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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a home music studio and want to use a mac to run it. I have been a PC user for all my life (please don't kill me) but I see how much better a mac. Anyways, I want to know if anyone knows what my basic requirements should be for the Mac. I know that I will be using ProTools and that I will need a G4 with a ton of ram. Also, it needs to be a tower, since I'll be using a Digi001 sound card. Do I need a dual processor or can I get away with one? What speed? Anyone have one for sale?

Thanks in advance,

Just another turncoat,

The Great Waka
 

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Depends on what your budget is. The digi 001 runs for about $995 USD. If you are gonna spend that kind of cash on your kit, you might as well go high(er) end on your G4. You will need a tower to be abl to install the card (the new iMacs and eMacs won't take it). You're right about maxing out your RAM...but I am unsure about your dual-processor question.

As far as I can tell, the Digi 001 doesn't take advantage of the bells and whistles associated with dual chip architecture.

Go with a G4 Quicksilver or later and you should be laughing all the way to music-land.
 

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I stand corrected. My humble apologies. I have an eMac...so, I have not kept totally up-to-date on tower news. :rolleyes:

Cheers! :D
 

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Probably any of the G4 towers will do fine ( a lot of musicians still use G3's & OS9); and the DP series is a great value if you're thinking new. Many find the fans on newer G4s pretty loud, though. You can swap the spec fans out for quiet types, and it's not too expensive to do. Although music is demanding, it's not as demanding as Video, so an older G4 isn't as noticeable performance-wise.

You may want to consider adding a PCI IDE controller (may as well get one that will use 133 IDE, the cost is the same) and a dedicated HD, rather than adding a HD as slave to the internal bus. Chances are any used tower will have a smaller HD (and you may as well leave it there, as it will be compatible speed-wise with the onboard controller).

Try and get a monitor with some real estate, you will have a lot of stuff to watch with a virtual console and you may find yourself at some distance from the monitor during the recording process; a 19" would be pretty good.

A second KB/mouse wouldn't hurt, you could set it up at a second station and USB is pretty good at longer cable runs. This is a good alternative (along with a largish monitor) to running 2 monitors.

Plan your cable runs carefully, and it's a real boon if you leave about 2'/0.5m between your digital station and any walls to get at and keep cables orderly.

If you will be doing any AC installation, also try to have a few dedicated lines (rather than just one 15A circuit). Keep AC and especially those damn wall warts away from any signal carrying lines (a foot is OK and more is even better).

Also, try to arrange things so that digital devices (eg your computer and it's associated stuff) are on one AC circuit and your analog stuff (insturments, amps, etc) are on another. Preferrably not on the same leg, (ie you have 2 120V legs of a single 240V line at the power panel) . Digital devices invariably use switching power supplies that create enourmous hash on a given AC circuit, which show up as additional noise on transformer type power supplied analog devices.

When I have used AC as installed, I'm in the habit of writing the circuit info right on the faceplate with a sharpie (ie AC 1/socket 1; AC2 socket 3, etc). You find this stuff out by playing with breakers and a lamp. Definitely identify which home AC circuits have the fridge, freezer, Air, furnace motor, etc on them and don't use them.
 

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I'm running ProTools on a 450mhz G3 (Digi001).

32 Tracks no problem.

Just make sure you have a dedicated second hard drive to record to and a big monitor or two. And while they're still quiter than the newer G4s, the G3 is still too loud to have in the room to mix, in my opinion. I'm mostly doing tracking work until I get a custom cable to put the CPU outside the studio door.

You should also keep in mind the ProTools 6 will be coming out in a month or two. (PT6 is for OSX). This is going to change everything, but I'm not looking to jump over for a year or so. I did experiment with OSX on my machine but I was dissapointed in the overall finder speed. Considering this, if you can get a dual cheap it might be worthwhile down the road. (Presently, you have to disable the second processor to run PT.)

I was in your shoes two years ago and I found that www.macdoc.com had the best deals when it came to older setups designed with the audio market in mind.

peace
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks very much everyone. I'm checking out macdoc. Thanks for the advise. It just proves that I didn't need as money and as new stuff and I thought. Thanks, this has helped a lot.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by macdoc:
Mr. Warren thanks for the pitch. If you want to try X with a 32 meg Radeon and a G4 450 processor its
a) cheap upgrade for you
b) big time performance gain altho you might find even the card alone will be a big boost.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks for the offer but I really have no need to switch to X on my ProTools box until PT6 has gone through the typical first release bugs (I'm plannin to remove X all together in a few days).

I'm really not even considering upgrading until a year from now, at which time a newer mac would likely be in order. Actually, most of my clients have been going to Tyson to mix so as long as he stays in 9, I'm okay on the compatibility front (keep me updated) ;) .

All in all, its a tough time to buy a computer if your planning on running ProTools. The people who bought the new DP 867s had to get their logic boards replaced in order to work with the Digi PCI cards, and no one really knows what the requirements are going to be for ProTools 6 (but it will work for the 001). My best advice would be to wait until January if you can and then start reading the DUC daily to see what the feedback is on the new system.

peace
 

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The problem with waiting until January is that none of the new boxes will boot 9 and as far as I'm concerned it's too early in both graphics and digital audio for that situation.
Consumers and digital video is okay solely on X.
That means this series is the last that will have dual boot and the DP867 is exceptional value ( admittedly a few first gen hangups but few given the numbers we've moved ).
We see a premium on the dual boot machines for about a year.
;)



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I guess I was a little vague, let me clarify.

I meant one should wait until January because thats when PT6 will likely be released. I'm sure he'll be able to acquire an older system in the new year anyway when OS 9 booting is restricted on the new units.

I agree that it is too early to cut off 9. I worry that ProTools was rushed out because of Apple's intentions. I imagine ProTools will be released in January, not get stable to June, and it will still take YEARS for the industry to update.

This is an expensive update because it requires you to pay for PT6 (speculation says $75-$200 US), pay for 10.2, and likely update some hardware components too. To top it all off, there are really no significant features in PT6 as all of Digi's efforts went in to porting it over and getting it to where it already was. AND, all your plugins have to be updated as well. All that being said, where's my incentive to switch over any time soon? I see 2003 as being a poor year for pro audio sales at Apple.
:rolleyes:
 
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