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  #1  
Old 03-16-2010, 10:27 AM
BLenmark BLenmark is offline
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Default Any thoughts on going to a Mac baseed recording studio?

Hello all,

I am considering stepping up to a Mac based recording studio and am soliciting opinions on the right hardware and software configurations. Here is were I am at currently:

(probably a used) Macbook Pro with an Intel dual core processor, > 120 MB HD

Some sort of USB interface.

I am considering Ableton software, but am also open to other suggestions.

Integrating a POD or DTAR preamp (I already have these).

My goal is to provide a system I can use to practice with (different loops of bass/drums/rhythm pieces) and ultimately mix and record when the project is polished enough.

I know these are pretty broad parameters, but thought it would be wise to seek the advice of the broader group with a collection of experiences to head off errors in judgement or perspective.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Regards,

Bret
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:35 AM
biggs2 biggs2 is offline
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I use both a PC (with Audacity and a hand-held recorder) and an IMac with GarageBand for home recording. With the IMac 3.06 dual core (1TB hard drive), I use an Echo AudioFire 8 and GarageBand and I've very happy with this setup . I'm still a novice and I may try Logic Express later but for now, GarageBand suits my needs. I probably would have considered the MacBook Pro had I needed the portability.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:39 AM
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Allowing that there really is no " Right" configuration, There are at this time multiple reasonable choices that would fit the bill. MY personal choice is for for Mac, understanding that one will pay more for similar specs.
Given the parameters you've stated (Can we assume no vocals?) If so then as "biggs2" stateded A mac using garageband, is quite a good starting point. Your initial cost would then only involve the computer and the interface.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:44 AM
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+1 on Ableton Live
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:59 AM
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What's wrong with Apples LogicPro.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:51 PM
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I use MAC + PROTools + for elec guitar ELEVEN RACK from DIGIdesign.
It's wonderful for me.....although I usually record acoustic with mics....
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:20 PM
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I think as far as which platform to use it depends on what you are most comfortable. i think the hardware and software solutions for both windows and mac are good from a quality standpoint.

One thought i would have is USB or Firewire for an interface. I believe USB can only record two tracks at once, though i could be wrong. If you get a Mac Book make sure its one with a firewire port if you want that option. Some of the newer ones dont have it.

If you are using Loops and such, Ableton seems like a good choice.

I like the Duet for the mac, though its not expandable beyond the two inputs. Some of the MOTU gear may be a better fit if you want to use the interface with a seperate preamp or other processing unit.


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Old 03-18-2010, 03:41 PM
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Apple are good at what they do. They're not as open to other developers as you get with PC but the advantage is that everything works.

I switched to an iMac last year + Logic Pro 8 - it all 'joins up' and it's easier to get forum advice from the many who use the whole package. I've had answers from Apple's own Logic forum twice within an hour or so of posting.

The Apple Loops facility is really good and so are their on board plug-ins. At first I missed Cubase's layout but soon got used to Logic.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:39 PM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLenmark View Post
Hello all,

I am considering stepping up to a Mac based recording studio and am soliciting opinions on the right hardware and software configurations. Here is were I am at currently:

(probably a used) Macbook Pro with an Intel dual core processor, > 120 MB HD

Some sort of USB interface.

I am considering Ableton software, but am also open to other suggestions.

Integrating a POD or DTAR preamp (I already have these).

My goal is to provide a system I can use to practice with (different loops of bass/drums/rhythm pieces) and ultimately mix and record when the project is polished enough.

I know these are pretty broad parameters, but thought it would be wise to seek the advice of the broader group with a collection of experiences to head off errors in judgement or perspective.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Regards,

Bret
Using a Mac as a DAW is a good choice but I would use the money you'd spend on software on better hardware, unless you have an immediate need for some feature that GarageBand doesn't offer (software has no effect on recording quality and you can always buy more sophisticated software later). I'd prefer a FireWire interface over a USB one.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:17 PM
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Mac based studio's are a great way to go, the computers run really quiet which is nice for recording in the same room with the computer also Logice Express or Logic Pro are tough softwares to beat for recording IMO, I've tried quite a few and I like them best. Its best to go Firewire over USB for your interface. Presonus has some high quality affordable Firewire interface options.

If I was going to do a Mac studio on a budget I would buy the cheapest Mac Mini but upgrade it to 4 Gigs of ram. Then I would buy logic express and a Presonus Firestudio Mobile. Get a Mic some headphones maybe later some decent studio monitors. You could probably do it all for under $1200 or so if you got some decent deals. Later you can upgrade components as you see fit like better mics, headphones, and studio monitors. The studio monitors I've been very happy with for a couple years now are Blue Sky EXO 2.1 system affordable and they sound great!!!
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:03 AM
BLenmark BLenmark is offline
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Default Thanks, all...great feedback

I will advise as I move forward. I am looking at the differences between a MacBook and a MacBook Pro, and aill be evaluating processor speeds, RAM, and if I can output the video to my plasma TV in the studio (so it won't matter what size screen I get on the Mac). I appreciate the advice on the interface and the software as well.

Cheers!
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:49 AM
sir_strumalot sir_strumalot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLenmark View Post
I will advise as I move forward. I am looking at the differences between a MacBook and a MacBook Pro, and aill be evaluating processor speeds, RAM, and if I can output the video to my plasma TV in the studio (so it won't matter what size screen I get on the Mac). I appreciate the advice on the interface and the software as well.

Cheers!
MacBook Pro. No question. The most horsepower, plus the capability to put 8 GB's of RAM (vs the MacBook's 4) and if you are outputting to a plasma TV, you'll probably want greater video than 1280 x 800. The MacBook Pro can rez up to 1920 x 1200. I run a 17" MacBook Pro, and when I output to my 46" Samsung, man, it's nothing short of glorious!

The heads-up part is that Apple dropped FireWire 400 in favor of FireWire 800, so it's more than likely you'll need an adapter for your interface. (assuming you go with FireWire)

My interface is a Saffire Pro 24, FireWire based. (just throwing more choices your way! )
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:18 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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I have a MacBook Pro and only need a 400 to 800 cable to connect FireWire 400 devices to its FireWire 800 port.
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  #14  
Old 03-19-2010, 01:42 PM
sir_strumalot sir_strumalot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
I have a MacBook Pro and only need a 400 to 800 cable to connect FireWire 400 devices to its FireWire 800 port.
You're absolutely right, Herb. I should've thought of that option!
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  #15  
Old 03-19-2010, 05:15 PM
biggs2 biggs2 is offline
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I also had to buy the 6-pin to 9-pin FW cable to connect my IMac to my Echo AudioFire 8. It has worked without a hitch. I have grown to really like this setup.

Although it is nearly 70 degrees right now, we're expecting a nearly a foot of snow this weekend and I plan stay inside and do even more recording. I'm really enjoying Garageband and its simplicity.
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