Mac Studio Set-Up

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by MacSiggy, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. MacSiggy macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Hello all, I hope this is the correct section for this.

    I've been thinking about switching from PC to Mac for some time now and, now that the iMac has been updated, it seems like a good time to make the plunge. I use my computer mainly for recording music, editing video/photos and general internet. I don't play games or anything else really.

    I want an iMac mainly due to cost and being fed-up of having wires everywhere! Looking at the current range I'm probably looking at the 20" 2.66GHz version, with Logic Express and Final Cut 4 Express.

    Now I'm not much of a technophile when it comes to computers, so it'd probably be better to explain my current set-up as I want it to work pretty much the same:

    Windows XP, Audiophile 24/96 soundcard, Eurorack MX602A mixer, Cubase VST 5 (old!!), M-audio Oxygen 8 (USB)

    In basic terms I plug my guitar, mic, bass etc into my mixer


    My soundcard has RCA connections for input and output, which seems to work well. I also use my computer for playing mp3s and playing along with my guitar through this set-up.

    Now I've read about the audio interfaces and ideally I'd like to use my mixer (or even upgrade my mixer) rather than plug straight into one of these interfaces. So first question:

    Is it worthwhile plugging my mixer straight into the audio input on the iMac or is the quality poor?

    If I have to buy an interface, I'd probably go for the Edirol FA66, which is Firewire. Does it matter much if it's USB or Firewire? Are there latency problems with USB? Also, I want to have a firewire port free for my camcorder, does the Firewire 800 accept 400 gizmos?

    My main concern is monitoring, so can someone advise me how best to connect a mixer, iMac and Amp without spending too much, but maintaining some quality? Probably a simple question for you lot!! Basically I want to set it up and never have to unplug anything again for another 5 years.


  2. hakukani macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2008
    Firewire is the way to go with a mac, hands down. Besides the latency advantages, you can daisy chain firewire devices together, so your camcorder would still work.

    Using the line in of an iMac is not a good solution, IMHO. You have to always make sure that you're not overloading the line in, and I don't think the line in on a mac is that great anyway.

    I know it's hard to give up the mixer, but I would have to recommend either selling or finding a different use for your mixer. I suppose you could use it to feed the line in of a decent interface, but why would you want to put an extra step in, where you can introduce noise into your signal chain?

    I already had a Mackie 1220 Onyx mixer as a submixer for live gigs (part of an insurance settlement--I burned up an old 1202). I just added the firewire option, and voila, I had a mixer that I could use for several different purposes.

    But if I had to go from scratch, I think I'd go for an apogee duet.:)
  3. MacSiggy thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Thanks for the advice. I've been look at the Duet and it looks like it would do the trick for me. It's a little bit more than I wanted to spend but it could be worth it.

    This is probably another easy question. Do you know if I would be able to play music from iTunes and play my guitar whilst listening to both through the headphones on the Duet (or any other interface)? I'm guessing the answer is yes but just want to make sure!!
  4. hakukani macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2008
    I don't own the duet, and I'm not sure about monitoring on the Duet, but if you put your file from iTunes on garageband (or, if you're like me, Logic), you can do this easily.

    I think you'll be happy with the Duet. I've used apogee preamps before, and they make great equipment.
  5. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    I recommend them left right and center and everybody comes back to me saying how great they are:

    Get an Alesis Multimix Firewire (not the USB version)


    8, 12 and 16 channel versions, and you can record each individual channel independently. Almost indefinitely flexible!
  6. MacSiggy thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    That's an interesting option, are there any downsides to this mixer, noise etc? Would this be used monitoring as well as input? Also, would I be able to use this alongside iTunes to play my guitar with headphones on?
  7. serega macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2007

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