Logic/Mainstage on a Macbook?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Mr. Monsieur, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Mr. Monsieur macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Hey folks!

    I'm about to upgrade my computer and I'm trying to decide whether to get a MacBook or a MBPro. Essentially, the only reason I would get a MBP is if I would need it to run Mainstage. I've read seemingly contradictory things about this issue, so I'd be grateful if someone could clear it up for me: could I run Mainstage on a MacBook 2 Ghz?
    This is what the page on Apple.com says about it:

    "Additional recommendations for MainStage

    * Standard graphics card in any Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iMac with Intel Core Duo, Power Mac G5, or iMac G5"

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
  2. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2002
    Surrey, UK
    I got my MBP 2.2 (4GB, 200GB 7200) yesterday, and it's awesome! I'm running Mainstage on it, and it doesn't seem to be doing too bad - although, you do have to watch the instruments you select and how many notes you sustain at a time, to try and keep the CPU usage down.

    Anyway - if you upgrade Mainstage to the latest 1.0.2, you CAN run it on a MacBook - BUT, the graphics memory is shared with the processor. As Mainstage is (unfortunately) quite graphics intensive, this means that you're sharing your processing/RAM power (for your instruments, plugins etc.) with graphics - if you get the MBP, you have a dedicated graphics card, which can only give you more overall power.

    I had to make the same decision as you, and it's a close one - but I opted for the MBP (even though it was a lot more expensive, and I didn't seem to be getting that much more for my money!), just to give myself the best possible chance of a smooth-running system.

    Oh and, by the way - the sounds that Logic Studio comes with are AWESOME. It's such good value for money. When you get your head around Mainstage, it's also great to be able to put text/images for each patch - I have 45 songs to learn for a new band - in 2 weeks - and I'm hoping Mainstage is going to be invaluable to give me cues/notes for each song right there in front of me! :)
  3. exbone macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2008
    I run Mainstage on a Macbook 2.16 with 2 MB RAM and it is iffy using the built in audio interface. I use an Apogee Duet as my audio interface now and it makes all the difference. The sound is tremendous and it very rarely pops or gets backed up. I use the 128K recommended buffer setting.
  4. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2002
    Surrey, UK
    You must be using fairly simple sounds?

    I have a MacBook Pro 2.5 with 4GB RAM, and I find a buffer of 256 is by far the most usable (but I do often have a lot going on).

    BUT - the sound never pops, drops out, or anything, and I'm using the built-in interface. I use my MBP/Mainstage for pro live work, and it's never once been a slight problem, it's fantastic.

    It does require a lot of power though, and you have to watch which sounds you select.
  5. junior macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2003
    You use the built in audio for pro live work?! Whoa. I admire your guts.
    Though I must say it'll make a world of difference if you got yourself a proper interface.
  6. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2002
    Surrey, UK
    I did weeks of extensive testing/practising before I took it out live, and since I got my Penryn MBP (I had a 2.4 Merom briefly before), it's made the difference to the CPU never going into the red, and with no pops at all. It's been 100% fine (so far!). I have 2 sets I use - each with about 23 songs in them, each song containing anything between 2 sounds (piano/strings) and 9 (combination synthy/electronic sounds mainly), and the performance has been fantastic.

    I can't see how changing to an external audio interface will improve things much, the sound quality is fantastic as it is - at home I monitor (in Logic) through Genelec 1031 monitors, and live we use a high-end PA, and I'm more than happy with the sound quality on both, so I certainly wouldn't want to be taking yet another product out live with me.
  7. pournam macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2008
    Hi All!
    I'm new here.
    I'm about to get set up with a digital piano, maybe a Duet and a Macbook or a Macbook pro.

    Question is: would a new macbook 2.4 ghz be too slow for heavy MIDI usage in Logic? Or should I go for the pro 2.5+.
    I dont expect to do much live stuff or video stuff, just whacking it with lots of MIDI, composing various tracks using the keyboard and soft sounds. Complex music.

    Would you suggest Duet?


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