Best for music production with Logic Pro X (+ possibly Omnisphere) : new Mac Pro or new iMac 27"?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 888d1F3ZGM, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. 888d1F3ZGM macrumors newbie


    Mar 2, 2009
    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display:
    • 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
    • 16GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 8GB
    • 512GB Flash Storage
    • AMD Radeon R9 M390 with 2GB video memory

    Mac Pro:
    • 3.7GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon E5 Processor
    • 12GB Memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs
    • 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

    This new iMac is $2,800, the Mac Pro $3000. Very close in price due to the upgrades in the iMac I'm contemplating. I'm a singer/songwriter. I'll record with one or two mics. Audio interface is Apollo Twin Duo via Thunderbolt. I have two displays I can use for the Mac Pro, so the lack of a display with Mac Pro is a non-issue. I'll have two 23" Apple HD Cinema Displays going.

    Would I need an external hard drive with the iMac?
    Would I need an external hard drive with the Mac Pro?
    What would your ideal set up be if I installed Omnisphere? It takes 60 GB.
    Should I consider a Fusion drive in the iMac?
    I've read a lot of threads and there seems to be conflicting information.

    If possible, in your response, consider that I am on the hobbyist/enthusiast level, but I have already produced three albums. In other words, this is not for a for-profit situation where I do this for a living. In my last incarnation as a music producer, I had a 2008 Mac Pro. I had 3 spinning disc hard drives. Flash drives were too expensive back then to even consider.

    So I'm wondering if I'd be better of future proofing myself by getting the Mac Pro where I can expand it at any point in the future. That being said, the iMac I'm considering is top of the line, quad-core i7. The iMac could be upgraded to 32 GB of RAM, whereas the Mac Pro could go up to 64 GB of RAM. The thing is, at this price point, I'm already pushing the budget, but for what it's worth, maybe the Mac Pro is the way to go for an extra $300 (Apple Care is $100 more for the Mac Pro). If I go with the Mac Pro, I am only getting a 256 GB PCIe-based Flash storage instead of 512 GB with the iMac. Is the size of the SSD more a big deal and should I therefore go with the iMac?

    Are there any hidden costs I'm not considering, such as if I go with the Mac Pro with the 256 GB PCIe-based Flash storage, do I need another internal/external hard drive for my sample library? If that's going to cost another $300-400 then I'm pushing the Mac Pro cost up towards $4k, which is way over budget.

    I'm only running Logic Pro X right now. I did use Omnisphere (version 1) in the past and loved it. I sold my license several years ago but I am now thinking of buying Omnisphere 2. Would it be advisable, with the iMac, to put everything, including the Omnisphere library, on the 512 PCIe-based Flash storage? If that's true, the iMac situation would be cheaper because I would not need an external hard drive.

    In either scenario would it be advisable to I use my six-year old 1TB Glyph external HD (GT050Q) (USB 2.0), or would that slow everything down?

    How about storing projects on Dropbox? Do you turn off the uploading feature during sessions?

    Is the Mac Pro going to be phased out?

    Is the Mac Pro late 2013 model kind of out of date at this point considering the iMac is a late 2015 model?
  2. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    You forgot to add in the 5k monitor on the MacPro so add another $1000 there.

    Personally I'd go the iMac as it's the latest chipset, best to wait for Kabylake update if you can wait...
    --- Post Merged, Feb 19, 2017 ---
    Regarding samples etc it is best practise to put it on a seperate SSD so maybe consider buying an external thunderbolt drive. Leave the internal 512gb for os and logic.

    Also after downloading the internal logic samples, you can move these to the external and Sym-link them (not sure on the wording but you can find it online)

    Good luck
  3. profdraper macrumors newbie


    Jan 14, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Feb 19, 2017 ---
    Mac Pro is largely wasted money for audio production (which is relatively easy CPU-wise these days); for example, you get nothing out of the expense on Dual GPUs unless you are in or intending being in video production.

    iMac recommendations: 256 SSD boot disk, 32GB ram (google other measures as to how ram is actually used; eg Apple Activity Monitor /Memory); 32Gb will be ample. Don't use Fusion drive (see other pro music fora, eg: Avid DUC for Pro Tools).

    For any audio /media production, ideally you need a dedicated disk for each of the audio and sound libraries (i.e., not writing to the system drive). so, (best): one SSD for audio sessions, + one SSD for sample library (in the case of Logic, yes, symbolic links work well; ditto Apple Loops & re-index); same for Omnisphere, Native Instruments, what ever.

    In the shorter term, if money is an issue: store the Logic lib on the boot disk; but do use an external spinner for audio recording. Eventually replace both with SSDs, say 2 x 1GB Samsung EVOs. Also think about backup storage /archival.

    In sum, the iMac is a fine (optimised even) system for Logic X (also see other recommended systems for ProTools, Cubase etc. Same thing, use their fora as dedicated audio specialists vs. a generic computer form such as this). iMac (5k is irrelevant) optioned with i7 256GB SSD, 32GB memory.

    BTW, new iMacs soon on the horizon, may be worth waiting to see if the 'standard' CPUs are more reasonable than having to option 'at the high end' (for Apple) just to get a rather common, older i7. A four year old spec & price for a 'new' mac pro is just silly. Re-furbed 'cheese grater' Mac Pro 5,1 a much better 'pro' option in my view (expandability etc). But, stay with a new iMac I'd say.

    Hope that helps

    Mac Pro 5,1 12x3.33gHz, 48GB, Nvidia Titan X 12GB
    LG 34", Samsung 27" 4k
    UAD Apollo FW, RME ADI-8, Dangerous D-Box
    SE Munro Eggs, Genelec 8010As, LogicTech Z-500 surround
    Cubase, Nuendo, Wavelab, Pro Tools HD, Logic, DP9, Ableton Live
    Final Cut Pro, Da Vinci Resolve, Apple Motion
    Native Instruments Komplete, Spectrasonics, Steinberg Absolute 3, Ableton Suite, AIR Music Technology
  4. niploteksi macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2016
    I second this...

    You are going to want a secondary drive for samples. It's always a good idea to invest in memory for your software instruments and effect plug-ins. 16GB will go a long way and I suppose it's cheaper to expand that on the iMac compared to the Mac Pro.

    There has been talk about throttling on the iMac cpu, but I don't think it's going to be a problem.

    If you're not in a hurry I would still hold on and see what this year has in store for the desktops... maybe more ports on the iMac, Kabylake etc...

    I used a Mac Pro tower before I switched to a Windows machine. The current Mac Pro feels a bit dated. Also you don't get more cores with the option you gave and you will not need EEC ram.
  5. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    If you haven't already purchased a TB-only interface, consider a used 4,1 or 5,1 Mac Pro.

    Cost to build today: under $1k including memory and SSDs. Even better would be a dual CPU Mac Pro. The video processing that more current Mac CPUs (iMacs) include doesn't affect audio performance. You can spend the money you save on plugins and quality VIs.

    Just a thought.

    I can confirm I am able to run massive sessions (full band recordings, lots of VIs) on a single CPU 4,1 that I converted to 5,1 hex. I record multi-mic'd drums and other band members (up to 20 simultaneous inputs) without a hitch. I build songs from scratch using VIs. I mix projects running tons of tracks.

    If you must go with the new, the nMP is lagging. Wait for a revised version or go iMac.
  6. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    The old macpros are great computers but they will be also EOL soon and won't be updated when Sierra is done, and newer version of logic might require later versions of the o/s

    Just another hung to consider
  7. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Mine will be EOL when it dies or if I switch to a Windows PC. The hell with Apple.
  8. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    That's true as well too much updating these days
  9. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    Pretty much this. Apple hasn't released any hardware worth replacing a Mac Pro with yet and I can't see them doing it any time soon. The iMac is a decent option though, if the price tag and underpowered GPU doesn't put you off. The screen is quite frankly amazing.

    Well that and the fact that Apple simply hasn't released any new systems worth buying if you're in the market for a powerful desktop.
  10. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    I probably should have added in the software side of things... the MacPro, Macmini are both in dire need of an update
  11. niploteksi macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2016
    I already made the switch to a windows computer after my Mac Pro became too old for OS updates.
  12. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I don't expect the 5,1 MP (or 4,1>5,1 MP) to be EOL for at least a 2-3 more OS iterations, as they were sold thru 2013. The suggestion was offered as a cost-effective approach that, at least for me, has proven extremely functional. And don't forget about VE Pro on a second and third machine if heavy VI use is desired.

    I'm running a 40" 4k monitor (plus second 1080 monitor) in my studio using an AMD RX460 in my 4,1>5,1. Awesome for audio and sound for picture work having so much screen real estate. Super low power, and no fan noise. My studio MP sits in a machine room, so noise is not a concern, but it could be for some.
  13. 888d1F3ZGM thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 2, 2009
    Thanks for the tips.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 25, 2017 ---
    --- Post Merged, Feb 25, 2017 ---
    I appreciate your thorough answer.
  14. RANY78 macrumors newbie


    Nov 21, 2017
    Coming to this thread now (Nov.2017) and would appreciate any purchase advice;
    I currently run Macbook Pro 2012 (i7 16gb ram w/2x 1tb ssd) my system became very slow and maschine get's hot very fast. (my system drive run apps only, all sample libraries and projects run via 2nd ssd and external HD).
    Using ableton with omnisphere and kontakt is total frustration and I can't even run a proper mix w/15 audio stems only and a few vst's. I left ableton for writing and now run logic x and cubase 9 for proper mixing.

    I need to be mobile as I write and compose mostly from home setup and then finish the mixing in a professional studio.

    So...Which model would be good for a professional audio production and mixing?
    Should I settle with the latest macbook pro or having the 2017 iMac would make much difference and worth changing my workflow?

    (27-inch retina 5k 4.2ghz quad i7 32gb/1tb going for around $3,300 refurbished before tax)

    Thank You!
  15. joebclash macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2016
    I still think mac pro is still great for music production. I use alot of UAD pluggins. Those pluggins require alot of processing power. I just stick in a UAD Octo pcie card and offload the pluggins processor needs to the Octo card. Those pcie slots in a mac pro really come in handy. Whether you use UAD or HDX, those pcie slots are a godsend.
  16. MarkJames68 macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2017
    Omnisphere is the real pig. What I do (which isn’t portable) is have a Mac Pro running LPX, and then a Windows rack mounted system running the heavy VSTs via VEPro. I also use UAudio thunderbolt processors for FX, so that also removes load.

    I have the same 2012 MBP and a newer system would give more horsepower. I wonder if a portable VEPro setup would work - new laptop for LPX, old one for libraries. still have the 16GB RAM limitation.
  17. RANY78 macrumors newbie


    Nov 21, 2017
    Thanks Joe...I also run UAD Plug-ins via satellite octo FW and all route to Thunderbolt Hub to my MBP, I like the fact the mac pro is upgradable but still they comes close on the 3K range compare to the latest iMac.

Share This Page