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Sonar / Logic reviews in KBoard - Mac G4 $$$???


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In the January/2005 issue of Keyboard, both Sonar Producer 4 and Logic Pro 7 are reviewed.

 

I'm a Windows/Logic 5.5.1 victim of the Apple purchase of Emagic, so I read the reviews with great curiousity - I wanted to see if Sonar had come the point where I felt I should make the switch to the most prominent DAW on the Windows platform, or really consider Logic Pro 7 and get a Mac for music stuff.

 

In Craig's review of Sonar he indicated that, it wasn't that Sonar didn't deserve a "Key Buy", it's just that the other DAW's "aren't exactly asleep at the switch". He also wasn't that thrilled at the prospect of the Studio version versus the more expensive Producer version.

 

Well, Logic Pro 7 DID get a "Key Buy".

 

As I've stated in previous posts - I'm really torn - I've really warmed up to Logic, but I'm not sure I want to or could even afford to switch the Mac platform.

 

According to the Apple site, I should be able to get the software for $299, as an upgrade (compared to $349 for Sonar Producer, being a registerd Cakewalk user), but getting a Mac?

 

I bought a Blue and White Mac G3 about a year ago, but it's gathering dust. I tried navigating around OS9, but it didn't feel right - and I realized that my 43 year-old brain didn't have room to learn all the tricks needed get the most out of a Mac OS. Maybe OS X could be easier, but I'm not sure how pokey it would be on a G3, not to mention that Logic 7 requires at least a G4, and a DVD-ROM, and probably another disk drive.

 

I need some advice from you Mac guys:

 

What would the entry fee be to get in on a tolerable used G4 rig, so I could run Logic Pro 7, and get maybe 8 audio tracks and some softsynths going? I have a monitor, and a M-Audio Quattro USB based interface...

 

Thanks

 

Pete

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i paid $1400 for a NEW (old - never opened) g4 a few months back.

 

OSX is NO WAY easier than OS9, in fact much harder IMHO although a lot of troubleshooting is not necessary in OSX in my experience, a lot of things just work well together; no extensions.

 

i find XP to be much more difficult to work with than OSX, so if your a master at XP than OSX shouldnt be too hard at all.

 

if you want my advice, get an unopened G4 1.25 single or 1.6 dual and run panther on it. or just get a G5.

 

exactly what G3 do you have? a rev1 B&W?

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I'm thinking the headless Mac will be closer to $600 and will be underpowered for anything but web browsing and email which it would be presumably designed for. Certainly, I can't imagine it would be a good choice for a heavy duty app like Logic.

 

I'd be a lot less worried about figuring my way around OS X than about catching up to the new Logic, despite your previous exp with the Win ver.

 

That said, my recent experience (as a longtime Windows user and a Mac neophyte) helping some friends set up a little 867 G4 Powerbook 12" and set up a wireless net for that and their iMac G4 did not feel all that "intuitive" (to further the misuse of that word). But I did get it done and I have no doubt that it was just the very different nomenclature that threw me off. Also, despite the fact that Mac OS X looks very much like XP, its actual GUI features often behave very differently. But that's all stuff that you would certainly get used to quickly. And I'm sure (at least I hope) that many of the features I found "missing" in OS X were just labeled differently or not obvious to me.

 

And the access to system innards was less intuitable (ok, there, I used it right) than I had hoped, by a long shot. (Still, while I like XP very much, it somewhat continues the hideous tradition of illogical, confusing system access that seems to date to the dreaded days of Win3.)

 

But, I will say this, as far as "cute" it's got XP beat to heck. (But that said, "cute" goes about two inches with me.)

 

PS... I'm a very satisfied Sonar user; I've seen some almost embarrassingly glowing reviews of S4, but everyone works differently. What works for me might not for you. I'd recommend trying to spend some qual time with anything I was considering.

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Originally posted by pbognar:

(compared to $349 for Sonar Producer, being a registerd Cakewalk user), but getting a Mac?

If your upgrading from Sonar 3 Producer it's $179.00,from Studio it's $229.00.From Sonar 1 and 2 it's $229.00.If your coming from Pro Audio versions it's $349.00.2 things from my perspective,I think Sonar 4's workflow is much faster and last I heard PDC is still lacking in Logic's Aux bus(unlike Sonar),and freeze in Logic doesn't release memory like Sonar,but it does have some nice included plugs/instruments and is compatible with TDM/Accel if you want to spend that type of cash.Then again,UAD and PoCo kind of blunt that deal.Logic might have a slight edge in midi hardware setups,but Iv'e yet to find S4 lacking.Both apps are great,so it comes down to what platform you have or can deal with.For me personally,Sonar and Win 2K work flawlessly and fast and I'd only consider Logic if someone dumped a G5(nothing less)in my lap,even then it would only get used in addition to S4 until I felt comfortable,even then..............
"A Robot Playing Trumpet Blows"
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Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so. Laptops are great (especially Powerbooks and iBooks), even if you think you don't need them they end up being invaluable to you, not just in music.

If you have a pc laptop stay with pc.

Raul
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<>

 

Let me make one thing clear, because the review didn't...I decided that I just couldn't award EQ awards or Key Buys to host sequencers I review, because either award represents an exceptional, break-away-from-the-pack sort of situation. Now, I use Sonar 4 Producer in my day to day work because it's as if Cakewalk's software designers spent a week looking over my shoulder, and based their design decisions on the way I work (they didn't, of course, it just seems that way). So, yeah, Sonar 4 is effing great! I love working with it.

 

But I'm enough of a realist to know that other programs have their own merits. I work regularly with Cubase SX, MOTU Digital Performer, Acid, Vegas, etc. They are all excellent programs, but for different reasons compared to Sonar. (For example, Vegas vs. Sonar: Just try editing video in Sonar. Acid is still the fastest way to put together quickie sound tracks, etc.)

 

As to Logic, I never felt that comfortable with the interface BUT THAT IS NOT A FLAW IN LOGIC. I simply learned Logic after other sequencers, and was already habituated. There are many musicians who fly around Logic as if its GUI was designed for first-graders. Logic is a fine program, and at $999, the bundle that comes with it represents exceptional, perhaps even unprecedented, value (imagine if Steinberg bundled all their cool VSTi devices with Cubase SX). But is it enough to get me to use Logic? No. I have some pretty cool plug-ins, and to me, what's important is GETTING A JOB DONE. That means using a sequencer I know.

 

The last time I switched sequencers was from Cubase to Sonar. The reason was simple: Sonar handled Acidized files, Cubase didn't. Even though Cubase now reads them, only Sonar can actually edit them. Case closed, because I use a lot of acidized files and create acidized libraries.

 

On the Mac, I've grown comfortable with DP, and again, have enough plug-ins to do what I need so that Logic's cool bundle isn't enough to get me to switch.

 

My recommendation is to zoom waaaaaay out and think not about programs, nor computers, but making music. Which program/computer will allow you to make music without having to think about your tools too much? That's what you want to use.

 

If there was one program that was perfect for everyone, there would only be one program on the market.

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Originally posted by Sergievsky:

Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so. Laptops are great (especially Powerbooks and iBooks), even if you think you don't need them they end up being invaluable to you, not just in music.

If you have a pc laptop stay with pc.

Based on my recent experience with a G4 Powerbook (that cost $2800 just 18 months ago but that my friends bought for about $750), I can't imagine running a resource-hungry app like Logic on an iBook.

 

Having a P3-500 for a desktop, I still felt the Powerbook felt somewhat sluggish. And definitely so, vis a vis my Dell Centrino [w a 7200 rpm drive], which boots in about 1/3 the time as the G4 and feels all round much more perky. I was using my Dell to setup my friends' wireless LAN, so I got a chance to compare them, side by side. The [refurbished] Dell, which cost about $1100 less than the Mac and had 50% more HD seemed much faster getting around the OS and browsing the web, as well as loading programs.

 

(That said, it should be noted that the Powerbook was an 867 mHz unit and that my Centrino Dell is a 1.3 mHz. I assume that a beefy new G5 cranking out 2.5 mHz would feel anything but pokey.)

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Step 1 - WAIT! New Mac models will be out in February.

 

Step 2 - When the new models come out, pick the G5 tower that's one or two notches below the most expensive model. For instance, today's models in this category would be:

 

Dual 2GHz G5: $2499

 

Dual 1.8GHz G5: $1999

 

Step 3 - Install as much memory as you can afford. If you can, leave the door open for more RAM later, e.g. buy one large 1G chip instead of two smaller 500M chips.

 

Your old monitor will probably work with a G5, but double-check at the Apple store just in case. You can always upgrade later to a nicer monitor.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Sergievsky:

Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so. Laptops are great (especially Powerbooks and iBooks), even if you think you don't need them they end up being invaluable to you, not just in music.

If you have a pc laptop stay with pc.

I have Logic Pro 7 running on an iBook. It's running a lot better than Logic 6 ran on my old G4 Powerbook, but it's not exactly a cranking system for multitracking. I use it for composing on my own. Remember that you're going to have to pump up the memory AND the hard disk if you want a half-decent system. Buy the tower, or you'll wish that you had.

 

OSX isn't as "easy" as OS9, but it's far more powerful and more stable. Tools like iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, and iTunes are not just glitzy marketing add-ons. They're for REAL. You'll get a lot of use out of them. It's amazing that Apple doesn't charge for them.

 

Oh, and how can you put a price on an operating system that doesn't roll over and die every time you install a new piece of software?

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Dan South:

Originally posted by Sergievsky:

Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so. Laptops are great (especially Powerbooks and iBooks), even if you think you don't need them they end up being invaluable to you, not just in music.

If you have a pc laptop stay with pc.

I have Logic Pro 7 running on an iBook. It's running a lot better than Logic 6 ran on my old G4 Powerbook, but it's not exactly a cranking system for multitracking. I use it for composing on my own. Remember that you're going to have to pump up the memory AND the hard disk if you want a half-decent system. Buy the tower, or you'll wish that you had.

 

OSX isn't as "easy" as OS9, but it's far more powerful and more stable. Tools like iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, and iTunes are not just glitzy marketing add-ons. They're for REAL. You'll get a lot of use out of them. It's amazing that Apple doesn't charge for them.

 

Oh, and how can you put a price on an operating system that doesn't roll over and die every time you install a new piece of software?

Just out of curiosity, Dan, how fast was your old Powerbook and how fast is the iBook? Did they change the bus speed for the new iBooks, or something?

 

PS... I'm assuming you were talking about OS 9 rolling over and dying on installs. There may be aspects of XP that leave something (or much, depending on your PoV) to be desired, but it's, by and large, a very stable and resilient OS.

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Originally posted by Sergievsky:

Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so.

I run Logic Pro 7 on one of the new 12" 1.2 Ghz iBooks (80 GB HD, 768MB RAM) and I simultaneously use Sculpture, ES2, Space Designer, tape delay, amp simulator and NI Absynth3 without overloading the CPU. LP7 is highly optimized for the Mac platform. I know that I couldn't run anything near equivalent (as close as possible) in Live 4 without my computer choking. I paid about $1300 with the HD and RAM upgrades from the Apple Store.

I agree that it is a good idea to wait a week and see what Steve Jobs introduces at the Mac World show.

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Originally posted by Ed A.:

Originally posted by Sergievsky:

Stick with Logic and get an iBook, with expanded memory around $1200 or so.

I run Logic Pro 7 on one of the new 12" 1.2 Ghz iBooks (80 GB HD, 768MB RAM) and I simultaneously use Sculpture, ES2, Space Designer, tape delay, amp simulator and NI Absynth3 without overloading the CPU. LP7 is highly optimized for the Mac platform. I know that I couldn't run anything near equivalent (as close as possible) in Live 4 without my computer choking. I paid about $1300 with the HD and RAM upgrades from the Apple Store.

I agree that it is a good idea to wait a week and see what Steve Jobs introduces at the Mac World show.

I guess I stand corrected. :)
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Originally posted by theblue1:

Just out of curiosity, Dan, how fast was your old Powerbook and how fast is the iBook? Did they change the bus speed for the new iBooks, or something?

Old system:

Powerbook Titanium

250MHz G4

256M RAM

4G hard drive

OS9

Price with RAM (about $3k)

 

New system

iBook 14 inch with SuperDrive

1.33GHz G4

768M RAM

80G hard drive

OSX

Price with RAM and HD upgrades ($1,774.00 plus tax)

 

Note: You can spec and price the same system at apple.com

 

PS... I'm assuming you were talking about OS 9 rolling over and dying on installs. There may be aspects of XP that leave something (or much, depending on your PoV) to be desired, but it's, by and large, a very stable and resilient OS.

It was a general swipe at wintel.

 

;)

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Oh, I didn't know they made G4's at that clock rate. It's clear the IBM deal really pushed them forward. It's easy to see why your iBook outperforms it, whatever the FSB speed.

 

I guess I already said my piece on XP so I'll just bite my tongue and not take your bait. ;)

 

Did I mention I thought OS X won the cuteness benchmark, hands down?

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Considering that a G5 at twice the clock speed will do about six times the work of a 1.33GHz G4 and that you can get two of them in a single chassis, I'm not expecting miracles from the little iBook. That said, it's been running well, and it doesn't bog down under the weight of eight or ten soft synths like my old Titanium did.

 

If Apple ever figures out how to squeeze a G5 into a Powerbook, I'll look into it, but I wasn't about to pay big bucks for a Powerbook with a G4 in it. Hence my iBook puchase. I'm having a lot of fun with her! Logic 7's buit-in plug-ins are so awesome that I don't need to run much more. I have to get my FM7 installed, though. And maybe a Moog Modular V for hours of delirious tweaking.

 

:)

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Anderton:

My recommendation is to zoom waaaaaay out and think not about programs, nor computers, but making music. Which program/computer will allow you to make music without having to think about your tools too much? That's what you want to use.

 

If there was one program that was perfect for everyone, there would only be one program on the market.

Yeah, what he said. :cool::idea::thu:
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Originally posted by Anderton:

Let me make one thing clear, because the review didn't...I decided that I just couldn't award EQ awards or Key Buys to host sequencers I review, because either award represents an exceptional, break-away-from-the-pack sort of situation.

In fact, Craig created a thread about his decision back in November:

 

I\'m not giving any more EQ awards for sequencers

 

We had a good discussion in that thread, and it may be worth a read (or even a bump).

 

Originally posted by Anderton:

Logic is a fine program, and at $999, the bundle that comes with it represents exceptional, perhaps even unprecedented, value (imagine if Steinberg bundled all their cool VSTi devices with Cubase SX).

I can't speak for Francis Preve (who wrote the Logic Pro 7 review and awarded it the "Key Buy"), but I read Keyboard enough to note that "exceptional value" is sometimes sited as an essential reason for awarding a Key Buy. I also think it's a fair assessment to say that while Logic Pro 7 has some excellent effects, the greatest value is to keyboard players who would enjoy the many standout soft synths and samplers bundled with the program (some of which, I believe, won Key Buy awards in their own right back when they were sold separately).

 

Therefore, while the Logic Pro 7 bundle might deserve a Key Buy award, it might not deserve an EQ award. Or then again perhaps it might, as the value of any given program can be a very subjective decision.

 

My own feeling is that Logic Pro, the application, is roughly as good as the rest of the best DAWs but that Logic Pro, the bundle, offers much more than that of any of its competitors. The value both in the quantity and the quality of its bundled applications is exceptional.

 

Originally posted by Anderton:

My recommendation is to zoom waaaaaay out and think not about programs, nor computers, but making music. Which program/computer will allow you to make music without having to think about your tools too much? That's what you want to use.

 

If there was one program that was perfect for everyone, there would only be one program on the market.

Well said. :thu:

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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I don't care if Logic wins an Academy Award or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I use Logic - and **LOVE** it - because it allows me to work in a way that flows with the current of my natural thought processes. Everything is right in front of me; I don't have to search through menus. The context sensitive tool boxes and key commands allow me to shape and direct the music as quickly as I can think of the ideas. Integration of track automation with their built-in soft instruments is extremely powerful, the instruments all sound good, and some of the more complex ones have extensive parameters, all of which you can control directly from the sequencer. Audio recording has always been straightforward, stable, and easy to accomplish with a minimum of setup. Working with Logic is like working with a partner who thinks the way that you do and gets along with you really, really well. I hope that I'm NEVER force to part with this most excellent "friend."

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Knowing nothing about Macs - should I consider a decked out eMac, or the rumored $500 G4 machine if my needs are rather humble? Or is there something terribly incompatible about the eMac?

 

Or what would you recommend in the way of a used G4 system, in light of some of the new stuff which maybe coming out?

 

Pete

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Originally posted by Anderton:

<

 

On the Mac, I've grown comfortable with DP, and again, have enough plug-ins to do what I need so that Logic's cool bundle isn't enough to get me to switch.

 

My recommendation is to zoom waaaaaay out and think not about programs, nor computers, but making music. Which program/computer will allow you to make music without having to think about your tools too much? That's what you want to use.

 

Craig,

 

Do you use Sonar primarily for loop based stuff and DP for "regular compositional stuff", or do you find Sonar adequate for both?

 

I'm more into the reqular stuff, but I could see myself using and ACIDized drum loop CD for compositional inspiration - not to mention that my 15 year-old is into trance music, so he'd probably eat up the looping features of Sonar.

 

Pete

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Originally posted by Dan South:

I don't care if Logic wins an Academy Award or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I use Logic - and **LOVE** it - because it allows me to work in a way that flows with the current of my natural thought processes. Everything is right in front of me; I don't have to search through menus. The context sensitive tool boxes and key commands allow me to shape and direct the music as quickly as I can think of the ideas. Integration of track automation with their built-in soft instruments is extremely powerful, the instruments all sound good, and some of the more complex ones have extensive parameters, all of which you can control directly from the sequencer. Audio recording has always been straightforward, stable, and easy to accomplish with a minimum of setup. Working with Logic is like working with a partner who thinks the way that you do and gets along with you really, really well. I hope that I'm NEVER force to part with this most excellent "friend."

Dan, that was Logic's lawyer on the phone, and he said to remind you that the temporary restraining order is still in effect until the 9th of next month. (whatever that means) ;):P

 

:cool:

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Originally posted by pbognar:

I'm a Windows/Logic 5.5.1 victim of the Apple purchase of Emagic

After many years, I'm in the same situation.

 

After all of the recommendations I tried working with Sonar 4 and there is one aspect that has me using Cubase SX instead.

 

I find it very time consuming and tedious to choose patches on my various keyboards and modules using Sonar 4. Why did they not include a track inspector for MIDI tracks? Every time I add a MIDI track, I have to resize it (vertically) to select a MIDI port, bank and patch. If I resize all my MIDI tracks to make this information available, there is hardly enough space on a 1280x1024 LCD to show more than a few tracks. I spend all of my time arranging track sizes..... What am I missing besides a 1600x1200 resolution monitor??

 

There are some very compelling reasons for me to be using Sonar 4, but this part of the workflow just drives me nuts. Any advice?

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

Mike Martin Photography Instagram Facebook

The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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<>

 

Mike, you CAN use the Inspector on MIDI tracks. However, it doesn't necessarily default to showing the channel/patch/bank. To do this, with a MIDI track having the focus, look at the little four-icon toolbar at the bottom of the Inspector, and make sure the Arrow (send) on the left is lit. (I know thinking "send" might be a stretch, but look at it this way...you're "sending" the MIDI data to your synths.)

 

You'll then see three strips toward the middle. The top one chooses channel, the middle patch bank, and the lower strip, patches. The latter defaults to a GM patch set but with many synths it will pick up and display the synth's presets. In any event, choose the bank and preset, and your synth should pick up this data.

 

Hope this helps! Post again if this doesn't do it for you and we'll get to the bottom of the problem.

 

BTW you can also reorder the MIDI widgets in the track so that the patch parameter shows up closer to the top, but it sounds like the Inspector trick will do it for you.

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Theres no doubt that Logic is very capable program. I guess the question that youll have to ask yourself is whether or not youve invested more in your PC hardware vs. Emagic software, AND, is if you are willing to jump over to a different program. Ive used just about all sequencers and Sonar is it for me. I just like the interface, features, and it's no BS copy protection that only uses a serial # and no dongles, PACE, activation, etc. I think what Apple did with killing of PC support for Logic was about as shady as they come, so I personally wouldnt want to give them anymore of my money if I were in your position. But thats just me, and yes, Im biased :D . BTW, Cakewalk has nice cross-grade prices to Sonar, so you might want to check that out.
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Originally posted by pbognar:

Knowing nothing about Macs..........

It might help to visit an Apple store, there's one at 2500 N. Mayfair Rd. Wauwatosa, WI 53226 (414) 258-1614 They have free seminars, and some guys at the "Genius Bar" who are usually pretty knowledgeable.

Like Craig said, use the software that works best for you. If it's Logic learn about Mac's and find the best solution.

 

Sly :cool:

 

P.S. There's also some good info here about optimizing OS X for audio. And a Logic forum.

Whasineva ehaiz, ehissgot ta be Funky!
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Not to stir things up again, but I don't understand why people think what Apple did to Logic was shady. Apple is a hardware company as well as software, so of course they're gonna do what's best for the company. Why the heck would they develop software for the PC? Get pissed off at Emagic for selling it to Apple, but don't blame Apple for purchasing something and making a decision that will help them develop the product so it will be profitable. It's not like what Gibson did to Opcode, where they really killed it. Logic is alive and on top, and no small part to the advantage they enjoy with their parent company. And I don't even USE Logic! :freak: I love DP but am envious of what Apple has included in the bundle. Tremendous value I think.

 

If Gibson decided to just make Studiovision a PC only product you can bet I would have purchased the latest from Intel or AMD, and I hate windows! :eek:

Raul
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Step 1 - WAIT! New Mac models will be out in February.
Yes, and hopefully by Februaury Logic wil have an update to version to 7.0.0, because it's not running perfectly yet for some of us (I am using it daily now though, and it's the most mind boggingly powerful upgrade - going from version 5 you'll gain so many brilliant plug-ins, virtual instruments and new features it'll be like you fast forwarded 10 years.)

Just a pinch between the geek and chum

 

 

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