Pro Tools recording question

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Dronomophone, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Dronomophone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    #1
    OK, so lets say im using Pro Tools LE with an Mbox2 on a brand new MBP. I've heard that its not good to record onto the system hard drive. Is it really that bad? What if I'm just recording onto a simple stereo track and im not running any other programs. How would it affect it?
     
  2. 4God macrumors 68020

    4God

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    My Mac
    #2
    Shouldn't be a big deal but you could go with an external drive.
     
  3. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

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    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #3
    It is always important to use an external firewire drive or a secondary drive. Your primary drive, being the system operations drive in your laptop should be handling systems operations and not large audio files used in tracking and mix down used in recording software.

    I am not saying the MacBook Pro cannot handle it all on it's internal drive. I am just saying you will get a performance increase while saving the limited space on your internal hard drive.

    I am a recording industry management student. We are taught this.

    PS. Even though USB shows a 20 Mbps increase over Firewire 400, Firewire 400 is actually faster in benchmarks. Firewire 800 is optimum.

    :apple:'s are the best music computers ever!
     
  4. Bobby Garcia macrumors newbie

    Bobby Garcia

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    May 6, 2006
    Location:
    Jersey
    #4
    Living testimony

    I own a MBP with an MBox 2, and I record to my internal drive. I've been doing this for the past year, and as far as quality, nothing is compromised, the recordings still sound great. However, I am constantly running into CPU problems. Dialogue boxes constantly popping up, and I know why, but I just click ok and resume. So in short, it's possible to record, but I'm getting an external firewire drive like, this weekend. Better late then never.
     
  5. sangamc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #5
    even though i used to record to my windows system drive when i had a laptop, and it worked sufficiently well for my requirements, an external drive is really the way to go.

    like the poster said above, firewire is better than usb because of 1 major reason; the badnwidth (mbps) is the same in both directions simultaneously, where as with usb you get the max throughput in 1 direction only, but not both.

    this helps with audio apps because when you're recording most folks are listening to what they are recording
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #6
    and as i asked the other day:
    i ask again: so long as the manufacturer stays w/in the limits of USB technology, why does it matter?
     
  7. sangamc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #7
    well with protools, the more complex your session data (tracks, plugins etc) the more strain you put on the USB bus. anyone who has ever used protools Le extensively, knows about all the different 'cpu usage is holding off usb audio' messages that can bring a great recording session to an end.
    so it matters not what the manufacturer does, but really what the end user is attempting to do. PTLE will push most computers to their limits, so using a firewire interface instead of USB will help raise that threshold just enough to maybe record the whole church choir in one shot rather than having them come back every 1/2 hour while you consolidate and bounce tracks to prevent your session from crashing right in the middle of a recording
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    that doesn't make sense to me. are we talking about monitoring through an mbox? PTLE would be doing all that math in the CPU, then sending out a 44 or 48k* stereo signal down the USB bus. it doesn't matter if it's a single instrument or the full 32 tracks w/ a full whack of plugs on every channel, plus all 32 sends in use: it all boils down to a stereo track to monitor.

    this is interesting. i use and have used LE extensively, but almost exclusively with an 002r, so i'd never see a message about the USB bus.

    but i have seen messages about the CPU holding off interrupts too long, and playback stopping. is this a function of the firewire bus being full? that was never my impression, but to be honest i've never really looked into it. i thought it was just the CPU getting overwhelmed, independent of output bus.

    regarding your error message, assuming you worded it as it's displayed, that doesn't say to me that the USB bus is jammed up, but that the CPU is experiencing a problem. how are you interpreting it?

    * this gets right to my point: the USB mbox doesn't do 96k, because digi found that USB (or their use of the USB bus) can't handle 96k. so here, the manufacturer limited the functionality of their product so it would remain functional. if there's evidence that the USB unit doesn't function due to a shortcoming of USB technology, that would be interesting to me and that's essentially what i'm asking for. but i have yet to see such evidence, your forthcoming answer aside.
     
  9. bigboy99 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    If I want to do 96K (even if it's only two tracks) I need fire wire?
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #10
    i don't know for certain. best thing, imo, is to look for the devices which offer the number of tracks at the sample rates you want. if the device is spec'ed out for it, then i maintain it can do it. (and will maintain that until shown otherwise)
     
  11. sangamc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #11
    yeah i always thought my mbox was crappy coz it was usb and not firewire. everytime i got a chance to borrow my buddies 002 PT Le would run gr8!

    i must admit that when i bought a new imac late last year, my mbox performance did improve quite a bit. it would be great if Digi allowed end users more information on what under the hood of these devices. it would help soooo much in trouble shooting some of those cryptic error messages a pro tools session an spew out at you.

    as far as specs go, doesnt it feel like a Pt systems capacity is based too much on what a users computer provides, rather than what the digi hardware can do for you? imo i think its a gr8 cop out since they can always blame a difficult problem on incompatible hardware
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #12
    for PTM and PTLE, it is run on the computer hardware. those are the native versions of PT. only PTHD runs on digi hardware, those PCI cards you can buy ($$$$).

    the LE interfaces (mbox, 002, 003) don't process audio any further than performing a/d and d/a conversion. that's why i made my comment about using all plug slots and busses -- the LE hardware is completely unaware that's happening. all it's doing on playback is d/a conversion on the output channels you configure.

    all the mbox must handle is 2 channels a/d and 2 channels d/a, even if you're playing back all 32 channels of audio. the 002 and 003 must handle 18 simultaneous (@44 or 48) or 10 simultaneous (@96). firewire is indeed needed for that kind of throughput.
     
  13. sangamc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #13
    is none of the audio processing done by PT handled by the hardware when using a 002/ 003 (or even a fraction of it)?

    if thats the case why not settle for an m-audio interface and use PT m powered, or why spend on a 002/003 when all it has is more in/outs?
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
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    toronto
    #14
    nope, just conversion.

    that's kind of a big topic.

    what you're touching upon is the situation digi found themselves in when avid acquired m-audio. digi released PT-M for those m-audio devices, and suddenly there was market confusion over how PT-M and PTLE relate to each other. iow, the lines are too similar.

    there are a few s/w differences between M and LE, but not that many. one that's important to me is that LE offers lower latency times. also, LE is free (if you purchase the corresponding hardware). for those who already owned M-Audio boxes, and wanted PT, it made sense to buy M. for those just starting out, i don't think it's really clear at all whether to go M or LE. and imho that's a big problem for digi.

    i'd like to think that digi is going to move LE closer to HD, to make it a clear mid-tier product. but they don't listen to me :)

    the other reason i use LE is because i was already using it when m-audio was acquired. i don't see any reason for me to switch to M (why pay for another hardware piece and have to shell out for the s/w?), nor does digi expect me to. i also don't think digi expects anyone to "upgrade" from M to LE. at this point, it really seems to be a matter of letting people pick their hardware.

    back to your question, digi markets the LE hardware as having higher quality components (i.e. mic pre's and conversion) than the m-audio stuff, but i don't know if that's necessarily true. and i think it's still true that the cheapest way to get PT is to buy one of the smaller LE boxes, since the s/w is bundled free. yeah, it looks like the mbox mini is $300 (LE included) and PT-M s/w is $250, but you still have to shell out for the interface.

    not sure if all that really clarified anything :)
     

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