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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » OSX as a music workstation
Macbook vs. Macbook Pro
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dualphin



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:15 pm    Post subject: Macbook vs. Macbook Pro
Subject description: hoping Macbook will work fine
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I am looking at them both, for audio. I have found on the web several discussions about the differences, but I wonder if they are not out of date (>1 year).

A key question I have: running both a firewire audio i/o and an external HD through the Firewire 400 port on the Macbook-- could this be problematic?

Would the desire to run an external HD simultaneously with an audio interface rule out using the Macbook?

Also, what about general performance on a high-end souped-up MB? From what I read, it should be fine. I could possibly find an external screen cheaply. I don't think I will like the glossiness of the screen, but I think I will be able to deal with it. The portability appeals to me.

I don't think I will be running tons of plugs. Doing a lot of processing with the Nord G2, sequencing loops and samples with Live, running Max/MSP (which I am just learning). Would like to design my own plugs. Perhaps will get into Reaktor.

I would love to hear that a Macbook would work great, that I would have no problems (while running an external hd). It is okay if the MBPro runs better. I just want very good performance, with few problems due to extreme latency or maxing out the CPU or memory.

Thoughts?

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Generally it is not a really a great idea to use the same FW 400 port for audio as well an HD at the same time.

I have a Macbook myself. I mostly use it for working on writing pieces and I use it very little for capturing audio. It´s more like ny main surfng station and sketch book. I have a Mac Pro rig for the serious stuff. That said, it is nothing wrong with the Macbook as such. The CPU runs fine with Logic and if you take some care in order to not tax the drive too much you can do amazing things with it.

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dualphin



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

electro80,

what do you mean,
Quote:
if you take some care in order to not tax the drive too much you can do amazing things with it.
?

How does one tax the drive too much? How does one avoid this?

So I am pretty certain to run into problems using the same FW port for both audio/midi i/o and a hard drive?

That is kind of disappointing.

Do you know of any up-to-date online discussions of this matter?

I have found these:
http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1817780
http://createdigitalnoise.com/topic-148.html&sid=3c66f2eab2a22c7ee63430cb59a106a4
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2007/06/05/macbook-pro-revision-big-santa-rosa-performance-boost-4gb-ram-option-more/

How can I go about understanding the performance differences better?

Thanks,
d

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dualphin



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I thought the issue would be with taxing the CPU/memory.

An alternative may be to use a usb i/o. Is this ill-advised? I do not expect to record many tracks at a time (though I would like to keep my gear all hooked up all the time). Though it might be wise to allow myself the option of simultaneous recording of multiple tracks, especially if I am using the g2 as effect processor.

It would be nice to find some way of making the MB work. It feels somehow like a wiser investment to me. I understand that the MBP is more capable, but the more limited MB is attractive to me for reasons that I can't quite define. It seems more modest. I don't think I will be as tempted to dump as many plugs into the mix. It will require a certain discipline. The MB is more compact. I will have extra money to spend on preamps, etc.

The MB seems more like a tool, while the MBP to me seems more like a studio, like a workstation.

I wonder if using the internal drive might not be such a bad idea.

d

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wouldn't be so worried. I have a MBP, running Logic and my audio interface is connected to the FW400 where there is also an external HD with Logic's libraries and those of a few other softsynths. It depends on your needs but I have never ran into any problem. So my suggestion would be: go for it Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Carlo is right, and so is Stein. I recorded a complete LP with 4 musicians each with a mono line in apart from the drums, which had 5 inputs, on a Mac G4 Powerbook down a single firewire 400 line, daisy chaining an external Lacie drive and a MOTU 828 Mk1 audio interface, and apart from a few dithering pops at the start of one track only (one as in 1 track on one song, and removed in Logic 6's editor later), I had no other problems- and that was using 512mb on a PPC architecture. The external drive was 7200rpm.

If you have the money for a MBP, go for it. The MBP is my latest Mac and it's awesome! A veritable powerhouse of a workhorse!!Very Happy

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My personal recording setup is iBook + MOTU 828MkII + Pacific Pro Audio FW 400 external drive. I daisy chain the MOTU and HD together.

AudioDesk crashes once a while but I doubt it is because of the MOTU and HD both going on the Firewire chain. Generally, it's a usable setup. I bet the Macbook will be faster and more stable than my old iBook.

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dualphin



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks, all.

v-un-v, it is totally clear to me that the MBP is really powerful. But I am trying to go for an overall decent rig (Mac, i/o, transducers, Nord G2, software, control surface), so that is why my eyes are more on the MB. The extra cash saved will go toward a better i/o, monitor pair, etc. If I can swing it, I may still go for the MBP. What I am going for is an overall balanced setup.

d

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