SSD drives for Audio Production

Discussion in 'iMac' started by axisD, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. axisD macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #1
    Hello everyone, I'm looking into buying an imac I want to start using to record some audio, and do some small video editing projects. I was looking in the Refurbished section at apple, and I saw that I could buy one for about $1800 with a 1Terabyte hard drive. But they also have a couple refurbished ones with 256GB SDD drives for around $2200. Is the price difference worth that much loss in storage? I'm just wondering what would be good, especially for someone just starting out. Point me in the right direction! :)
     
  2. MC26348 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #2
    Depends on the level of complexity of your projects. A SSD is incredible if you can afford it and yes, if you're using very intensive AUs and lots and lots of tracks I wouldn't dream of working without a SSD.

    Think about the music you want to create and the tools you're going to be creating it with. Only then can someone give you a truly accurate answer.

    In short though, yes it's worth it.
     
  3. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #3
    thanks for the advice...but do u think I spud need more than the 256GB? would it make more sense to go with the cheaper 1TB SATA and use the extra money towards a bigger ssd drive?
     
  4. Culda macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    #4
    SSDs are your main choice if you're going to be exporting large projects because of their fast read/write speeds but they lack space (a decent sized SSD can empty your wallet). If you think about it, SSD is new meaning people have been making videos and producing music using regular HDDs for years so consider that. Both drives have a different experience. Also if you go with the cheaper 1TB model, you can always buy SSD drives cheaper than the ones in the iMac online.
     
  5. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #5
    If you're not too afraid of opening up your new machine, I'd recommend getting the one with the 1TB HDD and then dropping in an SSD for boot/applications. The speed of the SSD will come in handy for your projects, and the on-board storage (versus using an external FW800 drive) will be fast.

    Regardless of how small or large your video projects are, you will quickly eat up space with the video files. It's nothing to fill up 8GB cards, which quickly add up when transferring that footage to your computer. Even with the 1TB HDD, you will want to add external drives over time anyway, in order to archive your footage.

    I WOULD NOT recommend getting just the 256GB drive without at least adding an external drive. You will quickly outgrow it with video.

    I'd look through this site for both help on how to add an SSD to your machine, as well as possibly buy some hardware.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/imac_mid_2011/

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/
     
  6. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #6
    that makes sense. so what would the setup be like for that? what kind of files would I want to save to each kind of drive?
     
  7. Mike in Kansas, Sep 21, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012

    Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #7
    A common way to set this up it to keep your Applications/Developer/Library/System folders on the SSD, and move the User folder (with all the users' Home folders) to either the large internal drive, or a fast external drive. That way, you can keep your iPhoto libraries in your Pictures folder, your iMovie libraries in your Movies folder, your iTunes library in your Music folder, etc. You COULD just relocate each one of these libraries to an external drive without moving your Home folder, but for "neatness" I have moved my entire home folder there. I have an older iMac, so I don't have enough room inside to put in another HDD, so I have my User folders on a 2TB FW800 drive.

    A word of caution in doing this - you should ALWAYS keep at least 1 admin account on the same drive as your OS in case your User folder becomes corrupted somehow. If you have all of your User folders with admin privileges on an external drive, or an internal drive that doesn't have the OS on it, you are screwed if you need to try and repair your installation and those drives get messed up. I have an account called "Admin" that I created on my iMac that I keep on the SSD - I never use it but it is there in case my account on my external drives gets messed up.
     
  8. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #8
    this sounds like great advice! thanks for the tips!
     
  9. MC26348 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #9
    In relation to audio, if you're using large programs that stream samples, (how much ram do you have btw?) you will want to install the sample folders on the SSD. Don't be tempted to chuck them over to the external drive just because they're large. Most audio software is chunky these days, libraries are huge, an SSD is a must especially if you're using a computer like an iMac which isn't the most powerful machine. :)
     
  10. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #10
    an imac isn't considered that powerful? granted I'm new to this, but the specs looked pretty good to me. 3.4ghz quad core processor, 4 GB ram,(which ill probably up to 16), big hdd, thunderbolt ports, etc...I thought it looked good.
     
  11. MC26348 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #11
    Again, it really depends on what you're doing and how you're producing your music.

    iMacs aren't amazing but they're not bad either. For instance, Omnisphere/VSL choked our iMac. You have to bear in mind within audio applications there's a lot going on. Also, the iMac ran HOT when it was pushed and was a bit too noisy for studio use.

    You're running a MIDI track that has compressors, delays, reverbs whatever, which is going to a bus with more effects and so on so forth, you require a fair bit of processing power when this kind of stuff is multiplied across many tracks.

    Plus, if you're taking the route of buying software, libraries are huge. And if you're streaming huge sample files it's nice to have a large enough SSD.

    I'd probably wait for the new refresh if you're waiting for the iMac to be honest, you'd get a lot more longevity out of your purchase.
     
  12. Mike in Kansas, Sep 21, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012

    Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #12
    It is. Granted, it's not an octo-core Mac Pro, but then again, most machines aren't.
     
  13. Bendrix macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #13
    I don't know how the iMac would stand up to heavy duty audio production tasks. Might overheat. I would personally go with Mac Pro if you wanna use Apple computers.

    For my setup, I have my OS, music program and plug-ins on my SSD, and I try to leave its capacity fairly static (I've only used half of its total - SSDs run better the less data they have on them). I store my projects on a second HDD.
     
  14. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #14
    ahhh! now I have more to think about. I thought I had it narrowed Down. Mac pro might be a little out of my price range though ...
     
  15. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #15
    I think the question you have to ask yourself is just how involved your music production is going to get. How many tracks, how complex are your projects, are you doing just recording or also a lot of sequencing, are you primarily just mixing, etc. As far as the iMac "overheating", well it does have fans to cool it down and it does a real fine job in video rendering, which is also very processor heavy. There are folks doing audio production on MBPs these days...

    This site may give you some good info, and you could probably ask your question there as it's geared just for Mac audio production:

    http://www.macosxaudio.com

    Sometimes I see this tendency to "over spec" hardware, particularly in the creative world. I often see posts from folks saying that you must use a Mac Pro if you do ANY creative production. Never mind that the Mac Pro that they are using is a G5 and sounds like an airplane taking off....
     
  16. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    Metro Kansas City
    #16
  17. axisD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    #17
    how in the world did people get by 5-10 years ago before computers were this powerful?
     

Share This Page