Switching from pc to mac + Logic Pro

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by TheV, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. TheV, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

    TheV macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Hello all you lovely people! :)
    I would greatly appreciate some advice on the following matter..

    I am going to be taking THE step from pc to mac and I have to admit that it scares me! HA! Why? Because it is a lot of money I'll be investing. And even though I knów it's worth every penny, I'd still like some tips/ideas/etc

    My goal is the: 13" Macbook Pro.
    I'll be using it on the road, for school, live on stage and at home.

    To keep a long story short.. Yes I know you guys love specific details!

    I am currently recording vocals, guitars and synths by hooking them up to my Behringer mixer. The sound goes into my audio interface (Audiophile 2496)/computer (Windows XP) and back out through the mixer again and into my radio+speakers/monitors. (Am I still making sense?)

    I record piano via the USB port. (M-Audio Prokeys)
    I use Cubase and Reason.

    Now how would this work for the Macbook Pro?

    My thoughts on this matter:
    1.) I can't use the M-Audio interface I have installed in my pc for the
    macbook. So I'll have to buy a new audio interface. (haven't decided
    which one yet, recommendations are always welcome!)
    Can I still hook my radio + speakers/monitors into this new audio
    interface as well as my Behringer mixer? Or would this work different from
    what I'm used to?
    2.) I'll be adding Logic studio ( 9 ) to the package! :D
    Anything else I should be thinking of here..?

    RIGHT totally hope this all made sense!
    I'd really appreciate your thoughts/ideas/opinions!
    You all have a wonderful day :D

  2. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I'm not familiar with the Audiophile 2496 but from what I understand, it's stereo in stereo out. And it's anticipating line level rca in. I think you might be able to get rid of the mixer altogether. Do you run all your instruments at the same time mixed by the mixer into the computer or is it usually one at a time?

    If you don't need more than 2 inputs at the same time, you might want to have a look at the apogee duet that has 2 inputs with some very nice preamps so you could run your mics or other unamplified signals directly to it, bypassing the mixer. (it's quite expensive if you strictly look at features but apparently has amazing sound, I don't know, I don't own it)

    Other wise, I'd recommend the lexicon i-onix series that comes with 2, 4 or 8 inputs that also have some nice built in pre amps (that's what I use and I'm very satisfied). But there are tons of other cards out there.

    Most of the higher end cards will have multiple outputs with adjustable volumes on each output. Like the lexicon have a main out with TRS balanced out for your speakers as well as 2x1/4" out for headphones with independent volume control. So you could be able to run the mixer if you wanted to, but I don't see why it would be needed and it would probably worsen your sound quality.

    As for software, logic is quite complete on it's own and additional software will depend on what you're doing with it. if you need any that is, it sounds like most of the sounds you're using come from the real world.
  3. HoldernessMedia, Jun 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011

    HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    I highly recommend the Duet personally, it's definitely the best interface I've owned, but there are a few more things to consider. Paolo's post echoes much of what I will suggest.

    You should think about your personal creative workflow first, and try to determine how many input channels you REALLY need.

    For instance, how many synths and other instruments do you run through your mixer at the moment? Even though you're using the audiophile that has only two inputs, you're supplementing that with a mixer, so consider why/if you need that mixer in your setup.

    Are you layering multiple hardware synths by balancing them in your mixer first, then recording the stereo mix into Cubase? Or, are you just leaving everything plugged into the mixer, but actually only recording 1 synth at a time?

    Either way, this detail is very important, so think on it for a bit. How crucial is it for YOUR creative flow to have all the hardware synths always on and ready to record?

    If it is truly crucial to how you make music, maybe ditch the Behringer mixer and consider an audio interface with more inputs so you could have all your hardware hooked up and ready to go at all times, without the Behringer mixer in the recording signal chain.

    Personally, I rarely record more than 2 channels at once, so the Duet is great for me. I use an Alesis iO26 a few times a year when i need more simultaneous input channels when tracking acoustic drums.

    Once you settle on what your input number needs are, try and get the highest quality you can afford in that feature range. If you need to save a little bit longer, do it. It's worth it.

    What is your budget for your audio interface?

    My experience has been mostly with Motu and Apogee interfaces, so of course those are what I would recommend. Definitely Apogee over the Motu if you can afford it, but again, I think catering to the way you make music is most important. I've heard mostly good things about the Lexicon stuff and RME as well.

    Once you post a bit more details I think you will have some more people chime in with their recommendations on specific models that will fit your needs.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I use Cubase and Reason.
    Now how would this work for the Macbook Pro?"

    I can only speak for Cubase -- I don't use Reason.

    If you are fine with Cubase on the PC, there's no reason to feel that you have to "move to Logic" on the Mac.

    Cubase works BEAUTIFULLY on the Mac. You can "change platforms" and you'll be completely at home with your software.

    I'm not a Logic user, although I have experimented a bit with Logic Express (not the "Pro" version).

    After using it, I was VERY happy to get back to Cubase. Cubase is far easier to use, and has SUPERIOR editing abilities, vis-a-vis Logic.

    I say, give Cubase a go BEFORE you spend the money and time for Logic.

    Having said that, be sure that a MacBook Pro 13" is going to be "enough" for your needs.

    Except for the portability part, you might be 'way happier with a large-screen iMac. WHAT A DIFFERENCE when working with DAW software, far FAR more "screen real estate" to use!
  5. TheV, Jun 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011

    TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Paolo- : I don't always run all my instruments at the same time. (I only have 2 hands to play, unfortunately..) However, I do always have most of them plugged in so I'm 'ready to go' whenever I feel creative. But if I ditch the mixer, can I hook my amplifier+monitors up to the audio interface? And you're very right about me 'using sounds from the real world', but I'm also a sucker for experimenting with sounds and effects. I like to keep an open mind when it comes to music.

    Holdernessmedia : Like I mentioned to 'Paolo-', it's not necessary for me to record everything at the same time. But I really do hate the constant switching of instrument/cables, it tends to slow my workflow down. So I'd like to keep most of the instruments/mics hooked up to the mixer.
    But if I'd have to narrow it down to what I use the most, I'd be needing 2x the XLR inputs and 2x jack inputs. (I can run the piano via USB)
    Budget for the audio interface would be around $400.

    Fishrrman : I've been working with Cubase for over 2 years now and I'm looking for something new and more up to date. I'll probably still use Cubase as well as Reason and I'll just be adding Logic to the group.
    I've thought about getting the 15" MB pro instead of the 13", but money AND travel wise I've decided to stick with the 13"!

    Thank you all SO much for your thoughts and input!
    It's nice to have someone thinking along WITH you.
  6. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    There shouldn't be a problem with plugging monitors directly into the sound card. You might need some kind of adapter as there seems to be to many 'standards' for sound output : 1/4" stereo, RCA, 2x1/4" TRS... but they are just adapters, so you're not altering the sound.

    I would try to bypass the mixer at all cost, it's not required if you have a sound card with built in pre amps. Behringer doesn't tend to make the highest quality stuff, so you're probably getting noise and unwanted alterations in there, which you could by-pass. There might be some kind of patchbay you could get to leave all your instruments plugged in but just have to flip a switch to engage the one you want.
  7. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011

    Alright, most thorough recommendation I can give is of my personal setups, the one I use now, and the one I used a few years ago.

    Short version - I will recommend Apogee over Motu every time if you can afford it, because of the sound quality and because it works for me, but the Motu may suit your workflow better if you absolutely need the extra inputs.

    Long version - Sorry if this is a bit long winded, I hope it helps and doesn't just make the decision even more difficult, lol!

    For $400 I suggest:

    A) Get a used Duet 1st gen, can be found for $300-400 on Craigslist/eBay.

    The breakout cable has 2 XLR inputs and 2 1/4 inputs, so you should be able to leave everything plugged in all the time, and the only fiddling you do is one click in the apogee maestro software to choose what input to use at the moment.

    For example, I leave a guitar cable plugged into the 1/4" jack for Input 1 and my main microphone always plugged into the XLR jack for Input 2.
    I also leave a dual 1/4" cable plugged into the second 1/4" jack for Input 2, with the left cable unplugged until I'm recording audio from my iPad or an occasional hardware synth.

    This way, I'm always ready to record a guitar/bass direct, and my mic is always ready. When I am recording a synth or (shameless plug alert) one of my own apps from the iPad, it takes about 10-15 seconds to unplug the guitar cable, plug in the left side of the dual 1/4 cable, then plug the other end into the iPad or a hardware synth. Last step is in Maestro (apogee software control panel) to switch Input 2 to 1/4". When I need to record the mic again, I just switch it back to XLR in maestro.

    I plug my monitors into the stereo outputs, and my headphones into the headphone output. The headphone and stereo outs can each be individually muted using Maestro. This is one of the only things I don't love about the Duet, having 2 pairs of outputs would be better for me, but that's why I plan on moving to the Duet2 soon.

    For me this works really quick and easy, and the difference in sound quality using the Duet far outweighs saving a few extra seconds leaving everything plugged in 100% of the time for immediate recording.

    In your case, I think the one thing that might not work well for you is the outputs scenario. It sounds like you run out of your mixer into your radio, and also out to your monitors. I'm assuming so you can check mixes to see how they sound on both, correct?

    If this is the case, you would have to compromise a bit with the Duet.
    You could plug your monitors into the stereo outs of the Duet, then plug a stereo 1/4" cable out of the headphone jack and into your radio.
    You would then use Maestro to mute/unmute to check the mix on different systems. You would need to unplug the radio to plug in headphones.
    So, consider that before deciding.

    B.) Get a Motu audio express ($395 new)

    Though I haven't used one, it's basically a smaller version of the Ultralite, which I used for a year or so, and was a great interface. From reading about it, customer reviews, etc. it appears this model is also a solid choice, and is in your budget, where as the Ultralite or 828 are not.

    When I had my Ultralite, I was still using several hardware synths at the time, so I had them all plugged in and ready to go in the Ultralite, and could run at a low buffer size without a problem. No need for a mixer, sound quality was good, and very stable with Ableton Live.

    I would have been happy with this if I still used a lot of hardware synths, but since I don't, I much prefer the Duet because of the sound quality vs. The Motu.

    If you decide that you want an interface with more inputs, also look into the Focusrite Sapphire or Scarlet USB, they look pretty solid, and are definitely within your budget. Ask someone here or start googling for feedback on using them with a setup similar to yours.

    Good luck and congrats on getting your new setup. :)
  8. TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Holdernessmedia : That is a LOT of information I'm going to have to process! Lol, but thanks a lot there are some useful tips and ideas in there. I'm going to let it sink in today and google some of the stuff you mentioned to see what would work best for me.

    Any other tips/recommendations/experiences are MORE than welcome! :D
  9. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    Haha, yeah it's a bit much I suppose! Think on it for a bit, and definitely get some more suggestions before settling. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions on what I suggested.
  10. TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    The Apogee Duet 2 is like.. MADE for what I'm doing right now. :D
    I have to admit that I'm already (extremely) excited about this interface.
    I like how it's small and I can take it with me on the road and use it for live gigs. :D

    And..welcome to my life..it is sold.out.everywhere.I.look *drops head on desk.
    (Note: I'm not from the states so I have to stick to Europe.)

    Patience was never my friend..

    But the apogee is, without a doubt, on the top of my list right now.
    Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

    My only problem right now? Is the pricetaaaag..
    I'm going to wish for a million dollars right now, excuse me.
  11. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    I can't find one anywhere either, seems like most places will get more stock in the next few weeks.
    To look on the bright side, that gives you more time to save a bit more money! Lol
  12. TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    :D véry true haha!
    I'm still wishing for that winning lotery ticket..

    By the way, do you - or does anyone else reading this - have any expierence when it comes to the following chain of devices:
    Macbook -> Audio interface -> Mixer -> Amplifier (Radio) -> Speakers

    I kind of want to listen to songs in another room as well and not just via the monitors.. Would this be the OK way to go?
  13. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    Are you talking about when you get your Duet 2? (I'm assuming so)

    I would still not bother with the mixer, as it's going to color what you're hearing from the Duet.

    You could do this pretty easily with the Duet 2, or any audio interface that has more than one pair of outputs.

    1.) In Logic or Cubase, whatever you decide to work in, by default your Master channel will play out through stereo "Outputs 1-2" on your Duet.
    So, have outputs 1-2 connected directly to your monitors, as this is what you'll be using most of the time.

    Human -> Macbook -> Duet outputs 1/2 -> Monitors

    2.) In your DAW, you can create a separate auxiliary channel that gets its INPUT from your MASTER channel. (There are several different ways this can be handled by different programs, but it's usually pretty easy to setup.)
    You could label this channel "Radio Send" or something so you can recognize it quickly in Logic/Cubase.

    Check that this channel is setup properly by playing back your song, the meters should be identical in your "Master" channel and "Radio Send" channel if they are both set to 0db. I would leave both your "Master" channel and "Radio Send" channel set at 0db all the time in Logic or Cubase.

    3.) Set this new "Radio Send" channel to stereo outputs 3-4 in Logic/Cubase.

    4.) Connect cables from Outputs 3-4 on your Duet, into your radio.
    Try and use cables with appropriate connections that don't need adaptors, if possible. (Example, if your radio has RCA inputs, use a cable that is 1/4" male on one end, and RCA male on the other.)

    Human -> Macbook -> Duet outputs 3/4 -> Radio

    *Depending on how far the radio is located from your mixing setup, you are probably going to need some long ass cables!

    5.) With this configuration, you can control the output level to your monitors and radio independently from each other.
    You can just click the encoder down on the Duet to cycle through what pair of outputs you want to control at the moment. You can mute them separately as well.

    Does this make sense?
  14. TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Hahaha yes, yes it does make sense!
    Again, thank you! You're such a big help that I'm going to have to start paying you for your services! ;)

    (I lol'ed at how you put 'human' before 'macbook'.)

    The whole 'adding the mixer to the chain' isn't really necessary for me anymore at this point BUT it is for my folks. I'll be donating my radio+speakers to them and I'll hook everything up. And by adding the mixer to this, they'll have easy access to the headphones output/input and the volume/main mix. (When I go listen there, I'll remove the mixer from the chain and just hook macbook + duet up!)

    Now I believe I'm not making sense anymore..

    Anyway, I'm really positive about everything now!
    I just found a store that still sells the Duet 2 ánd I'm able to order the macbook and Logic Pro. I couldn't be any happier on this rainy day!
  15. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    Nice! :)

    I'm still waiting on a local shop to get one in stock so I can take my iPad and test it out with the camera connection kit. That's the main deciding factor for me as to whether I upgrade to Duet 2 or just get one of the Jam iOS interfaces when they are released.

    I can't find any definitive answers as to whether the Duet 2 can work through the camera connection kit on the iPad. I've found a few people claiming it works, but no details or videos.

    This is why I try to be thorough when I answer a post like yours, because it will hopefully help someone else get specific information they need quickly and directly.
    I get irritated personally when I'm searching for answers online and end up just digging through post after post of stuff like "ohhh yeaah duet + ipad!" with no specifics or any kind of follow up!
  16. eepyikes macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2011
    Consider a MOTU interface (even a used one) instead of the Duet. You will get more inputs/features for your money with the same quality.

    Run, screaming from Logic. There is no reason to convert to it. Cubase is a fantastic, feature-packed yet streamlined program which runs beautifully on OSX. Consider the fact that not only will you have to relearn everything, but that Apple (if they value the brand) will likely drastically revamp Logic in the next version. Consider that it will take you hours just to learn how to properly rig up a true multitimbral software instrument with volume/pan automation. You will be living in the Logic "environment" window more than you will be making music. Logic is slower, buggier, and far less intuitive than Cubase


    Sorry, I've just been converting to Logic myself because Logic is required where I work. Not fun.
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Run, screaming from Logic. There is no reason to convert to it. Cubase is a fantastic, feature-packed yet streamlined program which runs beautifully on OSX. Consider the fact that not only will you have to relearn everything, but that Apple (if they value the brand) will likely drastically revamp Logic in the next version. Consider that it will take you hours just to learn how to properly rig up a true multitimbral software instrument with volume/pan automation. You will be living in the Logic "environment" window more than you will be making music. Logic is slower, buggier, and far less intuitive than Cubase"

    Eepyikes speaks the truth.

    I posted earlier, but if you "know" Cubase, but the version you have is growing a little dated, try a more recent version. "Cubase Essentials" comes to mind.

    Re an interface:
    Have you considered any of Echo Audio's products? I have an "AudioFire8" which is very nice.

    Or, assuming you stay committed to Steinberg's Cubase, you might consider springing for the Steinberg MR-816 firewire interface. I haven't tried one, but those who have say that it integrates smoothly with the Cubase software. They are a little "pricier", though...
  18. HoldernessMedia, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    I know you've made your decision already (congrats again!) but I have to add in here after the last 2 posts, for anyone reading this in the future.

    In regards to eepyikes post, he has a point regarding Logic, it can be a pretty steep learning curve, but his rant sounds like you will be burning in hell trying to make music with Logic, lol. Obviously Logic is not for him. I'd probably be ranting in the same manner if I was forced to use Cubase, so it's all subjective. :)

    An important thing to remember is that specific software or hardware choices do not inherently make you a better musician or producer. That is up to you. Music tools CAN inspire you, and a good workflow is definitely important, but there isn't a magic solution that is perfect for everyone.

    Which software to use is VERY subjective. Try a few different DAW's and see which one's are most natural to work in.

    My friend just started using Logic after happily and quite productively using Cubase for several years. He loves Logic now. Also, he STILL uses Cubase as well. There's no reason you can't use both for their strengths.

    I own Logic 9 and Ableton 8. Personally, I end up using Ableton almost exclusively because of the workflow. So of course, I will always boast about Ableton. You should try the demo of Ableton right now in fact, lol.

    Logic is also really good, and I'm using it more often now since I started using GarageBand on the iPad, then transferring projects into Logic. Im hoping Ableton implements this kind of workflow soon by adding an iOS version of Live.

    In regards to the Motu being equal quality with more inputs, I have to disagree there, hardware is a little less subjective than software.

    I've owned and worked with both Motu and Apogee interfaces, an original Motu 828 mk1, a Motu Ultralite, a Duet and a Gio. I can say from experience that the Apogee sound quality is better, period. Thats the reason why people buy them over similar priced interfaces that have way more features, it's all about the sound. I'd be pretty stunned to hear from anyone who has actually owned both who would say the Motu's are equal in sound quality.

    To be clear, I am in no way saying the Motu's sound bad, they're great. The Apogees I own simply sound better, which is why i bought them. All of these interfaces are rock solid as far as stability, and I can't say any one of them sticks out more than another in this regard. All of them will enable you to make an awesome record. Ultimately, nobody but nerds like us will give a shwit what model of interface you recorded the song with, they will either like or dislike your music. ;)

    I also have an Alesis io26, which has been decent, not as stable as Motu or Apogee's have been for me. Sound quality is not bad on the Alesis, but I don't think there are very many interfaces out nowadays that truly sound godawful. I also had a line 6 toneport which was ok for the money.

    Fishrman mentioned the Echo audiofire, which I've heard a lot of good things about. They seem to be yet another great choice.

    No idea about the Steinberg, but if it's tightly integrated with Cubase and you stick with Cubase, it's probably really nice. Tight integration of hardware and software is hard to beat if it's done right. We are on a Mac forum after all!
  19. TheV thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    I haven't made a decision on the audio interface or Logic yes/no yet. :)
    Still looking around and checking things out! (Went MIA for a few days, that's all.)

    @ eepyikes: I worked with Logic before and actually did like the way it looked/felt/etc. etc., so maybe that's a personal matter? And right now I'm just not feeling Cubase anymore, it's like it blocks me from thinking outside of my music box aka head. ;)

    @ Fishrrman: I'll look into Cubase essentials! AudioFire8 may seem like a better option, but at the same time it's not. Why? It's not as 'portable' as the Duet. But again; I haven't made up my mind yet.

    @ Holdernessmedia: I tried using a demo of Ableton once and gave up quite easily lol! It just didn't really work for me so again: it might be a personal thing rather than a software thing!

    I bought the macbook pro and that was quite a big step for me! When it comes to money, I'm just really careful and like to think things through because I truly hate looking back and thinking: ..now why did I go and buy that?
    If something 'feels' right to me, I'm often making the right choices!
    For example: the macbook? Quite expensive but I know it's an investment and that I won't regret it. Same thing for my guitar amp, THE most expensive amp ever but I love.it.to.death. and it 'felt' right when I bought it!

    But I'm still having second thoughts on the audio interfaces and the software so I'm not rushing things!

    Again: I thank you all for your help, guidance and advice! :D
  20. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I'm in a similar situation. I just got the MBP after months of waiting. Next is the interface and DAW. At least the Mac narrows things down somewhat. Previously I used cakewalk sonar on a Windows machine. I was ready for a clean break. I'd like to record my jazz trio in one pass--no overdubbing. Depending on mic-ing arrangements I could need anywhere from 4 to 8 mic preamps. Mandolin, Bass, Vibes/Drums. I'd love to have the Apogee preamps but I need more than the Duet provides. I've been browsing at MOTU alot and am tempted by the 8pre. It doesn't have some of the live performance mixing features as some others (built-in effects, compression, EQ) but it has the mic pres.

    To what extant are MOTU's interfaces specially developed for Digital Performer? They will run Logic or Cubase. If I get the 8pre, it will come with a trimmed down DP called Audiodesk. That would acquaint me with that environment and allow me to consider the full DP. GarageBand, while nifty and fun, probably isn't giving me an accurate enouh feel for what Logic Pro would be like.

    What are the chances of Logic coming to the Mac App store? Could they knock some off the price to save on shipping and packaging?

    Lot's to consider.
  21. HoldernessMedia macrumors regular


    Apr 17, 2011
    Sounds like the MOTU 8pre would really be nice for you. It will work with any Core Audio program, so everything that you mentioned will work fine.
    I don't have any experience with DP, so I can't offer much help there.

    As far as Logic coming to the App Store, it seems the chances are probably 100% at this point, considering Lion and Final Cut Pro X.

    If or how much cheaper it may be is hard to say at this point, there hasn't been any news or even much of a rumor about Logic 10 yet.
  22. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2011
    I'm still on the market for an audio interface. MOTU's new 4pre intrigues me. Compact, 4 mic pre's, affordable. I'm thinking that MOTU's Digital Performer may have better long-term support than Apple's Logic. I get this sinking feeling like Apple is going to leave the DAW business.
  23. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2011
    Making this transition just got easier as has made Logic Pro available on the Mac App Store for $199.99. I wonder if other DAW manufacturers will follow suit.
  24. Dewaine macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2011
    I have want Logic Pro for ages..... am downloading it now :) I want to get it before they sober up and jack the price back up :D
  25. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2011
    Awesome. I'm extremely tempted. I have a lot of other gear that I need first though.

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