whats better for a musician?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Sammis89, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Sammis89 macrumors regular

    May 30, 2005
    Hey Guys. IM an aspiring musician, with some solo stuff and a band. I was wondering whether a 14'' iBook or 15'' Power Book would be better for recording demos and also school work. Besides garage band, ill basically jsut be surfing the web, using word, powerpoint, excel, iTunes, and watching movies. I know the price difference is pretty big, but im wonderng what you guys suggest. Also, if anyone has any advice for what i need for recording (hardware, cables, mics, power, whatever) itd be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
  2. hyperpasta macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2005
    New Jersey

    Hello and Welcome to Apple! lol

    It really depends. If you're using only Garageband, a 14" iBook bumped to 1GB of RAM will work pretty well. If you're using Logic or something big and professional, then the Powerbook will probably serve you better. There is of course, also the issue of money. If you can afford the Powerbook, consider it on the basis of design, quality, and extra features. But it sounds like overkill in the power department for what you are doing.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    You'll want to consider how much to spend ou outboard equipment. USB Audio interfaces start at $59 and up, Firewire ones (which woudl be preferable) from about $300. Either the interface will have to have microphone preamps, or you will need ann outboard mixer.

    Search here for several threads with much information.
  4. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
    iirc the ibooks don't have audio in, if that would affect your decision.
  5. jimjiminyjim macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2003
    right, but if you're going low end software/other hardware solution, all you need is griffin's iMic to get 1/8 audio in via USB.

    If you're going higher end, you'll either be using firewire or USB in, and so again, it won't matter.

    So... what will matter is how many effects you are planning on applying, how much tinkering, etc. needs to be rendered (or whatever the term is for audio files).

    If you're going to apply compressors or expanders, noise gates, or other more advanced filters, the more speed, the quicker you can hear what it sounds like and move on.

    I do personal recording with an eMac and iBook, and am perfectly happy with the speed (but am not recording multi-track simultaneously). A powerbook would undoubtedly be faster though... although... spend all your extra money on RAM and the difference wouldn't be that great.... I don't think...

    hope my ramblings help you consider the factors, even if they don't do well at directing a decision.
  6. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    if you buy a usb preamp with an ibook 14" you can use it on any computer, but if you buy the powerbook for the audio in, you don't have that same option....
  7. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2004
    I would recommend a 12" iBook personally. I find the 14" to be unnecessarily big and, with no gain in resolution, a waste. I have done 16 track sessions on my iBook 900 G3 using a 002 and it works ok. Like others have said, save your money for at least an extra gig of ram and a big firewire hard drive. It is not recommended to use the internal drive for audio recording.

    Look at interfaces from M-Audio, MOTU and DigiDesign--If you plan to get really serious, learn ProTools. Get at least one good condenser microphone--e.g. RODE, audio technica, AKG. Do not waste your money on monster cables. Also you can find some really good FREE audio units plugins around. My personal favorites are from Destroy FX.

    Good luck and have fun recording.
  8. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2002
    There's an article on this very choice in this month's Sound on Sound magazine. The iBook will be cheaper and you could put the saving towards buying a good firewire audio interface (firewire is very much preferable for any kind of serious recording, as it has better sustained data throughput).

    However, bear in mind that the iBook only has a 4200 RPM drive (IIRC).

    The Powerbook has a 5400 RPM hard drive. That translates to more simultaneous tracks of audio being recorded, or being played back.

    In terms of running Garage Band or Logic, you'll want to get the most powerful machine you can get, either way, and Garage Band will generally need a hell of a lot of processing power (potentially more than Logic, depending on what you're expecting of the programme).

    In terms of audio interfaces - it depends on what you want to record. If you want to record a whole band, the Firepod by Presonus looks to be a very good all-rounder (it includes 8 pre-amps, meaning that you could use it to record a whole drum kit properly with the traditional 7-microphone setup as well). If you only want to record one or two instruments at a time, the Focusrite Saffire gets a very good review in Sound on Sound this month.

    Hope that gets you started - you may also want to head over to the forums at www.macmusic.org
  9. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
  10. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    Depends on your budget. You could make a iBook work, no doubt, but a PB with the faster internal HD, the option to go to 2gigs of ram, etc. make it much more "future proof" in the music area.

    That said, the 1Ghz PB in my sig does great for recording audio via Cubase, audio manipulation/editing via Peak 4, and real-time audio processing via Max/MSP.

    As for audio interfaces: M-Audio Firewire 410, Presonus Firebox, Presonus Firepod, or the Focusrite Sapphire. I wouldn't spend any less if you were even moderately serious.

    Mics: Make sure to have a Shure (pun intended!) 57 or two lying around, and maybe a few 58's as well. Great dynamic mics, classic sound, great reliability. As far as condenser mics, check out any of the Blue mics, Oktava or AKG. If you buy a condenser mic, remember to buy a screen or make one out of pantyhose and a metal coat hanger.

    Mic cables: Have plenty of mic (xlr) cables around, of varying lengths. It is always good to have a backup cable or 10.

    Other: Don't forget plenty of mic stands to take care of your needs. Have a few surge protectors to protect all of your gear. Keep audio cables as far away (as possible) from electrical cables, as this will help to prevent electrical noise from creeping into your recordings.

    Good luck with it Sammis89.
  11. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005

    I say ... check what the new PowerBooks will have to offer. They're supposed to come around in October, if you can wait that long. There isn't too much of a difference right now but I'm sure there will be.
  12. iEdd macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2005
    Yes. Speaking of Firewire on mac, call for help did a test with speeds and a 10GB file.
    Transfer time: Loose files from PC via USB 2.0 : 13 mins 26 seconds
    Transfer time: Loose files from MAC via USB 2.0 : 23 mins 34 seconds
    Transfer time: Loose files from PC via Firewire 12 mins 34 seconds
    Transfer time: Loose files from MAC via Firewire 10 mins 17 seconds

    So by that, firewire equipment on a mac is the best way to transfer any data :)
  13. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I recommend you get a 14" iBook and get a USB preamp and the extra ram... Don't listen to what people say about the 14" iBook being a "waste," the fact is, it's faster and by stock comes with more hard disk space, and is also easier on the eyes... The 12" iBook is going to force you to wear glasses within a year or two of purchase.

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