iMac or recording studio?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ghostterm, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. ghostterm macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2010
    hi guys,

    I have a question and I'm sort of puzzled of what to do.

    I just recently bought an imac 2 months for video editing purposes for another project.

    I'm a songwriter and rapper. I'm working on writing 5 of my best songs for a demo and getting them recorded.

    I've recorded one song through GarageBand in 4 different parts. I listened to it and sounds pretty good.

    My question is, I've read on several forums that you can use the iMac as a recording studio.

    Is it better to go with an iMac or am I better off going to a professional recording studio with the works.

    now I know some have the same thing which is a macbook pro or an imac but they also have additional expensive looking equipment that I don't have with a little room thats behind glass and the engineer is looking towards you with his equipment right in front.

    I've heard that you can get AUTHENTIC sound when you go with a studio but then I've heard from Jimmy Iovine that once a piece of music is transferred over and burn't to a CD and you place it in your car stereo or computer, you don't get nearly is good as sound.

    so if that's the case then, common sense would say iMac is probably the way to go.

    I want to choose the best option.

    so which is better an imac or the REAL THING which is a professional recording studio?

    help me out guys.....
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    For professional audio production you have to get it done at a studio, unless you want to buy top quality microphones, amps, mixers, editing software etc and do it yourself. When you burn a CD of finished tracks from the studio you will retain audio fidelity, it's only when you import at a low bitrate like 128Kbps that you lose quality.
  3. DJJAZZYJET macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2011
    mate, garageband is awful. LOGIC PRO is probably the best most professional industry standard music production software you can get, i think it has the best interface on the market, and is clean and sophisticated. Garageband is not professional and is for kids that are bored and have nothing to do.
  4. Gapinwales macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011

    Agree, garageband is just an app to relieve boredom. I have logic pro, unused thus far, but will be using it to make some music for a documentary i'll be making and editing in final cut pro in the coming months.
  5. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    This is all fine and dandy but the OP does not sound like a pro yet. So best advice is get in a studio and pay attention. You will not be making platinum records by turning your Mac on at your house and spitting into a 500.00 mic.
    Think of the iMac as more of a "Demo machine" way better than a 4-track used to be but limiting by the training and external gear needed to do a good job.
    If you can get in and out of a studio for the price of an iMac it may not be a very good one:)
  6. formkatze macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2004
    I don't think going into the studio is necessarily your best move. I recorded an album on a MacBook with a MIDI keyboard, a $100 mic and a $130 recording interface (without going into a professional studio and watching pros at work) and have sold 40,000 songs from that album so far. I'm working on an iMac now (doing video production on it, too).

    The question is, what's worth more to you: the time you'll have to invest in learning how to engineer and produce a great record, or the money you'd have to invest in having someone else do it? For me, doing it on my own was by far the better choice.

    Absolutely get Logic Pro if you decide to go my route, though.
  7. dskmac, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    dskmac macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2011
    You need to think of a few things before using your imac for music production.

    The first thing is to make sure you have an audio interface that can help provide you with better sound processing. The sound card in the imac is decent, but when you start adding any plugins it can grind your machine to a halt. Ram is also important too. if you have a new i5 or i7, the stock ram you have with your system will do for the time being. A decent pair or monitors (speakers), would be good too.

    The second thing is to probably learn a more versatile application like logic rather than garageband. You would want more flexibility when recording and mixing, logic will be a better choice over garageband for that.

    There is a common misconception that you can only achieve pro quality sound at a studio. If you have a understanding of the recording process, (mic levels, room treatment, dynamics, equalization and effects processing), you can create quality work in your pre production studio.

    A lot of times a producer can have a finished beat that is radio ready straight form their pre production studio, and only need to head to a pro studio to have an artist sing or rap on their track. of course this is if the producer doesn't have a properly acoustically treated room at home.

    So to sum it up...your imac or macbook pro is perfectly fine to start producing music on. Just get a proper audio interface, monitors (speakers), and start making music.:cool:
  8. dXTC, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    An iMac can indeed be the core of a professional-grade home studio setup. It can't do it by itself, however. As dskmac and others have indicated, you will need a good audio interface from the likes of PreSonus, M-Audio or Tascam-- preferably a FireWire-enabled one, which guards against digital audio dropouts during multi-track recording and playback.

    I readily agree that GarageBand is an audio "sketch pad" at best. Get Logic Express at an absolute minimum, and Logic Pro if you have the budget. Digidesign/Avid ProTools also works, and Avid sells hardware interfaces that work with the various ProTools flavors (and sometimes even come bundled with ProTools LE).

    Myself, I have Cakewalk SONAR Producer running in XP via Boot Camp on my iMac. I can layer eight or nine software synths with effects and a smattering of vocal tracks in 24-bit, with no more than 25% CPU utilization. I could have gone with Logic Pro, but I had already invested several hundred dollars and many hours of work in the Cakewalk system and didn't want to throw it away when I switched to Mac. Luckily, OS X Leopard came out right about then, and its Boot Camp feature let me maintain my investment.

    EDIT: Oh, and that Jimmy Iovine comment the OP mentions is on the money. There is no widely-available format that allows regular music consumers the ability to hear exactly what producers/engineers heard in the studio. During a particular track's preparation for release (i.e. mastering), the multiple layers of 24- or 32-bit sound have been compressed to a single 16-bit stereo audio track and often altered, sometimes dramatically, to sound louder.
  9. EricT43 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    The other question to ask yourself is what do you plan to do with the recordings? If it is for a demo in which you will market yourself to producers and record labels, then your home demo will probably be fine. They want to hear how good you and your songs are, not how good of a recording engineer you are.
  10. Icarus73 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007
    The quality you get has way more to do with the operator than the equipment. I've seen the best gear run by idiots and it sounds like crap. I've also seen mediocre gear run by geniuses and it sounds amazing.
  11. spacepower7, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    This is the most sensible answer yet. Do you think Picasso and divinci worried about their paintbrushes compared to others. Make your art with the tools that you have..

    If other people like it than they will pay for your studio time.

    I worked in recording studios for several years, recording unimpressive talent. Use your computer to help refine your skills before you pay anyone else.

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