Need input on new gear

I'm currently looking to upgrade my setup and I need some advice. I will be purchasing a new computer and basically I need to know how powerful I need that computer to be.

I am writing primarily for film at the moment, so I will need the ability to run a large number of software instruments simultaneously. Many of these are orchestral and very high-quality, so they take up quite a bit of RAM. Many film composers nowadays run a main computer for hosting their DAW, then a slave computer (or four) for running all of the software instruments.

My question boils down to this: how powerful should I make the main computer? I don't want to spend all my money on a blazing fast main computer if that money would be better spent on a slave computer that can handle most of the workload.

Also, I am set on using the Mac platform for my main computer. I would be open to running a PC as the slave if that is the most cost-effective option.

Any ideas or feedback would be much appreciated!

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Replies

  • I've heard that Mac-master/PC-slave (via Vienna Ensemble) is a very very good option for running lots of instruments. I'm in the same boat you are, as far as needs, but my general philosophy regarding computers is to spend more now and get the best thing on the market because it will last longer, and end up costing less over time. Even if that means taking out a loan.

     

    I've used my friend's Mac Pro 12-core to do some work, and I really have to try hard to slow it down. At one point he was doing an orchestral mock-up, running several instances of PLAY and Konakt 4 in protools, with a number of effect plugins on each track, while also intermittantly surfing the net, and watching movies. Not the slightest bit of hesitation. I think he only has 8 GB of RAM too. The problem is dropping $5000 for it.

  • Since it is nowadays possible to get such ridiculous amounts of processing power on a single computer, is the hassle of managing multiple computers really necessary?

    If you put 12 cores and 16gb of ram with multiple high speed HDDs (maybe even SSDs) on a single mac, it will more than happily process all your audio and vst's and samplers an what not in the box.

    Of course if you run such software like the legacy Giga Studio, which requires it's own computer build to spec. At that point you really have no choice.

    my twopence worth...

  • Thanks for all the advice gentlemen!
  • This thread was very helpful as I am in a similar boat.  Any tips/chiming in on what my studio gear should be?  I'm about to get a computer and Logic Pro X (selling my old Baldwin Baby Grand to fund this!).  Trying to determine between Mac Mini or iMac with 16GB ram, i5 or i7 2.9Ghz - 3.2Ghz processor and 1-3 T storage.  I currently already have a 3T Seagate Backup external hard drive (USB).  I'm just getting into the whole sampler/library idea (frankly have no idea yet about how it works--how to set it up, etc) so going with Logic Pro X (as I'm on a MacBook Pro now for work and very comfy with a Mac--I use GarageBand currently)--which I've heard comes loaded with samples and effects.  I have Finale 2012 with some Garritan stuff and am just learning that.  I would like to know any helpful advice about going this route (Logic Pro & Mac desktop w/16GB), and hopefully I'll learn how to use the computer, LPX and the external hard drive correctly to compose.  I'm worried about being a tech newbie--not fully literate with the terms/technical stuff...  My goal is to raise my sound quality to make a living as a film/tv composer eventually...  My current sound quality is evident at sound cloud dot com/Jenny-Leigh-Hodgins  --if you wanna hear my music, for a better understanding of where I stand.  Thanks for any feedback re: music and/or gear!


  •  Thank you, Ray, for sharing your knowledge.  I have used Mac for too many years to go the PC route at this point.  For time and comfort level, I must stick with a Mac.  I'm sure you have legitimate points for the PC route, though.

    I'm sorry I have no idea what VE PRO or LAN is.  Duh.

    Is it really necessary to run MULTIPLE computers? If I am just starting with Logic Pro X (which comes with samples & effects to get me going), and I have an external 3T hard drive, it seems that'd be enough--so long as I get a computer with LOTS of RAM & a fast processor.  That's at least what I'm understanding from other composer posts here & on LinkedIn groups...

    Yes, I agree that GarageBand and Garritan are not gonna get me anywhere in film music.  That's why I'm upgrading to a new computer and Logic Pro X.  I just have Garritan sounds with Finale.  Some stuff is already notated, so I can start in Finale and move it to LPX for better sounds.

    I LOVE the #6 idea.  It relieves aLOT of my worries that the mixing/mastering bits are my terrible weak points--so I COULD potentially collaborate with someone else who can take my compositions and get the sound quality where it should be.  I'll do the best I can until that point. :)

    Thank you again.  I have so much to learn about computers and recording!

    Raymond Kemp said:

    Jenny,

    1. You WILL get far more for your money by buying a PC or multiple PCs. My latest is nearly silent running compared to previous boxes I've had over the years.

    2. Mulitple? one slave would probably do for starters running VE Pro and connected to your main unit over LAN (no separate audio necessary).

    3. If you ignore #1 above you may still need #2

    4. This is easy for me to say as I've been using computers and DAW (presently Cubase 7) for many years. Discussing the rights and wrongs about DAW use here on the  internet isn't going to answer all your questions. Much easier if you have some local contacts where you can sit in and watch first hand.

    5. Virtual Instrument Libraries? Too many to mention but there are some must haves. Native Instruments Kontakt being one. In the world of those already creating Film/TV stuff GarageBand and Garritan are nowhere.

    6. Collaboration maybe? you write the tunes and with the help of someone else produce the recordings.

     

    Have fun,

    -Ray

  • I have a first generation mac pro with a macbook and pc slave which I'm hoping to put out to pasture (at least as far as music production is concerned) and get myself one of these.

    http://www.apple.com/uk/mac-pro/

    if they ever release it..............

  • Michael T This mac is impressive !!! I 'm upgrading too, and now there is a new doubt in my budget. hahaha

    Any way, my first concern about this computer is: what if something broke? You'll only find the parts at a specialized retailer (if you find it) depending on where you live, this could mean a lot of time.

    ANother detail is why is the electric plug in front, at the same side as the headphone plus and so..?

  • If I wasn't a Logic user I might not bother either, but I am.

    I will say though that I've been running my Mac Pro 1.1 since 2006 and it has never gone wrong. It cost me £2000 at the time and was worth every penny. No viruses, trojans.........

    We don't know the price of the new machine yet so I will reserve judgement, but if it's good for 10 years it's worth the investment for me.

    Anyway as usual we'll be seeing the Dell/HP etc clones and copies very soon no doubt.

  • I just came from visiting an apple store--Of course there's no official price but the rep there said it'll probably be around $3000 for the Mac Pro ...I'm holding out until it appears before I decide on any computer purchase.  Though I'm considered a newbie with the gear, I'd hate to invest almost $3000 in something if Mac Pro will be twice as fast & roomier for about the same cost...

  • Holding out is certainly a good plan, I've been doing it since March!
    Jenny Leigh Hodgins said:

    I just came from visiting an apple store--Of course there's no official price but the rep there said it'll probably be around $3000 for the Mac Pro ...I'm holding out until it appears before I decide on any computer purchase.  Though I'm considered a newbie with the gear, I'd hate to invest almost $3000 in something if Mac Pro will be twice as fast & roomier for about the same cost...

    Need input on new gear
    I'm currently looking to upgrade my setup and I need some advice. I will be purchasing a new computer and basically I need to know how powerful I nee…
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