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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » OSX as a music workstation
good g4 setup?
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scriptstyle



Joined: Jan 22, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:21 am    Post subject: good g4 setup? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hey hows it going fellas? im new here and i hope i dont sound totally stupid, but i have slowly been building up a little studio for myself and im almost to the point where i really need to find ways to get all these things to work together...(so heres the run down):

i have 3 g4s that i have been taking what works out of one and getting the others to work, but what i want to do is build one up alah harddrive maybe sound card im not really sure what i can get and not get robbed? also i will need an interface of some sort. someone at guitar center was trying to sell me the fire box by presonis(is this good?)..

what im working with is a m-audio axiom 25 key, i have a nes(converted for stereo like sound) with a midines, acouple of random rack items:lexicon mpx100, sampson amp, a nady2 channel eq, some anceint 8-track portastudio that is kinda cool but i dont really plan on using it in this setup, and i have also been making some things such as the wsg, bent stuff, in the process of the ds-7 clone now.

so down to brass tacks basically i want to have a setup that is expandable for a decent price so any help or info(soundcards do i need one or is the mac one good?, interfaces, memory, harddrives, im using the lite version of live now and i think i might buy the full version, but any sugestions will help.

i know this is all over the place but i have been lurking on this forum and you guys know your stuff, so i will be greatfull for any help!!!!
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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

so im still working on it.....

maybe this thread can turn into something for other people once i make some mistakes!!
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

G4s? Which model?

You are talking macs here?

A G4 is pretty underpowered these days for modern DAWs, but you can get a lot of bang for the bucks if you manage to find Steinberg Cubase 5 VST 32 and use OS9. Interface? Any of the M-Audio PCI cards should work OK as well as the PCI card+ breakoutbox M-Audio 1010.

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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
G4s? Which model?

You are talking macs here?

A G4 is pretty underpowered these days for modern DAWs, but you can get a lot of bang for the bucks if you manage to find Steinberg Cubase 5 VST 32 and use OS9. Interface? Any of the M-Audio PCI cards should work OK as well as the PCI card+ breakoutbox M-Audio 1010.


i have 2 mac silver face g4s and one of the older charcoal one. so i am going to see what i can dig up on that cubase 5. the comp that i have hooked up now is real slow, one thing i have noticed when using effects in live the cpu rate goes way past 100% im hoping that in this setup reduce this greatly, and thanks for the advice it think im going to go for the pci+breakoutbox.
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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

so i just picked up a delta 1010 for $175. im pretty excited now im one step closer!!! once i got it all together i will let you guys know how i like it. all thats is left is two harddrives some wires and i should be setup...
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

a lot of us made music back in the dark ages before powerpc, and things ran fine. It is probably a lot cheaper to have old kit working for you. Good luck, and check in please.

Smile

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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ok so far this:Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.+this:Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.= Smile

next up is a new harddrive maybe two 80gbs? and a processor maybe atleast 1ghz. but i am having fun now...
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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hey edisonrex i just noticed your sig Rolling Eyes

"Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated. "

thats funny my name is garret with one T also Cool
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ahh... seems like that box is say one of the 800 mhz models. Listen, you ride with whatever the boss has put in there. You don´t upgrade mac cpus.. or actually.. you can.. but there is more to it than slamming in whatever feels right. I suggest you stick with whatever is on the MB and build around that.

The ATA interface on these older boxes aren´t that hot, and you might get slightly better mileage if you get a compatible PCI SATA card or two.
Also.. when booting in OS9, you do have some limitations on on how huge drives you can format. I think 80gigs should be "safe"

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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yea its a 800mhz one.. i will take your word and not mess around witth the mb.
but you really think im better off running os9? i have programs that will only run on os10 & up.. im real undecided on software right now...
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You will get the most out of the CPU if you use OS9. You can run an early OS X version on it though, but I reckon that will in fact be more difficult since you will then need a slightly (even) more esoteric mix of DAW versions and plugins in order to end up with something that actually works as expected.

All things considered, I wonder if a Mac Mini will be a better investment. You will basically get pretty much the same performance as you would get from a Macbook and you can run say the latest incarnation of Logic Express.

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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

so i have been on the look out for that cubase 5, and no luck anyone know where i can score a copy? or have any other suggestions? i might just by live 6 and keep running the newwer osx. i dont really want to do that though.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

scriptstyle wrote:
hey edisonrex i just noticed your sig Rolling Eyes

"Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated. "

thats funny my name is garret with one T also Cool


You never interviewed for Electronic Game Magazine, did you? The quote is from an article where they sit two Playstation-era kids down at some ancient consoles. Their reactions are humorous. That quote has always stuck with me for what might be obvious reasons.

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EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

no not me i grew up with an atari st when i was young, ^ very funny though!!
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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My main machine right now is a G4, and I am quite happy with it. I use some intensive OS9 apps so I built this as the ultimate OS9 box, though it does well for 10.4.10 also, which is the other OS. I confess that I am a huge advocate for vintage gear! There's no need into letting other people pressure you into using the newest gear.

The main bottleneck for this one is the bus speed. It's 167 MHz which is the best there was for G4s. I think the drive controller is ATA133, quite fast generally. It runs hot so my only desire is to improve the cooling but no plans yet. I also use a few other, older mac systems which are G3 powered for other tasks, like for MIDI work or hosting old hardware.

Basically, any mac is going to be fast with software which is older than it is. Your G4 is a more than capable music machine, just don't fuss about whether or not you can run 200 reverbs at the same time and this sort of thing. I use Max/MSP 4.6 and Logic 7.2 with no problems, and Numerology is amazing too. I use some intensive plugins such as VirSyn Tera2 and Cube, Absynth 3, FM7, TC effects, etc and it's fine. There have been times when I've been stranded using a 400 MHz G3 laptop for music and had a great time. Keep in mind that there are decades worth of interesting mac software and hardware out there.

Keep in mind that OS 9 is always faster on the older machines, but it has its many quirks. UNIX is *not* a real-time operating system - so I expect that many skeptics would be surprised at quite how snappy a fast OS9 system can be. I often am! It can be a chore to set up at times, the protected memory space in OS X saves us so, so much trouble. But it also slows down the system, so it's a tradeoff. Also G4s can be retrofitted with real serial ports which are great for MIDI. And you can use powerful software which never survived the transition to OS X, like Studio Vision Pro! And since the supply by far exceeds the demand you can deck out your machine on the cheap.
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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I suggest you stick with whatever is on the MB and build around that.


For CPU, yes. But a lot of RAM will be preferable, and fairly cheap.

Quote:
The ATA interface on these older boxes aren´t that hot, and you might get slightly better mileage if you get a compatible PCI SATA card or two. Also.. when booting in OS9, you do have some limitations on on how huge drives you can format. I think 80gigs should be "safe"


I wonder if SATA might be a bit too modern for these. Keep in mind that the system bus is probably 100 or 133 MHz on that box. I'd say ATA133. The limitation in formatting is probably only with older versions of OS 9. I've used 9.2.2 on systems with even 500GB drives and no problems. There might be a limitation on how big the system partition can be, but this is large enough to not be a practical concern. One fast drive for system and a second for media and you'll be doing nicely.
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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

scriptstyle wrote:
no not me i grew up with an atari st when i was young, ^ very funny though!!


I *wish* I grew up with an ST! My parents bought me an Amiga 2500, which was a cool machine, but they refused to get me any software apart from a handful of video games. What a waste! Then the Amiga was stolen by crackheads in 1998, I can only imagine what they did with it...

I bought my first Atari in 2003, a broken Falcon030 which I fixed up and had running for about $150. It really is a great system. And this is exactly what I thought to myself about it. "I should have grown up with these!"

I bought my first mac only in 1999, a Performa 6250CD with monitor, keys and mouse from one of my workmates for $50. It used a PPC 601 which was dog slow. I was trying to make lame Csound instruments and dealing with 22KHz audio. But then I was online and soon bought an 8500 on ebay for $100 which was my main machine until it died a few years later. Nowadays one can find nice G4 systems getting shoveled out, it's great! Keep them out of the landfill - which very eco-unfriendly - and adopt old computers for the studio. Now I have dedicated machines for various purposes so I can make patterns on one mac and render the sound in softsynths on another, and use a third machine for recording. It distributes the load around the studio and keeps the faster machines from getting bogged down.
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scriptstyle



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I *wish* I grew up with an ST! My parents bought me an Amiga 2500, which was a cool machine, but they refused to get me any software apart from a handful of video games. What a waste! Then the Amiga was stolen by crackheads in 1998, I can only imagine what they did with it...

bastards^, one time a crackhead broke into my apartment solee all the n64 games out of my room and the console that and controlers that was in the living room, it was a real crazy situation cause i think he was still some where in thre building when i got came up the stair well..

any way i wish i still had an st!! i have no idea what happened to it?
thanks for all the good info!!!

i have been on the hunt for some good os9 programs but keep coming up short. im ready to stop runing osx and use os9 but i have no programs.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:56 pm    Post subject: New Macbook Pro vs. old G4 tower? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So, I have one of the older G4 towers. I think it is in the range of 350-500 MHz. Will I be able to get decent results with it as a DAW under OS 9?

I also am looking into the MacBook Pro.

Obviously, the MB Pro can run newer software. But I am not interested in a ton of features for my DAW. Just rock-solid sequencing and decent audio.

I will be a Nord G2 owner—I will do the programming on my rtty 500MHz Powerbook. No possiblity to run OS9 on that. I will also be running Metasynth on the powerbook. Those I imagine will be my sound shaping tools for generating far-out rhythmic loops based in synthesized and field-recorded sound. So I don't imagine needing plug-ins.

I am considering getting a Roland MV-8000 to handle rhythm and loop programming, as well as multisampling.

So, the G4 tower would be a bare-bones DAW, and a really good sequencer. (Am I wrong about it as a sequencer?) Could I run something like Max/MSP while running cubase and still get good results?

Does this make sense, with my emphasis on hardware? Software hasn't turned me on, except for the G2 demo and Metasynth. But I have been looking into Max/MSP and it seems really cool. Though, admittedly, since I am running 10.3.9 on my Powerbook I haven't been able to demo many of the new software synths or software, and I don't know where to find the old demo versions.

What would be the advantages of a Macbook Pro over the G4 tower, besides new software (which will soon be old) and portablity (significant)?

What are the advantages of the G4 tower over the Macbook, besides the fact that I already own the g4?

thanks.

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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you need to know just what hardware is there exactly, you can click the Apple menu on the top-left of the screen. There's a system profile utility there which will tell you what CPU, RAM, bus speed, etc.

The huge, huge advantage to a fast modern machine is audio processing. Everything from DSP for instruments and effects, to quickly reading and wrinting lots of digital audio to/from your hard drives. That's about it. If your main focus is VST plugins and realtime DAW mixdowns then an older machine would be far too limiting for real-time work. Although you can get great results if you need to.

Advantages of older machines? There's the obvious detail that they can be scored for cheap, even free. But there are a few other considerations. You can use real serial ports and avoid the whole USB thing. MIDI is ordinary serial data, so typically the less translation needs to be done, the simpler and tighter it'll be. And that even though OS 9 (and earlier) can be a PITA to set up and they lack many modern features, they are more or less real time. Modern computers can crunch numbers, but the user interface runs through abstraction layers, kernel threading, and task prioritization routines which are a lot of overhead that older systems never bothered with. An old system can feel much snappier while technically running slower than a new machine cluttered with a sophisticated OS. It's tight.

I tend to use older machines for sequencing, and they're great. I have used an old PowerMac 8500 with about 500MHz CPU and 400 MB of RAM for years and it handled sequencing well. It was able to throw out tight MIDI code much faster than any of my hardware or softsynths could keep up with. I also used it for DAW type stuff with Logic 4 and SVP which were fine, so long as I used 10 tracks of audio or less. Likewise with Max/MSP the MSP side of things got bogged down with crunchy DSP, but the Max side ran flawlessly for MIDI. Keep in mind that any new-world machine with a G4 is going to run a lot better than my 8500 did. You have access to a much faster system bus. My first OS X setup was a 500 MHz G4 running Numerology in MIDI-only mode, and it was great.

Even today I occaisionally hook up an old machine for making patterns only, sending MIDI data to hardware or other computers. I have tried using Max and DAWs at the same time on an older machine and it was too clumsy for me. I try to have only big app running at a time, even on newer systems.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CJ,

If money was not an issue, and I was not going to use a lot of plug-ins or do a lot of real-time audio processing, what would you suggest—trying to make the G4 tower work under OS9 as a DAW, or go with a Macbook Pro?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am really interested in generating rad rhythmic loops --not just drum loops-- using field-recorded audio and Metasynth. I was considering getting the MB Pro and using those sounds with Live. I suspect what I want to do will be a lot easier on the MB Pro than on a combination of G4 OS9 + HW sampler—especially with a lot of layering, etc?

I was also considering getting an MPC + a Roland VP9000 for loops and stretching for use with the older system...I am really up in the air.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Field recorded audio in MetaSynth you can do on either setup. The big difference here is that the OS9 version is 16 bit and the OSX version is 24 bit. I don't like loops or Live so I have no idea there. You can do long format sampling/looping with stuff like Automat or STEIMs LiSa.

I don't use samplers all that much, but EXS24 in Logic runs solid on anything. Also I use a few dedicated peripherals: Korg OASYS PCI and a SampleCell card which I scored for cheap.

What I do is create patterns in real time and send this sequence data to either a computer running softsynths, or dedicated hardware synths. I think it's a good idea to have a dedicated machine even just for reading/translating gestural data and sending out useful MIDI or OSC data. This way your audio rendering kit doesn't need to get bogged down with the extra processing. Also I keep a fast OS9 machine for old plugins and other weird multimedia software, NATO, and the OASYS card.

I use OS 9 enough that I put together what I believe is the most powerful OS 9 machine possible: MDD 1.25 GHz motherboard with 167MHz system bus, CPUs swapped out to dual 1.47GHz (from a FW800 box), stealth serial, 2 GB RAM, GeForce4 Ti 4600 (fastest card w/3d drivers for OS 9), Seagate ST3500630A hard drives, Pioneer DVR-115D, Opcode Studio 4 and Emagic AMT8 MIDI, Korg OASYS PCI DSP card, Matrox RTMac video encoder. I'll probably update the serial and MIDi soon. And I'm getting backups for all this stuff so that I always have a blazin classic mac.
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