Author Topic: iMac for music?  (Read 27583 times)

jkn

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iMac for music?
« on: March 30, 2009, 07:38:52 AM »

Both my windows laptop and desktop are having crashing problems.   My wife and I have reached the "ok - forget about other plans we had for this year - we're getting a new computer"...  So - we've always wanted a mac and I think that's what we're getting this time.   Originally thought I'd get a little macbook for $1,000 - but started looking at the iMac's - especially the one with the 24" screen.  That's what I want.

The plan is for this to be my new music computer (so yes - I'm making the big pc to mac switch).   I don't really plan to dual boot mac and windows - I just want to keep it mac.   

Heidi's big question is if the iMac is enough to do what I want to do with music - or do I need to save up a lot more money and get a mac pro desktop.    My gut is telling me the iMac is enough.    I need to hear from some actual mac users!

I have a Presonus Firestudio Project which runs on firewire 400.   The macs all have an 800 firewire port.   I've read that an adapter is available but haven't been able to actually find it to buy yet.  Ideas?   

I can't afford Logic right away...   I plan to use the new mac version of Reaper.   

I'd like a drum machine / simple sequencing ... recommendations?    I've loved Fruity 3.0 and Rebirth on pc - so you know I'm not looking for a massive thing...

I primarily record audio - always have.   I've used my music pc's more as big multi-track tape decks... I almost never sequence (except for drum patterns) - I almost never use loops.    I tend to record everything from hardware (synths, trumpet, bass, piano), use hardware effects while recording.   

I then do all the mixing, tweaking, mastering in the computer.   

Ok - help me out everyone...   I plan to buy the 24" iMac this weekend from Best Buy (zero percent for 18 months).    Basically I'm looking for someone to say... wait!  stop!  you don't want to do this because of 'x'...    everything seems to be leaning towards I'm making the right decision.

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

LNerell

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2009, 08:53:18 AM »
Yes an iMac can work for audio. I don't use one (I still have my old G5 desktop) but I know lots of people who do use one, and at the college I use to teach we had several set up for students to use with Pro Tools.

If you need a firewire 400 connection and don't mind a bit slower machine and would like to spend less, check out this refurbished model at the Apple online store:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB325LL/A?mco=MjE0NjA3MA#overview

With the money you save from buying the refurbished iMac you can get Logic Express. If you know someone who works or goes to a local college you can save a few bucks on new Macs and software. The full version of Logic is half off at their on line education store. Heck you could try it yourself, just type in your local community college and try buying something. I've used their education store to buy most of my products from them and I have never been asked for any form of proof.
Take care.

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mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 10:36:20 AM »
I think one of the new iMacs would be great for music-making.  As Loren said, the Firewire 400 problem could be addressed by buying a not-quite-newest version of the iMac.  A guy I work with just ordered a 24" iMac from Apple's refurbished store last week, in fact, and I know they're a great deal.
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jkn

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2009, 11:11:22 AM »
The new iMac I'm looking at is $1500 - and there are some good reasons I want to buy from Best Buy (zero % interest and well... I have room on my card... cough...).   Here's the exact model:  http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9100992&type=product&id=1218022628179

Doing some google searching it seems I just need a firewire 400 to 800 adapter - something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw_adapter.html

Which is about $15.

What I've done with Reaper on pc so far (admittedly - very little) - has been ok.   I really want something similar to the old Vegas 2.0 - which is why several people pointed me to Reaper in the first place.  I see myself eventually going to Logic.

My key thing was making sure I wouldn't regret waiting and getting a desktop and not an iMac.

Drum machine recommendations?


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petekelly

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 11:21:33 AM »
John,

I don't know anything about the mac side of things. That mac does look good mind.
Unless your heart is set on a mac, I wouldn't discount the new PC option:

I recently bought a Desktop system based around an Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo processor (3GHz) running
Vista 64 (8GB RAM, separate drive for audio etc.) and it's dead stable and very capable. It cost me
640.

Regarding Drum mmachine type programs, I would certainly recommend FL studio. FLS 8 is great, but
I've been working with the 8.5 Beta and thats even better. Some people deride it as a 'kids program'
but its actually surprisingly sophisticated when you 'get under the bonnet' - so to speak. I use it
a lot.

cheers
Pete

mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2009, 11:37:33 AM »
The new iMac I'm looking at is $1500 - and there are some good reasons I want to buy from Best Buy (zero % interest and well... I have room on my card... cough...).   Here's the exact model:  http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9100992&type=product&id=1218022628179

Doing some google searching it seems I just need a firewire 400 to 800 adapter - something like this:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/fw_adapter.html

Which is about $15.

I haven't used that firewire adapter (my machine has both firewire 400 and 800 ports) but I'm sure it would work.

The iMac you're looking at has twice the RAM and twice the hard drive space, compared to the $1199 refurbished model Apple is offering, so aside from the financing issue the newer machine has some benefits for the money.
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mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 11:39:54 AM »
Oh, and... if you get Logic Express it does include a pretty handy drum machine application, Ultrabeat.  Or you could use the beatbox component in Ableton Live if you have a copy of that.

Or you could install Windows on your iMac using BootCamp and install FL or Reason or whatever you like in Windows, and reboot into Windows whenever you feel yourself yearning for your old software.
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jkn

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 11:54:25 AM »
Thanks everyone!   I'm pretty dead set on a mac this time around... been thinking about going mac for literally ... ever.   Well - ok a decade.   But the cost has always been too crazy.    Before this - I've always been held back by the money I'd invested in pc software - but - now that all of my software is so amazingly out of date - I don't really even qualify for discounted upgrades anymore.   Now's the right time to switch for multiple reasons - and I'll still have my Vista laptop...  umm - once it gets back from warranty repairs... :-)

Pete - I love Fruity - and have used 2.5 and version 3 on a number of my tracks.  It's perfect for how I like to work.  Don't care if it's sort of kidlike or not - whatever tool works is what I like.  ;-)

John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

APK

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 03:23:24 PM »
You gotta be crazy switching to mac !!!
Same thing at twice the price.
John ... say it ain't so ....
That Mac is just white un-upgradable plastic ... pull out now ... before its too late.
Don't be duped by aesthetics.   :o

And get those damned Hyperreal poll results out !

« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 03:25:03 PM by APK »
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LNerell

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 04:27:59 PM »
The iMac you're looking at has twice the RAM and twice the hard drive space, compared to the $1199 refurbished model Apple is offering, so aside from the financing issue the newer machine has some benefits for the money.

I didn't take RAM and hard drive space into consideration so good points. But in defense I almost always buy third party RAM and install it myself as its much cheaper. You can also buy an external firewire hard drive to make up the difference, I usually use a second hard drive just to store my audio files.

APK I hope you were joking, no  ;D or  :P so I couldn't tell for sure, and I have a much higher opinion of you . . .  or should I say had?  ;)
Take care.

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APK

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2009, 06:28:10 PM »
 ;D
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jkn

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2009, 06:37:22 AM »
lol... I love mac vs. pc wars.   :-)

In 1999 I had a custom built pc made that was all scsi (which at the time was the way to go) - great 8 in 8 out sound card - it worked utterly fantastic.   And then it died in 2005 (which admittedly - is fantastic for a pc!   but why does my Juno 106 from 20+ years ago work fine?  :-) .    Since then - I haven't had a music computer at all.   I'm ready to buy a music computer.   Since all my software is drastically out of date - and I've always wanted a mac - and my wife has always wanted a mac... now seems the time to do it.

I've considered going back down the pc route - but frankly - I'm not a o/s guru, keeping up with windows updates, virus protection, etc... drives me nuts.    Yes - I'm an IT guy and I have been for more than 15 years - but I'm a data guy - databases / programming / problem solving... I don't like hardware, I don't like opening machines up...  I want a computer that "just works" when I turn it on.   One that I don't have to baby along every time something new pops up.   One that when I load an update to my software it doesn't break a driver and I have to spend a couple hours sorting it out.

Do macs break?  Of course they do... will i have some issues?   Of course I will.   Do I think those issues will be a lot less of a headache?  Yes.  Maybe I drank the mac koolaid - but yes - I do believe I'll have less issues over the long haul.

My wife played with a macbook pro for 20 minutes at Best Buy and went wow - I've never touched a computer and had it actually feel like it was responding to me.   It was intuitive.     That definitely says something.

So yes - as I've been told repeatedly - I could build my own pc with more power and more everything for a "quarter of the cost" (to quote a friend) - but the reality is... I have no interest in doing it.   If I were buying a new music pc - it would likely be from ADK Pro Audio - something specifically put together for music - so I'd still be paying close to $2000.   

For what I want to do - I think the iMac is the way to go.    I'm ready to change... so my questions are really geared towards the folks that already use macs... 

Thanks!
 
(getting off my soapbox)

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LNerell

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2009, 08:31:44 AM »
;D

Ok I still have a high opinion of you.  :)  ;D
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

jkn

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2009, 08:46:01 AM »
Immersion - I choose to throw my money into the sea.

I have very low hopes for Windows 7 - at least until SP2 comes out for it.   Vista is quite possibly the most annoying o/s I've worked with.   Simple things becoming irritating tasks - even installing Microsoft software on Vista is a royal pain - and apps that should work - simply don't.   There's a reason very few businesses ever adopted Vista.   

I won't even respond to your laptops = toys comment.
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mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2009, 09:29:42 AM »
Immersion, your posts above are so full of misinformation as to cross the line into unintended humor. 

Quote
the only reason why you want to buy a Mac is because you want to be different...

Could you possible be more condescending?  I guess there are a lot of recording artists who are mostly preoccupied with trying to seem different.  There couldn't possibly be any reasons why people might actually prefer a Mac, right?

The fact is, there are plenty of very serious musicians, creating great music and in some cases earning a fortune from their music, using laptops.  You may think it's "funny" but by any standard you'd like to measure, there is plenty of "serious" and "successful" music being made using laptops.

Furthermore, the idea that Apple computers are somehow unproven in the areas of digital audio and music production is ridiculous.  Have you ever read any kind of magazines like Electronic Musician, or Keyboard, or Recording, or EQ, or Sound on Sound, or Future Music, or any of the other magazines that show what kind of gear people are using?  Professional musicians and recording studios using Apple hardware and software certainly outnumber those using PC/Windows setups, and toward the highest of the high end, the ratio is even more in Apple's favor. 

I certainly have nothing against people who use Windows for music or audio production work, and I do have one PC in the studio that I use for Sound Forgel.  I'm just saying that the suggestions that Apple is somehow a risky choice for a digital musician, or that MacOS lags behind Windows in terms of acceptance in the area of digital media, are laughable.
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Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2009, 09:46:11 AM »
Hmmmm, the Mac VS PC debate.... ::)

I have been usuing custom built PCs for recording now for about 10 years. I use a company called ADK Pro Audio in Kentucky.

The computers are specked out completely and only for music and specifically with your software and hardware in mind. They sell both Macs and PCs and will work with you to design a computer to your needs and budget.

Now, why would I use a computer builder over building my own custom PC ? Well two things, time and function. They offer a one year warranty, online and phone tech support and the cost was less than $300 more than what I could have built myself. When you take into account the time to build and then the month to tweak and trouble shoot, it was well worth it.

Bottom, line for the price I got a machine which was equal in power to a mac at less money.

I also have a custom built laptop from the same company which is going on 3 years old now that I use for live soft synth work


Now the flipside, I also use a Mac Book pro for all of my professional Graphic design and Photography work, as well as some location recording. It is also my internet and "lifestyle" computer.

I love it! All of my future laptops and home computers will be Macs!

The big question? When it comes time to upgrade my studio computer in a few years will I go Mac...not sure, I would love to, but the prospect of re-buying my software is a consideration.

Also...software. If you love Vegas 2...what does Acid 7 do or not do that you miss as they are virtually the same engine? I am a diehard Nuendo/Cubase user, but I saw you mention Logic, I would soon switch to Pro Tools LE than Logic, just personal taste.

Good luck John!


Paul

"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2009, 09:54:59 AM »
...oh and as to performance and latency issues...unless you are tracking 16 in and 16 out at 96k, most modern computers on the market (mac and pc...desktop and laptop) can easily handle tracking duties at very acceptable latencies.

I have recorded multiple albums and projects for myself and clients on laptops, so the toy comment is asinine.

Bottom line we are now at a point where computers should not be the weak link in the chain when it comes to music production, with quad cores, 4 gigs or ram as a starting point, power is not the issue.

The budget $500 Dell we bought my wife has more inherent processing power than my mega studio machine from 3 years ago, as well as my 3 year old audio laptop. Of course she is running Vista so that drags all that power to its knees...

...you can still buy official versions of XP Pro for $90 from New Egg, and almost every serious audio computer company still installs and sells it.

Paul
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2009, 10:10:02 AM »
I assume you are an APPLE user yourself...

I prefer to use a Mac when I can but I also have enough expertise with Windows that I'm not talking from a position of ignorance.


Quote
We are not talking about professional musicians or recording studios now do we ?
Of course as I said if you have a lot of money to waste, you can buy an mac pro, it is not like it will be worse then PC ?

Why professionals prefer Mac is probably cause it is more simple and things just work.
MAC is for lazy and rich people, where mac could be described as the "royce royce", sure an royce royce gives you social status...but an normal care though..fills it's function just as good..

I guess it's silly of me to think that some people might prefer using a Mac because of legitimate preference.  Apparently only ignorant and lazy people who are seeking social status would actually use them, right? 

It seems you have no direct experience with Macs and are making these dismissive statements to support your own preference.   Stating an uninformed opinion more forcefully does not reduce the ignorance behind the statement.

 
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APK

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2009, 10:22:30 AM »
Phew !    :D
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mgriffin

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Re: iMac for music?
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2009, 10:26:14 AM »
I'm not trying to convince you a Mac is better.  My point isn't that one platform is superior to the other, in fact I think the reverse is true and that it's a matter of personal preference.  I'm not trying to "protect my status" because my preference for Apple computers it not based on ignorance (as you admit your own preference for Windows over Mac is based on experience with one, but not the other).  I've been an IT professional and network admin since Windows 3.1, and I understand Windows as well as anybody on this Forum. 

My main point is that your assertion that Mac users are all vain, shallow and stupid is not only wrong, but also insulting.
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