Question about music synthesis/production

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SirJ, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. SirJ macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #1
    hey guys,
    i'll be honest i'm not in the market for a new laptop right now (waiting out for nehalem or whatever's out by next summer) but i am a musician and use several DAWs and Reason to create, record and produce my own music.
    My question is, however, as a college student needing a laptop, would a macbook suffice for this kind of workload? i dont know if i'd be running anything graphically intensive but i have been getting into photoshop and am working with a friend in video production so there's a potential there, but based solely on the music aspect which would you recommend?
     
  2. nephilim7 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #2
    I use a macbook pro as my main music machine. I use logic pro as my main daw without a problem. The other day for kicks I had reason, max/msp, 6 instaces of Massive, 14 instances of Kontakt3, some fairly serious filter plugins and 2 instances of structure and it handled it all.

    with a decent firewire interface (I use a MOTU traveller) like a firebox or an onyx satellite I can literally replace what filled an entire room 15 years ago on the space of a coffee table.

    to be totally honest a regular macbook can do just as well, the main reason I got a pro 17" is for screen real estate (you can get a 1920x1200 hd screen as an option).. and plastic makes my skin crawl.. mbp has some serious style.

    if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.




    best
     
  3. hitnrun7 Guest

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #3
    photoshop used the CPU so the MacBook should be fine. Same goes for audio ...
     
  4. brodeur macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #4
    the graphics card is irrelevant for imaging/video work... that relies on the CPU, mostly. though snow leopard might change that somehow, i don't know.

    the macbook will run logic just fine, but even on my 15.4 macbook pro i tend to feel a bit claustrophobic... so probably the only thing that will give you problems will be the relatively small screen, though an external display will remedy that.
     
  5. SirJ thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 29, 2008
    #5
    so nephilim7, how does logic run? i mean, is it an intuitive and easy to learn program? how does it compare to other DAWs you've used?
    also i'm familiar with interfaces like firebox but i've never looked into MOTU stuff because of the mac exclusivity. can you explain that a bit?
    And from what i've gathered from these other posts a fast macbook would run this stuff just fine and screen space would be the biggest concern. TBH, currently i primarily run reason, which i dont think would take up a whole 13,3 inch screen (in the standard view) though obviously i'm not sure about that.
     
  6. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #6
    I've used reason on a 24" iMac and I've taken up the whole screen. I've used reason on a 30" Apple Cinema Display, and I've taken up the whole screen.

    Screen real-estate is VALUABLE when in music production. Especially if you ever plan on using Pro Tools or Logic to sync up with Reason over a LiveWire channel. Then you're going to want to see as much as possible.
     
  7. nephilim7 macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #7
    Logic has all the features of any of the main DAWs, I used logic till 5.5 and the PC version killoff (I was on PC at the time :mad: ) and switched to pro tools, then monkeyed around with Ableton Live for sketching out ideas and Logic for mixing/mastering, now I use logic for everything.

    MOTU traveller is a high end stupid number of channels in/out interface made to take a beating they MSRP for about $800US and unless you do a lot of remote drum tracking or something that needs that many INs I'd give it a miss.

    http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/traveler


    Firebox is made by Presonus

    http://www.presonus.com/products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=4

    it's solid and I like presonus stuff, but I used to have a Mackie Onyx Satellite

    http://www.mackie.com/products/satellite/index.html

    mostly because I liked the idea and layout (has a nice built in talkback mic) and the fact I can yank the 'pod' out for 2 ins 2 outs and carry it around, this is what I'd recommend to you if you don't do any audio recording but need good converters for listening, or if you do occasional recording.. it has 2 ins and 6 outs (for surround mixing)

    I got a traveler later because I needed a stupid amount of converters and needed it to be portable.


    and yeah you're correct in the statement that macbook would be fine. The *only* reason I got a pro was the 17" screen with optional 1920x1200. the backlit keys and hot aluminum case and chick magnet blazing apple logo on the back were total non-issues. Logic would be a scrunched monkey on a 13" screen though. The question would be... am I going to use this as an appliance/software synth and stick it up on a shelf next to a keyboard and select presets or are you going to compose, track, mix, and master... if the latter you will need all the real estate you can get.

    you can get by on the built in audio if all you use is software synths, but I'd really recommend getting an audio interface like the satellite, (they are around $200 US) and a critical listening rig, either professional headphones or a pair of good studio monitors... ideally both but if you have to choose, get monitors first.
     
  8. nephilim7 macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #8

    <=== what he said
     
  9. mopppish macrumors 6502

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    Nov 27, 2005
    #9
    As an owner of the first Core 2 Duo revision of the Macbook PRO (it has a 2.16ghz C2D), I can say that without a doubt, the current Macbooks with comparable or faster processors should handle most of what you can throw at it. I have used most of the software already mentioned in this thread (Logic, Reason, Max/MSP) and have not run out of juice yet.
    I have a second monitor at home, and definitely miss it when I am working without it, even with a 15" screen. If you think you can get by with the 13" screen, and it certainly can be done, then get the Macbook and a cheap LCD monitor to have more work space when you are home.
    If you think you honestly need the extra 2" when on the road and have the extra money to spend, then by all means, get the Pro.
    As for me, when I decide to upgrade in a year or two, even after having the Pro for the last year and a half, I could go with either model. Especially if Apple keeps putting only barely slower processors in the Macbooks when compared to the Pro models.
    If they ever up the resolution of the Macbook screens, then it's all over. I'd save the money (don't tell Steve Jobs I said that, or they'll never consider it!).
     
  10. mopppish macrumors 6502

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    Nov 27, 2005
    #10
    P.S. If you can spend a little more on an interface and only need 2 channels at a time, go with the Apogee Duet. It has, from what I've heard, the best converters and preamps you can find in that price range.
    I'm hoping to treat myself to one later this year (as an upgrade from my Firepod).
    Check out the extra integration the Duet has with Logic/Garageband. That may or may not be of interest to you (I could take it or leave it).
     
  11. nephilim7 macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #11
    you can't go wrong with apogee, I use an ensemble when I'm not portable. I looked at (still looking at) the duet for when I need a really really good converter, I'm just afraid I'll break the thing. Or someone will mistake it for an ipod and run off with it.
     
  12. nephilim7 macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #12
    for me it wasn't the 2" it was the pixels.. heck I'd probably use the 15" if it had 1920x1200, though it'd probably give me a nasty headache :)
     
  13. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #13
    Yeah. 1920x1200 on my 15" I think would just make my eyes fall out.

    As for the Duet, yeah. Great deal for the money.

    Maybe grab a MacBook for now and then consider buying an external display to run also. Dual monitoring is an amazing thing for music production.
     
  14. SirJ thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #14
    wow.
    I am a little concerned with the screen space and I'm not sure about an external monitor, though I guess that wouldn't take too much room in my dorm.
    Hmm anyway, I've seen the apogee duet and never really looked into it since I've always had a PC. it looks pretty cool but what are you guys talking about when you say conversions? I have a feeling i'm feel stupid for asking that, but I'm a little confused.
    As for the use I definitely will be mastering, mixing, etc as well as composing my own stuff and possibly recording though not sure if I'd actually want that much stuff at college. That would be awesome though perhaps expensive.
    Don't really want a 17" because 1) portability and 2) I don't like how huge it is. 15,4 is a good compromise for me plus I forgot about the price issue-yikes.
    Thanks for all the help by the way everyone.
     
  15. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #15
    What we mean when we say "conversions" is analog to digital stuff. When you record the instrument, you need to convert it from it analog, audible source, to a digital, binary source. So, you need A/D conversion. Then, when your computer plays it back, it converts it BACK into analog, so it's a D/A conversion.

    The cheaper something is, the less money goes into its converters. Good converters are VERY expensive, but mediocre ones are much less and, for the most part, the average listener wouldn't be able to tell a difference.

    It's like listening to two different EQs. Someone may like one more than the other. You just have to decide which you like better.

    And no, you're not stupid for asking. Ask away. That's what everyone is here for.
     
  16. SirJ thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #16
    Oh ok. I've never heard that called a converter before. actually I've never really considered that but obviously yea that would make a huge difference.
    Thanks for all the help guys, appreciate it.
     
  17. SirJ thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #17
    ok i'd like to revive this thread for just a little while. i have a new question.
    i've picked up that the processor is the main factor in music editing/recording and the like. my question is, how fast of a processor (C2D for now but i'll probly be using nehalem) is requried for programs like logic to run smoothly? i have an old dell dimension 4500 with a 2.0 GHz pentium 4 and it runs reason well enough, what do you guys think?
     
  18. andrewdale macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #18
    I would say you'll probably be able to use it, but not to the greatest of its potential. I know that it would be hard to record at any high sample rates.

    It might get you through for now, but that waiting game can be a hard one to play! I would know!
     
  19. nephilim7 macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #19
    logic will run decent on a 5 year old machine, the difference will be the amount of plugins you can run at the same time. Any of the modern penryns would be fine. Get the fastest drive you can as well if you plan on doing a lot of audio.

    also a 17" would cost you less that a 15 + a 23" apple display with the same screen real estate. The 17" is expensive, but it really isn't much more to lug around.
     

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