Using MacBook Pro to record 24-bit/96kHz stereo using Apogee Duet

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by MaskAndWig, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. MaskAndWig macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    For several months now, I've been using my MacBook Pro (mid-2011 model, 13-inch, 2.7 GHz, Intel Core i7) to do some on-location recording with my Apogee Duet driving a pair of Neumann TLM-103 mics. I'm recording in the program DSP-Quattro v 3.5.1. The setup produces great sound, but I'm having trouble with momentary drop-outs and digital "blips" that mar otherwise beautiful recordings.

    I had the same problem when I was using the same Duet, microphones, and software with my previous laptop (a 2009 MacBook Pro), so I know the problem isn't unique to my computer. Also, somewhere along the line, I had my Duet serviced when one channel died suddenly. I was having the problem before the servicing and I'm still having it afterwards, so I suspect it's not the Duet.

    I only really hear the dropouts and blips when I'm recording from the microphones at 96kHz, 24-bit. Lower sampling rates and resolutions don't seem to have the problem, but I haven't spent much time recording at lower rates. Also, I have experimented with increasing the buffer size in my recording program with no luck.

    I'd like to be able to go on recording at the higher resolutions to capture the very best sound I can. Is it possible that the blips and dropouts are related to the MacBook's original 5400 rpm hard drive? Would I be better off replacing it with an SSD? I realize there are dedicated audio hard drive recorders out there, but I don't have the money for one of those now. If replacing the HD with an SSD won't fix the problem, is there anything else I might try?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. bwhli macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Sounds like a I/O issue if the problem doesn't persist with lower sample rate/bit depth. I'd suggest getting either a 7200rpm HD or an SSD if you have money to spare. Alternatively, you could also get a Thunderbolt drive and use that as your scratch disk if you have a computer with Thunderbolt.
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i would also suspect the slow, internal drive.

    for best results, record to a dedicated audio drive. don't try to use the OS/app drive, even if it is "fast enough."
  4. MaskAndWig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks for the tips

    Thanks for the tips. Reading the responses and considering the time and care I put into making recordings, it seems that a dedicated audio drive is a must. Perhaps before biting the bullet and going "whole hog" on a dedicated flash or HDD recorder, I'll try the suggestion of getting an external TB drive as a scratch disk. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many Thunderbolt drives yet and those that are available seem a little pricey. Maybe the options will increase by this summer?
  5. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    I use a 2.5"-based bus powered FW800 from OWC for recording, and it's not unusual for me to do 4 tracks at a time plus MIDI. Works great! That's on a 2009 C2D 2.53Ghz MBP13.

    Hard drives aren't as cheap as they used to be, but its still cheaper per gig than an SSD would be.

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