Macbook Pro for Audio Creation/Production Help

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Sampadan, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Sampadan macrumors newbie


    May 23, 2008
    Hello All!

    At the end of July (bonus time:D) I am going to be buying my first decent spec mac.

    The only thing is, I'm not 100% sure of which model to buy to best suit my needs and I wanted to call upon your knowledge, expertise and personal experiences to help me make a more educated decision on how to spend my hard earned cash!

    * Comments from producers/audio technicians most welcome! *

    SO.....I'm an electronic music producer, I run multiple, CPU intensive, programs and processes at once. Currently using Logic Studio 8, Ableton Live, Serato SL3 (For live DJ performances - why a laptop is essential) and other audio editing programs (Sony Soundforge etc).

    Firstly - I'm unsure as to whether I should go for a 17" or 15" ? I've looked at the features and benefits of each and still cannot make up my mind.

    Ideally I'd like to go for a 17" - 2.98Ghz - 8GB RAM - 250GB Solid State HD and I am tempted however this will not be cheap and I was wondering if it's necessary to go all out or whether I can get decent performance from a "Lower Spec" model.

    Help Please - Have I left anything worth considering out etc.......

    Thanks - Sampadan!
  2. friareunuch macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2009
    Hi Sampadan,

    I've done music production on my powerbook for 5 years, with no problems. I can easily say it was the best purchase I have made. I have no doubt that your new system will rock. I'm a pro tools user primarily, and I do most of my work on a 22" display, but my 15" laptop gets the job done on its own too. At 15", I can get 8 tracks on the screen in medium track width.

    The res on the 17" is incomparable. I prefer the size of the 15, but dang ... the 17 is definitely tempting. (I'm looking to replace my PB as well)

    I'm going to wait as long as possible, maybe until Nehalem arrives for the laptops early next year. The SSD is a good idea, but don't get the apple BTO one. Get the intel x25-m.

    Here's what I would do if i were buying now:

    -4gb ram (i have ONE gb now, and it's fine. if you're buying 8, go to owc, don't use the BTO mac ram)
    -80gb intel x25-m for a boot/app drive (80gb is MORE than enough if you're storing sessions and media on an external)
    -1TB 7200 rpm lacie d2, to run my pro tools sessions off of

    Definitely don't run sessions off your solid state. They're great for launching, but constantly writing multi-gig session files and then moving/erasing them will bring your SSD performance down, and will eventually require a hard reformat, which is a pita.

    Also, I really like the matte screen, but that's a personal thing.
  3. xiovoix macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2009
    Maybe Ned Ludd was Right?
    Matte screen is way to go if in a live environment. I have the 2.53 2008 MBP glossy and the glare off flashing lights etc is very distracting indeed if not blinding. The 15" is more than adequate for the job but if a matte screen is required then $£:eek:. I run PT 8 LE, Reason, Logic (latter rewired into PT) and multiple plugins simultaneously.

    As for drives, SSD for boot etc is way to go but external FW800 for audio. I have a 2TB WD mybook2. It is quiet, fast and efficient. Ram, 8 is great but 4 leaves me quite limited in what I can do but still runs well i've had 29 tracks with EQS, compressors and standalone synths with fx running at once and more with no probs.

    Yeah wait till after WWDC to see if any bumps. Dubious if any but no harm in waiting (no point in predicting or second guessing what apple will do). Audio runs great on my MBP but on looking around for matte screen laptop pcs with good specs there are bargins to be had especially in the vaio & HP lines. Anyhoo hope you get something to do the job you want!
  4. ajmetz macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2006
    I got the 15" Unibody 2.8Ghz 4GB RAM, 250GB 7200rpm hard drive, to run Logic Pro 8, Native Instruments, and Reason. I got this, shortly after its unveiling, and before the 17 inch came out. No problems so far. I also got a FireFace 400, and was worried about the inferior firewire chipset...but I've been running it through the firewire port of an external hard drive daisychained to the machine (I don't have a 800 to 400 wire atm, so this has been my only way of doing it) with no problem.
    I did find when I used the mini display port, the FireFace light flashed red, but when I upgraded the mini display port drivers through Apple's Software Update, the problem went away, and I can now use the FireFace even with a second screen plugged in.

    I haven't done tonnes of tracks, or ran loads of plugins simultaneously yet, as I'm just starting out with my music production. But so far, what I have done, the 15" has handled without breaking a sweat.

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