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iMac or MacBook Pro with Logic 6 (or 8) for Home Studio?


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I would greatly appreciate help. My old G4 needs replacing: it cannot cope with my EXS24 Borsendorf piano sample when I want to just 'play piano' (jams up when I use the sustain pedal or play arppegios etc). Also, it's damn noisy, and when I record my vocals (into my Mackie 1202-VLZ PRO), I have to drag the tower out of the room!.

Also, I'm thinking of upgrading to Logic 8 from 6.

I use my gear to write and record songs; I don't go out on the road, or record other musicians, or any 'real' instruments except my voice. So I use a lot of EXS24 samples etc to create my tracks, plus all the mixing and mastering whistles and bells Logic offers to make mp3 demos to send out etc.

I use an Oberheim MIDI keyboard to play all my instruments.

So, to avoid fan noise (from simply buying a new MacPro tower), and get more power, I'm thinking either an iMac or a MacBook Pro.

I have a LaCie external drive for storage. I have a 17" monitor, which I guess I could keep and daisy chain.

I also have a logic keyboard, which I supposed I could still use with an iMac or MacBook, even though they have keyboards.

I realise that I'm going to have to get another audio interface, as currently, I have an Audiophile 2496 soundcard, which I gather is not compatible with either the iMac nor Macbook Pro. So I'd also like advice on this too, please.

I'm also thinking of buying my new Mac with Logic 8 already installed. I know this would be more expensive than upgradiing from 6, but perhaps a LOT less hassle for someone as technically challenged as myself. I need to keep things simple, and not too wasteful (of gear I already own) or expensive.

I would be grateful for your thoughts.

Thank you.

Juliet

UK

 

 

:roll:

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Hi there,

 

if you don't mind portability you should definitely consider the new Imacs,they're powerful and reliable and,with a small two inputs,midi soundcard you should be set ( check out : Edirol,M-audio,Presonus etc. if money is an issue).

 

Regarding the upgrade,you just buy it together with the Imac and ask they install it for you;they could charge you a small fee,you decide if it's worth it.

 

hope this helps

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The new Mac Pros are totally silent, there's no fan noise, nothing compared to an old g4. Even the g5 is quieter than a g4.

Installing Logic is no hassle, it just takes time. The installer walks you through it, you don't have to be a tech whiz to do that.

In terms of interfaces, go firewire or pci if you have the money (note that the new towers are pci express). TC Electronics Konnekt is pretty good for the money.

The good thing about the new towers is that you can have 4 internal hard drives which is better than external for recording purposes.

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Thank you both so much for your advice. I've been reading various reviews on the Mac Pro since you said it's so quiet,triplets, and so that seems the most sensbible option being as I already have a screen, keyboard etc. But although £1700 is the basic price, I don't know how much more I'll need to spend to add the 'correct' amount of memory etc for my needs. It can easily double in price to get lots of speed and RAM.

Any idea how I calculate what I will need, please?

THank you.

Juliet

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Having just been back to the Apple site, I see that the Macbook Pro comes with 4GB RAM as standard and is £1749. If I choose the 250GB Serial ATA @ 7200 instead of the standard 320GB Serial ATA @ 5400 then it's less £34.99 too.

So, the question is, would this be a better configuration for me and my home studio running Logic 8 or does Logic work better with quad core technology. Will Logic make the best use of me having a Mac Pro rather than a Macbook Pro?

Thanks

Juliet

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In regards to the MBP: The £1399 with 7200 rpm 250GB drive and 4 GB ram would be fine for your needs if money is an issue. The main difference appears to be the graphics card.

 

The Mac Pro will provide you with much much more flexibility to upgrade hard drives, ram and graphics cards etc should you need to for the future.

 

The MacBook Pro, despite being a wonderful machine does not offer anywhere near the expandability. You'll be stuck with 4GB ram max.

 

The Mac Pro will most probably last you quite a while longer but is not portable!

 

The next version of OS X (10.6 snow leopard) will make much better use of Multi-core processing and Logic currently does utilize the multi cores according to reports I have read and pro's I've spoken to.

 

BTW, you can get 8GB kit of ram for the MacPro from Crucial for less than half the price from the Apple Online store.

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I would say go for the 24", 2.8GHz imac and upgrade the RAM to 4GB, the HDD to 500GB and the Graphics to the NVidia. You can hook up your 17" monitor via the mini dvi connector (although you'll need to buy an adapter)

 

You might not think graphics is an issue, but the integrated graphics steals RAM and so will limit what you can do.

 

For your purposes, the pro might be overkill. Yes, it's more powerful and expandable and is the obvious choice for a professional setup but the imac should be more than powerful enough to handle the needs of most. For £1369 you really can't go wrong with the imac.

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Great thread. I'm in almost exactly the same situation at the moment. I've read varying suggestions online as regards MacBook Pro Vs Mac Pro Vs iMac and even Mac mini for use with logic 8. I'm totally new to Mac and logic and as Juliet said there are so many possibilities for configuring (chip/memory) the Mac Pro it's a bit overwhelming even for someone with a relatively ok knowledge. The internal HD slot options in the Mac Pro seem a tad expensive too - are they worth it? Then you fire in the talk that the iMac is due for an upgrade before the end of the year as is the Mac Pro, once the new chipsets arrive.

 

Another question - screen size - what should you go for? If you went the MacBook Pro route is it worth the extra cash for the 17" screen?

 

Are there recommended setups for using Logic Studio 8 anywhere for newbies like me? (ie what mic/monitor/midi interface etc etc)?

 

Thanks, Shane.

 

p.s. first post - woop

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Thanks for all the input from everyone.

I take Ron's point about limited expandability with a Mac Book Pro. So, on this important point, you say the maximum RAM the MacBook Pro can take is 4GB, but what is the maximum RAM an iMac can be expanded to take, please?

(Although I expect for now, 4GB RAM will be enough, as my needs are relatively modest as a songwriter using Logic to simply write and record and mix and master demos of my songs.)

However, I'm interested to hear that Logic DOES take advantage of the Quad core of the Mac Pro which neither the iMac nor Mac Book Pro have, but they do both have 'Core 2 Duo' so I'm wondering how much less efficiently Logic works on these 2 machines compared to the Mac Pro???

And might they both also become redundant earlier than the Mac Pro due to the constant updating of the OS? Mind you, I guess there's no reason why I couldn't simply stay with the OS that comes with it now and never upgrade to the next version. Any thoughts on this?

Also, Johnno, I had another look at the specs for the 24" iMacs: the 3.06GHz model already comes with the 500GB HD and the NVIDIA graphics card, so if I bought that one, I'd just need to buy more RAM to get the configuration you recommend ie. 4GB RAM. Or do you think it's cheaper to buyer the 2.8GHz model and then buy the additional HD and NVidia separately?

And why do you think the iMac is preferable to the Mac Book pro - because you're paying such a premium for the portability ?

Are any of these 3 machines better suited to working with my Mackie mixer or doesn't that make a difference?

Thank you all so much for your input. it's really helpful.

Juliet

:)

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The iMac is the way to go if you don't care about portability and if you care about price. The 24'' iMac has a huge display, a real benefit. The RAM you can buy additionally later, don't get it from Apple because it's too expensive.

The Mac Pro is the way to go if you don't care about price and if you want to invest in a computer for the next 2-3 years.

The Macbook Pro only makes sense if you need to be portable, otherwise it's underpowered.

Simple as that.

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Thank you for your replies. Price is relevant, but I don't want to buy an iMac if I'm going to have to replace it in a couple of years. I have a Power Mac G4 which I've had for years, and I can't really justify buying new computers on a regular basis.

If there is a new iMac coming out soon, maybe it will take more than 4GB RAM, which is the only thing worrying me at this moment about buying an iMac. (Howerver, I understand that some people have put in 8GB RAM into the iMac, and got about 6GB usuable RAM.)

 

Now, I'm also interested to know whether to sell my Mackie Pro mixing desk, and buy an Audio/MIDI interface with mic preamps (as I won't be able to use my MAudio soundcard in a new Mac of any type), so that I can plug in my Oberheim MIDI keyboard and my mic.

Any thoughts, please?

Thanks so much.

Juliet

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Unfortunately, my student days are long gone :D so no chance of any education discounts for me.

Am paranoid about fan noise with another tower anyway, I know people have had noise problems (caused by dust building up on the graphics card, I think).

Thanks again.

Juliet

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Unfortunately, my student days are long gone :D so no chance of any education discounts for me.

Am paranoid about fan noise with another tower anyway, I know people have had noise problems (caused by dust building up on the graphics card, I think).

Thanks again.

Juliet

 

Anything you get should easily outperform your old comp.

 

As with most home studios, the basic set up is (with Logic) a computer, Logic, a control surface, an audio/midi interface, speakers.

 

An 8 channel audio interface (with midi) that has the capability to be daisy chained to more audio interfaces would be something to consider.

 

Use your mackie on the tail end of your final mixes.

 

You can easily make what you have work, but it becomes a pain to constantly adjust this, that that on/off, freeze tracks, mix (or do anything) with a mouse.

 

There is a trade off in wanting the best of everything on a budget that only affords you a something.

 

 

I was a big help wasn't I?

 

:(

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a control surface, an audio/midi interface, speakers.

 

An 8 channel audio interface (with midi) that has the capability to be daisy chained to more audio interfaces would be something to consider.

Could you suggest some specific ones please?
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Unfortunately, my student days are long gone :D so no chance of any education discounts for me.

Am paranoid about fan noise with another tower anyway, I know people have had noise problems (caused by dust building up on the graphics card, I think).

Thanks again.

Juliet

 

Enough of the paranoia. Like I said earlier, the Mac Pro is totally silent, you don't even hear it's on.

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Unfortunately, my student days are long gone :D so no chance of any education discounts for me.

Am paranoid about fan noise with another tower anyway, I know people have had noise problems (caused by dust building up on the graphics card, I think).

Thanks again.

Juliet

 

No they're not, PMs.

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Thank you Shivermetimbers and triplets:

I take your point about a control surface, but I'm not recording enough to justify moving on from my mouse. Also, as technology throws me, I have to keep things as simple as possible, which is why I'm nervous about how to get audio and MIDI back and forth: does the Apogee have MIDI input/output? (I see it's on the Apple website as a recommended audio interface). I need to have MIDI for my keyboard as well as Audio for my mic. I'm not sure I understand how if I bought a new multi channel audio/MIDI unit, say MOTU Ultralite (?), why or how I would then use my Mackie Pro mixing desk?? Would you enlighten my ignorance, please Shiv?

Sorry, triplets, I didn't mean to disregard your comment about the Pro's silence; I just came across lots of people on the on-line forums who have been getting noise with it. That aside, if I bought one, I would need a new soundcard to put into it as an audio/MIDI interface, wouldn't I, because my current PCI card won't work in it? I get quite confused with all the various permutations; I practically had a nervous breakdown when setting up my first studio in 2002 (which is the same gear I still have now!) :roll:

Thanks for your help.

Juliet

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hello,

 

interesting thread given i was in the exact same spot 3 weeks ago. i too was deliberating between the imac and the mac pro. i had to choose last month and went with the imac. I previously was running a 001 with pt 5.1 le for 7 years on a g4/400. so, anything would be a huge improvement...

 

my first thought was this machine smokes! it is so freaking fast and efficient i cannot believe it. i have a 2.6 dual core and i have yet to tax the cpu after weeks of experimenting with logic using both software and natural instruments using multiple tracks. granted, i have not mixed anything near a 32 track project loaded with plugins, but then again, this thing seems like it could handle a boatload. Back to the dilemna...

 

I struggled with the portablity issue myself. Ultimately, it came down to work flow and how much actual off site mixing/recording i would or would not do. For me, if recording off site is the issue, i can track onto my old mac book and import upon returning. The other thing about prtability, by the time i have my instruments and midi controller, the portability argument is out the window. It really depends why you need a portable logic rig. BTW, mac book pros kick serious azz. they are a great option. do not get me wrong.

 

I also enjoy mixing on a bigger screen over extended periods of time. From an environmental perspective, i most happy producing music in my studio.

 

i do know the macbook pro is more expandable but i think that ultimately all things given, i can get 5 years of solid production out of this set up. Knowing myself, I'll want a new mac before that anyway so i figure it was a great price point.

 

cheers.

 

you will be happy with anything faster than my old set up. ; )

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, absolutely anything will be faster than my 733MHz G4 with 1.5 GB RAM! I can't wait to get my new set up. But have been advised to wait til after the MacWorld expo in January as a new Mac Pro is expected, and who knows what else - new iMac?? But I don't know whether this would mean a price drop on the current Mac Pro (which is size overkill for me anyway, so I wouldn't wait just to get a newer, faster one) so I may hang on if I can save lots of dosh. ??

I'm not sure how much the Drive size versus high RAM is more important for running Logic? Nor if having the ability to store stuff like sample libraries on an internal drive is easier/simpler/quicker than having them on my LaCie drive? Does anyone know?

If I buy the standard Mac Pro, then I can easily upgrade Driver size, RAM and internal storage, whereas with the iMac, you make the choice of Driver size at point of purchase, then can't upgrade it. And is it easy to do a DIY upgrade from 2 to 4 GB of RAM at a later date with an iMac?

 

I'm not at all technically minded, so this all does my head in, but at least I know that whatever i get it will be considerably BETTER :)

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I went from a G4 800mHz to a Macbook (with the firewire port).

 

Yes it is heaven compared to the ol' iMac.

I can add a faster Hard drive and 2 more Gig of Ram and be maxed out.

I have a mini adapter and I use a separate screen for a big picture.

I have a multi channel interface to get more than simple stereo in and out.

 

 

Over time the software programs will get bigger and require us to get larger computers. So although your comp may last you a long, long, time - count on upgrading to something newer every so often.

 

You can wait for this and wait for that, but by the time you get home with your new toy, 5 more 'New' versions will have been place out on the market and you will hate yourself for not waiting.

 

It is a trade off between your needs and the machines capabilities. So find something you need that will last you a few years and be happy.

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Thanks so much for the reassurance and advice; I'm thinking I won't wait!

May I ask a technical question in response to something you said: why is it better to have the ability to get more than 'simple stereo' in and out? Under what circumstances/how does a multi channel interface work better and why, please? (I really am rubbish at the technical stuff!)

Thanks again.

Juliet

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