iMac vs. iMac Pro for Recording Music

JPM42

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 21, 2007
275
7
Like many of you, I've been waiting patiently to upgrade my iMac and today it's finally here. My goal is to use my next desktop to record music, using Logic Pro. I use a fair amount of virtual instruments and do a lot of audio editing. Beyond music, though, I'd like to venture into some moderate Photoshop and Final Cut work, but primarily, I'll be using this to record and mix music. Based on that, and wanting to keep this for a while, I was thinking of ordering the following iMac:

  • 4.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
  • 1TB SSD
  • Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB video memory
My questions are:

1. Will this be enough horsepower to do fairly sophisticated projects in Logic? For instance, if I needed to run dozens of tracks of virtual instruments, or mix a lot of audio with plugins, etc., would I run into any hiccups? Or would an iMac Pro service me better? Ideally, I'd like to not spend that much money, particularly if it's overkill.

2. I plan to upgrade the RAM on this. At least in the interim, would 32 GB of RAM suffice for my needs or would 64 GB be necessary? Obviously the more RAM you can get, the better, but at least for now, what would be the bare minimum to sufficiently get my tasks done?

Thanks!
 

ekwipt

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2008
823
229
Dozens of tracks is nothing, the current Kabylake iMac will be fine for you, you could wait and it'll be a much better iMac maybe .25-.5 more performance?

32 Gb of RAM is fine also

Get the smallest video card you can get, you don't need it for audio and FCPX will run just fine as well
 

kimguroo

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2007
75
6
I have same situation like you. I needed new computer for my audio recording projects in Dec but Did not want to buy late 2015 iMac. Waited forever and I thought new iMac will be released on Oct. I can't wait anymore so I decided to order late 2015 iMac last week but I had to travel so postponed my order. Finally new iMac was released with upcoming IMac pro.
Late 2015 model is already good enough to record Audio projects with many virtual instruments. I thought about Mac Pro but decided to go with IMac. New iMac is better than previous generation so IMac is enough.
I felt IMac pro might be needed for Video works but for audio works, new iMac will be okay.
Make sure that 27" i7 and SSD option.
I will place an order 27" I7 516SSD. Not sure about ram yet but 32GB might be enough but need to wait what third party dealers will offer. Prefer two 16gb but much more pricy than 4x8gb.
 
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tich

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2012
62
36
Los Angeles, CA
The configuration you specified above should be plenty. I'll be getting the same thing myself, mostly for editing and mixing medium-large film sessions in Pro Tools. It should be noted that if you plan to work with video (i.e. scoring to picture) or plan on using multiple high-res monitors, a beefier graphics card will definitely help to an extent.

Sampler VI's tend to be very RAM hungry and usually only moderately taxing on the processor, whereas synth VIs tax the processor more heavily but can be lighter on RAM, since they don't have massive sample libraries to load. Suffice it to say, the more RAM, the more VI's you can run simultaneously. Also I don't know about Logic, but Pro Tools has a RAM buffer that comes in super handy if you're playing sessions off of slower storage media, which is another good use for RAM. You'd probably get by just fine with 32GB but will for sure be good with 64GB.
 
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