Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Need a new computer...what to do, what to do?


ABECK

Recommended Posts

It looks like it might be time to upgrade my music computer. Ugh, I hate computers! I've always been a Mac person (as far as my home studio computer goes). My current machine is a G5 dual 1.8ghz, 3 gigs of RAM (hey, that used to be A LOT!) I am running Digital Performer 4.61, Reason 4, EWQLSO Gold, and a few other VIs. For the most part things are stable, but I can peak the CPU on playback fairly easily. Ideally, I'd like a machine that could handle a full orchestra worth of EWQLSO without choking.

 

I'm not looking to break the bank. In fact, $2000 would be my cap, $1500 would be closer to my comfort zone. I'm wondering if I could get a better deal going the PC route. I've done a bit of research, but would love to hear from some of the folks here on their opinion.

 

2 options look promising:

 

Mac option

The iMacs look good (i7 processor). Can I get reliable performance from external drives with this option? On the plus side, I could stick with Digital Performer and finally upgrade to the latest version.

 

PC option

HP seems to have some great deals. I was able to configure a PC on their website with a ton of memory, i7 processor and multiple HD, for short money. The downside - I'd have to go with a new DAW.

 

What would you folks do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 37
  • Created
  • Last Reply

The new Macs with the "2nd gen" (Sandybridge) i5/i7 processors just SCREAM. Thunderbolt based storage--when it really develops--will be crazy fast.

 

I can use both, but when it comes time to replace the PC, I'm getting an iMac or a Mini.

 

My issue with HP is that they load down the install with so much crapware. I would do a clean Windows install if I got a PC again. I would also check out a smaller builder like Velocity Micro for a desktop. Good components and can be built quiet.

 

-John

I make software noises.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went from that same G5 to a macbook pro dual 2.5 & that was a major leap for DP - still using that machine with DP7 & it works great. I would imagine the i7 imac would be a great machine to use for music work. You may loose some software going from leopard PPC to Snow Leopard (or Lion) on Intel.
Yamaha P22 Upright / Nord Stage 2 SW73
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't use HP home machines, but use (and have clients using) their business machines. Just look under the small business section of the website (and even check for refurb machines if price is really an object.

 

Their business line does not have the crapware installed on it - usually just Windows, maybe a 90 day trial of anti-virus, and some form of Roxio DVD burning software. The motherboards (except for the very bottom end business stuff) are well-designed with good performance - doesn't matter how good the processor is if the motherboard chips don't make it happen.

 

Machine I'm on now is an HP workstation (XW4550), my DAW is an HP office machine (dc5850MT), I have a total of 9 older HP workstations (XW4100). Never had major problems, a few DVD burners and hard drives have died and had to be replaced over the 9 years on the XW4100's, and memory has been increased. Later video cards that were fully compatible with Windows 7.

 

I run a small computer networking business - don't try to sell my own brand, just want something for my clients that keeps a good reputation for my firm.

 

Can't help on the Mac side, I've done a little work for clients on Macs (mostly transferring data), but nothing in depth.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Power PC CPU? Does it have SATA connectors? If it does a SSD drive may boost the performance of streaming players like Kontakt and EWQSO Gold. This wouldn't help Reason, but it would be a cheap solution. I have no idea if this will work satisfactory, but you could always stick in your next computer if it doesn't.

 

Disclaimer. I don't have and SSD drive. I'm going by my impression from what I've read about the tecnical aspects of SSD drives. I'm not doing a lot with EWQSO Gold or my other samplers and libraries right now, so I'm not have much of problem streaming from regular hard disks. So I'm procrastinating, hoping 200 Gig SSD drives go down to $150 or better yet $99.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because you say these two things together:

 

Ugh, I hate computers! I've always been a Mac person (as far as my home studio computer goes).

 

I would recommend that you do not change operating systems, and stay with a Mac.

 

I'm not religious about this at all. I'm comfortable using Mac, Windows and Linux (with a GUI for laptops, or CLI for servers). I recently made the transition from Mac to Linux GUI for my work system, and the conversion has been quite a bit more of a PITA than I expected.

 

I make my living building and managing Internet server farms, so I'm obviously quite comfortable with computers and software. If I wasn't such a person, I would probably be pulling my hair out by now, just dealing with all the small differences between OS's and the software that runs on them.

 

Stick with what you know. It might cost you a little bit in dollars and/or performance, but it will probably be well worth it in the overall scheme of things.

 

Just one man's opinion, YMMV. :D

 

Good luck!

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even an entry level iMac will scream compared to your old G5. Even a mac mini if you want something more transportable - the iMac big screens are gorgeous but I wouldn't want to be carrying one around too much. You would be better off with a lower spec Mac than a top of the range PC. PC and Mac hardware is essentially the same, the difference is the OS. For music making especially IMHO OSX is just easier to use, more reliable and more performant than Windows. It also works better as part of the Mac - iPhone - iPad eco-system, if that is important to you. If you are determined to go down the PC route I would say make it a music-only PC, and be prepared to learn a bit about configuring and patching Windows...

 

"Just a tad more attack on the filter, Grandad!"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a PC guy, but I can't see recommending that you switch platforms. Too much to learn, and you won't be able to load old projects.

 

If you do go PC however, you should look at www.studiocat.com . Your budget could get a pretty nice custom music computer built by a computer / music geek without all the crapware. He'll even install & configure your software for you.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

www.gmma.biz

https://www.facebook.com/gmmamusic/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should clarify - I don't hate computers from a usage perspective. What I hate is having to deal with obsolescence and upgrades.

 

I'm comfortable with both platforms, as I use PCs for my day job. My biggest concern was really if an iMac would have the performance to fit my needs (I had one of the original iMacs - it was cute, but not suitable for digital audio work). Sounds like the new ones are in a different league. Thunderbolt sounds like a fast external storage option as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should clarify - I don't hate computers from a usage perspective. What I hate is having to deal with obsolescence and upgrades.
I have an answer with that - be happy with what you have if it works. But since you are hitting the limits, I can see why you are having this need.

 

I'm comfortable with both platforms, as I use PCs for my day job. My biggest concern was really if an iMac would have the performance to fit my needs (I had one of the original iMacs - it was cute, but not suitable for digital audio work). Sounds like the new ones are in a different league. Thunderbolt sounds like a fast external storage option as well.
Current Macs rock as far as speed. The current iMacs are a far cry from their ancestors, even the iMac G5 is a slug compared to the current models. Have you seen these videos of Fortner testing a MacBook Air running Logic and a ton of plug-ins and effects?

 

http://www.keyboardmag.com/video.aspx?bctid=983904565001&section=Gear&bclid=27965002001

 

(You may have to play the clips manually. I can't find the link where the six segments auto play in order.)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With a 1 or even 2 terabyte internal drive I would have thought there wouldn't be any need to have your samples on an external drive, but if you do prefer it the iMac has firewire 800 as well as USB 2 and thunderbolt ports. Personally I have never had any problems streaming Omnisphere or Kontact over USB 2 from an external 7200rpm drive (I don't have EWQLSO) but I have in any case reorganised so that everything is on my internal 1Tb drive and use a single external 2Tb drive as a Time Machine backup - a much neater and quieter solution if this is important to you.

 

"Just a tad more attack on the filter, Grandad!"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check out the Rok Box line from PCAudioLabs...

 

I built my last Athlon, but next time around I'm going turnkey. I'd rather spend my time making music. Around mid-2012, I'll be getting a new unit, and PC Audio Labs is the leading candidate.

 

Sundown

 

Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; They Live, We Groove

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could consider a bouble boot option with Linux maybe check out a Linux-weekend or what have you, works for me.

 

Also if you have "old" equipment, like a recent windows machine of which the trash can is full, you could use some parts of that and make a new machine out of it (I believe nowadays windows 7 can be self installed for not incredibly much money). When I wanted a I7 machine (which I'm on now and which runs my web-server (with recently new adsl modem)) I used the metakl enclosure, supply, caviar green WD disk and some other stuff from previous machines and was done with seriously fast new motherboard for under 700 euros. Maybe nowadays that's cheaper from an online source, but as little while ago I probably saved about 50% that way.

 

Little tip: Look for machines with a modern neutral kind of soundcard like I have a ALC889 chips and another ALC, because when used in 192kHz / 24 bit those sound better than a lot of expensive sound interfaces, and can feed right into your monitors or stereo, with pretty excellent specs.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ABECK - I am running a new MacBook Pro with 8 gigs of RAM, Lion, and Logic 9. If the current iMac runs anywhere as well as my current machine, and I'm betting it does, I can't imagine it not meeting your needs.
Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a PC guy, but I'm not going to try and convert any one that's been a Mac for some time. The only thing I could suggest is, what ever Mac you decide on, run the OS on An SSD and you should be pleasantly surprised. If you need a PC, can't windows be ran on Intel Macs.

 

If I wanted to run an Apple OS I could just build my Own with the right MOBO and Nvidia card, no problem. I wouldn't let Apple restrict me to their hardware.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as someone who has done a lot of orchestral composing on computers, I've found that it's asking a lot of your machine to run a whole orchestra at the same time--especially if you like to have multiple articulations loaded at once. I don't know anyone who uses just one computer for this task. 

 

That said, we might just finally be entering an era in which this is possible. Now that operating systems and (some) DAWs are 64-bit, it's possible to dedicate a lot more RAM to orchestral instruments, thereby taking some of the load off of the hard drives used to stream the samples.

 

Since streaming is very disk intensive, I use four hard drives: one for the operating system, one for tracking, one for the strings and percussion, and one for brass and woodwinds.

 

If you're choosing between an iMac and a Mac Pro, keep in mind that iMacs max out at 16 GB RAM, while Mac Pros can accommodate up to 32 GB RAM. If you just want to load staccato and legato articulations of all the instruments, then 16 GB should be fine. If you want more articulations, then you may need more RAM, depending upon what you plan to do. But of course, if you're going to use a 32-bit DAW, then it's all overkill. You won't be able to access most of the RAM in your system.

 

Processor speed is often less important for sample libraries than for other virtual instruments. If you're on a budget and you mostly run sample-based VIs, you might want to save money by getting a less powerful processor and spend the savings on more RAM.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd contact East West and see what they recommend. Another good resource for using orchestral sample libraries is the V.I. Control Sample Talk forum. There are plenty of users there who are running a variety of orchestral libraries.

 

Good luck, ABECK.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a mac guy. I just got a macbook pro the little i5 $1200 one -13" remember Apple Care is $250 on this one and a little more on the bigger ones. I got it to write and gig with. Mine has snow leopard, which turned out to be good because some of the software hasn't caught up with Lion. I'll probably upgrade in about a month before my free upgrade runs out. I have Lion on the iMac at home and it rocks. The macbook pro is really nice. I am having a ball learning Komplete7. If you know macs, I'd stay in the light.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, Lion is essentially iOS meets Mac OS. I would imagine that amounts to a pretty big transition for Mac software makers.

 

I'm sure it'll eventually be a great OS for making music, but I'm going to wait to install the upgrade until the companies that develop the applications I use give the green light.

 

It's also important to consider that Rosetta is no longer supported under Lion. If any of your software relies on Rosetta, here are some options.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been posting some Lion compatibility info and updates in this thread. The thread has links for compatibility info from a few sources.

 

I've been running Lion for a week now and I am very happy with it. Logic Pro 8 and MainStage could work a little better, but the fact is, they do work. I'm hoping that "Logic Pro X" isn't far away but I'm okay in the meantime.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as someone who has done a lot of orchestral composing on computers, I've found that it's asking a lot of your machine to run a whole orchestra at the same time--especially if you like to have multiple articulations loaded at once. I don't know anyone who uses just one computer for this task. 

 

That said, we might just finally be entering an era in which this is possible. Now that operating systems and (some) DAWs are 64-bit, it's possible to dedicate a lot more RAM to orchestral instruments, thereby taking some of the load off of the hard drives used to stream the samples.

 

Since streaming is very disk intensive, I use four hard drives: one for the operating system, one for tracking, one for the strings and percussion, and one for brass and woodwinds.

 

If you're choosing between an iMac and a Mac Pro, keep in mind that iMacs max out at 16 GB RAM, while Mac Pros can accommodate up to 32 GB RAM. If you just want to load staccato and legato articulations of all the instruments, then 16 GB should be fine. If you want more articulations, then you may need more RAM, depending upon what you plan to do. But of course, if you're going to use a 32-bit DAW, then it's all overkill. You won't be able to access most of the RAM in your system.

 

Processor speed is often less important for sample libraries than for other virtual instruments. If you're on a budget and you mostly run sample-based VIs, you might want to save money by getting a less powerful processor and spend the savings on more RAM.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd contact East West and see what they recommend. Another good resource for using orchestral sample libraries is the V.I. Control Sample Talk forum. There are plenty of users there who are running a variety of orchestral libraries.

 

Good luck, ABECK.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

 

This is of course the right advice and a Mac Pro is the best option for a pro or semi-pro studio, but its not a $2000 solution unfortunately :)

"Just a tad more attack on the filter, Grandad!"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as someone who has done a lot of orchestral composing on computers, I've found that it's asking a lot of your machine to run a whole orchestra at the same time--especially if you like to have multiple articulations loaded at once. I don't know anyone who uses just one computer for this task. 

 

That said, we might just finally be entering an era in which this is possible. Now that operating systems and (some) DAWs are 64-bit, it's possible to dedicate a lot more RAM to orchestral instruments, thereby taking some of the load off of the hard drives used to stream the samples.

 

Since streaming is very disk intensive, I use four hard drives: one for the operating system, one for tracking, one for the strings and percussion, and one for brass and woodwinds.

 

If you're choosing between an iMac and a Mac Pro, keep in mind that iMacs max out at 16 GB RAM, while Mac Pros can accommodate up to 32 GB RAM. If you just want to load staccato and legato articulations of all the instruments, then 16 GB should be fine. If you want more articulations, then you may need more RAM, depending upon what you plan to do. But of course, if you're going to use a 32-bit DAW, then it's all overkill. You won't be able to access most of the RAM in your system.

 

Processor speed is often less important for sample libraries than for other virtual instruments. If you're on a budget and you mostly run sample-based VIs, you might want to save money by getting a less powerful processor and spend the savings on more RAM.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd contact East West and see what they recommend. Another good resource for using orchestral sample libraries is the V.I. Control Sample Talk forum. There are plenty of users there who are running a variety of orchestral libraries.

 

Good luck, ABECK.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

 

This is of course the right advice and a Mac Pro is the best option for a pro or semi-pro studio, but its not a $2000 solution unfortunately :)

 

Not to get into a silly Mac vs PC pissing contest, but $2k can buy a pretty kick butt custom built music PC... i7, 16 GB RAM, 4x 1-2TB hi speed drives...

 

At the end of the day though, I still maintain that if the OP is used to DP & likes DP, he should stay with DP, and therefore stay with a Mac.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

www.gmma.biz

https://www.facebook.com/gmmamusic/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, Digital Performer is still only 32-bits. Of course, that could change any day; but for now, it's a pretty big limitation.

 

But there are workarounds. Here's a video demonstration of using DP with Bidule:

 

[video:youtube]KBB4Txnpl78

 

(Linwood turned me on to the video above. Thanks again, Linwood. :thu: )

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...