imac G5 w/ or used dual G4 w/ logic and Tascam FW1884?



*I posted a similar thread in Home, Project Studios, but realized this is the forum I should be asking in... anyways

I'm a longtime musician, but up until about two weeks ago had essentially zero recording or digital audio knowledge. Then I turned 21 :D and recieved a bit of money from my family towards getting muself a DAW of some sort. Its all I can think about now, I'm so excited about it, visions of motus and tascams run through my head as I'm falling asleep.

Let me describe what I want to do, and then I'll tell you my tentative set-up. I'm the keyboard player in a rock band, we do a little bit of metal, a couple reggae songs, mostly pop songs towards the softer end of the rock spectrum. Recording and producing the band's music is obviously a priority.

I also want to do a lot of solo work, whatever weird $*^t I can come up with on my midi keyboard, drumset, clarinet, acoustic and electric guitars, and any other instrument I may bring home eventually. I'd like to integrate this into electronic music that I create on the computer as well. Maybe sample sounds, turn them into the beat in a song, that sort of thing too.

Score to movies. This sounds like a lot of fun, I make my own films as well and this is something I've always tried to do. Having the movie playing up there in quick time, synced to my tracks, looks awesome and really fun.

From my birthday money and savings from my job, I've got three thousand dollars saved up. After a bunch of research, I've come up with this... could you guys give me suggestsions, tweak my options a little bit, whatever? Thanks a lot.

in short: Imac g5 or used g4
Logic Express
motu 828MKII + a mixer or Tascam FW1884
Yamaha msp5 active monitors

Let me go through it so I can pose my questions... thanks for reading through this crap and helping me!

Imac G5, 1.6Ghz, 512mb RAM, one 80 gig hard drive.
a used powermac G4 with dual processors, and I could get two hard drives. (anyone know of a good place to find used G4's, btw? Is Ebay the way to go here? I find they're running around 1200, plus or minus. Good deal?)

thats my first and most critical choice. What I like about the imac is the portability, I could take my setup to my band's jam-room with ease. Also, it looks really cool :eek: BUT it only has one hard drive, and a single processor. Is getting a used machine worth it, since it'll have two hard drives and two processors? WOuld the imac be able to handle everything I want to do, including scoring music to movies?

OK, next on the list...

People have recommended the MOTU 828MKII or the Tascam FW1884. I want to use a real-life a mixer with faders, not just drag my mouse in logic. It just seems like it'd be much more fun that way. If I got the MOTU, I'd have to buy a separate mixer. I'm really leaning towards the tascam. good choice?

Yamaha MSP5 active monitors. 250 bucks. Good choice for the money?

Am I forgetting anything I need? Don't forget, I'm a newb.

I've already got a few mics and a midi keyboard.

All this stuff adds up to just over three grand.

Please get back to me so I can pull the plug, go get all this stuff, and start making music! Thanks so much. :mrgreen:


Well-Known Member
Dec 3, 2003
Whittier, California, USA
Get the used dual mac- the dual 867 or dual 1gb should be more than adequate and will have more muscle than the single imac- also in the dual 867 you have room for up to 4 hard drives and 2GB ram-

The 828mkii works real good- make sure you buy it new as motu wont service used units if the need arises. You can mix inside the box- who needs a mixer!

You might consider Digital performer for $400-500 instead of logic express if you get the 828mkii- seamless integration and its a full program, not a xpress!


I think you can save some money by ditching the "mac" idea and getting a PC DAW. Use the savings for better sounding gear that also retains a good resale value.


Well-Known Member
Dec 3, 2003
Whittier, California, USA
dejacky said:
I think you can save some money by ditching the "mac" idea and getting a PC DAW. Use the savings for better sounding gear that also retains a good resale value.

Spoken like a PC guy... sorry, but IMHO macs rock! :cool: :D (y)
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i think building a DAW pc is much better and cheeper, though thats just how i like it , many people might disagree with me


In my experience, as a computer tech, I use both Mac's and PC's and service both. I have had a mac for three years and never upgraded it and it still works all the time every time I launch Pro Tools. PC's can be just as stable, but you have to practice a lot more discipline in the operation. You can bulid a great PC from parts and it may seem cheaper, but you add everything up, including the cost of purchasing Windows and it often surprises people that it costs about the same. You cannot skimp by purchasing cheap parts an expect to have a reliable PC. The biggst cost is the monitor anyway. If you buy a Mac, just don't get one of their overpriced monitors.

I beleve the FW-1884 has better preamps than the MOTU unit and has 8 XLR's + Faders.

Think about a Mackie Onyx 1620 with a firewire card. The pres are quite nice and you get a real mixer with knobs you can play with.

All guys need knobs to play with ;) :mrgreen:


i dont think the imacG5 will beat the dual G4 in Audio tasks especially not in Logic. Logic has built in multi-processor support (VST's, and all plugins are running on one CPU while the other processes audio, this is one method of cpu-distribution among others), and its especially useful when youre running a lot of plugins. besides, a G4 is very easilier expandable than one of those crammedjammed iMacs (i wouldnt wanna think of adding a second HardDrive or PCI-soundcard to an iMac).
by the way, if youre looking for a used G4, you should pay attention to the fact that some models don't support booting in MacOS 9.. this is the case with G4's that came on the market after the "G4-dual 1.25Ghz-mirrored drive doors" (which is the model i happen to own)
MacOS 9 will allow you to use a plethora of useful software that just isnt available for MacOS X.
anyway. your best bet would be a G4 1.25Ghz either single or double-processor. (a friend of mine bought one recently for around 1200 Euro's new. [equals about $1400 wild guess])


Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2004
I'm running a Tascam FW1884 with Cubase SX 2.0 on a Windows XP machine. My computer is eMachines so you can only guess how stable that is(crap). IMO the FW1884 is a nice piece of gear, I'd change a few things, but I don't think you'll find a similiarly priced unit with the quality pre's that are in this. They obviously don't stand next to a Neve, but I've gotten results with my setup that has taken business from the bigger studios around here.

The funny thing about it is that I don't think that im getting anywhere close to the "quality" that the bigger studios deliver, but I'm spending the time to capture the sound/feel my clients are looking for. They can't afford to spend that amount of time with the big boys to do the same thing. The band I'm recording now spent $5,000 to record a three song demo at a BIG studio here in Chicago....and yes the quality was phenomenal...but they didn't have time/money to get the sound they were after. I've spent about 12 hours on a 2 song demo with them, went haven't even started mixing or finished recording, and they are happier than pigs in poop!

Sorry about writing you a book off topic!


iMac G5 is a beast...I have a 20" with 2GB of RAM and it works like a champ. Comes with 2 Firewire ports so you could just get an external hard drive. I have a Lacie 160GB external and it's quite nice. Create music and score movies right out of the box. I do movies using iMovie, which comes with the Mac and score the movies using Garageband, also included with the Mac. I then port them into guessed it, also included. iDVD lets me layout the DVD menu. Definitely get the superdrive - DVD's makes a great backup medium. Don't buy Apple from Crucial RAM - I got 2GB of iMac RAM for under $500. Apple RAM is overpriced, as are their displays. The Crucial RAM is of the same quality - it's Micron RAM, I believe.

Logic Express is definitely a good move. Now an Apple product, Logic runs optimally on Mac, taking full advantage of OS X's Core Audio functionality. There's nothing like it in the Windows world.

Sure you might be able build or buy a cheaper PC but the value is in the Mac. Once you've added up all of the PC add-ons that come standard with Mac (Firewire, iLife Apps, optical audio output, etc.) you've spent more money on the PC. Not to mention the overhead of having to deal with viruses and endless patches. OS X is built to run constantly - no down's Unix, afterall. There are plenty of good reasons why you'll find a Mac in just about any pro studio.

Forgot to mention that the iMac G5 is quiet as a mouse...which is definitely a necessary quality in a DAW.

You can also get a 1.8GHz PowerMac G5 tower that is plenty expandable - several HD bays and up to 4GB of RAM - now for less than $1400. Get a cheap-o Dell monitor and you're set. Make sure you go LCD over CRT if you are recording guitar. CRT radiation is picked up but the pickups causing a nasty buzz.


Cyclonus5150, (Van Halen Fan, maybe?) 8)

Where did you get your extra RAM? I have a thread in this forum. Very similar to your Imac info. Would you mind giving it a read and lemme know your thoughts?

Hey Maintiger,

I just looked at digital performer. Lookds pretty good. If I were to do the Imac or dual G4 thing what would you recommend as an interface and what else would I need??

Very Sincerely, Cheers,