10 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2006 1:22 PM by Johnnyspy
Logic Pro Level 3 (645 points)

i am about to buy a G5 tower or iMac.,

My Pros and cons for the Tower;
2-Can use 2x "ADC" Apple displays
3-Can add 5 ata 300GB hard dives
4-Simply Expandable

1-Are all applications compatible with a G5?
2-Do i have to buy a second "ADC" display card?
3-Can i realy use my 5x 300GB ATA 7200 RPM drives in it, or will i have to buy a external HD enclosure for more money?
4-Is the expandability practicle?

My Pros and cons for the iMac:
1- Comes with a screen
2- iSight cam
3- 20" screen already there
4- faster then G4, i hope

1- i will have 2 screens laying around,
2- i will have also a iSight cam i just got laying around,
3- its a single processor,
4- i hear there are many problems with the 20" iMac G5s,

I would like to ask logic Pro users hat there experiences have been with these machines, as you can see i have 5x 300GB ata bare drives, 2 apple cinema 14" screens, and BT keyboard and mouse.

What would people recomend i do to utilize my old drives and screens or simply even replace what is necessary to get the right mac these days for a decent logic set up

G4 450x2, PB12 1Gig, Mac Mini 1.42Gig, Mac OS X (10.4.3), Ipod video, Nano, iShuffle
  • tbirdparis Level 5 (5,500 points)
    if you can afford a G5 tower, then get the tower. there is no question whatsoever that it's the better machine for running logic in every possible sense.
  • Jonas Hurtig Level 3 (735 points)
    If you already have 2 displays, I don't see why you wouldn't go for the Powermac. There's a very small price difference between the two. Even the Dual Core 2.0 is a HUGE power increase over the 2.1 GHz iMac...it's essentially 2 processers vs. 1. The new Powermacs don't come with an ADC port, just 2 X DVI so you would either need a different video card or 2 X DVI to ADC converters. I believe the Powermac will support more than 2 SATA drives, but it only has space for 2 inside the machine. You'd have to look into that further.
  • Nicolas diPierro Level 1 (100 points)
    you need not get a second card for two displays. check the apple store. i believe all video card choices permit two displays. (you need the top of the line card for two 30" LCD cinema displays)

    they're both g5's so the compatibility story is the same.

    the powermac can host serial ATA drives inside it. the powermac's serial ata controler can host only 2 drives as far as i know. you'd need an additional serial-ata card to use more than that.
  • Johnnyspy Level 2 (150 points)
    My two cents: Always buy a G5 Tower for serious studio work. I would never recommend an Imac for any serious audio recording unless you needed portability or you were just using it to come up with scratch ideas, loop-based music, or less than 8 tracks of audio. You need all the horse power you can get and my G5 with 4 gigs of RAM and two serial ata 300 gig drives never lets me down.

    Depending on the model G5 you get you can have 8 gigs of RAM, Two Serial ATA hard drives and three pci expansion slots. You do not need to use two monitors, but when you want to, two come in handy. Imagine one screen for the arrange window, and the other for the mix or other sub windows. You can mod your G5 system to have more serial ATA's or use external firewire 800 cases and buy a Maxtor 300 gig hard drive for around $120 or less for the hard drive. I use a firewire 800 external hard drive for the audio (Before I got the second serial ata drive), and I easily got 32 tracks without any problems.

    Here are some real issues with the new G5's. If you have plans to buy an audio Plug-in card like UAD-1 or TC Electronics Powercore II then neither the G5 Imac or the new G5 towers with Pcie will be of help, until someone makes a PCIe breakout expansion box (MAGMA is working on this issue as we speak).

    Here is another problem to think about. Some people think PCI audio interfaces are the only way to go. The problem is with the new G5 powermac's that the PCIe express slots do not work with a large amount of audio cards (most if not all audio cards are still pci not PCIe). This means in either case you will need to buy a firewire audio interface (I suggest RME), or a USB 2.0 interface such as the new MOTU stuff.
    There are people that are reporting that their audio cards work with the new PCIe interfaces (Can't remember the forum I read that info at), but there are more people having problems with PCIe than having success.

    If you plan on buying a firewire interface, and do not plan on buying an UAD-1 or Powercore pci card anytime soon, then the issues I talked about are not a big deal.
  • Michael Kovaliv Level 1 (60 points)
    I'm in a similar situation. I use a 17" PowerBook G4 1.33 and have to upgrade as I'm constanly overloading the CPU. I just got a Quad G5 for work so everything is going to seem slow compaired to that. But for home, I'm not sure what to do, and like you, I'm leaning towards an iMac or the PowerMac. I know the PowerMac is the better choice for raw speed but there's more to it than that for me. Coming from a PowerBook, I wouldn't mind having a system I can still move around if I want to, plus money is allways a factor. The 20" iMac runs $1999.00 here in Canada and the PowerMac DualCore 2Ghz is $2399.00 plus at least $700.00 for a 20" monitor with the same resolution as the iMac or $1000.00 for the Apple Display. That's $1100.00 difference ($1400.00 with the Apple Display) wich is nothing to laugh at.

    I'm trying to decide if the difference in speed will be worth it for me as I'm not using my home machine as a studio with clients, but as a creative tool only, for writting and putting ideas together in Logic Pro. Plus the extra slots in the PowerMac are not a big deal to me. I've owned many Macs with expansion slots and never used them. I finally purchased a UAD-1 when I was running Cubase SX on my PC, but that won't work in the current Macs. I'll probably sell it as the effects in Logic Pro are great for what I'm doing.

    Plus the future Intel CPUs and all the talk about possible January introductions makes it even more hard to decide. I'm so attached to my PowerBook that the thought of a different form factor Mac even has me feeling uncomfortable. I guess I'm wishing for a Dual G5 PowerBook but I know that's not going to happen!

  • Jade Leary Level 3 (665 points)
    "unless you needed portability or you were just using it to come up with scratch ideas, loop-based music, or less than 8 tracks of audio."

    Not to contradict you, but I felt i needed to add my view on this. I've been using an iMac G5 20 with 2gb ram since early last summer and do not feel limited in any way. I'm not saying a tower wouldn't be more powerful but i think your take on its capabilities is a little off. I've completed an album (no not loop based) and scored/mixed tv shows without a hitch. It's still a G5. A single-processor G5, but way more powerful than any Powerbook out there today (I have one of those too: no contest). If someone is on a tight budget and doesn't have a good LCD monitor already it's something worth considering (with external drives).

    Of course, I wouldn't put it up against your tower in an add-as-many-space-designers-as-you-can contest...

    Powerbook G4   Mac OS X (10.4.3)  
  • Logic Pro Level 3 (645 points)
    Im not sure what you guys mean by Loop Based?

    Everything in audio is sampling and playing back,
    So are you all refering to Loop Based to the counterary of been able to record live mic'ed tracks at once with no delay compensation?

    Cuase Pro Tools records up to whatever number of tracks depending on the interface and plays them all back in a snap, """A SNAP"""., not like many i/os that record up to certain number of tracks and you have to wait and wait., I am talking about there HD TDM line of producs., or mix+ and up.

    I just want to be able to record sections live, and play back at the most around 30 tracks all with comp, eq, gate, gain, and busses with all i need for them to come in the mix just right., i have gotten away with G3 powerbooks liek this as well in the past, its just recording multiple live tracks that allways depend on i/os., unless a G5 is that great to do so with any interfaces.

    Is the G5 that much faster then a G4?
  • Gatormike Level 1 (0 points)
    For what it is worth (as I am a Logic Pro newbie --- but I research like a madman), I decided to go with the PowerMac Quad. I had an old G3 iBook that I prematurely picked up in 2002 before any good OS X software was out (still living it down from the wife that I bought a computer that couldn't be used for the recording I wanted to do!!)

    I just figure that I will be best positioned with the Quad to learn Logic inside and out and keep up with any additional processing or Ram demands that any further updates require BEFORE the Intel-based, next generation PowerMacs come out in 2007 (from what people are speculating). I also make the assumption that there may be further Logic enhancements prior to a total re-write for the Intel processors (perhaps assuming further that a re-write is necessary; not that I would really know).

    So far, I have everything up and running (going with a MOTU traveller as PCI-e interfaces are not around and appear to be a long way off from a recent SOS article I read at guitarcenter). I could not be more happy with the Quad and its performance so far. My only complaint would be that Logic seems to scream for a second monitor and I just don't have the home studio space --- but I digress.

    Bottomline: I believe the expandibility (or abilility to more than keep abreast of enhancements to Logic) of the Quad to be the deciding factor for me to shell out the extra $$$$ over the nicely compact iMAC. Happy New Year and best of luck in your quest/agonizing --- having just done it, I know it ain't no fun. Mike
  • Logic Pro Level 3 (645 points)
    The quad does sound nice, and thank you for your empathy here, by now i take it that everyone who is a musician, producer, or simply a computer hobbiest to a Pro user has suffered the decissions and prices to pay more then once with apple, why apple though?

    The problem for me is that i will never forget the pain i went through learning OSX when it first came out, and i waited 8 months as well, then Logic had another evolution with AU plug ins been re written, now i want to wait even longer again for the next generation by apple, maybe macs will all come as Quads but smaller then that G5 Tower that looks like a Heater.

    Maybe i will wait....
  • Johnnyspy Level 2 (150 points)
    I am posting this reply mostly to clarify, and to further the discussion for people who may look at this post a few weeks from now looking for computer buying advice. As usual, the responses have been great, and I feel I need to be a bit more clear as to what I meant in my last post.

    I suppose I should have been more specific. What I meant is this: I often record bands live (16 tracks or more) while playing basic scratch tracks. In the end, I will have 32 solid tracks (my term to describe a track that has constant audio, not a track that has one 5 second burst of sound), and then another 10 to 15 tracks of overdubs. I use URS eq plugs on most of the channels, and I use UAD compressor plugs on every channel (I have three UAD cards) and then I run three or four independent stereo reverbs on the busses (one for drums, one for guitars, one for vocals, and sometimes one for "other things").

    When I moved from 2 gigs to 6 gigs of ram, things started to run smoother. I can run more plug-ins, more tracks, etc. I have three UAD cards and two TC electronic cards. (I now have a pci breakout box, but I can still use my two TC cards in my machine).

    I agree in many if not most studio or project studio conditions, an Imac will be enough, and I suspect that most users here do not on a regular basis record bands live frequently. I say this acknowledging I am completely ignorant of the statistics of Logic users, but it has been my experience that most major studios still use pro tools, or a combination of protools and a midi program like logic). This may change, (I switched from Pro Tools to Logic because of cost), and is not a knock, I simply want to frame my answer so people understand my standpoint. This is not a comment of elitism on my part, I actually prefer recording a rough live scratch track and then record each person and instrument individually. However, if there is no budget or a small budget, recording a band live is the best option. Recording 16 or more tracks live can still be a challenge with Logic, unless one has the power and tools.

    I try to accommodate everyone, and so frequently, drummers want a "live" sound but want two mics on the snare, one mic on every time, two kick mics (one close one far), and every other trick they have heard from drummer magazine. Instead of arguing I just hook up as many mics as they say they want. Then I let them pick which tracks they don't want to use latter (usually the distance kick mic). Since I record hardcore and black metal I frequently have an Alesis D5 or similar drum model to record on top of the drum tracks. So in the worst scenarios, I am recording two guitar players, (sometimes using to mics per guitar player), a bass player (mic and direct), singer, and drummer (two kick drums, four toms or more, snare, well you get the point).

    So in giving advice I always try to get people to anticipate the "worst case scenario" in which they will be recording. I often have more than enough power, but the other day when I had three singers (all three that struggled), I was running PSP 42 on each track, URS Smix eq, Fairchild compressors, reverb, delay, and Avox +Melodyne. Trying to make someone sound like Nina Simone when they sound like a chicken in heat is difficult, and its nice to have the power and ram to pull this off effortlessly.

    So as the previous person correctly stated, an Imac for many projects will be enough, but I have bought plenty of "good enough products" that later I sold for a loss because I ended up wanting or needing something better If a person is serious about recording and having a project studio that they think will be used for the next five or six years, I always think expandability is a great thing to have for the future. If something thinks they will buy a new computer within a few more years, then I would probably tell them the Imac was enough.

    As for the loop based music question, what I meant, and I think others mean, is pre-recorded material. Recording live instruments is one of the more demanding things for a computer program. Your are correct, once all of the material is recorded, everything that is audio is theoretically a loop. In my experience recording instruments live also allows for the maximum potential for things to go wrong (sync problems, too hot of a single, not hot enough, drop outs, over compressed signals, etc.) My biggest problems I have in computer based recording are when I try to record 16 or more tracks at once, or when I am mixing down say 42 or more tracks.

    When I do dance music where everything is done with internal sounds, loops, drum samples, or a few live keyboards recorded via live instrument, the project always is easier for me than a live recording, and for me (for me I said) requires less raw power. This is not a knock on that style of music, simply that live music is still demanding to record and requires plenty of horsepower and ram.