Hope I don't start annoying anyone with my barrage of newbie technology Qs. I've been saving $ to buy a desktop with Logic Pro X. Now that the new Mac Pro is out, I'm wondering if it'd be best to get it or stay with the choice of a 27" iMac (16GB, i7 processor)? My goal is to get my foot in the door as a professional composer--needing a good computer & DAW is my starting point (toward quality sounds/recording).
Any composers wanna chime in on whether the Mac Pro is worth the extra $--as a big enough jump ahead of a iMac? My thoughts are to buy the fastest, biggest machine I can afford. And hope it carries me a LONG way (trying to pay cash not credit and I am on a meager teacher salary, so LONG way means has to last a LONG TIME!). I appreciate any input from the more experienced with gear. (I'm definitely going Mac not PC, though) Thank you for any advice.
Thank you for your reply, Bob. I'm sorry my post didn't seem to clarify that I am not debating the merits of PC vs Mac. I'm in no way arguing that PC is a lesser computer. I've chosen Mac because I'm most familiar with it--haven't used PC in years due to work handing me Macs. My question was more about the difference in speed and RAM-- and if choosing between the iMac (listed in my post) or the newly released/more expensive Mac Pro, which would make more sense for my purposes. Particularly since I'm new at using all the tech gear, I posted this questions with hope I'd get some basic advice about which would be the better choice purchase. I'm not sure if the new Mac Pro's speed, etc is much more ahead of the iMac, for the purpose of composing for film, etc. If it's not THAT much an improvement, I suppose I'll stick with the iMac. But if Mac Pro is a remarkable difference in areas that matter to music production, I want to know and go that route. I am NOT a techie, so was hoping some more experienced Mac techie composers would be able to respond with more clarity.
At the risk of repeating myself, I want to clarify that my question has NOTHING to do with PC versus Mac as viable choices. My Q is regarding any significant difference between iMac (specs above in original Q) and the new Mac Pro.
Though I appreciate all the positive plugs for PC, I will not be purchasing a PC. LOTS of reasons behind that decision, some of which I've already posted elsewhere in forums. I am well aware that PCs can be wonderful tools of choice. Just not my choice.
If anyone has some input on my actual question, please respond! ^_^
Thanks, Bob, I do understand that more GB would in the end be better (32 vs 16). But since I'm just getting into using samplers and Logic as a newbie, wondered how far 16GB would take me. I appreciate your input there--very helpful. It is my understanding, though, contrary to what you stated, that speed IS a definite consideration--particularly when getting more involved with orchestration/samplers/many tracks. Are you saying that is NOT the case? If so, that's different from what I've learned thus far. Hence, I was under the impression that i7 IS faster and better than i5. Your comment lends itself to further research on my part!
Raymond, I would/did not ask anyone to 'stay away from' my posts, and from your reply it seems somehow I offended you with my specific Q related to Mac (not PC). I did not intend to offend you--I merely clarified since both replies to my Q were PC-related--which to me, is off-topic (I asked specifically about a MAC scenario). Your input can be & has been very helpful (in other posts). However, I don't see any reason for you to insult my intelligence with your comments. It is my understanding that the most important things when choosing a new DAW host are RAM, CPU power and HDD speed. THAT is what I am asking a comparison of between iMac & Mac Pro. re: your attached pic: I already have a controller keyboard, audio interface, monitors, mics, etc. I have already done some basic composing/recording with Finale & GarageBand. I'm intending to learn as much as possible & my first step is to get the computer desktop with Logic. I was simply hoping to get some helpful feedback from someone with experience using that type of DAW setup.
Just because I am a newbie (freely admitted!) doesn't mean that I cannot understand or learn new things. ^_^
You raise many points in your post. For what it's worth I'm a Mac Pro user, I bought it second hand around three years ago for £1250. New they were then, over £2.2k. At the time it was a ' last years spec' quad core as opposed to an up to date 8 cores, it had a reasonably current processor, with good bus speed for getting audio from the drives etc. I just added a bit extra RAM, and another screen, also second user. I too prefer the mac environment, it's relatively easy to add 3 more hard drives to customise it however you might wish, they just plug in. I'm not by any means operating at the cutting edge of sample technology, as many here are, so if you want to be bang up to date constantly chasing the DAW dream I can't advise you. All I can say is that is that it still serves me well 3 years later, at my level, and it can produce good broadcast quality material.
If I could offer any other meaningful advice it would be this. Treat your monitor speakers as your major investment in terms of time and research, don't scrimp. They are after all what you will be using to hear your work. Decent monitors can be had fairly reasonably, but there's a lot of crap out there too. Plan for your monitors and mic's to last the longest in terms of time, and invest accordingly. The computer is the consumeable item in the hardware set up, as a technology it moves much more quickly than most other items in your set up, barring sample packs. You'll need to upgrade regularly if your plans are ambitious self production, or if you have a tendency to get wigged out on staying bang up to date. The PC platform suits this upgrade regime much better, as has already been said. If you want a good solid workhorse that you'll get 3 + years out of, a year old second user Mac Pro offers much better value than buying new. Though I can't vouch for where the OS and new sample technology will go from here. Finally, and probably most important, studio craft is worth far more to your efforts than any amount of shiney new kit. Without it, the best gear in the world is a waste of time.
Hope this helps a little,
I have spent the last few weeks going over different configurations for the new Mac Pro and deciding between them or indeed whether a fully loaded 27inch iMac would suffice.
I am still using a first generation Mac Pro (2006) for which I paid £2000 plus some additional memory and internal storage over the years. That's about 8 years of trouble free and virus free operation. And yes, ever since the intro of the Intel Macs they have more or less looked after themselves.
My needs started to outgrow my set up a while back when I started using larger VI libraries and especially audio processing plug-ins from companies like Waves etc. My processor is a mere 2.0 Ghz Xeon quad core so is in the red most of the time now. I have eased the problem temporarily by using Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 which allowed me to use a PC someone gave me and my MacBookPro as slave computers.
I am almost definitely going with the MP because of the processor. It is a machine built for heavy professional use and although I expect to pay a lot of money, it's going to be very well supported by pro applications and third party plug ins and should be good for several years.
There is the choice of configuring with the minimum of Ram and adding some from companies like OWC or Crucial which are cheaper than Apple's own. Also it is possible to stick to the lowest size internal flash drive (256gb) just for OS and apps, and to keep projects, sample libs on external thunderbolt connected HDs od SSDs.
The good thing about Logic is that it is made by the same lot that make the hardware. Problems can arise with 3rd party stuff but I use MOTU which are Mac orientated and most pro apps keep up with Mac developments.
I see this as a major, but for me worthwhile investment.
The MP is not an ordinary desktop computer, it is a pro workstation. The iMac is plenty powerful for most stuff but I think I'll spend the extra on the MP.
Since demand for it has already outstripped supply, I've got a couple of months 'cooling off' to see what develops and what the 'word' is.
My advise to you Jenny is to get the fastest computer with as much memory as you can afford. One day you'll need it and it's better to have it when you don't need it than not to have it when you do! :)
Thank you Daryl, your post was both helpful and informative. I'm don't care about staying up to date exactly. Just wanna get the most RAM I can afford & have a computer that won't be annoyingly slow so I can compose more and faster. I want something I can 'grow into' vs 'outgrow' too quickly. I like the idea of buying a used Mac Pro or iMac, so long as I can get plenty of RAM. & I like the simplicity of adding HDs too. Do you have any recommended resources/brands/companies for any particular monitors? What's the minimal cost of decent monitors? (Anyone can chime in here!)
I especially like your comment on developing craft as the priority. Must not ever lose sight of that!
Daryl O'Buka said:
Thank you for your input, Michael. Yes, that is what I understood--that MP is a workstation of considerable power and storage. I just don't know if it's the right choice for someone like me, so new to using technology now, but definitely wanting to get a great computer that I can develop with over time--(not outgrow too quickly). I just am not sure if paying the extra $ for the NEW MP is a great option for someone so new to the whole game. But it DOES suit my goal of getting the biggest/fastest computer I can afford (barely!) Interesting to use the minimum flash drive for other apps and to use external HDs for libraries/projects! On a whole 'nother topic, I don't know how to set up a 'slave'. I've heard of this, but where can I learn how to set that up?
I appreciate your comment, full of great info!
Michael T said:
I think the iMac with lot's of ram would be fine for your needs and will last you many years. Get an external HD or SSD for your sample libs, switch it on and you'll be off and running in no time. :)
I wouldn't worry about a slave computer until you find you need it- if ever.
Jenny Leigh Hodgins said:
Michael (or anyone out here!),
Is it possible to keep all audio projects and sample libraries on an INTERNAL SSD (500GB) instead of using an external HD connected by Thunderbolt? For example, if I got a refurbished Mac Pro 3.2GHz Quad, 1TB 7200rpm, 6GB RAM, then purchased the internal SSD & additional RAM outside Apple (& monitor)… & if I did so, would I just get 32GB RAM added to the 6GB in the MP? Would that work to run OS & all apps on the 1TB drive and keep all the audio stuff on the internal SSD?
Or, another scenario would be the same idea but with a NEW iMac 27" i7 3.5GHz Quad Core with 1TB storage, and add 32GB through OWC or Newegg, etc PLUS an internal 500GB SSD.
If I got one or the other of these scenarios, would these work well with Logic plus any sample libraries I add on eventually?
Thank you all for you help. This is a foreign world to me and I appreciate all the helpful advice...
There are a bewildering variety of options even for the more experienced and I am always seeking advice when adding a new piece of kit.
The old Mac Pros such as the refurbed one you mentioned come with 4 internal bays to hold HDs while the new MP and new iMac come with one internal flash drive.
If you were to get the refurbed MP you could put in the extra 7200 rpm HDDs or SSDs One to hold your Logic projects, one for the sample libs, one for the OS and apps and the 4th for back up. It's fairly easy to slot in extra ram yourself although you'd have to check on the various configurations that would work.
The iMac comes with one internal flash drive or 7200 HDD so any other drives would have to be external. I don't think adding ram yourself to an iMac is as simple as to a Mac Pro (you may actually need a screwdriver)
My personal choice would be for newer technology as over the coming months and years 3rd party developers will be coming up with all sorts of devices to take advantage of thunderbolt etc.
Also I would feel more secure with brand new hardware over refurbed although that may just be paranoia.
I bet you, like me, just want to get on and make music. Unfortunately there's no escaping techie talk if you want to get the best out of your system and money.
I hope you are asking these questions on lot's of other forums including Apple discussions and http://www.vi-control.net
as you'll find many more qualified techies there.