Mac Applications forum


What is the best for a musician???

by Ftentelia / July 24, 2013 7:34 PM PDT

Hello to everyone,
I am a musician using cakewalk sonar on a pc and I want to switch to a mac because I really like the simplicity of the use of garageband and Logic pro x. I use to work with plugins like Native Instruments, Toontrack, IK multimedia and MusicLab. A lot of times my pc's cpu was droping out and I believe that the 4 gb RAM was the cause of the annoying pauses which prevented the sound from playing smoothly. These problems were occuring when I opened 4 or 5 plugins at the same time and some reverb, chorus and compressor filters. What kind of mac do I need so I can work with all of the plugins open at the same time and not to need to save the software instruments tracks seperately every time?

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All Answers

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The iMac 27" may suit you with added memory. (RAM)
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 24, 2013 10:02 PM PDT

I mention the 27" as that is the only version of the iMac, in the current range, that allows the end user to add additional RAM.
The smaller version does not allow this but you can order extra at the time of purchase. Be aware that Apple, like a lot of manufacturers, are very proud of their RAM.

The Mac Pro is the only machine available that has extra slots for addition cards but be aware that there is a new version of the Mac Pro that has not yet been released.
That said, you should be able to get a decent deal on a Mac Pro once the new version is out.


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Mac mini vs my previous pc
by Ftentelia / July 25, 2013 3:58 PM PDT

Well the title is rediculous, though do you believe for this work it will be possible to use a cheaper than iMac 27 computer like mac mini i7 2.6 GHz with 16 GB RAM?

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Sure, the MacMini i7 would also work,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 25, 2013 9:56 PM PDT

and would also be cheaper at $1199.00


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Unless you require a warranty.........
by WakkoWarner / July 26, 2013 12:21 PM PDT

then I would go with a used Mac Pro. You can pick up a 2009 8 core Mac Pro for around $1,100 that will run circles
around a 27 inch iMac or a Mac Mini - Click Here It gives you the ability to have 4 internal hard drives, as well as expansion slots for input cards, and it will take up to 96 GB of RAM (it will actually take 128 GB, but OS X will only see 96 of it). Another plus to the 8 core Mac Pro, is that it uses Hyper Threading, so it will show in the Activity Monitor that it has 16 cores. Mine is a beast and will handle anything I throw at it.

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Are you sure about the comparison?
by Ftentelia / July 26, 2013 5:57 PM PDT

I think the mac pro you are showing has almost the same CPU as mac mini (i7 quad core 2,6), it has 8gb RAM whereas mac mini has 16gb, also the mini one has 256gb ssd hdd. Except if you mean that I can keep the box and change everything from inside; something that will cost more than to buy the new mac pro.

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Not the same CPU........
by WakkoWarner / July 27, 2013 4:14 AM PDT

The Mac Pro is running TWO quad core processors. The other benefit to the Mac Pro is a DEDICATED video card. The Intel 4000 video chipset in the Mini is a joke. And while the dedicated video card in the iMac is decent, it is soldered to the board. When the warranty is up, you are basically screwed if the CPU or the GPU goes bad in either the Mac Mini or the iMac. I can replace every part inside a Mac Pro independently - major benefit. Plus, you can upgrade the memory in the Mac Pro quite easily and for a reasonable price.

I'm not trying to say that the Mac Mini or the iMac won't work, but the Mac Pro is a much better solution for the professional video/audio person.

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This was helpful. Thank you.
by Ftentelia / July 27, 2013 5:28 PM PDT

I think that your suggestion won't disappoint the lower budget musicians who will decide to switch to a mac cause the Intel HD4000 is a descent card that supports full HD monitors and it will not make your computer catch fire. Also, GPU doesn't matter on music software.
However, you are right about the fact that you can't change any broken part in a mac mini, iMac or macbook if something goes bad after the warranty. Also CPU, RAM and inches in a monitor are never enough. As a PC user I agree that you really need an upgradeable desctop.

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For musicians, yes.......
by WakkoWarner / July 28, 2013 1:45 AM PDT

It will work fine for musicians, but some musicians may end up branching out to do video work, too. This is where a dedicated GPU will shine. As for catching a computer on fire, I have been repairing computers for years and have never had a GPU catch fire - ever. My Mac Pro is sporting the Radeon 4870 and it runs cool and quiet - fantastic card.

Bottom line - look at your budget. Pick the machine that has the most bang for your buck. If you need something with a small footprint, then the Mac Mini or the iMac will do. If you want future expandability and smoking fast performance, then the Mac Pro is the choice.

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My musician
by Devoted2as / July 26, 2013 9:00 PM PDT

My daughter is in grad school as a vocal music performance major. She uses Mac Book Pro and Garage Band. She is saving for an actual, physical mixing board, but has produced some amazing vocal music songs using Garage Band and even won contests. She sings, recording tracks of herself in various voice parts (soprano, alto) and then puts various instruments and sounds (if needed) along too. So: she finds music or sometimes writes music, records herself singing on various tracks, adds background music/sounds to it, arranges it, mixes it and puts it out to where ever it's needs to go. She gets great effects. She is hoping for a new Mac Book Pro (with lots of memory) in a few months, but uses her old one for now with a little assistance from her iPad (also an older version). The iPad is mostly for lists of her song flies and where they will go, but the iPad has Garage Band too, so in a pinch she can also use it for tweaking her recording, etc. The Mac Book Pro is large enough, yet portable (for trips or gigs). Speed of the lap top doesn't matter, quality is more of a concern. She had to go out and purchase a better mic and a pop filter (I think she got the Snow Ball which was recommended at our local music store.) All that works well for our professional singer daughter and her recordings, but all-in-all, she'd rather sing live!

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Happy for your daughter
by Ftentelia / July 27, 2013 5:06 PM PDT
In reply to: My musician

That is what I like about mac, you can still play on a 5 year old computer. Something that is impossible with a PC except if it is expensive. Though my first experience with garageband was with a 5 year old macbook air, I was surprised that it supported mountain lion and garageband. Congrats on your daughter's success. You must be a very proud parent.

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i want wo know
by mariacateria / July 30, 2013 1:39 PM PDT

I want to know the answer too.

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mac mini 2,6GHz i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 SSD total cost 1499$
by Ftentelia / July 30, 2013 8:07 PM PDT
In reply to: i want wo know

This is enough for musicians that use logic pro x or garageband with a lot of vst or dxi tracks and effects and work with midi tracks without the need to export audio all the time for seperate track channels. Mac pro though will give you the guarantee of software supporting for ten years(in my opinion), also will give you the chance to play high speed graphics if you need them ofcourse. If you don't, then this extra 1300$ that you'll pay for a new mac pro will be a waste of money because you will never use this high performance abilities. This prices does not include keyboard, mouse, screen and what else you are going to need for a home studio.

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