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  • About To Buy Mac Pro DAW

    Hi,
    I'm reluctantly (long story which I won't go into here) about to buy a Mac Pro to use as my DAW, and wondered what people would recommend given my short term and longer term requirements.

    I'm going to go for the 3 GHZ version with either 2 or 4 GB RAM and 2 hard drives (one for the OS, and the other for recording audio and editing video). I eventually plan to upgrade RAM and add 1 or 2 more hard drives.

    Because I think I'll be stoney broke initially, and because this is my first foray into computer multitracking, and I only have previous experiences with cassette portastudios and an 8-track minidisc based recorder, I want to start with a simpler sequencer than Logic Pro (which I eventually plan to gravitate to). However, Garage Band and iMovie are too simple for my audio and video needs.

    I'm thinking along the lines of Final Cut Express for video editing, and am open to suggestions for the audio sequencer. I will be recording at home, so I don't need a lot of inputs. I'll be using guitar, vocals, and piano and MIDI plugins to simulate real instruments (drums, violin, viola, cello, piano, French horn).

    I am also going to be going Firewire, with the RME FireFace 400 as my audio interface.

    So, here are my questions:
    1. Is there any mid-level audio sequencer that anyone would recommend?
    2. Is there any other advice that people would give me about matching components or setting things up with the specifications detailed above? I think that this is a lot simpler than in the PC world, in terms of there being far fewer conflicts between the individual components in the Mac world.

    Many thanks,

    GVDV.

  • #2
    Are you set on the Mac Pro? I mean, it's a great machine and all, but you'd be suprised by what you can do with an iMac (or a macbook, which is what I use). Logic Pro is fantastic, but I can't comment on Express. If you do get it though, I think it's a cheaper upgrade to Pro, and so if you plan to eventually get that you'll save some money. Plus, you'll have spent time learning how to use the Logic setup, rather than something completely different.
    If you're not set on your computer yet, I'd probably recommending getting a cheaper one and starting out on Logic Pro, as you can do a lot with it on a slower computer than the Mac Pro.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Bardsley,
      Thanks for the reply.

      And thanks for the recommendation.

      If I go Mac, and I'm 99% sure that I will, I will definitely get the Mac Pro. I don't want to buy something cheaper - and I have checked other Macs, too - and then upgrade later on. I'd rather get it all out of the way, and the Mac Pro is such a solid machine that I know (famous last words, of course) that I won't have to worry about the machine itself, just learning the programs.

      When you talked about Express, did you mean that there's a 'lighter' version of Logic? When I mentioned Express, I was referring to the video editing program, Final Cut Express. From what I've read, Logic seems to be the way to go for audio editing.

      Must go, and thanks once again for your help.

      GVDV.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use Logic Express:

        http://www.apple.com/logicexpress/

        The Forum:

        http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=772

        It's about 1/2 the price and very powerful. I have Ableton's Live 5 and Also Digital Performer but Logic Express is what I use for recording, midi, etc. I also use Final Cut Express HD for Video. Logic Express is super-powered stuff and I currently have 175 plug-ins that make it a full studio DAW.
        I tell them young boys all the time "There's 2 things you really need to be a "bluesman" - Percodan and Whiskey"

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        • #5
          Hell Strangedogs,
          This in one of the best (i.e. most helpful and useful) replies that I have ever had to a post concerning anything.

          Thank you so much.

          And I will ask you another question, too.

          What plug-ins do you have in the way of orchestral instruments, and guitar amp/cab modelling?

          Also, what do you find - as you imply in your post - that Logic Express handles MIDI better than DP and other Mac (I refuse to say 'Apple' being a Big Beatles Fan) audio recorder software?

          Thanks, too, for mentioning that you use Final Cut Express. I have a question for you about that in terms of its audio editing capabilities. One of the things that I really REALLY like about Pinnacle (PC) is that you have a horizontal line representing the audio track, on which you can put 'nodes' (square 'dots', if that's not a contradiction in terms) at different heights to raise and lower the audio volume. I love this kind of easy and visual interactivity. I have taken some of the 'Intro' lessons to Final Cut Express on the net, and it seems to be quite intuitive like this, but my question is what kind of audio editing capabilities does FCE have in terms of the ergonomics of the program (i.e., I'm not asking here about features such as sound treatment, such as compression).

          Thanks,
          GVDV.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hell Strangedogs,
            This in one of the best (i.e. most helpful and useful) replies that I have ever had to a post concerning anything.

            Thank you so much.

            And I will ask you another question, too.

            What plug-ins do you have in the way of orchestral instruments, and guitar amp/cab modelling?

            Also, what do you find - as you imply in your post - that Logic Express handles MIDI better than DP and other Mac (I refuse to say 'Apple' being a Big Beatles Fan) audio recorder software?

            Thanks, too, for mentioning that you use Final Cut Express. I have a question for you about that in terms of its audio editing capabilities. One of the things that I really REALLY like about Pinnacle (PC) is that you have a horizontal line representing the audio track, on which you can put 'nodes' (square 'dots', if that's not a contradiction in terms) at different heights to raise and lower the audio volume. I love this kind of easy and visual interactivity. I have taken some of the 'Intro' lessons to Final Cut Express on the net, and it seems to be quite intuitive like this, but my question is what kind of audio editing capabilities does FCE have in terms of the ergonomics of the program (i.e., I'm not asking here about features such as sound treatment, such as compression).

            Thanks,
            GVDV.


            Logic Express is one of the biggest bargain audio/midi sequencers on the market, on any platform. I bought it some time ago and am currently running 7.2 on a Macbook Pro.

            With regard to putting points on a line for automation, Express goes much further than this by offering automation on many different controllers. If your running a softsynth, then the automation offerings are extensive as it offers you automation of all the controllers for that synth.

            If for whatever reason you decide to go with the hardware and run out of cash (initially) for the software, then Garageband is a reasonable place to start for free and Logic offers direct importing of GB songs..

            All in all. An amazing package for a smallish amount of cash.

            I also have an RME Fireface 400 and the whole experience is impressive, to say the least.

            Rimmer
            "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Rimmer,
              Thanks for your reply.

              Re. Express and automation, I was actually referring to Strangedog's reference to the fact that, as well as using (Logic) Express for audio editing, he uses (Final Cut) Express for video editing (it sounds from your reply that you were talking about Logic Express's automation settings, but I was asking about those in FCE - excuse me if I have got that wrong).

              Thanks, too, for the suggestion of Garage Band, but as I mentioned in the first post of this series Garage Band and iMovie are too simple for my needs. I can't for the life of me work out why Garage Band would be put on the market without the ability to switch tempos during mid-track. That really is unforgiveable. I have, however, heard great things from people who have worked in Garage Band and would consider it if it were not for this technical shortcoming.

              GVDV.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Rimmer,
                Thanks for your reply.

                Re. Express and automation, I was actually referring to Strangedog's reference to the fact that, as well as using (Logic) Express for audio editing, he uses (Final Cut) Express for video editing (it sounds from your reply that you were talking about Logic Express's automation settings, but I was asking about those in FCE - excuse me if I have got that wrong).

                Thanks, too, for the suggestion of Garage Band, but as I mentioned in the first post of this series Garage Band and iMovie are too simple for my needs. I can't for the life of me work out why Garage Band would be put on the market without the ability to switch tempos during mid-track. That really is unforgiveable. I have, however, heard great things from people who have worked in Garage Band and would consider it if it were not for this technical shortcoming.

                GVDV.


                Sorry. I was talking about Logic Audio!!..

                Maybe I took your requirements wrong but you mentioned this is your foray in to computer based multi tracking having experience only with tape based multitracking and MD 8-tracks...

                If your stretching for something inbetween GB and Logic Pro, then Express is the place to be, in my opinion. In some people's eyes it might not be the best, but I think most people will agree that Express is in a good middle position between the two programs.

                GB however is more capable than a MD 8-track at providing a high quality and editable environment so I was just worried that you hadn't fully clocked it's features..

                Regards. Rimmer

                p.s.. trust me on the Fireface...!
                "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

                Comment


                • #9
                  IMO, unless you really, really need the slight gain in performance that the 3.0GHz Xeons offer over the 2.66s, I would stick with the 2.66s and buy more memory or a better graphics card. You aren't going to see a tremendous gain in performance for the huge amount of money you're paying for that upgrade, and that $800 will buy you several hard drives or a couple more gigs of RAM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry. I was talking about Logic Audio!!..

                    Maybe I took your requirements wrong but you mentioned this is your foray in to computer based multi tracking having experience only with tape based multitracking and MD 8-tracks...

                    If your stretching for something inbetween GB and Logic Pro, then Express is the place to be, in my opinion. In some people's eyes it might not be the best, but I think most people will agree that Express is in a good middle position between the two programs.

                    GB however is more capable than a MD 8-track at providing a high quality and editable environment so I was just worried that you hadn't fully clocked it's features..

                    Regards. Rimmer

                    p.s.. trust me on the Fireface...!


                    Hi Rimmer,
                    Thanks, I appreciate your advice.

                    I'm a bit worried by Logic Express only being 96Khz, but then again, maybe I'll use it as an interim help to work up to the complexities of Logic Pro.

                    I have been reading about some people being able to use Sonar (my first choice) on the Mac Pro via bootcamp, while others have had problems doing this. This would be my ideal scenario.

                    All the best,
                    GVDV.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      IMO, unless you really, really need the slight gain in performance that the 3.0GHz Xeons offer over the 2.66s, I would stick with the 2.66s and buy more memory or a better graphics card. You aren't going to see a tremendous gain in performance for the huge amount of money you're paying for that upgrade, and that $800 will buy you several hard drives or a couple more gigs of RAM.


                      Hi Hackedbychinese,
                      I appreciate your advice. After I had posted this, I did notice this difference in price and was wondering about using the money for extra memory. However, I also read somewhere that there was a very good argument for getting the 3.0 chip; can't remember what it was now, but I think that it had to do with video processing.

                      Thanks, once again.
                      GVDV

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You may also want to look into Digital Performer. www.unicornation.com is the user board.
                        http://soundcloud.com/donchesson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have been using Digital Performer since version 3. I had issues with DP4. It seemed to me that the combination of G4 processor, OS X and the software led to some irritating problems: low track counts, processor spiking, etc. The latest version, DP5.11, along with OS 10.4 (Tiger) and the Intel Core Duos has ended that set of problems. My Mac Pro and DP are fast, flexible, fun and ... profitable.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Rimmer,
                            Thanks, I appreciate your advice.

                            I'm a bit worried by Logic Express only being 96Khz, but then again, maybe I'll use it as an interim help to work up to the complexities of Logic Pro.

                            I have been reading about some people being able to use Sonar (my first choice) on the Mac Pro via bootcamp, while others have had problems doing this. This would be my ideal scenario.

                            All the best,
                            GVDV.


                            I have a 192khz audio interface and I generally run it at 44.1/24bit. Sounds lovely to me..

                            Best of luck

                            Rimmer
                            "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi 13ghostsofscoobydoo, Bowman and Rimmer,
                              Thanks for the replies again.

                              GVDV

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