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I'm new, need help!

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Arnstein, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    I've been playing classical piano and (mostly acoustic) jazz guitar for a few years, but now I want to check out the world of audio production, electronic music etc.

    1. I have a mid 2009 Macbook Pro 15" and Logic Pro, and Sibelius 6, and I'm thinking of buying an 8-core Mac Pro with 4 internal harddrives, one for Mac OS, one for Ubuntu, one for Windows 7 and one for backup. Any thoughts on this? Does it sound good?

    2. I have, as stated, Logic Pro and Sibelius 6 for Mac. I also have a few ixi-apps. What more should I get? I've been thinking of Ableton Live. On Ubuntu I have Rosegarden and Muse. Any more linux-apps? I'm also thinking of getting Komplete 6. Is it worth the money? Any better alternatives out there?

    3. I probably need a soundcard! I have NO clue when it comes to this. I have understood that you need a certain kind to use Pro Tools, and I probably want that kind then, as I want to be able to use Pro Tools :p

    4. I've been making some ambient electronic stuff, and would like to play it live where I mix a band with the recorded stuff, and also be able to add new stuff live. What do I need to do this? A mixer?

    5. What speakers do you recommend for the Mac Pro? This will need to be budget-priced.

    Yes, I know I'm a total noob, so some help would be great!
  2. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Hmm, I would say that you may want to wait on the pro machine till later in the year, why? Well, I don't know exactly what Apple has up it's sleeve at the moment, but there are rumors of a six/twelve core Mac Pro down the road a bit. If you hold your horses and wait you may find yourself with more options available on that Mac Pro. I would imagine that the remaining stock of 4/8 core machines may come down a bit when the new model arrives.

    As for the interface, well, that really depends on your budget and your intentions. Do you plan on mixing ITB, or did you want to mix in analog? You may want to look at the Mackie Onyx i series firewire mixers, they range from 8 to 16 channels and allow you to run Pro Tools M powered, Logic Pro, most anything. Be sure to check the Mackie forums to read feedback on their latest mixers. There is also an amazing new mixer that Allen and Heath is offering called the Zed R16, I really like the features that is has, but if I had the choice I would go for a Lynx Aurora if my budget allowed for it. I don't think A+H or Lynx work with pro tools, but I have no knowledge of that since I never work in pro tools.

    You mention that your looking for some budget speakers, well I can tell you this is one area that varies quite greatly. There are many decent speakers out there, self powered and passive. You should know that a room has a great effect on how the speakers perform. Do you like the sound of your room? You may need to take some necessary steps to improve that, there are many articles on this site about that. You can search the site with keywords to find what your looking for because I am no expert in that area. But back to the speakers, I would not recommend getting budget speakers, get the best set of studio monitors that you can afford. I've been drooling over the Dynaudio BM5P/BM15P for quite some time, I have not made the purchase yet but have my mind set on it. I would look at JBL, M-Audio and Alesis Studio Monitors as well. I have had a pair of Alesis Monitor One's for many years and am very pleased with them. Best wishes and welcome to the Recording.org website.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Sibelius is a notation program and not a recordist's DAW. Logic is good to go though. Whatever interface you opt for, it NEEDS to be firewire. Do not even waste your time with USB. You will also need an external hard drive which can be either firewire or usb-firewire is still fine as it daisy chains and still works. If you are wanting ProTools then you are stuck with their approved list. For mobile purposes look at the Digi 003 Rack. For ProTools M Power then the Mackie iOnyx is a great option. The onboard soundcard even on a Mac is not for real music recording. As far as using your stuff live, you should look at what artists who do that are using-Imogen Heap for instance. These are primarily sequencing programs so that is the type you are shooting for. The interface you purchase will be able to send the feed out to the PA crew.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Speakers. I forgot. Here is where I give my obligatory sermon "Thou shalt not waste money on cheap schiznit." Cheap speakers are not worthy so don't bother. If you are gonna have to go cheap get headphones- ATH M50. For decent moderately priced monitors look at the NHT M00. These are great bang for the buck. Certain Tannoy active monitors are decent and the ubiquitous JBL line are great.
  5. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    Yes, I know Sibelius isn't a DAW, but I use it to compose in, as I find the Sibelius notation system much easier than Logic, so I write it down in Sibelius and import it into Logic. Just thought I'd mention it, since I use it.

    And I was also thinking about waiting for the Mac Pro. I've also heard rumours about the new Mac Pro, but a 12-core? WOW!

    As for the rest, I'll check it out, and come with some new questions when they pop up into my head :p

    Thanks for the help so far!
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Sorry. We get all levels of unknowing here. At least we aren't breaking into a chorus of Ford/Chevy, Coke/Pepsi, Win/Mac or Sibelius/Finale.
  7. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I know, I've heard about some issues the eight core machines are having with overheating in certain applications such as iTunes ect... Its really strange, just makes me wonder.

    Twelve cores, I can imagine what apple will be asking for these machines and its wayyy out of my league. A four core will suite me well, I do plan on waiting another year because I have other priorities, a great set of studio monitors is one of them.
  8. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    Issues with the eight core? I really don't expect any issues if I pay 5000 dollars for a machine...(5000 is the price I have to pay in Norway)!

    Twelve cores is out of my league too, but I'm going to use it for everything I do, included games(not that I play too much though). Also, I prefer to pay much for a machine and have it for many years, rather than pay a "medium" amount of money every few years. But maybe this isn't a smart way to think when it comes to Apple computers?

    Just came back from the university, gonna check out everything you've written now!
  9. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Sorry to jolt your system, I don't think this is an issue with the pro applications such as Logic Pro, I will try to find the article and post it for you now.
  10. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nehalem Mac Pros take 20% performance hit when playing audio

    Just keep in mind that a leading edge product such as a Mac Pro can have issues, most of them are pretty minor, but something to be aware of. There is a price for leading edge technology and sometimes the people that are paying the most amount of money are the ones to suffer. Hopefully, this will not affect your music applications that you wish to use, just thought I would offer you a different viewpoint.
  11. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Oh yes, one more tidbit for you Arnstien. I have read that performance is greatly increased with 8 core machines when hyperthreading is disabled in OSX.

    Logic Pro Multicore Benchmarktest ! - Gearslutz.com
  12. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    Let's just hope the new models won't have the same problem! I'm starting to get sick of Apples computers already, as I had a harddisk with the Macbook Pro I bought in the middle of June, that still hasn't been solved. (it's in for service now though, so when I get it back in a weeks time, it will, hopefully, be fine).
  13. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    The article I posted seems to state that this audio performance issue looks like a fixable problem, its just that Apple does not want to acknowledge the issue. This happens with Apple time and time again. Its always a small issue, and when you look at spending $5000 I can understand you want performance.

    Sorry to hear about your hard disk issues with the MBP, I have the Macbook as well, although it is just above entry level it does me well. I've considered looking into the MCE optibay 7200 rpm drive to expand the track counts a bit.

    MCE OptiBay Hard Drive for MacBook Pro, MacBook, PowerBook G4, and Mac mini

    However, If I were in your shoes I may be inclined to think the supposed six core machine will be the one to keep an eye on. A desktop Mac Pro is a fantastic design, they have very decent access to any component and are easy to work on. Its always been so darned expensive though, but for a pro machine I think they are well worth it as long as Apple has the glitches worked out, which is never the case. That is why I say its better to wait and see what the first wave of new buyers have to say about the performance, which seems to take a few months. There is no sense in spending all that money before you know your investment will last you another five years.
  14. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    The 12-channel one costs 1600USD in Norway, I guess I COULD afford that(in the future). It probably should be able to use Pro Tools, as I will have to use Pro Tools when I'm studying music technology next year. But you could also do all the mixing in Logic/Pro Tools/etc? If so I guess I will start with that, then maybe buy a 12-channel mixer(or hopefully even more) when I feel I can afford it. The Mac Pro is first on my list, and even that will take some time to get, both considering waiting for new release and saving the 5000USD.

    How is the M-AUDIO AV40? Atleast they're at a price range I can afford...:p It won't matter if I don't have the best monitors, as when I start to study at the universtiy, I can use their studio, which is just AMAZING. But I do ofcourse want to have good enough monitors for my home studio, as I can't always book the one at the university when I want etc.
  15. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    The M-Audio speakers are very good from what I have heard of them. With monitors you simply have to try them and find what you like. You may not have access to a store that has multiple pairs for your audition, so I would say its really hard to know what you would like without hearing it/ comparing it.
  16. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    By the way, if you can try them at a store I would suggest bringing some of your favorite music with so you can crank them up and try them all.
  17. musicmantest

    musicmantest Guest

    As to the Mac, do NOT buy hard drives from Apple. They are overpriced by at least twice (or more) than what you can buy aftermarket. Ditto for ram.
    As for backup - you don't want that spinning all the time. Get a good, high capacity external firewire800 drive for your abckups.
    ProTools - depends on whether you're looking at HD or LE. HD you have to use Digi's cards inside your computer; LE uses a Firewire connection. If you're not going PT for A/D/A, then the world is your oyster, and the best converters out there (but expensive) are Lynx and Apogee. And both of these, with the appropriate expansion card in the A/D and D/A converters can be used with PT HD. You could always go mBox if you want cheap.
    Why Linux and Ubuntu? For audio best to stick with OSX Snow Leopard.
  18. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Apple sells the drives and the memory at inflated prices, but I am sure that is to make up for their Apple care warranty, which by the way is a must have for any new Apple computer.

    You actually have up to a year to decide if you want it and it lasts up to three years and covers your computer if anything should go wrong. I actually had a lightning strike nearby my home last spring and instead of taking out my cable modem it took my motherboard. I also had a DVD/CD burner go bad as well, so I would say the warranty is well worth it for a laptop since in both instances Apple replaced the issues free of charge.

    As far as the Mac Pro goes, it may not be as big a deal, then again, a Mac Pro is a big investment and the unexpected can happen. No matter, I will always be sold on the applecare warranty.
  19. Arnstein

    Arnstein Active Member

    Doesn't Pro Tools HD cost over 10000USD? I can use that at the university, so LE is good enough for personal use.
    I'm not going to buy the internal harddrives from Apple, except the one already included. The other three I will just take from my stationary PC that I use now. I also have an external harddrive for backup, however, it is USB, not Firewire, but that works for me.

    And why do I use Ubuntu for music software too? Because it's free, and it has alot of free, and amazing software, where I have created sounds that I wouldn't do in Logic. Using several programs doesn't hurt.
  20. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Here's more evidence of the current Mac Pro problem. There is going to be a fix, possibly as soon as the newest Snow Leopard update comes.

    Logic Pro Help :: View topic - disturbing reading for Nehalem owners..

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