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Topic: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

  1. #1


    I've been looking online at computers to purchase. I use this one generally for life, and a lot of the time end up writing music on it. Specs are:

    Windows XP (Media Center Edition)
    AMD Athlon 64
    1 GB RAM
    1.8 GHz

    I use Cakewalk SONAR 4 for sequencing, and EWQLSO Gold as my primary library.

    I've been looking at Macs since they're rumored to be better machines for media creation (don't argue here, let's just assume it's true for the topic, then fight about it later).

    Money is not an issue. Well, much. I'm not going to spend $15,000 on a computer or anything. But I'm willing to spend a decent amount on a really good, powerful Mac so it won't need to be upgraded/replaced later on.

    What would be good systems to look at, especially for composers and recorders? I'll eventually be running EWQLSO Platinum + XP, as well as doing recordings of others, and large amounts of mixing, so it'll take quite a bit of power.

    Also, which is the better choice; Desktops, laptops, or iMacs?


  2. #2

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    If money isn't an issue, without question the best choice is the Mac Pro. More expansion options, faster bus speeds, faster CPU choices, etc. etc.

    Couple a fully loaded MacPro with an RME Fireface800 and maybe slap the whole thing into a portable rack case.

    If I had endless dough, here's what I'd get:

    Mac Pro 2x3.0Ghz (dual dual, really, but whatever)
    16GB RAM
    4x500GB SATA3.0 HDD (One for system, one for samples, and the other two as a RAID mirror of the first two)
    UAD-1 PCI-e DSP card - these plugins are fabulous
    Logic Pro or Digital Performer
    2x19" or better Cinema displays


  3. #3

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    o_o That's so tempting, they could make softcore porn based on that computer. rofl

    If only. Well, it's something to dream about. But Mac Pro? Can't say I've heard of it. *looks it up*

    Wow. I'm surprised the newest system is only $2,499. That's definitely something to keep an eye out for.

    Thanks a lot!

  4. #4

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    Before you get all excited about buying a new Mac do check that the software that you are intending to run works with the Intel Macs, otherwise you will be very disappointed if you have to either leave it in the box for 6 months or run it in Windows XP.


  5. #5

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symbiotic
    If money isn't an issue, without question the best choice is the Mac Pro. More expansion options
    LOL lets see only 4 harddrive bays which for apple is great as it used to be only 2, most PC cases will except 9, only 3 expansion PCI/PCIe slots and only a single bus board compared to a triple bus board for a PC
    faster bus speeds, faster CPU choices, etc. etc.
    uhhh nope the mac pro is a PC its an intel woodcrest. no faster cpu or FSb than a standard PC woodcrest system.
    for all intents its a pc in an apple case that you can run OSX on.
    nothing more.


  6. #6

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?


    It always helps if you read the first post before flaming - it clearly states that Tanhithion is looking at Macs. Thus, my recommendations were based upon which Mac hardware would be the best choice in this situation. Please try not to turn this into a childish Mac vs. PC flamewar. There are plenty of those throughout the net, and if you'd like to add your two cents to another one of those tired, amateur arguments, I'm sure you can find somewhere else to do it.

    If you have something useful to add to this thread, by all means, do so.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  7. #7

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    Jschild, please keep the Mac/PC debate out of this topic. I'm simply looking at Macs primarily because most of the pros use them - and for a reason. Taking sides in this debate will only hurt a composer, recorder, or any artist on the lower rungs of the ladder, due to the rabid competition. It's best to swallow one's pride and go with the top hardware and software.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Daryl, though I was also going to ask what the best sequencer for Mac or PC/Mac would be. I've heard ProTools is one of the best. Not sure if it's Mac-compatible, though....

  8. #8

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    For a top quality Mac sequencer you have three main choices; Cubase (or Nuendo) Logic or Digital Performer. All are good, have similar features (although the audio features of Nuendo are far more extensive than the other three) but have different workflows, so it is really a matter of choice. Pro Tools is not in the same league as a sequencer, although it is starting to catch up a little. It is, however, a first rate audio application. Note that I am talking about the proper PT, not LE which is not as good an audio application or sequencer as any of the above.

    However, as I stated in my previous post you must be really careful about the new Macs; very little of what I currently use works on them at the moment.

    Regarding "most pros using Macs for a reason", I can tell you that the reason is that around 10 years ago they were far more reliable. This is no longer the case, and until the new IntelMacs were released the old ones were actually far slower than top quality PCs. You should use whatever you are most comfortable with. I have had both and currently use PCs.


  9. #9

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?

    I use both platforms extensively at home and at work, and while I'm completely comfortable with my PC, I do prefer to use the Mac. I like the workflow and elegance of the system. But reliability HAS been an issue - thank god for Applecare! True - my PC's have all been just as unreliable (for example - my PC at home can't keep a wireless connection active for more than about 3 or 4 hours before dropping...why? No clue.) - but given Apple's penchant for advertising glitz, glamour, and reliability, these new MacIntel's had better be better than the G5's.

    Anyway, back on topic - I use and love Logic Audio. Digital Performer is an excellent app as well - it seems most film composers tend to favor it over Logic or Nuendo (at least on a Mac). I've never been a big fan of Cubase/Nuendo - even though I am forced to use it at work. I think both Logic and DP are now Universal Binaries, and both come with a host of excellent plugins and softsynths. Either one would be a GREAT way to get started.

    But as Daryl noted - not all apps are compatible yet - and that includes EVERYTHING from East West. Because they use the Kontakt engine, they wont be Intel-ready until NI gets their act together...

  10. #10

    Re: Mac/iMac/Laptop?


    no matter what you buy (Intel or Mac), have a look at the maximum of RAM your system can use. Mine has a maximum of 2 GB - which works for what I do but many here would not be able to do their stuff with it.

    1 GB RAM does not sound good anyway. ;-) Better start with 2 GB minimum.

    Also consider to have a 3 GHz processor at least or a 1.7 GHz centrino (better more). Or else you will likely have dropout issues.

    If you head to a laptop then consider a 5400 cpm hard disk, it will load your samples quicker than a 4000 something cycles per minute. If you can grab a 7000 ... the better. Desktop systems can have 10000 cycles and more.

    80 GB hard disk is better than 60 GB which is common at entry level laptops. 100 GB is even better.

    Have a look at the sound card. It helps if it is ASIO able. With a laptop you will probably use a usb or firewire AD/DA unit additionally.

    Desktop/laptop: I work with a laptop and enjoy it very much. I could have more RAM and speed and hard disk space for the same money but it is silent and mobile, so I prefer it under creative aspects.

    Just my 2c.


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