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Mac Virgin, seeks advice on DAW and Mac features.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by razor_usmc, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    As my nominal financial windfall (LOL) approaches I still consider my options. You guys have done a wonderful job talking me out of a Roland 24 track digital all-in-one. Unfortunately, still undecided in my PC vs. Mac saga.

    It has been recommended, and for good reason, I believe, that if I were to get a Mac, that the proven stability and speed of a dual G4 (used for me) would be the way to go.

    Now, I have researched building my own PC from scratch. I know what it will cost, and I know what I would need to run the program I have decided to use to break myself into computer recording/DAW. I have all but decided to jump on the Protools LE with Digi002 bandwagon and give her a go.

    I am not looking to make this a Software/interface preference debate. I am curious to hear from Mac users, answers to the following questions...

    1. Are Mac dual G4's quiet or will I need to put this in a closet d/t my small 11'x11' room during sensitive recordings? And if I DO put it in a closet, how hard is it to come by Apple/Mac keyboard/mouse/monitor cable extensions (say 15') ??

    2. What are the minimum requirements in your opinion to have in my (used Ebay special) dual G4 to make Protools run smoothly?

    3. Will I need to purchase a firewire card for the G4 to connect to the Digi 002, and does that just plug into the MOBO just like a PC mobo, and roughly what will that cost me?

    4. Can I use ANY LCD monitor for my Mac since monitors are about the only thing that never is included in the sale of a used Mac?

    5. If I get an older G4 that has an older OS (like OS 9) and need OSX, where can I get it and what will that run me?

    6. Once I get my Mac, how big a headache is it to delete everything and reinstall my OS and load my Digi software?

    7. Anything else I should know, or you care to throw in?

    The purpose of this is to determine whether the best value for my money both as far as speed/computing and reliability is PC or Mac and which headache I will tolerate better, building my own PC from scratch on my own and making all the software WinXP configurations and all that jazz gel together, or taking a proven workhorse like the G4, learning a completely new OS for the first time, trusting a stranger to sell me what is listed on eBay as what I am truly getting and erasing everything and starting from scratch.


    Thanks in advance for your time and willingness to answer,


    Cheers,
    Razor
     
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Get a Dual 1GB G4- didn't we tell you about this already...?
     
  3. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    Maintiger,

    You recommended a dual 867 or higher with at least a Gig of RAM. I know this because I have read your posts. I was, however, hoping to get more than one person's take on the macs.

    I do thank you very much for your input, and I respect your views and opinions. Please feel free to answer any of the other questions listed that you HAVEN'T commented on yet.

    Appreciative of your time,
    Razor
     
  4. Jonesey

    Jonesey Active Member

    A dual 867 G4 or higher will work but, If you can get a dual 1 gig or higher would be better. Yes the fans are a loud. 14' is the maximum I think you can use as far as cables go. Yes you should purchase a 1394 firewire card to put in it about $40.00. Any monitor can be connected to one of its monitor ports but must be a certain resolution for protools. I would also recommend a 2nd internal harddrive be installed for your audio files and use an external firewire drive for backups.

    Go to digidesigns website and you can find the recommended setup required for Protools.

    You'll have to purchase the OSX software from Apple. Go to their website or give them a call.

    Erasing all the data on the harddrive should be fairly simple just by formatting the drive.

    A dual G4 and the Digi 002 is a fine choice, I think you'll going to love it. If I had a choice of either building my own PC or buying a dual g4?
    I wouldn't even hesitate to buy the g4. I like to make music not being a pc tech.
     
  5. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    It's really about the software, if you can go to your local music store for a hands on demo.

    I currently use Logic audio 6 and DP4 on a 1GHz Powerbook. with no problems, recently sold SX2 because of the poor Mac performance, and slow bug fixes.

    If you don't need PCI slots take a look at the iMac G5, it beats the dual 1.42GHz G4, for most tasks.
    http://www.barefeats.com/imacg5.html



    8)
     
  6. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I like Digital performer (since I've been using it for 12 years now) but am sure logic, logic express or protools will be fine too... all those programs are proffesional grade and any of them should do
     
  7. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    the fast ones are not quiet. i have one myself, i dont need to put it in a closet cuz its not near any vital stuff.. but theyre definitely NOT quiet.. especially the dual 1.25ghz ones, they have nicknames like 'windtunnel' which are pretty self-explanatory
    at least, double the stock-size of the RAM-memory. macs tend to be sold with low memory. i worked in an applestore, and couldnt let someone leave without recommending them more memory. its cheap, and boosts like a pepperoni up your arse.
    other than RAM, its pretty smooth out of the box.
    no need to buy an extra card. its already in there. double sixpin connections (could be 4pins, im not really sure, go check apple.com for specs)
    yeah. you can
    you can try your local appledealer (try to not buy at official 'apple-stores', they tend to suck. or try surfing the net. duude you could have figured this out yourself couldnt you.. prices are not very cheap. especially the ones that are still bootable in OS9, are very much wanted these days, especially by audio-pro's.. thats why the prices are kept high.
    its not hard. its nothing compared to a windoze system.
    lots of the stuff i mentioned can be found on the net. i was a total nerd at this area, but i found all my info on the net (and not only on fora.)
    anyway;
    a mac is always good. ive had a G4 for a year and a half, and it has NEVER crashed on me!! NEVER. i have a run a LOT of software on it, including stupid cracked and hacked games, hacked illegal sequencers. never had a virus never had to reinstall it.
    ive made two backups in all this time, but the dvd's are still collecting dust under my desk, cuz i've never needed them

    GOODLUCK
     
  8. iznogood

    iznogood Member

    if it was my money i would go for the biggest g5 i could afford..... the extra money spent will reward itself in speed and more music made..... and that's what it's all about :!: :!: :!:

    and it's so quiet you could have it strapped to your shoulder and not be bothered (by anything than the weight) :?

    building your own pc will make you a windoze expert.... not a musician... :lol:

    and i know you will begin talking about the price..... but if there is something i have learned is that my time and creativity is all i have and that everytime i cut corners to save a dime i get dissapointed in the long run
     
  9. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    Note: I cut/pasted this reply from another of my threads. Thought this discussion was more appropriate under this Heading. -Razor

    Maintiger, (and fellow Mac-heads)

    Just went to their site. (apple.com) The new G5 Looks very nice.

    After I added the extra memory, and a monitor all I have to do is sell my kidneys and liver and I can pay for it!


    I did price them though.

    If I got the Imac 1.6 with the RAM maxed out, I could probably swing it.
    I dont know what would be better, a dual G5 1.8 with 512 of Ram or a single Imac 1.6 with 2Mb of RAM? Is this a no brainer? Some have said the Dual is the key! But a G3 running flawlessly with Protools and the single G5 maxed out being unstable? Is this speculation or fact? Not questioning anyone, I know squat, but I would think with the recent G5 coming out, a fully stocked G5 Imac would be PLENTY, but, what the Frick to I know?

    Dont get me wrong, I would much rather have the Dual G5 with a zillon gigs of everything and a 200" plasma monitor, I just cannot afford it. I also think that if I got a maxed out Imac new and it would do a very fine job for me and my applications (despite maybe being a bit slower than a dual G4) than it is an option for me.

    When we talk about difference in performance of a program like protools on a dual G4 versus a maxed out Imac G5, are we talking about killing a rat with a single barrel 20 guage shotgun versus a double barrel 12 guage? Either way that friggin rat is dead and the jobs done with narry a hitch.
    Is this a comparable analogy, or will I my Imacs performace be so hampered and frustrating that I should save up for a loaded G4 or very decent G5?? Would protools or comparable program with lots of plug-ins running going to get slow and choppy and make me wanna throw it against the wall, or are we literally talking milliseconds here? Please don't be afraid to be frank with me, I would rather face the reality that I cannot buy what I need and go another direction than sink a ton of money into a product that wont be up to snuff.

    Oh, and a quick question about RAM. Why do 2 RAM chips of memory cost so much less than a single chip with the same amount of RAM??


    Here are the Imac Specs
    2GB DDR400 SDRAM - 2 DIMMs
    • 80GB Serial ATA drive (I would get a second drive)
    • Final Cut Express 2 preinstalled
    • Keyboard and Mouse + Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • 17-inch widescreen LCD
    • 1.6GHz PowerPC G5
    • Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra w/64MB video memory


    How would that do for something like protools? Maintiger, I know your first choice would be a dual G4, but the loaded ones on Ebay can be more than this Imac costs and thats with no monitor. I want to go firewire, does anyone know anything about the mobo? would I need a firewire card for this Imac?

    Lastly, is there anywhere else I can buy a new Mac besides Apple.com and not pay RETAIL?? No experience buying a mac, but I know if I were building my own PC I have a slew of cheap choices to buy gear. What are my options?

    I appreciate your time, everyone. Thank you for looking and a special thanks for responding.

    Cheers,
    Razor
     
  10. Someday

    Someday Guest

    1. Are Mac dual G4's quiet or will I need to put this in a closet d/t my small 11'x11' room during sensitive recordings? And if I DO put it in a closet, how hard is it to come by Apple/Mac keyboard/mouse/monitor cable extensions (say 15') ??

    :cool: It depends on the model. Dual G4 MMD (mirrored doors) are like Boeing 747 and you Must have it outside your recording room. Gefen is a good choice for video/usb extensions.


    2. What are the minimum requirements in your opinion to have in my (used Ebay special) dual G4 to make Protools run smoothly?

    :cool: Pro Tools problem is that you will use a lot of RTAS and HTDM plugins (that use the host CPU) because the best plugins, samplers and soft instruments run not on TDM. (if Pro Tools had "Freeze" like Logic... that's one reason i trashed PT for Logic)
    Anyway you need at least 1 GB RAM and 2 HDs.

    3. Will I need to purchase a firewire card for the G4 to connect to the Digi 002, and does that just plug into the MOBO just like a PC mobo, and roughly what will that cost me?

    :cool: All Macs are equipped with Firewire 400 + 800, so you don't need anything else.

    4. Can I use ANY LCD monitor for my Mac since monitors are about the only thing that never is included in the sale of a used Mac?

    :cool: Yes, Every Mac comes with a SVGA adapter so cou can connect it to any monitor.

    5. If I get an older G4 that has an older OS (like OS 9) and need OSX, where can I get it and what will that run me?

    6. Once I get my Mac, how big a headache is it to delete everything and reinstall my OS and load my Digi software?

    :cool: It's one of the reasons Mac are top. You insert the installer and you run it following the instructions. finish.

    7. Anything else I should know, or you care to throw in?

    :cool: Once the OS insallation is ended, i recommend you to launch the System preferences and the Finder Preferences and to set them the way you like. Sometimes the default prefs are not the best.

    There are applications that run only on Mac, like Logic, Final Cut HD, and more. There are plugins that run only on Mac, and the studio standard is 80% Mac, so you will have less compatibility issues.
     
  11. razor_usmc

    razor_usmc Guest

    someday,

    what do you think of the iMac question, really.

    Razor
     
  12. Someday

    Someday Guest

    It depends on which DAW you will use.
    The ones which feature the freeze feature, like Logic, DP and Nuendo should be ok with the new iMac, but not the entry model. I would recomment the second model because it has the Superdrive, a faster bus and bigger HD.
     
  13. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    The G4s are noisy- I bought a silent case for mine... (actually my wife bought it for me on my birthday- aint that cool!)

    http://www.silencecases.com/

    also Kurt wrote a review here in RO

    (Dead Link Removed)

    So that will add an extra $500 to a G4 if you go with that... As far as pro tools I can't really advise you as I don't use it- I use Digital performer and I am very happy with it- I just ordered the upgrade to 4.5 but if you buy it (500 bucs) you can get the current 4.5 one-
     
  14. frais_cafe

    frais_cafe Guest

    Hi. I'm kinda in the same boat, but I thought I'd at least interject what I've found.

    I'm a long-time PC user, and am going with a Mac simply because I'm sick of PC's and configuration problems. Newer PC's are supposedly easier than the older ones, but I've had enough. I want something that I can buy and will just work. Hence the Mac. (I have to learn a new OS, but I'd have to learn XP anyway, so it's not biggy)

    As for the pricing on Apple's website, the price of their OS is cheaper (from what I've seen and remember) than XP. Also, DON'T pay those prices for RAM and Hard Drives!!! I found out that you can use anyones (apparently, from what I've read, Apple just sticks Kingston RAM in anyway, and charges an arm and a leg to do it).

    Here's where you go:

    http://www.crucial.com

    It's an online service that allows you to say what computer you're buying and they've already spec'd out the best RAM for it. And then, just find the cheapest 7200rpm drive. (at least - 10,000 is better, but a lot noisier and runs hotter) I'm going with SATA, just because it works well (from what I've read) and that's what's in the G5's now anyway.

    You should be able to get RAM for under $100 U.S. from Crucial (that's for a 512MB Dimm - you'll need two in the Dual GHz computers as you always have to put in pairs when installing new RAM)

    It's not Kingston (the "best" RAM from what I read on these forums), but it works. That way you can get the best Mac you can and not die because you had to hock your liver. ;)

    Just my .02 cents

    Oh, if you want to find the best price on HD's and Monitors, check out http://www.pricewatch.com. You can search for the best deal. Last I checked an Acer 17" LCD was around $275 U.S., and a 200GB SATA 7200rpm drive should run around $120 U.S. Just to give you an idea.

    Like was previously mentioned, check the 'Net for prices. I've just found these sites the best for doing this quickly.

    Oh, and I'm going with Digital Performer, just because it's a fairly simple program to learn. It may (or may not) do as much as Logic, but it's easier to get around. I'd avoid Pro Tools LE (again, from what I've read) and get the best converters you can buy. I'm going with MOTU, which may not be the best but are decent. Then I can buy better mic pre's. :) With LE, you're limited to how many tracks you can use (which isn't the worst amount), MIDI isn't as good as some other programs and you're stuck with Digi's hardware. The other way, you can at least get what you need/can afford and always upgrade/use another company's stuff that may work better later on.

    Hope this helps. (And check out those Silence Cases MainTiger talked about - I'm looking at that, too)

    Jean-Pierre
     
  15. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    My experience with Mac'S is that they are reallllllllllllly slow. It just doesn't feel right to me working on a Mac. This is my opinion but you might feel like I do so try out Mac's before.

    " It's one of the reasons Mac are top. You insert the installer and you run it following the instructions. finish. "
    - Someday

    Pretty much like any PC my friend.
    I'd recommend the PC route. You'll save money, get a faster machine that is as stable as a MAC if you choose the right components. You can then invest in better recording gear.

    My system cost me 3700$CAN, that'S 3000$ US. I have 2 80gig HDs, Pentium 4 3.2Ghz, 1 gig of RAM, flat 17" monitor, Aardvark Q10 soundcard (8 inputs/8 outputs/ 8mic pre'S) and Sonar 3 producer. I have all I want with this system and it's really stable.

    Think about it...
     
  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    3k will buy you a top of thre line G5- I don't see any savings here. different strokes for different folks- in my own case Digital performer is my sequencer of choice and am extremely happy with it and it only runs on macs, so... if your choice is logic or DP you have no choice- you need a mac!- Other than that the sky is the limit- lots of choices out there- :D
     
  17. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    radioliver, The 64bit G5 chip changed everything in Mac land.

    On the dual 2.5GHz G5 each processor has it's own 1.25GHz frontside bus, big and wide pipes. They are quite competitive with the pentium 4s.

    The difference a year makes, a single 1.8GHz G5 is faster in most tasks than a dual 1.42GHZ G4.

    http://www.barefeats.com/imacg5.html

    8)
     
  18. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    "3k will buy you a top of thre line G5- I don't see any savings here"
    - Maintiger

    Well, if you read carefully my post, 3k was for the P4 computer, the Q10 soundcard and Sonar. Sure beats a G5 with no soundcard or recording software in my book.
     
  19. frais_cafe

    frais_cafe Guest

    Radioliver, you've got a point re: the P4 you built and the extras.

    I've got to agree with Maintiger about this. (Yeah, he missed the extras you included in the final price) The reason is that you can get a Dual 1.8GHz G5, buy a second HDD, extra RAM, Digital Performer and, for example, a MOTU 828mkII interface for roughly the same price.

    The caveat is that the MOTU device isn't "the best" you can get, but then neither is the Q10. You will still have 2 mic pres, and the ability to use 8 other channels, plus lightpipe.

    The bonus is that you don't have to research what parts go with what, and you don't need to build it yourself. If you don't have experience with that, frankly it can save tons of headaches. (Unless you get lucky and everything works perfectly right off the bat -- not my experience with PC's at all)

    Basically, it's a trade-off. Will a PC be stable? Maybe. It'll take a lot more work. If you want something that's plug-and-play, personally I'd take my chances with the Mac before touching a PC again. But, like people seem to say all over this forum, YMMV. It's up to a personal choice in the end. I'd rather have something I don't need to troubleshoot or "tweak" to get to work properly, and I don't want to have to wade through the 30 or so different Mobo manufacturers to see if it works with the interface I've chosen. If something works on a Mac, it works. Period.

    My 2 cents and personal experience. Again, YMMV.

    Cheers.
     
  20. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    yep- If you are a tech type guy who likes to continouosly configure and tweak things then a PC is the ticket for you. If you are a musician who needs a tool to record his music with a little hasse as possible- get a mac-
    Different strokes for different folks. I just happen to be in the second group- and like I said, if you are working in DP only a mac will do that for you :eek:
     

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