MBP or Imac for audio recording. need expert advice

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by RHELF, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. RHELF macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2010
    Hey all,

    I know I could have posted this in the buying tips forum but I wanted to get advice from the pro audio world.

    I am an experienced audio engineer fluent on both mac and pc, however I will be purchasing my first mac very soon.

    I am fully aware that I will get more "bang for my buck" with an Imac over a macbook pro as far as HDD size, RAM, processor speed, etc.(Mac Pro is out of the budget at the moment) However, the portability of the MBP is just too tempting so I am leaning toward the MBP over the Imac.

    That being said, how are you guys and your MBP's holding up as far as relatively complex projects? I guess what I would like to know is, how does it hold up running multiple plugins on multi-track recordings? Any lag or latency? I'm not talking about 48 track songs, but average 10-25 tracks with live instruments and CPU hungry plugins?

    Here's what I have been using as far as interface and software. I suppose I should clarify that plugin libraries and projects are saved to an external drive.

    MOTU 828MKII
    Logic Studio 9(I am experienced in it but don't have a mac yet to use it on)
    Native Instruments Komplete 6
    Cubase 5(may or may not use both logic and cubase)
    Halion Symphonic Orchestra
    Spectrasonics Omnisphere
    URS Everything EQ Bundle
    Arturia Analog Factory
    and a few other smaller plugins and some outboard gear.

    The other question I had was, if I upgrade the hard drive and/or RAM myself, will that void my applecare? I asked someone at my local apple store and they said it would, but I have been hearing otherwise all over the place. I also read in my girlfriend's 2009 MBP manual that you can do it but obviously the drive would not be covered under apple's warranty. This is why I am a bit confused.

    I'm just trying to get a feel if I will be okay with the MBP or if I am being stupid and I should just get the Imac. I will wait for the new MBP to come out before making any purchases though.

    Thanks everyone. I don't post that often, but I am a big fan of these forums and read them just about every day.
  2. Penguissimo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2009
    My apologies for not being experienced enough to answer your other questions, but I can at least answer this for you. With a unibody MBP, the RAM and hard drive are both user-serviceable parts. Apple even posts instructions for changing them:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3419 (this is for the 17" model, but they have similar guides for the other models as well)

    The hard drive was not officially user-serviceable on the pre-unibody MBPs, and replacing it yourself on these machines would technically void your warranty, but upgrading your RAM hasn't been a problem on Mac laptops for as long as I can remember. It's sad that so many Apple employees are over a year behind the times on the hard drive front (and, like, 15 years behind the times re: RAM :p).

    So you can upgrade to your heart's content and rest easy! Some people recommend keeping the original parts to swap back in if the machine ever needs to go for service—not because removing them voided the warranty, but because Apple apparently doesn't like servicing machines that don't have all their original equipment in them.
  3. RHELF thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2010
    Thanks alot. That definitely puts my mind at ease!
  4. mannix87 macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2005
    in the southeast
    i'd go with a MBP w/ 4GB RAM for more portability & it'll be able to handle your requirements as you listed quite easily.
  5. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2006
    I run Logic Studio 8 with an Apogee Duet on a MBP (late 2008 unibody, 4GB, 2.53GHz, 320GB 7200RPM HDD). I routinely do 10-15 tracks with 1-4 plugins on each. I don't have any problems and I even record to the internal drive for now.

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