I'm considering purchasing a Mac, and so far my first option would be the new iMac G5. However, this computer seems by and large unexpandable, as you cannot insert a PCI card, which means I would be stuck with the (probably) mediocre sound system Apple has rigged it up with. I'm wondering as to whether anyone has had good experience with Firewire/USB audio hardware, and if so, which specific models? I would be doing mostly audio playback, with perhaps the possibility of small-time sample playback (Kontakt perhaps). Any help much appreciated.
The MOTU Firewire boxes are very good, at least the original 828 is.
I would think hard about whether you want to buy an iMac G5 for music. They only hold 2GB of memory, and you'll want more than that for running sample libraries. The desktop G5s aren't much more, and they'll have greater longevity.