Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • New User -- Need Help Deciding Building a VSL Mac-based System

    Hello Everyone,

    Please help me decide between the two setups below.

    My recording template will likely max out at around 28 tracks but averaging between 16 - 20 tracks.  Although I be doing quite a bit of acoustic piano, vocal and acoustic instrument recordings, for the sake of this comparison let's assume that all of the tracks will be software instruments from VSL.  Portability is a factor but I could go either way on this.

    Hardware/Software I own:

    Korg OASYS 88 (will be used as MIDI controller and plan to use some of the internal sounds in my projects)

    Seagate 1TB HDD

    Apogee Duet 2

    Avid MIDI interface

    Logic Pro 9

    Vienna Instruments SE (standard)

    VI Player & VE (standard)


    May be upgrading to the full library or SE Plus with VSL.  Still evaluating my needs there but for now I could also go a la carte and download what I need.

    Setup #1 (budget-friendly):

    2011 MacBook Air 13" i5/i7, 256GB SSD, 4GB RAM w/Lion and ThunderBolt

    THEN in the near - mid future:

    2011 Mac Mini i5/i7, 8GB RAM ?GB SSD/HDD

    LaCie Little Big Disk 256GB SSD External ThunderBolt Drive (to host VSL, etc.)


    Setup #2 (going all-out):

    2011 iMac 27" i7, 1TB 7200RPM, 16GB RAM Drive w/Lion and ThunderBolt

    THEN in the near - mid future:

    LaCie Little Big Disk 256GB SSD External ThunderBolt Drive (to host VSL, etc.)

    One more question: Is it better to have Logic Pro and VSL on the same drive or separate?

    I currently have the MacBook Air 13" described above and it runs like butter.  I haven't really tasked it that much but have about 100GB free after installing Logic Pro 9 and VSL SE and may be getting another external SSD to record to or use for hosting samples.  This machine really screams with Lion and the SSD.  I also have another Seagate drive (1TB) for backup purposes.  I'm still within my window to return it and go with the iMac but I wanted some advice from the user community before making a decision.  What I plan to do for the next couple of days I have the system is to load as many samples into memory as I can and try to bring the system to a crawl to get an idea of it's limits.

    Thanks in advance for your help!!!


  • Craig,

    Bottom line, get the most robust computer you can afford, both processor and RAM wise. You need to install your VSL samples on a separate drive.

    A lot of users use a slave computer, that's the optimum setup. I only use a Macbook Pro, with 8 GBs. As my track count goes up, the machine starts to struggle, forcing me to start freezing tracks. The Air is a great machine, my wife has one, but I don't have any experience with using it as a DAW.

    Good luck

  • JET,

    Thanks for the response.  How does the master/slave situation work?  Is the more powerful system the master or slave?

    In the scenario that I have an Air and Mini as spec'd above (i5/i7 w/ 12GB RAM combined between the Air and Mini with SSD on the Air and HDD on the Mini) would that be better than going with the iMac (i5/i7 w/ 16GB RAM and 1TB HDD w/ 256GB external T-Bolt Drive)?  Looking to make a final decision in the next couple of days or so.



  • the slave is doing the heavy lifting so it should be the stronger. go with more RAM and more drives, if it's a choice between them I don't know what to tell you.