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Which type of mac for audio?

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Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Dave B » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:45 am

So, I've just aborted a weekend of planned upgrading after discovering that my old Mac Pro is too old for any updates (original 1.1 model from 2006 and not later as I had thought). Bum.

So I'm now thinking about what to get as a replacement. Options are :

1. New Mac Pro - it would be a ridiculous splurge, but it would go like the clappers.
2. Mac Mini - I recently got the lowest model and was floored by how zippy that was (it's now a server). Plus would be the FW800 port, minus would be that the top rated is relatively slow (2.6 vs 3.5 Ghz quad i7), and it's graphics are a little basic
3. iMac - like the 'all in one' concept (always have) and the screen great, speed would be good. Still a little expensive.

I have a MacBookPro (2010) and that's not going to be the studio machine - it's handy to take away and work on, but I want a nice beefed up system at home..

I'm looking into a smallish Thunderbolt Raid1 drive array - I can see that about 450quid will get me the G-Technology G-Raid unit which would give me a couple of gig of fast mirrored storage (more than enough for me) - unless someone knows of something better..?

So, my question here is : what are other people using (just out of interest) ??
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:30 pm

Graphics on the Mac Mini are probably not good for games, but my wife's can be persuaded to run two screens at ridiculous resolution, what more do you want for audio? Quad core i7 cpu is plenty fast enough and if you get the server model it comes with two internal hard drives. For historical reasons I've got an iMac quad core 27" screen (which is excellent for recording) and my wife has the Mac Mini, but if I was starting again now I'd go for the Mac Mini, definitely.

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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:55 pm

OR


buy a later model used Mac Pro 12 core.


more power, and still takes everything you already have.
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Wimek » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:27 pm

Hi Dave,

I run Logic X on my MacBook Pro. Any of the Mac's you mention will work nicely in your studio. I think I would choose a MiniMac but I haven't got any experience running Logic on them... maybe some other guys on the forum do. In the end a new MacMini is faster than most old Macs. However, a Mac Pro will smoke any mac...

So I think it all comes down to your budget and how badly you want a very fast and cool new MacPro

Wim
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:45 pm

Just get the biggest most expensive one you can't afford and then gloat about it.

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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Kaw-Liga » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:49 am

My mac mini is a quite slow starter, for some reason. However, it shouldn't be, and I'm pretty sure the hardware involved isn't what slows it down. I would get a ssd disk from the start, as it is not very easy to replace the hdd.
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Dave B » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:49 pm

Thanks for the responses peeps. All good stuff to think about, and I think that it's time I took a bold step and simplified some stuff in my life - the studio Mac being one of them. So, I think I'll be ordering a Mini with an SSD for a system drive and an external raid drive unit over thunderbolt for my data. The Mac Pro will be stripped for parts and quietly let go (unless someone has a desperate desire for an early model in which case I'd be happy to do a fellow muso a deal) and a couple of hardware bits will now go soft. I'm lucky in that the 32lives plugin will happily resurrect my Liquid Mix so I can keep that. A newer audio interface may well be on the cards (probably the Liquid Saffire). It will be a blowout, but at the moment I can afford to do it so I might as well set myself for the next 4 or 5 years now. I'll even update logic!!

What has made me laugh in my investigations is looking at the 'compare the models' site that I found. I did a 3 way compare between the Mac Pro, the Mac Book Pro I'm using now and the (base level spec) Mac Mini I bought as a low-power server. I had suspected that the MP and MBP were approximately equal (5 years is what it takes for the latest power machines to trickle down to laptop level it seems) but found that the MBP was around 10% faster in benchmarks. I had worked this out roughly using the demo songs for Logic. What I then found was that the basic Mini was more like 25% faster on average. The spec that I'd want almost doubles these stats so it ends up being over twice as fast as my Mac Pro. So I should be ok for while and if I do upgrade later, I should have gone through the heartache barrier as well.

We live in interesting times it seems
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:52 pm

Dave B wrote:
I'll even update logic!!

Good call... Here www.avid.com
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:00 pm

Seems like a good resolution.

Just a thought on if you're enjoying the liquid mix plug ins and looking at an audio interface upgrade too, are Focusrite still developing those plugs if they're still 32 bit?

Anyway a recommendation from me to check out the UAD Apollo. I haven't looked back since getting into UAD plugs and it's really good to be hooked into something that's future proofed, well at least the for next year or two

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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Dave B » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:46 am

Bob, I really want to buy into the Apollo concept (I really do), but UAD have made a couple of really howling mistakes :

1. 2xAdat ports on the original Apollo, but the only can take 8channels of lightpipe (for higher rates) so I'd not be able to wire in a decent 16 ch line i/o unit which is what I do now. So I'd lose 8 inputs ....
2. The Apollo 16 is a groovy idea, but doesn't even have a single Adat port, so I'd have to lose line inputs to mic pres. Which is annoying.
3. The obvious (but expensive) solution is to buy one of each of the standard and the 16. Fine and dandy BUT that is an unsupported configuration

If any of the above have changed then PLEASE correct me. But last time I checked, they were all still stupid limitations. I have a hybrid setup with some external hardware and a few external synths so I need a fair amount of i/o. UAD don't quite seem to get this - the best solution that I could see would be 2 of the 16s and a bunch of lunchbox pres - nice but insanely expensive for my needs. I was briefly excited by the Aphex usb lunchbox thingy, but only 4 slots seems to be limiting.

Some people have expressed concerns over Aggregate Audio devices and I'd like to try and look into that - a nice solution would be to get something with a few good mic pres and then splurge on the Apollo 16. but I think that I'll check out this option a) later and b) a bit at a time.

All good fun this recording lark...
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:45 am

Fair enough, horses for courses in terms of I/O I suppose. I rarely track more than 8 channels at a time and if I do I just use my Soundcraft Expression which can do up to 32. For me the Apollo with its four pres, DAV feeding the 4 line inputs and a Focusrite 428 on the ADAT is just spot on.

Bob
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Re: Which type of mac for audio?

Postby Dave B » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:32 am

Cor ... these Apple chaps don't mess about do they? I found a nice refurb Mac Mini (SSD+16Gb Ram and top spec for a mini) and ordered that, a G-Raid drive, external Superdrive and long (?) Thunderbolt cable (2m) yesterday at about 3 in the afternoon. And it was here in the office before lunch. That's quite zippy ...



Actually, it's annoying as it will be hours before I can get it home and have some fun!
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