Music Producer Needs Help Choosing Mac!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by urodiculis, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. urodiculis macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #1
    So Christmas Just passed and my grandparents are going to help me buy a new mac laptop. I need something that wont give me any problems recording mixing or producing my tracks. I mainly use Logic 8 and Pro Tools 8 or any software synths ill come across.

    Initially my first thought was to go to the high end 15" MBP but as a read more reviews and forums, I noticed that the important things for recording audio is a fast hard drive and Ram.

    So one of my questions is would it be smarter (or cheaper) to go for a low end MBP and buy 4gb of ram and a 7200rpm hard drive? Will the upgrade in Ram and Rpm out way the 2.4ghz to 2.53ghz? Does the 6mb Cache in the high end MBP matter much over the 3mb in the low end.

    Also I've been hearing that the high end Macbook matches very close in performance. Would it be wise to get that and buy 4gb of ram and a 7200rpm hard drive?

    Or should i just ditch the whole new macbook line and buy a last gen MBP and fully deck it out lol?

    All in all I need something that will get me through intense projects with no problems. 13" or 15" is the size range I want to stay in. For all the Mac producers or just Mac experts WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

    Thanks

    P.S. I can't customize a mac online because my grandfather will be buying it at the Navy Exchange *No Tax*!!
     
  2. Ploki macrumors 68000

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #2
    i went with mbp 2,53 stock
    mainly because of better cpu and Firewire :)
    so far hdd hasnt been too slow (5400)
    but when it become too slow ill replace it with 7200 and stick this one in an external case :)

    cheers
     
  3. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    Dec 26, 2008
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    North Korea
    #3
    Just go for a last gen refurb macbook pro, if you get a normal macbook you wont have audio in, is that something you need for your music production? a last gen macbook pro will perform just as well as a new unibody one for what you need, and i seriously doubt youll need to upgrade the hard drive either, however a bit more RAM may help :)
     
  4. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    Nov 14, 2006
    Location:
    Roanoke, VA
    #4
    Go with the Late 08 MBP 2.4 but with 4gb of ram. IF you have some money left over get a bigger faster hard drive, but that's optional.

    I do some sound recording myself (amateur church recordings) and I just have 2gb of ram and the stock hdd but it works fine.

    What program do you plan on using? Pro Tools? Soundtrack Pro?
    I use Amadeus Pro and it's super easy and works great, imo.
     
  5. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #5
    You'll want a MacBook Pro so you've got Firewire for audio interfaces and/or fast external hard drives.

    7200rpm hard drive is a good idea for running more audio tracks. The most audio tracks I've had to play back from the hard drive at the same time so far is around 24 in Logic 8 and it hasn't choked (and that's with channels and channels of effects)
     
  6. urodiculis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #6
    Are you recording on a 7200rpm hard drive?

    One thing I wanted to know is will the 6mb cache vs. 3mb cache make a noticeable difference??

    Also will the 2.4ghz low end MPB perform similarily fully loaded (2.53ghz, 4gb Ram, 7200rpm) to a high end 2.53ghz MBP Stock?

    Basically im asking what will i see more a significant boost from, a low end MBP (or high end mb)(2.4ghz) with a fast harddrive and alot of ram or high end mbp stock (4gbram and 5400rpm).

    P.S. im not too much worried about audio in because ill be using an interface. And honestly im not too worried about fire wire for recording purposes either. I do all the major major recording at a studio. I've been using a mbox 2 (usb) for my home stuff. Would a high end macbook perform well with 4gb of ram and 7200rpm drive?

    thanks again
     
  7. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    Roanoke, VA
    #7
    The problem with a Macbook is that it doesn't have Firewire for faster transfers.

    They did away with that...something that kept me from getting one. Also, I'm not positive that the MB can record from the line-in port in 24-bit audio if needed.
     
  8. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #8
    The most I've recorded simultaneously on this machine was 8 channels of 24/96, and that worked just fine. I've got the 7200rpm 160GB drive offered in August 2007.

    You can't put a 2.53 in the 2.4 configuration of the MBP.

    As far as I know, the performance difference between the 2.4 and the 2.53 is fairly negligible (although higher benchmarks have been noted in games). As for doing audio though, I'd be more worried about hard drive speed.

    Right now, the only difference between the high end MB and the low end MBP lies in game performance due to the 9600GT (although people have been reporting a lot of crashing when that part gets hot...can't nVidia get anything right these days?)

    The screen on the MBP is also higher quality with a better viewing angle than the MB if that matters to you. The MBP also has an express port, so if you wanted to expand hard drive space you could get an eSATA card for an eSATA external and get very high performance. If none of these things matter though, the MB would save you some money, and you could get a bigger external LCD sometime down the road so that point would be rendered null.

    Coledog, you wouldn't want to do any recording using the line-in anyway...onboard laptop audio is inherently noisy and low-performance.
     
  9. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    #9
    Yea, I figured...I just do easy church recordings that don't matter too much.
    What's the best peripheral do it then? USB of course...right? midibox?
     
  10. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 6, 2007
    #10
    USB or Firewire really. It depends on your budget. M-Audio make some good devices that aren't too outlandish in price. You should be able to find something under or around 200 dollars that would give you a noticeable improvement in recording quality.

    If what you're doing already works for you though...do it. :)
     
  11. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    #11
    Care to elaborate on how to connect a Peavey mixer (LINK) through a USB/Firewire device to a MBP for recording? When I get some money I'd like to do it...
     
  12. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    You'd connect its master LR out to a line-in on an audio interface.
     
  13. urodiculis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #13
    I'm sorry for the typo about the 2.53ghz configuration in the low end mac book pro.

    Thanks for everyones feedback

    One question that hasn't really been answered yet is the effects or advantages of 6mb cache vs 3mb. Is this important for audio recording?
     
  14. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

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    Aug 22, 2007
    #14
    The cache memory is designed to speed the relaunch of applications, especially ones that take forever to launch. For multitasking a user may have several windows open at a time and may close them from time to time and then re-open them. A larger cache size best fits this person.
    For years Apple has had very small cache sizes in their notebooks and it never affected musicians. That being said it won't matter if you get the MBP with 3mb or 6mb cache, you won't be able to tell the difference.
    For the type of work you do your best off maximizing ram.
     
  15. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Or an Intel X25M/E :)
     
  16. urodiculis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #16
    oh ok great, well since cache isn't that important to music production. I'm leaning more towards the low end MBP with a ram and harddrive boost.

    I had a couple of issues when looking for hard drives. From my understanding any 2.5" Sata hard drive will fit into a MBP correct? Why were some drives that had a lower capacity more expensive than others with a higher capacity and the same speed?

    With the 4gb and hard drive upgrade whats a ball park figure of what this will cost?

    Thanks
     
  17. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    #17
    The hard drive needs to be 9mm tall...or under. The larger, older drives are 12.5mm or so...need to watch out for that.
     
  18. Outrigger macrumors 68000

    Outrigger

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    Dec 22, 2008
    #18
    Congrats to the OP for getting his mbp. I'm in the same boat, although not a musician, deciding between the 2.4 vs. 2.53. In the end, I've decided to get the 2.4, and get 4GB of RAM and a 320GB 7200rpm drive. I do believe the 6mb L2 cache vs. 3mb will not be noticeable to me at all as I don't plan on running any apps that specifically take advantage of the extra 3mb of cache. I think money aside its a better deal to get the lower end and get RAM and higher speed HDD from elsewhere.

    I understand the new mbps take ddr3 RAM, the only ones I've managed to find are 204 pin variety, where as the ddr2 were 200 pin. Is this the correct RAM to get?
     
  19. coledog macrumors 6502a

    coledog

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    #19
    Yup, 204 pin is DDR3. LINK to Newegg's Mac ram.
     
  20. urodiculis thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #20
    Yes!!

    Thanks to everyone who helped me with the decision, today i got the low end MBP. Also since i bought it from the Navy exchange (basically a tax free mall for people in the navey) i basically got the apple care plan for $99. IM OFFICIALLY IN THE IN CROWD LMAO! Im going to just upgrade the ram and hd. I saw some good deals on the other world computers website. $85 4GBram and $107 for 320gb hd 7,200rpm. Anyone find any better deals?
     

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