MBP for music? Screen size and Processor Q's

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by MickyMacMonkey, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. MickyMacMonkey macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    New to the forum, new to MBP, need some wise advice.

    Been a long time desktop user running mainly Cubase, been out of the music production thing for a few years now, want to get back into it but have the urge to go portable now that lappys are fairly cheap ( I said fairly :eek: ) and very powerful.

    I have set my heart on a MBP I want to run Logic, probably just the Express version to start off with as I have never used Logic before. My main worries are firstly, screen space and secondly, processor power.

    I have done a bit of research and the nice guy at my local Apple store had Logic Studio up and running on a beefed up Quad Core tower, was very impressive but they unfortunately didn't have Logic on any of their new MBPs yet.

    The nice man scaled the screen down on the Quad Core machine to a size that was around 13" so I could get an idea of how it might look on a smaller MBP, it seemed to look good, alot clearer than I had imagined but I am worried I might regret not getting a bigger screen later on.

    I realise I can always output to an external screen if I am struggling with it but then I lose my portability and I liked the idea of putting a 13" in a bag, grab a small controller keyboard, headphones and making music on the bus or at a McDonalds or at a graveyard!!

    I can only realistically afford the top end 13" MBP but I could scrape enough together for the bottom end 15" one if I put in some extra hours at work.

    Onto to my 2nd worry, and I'll keep it brief, processor power.

    A 2.53GHz 13" or 15" MBP...is that a pretty powerful little machine right there? And is the £200 leap from 2.53Ghz to 2.66GHz on the 15" really, honestly noticeable when running an intensive program like Logic?

    I think that's all, I've read that the 13" lacks a dedicated graphics something or other that the 15" and 17" have but I won't be using it for gaming or video editing so is kinda wasted on me, am I right on that or have I missed something?

    Really appreciate any replies, cheers.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    FOr portable recording you could get used to a 13" screen. But I'd not want to spend time mixing and editing on a 13" screen. Buy a larer monitor for home and office use.

    The idea of being portable is nice but really only works for very small sets. After all to record a full band you are still going to need a crate load of mic stands, booms, cables, mics, audio interface, external hard drive, backup drives and so on. The computer is the smallest part of that. Only a very minimal setup is portable.
  3. joe.cavers macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    In regard to screen size, I use my 13" Macbook for Ableton a lot when I'm out and about. You get used to the size.

    Re: Processor power, I'm running Logic on a 2.33 Ghz MBP with 3gb of (DDR2) RAM. No issues, ever. 2.53 with 4gb of DDR3 will be an absolute TANK of a machine if you're not familiar with the program yet.

    Also, Logic Studio is worth investing in now, when you get into Logic express, you'll wish you'd spent the small amount extra for the large amount extra you get.


    P.S. Look for SFLogicNinja on youtube to help you get started, great tutorials!
  4. MickyMacMonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    Thanks for the feedback. The music I would be trying to create will be of distinctly electronic vibe, lots of soft synths, drum machines, weird sci fi samples, there ain't gonna be alot of guitars or mics to tell you the truth.

    I have worked out that the 15" 2.53GHz is gonna cost me about another £180 and for that I get the upgrade to a 320GB hard drive spinning at 7200rpm rather than the 5400 only option on the 13"

    PLUS I get the extra 2" screen space and enhanced graphics chip.

    I think I will go down this route, unless somebody can find a flaw in my theory.
  5. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
    i'd definitely go with the bigger screen size, it should definitely help you out especially if your trying to keep all the production in the box so to speak. When it comes to the arts n crafts (photos, video, audio) the higher spec machine you have the better, especially when your running alot of reverbs and delays in logic. You wont regret it! :-D

  6. joe.cavers macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    Think of it more as you get an extra 160 x 160 pixels on screen. 19" to 20" monitor is only 1" in size, but a good 200x150 extra in pixels, definitely enough to make it worth upgrading (I'm talking about monitors here of course, not laptops :)).

    Aside from that, nice choice, get the 15". You'll pay more now but you won't regret it later :)

  7. seisend macrumors 6502a


    Feb 20, 2009
    Switzerland, ZG
    Get the Logic Full version and a 15" MacBook Pro, I think 13" screen is way to small for working with logic ! And your mobile CPU for Logic can't be fast enough. So get what you can afford.CPU power is very important for massive arrangements or recording audio higher than 48 khz.
  8. JhamCT macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2009
    I'm running Logic on a 13" Early '09 Macbook (2.0ghz). It ran fine stock, but I upgraded to a 7200rpm drive, and 4 gigs of ram. *Any* of Apples machines will deliver flawless digital audio performance - even the Mini if you up the ram. I've been working with digital audio workstations for 12yrs now - you have nothing to worry about with today's Core2Duo machines.

    The 13" is screen is a compromise, but the price difference between the 13" MBP and the 15" MBP is more than enough to get a nice external monitor.

    That being said, my wife just bought the 15" MBP. I lobbied her to get the 13", but she preferred the bigger screen. The portability of the 13" is great, but personally, I think I would get the 15" if I was to upgrade, after typing on hers and using it. It's nicer. The 13" screen is a little contrained. YMMV.

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