Giving my MDD to a friend

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by WalnutSpice, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. WalnutSpice Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    #1
    I found out I have a friend who's into PowerPC Macs and I decided to give my MDD as he only has an iMac G5 that I guess doesn't start up anymore. He wants to try and do audio production on it which I think it'd do pretty well. But it does need some upgrades. It needs a new hard drive, RAM upgrade, new GPU and a new PRAM battery.
    I figured I'd ask here what kinda GPU I can recommend him thats good but cheap, and a sata controller so he can use a SATA hard drive.
     
  2. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #3
    I'd top up the RAM and leave it at that. On board audio and stock graphics are fine to get going on recording work - I'd weigh up the cost of a new IDE drive against a SATA one plus controller...and go with the former if cheaper.
    Money saved can go towards outboard music gear :)
     
  3. RhianB, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #4
    Agreed on the ram. What level does he want to get into? There are many options. I'm a fan of presonus gear + garageband/logic although my friend is into Protools (but that costs some serious $$$). Anyhow, the MDD has USB1, and two FW400 ports (looked it up on lowendmac - I'm not that cool), so he could get into an older presonus 2 channel firebox or 8 channel firepod pretty cheap and take advantage of the built in FW400. On my QS powermac, I installed a usb2 card and am running a presonus a Audiobox via usb2 for home music recording & production and it works well. Truth be told however, I owned both units and the firebox was a superiorly constructed unit to the audiobox IMO - more machined metal, less cheap plastic, fine sound, nice midi leads + 4 speaker outs vs 2, and a front facing headphone jack - all around better unit and I see them going online for 50-60 bucks. A cost effective option IMO. That + max RAM and I think he'd be set unless he likes to tinker. There's always cool things to do to a PM as I've found out :).

    If he's short on recording software, Audacity is a freeware option that runs on PPC and can float him until he gets into more in-depth software. Anyhow, lotsa cost effective options out there though, so shop around, kick some tires and figure out what he really wants.
     
  4. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #5
    I agree with everything you say but I still think for a newbie, the audio interface is another layer of complexity and cost that's unnecessary - unless you specifically require multiple inputs and outboard mixing.
    I would always say an interface is a given on a Windows system but OSX audio is already great without any assistance at this level.
    For free DAWs, there's Reaper to consider - and, of course, a musician's gold mine over at macintoshgarden!
    --- Post Merged, Sep 15, 2016 ---
    This is what I use as an all rounder, the Novation Remote 25 - it's had the OS upgrade, so is in fact functionally an X-Station.
    It's an audio/MIDI interface with multiple inputs/outputs, digital effects unit and controller keyboard but best of all, it's also a stand alone analogue modeling synthesizer.
    Doesn't cost much more than a standard audio interface.

    X-Station.jpg
     
  5. RhianB, Sep 15, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #6
    I guess I don't understand how a newbie would effectively record using stock powermac audio. I mean no 1/4 inch (don't say 1/8 to 1/4 adapter lol), no midi, nothing to run to reference monitors etc. He could monitor through some flat headphones I guess but beyond that I see a headache and pretty big analog to digital limitation.

    It would work ok for purely digital audio for sure or having fun with a sound/sample library. Did Op say that and I just can't read lol?

    I agree that your remote 25 Audio is a great all-round home studio solution w/ trigger. I use a full sized keyboard via midi, so the lack of full sized keys and range is hard for my brain to get around but for many folks I think that is an elegant, compact & effective solution. They're kind of pricey but when you consider all that the unit brings to the table, it is a solid & cost effective answer to the powerful home recording/production question. The software upgrade to Xstation is pretty awesome!
     
  6. Dronecatcher, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016

    Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #7
    :) I've done it many, many times and yes, 1/8 to 1/4 adaptors were involved!
    I don't see any shame in this - you work with what you have, and I'm just anticipating a newbie wanting to dabble without spending much initially.
    For a guitarist, a 1/4 inch adaptor plus Garageband gives you a lot of power immediately - hundreds of effects and amp simulations before you even get onto recording.
    It all depends on the music you're aiming for - trackers in the 80s and 90s mostly were just using a Qwerty keyboard - the rest was creativity.

    Yes, that 2 octave keyboard is pretty restrictive but it was a good catchall at the time and can be carted around with my Powerbook too - I have other non-connected keyboards when I want to try things out over more octaves.
     
  7. RhianB, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #8
    I have two concerns w/ adapters. I don't disagree with you either btw. I think you did a better job speaking to the thrifty nature of the op's post.

    1.) impedence mismatch (although pretty unlikely I'd think).
    2.) Poor tone/sound quality - Weak signal. A guitar or bass signal (even active) is low gain and straight in via 1/4 instrument cable is going to be distorted & not really usable. It needs some sort of amplification to drive a usable, clean, strong signal.

    If he wants to use analog instruments or mics at some point (an assumption) he'll need an interface of some sort to drive clean, strong signal to the daw, otherwise I think his entire experience will be frustrating bad-tone at best & who needs that? Lol :)

    I think it's important to express the ultimate reality of this situation. I mean he can give the adapter a go, but will realize immediately that he'll need some sort of interface to move forward with recording/production work of any measurable quality which can be had for low$$$ these days -$100 bucks ... Or 89/90 euros or whatever the conversion is exactly these days haha :D
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #9
    The elephant in the room here is that the MDD doesn't have audio line-in. In fact, no PowerMac G4s made after Gigabit Ethernet(i.e. Digital Audio, Quicksilver, MDD) lack line-in.

    If I'm not mistaken, this is exactly the reason why the Griffin iMic was first brought to the market. In fact, my "hotrod" Digital Audio(2ghz 7448 processor, FireGl X3, Sonnet SATA on a 500GB WD Blue) was used-I think-for audio purposes by the previous owner(who built the system). It was sold to me with a Griffin iMic. For those not familiar, this is a USB dongle with both line in and line out.

    I know nothing about audio production, any prospective user would need to make provisions on an MDD for some sort of line in. I don't know the exact options available beyond the iMic.

    The Yikes!, Sawtooth, and Gigabit Ethernet tower have line in. G5s have line in by both a 3.5mm jack and TOSLINK. I think iMac G4s also have 3.5mm line in.
     
  9. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #10
    I've had two MDD Macs - both had line in ports, are you sure you're not thinking of the Quicksilver?
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #11
    I actually looked at an MDD right before making my first post, but apparently looked right past it. I just looked again and it is indeed there.
     
  11. RhianB, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #12
    My QS certainly has audio in. Apple friendly nos G4 PM PC133 1.5gb ram kits on eBay for $20 shipped. Also found a 10.4.11+ PCI Sata (x2 ports) controller on new egg for $18.00 shipped. Best of luck to you :)
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #13
    I use a Quicksilver daily, but also have several kicking around.

    I'm not seeing it...

    IMG_3260.jpg
     
  13. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #14
    You're absolutely right. I assumed that 2nd port was a audio in but upon closer inspection it is in fact a apple mini audio plug thing for proprietary apple speakers (my first quick silver lol). I was going to try out an adapter as I have a few amongst all my music crap and low n' behold it wouldn't fit lol. See, you learn something new every day or at least I do. :D
     
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #15
    FWIW, if you can find a set of the Apple Pro Speakers(eyeballs) that plug into that port, you will not be sorry. Add a Harmon-Kardon iSub(Jellyfish) and you will be quite impressed at what can come out of a set of computer speakers. The iSub came out with the slot-load iMacs(which I think use similar H-K speakers to the Pro Speakers), and from OS 9 up to 10.4(PPC) plugging in the iSub will cause the OS to filter out low frequencies for the signal going to the speakers and send them to the iSub. I have this set-up on my Quicksilver currently.

    Unfortunately, the iSub is completely non-functional with Intel Macs, and was deprecated in Leopard on PPC computers. There is a utility out there that replaces the USB audio kexts in Leopard with the ones from Tiger and the iSub works perfectly. Unfortunately, and weirdly, in Leopard it will disable any USB audio input devices you have such as the turntable I was using. I finally nailed this down as the issue.

    To get around that issue, I have recently purchased a set of the original Griffin Sound Sticks. These include the same "Jellyfish" sub-woofer along with the two "stick" speakers that are driven from the jellyfish. The original model uses USB for input, while I think the Soundstick IIs use 3.5mm and the current Soundstick IIIs are Bluetooth. In any case, the complete USB soundstick package is widely supported(I was using it yesterday in El Capitan, and I think it works in Windows also). It's just the stand-alone iSub that has the compatibility quirks.

    At least as modern electronics go, it wouldn't surprise me if the H-K/Johnny Ive Jellyfish is the longest lived design in continuous production. I guess when you get something good, you stick with it. Admittedly, aesthetically it looked great with the early 2000s Apple weirdness but not so much with today's more conservative design, but they can get away with it because it sounds great.
     
  15. RhianB, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #16
    Wow, those are expensive. I saw a couple sets (including sub) on eBay that were between 170 & 260 bucks. I've never heard them before in person but it is a really cool design. I'm running some Rokit 8s & fostex PM0.4 monitors which I like but could easily upgrade to a new (old 2010 aluminum) imac for my home studio (my old 06 intel white 24" gpu just crapped out) so it would be cool to pick up some of these harmon sound sticks & the isub for my powermac/tiger and move my interface & monitors to the hypothetical new imac. Pretty cool! Thanks for the info. I had completely forgotten about that sub design.

    If my luck continues, I'll catch someone throwing theirs out in the trash next week sometime :D
     
  16. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #17
    Can confirm that - used mine on Windows XP and even my iPad with a USB adaptor.
     
  17. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #18
    That's a good point, in those cases I used the output from a practice amp - it's reasonable to assume anyone with an electric guitar will probably also have an amp to utilise?

    From memory, Powerbooks take a direct signal ok and G5 iMacs feel like they have a pre-amp in there.
    At a push, there's always those disposable USB audio dongles on ebay, at least to try out until further investment.

    Another useful workaround I've used in the past is using an old multitrack recorder as a pre-amp and mixer/EQ....of course, now that everything vintage is sort after, one of those will be more expensive than an audio interface!
     
  18. WalnutSpice thread starter Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    #19
    Just to update, he does have some other hardware to use with the MDD for audio stuff, I don't know anything about that though as I don't do audio production outside of cassette duping really. As for the GPU, I know it doesn't matter for audio stuff but his software requires 10.5 and the current GPU has a lot of graphical issues under Leopard. And for the SATA hard drive I just figured it'd be a nice upgrade. But if IDE is still just fine for it, I'll find a nice IDE drive for him and he'll probably just get an external USB 2.0 drive.
    Also, he is maxing the RAM. 4x 512MB sticks.
     
  19. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #20
    Well Sata would be cool but not necessary. I mean ide xfer rate is 133mb & Sata is like a bazillion times faster, so to have the OS X image on a sata SSD & storage on a big ide or a big sata plate drive seems like it would give the machine a nice boost.
     
  20. WalnutSpice thread starter Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    #21
    I wouldn't want to put an SSD in a PowerMac because there's no TRIM support. Wouldn't that drastically reduce the life span of the drive?
     
  21. RhianB, Sep 19, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #22
    I had assumed that you could use SSD's on any Mac but you're right, it's only for Intel machines running SnowLeopard (what I've done the SSD upgrade to with great success) or newer. It looks like TRIM didn't make it on leopard so SDD performance would be bad on a PPC machine. Thanks for the heads up as I was about to buy a 128gb for my QS. I think The data xfer rate on Sata still makes sense though. I saw a OSX compatible Sata controller on New Egg last week that was only 18 bucks shipped. Pretty cheap for x45 faster data xfer :)
    --- Post Merged, Sep 19, 2016 ---
    Check this out. It looks like PPC folks running 10.5.8 or earlier have one SSD option through OWC that has s trim utility built into it.

    http://blog.macsales.com/11051-to-trim-or-not-to-trim-owc-has-the-answer
     

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