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Microphone Month 3

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

iMac for a Pro User?


I'm a pro user--composer, bassist, producer, etc. I'm currently using a 2ghz dual G5, and I have a 15" MacBook Pro. Both 4GBs RAM, OS10.4.11.
I use Logic and lots of 3rd party pluggies (Waves SSL, BFD, Stylus, etc. etc. etc.). Mostly I work alone in composer/remote bass session/programming mode. Very few clients grace my doorstep, and I never record more than 1 or 2 things at a time. I use a Logic Control surface, various midi controllers, the usual stuff.
It's becoming pretty apparent that my MacBookPro kicks booty on my G5. For example, BFD frequently hangs up my G5. I find myself migrating BFD projects over the MBP just to work on drums! The G5 has been good to me, but is feeling "long in the tooth".
I'd make the MBP my main machine, but, it IS my laptop that I haul around everywhere, so I want a new desktop rig. But a Mac Pro isn't really in the budget right now. But, a top of the line iMac could be, and is looking really appealing. The fact that I get a new 24" monitor built-in is a real attraction too, and given the life-span of computers these days, maybe the iMac is a good solution for me? If I get a bunch of good gigs in and then can swing a maxed-out MacPro, then it's not as if the iMac will sit idle--it could become my main "household" machine.
Any other pro users out there choose an iMac for their studio and been happy with it?
March 22, 2009 @10:13pm

The iMacs run well, but a few hurdles to consider -
- Hard drives. You'll have to use external FW drives (added costs)
- Limited upgrades (not only HDDs, but RAM, no PCIe slots)
Also, the top of the line iMac is like 300$ less than the least expensive Mac Pro. If it were me, I'd either just save up and get it (although by the time you buy hard drives, it could be about the same), or look in the gently used market. Again, personally, (in this pro audio situation) I'd rather invest in a machine that is more easily upgraded over time, thus hopefully improving its longevity in the studio.
March 24, 2009 @03:40am

I just read your forum question and the one response you received. I have been deliberating about upgrading my Digital Performer 5.0 to version 6 but have been trying a few other sequencers since I got my new iMac in June. I used to have a 933 tower which had a Motu PCI -324 card installed with a 2408 mkII. It ran okay for a long time and I got a lot of work out of it, although there were crashing issues with DP 5. However, the new operating system and intel technology was too much of a tease to not take the plunge, so I dumped all of it for this new system. Instead of going with Motu for a new audio interface I decided to go with the M-Audio Profire 2626. I must say I am very impressed. Aside from having to use a 400/800 adaptor to make the firewire connection, (same thing for Motu) it produces seamless audio (award winning octane pre amps) and with all of the sequencers I have tried thus far. As for an iMac being not much cheaper than a Mac Pro, I beg to differ as the cheapest Mac Pro here starts at $2499.00 (no tax) with nothing on board, where as I got the top of the line iMac for just over $2,000.00 tax included with the latest operating system (10.5.8) note: Snow Leopard was a $29.00 upgrade}and all of the associated iLife stuff (if you want that) The iMac comes with a 600 GB drive and 4 gigs of Ram which is double what I had before and the iOmega external USB drives I use for storage are far more responsive and quick to transfer than previously. There are no PCI cards to seat and mess about with and more USB ins/outs than I will use. I kept my Motu Midi Timepiece AV,which is great. You can look at it like this, or at least I did. No matter what system you get, in 5 years, it is done, because of the tech blip, but for cost efficiency and to stay in the Mac domain, choose the iMac. The iMac is not as powerful as a Pro, but for what you appear to be using it for it will MORE than suffice and run with stability on whatever sequencer platform you choose. Thus far, I have checked out; Logic both Express and Pro 8, Ableton Live 8.04 and Lite(which came free with the M-Audio interface), Digital Performer (no more crashing issues under Intel and of course Garageband, all of which run rock solid in both the audio and midi domain. Anything I needed PCI slots for with the old technology is now accessible through firewire or USB anyway, so there is really no need for it. I get 24 tracks of stereo audio and numerous midi tracks (never have been a processor issue) with this new rig and thus far would recommend it to anyone. I don't expect to record the next YES record in my little studio, so for what this does and what it is, it should keep my hand and ears in for a few more years. Like you, I would be interested in hearing from anyone with experiences to share with the iMac and DP 6 or related software.
September 8, 2009 @02:26pm

Hey I have a home studio where I have been working on a PC and am planning on moving to a Mac platform. Got a Macbook pro and am thinking of an IMac too (instead of a Mac Pro) for similar reasons that I don't need to spend on a monitor and it looks impressive for clients who walk in occasionally. Plus I am also looking at an Allen and Heath ZED 12fx mixer. I have a great sound room. I do quite a few short films and radio commercials and audio projects. Less of music mixes. I sort of feel this should suffice. I have an M-audio sound card Fast Track Pro (I think it sucks) and it works in combination with a Mackie analog 12 track mixer. What say? Am I headed the right way? I want to know some serious details about the Allen & Heath ZED 12fx mixer. Any reviews? suggestions please?
December 21, 2009 @07:39pm

I love my iMac for recording using Logic Studio 9. I use four Gb RAM and have no issues whatsoever. All newer (after 06-07) Macs run smooth. I just completed an album with a collegue on his Mac mini without a hitch using up to sixteen tracks. Have Snow Leopard upgrade on both machines using 64 bit recording on the mini and have better luck on my older aluminum iMac with 32 bit recording.
July 30, 2010 @01:39pm

I would say (imo) that the Imac's are super, the Ghz, the ram and HD (stock) are at great
levels and you an increase to 8GB of ram (if order online via Apple Store apple.com
or ? a Apple Store (physical one not sure) for $180.00 . that is for the first two with the
smaller moniter screen, both (stock) come with 4GB ram, lowest priced has the 500GB HD
second one a 1TB HD and a upgrade to 3.6x CPU is $160.00 or $180.00 and Applecare
is only $119.00 for three full years Hard ware, parts and telephone support. for a bit over
$35.00 a year or $3.00 a month or $1.00 a day well worth it, I had a Logic Board replaced
as I was under Applecare (but I believe that due to how many failed they covered non-
Applecare buyers I am writing on that 2004 eMac 1.25 ghz 1GB ram and a huge 80GB HD!
We have another eMac 1.0 ghz 1GB ram 40GB HD and a 2002 Imac 800Mhz less than 1GB ram (as there are three ram slots to equal 1GB and CompUSA (in business at the time and were doing free ram installs said the ones thay had done were a disaster and would not go to the third slot (it th e17" Flat screen LCD and white half moon base abd runs OS9
and OSX 10.3.9 (partioned) we wish we made the OS9 partion smaller than 50% of the
80GB HD oh well, we do have a MacBook Pro 15" bought in Dec 2009 running Snow Leopard 4GB ram 250GB HD and CPU not positve (Its away at College) we have two PC's
a Dell Netbook and a HP Tower XW4550 with Montitor
I have always thought and read that a 7200 RPM HD is better to use for music recording where the Laptops (MacBook Pro included are at 5400RPM) but rcently a Harmony Central
Community article ent in to depth on lap tops and music and DAW's
I myself prefer desk tops but there are advantages to laptops (major one Portability)
I hope to advance to Logic studio (perhaps starting a Logic Express) (just don''t buy the educational version of Logic Express as it can not be updated (not sure why but its true)
We bought a new router after enduring a D-link one for too long a 802.11G
The Airport Extreme Dual Band 802.11 draft n 2.4ghz and 5.0ghz and aso boght a 802.11n
Airport express for a USB shared printer (though still figuring out Bonjour and Windows printing) but oddly after setting up the Airport extreme and A-Port Express (with phone help from Apple, useing the Macbook Pro 802.11N all of the PC's were online wirelessly
, two gaming systems in "live " mode went online, the Imac due to its age will onlu(seems to) accept a WEP password where the A-Extreme is WPA/WPA2 or none so its euthernet
connected (as it was with the D-Link) we had a Apple dome 802.11B for years and it worked great)
but..both eMac's no longer will function wireslessly with Airport Extreme cards (very odd)
the Apple Tech that called said that the Base Stations do not like guest networks so that was removed but *also do not seem to like 802.11B computers and their wireless cards (thats two eMac;s) we even plugged one in on the back porch isolating the outlet
and finally started up in"Safe Mode" and turned off the airprt exreme cards and they functioned fine as a regular computer, turn the wireless card on and change settings and restart and a Kernal Panic screen appears "You need to restart Your Computer" so now
one is hooked by ehernet to a port on the Airport Extreme" which contradictsthe specs
on the Airport Extreme, we have isolated everything we now how to and even had our ISP
provider ot and he adusted the signal a bit but.....The Big Bang Theory is Yet to Be Explanied-Solved Yet!
*** Very Sorry for getting off Topic*
September 2, 2010 @03:30am

You might try finding a mac pro 2nd hand(eBay) You can find them for the same price, or les than you would an iMac.
December 18, 2010 @02:07am