Need advice on buying to run Logic Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by yukonaddie, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. yukonaddie macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2008
    i've never had a mac, but have to say i'm excited about getting one. i've been doing some reading(which led me to this great forum).

    can anyone recommend/not recommend a desktop/tower for running Logic Pro Studio 8? This will be the sole function of my new mac system. Here's requirements and a bit about logic(right hand column):

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    If you only want to use it as midi sequencer (unlikely) then any Mac will work.

    If you want to record multi channel audio, you need to decide which interface you want to use to get the audio into the Mac.

    An iMac will do just fine with the multitude of USB audio recording devices.

    If you want to run Digidesign cards, (or any PCI cards really), LOTS of effects, or LOTS of tracks - then a Mac Pro is the only game.

    A Macbook Pro will do a great job with Logic, again with the audio interface limitation (no PCI slots) - it is about equivalent to an iMac.

    The lower end Macbook and Mac Mini will do wonderfully as well as long as you don't want to record too many tracks or do too many effects. "Too many" depends again on what you are trying to accomplish.

    What level of multi-track and effects / virtual instruments / etc are you hoping to run? A Mac Pro will basically handle anything you can throw at it with Logic (within reason)

  3. mikesown macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2004
    akm3: Your point about the Macbook Pro having an "audio interface limitation" is somewhat moot. Companies like Apogee offer expresscard solutions(Apogee's can handle 32 input / 32 output all running at 192khz/24-bit). So, if you need to do mobile recording, the Macbook Pro is your best bet - but if you want a serious powerhouse for running a studio, definitely go with the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is a very very very nice machine that has me drooling(though I'm happy with my 2.16ghz Macbook Pro).
  4. yukonaddie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2008
    i guess i'll need the mac pro...and some more cash :p

    i will need to run lots of tracks, but have no need to record more than one track at a least not in the foreseeable future.

    i'm using an alesis mixer with usb interface for audio, and also have a midi keyboard. can anyone recommend a pci/digital interface that will allow me to record multiple tracks at once? i don't know alot about these interface cards.

    thanks so much for the quick replies!

  5. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    What do you mean by "lots of tracks"?
    I can run about 40 tracks on the MBP in my sig. Most have plug-ins on them, some are even software instruments. This hits about the 30-40% mark on my CPU meter.
    I'd say that even if you intend to hit this number or slightly over, you wouldn't need anything more than a MBP or imac (or even a non-pro Macbook).
    If you're doing a ton of software synthesis/plug-ins, expect to use a lot more tracks, or NEED a PCI interface, then I would A) recommend a Mac Pro and B) wonder what the heck you're doing recording one track at a time and still going over 40 tracks.
    Don't forget firewire interfaces. There are firewire interfaces out there (Apogee Ensemble, Presonus Firestudio) that will record 16-24 tracks at a time over firewire, provided you have enough preamps/ADAT converters.

    P.S. Also, a second hard drive for recording is key to high track counts (external firewire or, if going with a Mac Pro, a second internal).
  6. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    I know you want a desktop and not a laptop, but the MBP in my sig runs Logic Studio 8 like a dream. And the portability of a laptop comes in really handy for the work I do.

    Okay, maybe "like a dream" is exaggerating a bit. I occasionally get system overload messages when I'm playing back complicated tracks (upto 60 audio tracks with lots of effects, plus a few software instruments), but that's what the freeze buttons are for.

    Also, I still have room for manoeuvre. I could get a FW800 or eSATA HD to use as a scratch disk, and I could upgrade to 4Gb. When I got the machine (July), I was resigned to having to do that anyway, but frankly I just haven't needed to yet. The good enough is fine as it is.

    I can record 8 audio tracks simultaneously (using a MOTU 8pre) without any trouble at all.

    I recommend a good Firewire Audio Interface over a USB one. PM me if you want the lowdown on the 8pre.

  7. yukonaddie thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2008
    :p you're right!

    i'm actually recording the meat of an album at a pro studio this summer, but want to do a lot of preproduction and writing for other instruments in the meantime. i also want to be able to do some overdubs and synth effects during the mixing phase, as the project will incorporate rock drums and synth percussion. i can't imagine needing more than 40 tracks at once.

    eventually i would like to be able to do everything myself, but i'm still a couple good preamps & compressors away from that, most of which i can't afford yet.

    is anyone here currently using logic 8? what do you think of the "on board" effects? i have heard nothing but good things...

    thanks again.

  8. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    I'm using Logic 8.
    Really like the included effects/instruments.
    The EVP88 and many of the EXS24 instruments are very cool.
    I did an album in both DP5 and Logic recently. All of the Logic plug-ins (reverb, compression, delay, etc.) sounded better than DP's to my ears.
    Just get it already!
    Also, if you need a high quality interface but only need to record one or two tracks at a time, check out the Apogee Duet. User reviews say it has probably the best digital conversion for the price and very good mic pres.
  9. antrabbit macrumors member


    Mar 4, 2005
    London, UK
    If your planning on using a pro studio for the final album, then you might be better off getting a maxed out macbook pro, a 20" separate screen (for dual screening and more desktop space) and an audio interface like a Motu 828mkii (I've got the USB version, it's slightly cheaper and works like a dream 10 balanced ins and outs, 2 mic pre amps, midi in and out)

    You can then take your Macbook Pro and Motu to the studio and play what you've recorded to them as you've recorded and mixed on your exact system.

    I love to be able to go and record in weird locations and acoustics rather than be stuck at home, which is the advantage this system gives me. But if your making more electronic music you may not need to.

    If you want out and out processing power the go for a Mac Pro tower.

    Do wait ten days before buying as they'll no doubt update them all at MacWorld. Good luck.
  10. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    Am using Logic Pro 8 every day at the moment. I've really not got anything to compare it to, as it's the first DAW (apart from Garageband) I've ever used.

    But generally, I'm very impressed. There's a huge range of plug-ins and effects, and they sound great to me.

    3 caveats:
    • It's a bit buggy in places. Mainly it's trivial things, but you need a bit of patience.
    • There's a steep learning curve. At first, the software seems curiously unintuitive. For the first time ever, I actually had to buy a 3rd party book. However, now that I've "got it", I can whizz round LP8 pretty sharpish.
    • The Logic Studio suite eats a lot of hard drive space. You can elect to install some of the media on an external drive, but only some.
  11. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    I, too, am new to macs, having recently purchased a mac pro (not macbook pro), expressly for the purpose of recording audio (with Logic Studio), and editing video.

    I read this forum a lot - for a couple of years at least - before taking the plunge, and I seriously toyed with installing bootcamp so that I could use Sonar (which is a PC only sequencer). However, I have decided to go with Logic Studio, and I have added 4GB's of RAM (making a total of 5) to the Mac Pro, and have bought the first of two or three 1TB hard drives to store and edit audio and video.

    I think that I'm going to go with the RME Fireface 400, which is a firewire 400 audio interface with (according to the reviews) very good preamps. (If you look for this on the RME homepage, you have to search a bit as it's not listed in the main products, although the Fireface 800 is listed).

    There are quite a few other firewire based audio interfaces with fewer inputs than the fireface 400, but from my research it seems that the firefaces are among the few that function equally well with Macs and PC's (quite often it seems that some function well with PC's and others with Macs).

    As you're probably aware, some of the interfaces have a maximum sampling rate of 96Khz and others have a 192Khz maximum. I have been advised here that the increase in quality provided by the latter is hard to differentiate in all but the most discriminating listening environments, and that the extra load imposed on a computer system by setting a sample rate of 192 can cause problems.

    I hope that this has been food for thought.

    Good luck with your search.

  12. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Jan 6, 2007
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    Do not go buy a $5000 computer because you think you will be hitting a wall performance-wise.

    A few years ago I came to Mac (for audio only, I bought a G5 when Logic 7 came out), and I bought a really expensive powermac.

    Now, I use Macs for almost everything at home, and I have an MPB and a mini. Both run Logic perfectly well, and if I ever hit a processor wall, I use the mini as a node for the MBP.

    In my opinion, if you are new to logic, you can get by with a $1000 computer, and then by the time you are killing it performance-wise, you will want more of a beast anyway.

    By buying an incredibly expensive computer (I.E. MacPro) and learning on it, you will not be using anything it can give you that an entry-level computer cannot.
  13. passthefruit macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2008
    Firewire on Macbook

    Several people have recommended firewire external hard drives to record on, and others have recommended firewire audio interfaces... I have a Macbook, which only has one firewire port, so I do not know what I should do. Is it better to have a firewire external HD and USB interface or vice versa?

    Also, I have not purchased Logic yet, but before I do, I would like to gain some reassurance that my system will be powerful enough to run it. I have a 1.83Ghz Macbook with 2GB RAM. I have been making songs in Garageband and usually keep my songs under 10 tracks, with most of them being software instruments. I only occasionally get the overload warning... How will Logic behave with respect to this?

    Thank you for your input.
  14. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    Get an external hard drive with a FW400 and a USB port. And make sure either your audio interface or your hard drive has two FW400 ports so you can daisy-chain one to another. This way you get maximum flexibility.

    Firewire is way better than USB for this sort of thing, but with two firewire devices on the same FW400 port, they may be competing for bandwidth. You may even find that recording real instruments directly to your internal HD (if you've got the room) works fine, then you can move the project to your external FW drive for recording software instruments and doing editing.

    Dunno how well Logic will run on 1.83GHz. You may struggle at higher sample rates and bit depths - I am not sure. But you should definitely max out the RAM, and it wouldn't do any harm to replace the internal hard drive with the biggest 7200rpm you can get. You may find that you have to freeze a lot of your instrument tracks to save processing power and disk I/O.

    Good luck
  15. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    My previous 2.16 C2D iMac was the first computer I've ever owned that never hit the max CPU wall on in Logic Pro.

    With Logic running on any current Macbook Pro or iMac artistic talent is the only wall your ever likely to hit now!
  16. passthefruit macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2008
    Well, I don't really have a current MacBook, it's the first generation (1.83Ghz), and it is not a macbook pro or iMac. Do you have any idea if it would work on that?
  17. neb123 macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    What do i need to buy for my mac book to run Logic 08 well?

    Hi i have got a Mac Book, Processor Name:intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz Number Of Processors:1 Total Number Of Cores:2 L2 Cache: 3 MB
    Memory: 2 GB

    I have got the complete logic 08 program, but i have no idea what i need to get to run the program well, do i need to buy a external hard drive? if so how meany GB would i need? would i also need to add more memory how much would i need?, how much would it all cost? i do use my mac for other things so it wouldn't be completely dedicated to logic i use it for work etc

    if any one could give me some good advise i would be very grateful!!

    thanks for reading
  18. upsguy27 macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2007
    I have a 2.0Ghz MBP; it runs Logic Pro 8 fine. :)
  19. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    The MBP will work great with Logic Studio - the main factor regarding performance these days is not the number of tracks or plug-ins - it's virtual instruments.

    If you're using Atmosphere, Stylus, and one more VI and Reason.. you will start seeing performance hits on an MBP with 4 GB Ram.. (a fast internal drive.. at least 5400 rpm helps)

    So if you are going to do a lot of tracks.. but not too many VIs.. then you'll be fine with a MBP. For intensive stuff, I use my mac pro with a 15k Seagate Cheetah SAS drive - I've gone up to 256 tracks+plug-ins+virtual instruments - and it worked smooth (trying to mix with all those faders is another issue.. lol)

    Don't go with an MB - I guarantee someday, you will buy some virtual instrument.. and it might bog down the MB. Plus, no firewire - big NO for musicians. I'm pretty pissed off with Apple - not because I use my MB for recording/production - but sometimes I like to connect it to an external drive for editing sessions - or heck, just backing up data. I can't stand USB.

    I don't know what Jobs is smoking..
  20. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    Yes, but the quality makes a difference during mix-down and final transfers. When you're listening to a 'session' (i.e. a logic project.. with everything running) then there is a slight difference between 192 and 48k sample rates - but after you've mixed and mastered those sessions - there is quite a big difference when you listen to the tracks. Or maybe my ears are just more sensitive - but to me, it makes a huge difference. I prefer recording at higher rates - extra load can be offset by fast drives.
  21. superleccy macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2004
    That there big London
    Basically, for most tasks, the full version of Logic will work fine on your MacBook as it stands. You can add memory / hard drives as you go along.

    If you start to get error messages complaining that your system is too slow (or whatever - this usually happens when you're playing with a lot of software instruments, and/or recording with high bit/sample rates), then you can try the following.

    1) Press stop, go back to the start, press play again. Repeat a couple of times. This resolves most hiccups for me.
    2) Freeze some tracks.
    3) Operate in low latency mode.
    4) Upgrade to 4GB of RAM
    5) Use a good fast external hard drive as a scratch disk (preferably 7200rpm, preferably Firewire).

    If you want to record 'real' instruments, you'll also need an Audio interface. Firewire is better than USB. I bet there's plenty of threads elsewhere in this forum about choosing one.

    Finally, if you're new to Logic, your biggest problem might be the learning curve, not your hardware. I found Martin Sitter's book on Logic Pro/Express 7 (because that was the newest version at the time) to be invaluable. I see the '8' version in same series is written by another chap (David Nahmani).

    Good luck

    PS: If your MacBook is a new aluminium one, then ignore everything I said about Firewire and issue a two-finger salute in the direction of Cupertino.

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