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Topic: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

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  1. #1

    Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Hello world,
    This is my first post on this fine forum. I am a giant fan of the Garritan Strings and the Personal Orchestra.

    Dayjob = Wintel database stuff
    Animation = Animation:Master on PC
    But...I am moving into DAW on Mac
    I respect all Giga/PC/Steinberg people, but I really need to ask the Mac people a few questions.

    Goal: Classical composition and orchestration for concert music and film score, rendering of CDs of same, not as final product.

    I'd love to go Garritan Strings+ or Vienna Orchestra, Dual G5 with big SATA Drives, 30 inch monitor and LogicPro, but right now I can't, financially. But, two close buddies of mine are in the film world with G5s and Final Cut Pro, and I want to stay in the Mac stream.

    Here's what I already have
    Mac G4 Dual 450 MHz
    768 MB RAM
    10 GB HD (system, basically)
    OSX 10.3 Panther
    19" CRT Display
    Yamaha S-90 Controller/Synth
    Mackie HR824 Sound Monitors
    Some old Mac software:
    Finale 3.2 Mac from many many years ago
    Logic Micro Mac (only runs on 9.2, no upgrade path?)
    CuBase 4.0 Mac

    Here is what I was thinking for my first level. At this level I will not have to do any audio recording with mics, etc.; only Midi (and recording of Midi)
    (later moving up to MacG5 and Logic, adding audio recording.)

    Purchase:
    More RAM and one fast HD in Mac. 400.00
    LogicPro (I am student, legit) 500.00
    GPO 250.00

    Install both GPO and Logic on the large drive.

    Questions:
    1) Does the combo of LogicPro and GPO REALLY work?
    2) Would I need audio card and/or mixer prior to audio recording?
    3) Do I need to get 2 drives, one for GPO (and other sounds) and the other for Logic?
    4) Most complex situation would be piano + orchestral tracks of midi, no vocals or other instruments. Do I have enough power with this rig?

    Any and all comments very welcome, including other Mac alternatives.

    ::::: Opera :::::

    John Donohue
    Pasadena CA

    P.S. Any advice how to quiet down the rude G4 (loud fans)

  2. #2

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by operaguy
    1) Does the combo of LogicPro and GPO REALLY work?
    Yes, I'm using GPO on Logic Pro on a Dual G4/768 and it works really well. However, your G4/450 might be a bit overburdened with it; I suspect it will work, but you'll have to freeze a lot. Also, upgrading your RAM to at least 1gig would be a good idea.

    2) Would I need audio card and/or mixer prior to audio recording?
    Well, technically, you CAN record 2 channels of audio with the standard Mac I/Os, but it's not fun, so yes, I suggest you get an audio interface. A mixer is not required for recording, except if you need latency-free monitoring capabilities (and your audio interface does not provide those).

    3) Do I need to get 2 drives, one for GPO (and other sounds) and the other for Logic?
    No, I'm using both from the same HD without problems. That being said, it has advantages to move sampling libraries to a dedicated HD, since that decreases seek times.

    4) Most complex situation would be piano + orchestral tracks of midi, no vocals or other instruments. Do I have enough power with this rig?
    Well, I think it would work, but as said, I suspect you'll have to use the freeze feature a lot, which will slow down the composing process considerably.

    P.S. Any advice how to quiet down the rude G4 (loud fans)
    Is this a quicksilver G4 (mirrored drive doors)? If so, you can order a much more quiet power supply kit from Apple for a very low price. Just give 'em a call.

    Hope that helps + cheers,
    jan

  3. #3

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Jan, thank you for the response.

    Jan >> but you'll have to freeze a lot<<
    Can you explain what this means?



    Jan >> suggest you get an audio interface <<
    Jan, could you or others suggest an appropriate interface or two for me to investigate. I will need to decide on getting either a) something good but modest that will work on the level of, say, recording 16 channels, but might have to be replaced when I go to the full Garritan Strings or V. Orchestra + audio voices and effects and b) bite the bullet now and get a more expensive interface that will be fine to go into the eventual G5 at the next level.



    Jan >> A mixer is not required for recording, except if you need latency-free monitoring capabilities <<
    Requesting help on this...are you saying with no mixer I will have timing (latency) problems when outputting several channels to the speakers as I am trying to lay down additional tracks?


    Sorry for the very simplistic level of my questions, I am a real newbie.

    ::::: Opera :::::

  4. #4

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Jan, I've been listening to your sample files, just terrific.

    I like your game scores. Are you willing to say if the excerpts at your site, for instance "Homeware" and "Ortus Main Score" are GPO??

    Thanks again for your help.

    ::::: Opera :::::

  5. #5

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Operaguy,

    If you really want to enjoy your Mac + GPO experience, take my advice and bite the bullet for a G5. Get the entry-level version. Skip the audio interface purchase for now. You don't need it for what you're planning to do, and perhaps you're not sure on the concept of recording to disk? You'll be fine with the stereo out from the G5, as you'll be mixing all your tracks _in_ the computer, not by combining them using an external mixer. Sell a few things, take out a loan, etc - just buy a G5!

    PS: freezing is a term that refers to the act of recording a track temporarily to free up processing power. Not necessary if you have a powerful computer.

  6. #6

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Hi operaguy,

    I concur with Ned. Don't forget to budget for the RAM though. Nowadays, you really need 1 GB minimum IMHO. Also, since you're on Panther that 450 MHz G4 will be hurtin' quite a bit with all that you want to run on it. You should be able to sell it and use all of that money to put towards the entry-level G5. It will run so much better than your current G4.

    FV

  7. #7

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Ned and FV's advice is good.

    A dollar friendly alternative is to 'spread the load', and run some of the cpu intensive app's - like GPO - on a PC instead of in the Mac hosting your sequencer/DAW. Many of us Mac guys who wanted to run GigaStudio were forced into this approach some years back. The NI app's, in particular Kontakt/Kontakt Player, currently run far more efficiently on PC's. It's not as clean as hosting everything inside a single supercomputer, but it certainly gets the job done.

    Trond

  8. #8

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    I just called MacSolutions in Santa Monica, my fav. Apple dealer.
    www.macsolutions.com

    Power Mac G5 1.8GHz DP/256/80G/8xSuperDrive/PCI/GeFr5200 M9454LL/A
    Dual 1.8GHz PowerPC G5
    900MHz frontside bus/processor
    512K L2 cache/processor
    256MB DDR400 SDRAM
    Expandable to 4GB SDRAM
    80GB Serial ATA
    8x SuperDrive
    Three PCI Slots
    NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
    64MB DDR video memory
    56K internal modem

    CPU 1889.00
    2 1Gig RAM Modules $400
    Trade in on dual G4 -400
    total: 1889 plus tax, no shipping chg, I'll pick it up.

    Gives me entry level G5 with 2.25 Gig RAM (thanks all for warnings about RAM)
    Plus GPO and Logic 750.00
    budget now around 2800.00

    dnortana, I have heard a little about that idea, about using Mac/Logic as sequencer but running Giga/Vienna-Garritan on a separate dedicated PC. That idea will come to the front for reconsideration as I move up. Thanks.

    Thanks, Ned, for your post. I called up a friend and read him what you said and he helped me understand a little more about mixing (mixing down? bouncing?) in the computer. He agrees with your statement about not needing audio interface immediately, says I will need more equipment when I want to go out to 5.1 sound and also when I want to begin recording voices in.

    Any other input to this plan very welcome.

    ::::: Opera :::::

  9. #9

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Hi again,

    Quote Originally Posted by operaguy
    Can you explain what this [freeze] means?
    The freeze feature allows you to quickly render one or more tracks (can be regular audio tracks as well as audio instruments) with all their inserts, so that they eat no more CPU power than an audio track w/o inserts during playback. For example, when working with GPO, if your CPU is not up to the load on dense parts of your arrangement, you can freeze the tracks you're currently not working on and try again. Disadvantage: you can't edit anything on a frozen track, you'll have to thaw it first.

    Jan, could you or others suggest an appropriate interface or two for me to investigate. I will need to decide on getting either a) something good but modest that will work on the level of, say, recording 16 channels, but might have to be replaced when I go to the full Garritan Strings or V. Orchestra + audio voices and effects and b) bite the bullet now and get a more expensive interface that will be fine to go into the eventual G5 at the next level.
    If you say you'll need 16 input channels, I suppose you're planning to get an external sampler (like GS) at some point? Because if you're just working with sample libraries within your Mac and recording the occassional mic signal, you probably won't need any more than 2-4 high quality I/Os.
    As for the interface, I'm pretty fond of my MotU 2408MkII - at least technically - and heard equally good things about the other MotU interfaces. I'll have to warn you however that my experience with MotU support has been nothing short of atrocious. YMMV, though. As an alternative, you could take a look into RME cards - they're pretty low-priced, and I had no bad experience with mine (DIGI96/8) so far (I'm using that one in a PC, though, so I can't say anything about the Mac support).

    Requesting help on this...are you saying with no mixer I will have timing (latency) problems when outputting several channels to the speakers as I am trying to lay down additional tracks?
    It has to do with this, but that's not quite what I was talking about. It's about the headphone signal you'll have to provide to people you're recording. They need to listen to their own signal on the headphones, so you need to feed the mic signal into their monitor (=headphone) mix. However, nothing is more confusing than an (even slightly) delayed monitor signal, so you can't usually do this routing within the computer (since all digital interfaces introduce a certain amount of latency). This is were a small mixer comes in handy - via its aux busses, you can easily do a latency-free monitor mix for your performer.

    HTH + cheers,
    jan

  10. #10

    Re: Mac, Logic+GPO? Plus rig advice sought

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by operaguy
    Jan, I've been listening to your sample files, just terrific.
    Thanks, glad you like 'em!

    I like your game scores. Are you willing to say if the excerpts at your site, for instance "Homeware" and "Ortus Main Score" are GPO??
    No, I've used several different libraries for those - mostly GOS, SAM brass ensembles, London Orchestral Percussion and ye ole Advanced Orchestra.

    Cheers,
    jan

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