Help optimizing 3.2 Mac Pro for audio

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ultra, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. ultra macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2009
    Following the advice of all you sage posters..I recently purchased a 3.2 mac pro with 24gigs of ram and a 1tb hitachi drive..I scored this bay for 4000..complete with two years of applecare left..Now my question is how do I get this baby to purr..any info would be greatly post away..Thank you in advance not only for this post but for the wealth of knowledge and information that is available here....
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    OSX is not windows. Fortunately OSX does not need any "optimization", as OSX Simply runs better.

    Well for audio work, you need an external sound card, probably one with firewire.
  3. ultra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2009
    I have all of the other gear already..Im talking about the what are the fastest drives and how to set them up..things of that nature..thank you
  4. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    Don't most sound guys say no RAID? I dunno, I use RAID 0 anyway but I hear the experts saying no RAID. I imagine the SSDs would kick ass!

    Also I understand what kind of external equipment is needed for further processing, recording, and why but your Mac Pro has optical I/O and does NOT need an "external audio card" via firewire or other. Or if it does maybe some one could explain that to me. :p
  5. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    The reason most musicians need an external audio interface is for multiple inputs, MIDI and other features. If your needs can be met with a simple 2-channel interface, you could get by with running 2 channels out of a mixer into the audio in. However, if you need more than that, you need some kind of interface other than what comes built in.
  6. barkmonster macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    The only "optimisations" you need to do are fairly simple:-

    1) Obtain a second hard drive to record to, internal 7,200rpm with 10ms access or better. This is essential for any kind of audio work, don't let someone who records 2 or 3 tracks once in a while tell you different. Multi-track audio needs it's own drive PERIOD and you can save quite a bit fitting it internally yourself. A 160Gb, Single Platter 7,200rpm SATA drive can be had online for £30 or so.

    2) Download the Application "spotless" and use that to disable spotlight indexing on the drive your recording to.

    3) Start trying demos of different software to see what's suitable for your needs. Ableton Live, Logic etc... are fine without hardware but if you want tight integration with the Hardware your intending to use for recording and a rock solid, intuitive interface written for it's own specific hardware, get one of the Pro Tools LE systems. Firewire seems to be the best but on a system that powerful, USB won't kill your CPU.
  7. Dale Gribble macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    SSD drives at the moment are a bad idea for audio in case you were pondering one. Although they have superb read times, they have write times, so when recording multiple tracks you run into problems.

    As people have said, get another 7200rpm hard drive and use it soley for audio, thats about all you can do, Mac Pro's are fantastic machines, you won't be disappointed.
  8. ultra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2009
    Im sorry for the confusion let me start over..I have been a producer for over ten years with major label credits..I already have all the apps and plugins on my g5..I need specific information on how and why should i zero my new drives..and the configuration info on 1 drive for my boot drive 1 drive for samples and audio and 1 drive for just apps..could someone please explain it to me like I was a four year old..and a hearty thank you to everyone who posted so far....
  9. mcpryon2 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008

    If you're established I'd suggest taking somebody who works in a studio out to lunch and just ask them. I think that would be the easiest way.
  10. Ploki macrumors 68020

    Jan 21, 2008
    that and clock quality (jitter)

    anyway, i have one drive for os & recording and one for samples, but its getting a bit sluggish. im going to get another drive just for system, one for projects, and one for samples
    depends of how many i/o you need to simultaneously record, but i think one drive without raid should handle it
  11. giffut macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2003

    1. Zero Format new harddrives: This is in general recommended for any harddrive you purchase/get and built into your machine or external case. It means that each bit on the HD will be read and written once. In case this bit is defunct - for whatever reason - the drives firmware will mark it as unusable and it is no longer possible to write on it. This basically means better data integrity, because the HD can write on a defunct bit without any error message at all - but it cannot read from it anymore. Your data then will be lost.

    How to do it: Run "Disk Utility", choose the HD you want to format, choose "Erase" and there the button "Options": There you find the "zero write".​

    2. Separate Boot drive: Your system and application software is there to be loaded from time to time. Also the system uses caching files / virtual memory on this harddrive (you can change the location, but that´s not necessary for your needs) to maximize memory efficiency in case your RAM memory is not enough. So it´s not about fast boot times, but about access to system and application files. Think about it: You record on that drive and the harddrive writes audio data to it. At the same time the system must access the virtual memory file and maybe an application routine must be reloaded, too: The HD read/write head jumps around like a goose on loose. Let´s say you record several audio streams at one, in high quality 96khz or even 192khz: You will very likely get pops and crackles embedde dinto the audio, which means: There stream was broken while the HD accessed other files interim.

    How to do it: Have a separate boot drive, where you put your system (OSX), all your applications and your user data (Mail, web browsing etc, you name it). Have a dedicated audio recording drive (running Logic this means your project files) and another dedicated audio samples drive (Apple loops, Reason libraries etc.).​

    3. Applications and Plug ins: Check carefully, whether all of those installed on your Powermac G5 at the moment are compatible with Intel processors. Many audio plugins won´t run natively on Intel, or let´s be frank: In many cases you are forced to repurchase Intel compatible versions. Same goes for applications, although here regarding Logic, pro Tools or Cubase, you are good to go with versions from the last three years (footnote: all OSX recording software is 32bit based at the moment - but you won´t really need 64bit rigt now, as Logic, e.g., lets dedicated PlugIns run in 64bit mode, so they can access memory beyond the 4GB 32bit limit).

    4. Audio Hardware (capture cards, DSP etc.): Here you need to check, first of all, whether they are PCI express based: Your Mac Pro does NOT have any PCI slots. Second, you need to check, whether Intel AND OSX Leopard/10.5 compatible drivers are around. If none of this is true for your owned hardware, you are ready to get new one. In this case do intensely think about what you really need/want, then get it accordingly.

    5. Your Mac Pro: It is a killer machine, which will make you happy for the next five years, believe me. Now my first recommendations limited to harddrive setup, as I don´t know much more at the moment - for your setup (in brackets you see the "I have the money"):

    a) Get a 640GB SATA boot drive (or an Intel X25 SSD)

    b) Get several 1TB drives (1,5 or 2TB) and fill your internal bays: one for recording, one for your audio library, one or two for backup and additional stuff; all depending on your workload, which you haven´t told us yet. You may want to get an external drive (firewire based), too.

    c) DON´T use RAID at all- you don´t need it for 99,99% of audio workloads. You can, but you musn´t use partitions to organize - using clean folder structures is sufficient.

    d) You probably know best: choose 24Bit/96khz recording depths - that´s more than enough.​
  12. ultra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2009
    Wow thank you...Im over whelmed thank you soooo. much to each and every poster who reached out to lend a helping hand,,thank you very much ,,this is just what i needed..Now ill just order from new egg and owc the parts i need..thank you one and all
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    You can show your appreciation by sending us all some parts too. :D

Share This Page