Help from you Audio Guys

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by rest44, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. rest44 macrumors member


    Sep 24, 2006
    Hi everyone! Me and a friend of mine are working on audio edition and recording for sometime and we always worked on a pc; but after a very nice experience with logic we thought we would get a MAC next time we needed a new computer for our studio.

    That time has come and we´re thinking really serious about switching to a mac system, our problem is: what mac to get?? We´re not running on a big budget so this investment as to be taking serious and with a lot of patience and research. So we want to ask you, mac devoteds, what mac do you think fits our needs?

    Option A: A less powerfull computer with less expandable options, but more afordable? Lets say: imac 20", 2.0ghz, 2gb ram and a firewire external harddrive?

    Option B: A powerfull computer to be an investment for the future? Lets say: Mac Pro 2.5 (or 2.0) with 2gb ram and a second internal drive (like a seagate 320gb)

    What option you think is the best??

    PS: we run our setup on a presonus firepod firewire interface (maybe expanding to a motu 24/io in the future), and we record live bands and do also production of albums in the computer
  2. cschreppel macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2006
    Boston, MA
    I've been using a PowerMac G4 tower for the past year or so (I got it used in 2005). It's been working fine for the processor intensive recording/mixing I've been doing on my Pro Tools LE rig (32 tracks, 6-8 aux tracks, processor-heavy plugins). It's been chugging along perfectly fine without much lag whatsoever...only if the mix was more like surgery in that I had to repair crappy audio tracks with a lot of EQ or noise reduction.

    Anyway, I'm upgrading to a 17" iMac here in about 3-4 weeks. A MacPro would be great to have, sure, but I really don't need that much processing power just yet. When I upgrade to a Pro Tools HD system down the road (which will be a long time), I'll snag a MacPro (or whatever it'll be called then).

    But yeah, a 20" iMac with some external drives will suit you nicely.
  3. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    I'd go between a 20" iMac and a 24". The iMacs are FAR more than "shiny home computers", they are INCREDIBLY capable, faster than 99% of home PCs.

    The MacPro is a nice machine, and it's very expandable. However I think unless you REALLY need the expansion slots and ridiculous processing power (even music doesn't need THAT much CPU!), the iMac is by far the best Macintosh in the range at the moment...
  4. SRSound macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2005
    Last year I bought a PowerBook G4 1.5GHz w/ 1.25Gb RAM for my mobile recording rig based on Pro Tools LE. For the track counts and processing I use on a daily basis, the powerbook just didnt cut it for recording. You should NEVER have to worry about getting the "you are running out of CPU power" message while recording! Don't risk it and go for the most powerful computer you can afford!
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    by "recording", i assume you're including mixdown duties. were you using an external drive for audio? and what are your track counts and processing like?

    even the most powerful macs can run only a handful of, say, hardcore convolution reverbs before running out of steam.
  6. SRSound macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2005
    Yes, while by "recording" i also meant mix down, editing & processing, I am not lying when I say that when I get to about 10 tracks total, with my little fan wizzing its head off, I start getting those error messages. I have optimized my system with every trick and fix, but still it happens. I use an external FW drive and only recieved the "cannot get audio from disk fast enough" error a couple times. And NO I dont use 20 convolution reverbs, or individual compressors on every track ;) But for my average work - average 40-60 tracks - It just seems like maybe the G4 can't give enough to do what I need. EDIT: you're probably thinking "but PT LE only has 32!" I use the toolkit to expand to 48 tracks on my system and do final work on Pro Tools HD.
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    my dual g4/500 crapped out around the (normal) PTLE 32 max, with not a lot of plugs. it was the CPU which was maxed.

    i *am* a little surprised you're getting such grief at 10 tracks, though. is the behavior the same with normal PTLE and toolkit PTLE? (which i'll probably be ordering in a few weeks).
  8. ecopod macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2006
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Similar Situation

    Rest 44, I,ve just done a similar transition - XP/Cubase to OSX/Logic. I got the 24inch iMac (2 gig) and quite honestly the diffirence is staggering.

    Also use a Tascam FW1082 and Axiom 25, mix of audio and midi

    Firstly set up just seems much simpler and works (so far) first time everytime. Zero latency on input and real time feedback through phones/monitors. Also no freezes yet and I've had some reasonably intemsive mix-downs on the go with the Tascam, I had a few on XP/Cubase. So far I have certainly not regretted not going for the pro and honestly do not think I ever will.

    24inch is handy for extending workspace and having plug-ins etc alongside, I had considerd twin monitor set up but will not bother now, plenty screen soace so saved a few pounds.

    Although I never thought I'd bother with it the integration with the various 'i' applications is frankly addictive, I'm working on a video for one of my tunes now which I had never even considered before.

    That's my two pence worth, good luck.
  9. danhig123 macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Hey there,

    Well my first mac was a 12 inch Powerbook 1Ghz. To be honest it didn't really cut it for anything more than about 20 tracks of mixing duty with some plug-ins. I now own a Mac Pro, and boy is it all the power I need and more.

    It really depends what you need it for. A Mac Pro is really an investment for years to come. it is highly upgradable, comes with shed loads of power out the box, and it is a new apple line, which means it will simply be upgraded throughout the years, not replaced.

    On the other hand you say you record live bands. If you do a lot of location recording you are going to want something more portable. A Mac Pro isn't something your going to want to carry into venues every night. Possibly a MacBook Pro would be better for this? I have never used one but I am sure it would cut it for a bit of live recording.

    On the other hand it will be outdated pretty quickly and isn't all that upgradable.

    The iMac is a nice middle man... but again, in my opinion it doesn't quite cut it in either department - portability or power. It is a comprimise whatever way you look at it, and because the computing is at head level you notice fan noise a lot more, so it isn't all that suited to the serious studio environment.

    The Mac Pro on the otherhand is the quitest computer I have ever used.

    I would say go with the Mac Pro if you have the money and don't need anything too portable.

    Its an investment.

  10. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    simply recording isn't very CPU or RAM intensive, it's throughput that matters here. with an external firewire drive w/ a large-ish (8 meg) cache, one can get away with a rather "weak" laptop. e.g. my old g3/800 ibook was fine for this duty.

    i mention this now and again, and i'll do so here. with the above setup i was able to record 8 tracks of 96/24 while playing back 16 (PLTE 6.x, panther, digi002r).

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