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Buying Advice -Air or MBP for recording use

1886 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Jul 17, 2013 10:41 AM by MlchaelLAX RSS
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MIKEinMICH Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 7, 2013 1:58 PM

I am in an insane industry where I cannot travel without still having to be available to record voiceovers 7 days a week,

vacation or not..but that's another topic. 

I have to replace a well-traveled MacBook - circa 2006-07 - 13-inch whose case is warping, DVD/CD slot is tricky to get in/out

of, and has a dead ethernet port - but above all loud, noisy and heats up to extremes. I just need to move into the new decade is

what i'm saying - (though I do miss Firewire but hey, I miss OS 9 some days).


My CPU demands are rather intensive - typically need to be multi-tasking with a multi-channel recording app, browser,

firewire connectivity and USB audio interface/mic preamp which is bus-powered only...


So the laptop options for me are an AIR or a current or late-model MacBook Pro from the looks of things- and i really

haven't followed the market too closely in the past few years so am sorta out of touch and could use some guidance.


A big factor is minimal self-noise of the laptop - i.e. no fans kicking in constantly -  as well as just overall stability to

support recording/editing soundware.  I am also assuming it would be wiser to look at flash OR solid state drive vs

conventional HD - or at least it seems logical that this would be more dependable in the long run. 


And this also raises a question of whether i could have a lower-noise situation by installing a Solid State vs traditional

spinning-disk HD


Any help or advice would be hugely appreciated- for what i realize is a rather broad question but maybe not given the

specific purpose and application this will mainly be used for...  And if i can accomplish something for under 1K including

max Ram and "enough" capacity HD that'd be helpful but not essential.  Also i'm not one who 'has to have the latest thing' -

so if there's something recent vs brand new that is reasonably well proven, that's where i could really use some advice.


Thanks for your time and opinions and apologies in advance if this should go in another discussion category.




MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 1:59 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    If your price point is $1,000 you are not going to find anything from Apple.  There are no portable computers in that price range.


    You might try the Apple on-line store, the Store button upper left side of the browser window and see if they have refurbished units available.  That is still a very low price point.


    If you can go higher, the MacBook Pro would be the better choice as it is a harder working unit.  But if you add solid state device storage the price will climb very quickly.

  • rikhy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 4:22 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    I am pro musician and DJ, bought i7 2013 Air and found it so good that I already sold my i7 quad 2011 MBP. Air is the most silent computer I ever (not) hear, experienced. Use it with various DAWs recording audio, VSTs etc it can perfectly cope with those tasks kicking the fans into audiobile zone. Only video rendering make fans move louder but unlike MBPs which can get very loud, it stays @ rather low frequency, absolutely undisturbing. Using it for voice over, piece of cake, even the cheaper 1.3 Air will be fine for that.

  • rikhy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 5:15 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    Air has ULV CPU, less voltage, Watts= heat> noise. If you want to save money, you could get 2010 second hand, it featured P series CPU that generated less heat. However my personal recommendation/value for money 1.3 2013. Actually for your voice overs Iphone or iPad would do, there are excellent mics from Tascam, Zoom, Rode  and other companies of non lightning models. I am waiting for lightning version of Zoom to use my iPhone as field recorder.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 5:16 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    The Apple store refurb is essentially a new computer, though in many cases an older battery, case, and so on.  Plus a full warranty.  With a limited budget they are a way to get a new computer at a reduced cost.  If there is one that meets your needs, give it serious consideration.

  • rikhy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2013 1:23 AM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    The 2013 release is so good (thanks to Haswell CPU, better graphics, stunning battery life) and cheaper compared to previous prices that it does not make much economic sense to get refurb in this case. If not anything else think about resale value in the future 2013 is a major step forward in Airs, even though on first look it might not looks so. And applying to your particular case the pre 2013 Airs do become noisy, which is the dealbreaker.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2013 6:43 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    Look into a refurbished MacBook Pro that runs SL if that is critical to your needs.  There is a way some claim will allow you to run SL on a new have to purchase Parallels and then purchase Snow Leopard Server  and run that in a virtual machine mode.

  • rikhy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2013 7:09 PM (in response to MIKEinMICH)

    I think 2011 MBP were originally released with SL, otherwise 2010 and put SSD. Or 2011 Air ore-intel-core-i7

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