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ALiLPinkMonster
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Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 8:20 am

I'm selling the gaming rig I have in my signature and I'm using some of the proceeds to buy a MacBook for use with audio production and recording programs like Logic Pro X, Reason, and ProTools. What would be the best way to go about that, and what's the oldest model I can go with that will still be powerful enough for such work? I've seen a lot of older models posted on eBay and Craigslist that have these programs already loaded, which seem like great deals since these programs cost hundreds of dollars. However a lot of them are really old, like Core 2 Duo old. Do you think I could get away with that or should I look for one with at least something from the Core i- family, and how much should I be paying for such a machine? I'm also wondering how OSX/macOS utilizes RAM compared to Windows, and if 4 gigs would be enough or if I should shoot for something with 8 or more.

Thanks for any help.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 8:45 am

I know you've probably already heard this, but as far grabbing an older Mac for audio work isn't the best idea, at least at this point in time. Is there a specific reason why you have to go with Apple? Existing hardware, software, etc?

All those machines are fairly anemic, and unless you scare up a good deal on a a model with 16GB of RAM and a Core i5 or Core i7, you'll be fairly limited. I'd seriously consider a high-end PC laptop if you have to be mobile, or a desktop if you don't.
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ALiLPinkMonster
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 8:57 am

How viable is it to get macOS dual booted onto a Windows laptop to run Logic? I absolutely have to be able to use Logic.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 8:58 am

Heh, I was GOING to say "Unless you're going to use Logic Pro or Garage Band, just stick with a PC. Every other DAW worth using is available on the PC and at least in my experience, Pro Tools 12 runs better on PC than it does on macOS. The new-ish 64-bit engine is a great performer with Windows 10." but then you posted that you're using Logic while I was typing.

Also, there's very little chance of getting a stable Hackintosh on a laptop. You're going to give up battery life, performance, being able to put it to sleep, or all of the above.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 9:07 am

Just be aware that beneath the shiny Apple logo, the differences in hardware can be significant: the base model with from 5 years ago is not at all comparable with the latest i7 with 16GB RAM. And don't consider the Macbook non-Pro/Pro/Air to be even remotely similar. The non-pro Macbook is (computationally) closer to a tablet with a keyboard than to the 15" i7 Macbook Pro.

To sum it up, since these machines are not upgradeable I would probably suggest to get a haswell-era (3rd gen ~2014) macbook pro with 16GB. The i7 has 2 extra threads which can come in handy (in the 13" model) or you can get the 15" model with a true quad-core. The SSD size doesn't matter much because you'll need external storage. The 2015 Broadwell update is probably not much faster, so don't get the Broadwell i5 thinking that it's faster than the Haswell i7...

We're talking about machines that cost $2000+ new, so prepare to spend accordingly.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 9:09 am

Is there a DAW comparable to Logic available on PC? I guess I should amend what I said from "absolutely HAVE TO BE ABLE TO USE Logic" to "absolutely LOVE Logic." It's such a great DAW for MIDI work and it's what they teach at my school outside of Pro Tools, but if I can get similar power and usefulness out of something that's available on Windows then I'm open to it.

I was also kind of thinking that having a Mac would prevent the temptation of sinking time into gaming, but I guess if I just get a laptop with a less than capable GPU then it's just as good of a deterrent.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 9:29 am

Logic and Pro Tools are what my school taught, too, so I feel you. Logic Pro is a fine DAW, and I've never had many complaints with it (going back to version 5.x in the late 1990s). I haven't really touched it since 8.2, though. Pro Tools MIDI is much better than it was in the pre-7.4 era, but it's still not where Logic was. So I get it. As for alternatives I'm not going to be much help; I've been all-Pro Tools for about 6-7 years now. The only MIDI I need is capturing performances or piano roll.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 9:34 am

I suppose I could just use Reason for MIDI, it has IMO the best library of instruments out there but it doesn't have the extensive MIDI editing tools that Logic has and that's the kind of power I need.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 10:12 am

I guess the question is "what do you consider comparable to Logic?" :)

I'm a fan of Reaper myself because it's easy to use (but not simplistic) and hyper-fast. You have Sonar, Cakewalk, Ableton Live, Cubase... The choices are endless, really. If you do have to stick with Logic/macOS, then heed the advice above: you want to pay close attention to the Mac you're buying to ensure it's powerful enough.

As for the "getting a PC to run macOS": it's possible but you don't want to do that. It has almost as many gotchas as Linux. That's tongue-in-cheek, but it's tricky to set up, you have to pick the right hardware, and every time even the slightest update comes out, you have to go scrambling for whatever it broke on your Hackintosh.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 10:23 am

Well, if you're using Logic for the ~100 GB of sounds it comes with and its MIDI editing, there's no sense getting a PC. You'll spend more than the difference between a PC and a Mac just replacing the sounds you already have.

I don't know for sure, but I would guess any of the current 15" MacBook Pro (possibly with the 512GB of storage) would be plenty fast enough. I wouldn't get the 13" machines because they're only dual-core. The 15" all have standard 16GB of memory, which should be fine for quite a while. Use freeze tracks if it starts to sputter.

Also if you're still in school use Apple's education discounts. They're good on Macs and upgrades, even if it only ends up being 6-7%. Their refurb store has the Haswell-generation 15" model for $1699. It's not a particularly good deal considering the age of the hardware, but it has a 1-year warranty same as new. Also, you can upgrade the SSD wiht a model from OWC. The Touch Bar models all have soldered NAND, so you're stuck with whatever was on the board when you bought it.
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ALiLPinkMonster
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 10:57 am

morphine wrote:
I guess the question is "what do you consider comparable to Logic?" :)

I'm a fan of Reaper myself because it's easy to use (but not simplistic) and hyper-fast. You have Sonar, Cakewalk, Ableton Live, Cubase... The choices are endless, really. If you do have to stick with Logic/macOS, then heed the advice above: you want to pay close attention to the Mac you're buying to ensure it's powerful enough.

I've tried Reaper, it's too bare bones for what I need and doesn't come close to Logic in terms of MIDI tools.

What is the viability of getting a refurbished model off of Newegg? For instance they have a "B grade" 15" MacBook Pro for $1,142 shipped with a 4th gen i7, 16 gigs, and a retina display. I can deal with the 256 gig drive, I have a 2TB drive that I'm keeping from my PC which I plan on putting into an enclosure for use as an external, and I can deal with some scratches here and there. Is it worth the price for not having the warranty?
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 11:02 am

Also my step brother has suggested FL Studio for MIDI, has anyone used it? It seems to me like it's kind of a joke in the industry.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 11:09 am

I have zero experience with it, but it has a Re-Wire client so it'll work with Reaper, Pro Tools, Presonus Studio One, and anything else that supports Re-Wire.

IIRC Meadows used FL Studio. Maybe ping him via PM.

Edit: From what I'm reading, FL Studio has approximately ZERO non-MIDI functionality. Want to capture from a Mic? out of luck. The Producer version apparently has some tools, but if you need good audio track editing (outside of MIDI) I'd look elsewhere. The Re-Wire support might be what bails you out there, though.
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ALiLPinkMonster
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 11:18 am

If it can do ReWire then that's a big plus, because that means I can plug Reason directly into it. I just messaged Meadows about it.

EDIT: just saw your edit. I'd be using ProTools for audio so I'm not really concerned with the audio aspects of FL Studio.

This would all be so much easier if Apple didn't price their products like they're crafted by God himself.
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Re: Retiring from gaming, need a MacBook for audio work

Fri May 19, 2017 11:46 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:
This would all be so much easier if Apple didn't price their products like they're crafted by God himself.

HOW DARE YOU, HEATHEN!?
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