Music Composition - help with choosing setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mrzig, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. mrzig macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2015

    I'm taking my music recording in the direction of large project, professional commercial composition. It's a new endeavor and I am assembling the gear, but have yet to settle on the computer set up.

    I'll be using Cubase 8, Kontakt and Vienna Strings, as well as recording a few live instruments. In other words, I'll use a lot of virtual instruments and potentially a lot of tracks. I have my RAID setup chosen, but am unsure what computer setup to get. I don't need advanced graphics processing.

    I definitely want something that is somewhat future proof.... as much as that exists in technology. I'd rather have a little room to grow as far as processing and RAM goes, but of course, I want to spend as little as possible.

    I was looking at a 6 core mac pro with 64 gigs RAM, but that is really tough on the budget. I also saw a 32 gig 4 core imac, which I could afford. I'm trying to get the most RAM and cores for the money, but have yet to find the ideal bang for the buck option.

    Any suggestions or experiences that you would be willing to share to aid in this decision?

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Samuelsan2001, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015

    Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Go with a 2015 5K iMac 4.0ghz i7 it will take 64GB of RAM (and it is user replacable) and it sits between the quad core and the hex core MP in benchmarks. For the mid range (you don't need the better graphics with a 512GB SSD and upgrade to the 4.0 GHz i7 it's $2700 direct from apple.

    and those are for the 2014 the skylake in the new ones should be faster. (but the 2014 maxes out at 32GB RAM)

    A 64GB RAM kit is around $700 World Computing/1867DDR3S64S/
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm not familiar with the apps you're going to be using, but do you need that much ram and cores?

    The iMac can perform just as fast if not faster then some of the Mac Pro and the given the redesigned Mac Pro hasn't been updated since its initial release, I wonder if that's a good use of money.
  4. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    I write music as well, but use logic Pro on macs (coming from Cubase 8 on Windows) and have tons of sound libraries too.

    You do not need the mac pro.

    The 15" rMBP would do everything you need. Get it on sale for $1799, get a nice monitor and the apple keyboard/track pad - put it in clamshell mode and you'll be good. Or spring for the 512GB version at $2249 with bhphotovideo (best buy also price matches them), or the 1 TB version.

    It's an i7 quad core with 16GB ram, and a very fast SSD. The bonus being it's a laptop, so you can move your setup anywhere.
  5. mrzig thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2015
    Thank you for your replies.

    Samuelsan, those links are super helpful, thank you. Just to be clear, I would get the lowest RAM possible upon ordering and then replace it with the 64gb kit.

    David, I don't want to overkill, but the spinning wheel of death has me scared. It's such an energy/vibe killer with music. If that setup has worked for you and you use many VI's, that is good news on my end. Do you use VSL?
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yep upgrade the RAM yourself it's the only way to get 64GB not that I think you need it for Logic unless you are doing every individual instrument track from the philharmonic, but if thats what you want thats the way to do it.

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