MacBook Air for Logic?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by MarkW19, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. MarkW19, Feb 17, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012

    MarkW19 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm thinking of getting a MBA for recording in Logic when away from home, and also using MainStage for live use. It'll be the 11" 1.6/4GB/128GB, so hardly any space left on the internal HD after Logic has been installed.

    To get around this, would it be possible to have all the Logic sounds/samples (as well as Ivory II) on a 128GB USB flash drive (memory stick); would this work well, and stream off the drive at a high speed?

    Any advice appreciated!
     
  2. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I like the MBA as it's so much more portable than my current 15.4" MBP (early 2008, 2.5 C2D) for live use; I could get the internal 256GB SSD, but if it can be done efficiently on a USB flash drive, that will save some money...
     
  3. PAPO macrumors 6502

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    #3
    a 15" MBP is still very portable, and it's a real powerhouse, unlike the MBA which while it is good for most people it's a bit of a wimp for things like logic
     
  4. MarkW19, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Thanks for the replies. I find my 15.4" MBP on the big/heavy side for regular live use (compared to e.g. an 11" MBA); I have so much to carry around that if I can make some cuts here and there it'll make a big difference.

    I'll limit its live use to MainStage, not going overboard on what I expect it to do (my early 2008 2.5GHz C2D MBP with 4GB RAM handled everything I need fine, so judging from the benchmarks, the 1.6 MBA with 4GB RAM, and the faster SSD, should be even better)? I have a new iMac on the way that I'll be using at home for the bulk of any work, so I just need something reasonable for live use.

    I just need to decide whether a USB 2 flash drive will be fast enough to store the MainStage samples/instruments on; or whether it'd be a lot better to get the 256GB internal SSD?
     
  5. swartzfeger macrumors member

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    Feb 9, 2012
    #5
    Just my .02 --

    Having carried two anvil flight cases, an ampeg head and bass cabinets up two flights of stairs for gigs at a particular club, the difference in weight between a 11" MBA and 15" MBP amuses me a little. :D

    That said, I think the MBA gets slagged too much for what it can't supposedly do in Logic. If you're not running dozens of instances of BFD 2, Omnisphere, Massive and Kontakt etc, it's a pretty capable little machine for portable recording and should do ok for Mainstage. Lots of folks on gearslutz seem happy with the MBA having proper expectations of its capabilities

    Trying to shoehorn an OS and DAW into a little 128GB internal and then offloading your samples etc onto a jump/thumb drive just seems like a ridiculous hoop to jump through simply to save carrying weight and installing a larger size SSD.

    I recall reading someone trying something similar to what you described and the thumb drive quickly failed due to the constant reads/writes, ie, he came to the conclusion that the flash drive is cheaply made and engineered to shuttle files between machines and not be used as a day-to-day work drive. Completely anecdotal and just something I read on the net, YMMV, etc etc.

    Without a doubt I would get the 256GB internal.
     
  6. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Swartz: thanks for your input!

    Every little helps with the weight (I too carry a lot: 3 keyboards inc. a 30KG 88-key [the latter controlling MainStage], often a large amp in a smaller venue, etc.); and while the weight of the MacBook (whichever it is) is obviously the lightest by far, I'm trying to cut down my rig this year by cutting down on the keyboards, getting a lighter main controller and amp, and wanting to just take around the bare minimum with me (I always envy the singer who rarely even turns up with her own mic!), as seemingly small changes in a number of areas, will definitely make a noticeable difference. Hence, if the MBA can do the job I want well, I'd choose that over one with additional size/weight, considering I have the more powerful iMac at home. More importantly, after setup I often take the MB with me to look at the set/do some edits/tweaks etc., so I'm lugging it round with me all the time at many venues, and the MBA would be so much better for this. In terms of recording, again if I do use Logic on it, it would be just to get tracks down and do some very simple edits; with the bulk of the work done on the iMac.

    I'm sure you're right with the USB stick, they're not designed for it; as such, so I don't regret it later, I think I'll go for the 256GB :)
     
  7. firestarter, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2012

    firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #7
    Logic 9 was released almost 3 years ago. The current Air is a great deal faster than any of the 2009 laptops... and while it's not the 'optimal' platform to run Logic on, the app will perform very well.

    Probably a good idea to max out memory and flash drive space... although you don't have to fill your disk with all those loops and virtual instruments if you're not using them.
     
  8. bwhli macrumors 6502a

    bwhli

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    #8
    I worry that the screen might be a bit small. I would opt for the 13 inch Air. Actually I think that's going to be my next laptop purchase. Logic will run fine on it, and obviously you wouldn't be using lots of tracks and plugins. I would invest in a Thunderbolt drive for sample libraries.
     
  9. polaris20 macrumors 68020

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #9
    Nonsense. Logic 9 runs fine on my 2009 2.53ghz MacBook Pro. On a modern MBA with an i5 and SSD, it'll be no problem at all.
     
  10. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Just got the 11" Air delivered today, and it's pretty amazing. As above, my 2008 2.5 MBP ran Logic pretty well for what I need (a good number of big virtual instruments and plugins, and a reasonable number of audio/MIDI tracks, but nothing extreme), and I don't think I even pushed it to its limits, so the new Air with 4GB RAM and the 1.6GHz Core i5 should be absolutely fine.

    The machine is actually bigger than I was expecting (hadn't seen one in person before ordering), not quite as tiny as I imagined; but it's definitely extremely portable and very light. Very manageable to use around the house, throw in a bag, and take gigging.

    I don't find the screen small at all - it's relatively high resolution, and fits a lot on it. It feels very natural, not uncomfortable at all, and I got used to the higher res so quickly that when I went back to my 23" cinema display the text etc. seemed unnecessarily huge!

    The SSD is just fantastic, very quick and responsive; the machine basically screams in everything I've tried so far. I'll give Logic and MainStage a go tomorrow, but I'm optimistic! The only negative I've seen so far is the battery life, which isn't great (think I got about 3 hours from a full charge today, with 40% brightness, keys backlight off and doing only light things), but I was expecting that; also the graphics/animations in the OS are a bit choppy in places and not as fluid as they could be, but it's not a problem.

    Overall I absolute love the machine and its size, and I think it should be great for relatively light use of Logic and MainStage away from home.
     

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