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Computer Hardware Audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, control surfaces, MIDI controllers & USB MIDI keyboards (not motherboards or system components)

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Old 24th July 2008 , 09:26 AM
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Default PC to Mac - Advice Welcome :-)

Hi Guys,

After 10 years of making music on a PC (and before that Amigas and ST's) I have moved over to the Mac world (for various reasons)

So far so good as I've just been using it for my photography and design work. I now want to start using it for creating and producing music.

On my PC I had developed a nice work flow of using an EMU internal card and doing my Multitracking using Sony's Acid. This worked well as it was very easy to drop timestretched samples in with live instrumentation. I also had a few VST's and DirectX plugins that I used. I would then tweak individual tracks in Sony's Soundforge package before finally burning them with Nero.

So what are my options on the Mac? as none of that software is available. I would need a means of recording guitar and vocals in, good multitracking software that can handle samples well, and a good audio editor for mastering tracks. Good CD buring software would be useful as well (i.e being able to manually set track positions in tracks that are segued into each other etc.)

Bit of a big question but any advice would be a good starting point..

Oh almost forget, my Mac is an iMac, 2.8Ghz with 4GB Ram.

Cheers,
Mark Morb
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Old 24th July 2008 , 09:34 AM
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because you are just using audio go with an mbox and pro tools le, however logic studio comes with waveburner an excellent cd burner
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Old 24th July 2008 , 10:20 AM
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Thanks, I'll look into those...
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Old 25th July 2008 , 08:25 AM
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I'd advise caution on Pro Tools LE. It does not incorporate Plug-in Delay compensation like the full version does. If you intend to use third party Plug-Ins you will end up with sloppy out of time mixes. Eg: The Ozone Mastering Plug-In can leave you with 3000 samples delay.

On the Mac I'd definately say Logic and Waveburner. Logic's Plug-In Delay Compensation seems pretty seemless.
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Old 25th July 2008 , 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Sutcliffe View Post
I'd advise caution on Pro Tools LE. It does not incorporate Plug-in Delay compensation like the full version does. If you intend to use third party Plug-Ins you will end up with sloppy out of time mixes. Eg: The Ozone Mastering Plug-In can leave you with 3000 samples delay.

On the Mac I'd definately say Logic and Waveburner. Logic's Plug-In Delay Compensation seems pretty seemless.
Although this goes pretty far in solving the delay compensation issue in Pro Tools (watch the videos!)

In any case, the Ozone Mastering plug-in isn't a great example of a problem because that would normally be used on the master fader, where perceivable latency would never be an issue. You can run into phase problems though if you do any kind of parallel compression or stack a lot of stuff on individual channels (I seem to recall that the Waves Studio Classics models are pretty latency-heavy, but I can't remember the exact numbers).

If the OP is into time stretching and that sort of thing then Ableton Live is probably a good idea, however, Pro Tools' Elastic Time (new in 7.4) might work for them as well.

As far as soundcard goes, if you go any route that's not Pro Tools, I'd look at getting a Metric Halo ULN-2 if you don't need more than 2 pres/4 channels of input - the sound quality doesn't get much better in the Mac world.

Finally - 2 track audio editors - if you get Logic you'll get Soundtrack Pro included which has one built-in, but I don't love that program very much. IMO the two best solutions for this are BIAS Peak or Audiofile Engineering's Wave Editor. Peak comes in a variety of flavours, too, you can start with an LE version and if it doesn't do what you need it to you can upgrade to Pro, or even Pro XT which comes with all sorts of useful premastering extras. Peak makes a good CD burner as well.
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Old 25th July 2008 , 09:17 AM
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There are a few different options for sample editing. You could have a look at SoundStudio which does a good job and is fairly uncluttered. I also use this for recording individual audio tracks, although for multi-tracking Pro-Tools is your best bet. You could also have a look at Audacity as a free option. Fairly feature-filled (if a little buggy at times), but with a zero cost, it's a good fallback.

For CD burning, there's only really one (other than the built-in burning software in OSX) option - Toast. This doesn't allow you to segue tracks, but it's accompanying app Jam does exactly this, allowing you to set the overlaps, the fades (including shape of x-fade) and actual CD track start positions. Additionally you can set all the CD metadata (artists, track names etc etc) for players that can read it. SoundStudio will also let you do segues across multiple tracks and add markers, then export as separate aiffs split at the marker points.

Audio interface might be your first port of call... I use an EDIROL UA-4FX (available on DV247), which does a good job of getting a really clean recording (although watch that headroom - overdrive it a bit and you get some really bad digital clipping).

There is one other option, and that's to install XP under bootcamp (or VMWare/Parallels - although that's another layer so not the best for optimum CPU time) and run any Windows software you want to alongside the Mac side of things - this is one of the big gains of owning a Mac, the extra choice.

Hope that's some use...
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Old 25th July 2008 , 09:44 AM
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Thanks guys there tons of good advice there. I thought there may be a bit of Logic Vs Pro-Tools as I've noticed that on other sites. I have looked at Ableton and really could not get to grip with it's UI but maybe I need to spend more time with it.
Lot's of good advice for audio editors and burning software as well, like the sound of Toast and "Jam"....and thanks for the Audio interface suggestions, I would not need more than a 2 channel input so I'll look into those as well.
I have considered running XP under bootcamp but would like to see if I can keep things all mac in the first instance, bootcamp is nice to have as a "Plan B" though.

Cheers,
Mark Morb
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Old 25th July 2008 , 10:41 AM
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Hi Mark

I'd definitely recommend some kind of USB or Firewire Audio interface just to remove the inputs from the computer itself. I'd previously tried some recording just using the built-in audio on my Powerbook and there was a hum running through everything due to a little static picking up from the casing and the fact that there's slight vibration from fan and hard drive spinning in there which must affect how the jacks make contact in the sockets to some degree.

The Edirol breakout box makes a massive difference. Recorded some vocals last weekend and even with my cheap and nasty mic the clarity was unbelievable. The UA4FX has a built-in valve pre-amp simulator and basic compressor as well - good for vocals. Plus it will supply phantom power if you need it. Plenty of I/O options on it (jack/XLR/RCA phonos in, jack/RCA phonos out) and nice features that make it useful for live work and studio work, which is why I chose it. There's probably other cheaper options that will do exactly what you need - so worth asking around and checking Harmony Central's review sections for user experiences/reviews before you shell out a lot of money on something like that.

Ableton is actually pretty easy to use once you get past that odd interface. And once you 'get' it, it all actually makes really good sense (it's designed to optimised for live use really, keeping everything in view where possible with no floating palettes getting in the way). I've been using that to handle live vocal processing recently alongside Reason on another machine for the sequenced stuff. You can pick up a lot of freebie plug-ins (AU/VST/Pluggo) for Ableton/GarageBand/ProTools/Logic check out these:

[url=http://www.apulsoft.ch/freeports/]apulSoft - free software ports[/url]

[url=http://www.gersic.com/plugins/index.php?daCat=-1]GERSIC.COM free audio plugin database[/url]

[url=http://www.niallmoody.com/ndcplugs/index.htm]ndc plugs - news[/url]

Actually GarageBand, which should have come with your Mac (used to do), may handle your recording needs. It is basically the audio engine from Logic and it's also a handy built-in AU/VST host.
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Old 25th July 2008 , 01:49 PM
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I concur with the above. +1 for Logic Studio for me only reason to switch to Mac (Bias Peak is a good editor too)
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Old 1st August 2008 , 03:42 PM
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Default a q. om Macs and software/logic

Hi guys - i've been reading this advice to Mark as i've been thinking of switching ove from a PC for ages - just never got round to it.
All v interesting.
Is Logic the only way to go? - anyone out there used MOTU's 'Digital Performer'?
I want to get into writing music for video as much as just rec live sound.

Thanks guys
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Old 2nd August 2008 , 04:29 PM
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afaik Nuendo is the more widely used tool for video work. Can someone confirm?
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Old 2nd August 2008 , 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meander View Post
afaik Nuendo is the more widely used tool for video work. Can someone confirm?
Nope. Pro Tools still rules audio-for-picture post. There are a few exceptions, Nuendo might even be one of the more common ones (although I know that Sequoia & Pyramix are fairly common exceptions for sure).
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