Best iMac spec for music production

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Shadow Puppets, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Shadow Puppets macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #1
    I have decided, rather than getting the new 15" MBP (due to the massive amounts of problems people seem to be having with them), I am going to pick up a 27" 5K iMac for my home recording setup.

    I wondered if anyone could help me spec it. Price really isn't an issue as I have actually just received a grant towards my musical activities. Before anyone jumps in and says "get the maxed out machine"...

    I'm concerned if I max everything out I will see issues with heat...see a lot of reports about higher spec'd iMacs running hot (although it's unclear to me if they'd run hot if they were just running logic and a bunch of virtual instruments).

    So is it best to be sensible with the spec to reach a compromise...enough speed vs not burning out the machine?

    I would appreciate any advice on what people think would be a good spec to run the following:

    1) Logic Pro X
    2) Native Instruments Komplete (virtual instruments and effects)
    3) only recording max two tracks at a time (stereo synths mainly)
    4) any given project might have 30-40 tracks, many of which might contain virtual instruments or effects.

    I'd appreciate the feedback. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. cl516 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #2
    Congrats on getting a grant. I myself did not get one, but I did place an order for an iMac on friday, and I do make music:

    I got the 27" 4.0 i7, 8G RAM, 512 SSD, left the graphics at M395. RAM you can upgrade on your own obviously, but I think for both audio and video SSD is absolutely essential for smooth performance. I'm coming from a 2008 Mac Pro, and it lasted a few extra years particularly because of SSD.

    I'm really looking forward to this new machine and running all the plugs!
     
  3. ambientdaw macrumors member

    ambientdaw

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Location:
    Sonoma County CA
    #3
    Go for the highest CPU. Go for the 1TB SSD. The standard video card should probably suffice. I bought 16gb ram to install which upped me to 24gb. I use NI and Ableton and Ozone and Omnisphere. The fan never comes on! (unless I forget to close Safari and happen to have 40 tabs open). Heat is not an issue. I just say I am surprised that my CPU does crank up in Ableton to 50-60% when I use a few instances of Ozone with Omnisphere and Kontakt. I feel that I am hitting the last year of use with this machine and I just bought it a few months ago. Of course I do not take measures of efficiency with these VST's maybe that would help.
     
  4. Shadow Puppets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #4
    Thanks for the replies so far. So people would definitely suggest getting the i7, but stick with the 380, 390 or 395 graphics card?
     
  5. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #5
    Well I'd imagine GPU won't be that big of a factor
     
  6. Shadow Puppets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #6
    It is a little concerning that you feel that you are already outgrowing your computer... which is probably spec'd at the same I'd go for.

    Do you think it's the CPU that's holding you back, RAM, or other?
     
  7. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #7
    no. the 380 is so pathetic it can't even handle basic animations in macOS.

    395 and up are the only cards that are a good buy because the price difference between the 390 and 395 is so low. 390 itself is adequate
     
  8. ambientdaw macrumors member

    ambientdaw

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Location:
    Sonoma County CA
    #8
    I imagine it is the VST's I am using. Kontakt and Omnisphere plus Ozone and 2Caudio's B2 reverb and Soundtoy's delay. And I run them at 64 samples latency. Plus Ableton Live is not known for it's efficiency of usage!
     
  9. Shadow Puppets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    #9
    I see.

    Would you say that you'd be unable to do your current workflow (because of bottlenecks) on one of the new MacBook Pros?

    I ask because I'm somewhat stuck in two minds about which route to go, but my workflow doesn't sound much different to yours, swapping out Abelton for Logic and without Omnisphere (currently).
     
  10. ambientdaw macrumors member

    ambientdaw

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Location:
    Sonoma County CA
    #10
    I don't really know the specs of the MBP. I would guess the iMac is still more powerful. You will have to research that. I would also guess that I probably would be able to work on the MBP but that it would run hotter with more fan noise. I am no expert though.
     
  11. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    B'ham
    #11
    A maxed out system will not cause over heating issues.
    A lesser speced system that has to run at full throttle all the time will.
    My advice would be to get a maxed out system that will last you longer
    than a weaker, difficult to upgrade system.

    Disclaimer: I sold Macs for four years.
     

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