for all the advice.
  9. mugtastic macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2006
    no one can answer that for you because it's strictly based on if you need/want the computer now vs. a small savings later.

    my laptop works fine so if i was considering the new macbook pro i might wait til lion. by then they should be more common in the apple refurbed store.

    together that would save a few hundred dollars.
  10. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    If your Simmons kit has a MIDI Out jack, you can indeed record the MIDI notes onto a Software Track as DoghouseMike has suggested. However, one of GarageBand's limitations is that it cannot send the MIDI notes back to the kit to retrigger its sounds on playback; you're stuck with GarageBand's internal drum sounds (unless you're willing to construct a drum kit from individual sound files, which is possible but can be tedious).

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