Musician needs help building MBpro studio

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gtalbot5, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Gtalbot5, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    Gtalbot5 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2012
    I am on the fence with MBpro retina Vs MBpro. I am ready to buy and need to know a few things. My main purpose is music recording.
    I am between beginner and intermediate techwise.
    I don't understand a few of the differences of the MBPRO and MPPRO with retina and whether there are pros and cons with regard to recording. I have no audio interface but have heard FireWire is best. Y or N . I am not married to retina display as I want to record music. I want the best technology I can find.
    Having said that is their any restrictions that the new MBPRO has with regards to recording audio? What does recording to a different drive than primary drive mean( saving to an external)? SuperDrive pro or con. I want to be able to take my interface( yet to buy) and computer back and forth to record at least 4 audio simultaneously( more is interface is compact and easy to travel). Plan to purchase Logic pro9. I have looked at the non retina MBpro and there are hard drives vs flash storage. Any benifit or hindrance to either? More info is better. Lay it on me.
  2. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2009
    well logic isn't updated for retina display so prepare for minor UI fuzziness.

    the RMBP doesn't have firewire. you will need to get an adapter if you get a firewire interface. i highly doubt you will notice any difference if you just get a usb audio interface though especially since you're only a beginner.

    is your laptop going to be your main recording machine or just a portable solution? because really, you're going to want a secondary drive as a scratch disk anyway, which you won't get in any macbook (unless you get the non-retina version and replace the cd drive with another hd).
  3. AppleDApp, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    I don't know much about music production. Don't get a superdrive you can get a external optical drive for about 20$ online of most electronic store.

    As for your interface, from what I here firewire is predominant so that eliminate rMBP to some extent.

    I'd recommend you get an SSD in the 15" MBP not retina to get improved speeds and you can connect an external drive to store all your production work. The retina macbook pro is not upgradable in any way whereas you can change the ram, HDD and the optical drive in the regular MBP.

    So get a 15" MBP (I'd suggest the cheaper 15") The you can buy an SSD third party or add in the order. You can also upgrade the ram with third party options. Third party RAM and SSD's are cheaper then Apple's offering.

    SSD's are alot faster then regular HDD.
  4. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    FireWire is often used for recording due to its low latency compared to USB, which is critical if you want to hear your recorded music output live without any lag. USB lag is not that bad, but sometimes only a couple milliseconds can make a difference.

    As of right now, only the non-Retina MBP supports FireWire. A Thunderbolt to FireWire is supposed to come out sometime in July to allow the Retina MacBook Pro to connect to FireWire devices.

    Recording to a different drive than your primary drive usually means saving to an external drive. As storage is limited with the internal drive (especially on the Retina MBP), you might want to purchase an external hard drive for added storage, as lossless audio files are pretty big. I suggest buying a USB 3.0 hard drive for more transfer speed. Both the Retina and non-Retina models support USB 3.0. Thunderbolt drives are even faster, but they are pricey and USB 3.0 bandwidth is enough for recording live audio.

    Both models are fine for music recording. Flash storage will make your computer boot and launch Logic much faster, but there are no substantial benefit specifically for music recording. A good thing on the Retina model is that music production software like Logic are usually easier to work with when you have a high resolution. You can set the Retina to look like 1680x1050, 1920x1200 or native 2880x1800 for more screen estate which you will appreciate when running Logic. If you chose the non-Retina model, I suggest taking the option for a high-res (1680x1050) monitor.
  5. CFoss macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    It really depends on what you decide to use as an audio interface. I personally use the Apogee Duet 2, which sounds fantastic. It works via USB, but Apogee have built their drivers to avoid latency issues.

    In the past, I would recommend avoiding USB interfaces, but FireWire is becoming a legacy port. The Retina will probably be better in the longrun if you don't mind sacrificing the ability to upgrade the internal parts later.
  6. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    who knows when/if logic will be updated for retina? that goes the same for audition / pro tools / etc etc.

    as for usb/firewire, i honestly doubt you'll notice the difference between the two. good usb 2.0 audio interfaces are common and latency won't be an issue at all unless you're extremely anal about it.

    i used to use a firewire presonus firebox and now have an old legacy line 6 toneport. i use both for live guitar tracking. i've found absolutely no difference in latency/quality between the two.
  7. Code001 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2006
    I'll go ahead and echo a lot of statements that have already been said.

    Firewire is not necessarily the best anymore. Less and less manufacturers are utilizing Firewire for audio interfaces because they're finding it's not truly necessary. USB 2.0 can get you where you need to go most of the time. The RME Babyface and Apogee Duet 2 have proven this. The key is in how the driver's are written and implemented.

    There are no restrictions that I can think of, except maybe a lack of ports compared to an iMac or Mac Pro. That can easily be remedied with a hub of some sort, although you should always try to connect your audio interface directly to the computer. Hubs can sometimes wreak havoc on them.

    Recording to a different drive than your primary drive is fairly standard practice in the recording industry. It means exactly that - you have some sort of external drive hooked up to your computer, and that's where all of your recording data goes to. Your applications and plugins all go on the main drive. A lot of guys utilize a RAID 1 setup for redundancy. However, RAID is not a backup solution. You should always keep that in mind.

    No need for a Superdrive. Skip it. You can get cheaper options elsewhere. Newegg, OWC and the such have great deals.

    It's hard to recommend an audio interface for you, but if you check out Gearslutz, you'll find more than enough information about all kinds of stuff. They'll be the best ones to help you. I personally run an Apogee Duet 2, but that won't have enough inputs for your situation.

    I much prefer flash storage for a main drive with some sort of other drive for all of your audio/video/misc. Boot times are faster, load times are faster and it's just such an amazing experience that I'll never go back. To me, time is very valuable, and the less time I have to wait around, the better. Nothing has improved a computer more than an SSD, IMO. RAM is a close second, though. This is just my personal opinion, and others may differ.

    As far as Retina vs Non-Retina, I chose the Retina. The screen space was very important to me, and I'm glad I chose this model over the other one. I don't mind having to utilize dongles as the cables would have to be plugged in anyway. The whole non-upgradeable thing is overblown, too. You can't upgrade the RAM, but 8 GB is more than enough for most people. If you find it might not be enough, get 16 GB. I highly doubt most people that are using laptops will ever use more than 16 GB of RAM, anyway. If you are, you should look into a Mac Pro instead. Most recording sessions will be fine with 8 GB. If things are getting too hectic, you should bounce it to an audio file, and that'll fix any RAM issues you may be having.
  8. fisherking macrumors 603


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    i do music professionally...on a 13" mbp (with an ssd & 8 gigs ram), running logic 9. it's a great setup (for me).

    some things to consider:
    usb interfaces are fine.
    an external firewire 800 drive (or, of course, a thunderbolt drive) are ideal for recording TO; but i do record to my ssd (WHEN i record here, it's one vocal at a time).
    close other apps if need be, so your mac is just running logic.

    but start here:

    logicprohelp; great forum, great people. def check it out.
  9. LoveAppl macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2012
    I would get Retenia displey samply because it is much more better for ur eyes, considering that u will spend a long time working on it.

    I would saggest u to get as better CPU as u can afford. it really will help u.
    also about RAM i am not still shure if u need 8 or 16gb.
    SSD is very good and u will benefit with it

    speaking about build in sound card, forget it, it is not intended for recording, u need external audio interface like Lynx Hilo :D

    Speaking about Firewire, i am not saying is bad, but sampli USB 2 is better then firewire 400 and UBS 3 and thunderbolt is much more better then Firewire 800 and considering the fact that firewire is dead u need to look foward to USB or Thunderbolt, many manufactors are going to USB3 or, and Thunderbold

    p.s. i am myself going to buy Apple laptop for the samimilar reasons as u, but because i am really low on cash most likely i will get an entry macbook pro with retnel displey

    Good luck

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