how much to spend on a Mac Pro.. for use with LOGIC music software..?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blobb5, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. blobb5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    #1
    hi, just wandering what scope of machine i'm looking at.
    i might be using pro tools on it too..

    would a Quadcore be fine, or is a stronger machine recommended?

    cheers.
    b
     
  2. Tesselator, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #2
    If you are scoring samples with or without MIDI then any machine will do. Heck, (probably) the 1st generation MacMini or a 8-year-old MBP would be fine with 64 tracks or more.

    If you're trying to play multiple software synths then it depends on the synths you're using. Some are light and easy and others are very CPU intensive.

    I use Logic Pro 8 (sometimes) on the MacPro 1,1 with 8-cores at 2.67GHz, ten-channel digital I/O, MIDI I/O to one KB and a patchbay and some downstream effectors - and I have lots of memory. I sometimes see cases where 5 or 6 different software synths will bog the system. It's not a common occurrence but it does happen. Luckily, I typically don't use more than one or two synths in a score and mostly depend on my own recorded samples or samples from commercial instrument libraries. And in those cases everything runs very smoothly and the CPUs typically never reach 25%. More like 8 to 10%. :)

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #3
    64 Tracks on a Mini or 8-year old MBP? Ha ha ha ha ha.
    Using what hard disks?
     
  4. zephonic, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013

    zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    greater L.A. area
    #4
    I have never used a MacMini or MacbookPro, but I think I could run 64+ tracks on an 800MHz G4 with 1GB RAM. Using MOTU PCI hardware, btw.

    Heck, IIRC, I believe I could do that on a Dell Pentium III-500MHz with 64MB running Win98. Also using MOTU PCI hardware.

    I might be wrong here, I don't usually keep count of tracks in a project, but I have done some big ones.

    However, things change quickly when you use a lot of plug-ins and VI's. That's where the rubber meets the road. IME, the audio interface is a crucial factor in computer audio performance.

    @OP:
    If you are talking about a new MacPro, a quadcore will go a long way. I've got a 2009 quad and CPU-power is NEVER the bottleneck. With Logic you should be able to run just about anything, unless you plan to use a gazillion VI instances at low latencies. I use Cubase, and the BAIOS (ASIO) engine craps out long before the CPU even begins to sweat. Logic should do much better on OSX.

    Get as much memory as you can afford, and max out your machine with HDD's, so you can have dedicated disks for audio and sample libraries. Again, the audio interface is a critical component.
     
  5. fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #5
    If you get heavily into CPU demanding, high end sample libraries then Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 and a slave computer connection for the samples would be a very good solution.
     
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #6
    You're probably not. That sounds feasible. Of course wit those lower spec examples the CPU would be running a little high - but probably still doable.

    BTW, why do you say the "audio interface is a critical component."? Just sound quality, or other?



    ----------

    Why would hard-drives matter for playback or editing? Project loading, sure. In any case if it were the oldest intel MBP (whatever that is) I would of course want SSD drives internal and external. :)
     
  7. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    greater L.A. area
    #7

    Sound quality is one consideration, but in this case I am talking about actual computer performance. The device's drivers pretty much determine how well the computer will handle higher loads at lower latencies.

    There has been some independent testing that -while not comprehensive- has been pretty conclusive, and I have experienced firsthand how a single-CPU 1.8GHz G5 with 1GB of RAM outperformed my 2.1 GHz Core2Duo iMac with 2GB of RAM. The difference was an internal MOTU PCI card versus a Focusrite FW device.

    IME, MOTU's drivers are the best in the business for Macs. RME are considered the best for Windows, but I have no personal experience with those.

    And fast HDD's are important for streaming audio or sample libraries.
    if you're running 64-bit it is not as much of an issue as it was a few years back, because you can load the entire project into memory, but the VI devs keep making the sample libraries larger and more detailed so it is still a factor. And if you have 100+ recorded tracks of -say- one hour, you will still be streaming from disk as well.
     
  8. Mactrunk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    #8
    Get the most powerful machine you can afford.
    More CPU power is always better and when you grow in to your new machine, you will be happy to have more horsepower.
     
  9. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #9
    Seems like newest quad core Mac mini with lots of RAM, SSD/Fusion drive and some good external Firewire interface would work OK for you.
    Although I believe internal expendability is always a plus, especially if you want to house large projects on hard drives but with USB3 we have cheap solution now.

    If you dont need warranty I'd just get quad core 2009 MP and put in tons of regular DDR3 RAM, thats what I did. I have 32GB of RAM, SSD boot and four SATA drives, it works great.

    But I think Mac mini would work too. I just didnt want to be constrained by its limits thats why I went for Mac Pro but I think my next computer will either be hackintosh in Bitfenix case or Mac mini connected to gigabit NAS or something like that.
     
  10. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #10
    Thanks for the reply!

    Ya, I had forgotten about the 32bit issue. So that makes sense about the HDDs.

    I dunno first hand about the performance of the various drivers like you're talking about tho. My 1st MP1,1 sound rig included the EDIROL UA-1000:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    and I can't tell the difference in performance between using that and using the MP1,1 digital output to a surround stereo. I can tell a quality difference but even that isn't too much. But the MP1,1 performance with or without the UA-1000 is extremely awesome until you start using very many heavy software synths. I could easily score and SMPTE sync the soundtrack for any major motion picture film I've ever watched. That would include both the BGM and the FX tracks. Even including several live instruments and several MIDI sound modules plus control surfaces if the EDIROL was turned on. But I've never tried anything else so I have nothing to compare to (on Mac). So your comments are interesting to me but without any reference base. :p
     
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #11
    Metric Halo have them beat by miles for Mac audio. Not even a contest. Motu is low-middle end. The drivers work. The gear is at Guitar Center. It is affordable. It is not even close to "best".
    http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/products/hardware.html
    Beats everything in double blind. Used to master most of the records you listen to via Sonic Studio.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #12
  13. zephonic, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013

    zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    greater L.A. area
    #13
    When you say double-blind test I assume you mean listening tests? I was not talking about sound quality but driver performance, specifically with high VI loads at low latencies.

    MH has an enviable reputation as makers of the best Firewire audio devices for Mac, but I have never been able to find any reports on how they operate at low latencies. I am willing to assume that their FW drivers are as good as or better than MOTU's.

    But MOTU makes PCI cards, and that is a different ballgame altogether; no FW device comes close to that kind of performance. For Mac, MOTU's are the best performers (pun not intended).

    With FW obviously dead in the water, I would not recommend MH until they clarify how they will proceed. It would suck to pay $4000 for an interface that will not be compatible with any future Mac.

    But didn't we have a similar discussion about this like a year ago? MOTU's are very reasonably priced, but to dismiss them as mediocre because of their affordability is simply ignoring the facts.

    I'll see if I can find that old thread...
     
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #14
    Maybe we had the discussion. Not sure.

    http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/products/thunderbolt.html
    They will offer new replacement backplanes with TB connectivity. You just pop off the old one and 'upgrade'. They have done this in the past with extra internals etc... Never underestimate the power of the dongle. Apple doesn't.

    I am not dismissive of MOTU based on cost. I have used them in the past and I dismiss based on the results. Small and flat. Change out interface and viola' huge and musical. At least for what I do which is actual audio on electric guitars and bass using condenser and tube mics with 2" tape dumps etc... A few VI's and some SSL and Neve plugs.
    The latency numbers are great with internal round trip at 0.7ms at 96kHz on FW.

    ----------

    They have their own drivers. At least for the last 13 years.
     
  15. zephonic macrumors 65816

    zephonic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    greater L.A. area
    #15
    OK, great. Good to know they are working on it.

    I am looking for that blind test on GS where many of the golden ears couldn't tell the measly MOTU apart from the expensive stuff...

    Will link when I find it. Meanwhile, this was the thread I referred to in my previous post:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1395762

    While 0.7 ms RTL @ 96 is very good, that is not what I'm talking about.

    I mean just how many VI's and plug-ins you can run at buffer sizes of 128 and lower before the system buckles. In that regard, MOTU PCI stuff is the best I am aware of for Mac. Their FW stuff is almost as good, albeit inherently limited by FW's bus bandwidth.
     
  16. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #16
    That's not what their site says. <shrug>

    But I think CoreAudio is pretty awesome and probably near to impossible to beat, no?
     
  17. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #17
    Their driver is a core audio driver, yes. As I understand it it is an extension. But where theirs starts and hands off to Apple I don't know. Anyway, sorry for the hijack. Minutia...If you can make stuff sound good that's all that ever matters. I just wasn't able to previously with Motu and Presonus and Lexmark and RME. And I needed power to do it. That's why the 64 tracks on a 8-year old laptop made me laugh. Because I can't get that many with all the bells and whistles on my Mac Pro now. Not without freezing stuff. 48 probably. Core Audio overload way before this. Bug or not. All the interfaces exhibited this. The metric halo just less. Plus it has amazing DSP plugs to use and build ala' Cycling74's MaxMSP.

    ----------

    Oh man. We went for it. :D
    Thanks for drudging that up.
     
  18. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #18
    I bumped it too. :D
     

Share This Page