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lefty8 11-26-2017 08:21 PM

Pro Tools and iMac
With tomorrow being Cyber Monday, I'm looking to upgrade my recording equipment.
I've outgrown Garage band. I'm looking at a basic iMac (27" display) that will be dedicated to recording only. Any opinions on this platform? I use a MacBook now so I'm somewhat mac competent. The primary studio where I've recorded in the past used iMac.
Also, Pro Tools 11, 12??? I have recorded in studios enough to know I'll fumble around at first. I don't need to be a top notch engineer. I find now that Garage Band is simply way too limiting and holding me back. I don't want to pay high studio recording fees any longer.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you

DupleMeter 11-26-2017 09:42 PM

iMacs make good recording computers. Get as much RAM as you can afford right up front (I don't remember if the iMacs are still user upgradeable in terms of RAM).

I don't think Avid has qualified Pro Tools for High Sierra yet, so if you're getting a new machine you may run into issues until Avid sorts out all the details. Pro Tools has historically been slow to support the latest OS.

If Pro Tools issues are a deal breaker you could always go with Logic if you want to keep the same basic workflow from GarageBand...since GB is really a stripped down version of Logic.

And there's always Digital Performer. It has a steep learning curve, but man is it a powerful DAW.


sdelsolray 11-26-2017 10:08 PM

Yes, PT 12.8.2 (current version) is not yet qualified for High Sierra. Some report it works fine, some report issues. It's unlikely you can find a new iMac now with OS Sierra (which is qualified). High Sierra qualification should be announced sooner than later.

Logic would be a good alternative, and its less expensive. It has more features than you'll ever likely use and pretty much all the features you could use.

AX17609 11-27-2017 06:09 AM


Originally Posted by DupleMeter (Post 5549283)
iMacs make good recording computers. Get as much RAM as you can afford right up front (I don't remember if the iMacs are still user upgradeable in terms of RAM).

Yes, the 27" iMac's memory is user upgradable. The 22" iMac's memory is least that's what they tell me in the store. In either case, buyers might want to wait a few days until the new iMac Pro is released. That thing looks like a beast, though it's probably more targeted to video editing than audio.

jim1960 11-27-2017 06:36 AM


Originally Posted by AX17609 (Post 5549412)
Yes, the 27" iMac's memory is user upgradable. The 22" iMac's memory is least that's what they tell me in the store.

Yes, you can upgrade memory in a 27" iMac.

jim1960 11-27-2017 06:59 AM

I bought a new 27" iMac just a few days before the release of High Sierra, so I'm running Sierra and can't comment on any issues you might have running Pro Tools on the newer OS. The Avid Pro Audio Community forum would be a good place to get news on that.

I ordered mine with some upgrades and some compromises...

I upgraded to a 4.2GHz cpu and 32GB ram. The compromise came on the system drive. The system ships normally with a 2TB Fusion Drive but I really didn't want anything but an SSD drive. Apple charges a premium for SSD drives ($1400 for the 2TB ssd) so I went with the smallest one, 512GB, and I bought an Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini which holds up to 4 ssd drives. That unit connects via the Thunderbolt 3 port and it's very fast.

Going from a Mac Pro to an iMac, I was a bit concerned about whether the computer could handle the load. Thankfully, it handles it quite well.

DCCougar 11-27-2017 07:16 AM


Originally Posted by lefty8 (Post 5549213)
Also, Pro Tools 11, 12???

I use Cubase Elements with iMac (Scarlett interface). Costs less than $100. Plenty powerful.

FrankHudson 11-27-2017 10:44 AM

I'd seriously consider Apple Logic Pro X. As already mentioned, the current GarageBand is essentially Logic Pro "Lite"--so the UI and workflows are similar, and therefore so will be your learning curve. Your GB sessions will import right in.

Logic Pro X is less expensive to buy and maintain.

Pro Tools may have advantages as an in-deep audio editor, I don't know as I only edit minimally in Logic Pro.

I believe Logic has more built-in user templates, presets, and included virtual instruments. If you download the full "additional" content for Logic Pro X you have enough stuff to do full productions in many styles without adding any added cost plugins. If you just want to do solo acoustic guitar and voice recordings this doesn't enter into things, but you can get a good electric bass guitar sound by jacking one in direct to your audio interface and using just the basic presets for electric bass in Logic, and one can add a fairly convincing Hammond Organ or grand piano with just a cheap MIDI keyboard controller. There's even a basic set of orchestra instruments to play via MIDI.

buzzardwhiskey 11-27-2017 11:39 AM

I'm running Reaper, which is $60, on a High Sierra equipped 22" Mac.

rob2966 11-27-2017 12:40 PM

I run ProTools on a 27" iMac. The loaded up iMac is a great platform for audio recording. Note, for at least PT (not sure about other DAWs) you still really need to have a 2nd HDD for the audio. To that end, I only have a 256G SSD in the iMac, with a 3TB Thunderbolt Lacie externally.

I have been a ProTools user for many (15+ years) so at this point I am quite locked into it. I will be honest, while the SW is great, super-powerful, and still somewhat of an industry standard, the licensing structures and maintenance costs continue to irk me. I have looked at other DAWs but in the end decided to keep moving forward with PT.

If you have no history with ProTools, I would be sure to investigate other DAW options, Logic being the most obvious one. It definitely is cheaper and being an Apple product, more in sync with their OS updates (Avid always seems to lag by 2-3 months, not a huge deal, but a bit annoying).

Anyway, good luck.


Andy Howell 11-27-2017 05:11 PM

Logic is very good and exceptional value. Studio One is also very good.

muscmp 11-27-2017 09:27 PM

either logic, logic or logic.

great program. used to be emagic until apple bought them. can use an ipad or iphone as a remote device. price is 2/5 of what it was a few years ago and is phenomenal compared to then. great software instruments as well as effects for audio.

play music!

MikeBmusic 11-28-2017 08:11 AM

What do you have for an audio interface? Make sure the mfr has drivers for whatever OS you end up with.

2nd vote for Reaper - free to d/l the full version, $60 to register it. Never heard anyone say that there was something that they had been able to do in PT that they couldn't do in Reaper.
The only advantage I can see for PT is that if you wanted to share projects (not just stems) with a studio that uses it, you'd be all set.

Andy Howell 11-28-2017 12:06 PM

I forgot Reaper in my list - a great option as well.

midwinter 11-29-2017 12:23 AM


Originally Posted by muscmp (Post 5550305)
can use an ipad or iphone as a remote device.

I did not know this!!!

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