Macbook for Music Production?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by djmitchcraven1, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. djmitchcraven1 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2012
    #1
    Hello everyone! I am going to start classes at a Music Production school in March and am going to buy my first macbook ever! I will be running programs like Traktor, Ableton Live 8 etc. What is the best Macbook to purchase for these kinds of programs? Also, although it is not essential I was curious if anyone would know if there would be enough room on the Mac to for Steam and Counter Strike:Source. Thanks in advance everyone!
     
  2. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #3
    I have the MBP 17" top end model...It does a great job, but be warned...It's a lump to cart about. I would try for the top end 15" with 8GB Ram...Should be fine for your needs, but as posted above, it's your budget that counts here.

    Refurbs. from Apple are worth looking at, great value and all warrantied as normal.
     
  3. djmitchcraven1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2012
    #4
    Well, I think I read Macbooks start at 1800 for the 15' so its 1800 and over really.
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #5
    You will be fine with that budget. Check out those refurbs too.
     
  5. djmitchcraven1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 22, 2012
    #6
    DO you think there would be enough space leftover for CSS and Steam? Or should I go with a higher RAM? and also will do they that in store or do I have to do it on my own accorD?
     
  6. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular

    MonkeyBrainz

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    Feb 18, 2012
    #7
    I wouldn't upgrade your RAM through Apple since they hike up the price to ridiculous amounts. I'd get as much as you can from reliable companies such as Other World Computer (OWC) ~> www.macsales.com

    You can upgrade the latest MacBook Pros to 16 GB of RAM... though that may be overkill for your needs, but you can never have too much RAM, IMO... especially in production environments (i.e. music, video, etc.).

    Just make sure you at least get the model with a dedicated graphics card.
     
  7. JamesGorman macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

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    #8
    Base 15" 8GB Ram, and a 750GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive will work perfectly. No need for the "higher end" 15" macbook pro
     
  8. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular

    MonkeyBrainz

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    #9
    Again... it's utterly stupid to get all the highest upgrades through Apple as it will cost 2-4 times as much than upgrading via third-party options. Apple charges 200 dollars to upgrade from 4 GB of RAM to 8 GB and you can get 8 GB through OWC for 40 bucks. That is effectively 5 times more expensive. He could get 12 gigs of RAM through OWC and still have 50 bucks leftover.

    The base 15" does have dedicated graphics though, but I would recommend getting the base model with base specs and upgrading the RAM and HDD via third-party options (i.e. OWC, Newegg, etc.)
     
  9. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #10
    Actually, right now it's quite reasonable to do the hard drive upgrade right now through Apple, although you do get a longer warranty if you go third-party (though with AppleCare, it'll be reasonably similar). The 750GB 7200RPM drive upgrade is only $150, and those same drives are $159 on Amazon. I agree on the RAM, however.

    jW
     
  10. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular

    MonkeyBrainz

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    #11
    Hence, why you look out for deals. I bought my 750 GB 7200 RPM drive off Newegg when it was on sale for 85 bucks. However, you are correct in that the upgrade from Apple is a general price range for those drives, so it's certainly not as bad. Just always scout around for deals. The drive I bought is still functioning great after two years, but I'm planning on an entirely new laptop upgrade come the refresh (not that you asked about that or even care :p )
     
  11. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

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    #12
    Yes, but you forget that the upgrade price through Apple only gets you the drive (as they keep the base drive so it is in essence almost double that price as you already pay for the original drive), with the aftermarket route, you still have the original to use in an external case as a back up, or a second drive in an optibay (if you swing that way). Bigger savings going the aftermarket route.
     
  12. JamesGorman macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

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    #13
    I never said he had to get those upgrades through apple.
     
  13. MonkeyBrainz macrumors regular

    MonkeyBrainz

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    Feb 18, 2012
    #14
    No, you didn't. Just wanted to make sure he didn't click away on their website with upgrades when making his purchase. Unless he'd prefer just having everything as is when he gets it. Removing 800 screws to replace the RAM/Hard Drive isn't hard, but it can be annoying.
     
  14. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #15
    True, and that's probably what I would do myself. However, whether the OP should do that depends on his confidence in his ability to do the upgrade (simple as it may be), and willingness to pay others to fill in the gaps in his/her abilities. I know many people that should not attempt to upgrade their drives themselves.

    OP, just as an added mention, if you decide to do the upgrade yourself, do two things first: Make a flash drive of the Lion installer via the guides you can find on this forum, and boot the computer with the drive that comes in it and log into the Mac App Store to register your iLife apps with your account. This will likely save you some headache later on in the process.

    jW
     
  15. grrrz macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2012
    #16
    13" is plenty for music production
    have been happily using the white macbook for 4 years, have switched to mbp 13" few weeks ago for more processing headroom
    I get 28% at this stress test
    http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111880
    with 8 tracks, and can go to between 20 and 32 tracks before hearing clicks depending on latency/sampling freq, still using this test,so 2 reverb per track, mid quality, + 4 aux with 2 verbs so that's between 48 and 72 reverbs working at the same time.
    Unless working at high sampling rate you'll probably won't need this much processing power.
    Plus easier to carry and good for gigs (where space is limited and it's easier to hide).
    15" macbook are a waste of money for this usage.
    You better upgrade the ram, add an ssd and an optibay (yourself it's cheaper)
    The ssd works great in this context for samplers like kontakt that use direct from disk reading.
    And if you need a graphic card just for gaming, the difference beetween 13 and 15" buys you a good windows desktop.
    one issue though: the fan kicks in full speed when using live on a second monitor, due to the graphic card being on the same chip as the processor and working harder. So it's a bit noisy (triing to find a workaround right now)
    It won't happen on internal display unless it's a heavy session, and no problem at all with protools.
     
  16. floobie, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012

    floobie macrumors member

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    #17
    Which one is sufficient will depend on how many plugins you use. Even 5 year old MacBooks can run a DAW competently enough if you're just recording audio. But, the more soft synths, samplers, amp sims, or general effects you have running in a particular project, the more processing power you're going to need.

    I personally use Logic with quite a lot of plugins (mostly Native Instruments), and I bought a new 15" Macbook Pro (see signature) specifically to get things running better. I was using a 2008 aluminum Macbook before, and I'd get constant overload errors even with the majority of the tracks frozen. Now, using the same projects with none of the tracks frozen, and a nice small buffer setting for low latency, I never get any overload errors anymore. And the fans aren't screaming away at full tilt either, like the used to. I can't speak for Ableton, but Logic benefits heavily from as many threads as possible... which is why an i7 with hyper threading performs as well as it does. Using what seems to be somewhat of a standard Logic benchmark from Gearslutz, I can run about 73 tracks before I can't play anything back anymore. The i5 equipped Macbook Pros max at about 50 tracks. My old Macbook maxed at about 17. The current Airs and 13" Pros max at around 20-25.

    I think a safe, middle-ground sort of approach would be the following:

    Base 15" Macbook Pro
    - 2.2ghz i7 (the fact that it's an i7 with hyper threading should give you pretty damn good performance)
    - 8gb RAM (don't get it through Apple, buy it yourself from Newegg or something and save about 150 bucks)
    - 750gb 7200rpm HDD. Space won't be an issue, and the faster drive speed will make a difference.
    - I would (and did) go with the high res screen (1680x1050). The extra screen real estate is quite an asset. Glossy or anti-glare as per your preferences.

    Going for the top end 15" MBP would give you a faster i7, a bigger HDD stock, and more powerful graphics. Whether or not that's worth it is up to you.
     
  17. grrrz macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2012
    #18
    More powerful is certainly better, but the price difference between 13" and 15" seems not justified,
    live is probably lighter than logic (protools isn't), I've been pretty conservative and with my usage coming from the white macbook, and I've not yet run superintensive session yet, but I haven't seen the cpu usage hit more than 30% yet in both my live and protools session.
    I don't know typical composition session is around 8-10 max consuming instruments (massive, kontakt, tassman, symptohm, guru), 10 audio tracks, eq, comp, for all of those, a few reverb, delays, a few distos, a few homemade max4live midi/audio inserts, and consuming mastering plug-ins.
    For live performance, even improv it's typically less.
    I don't need more. And that's what hits 30% in live (need more testing to confirm this). latency is 128 and 24 bits/44.1 or 48khz.

    Maybe if you want to definitely switch to 96 kHz the 15" can be insteresting.
    Anyway I have a mac mini 1,83 core 2 duo machine for installation projects and as backup for live gigs, and my live gig sessions run smooth on it (and it's a lot more than a 2 track Dj gig)
     

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