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  • VSL Special Ed. - 24" imac or Mac Pro? Logic or DP?

    Dear VSL Community: I have spent quite a bit of time visitng the VSL site, listening to demos, watching video tutorials and learning about VSL libraries. I am interested in symphonic/ multi part writing. I haven't been composing for some years - however I would like to get back to composing at this time. The last time that I was composing music on a computer was with Cakewalk program on a PC with a D-Man/ 4 track Tascam recorder and Roland Sound Modules (D-110 and U-220) in the late 1990's. I know now it's a whole new world for Musical Composition with a computer! Currently I have a 20 inch imac that is our family computer, however I am planning to get a dedicated Mac for my home studio. Out of all the sound libraries that I have listened to - I must say that VSL is the most impressive. However, since my composition work is a hobby- I can't afford the Cube - I would be able to go with the Special Edition Standard + Extended. Now my first question: Which new Mac to get? A Mac Pro with a 23" LCD or a 24" imac? I noticed that on the requirement page for the Special Edition it indicates a fast separate hard drive with 80 gb and 2GB or more. I want to do the appropriate thing, and not regret my choice! Since a second hard drive is needed - would it make sense to add a free standing hard drive via fire wire to an imac? or should one really be using a mac pro? BTW I am also interested in a new area for me - and that is making soundtracks for movies - I currently use imovie 06. In addition to music I intend to use Photoshop and AutoCad via windows/ Parallels ( I am an Architect) on my new Mac. My second question is which DAW should I get - Logic or Digital Performer - considering that I want to compose music and make movie soundtracks. I look forward to your comments ps: Is there a place that I could actually see VSL ( in the NY /NJ/ PA area) in person by someone who actually uses it?

  • welcome paul,

    unfortunately it seems you missed the clinics with paul steinbauer last week at alto music / NYC  ...

     

    main reason why the system requirements mention a seperate hatddrive is that you should not have the operating systen + applications (+ *mormal* data) and the samples to be streamed on the same disk. clearly you should whenever possible also not record to this disks simultaneously (note i'm referring here to disks rather than volumes, which may share a disk).

     

    the iMac basically meets the most requirements and there are several users running VSL on iMacs, but you should be aware of the limitations.

    e.g. external harddisks are usually connected via firewire, which gives you often trobles if also an audio device is connected to firewire and the max. RAM for the iMAc is currently 4 GB

     

    this might be not so relevant for the special edition *only* and *average* arrangements up to a certain point, means you could use the special edition located just on a seperate partition up to a certain extent.

     

    a sidenote: prallels as such and autoCad in detail is sometimes a show stopper, so i would in no case expect to run logic/SE and parallels/autoCad simultaneously without problems.

    christian


    and remember: only a CRAY can run an endless loop in just three seconds.
  • Hi

    I have had both computers and would if you could afford it go with the Mac Pro, as it is expandable and you can always upgrade it as and when you need to.

    As far as the DAW goes it really is a matter of taste, I would go to a shop and try both out to see which one you like. DP in my opinion is slightly easier to use to score for film as it has alot of good tempo calculation functions to help make sync points etc. I also find the Midi editor slightly easier to use as well, but this is just me. On the other hand Logic has all the additional instruments, loops and effects that can let you do so much more without having to purchase additional instruments. Vienna Special edition and Logic will get you really far and let you create nearly anything you need. Plus it is slightly easier to set up the instruments in Logic 8 than DP.

    In other words, it is pure taste, I would go to a shop and really try them out!

  • I would strongly suggest getting a MacPro if it is all possible. It is an infinitely more flexible machine. One can, for example, have 4 internal hard drives. So you could use 1 for the OS, applications and documents, another for recordings and the third for samples (or make a RAID 0 array with drives 3 & 4 for samples). These drives are all SATA drives - - so they are significantly faster and less expensive (if you don't buy them from Apple!!) than FireWire drives (with each FireWire drive, you pay for the bridgeboard circuitry and the power supply). There is also no chance that these drives will interfere with anything - - such as an audio interface - - that you want to run on FireWire.Putting a SATA drive into a MacPro is very easy. You attach the drive to a drive sled with 4 screws and insert in the computer - - no wires to worry about. The sleds come with the Mac Pro. Other World Computing is a good source for drives. They also know a great deal about Macs.

    Also, the MacPro can accomadate significantly more RAM. (Do NOT buy exorbitantly priced RAM from Apple!!!! - - Apple (unbelievably) charges $4499 for 16GB of RAM (8 X 2GB modules) whereas Other World Computing charges $659.99 for the same 16GB of RAM. Despite Apple's propoganda to the contrary, there is NO difference in quality - - except that Other World Computing's RAM has a lifetime replacement guarantee whereas Apple's RAM has the same warranty as the rest of the computer - 1 year unless you buy AppleCare and extend it to 3 years. The 8 processor MacPro can accomodate 32 GB of RAM (8X4GB). This is an expensive option - -$3079.99 at Other World Computing, $2968.00 at http://www.transintl.com (which offers a 16 GB set for $608.00), but not currently offered by Apple as a build to order option.

    Finally, with a MacPro, you can choose whether you wish to use a PCIe card based device for your Audio Interface or a FireWire interface.  Again this machine gives you choices - - the fundamental architecture of the MacPro does not constrain your choices, while that of the iMac does.

    One last thing: it appears likely that, in January, at the MacWorld Expo (January 15), new versions of the MacPro will be announced. It is highly probable that these will use the newest generation of Intel chips (Penryn) which are, according to Intel, significantly faster than the generation that currently inhabits the MacPro (and use less power). What this means is that, if you can wait a little, you can either get one of the new machines or purchase one of the current generation of machines at a good discount.  


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    @paulb said:

    Dear VSL Community:
    This has been talked about in another thread recently. You will probably be wasting your time using an iMac. I am writing this on an iMac and they are great computers for the interweb, doing your taxes and looking at photos, But I would look at the Mac Pros next year.-------As far a a daw goes - I would say use Logic 8 - made for the Mac, but I would also wait on that and allow them to iron out some of the bugs.

  • Christian: Thank you for your response and explabation regarding th separate hard drive. It sounds like I will go with my original plan of getting a Mac Pro ( after the Jan 15th Apple Keynote Adddress - since rumor has it a Mac Pro Upgrade is expected). BTW I am not planning on running both ACAD and Logic/SE at the same time, I just wanted to mention that I will be using the Mac for graphic work (ACAD + Photoshop) as well as music and movie production. I want to be able to grow with the Mac Pro/ peripherals and since VSL is new to me, I will start with the Standard/ Extended editions and overtime probably expand into the other VSL libraries. Thanks again Paul

  • Simsy: Thank you for your detailed comments/differences on Logic and DP. I will take your advise and actually try both Logic8 and DP at a music shop. Paul

  • Stevesong Thanks for your comments especially regardingthe flexibility of the Mac Pro and the Apple RAM Info - You are the second source to tell me this info - The first source last year told me Apple makes much of its money selling RAM! I recently saw the Apple comment regarding that certain types of RAM are noisy - Is this what you are referring to in regards to "propaganda"? Thanks for the January Macworld info. I am an avid MacRumor visitor, so I already have 1/15/07 marked fo watch and purchase a Mac Pro in late Jan/ early Feb. BTW, When I posed a question on imac vs Mac Pro last year to a music salesperson - he had a very memorable response - He said, "the MacPro is like a Sportscar - You are invited to open up the hood and modify the parts that make it run to your liking". Obviously I am on my way to getting a Mac Pro! Thanks again Paul

  • Paul R: I agree - I will be getting the Mac Pro in late Jan after Macworld/ Keynote address. I agree with your assessment of the imac - It is my first Mac we have had it since May 2006 and it is a wonderful family computer for my wife, son and me to use - however the MacPro will be my dedicated computer for music and graphical work up in my conditioned Attic - Study! Thanks Paul

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    @paulb said:

    I recently saw the Apple comment regarding that certain types of RAM are noisy - Is this what you are referring to in regards to "propaganda"?
     

    Reason would suggest that, if you are selling a commodity item at 7-8 times the current market price,one might feel a need to convince customers to pay such a multiple, by characterizing the competition in a negative way. This doesn't change the fact that RAM is a commodity made by a limited number of manufacturers (of which Apple is not one - - most commonly, Apple uses Samsung RAM), and that, aside from re-sellers like Apple, its price is governed by the markets - - just like the price of any other commodity.

    Apparently, in an effort to combat the prices set by markets, Apple has resorted to various tactics. One of the most notrious is that, if your Mac has a problem and is sent to Apple to be repaired under warranty, Apple almost always removes all non Apple RAM from the computer with the implication that, however remote and unlikely a relation it might have to the actual problem, the use of non-Apple branded RAM has somehow contributed to the problem. Thus if the liquid cooling system (made by Delphi) used on high-end G5s leaks and ruins the motherboard (not an entirely unheard of issue - - see macintouch.com), or a hard drive fails, Apple may try to suggest that these problems have some - - albeit entirely intangible - - link to the fact that you used non-Apple branded RAM. Of course, factually speaking this is nonsense. In other words, it seems possible that faced with customers making the rational decision not to pay the extraordinarily exorbitant prices Apple charges for RAM, Apple's marketing department may have decided to appeal to their fears, arouse their anxieties and scare them into parting with their money! Because of Apple's tactics in this regard, it is wise to keep the RAM your Mac came with so that, if it becomes necessary for the computer to be repaired, you can remove the 3rd party RAM and reinstall the Apple branded RAM. (No big deal.)

    Statistically speaking it is always possible that one might come across a defective RAM chip whether it was purchased from Apple at high price or from a third party vendor. (Indeed a friend recently purchased a MacBook Pro that came with one defective RAM chip straight from the Apple store.) What I can tell you is that I - - and everyone I know - - have purchased RAM from Other World Computing, Crucial and other reputable 3rd party vendors over the course of many years and I have never had a single RAM chip go bad. Every single chip has passed the Apple Hardware test. And, if there were a problem, most reputable vendors have a "lifetime" advance replacement policy - - they send you a new chip or chips and don't charge you unless you fail to return the defective chip(s) within a specified time limit. (In terms of "lifetime," companies like Other World Computing (a re-seller) and Crucial (a manufacturer of RAM) have been around a long time and there is no reason to believe that they will go out of business anytime soon.)