Composer looking to switch

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by C J Pro, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. C J Pro macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    I currently use several operating systems. One is a Linux system I have which I use for development. One is a Windows system for music composition. And one is a PowerMac G4 400MHz with Mac OS X 10.4. I am getting sick of Windows crashing on me and want to switch my music to a Mac. For software, I use Sibelius 4.1, Garritan Personal Orchestra, and Garritan Jazz and Big Band. My current computer is a Pentium 4 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, with a 160 GB HDD and it just barely suffices. My question is, what Mac would you recommend I get to replace this system? Note, I don't have much money, but I still need to be able to perform everything I've been doing on my Mac system (which eats up a massive amount of system resources on Windows).
  2. zwida macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2001
    I really think you need the MacPro 2.66 with as much RAM as you can swing.

    Anything less than that and you'll likely be frustrated.
  3. Mundy macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2006
    Composing on the Mac is wonderful. I've been doing it for a long time. I've done it on the Windows side as well, so I can certainly appreciate the differences.

    One thing you need to be aware of is that the Universal Binary version of Kontakt has not been released yet. What this means is that if you purchase an Intel Mac today and install Garritan Personal Orchestra (which uses Kontakt Player), performance will be pretty lousy. While Apple's Rosetta emulator works surprisingly well, audio applications are one area where it starts to falter. Native Instruments says that Kontakt Universal might be out as soon as October, so this might be a non-issue pretty soon.

    A side note: I don't know if you are interested in using Logic, but it's incredibly fast on the new Intel Macs. It was never slow on the PowerPC, but on a Mac Pro, Logic is really something else.

    Sibelius 4 is not a Universal Binary either, but runs extremely nicely on Intel Macs, so it shouldn't really be an issue.

    Since you already have a system running OS X, you probably already know how much this wonderful OS likes RAM. For what you're doing, I would not go below 2 gigabytes of RAM. If you're planning on upgrading to Garritan Advanced when it is released, even 2 gigabytes of RAM might not leave much breathing room. As it is, I find 1 gigabyte of RAM to be the minimum for basic "messing around" in OS X (Web browsing, email, office applications, etc.), so for audio, make sure you budget for extra RAM.

    Without knowing how serious you are, I can't really tell you which Mac to buy. But I know plenty of talented, productive musicians who are turning out great stuff on their iMacs. You don't have to get a Mac Pro, and unless composition is your livelihood, I would recommend against it.

    My 2 cents.
  4. C J Pro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    This is the only reason why I haven't switched to the Intel Macs yet. I've been planning on it for the past few months but about 3 months ago, I discovered that there wasn't a universal binary yet.

    I have heard of it and tried it out at the Apple Store in Shadyside, but haven't delved into it deep enough to find out if it will work for me.

    Sibelius 5, which is scheduled for release next year, should have a universal binary.

    As long as it doesn't hog the processor to an excessive amount, I'm good with 2 GB RAM then.

    Seeing as how I have already spent several thousand on audio/music related equipment and software, I would say that Mac Pro would be best for me.
  5. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    As you've probably already found out, your CPU is just one part of your total needs.

    If you're running mostly virtual instruments, at least you're not suffering the cost
    of interfaces and mics to cover multiple live inputs.

    It takes a while to wrap your head around Logic, but it's supposed to be the best overall tool for in depth composition.
    I can't wait to see what Apple does in Logic 8.

    You should be good with 2 GB FB ECC RAM for starters with the Mac Pro, but it's not cheap.

    I completely understand the importance of this investment.
    Try to take your time if you can.

    The software will come along soon enough.

    You'll find quite a bit of info over at and
  6. ChrisWB macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2004
    I'm currently running Finale on a MacBook. I have the least expensive - 1.83 GHz Core Duo, 1.25GB memory. Using more than 3 layers (I don't actually do this, but I've tried to see what would happen) causes the midi player to cease to work. I am working on a piece with nine voices and the midi player often has difficulty. It will play notes out of rhythm or not at all.
  7. minnesotamacman macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2006
    I wonder if you couldn't do this on the 20 or 24 inch iMac, with the upgraded processor and maxed RAM. Sounds like this may work. Otherwise, jump to the Mac Pro and add 2 or 3 GB of RAM...

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