I'm a novice at computer/electronics but I want to get a good set up at minimal expense (read 'zero'--ha ha! no, seriously, at least the most economically priced) to use for recording original music compositions. But, I'd like to get the kind of quality recording/instrument/orchestration/sound I could use for submitting professionally to film, tv, theatre projects..
1.  I wonder if any of you composers on this forum have any advice for me on what to look for in an external hard drive for my macbook pro?    I want to back up my personal files, including original music recordings (garageband, itunes, audacity, etc), movies (imovies scored with original music), etc.  I want something to keep all my files separate from my macbook pro...
I saw this one at best buy.  Do you think this is appropriate?  3TB is alot of space, but I figured I could use that to keep composing projects growing...& the price seems reasonable ($130)
2. Also, all I'm using to record currently is GarageBand to compose via my yamaha digital piano.  The GB acoustic instruments (flute, guitar, strings, etc) are limited without going online to purchase more and they're not very authentic sounding.  What programs &/or samples do you recommend for more authentic-sounding instruments/orchestration?
Are there any free ones I could download?
3. Lastly, what sequencing/recording software do you recommend?   Is GarageBand adequate or is something like Protools &/or Logic necessary for submission quality recordings?
Sorry so many questions.  If you can help direct me, I'd really appreciate your time and expertise.

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  • The link no longer goes to the specific product you were looking at.

    You've got to be a bit careful when buying external drives for a Mac. I've bought 4 or 5 of the Seagate FreeAgent drives and have no problems at all. Some other brands I've tried can be sketchy- for instance, it may take plugging the usb cord in several times to get a drive to mount. That's always scary.

    There are many good choices as far as sequencers. I use DP and like it, and I'm sure other composers here can recommend what they use. ProTools may not be the best choice for composing, but I understand that it is much improved since the last time I tried using it for sequencing.

    Some other members may have suggestions for an inexpensive orchestral package. The East West Silver Symphonic Orchestra is probably a good place to start for $195. I have an older Kontakt version of it and it has served me well.

    The system requirements (for EWSO say 64-bit MAC. I don't think I have one of those myself, so be sure to check.

  • Good orchestral sample libraries tend to be expensive. There is also a learning curve, because some performance techniques will require that you record MIDI controller data in very specific ways. I never use sampled orchestral sounds, so I would not be the right person to ask for a specific recommendation.

    I've heard both positive and cautionary reports about Logic. I would suggest that you stay away from Pro Tools, for two reasons: First, the plug-ins tend to be expensive, and second, from what I've heard, the parent company (Avid) seems to be making some disastrous business decisions. Ableton Live is very popular in the dance music scene, but it may not have the kind of detailed MIDI event editing you need for orchestral simulations.

    Personally, I like Cubase. (I use the Windows version.) I believe there may be a downloadable demo version. I suggest you have a look at it.

  • Thank you! These replies are very helpful! I used to use cubase in college--so I'll give that another try! Thx so much all!!!
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