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Advice on MacBook Pro and Logic


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I've been a Cubase user on the "Dark Side" for a while and am planning on taking the plunge and joining the rebellion

 

I am leaning towards a MacBook Pro to attach to a 30" cinema display in the studio, because I'd like to have a mobile computer for various applications (not only my studio)

 

Some questions:

 

Some context up front: For my applications I am talking about projects with 4-5 plugin instruments and 7-8 audio tracks and some mixdown effects.

 

1) Can a 2.5GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB handle my (moderate) needs? Is there going to be any spare capacity or will it be tight?

 

2) Should I opt for the 200GB 7200rpm drive, versus the slower/larger 250GB drive? Is 200GB going to be tight after Logic and Sounds are installed?

 

3) What is the best option for external storage: USB, FireWire, ...?

 

4) When you have both internal and external storage, how should the components be arranged (Logic, sounds, projects)? I assume if you have things on seperate drives you can get some parallel processing efficiencies that you won't if they are contending for the same I/O bandwidth

 

5) I have a firewire MOTU 8-pre. Anyone validate its stability with this software? Any recommendations of something newer that I should take a look at?

 

6) I have a (3-4 year old) Mackie Control Surface. Anyone using this older control surface with Logic?

 

Sorry for all the newb questions, but before I went to the Dark Side, I was quite the Mac expert and MIDI sequencer afficianado, back in the days of the Mac Plus...($#@! I'm old...)

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The macbook pro will do fine.

For logic and all sounds you need 50 gigs. If you're using additional plugins that have large libraries it might get tight if you also use the computer for everything else.

Always go for the faster drive if possible.

Always go for Firewire for external HD or eSata with an Express card and firewire for the interface also. USB is crap.

The more stuff you can put on the system drive that belongs to Logic, the better. But your projects and everything you record or create should be on the external.

MOTU works great with the mac.

I don't know how the Mackie fares with Logic 8.

Hope this helps.

Enjoy your new experience!

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I have a MacBook Pro 2.0GHz and use it with Logic (and a MOTU896HD). All in all I've been pretty happy. I switched from PC and Cubase - and the mac world has been much better, although certainly not completely trouble free. The hard drive on my mac book crashed within months of me buying it, so back up. And there are some instability issues, but not too many.

 

 

1) Can a 2.5GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB handle my (moderate) needs? Is there going to be any spare capacity or will it be tight?

 

Unless you are planning on using a bunch of heavy samplers and Space Designer plugins (or other equally weighty synths) this should be more than enough. The 30" cinema display is fantastic, but incredibly expensive. 3rd party monitors are a lot cheaper. They aren't as pretty, in general, but they work and can save you $1000 or more.

 

 

2) Should I opt for the 200GB 7200rpm drive, versus the slower/larger 250GB drive? Is 200GB going to be tight after Logic and Sounds are installed?

 

Yes. You absolutely want the faster hard drive.

 

 

3) What is the best option for external storage: USB, FireWire, ...?

 

I use Seagate. Works well. Don't know if it's the best. Just get 7200 rpm. I had a Maxtor, but it broke. The rpm correlates to the read speed of the hard drive and this is going to be a bottle neck if you start to use more tracks.

 

My hard drive is 100gb and I get by fine, but I keep all of my sample libraries on the external hard drive. Of course, for portability this isn't great, but it frees up a lot of space.

 

4) When you have both internal and external storage, how should the components be arranged (Logic, sounds, projects)? I assume if you have things on seperate drives you can get some parallel processing efficiencies that you won't if they are contending for the same I/O bandwidth

 

The problem with the laptop vs the desktop is the limited Firewire and USB options, as well as the hard drive bays. I don't know if the newer ones have more, but mine only has one firewire port and two usb ports. I have to connect both my external hard drive and my MOTU on the firewire bus, which isn't great and creates something of a bottleneck because the files and the audio have to squeeze through the same port. I get around this by keeping my samples on an external harddrive and using the internal harddrive for audio files and project files. I think the largest macbook pro has two firewire ports, and if this is the case, you should probably get that - although I'm not sure if they're still sharing the same buss or not.

 

5) I have a firewire MOTU 8-pre. Anyone validate its stability with this software? Any recommendations of something newer that I should take a look at?

 

I have a MOTU 896 and a MOTU Midi XT. They both work well enough. I had a horrendous experience with MOTU support that has left me vowing to never buy another MOTU product. If I were to do it again, I would buy the Apogee Ensemble. As for midi, there aren't really many other options.

 

6) I have a (3-4 year old) Mackie Control Surface. Anyone using this older control surface with Logic?

 

Don't know. I have the newer version, 2 years old. Works great. Never had a problem with it.

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You're going to start seeing a trend here.......

 

 

2. Go for the 7200 speed drive. If you MUST have space, you can buy this 320gb 7200rpm drive, and pay someone to put it in:

 

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Hitachi/0A57547/

 

Buy an external FW enclosure, and you can put the drive that comes in the mac in that and then you'll have your external too.

 

 

3. Go firewire. I have a drive from OWC that's really good. Fast, well made, more expensive than the cheapies but less expensive than the top tier. Highly recommended.

 

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/EliteAL/

 

 

 

 

Good Luck!

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The Macbook Pro should do fine for recording up to 8 tracks at a time (that's as many as I've recorded at once on my MBP 2.4ghz w/ 4GB of RAM). Things to keep in mind:

 

1. Get the largest drive Apple sells, or buy and install one yourself. Opening the MBP to upgrade the HD is not for the feint of heart, and is not what I would call easy. Still, if you can follow directions and are extremely careful, installing a 320GB SATA HD can get you a good deal of space for very little money (I paid $120 for mine)

 

2. Record to an external Firewire drive. Make sure the drive is 7200RPM, and the more cache, the better. Install Logic on your internal HD (installing everything will take about 50MB). Every now and then, when the external drive spins down (as they do when they are used for a few minutes), you may get a "System Overload" message when trying to access your project. Dismiss the warning, and the external drive should spin up, and you can continue to work on your project. Again, you should really only see this if you don't touch your system for several minutes and let the external HD spin down.

 

I can't speak to the MOTU or Mackie hardware.

 

I've been a Cubase user on the "Dark Side" for a while and am planning on taking the plunge and joining the rebellion

 

I am leaning towards a MacBook Pro to attach to a 30" cinema display in the studio, because I'd like to have a mobile computer for various applications (not only my studio)

 

Some questions:

 

Some context up front: For my applications I am talking about projects with 4-5 plugin instruments and 7-8 audio tracks and some mixdown effects.

 

1) Can a 2.5GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB handle my (moderate) needs? Is there going to be any spare capacity or will it be tight?

 

2) Should I opt for the 200GB 7200rpm drive, versus the slower/larger 250GB drive? Is 200GB going to be tight after Logic and Sounds are installed?

 

3) What is the best option for external storage: USB, FireWire, ...?

 

4) When you have both internal and external storage, how should the components be arranged (Logic, sounds, projects)? I assume if you have things on seperate drives you can get some parallel processing efficiencies that you won't if they are contending for the same I/O bandwidth

 

5) I have a firewire MOTU 8-pre. Anyone validate its stability with this software? Any recommendations of something newer that I should take a look at?

 

6) I have a (3-4 year old) Mackie Control Surface. Anyone using this older control surface with Logic?

 

Sorry for all the newb questions, but before I went to the Dark Side, I was quite the Mac expert and MIDI sequencer afficianado, back in the days of the Mac Plus...($#@! I'm old...)

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I've been using at 2.4 Macbook Pro with Logic 8 since it came out. I'm still amazed at how much I can do with it. I typically have 4 or 5 space designers in a mix, various other 3rd party plugs. The only time I have any kind of slowdown is when I use BFD and Ivory at the same time.

Sessions of mostly audio,....I open however much stuff I want. I mix mainly R&B, hip hop, and jazz projects, but I've done 40+ channel mixes @ 88.2 on my MBP with all the plugs I needed.

 

Firewire setup is like this : MBP-->Motu 828(externally clocked)-->7200 RPM SATA in firewire 400 case (audio drive)--->10k RPM SATA in Firewire 400 case (samples drive)

 

I use the Scarbee Library, Ivory, BFD, Kirk Hunter String Library, and all have been living happily on my MBP. You CAN do real work on one.

 

One thing I do on large sessions which seems to help, I make sure to trim regions where there is no audio, that way Logic isn't processing plugs when there's no audio on the track.

 

Considering most of us had G3's and G4's before (hey I had an Atari back in the day), and we all got our CD's/mixes/remixes,....our WORK done, having even a lowly MBP with only 4GB of ram puts you on a whole other level.

 

Sure one day, I'll go to a desktop with a chassis filled with UAD cards, 16GB of RAM, many internal SATA drives, etc. But I think what's available in any form today is just incredible.

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i'm using a 2.33 mbp for the last 18 months...i'm still chuffed to bits and amazed at what this littel, rucksack-friendly , computer can do

 

if you can afford it , get a express card expander for fw800 or sata...this will give you seperate firewire busses for much better throughput, although i've yet to encounter any problems with my lacie 7200 on fw800 and saffire le on fw400...

fwiw i use tons of vi's and plugs and rarely have to freeze

 

little tip...play around with buffer levels....in certain, unexpected , situations lower buffer settings can help

 

also , i have the 100 gig drive fitted...things are fetting tight...200 gig should be fine

 

i'm looking to upgrade to 200 gig so that i can get my atmosphere > omnisphere upgrade....s#!+, who am i kidding :o)

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For my applications I am talking about projects with 4-5 plugin instruments and 7-8 audio tracks and some mixdown effects.

1) Can a 2.5GHz MacBook Pro with 4GB handle my (moderate) needs? Is there going to be any spare capacity or will it be tight?

I've got an old 300mHz B&W G3 here that can do that.

 

6) I have a (3-4 year old) Mackie Control Surface. Anyone using this older control surface with Logic?

Mine are almost 7 years old I think. Working fine here.

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