What Is The Mac Mini Really Capable Of?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by checkmate, Jun 9, 2005.

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  1. checkmate

    checkmate Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    I kno its just a little guy but I think its an amazing machine. I am getting a 1.42Ghz with 1GB Ram.

    I currently use a P4 3.5 GHz 1GB Ram PC for recording, producing beats. I wonder if the mini could run decant, recording and making some beats (My main want).

    I use reason 3.0, lots of synth plug ins (but 1 at a time) and some keyboards run to a digi 002 console. I also have an MBox which I think Im gonna add to the mini for my portable recording/ producing set up.

    Anyone have first hand use of the Mac Mini in a studio environment?
    Give me some input.

    Its a Mac Mini, but i wanna kno what its capable of until I get my Mac G5 Dual 2.5.

  2. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    The mac mini is basically a Powerbook. I geuss it will run reason pretty well. Cubase SE runs pretty ok too.

    It isn´t that long ago since a 1.25 ghz single CPU G4 Powermac was state of the art. A lot has happened since then. You simply cannot expect the performance from the Mac Mini you would get using a single or dual CPU G4 1.25 ghz Powermac running apps like Cubase 5.1 VST 32. That ( obsolete ) setup still rocks.

    However, the mac mini is inexpensive, it is stable and it is fun. It is well suited for simple DAW tasks. It works well too as a host for standalone virtual instruments and stuff like the Clavia G-2 editor.

    BTW: Check out this link:

    Cynthia builds custom modular synth rigs with the Mac Mini
  3. checkmate

    checkmate Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    The Mini Is Capable Of Being In studio Then

    Thats good that it will run Reason and synth editors fine. Anybody run it with Pro Tools? I wonder if you get a bunch of buffer and DAE errors with it.
  4. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    I haven´t tested it with PT. My advice: Don´t expect too much and don´t push it.

    When I say fine, yes.. but it will be easy to run out of CPU cycles.. :lol:

    The computer itself is excellent, but be aware that Apple is marketing it as a lifestyle product to go with the iPod and digicams. Apple is not marketing it as an entry level DAW.
  5. checkmate

    checkmate Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    True True

    I feel what your saying. i kno it can Run PT better than a stressed Athlon 2400 XP i used to record on.

    It looks like a neat lil product none the less.

    Anyone use a Powerbook for Recording?
    Which one would you recommend?
  6. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    Yes I have, and it is comparable to the Mac Mini. Some features makes it a tad more powerful though.
    Both the Powerbook and a Mac Mini will be great for simply recording tracks to disk.
    What kind of music are going to use it for? Glitch or string ensembles?
  7. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA

    Checkmate, I'm curious as to why you want to use a Mini when you have a such a great machine already. That's a smoking processor you have capable of anything you can throw at it.

    The Mini is a mere toy compared to a 3.5 and actually the G5 won't even give you the performance of what you currently have. Are you a former MAC guy? If not why change platforms?

    You mentioned portability so I assume this is for location recording. If so you may want to consider the shuttle XPC on the PC side. It's almost as small and alot more powerful and would compliment the P4 you already have.

    Hardly! If you're expecting the performance from the Mini to surpass the 2400 you can forget it. As Elektro said it's basically a notebook processor and just isn't going to hang with a desktop. It's fine for MP3's, Photos, Surfing and Email and would probably do a decent job on a few live audio tracks and plugs but I think your expectations for this thing are way too high. IMO you would be better served by an Imac. It's got the G5 processor (the mini has the G4) 1.8 or 2 Ghz instead of 1.4 and already has a monitor (remember you'll need a monitor with the mini). It would be just as portable as the Mini and wouldn't cost much more once you add a monitor and the extra RAM.

    If you want a MAC I would go with the Imac but I think you should also look into the XPC as well on the PC side. You might be suprised.
  8. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    True, his current PC is excellent. Nice specs. Why not simply buy Reason for the PC? And the Mac Mini is excellent for websurfing and email and all that non DAW stuff.

    PT can be a bit weird at times, and it might be more stable on a mac. Theoretically it is "easier" to write sensible drivers for OS X and installation is often far cleaner than on XP. That said, if your PC is configured OK, instability is more a Digidesign issue than a PC vs. Mac issue. Trivia: "Liberated" copies of various DAW apps often tend to be unstable no matter what platform.

    I wouldn´t call the Mac Mini a toy. It is a lifestyle product for your MP3s, email and digital photos. As such, it is simply incredibly cool.
    OS X is exciting and this approach to UNIX is very recommendable. If you are motivated to dig down into the engine compartment, you might learn more about computers than you ever did on your PC.
    OS X will also play well with PCs on your home LAN, so please keep your PC.

    A great buy these days would be a secondhand G4 dual 1.25ghz powermacs ( the late version that also boots in OS 9 ). Running OS 9, maxed with RAM and really fast disks, Cubase 5.2 VST 32, the UAD-1 and such.. this makes a DAW that still is shockingly effective. This model also performs OK in X.
  9. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    Not a bad idea.

    True, If I were interested in PT I would likley lean towards a MAC. It seems to perform better as Cubase performs better on a PC. It's usually best to choose the software and the platform will choose itself.

    Just an expression. I think it's a decent little machine for what it is but it's limitations keep it from being considered a serious DAW.

    I agree they are great buys but he seems to want portability and a dual G4 begins to stretch the portability factor. Not impossible but more to lug around for sure.
  10. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    Sure, that specific model isn´t portable.

    There isn´t much wrong with a Powerbook as such. It will be a stable and reliable computer. It can easily be an excellent portable recording solution. I guess Digital Performer 4.5.x would suit that model best.
    The MOTU Traveler interface is an excellent companion.

    For sheer power I guess I would rather recommend any of these "desktop in a near-laptop diguise" portable PCs.
  11. checkmate

    checkmate Active Member

    Jan 13, 2005

    I mean I really want the Mac as a internet/email/semi portable recording rig.

    In my P4 I have 3 harddrives: 1 for Music, 1 For back up and 1 for internet.

    I hate the fact that if im recording or making a beat, that i cant check my email or go on a website without rebooting and booting from my internet drive.

    I recently tooka huge loss have internet on my Music drive, lost like 150 beats and unreleased tracks from numerous projects. And i dont care what anybody says aboutfirewalls or antivirus, i had both up to date and installed when i lost everything.

    I want the mini for net basically and an itoroduction to OSX for me. But it seems it just makes scence if i plan to get a powerbook and a Dual G5 thats all i need for home and portable setups, sooo at that point intime the mini would be collecting dust.

    I feel what all of u are saying, I think im gonna buy some monitors or sumthin instead and save for the Powerbook or G5 (powerbook first).
  12. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    I own a 1GHz Powerbook, and I recently picked up a 1.42GHz Mac Mini to replace my ancient G4/400.

    elektro80 is right, the mini is basically a repackaged Powerbook.

    I haven't pushed it to the max yet, but it is capable of playing back all of my projects created on the Powerbook no sweat.

    I'm using DP4.2 and Logic Express7, my sessions are usually 32-48 24bit stereo tracks.

    When using Express I'm using soft synths exclusively. When cpu usage reaches 50%-60% I will freeze some tracks to free up the cpu.

    All of my audio is sitting on 7200rpm Pacific Pro Audio firewire drive.

    I've been quite productive using the Garage Band/Logic Express combination for fast proto-typing audio for video production.

    Some of my experiments can be heard here...

    I post some of the tunes that don't make the cut at that site. They are all quick and dirty mostly first takes.


    With Apples switch to Intel Processors, I don't think you will see a G5 Powebook anytime soon.

    Check out this article from Digital Video Editing

    From their multimedia benchmarks it looks like the dual 2.7GHz G5s are competitive with the dual 3.6GHz Xeons

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