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Mac mini + Logic ?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Is a Mac mini enough to use Logic (Express or maybe Pro) comfortably?

I'm buying late March, so they might be Core 2; if not, I'm getting a refurbished one. I'll be using it with a MOTU UltraLite, for recording several layers of guitars, voice, bass, and drums (hopefully with up to 4 mics simultaneously, but that's not imperative), applying [hopefully plenty] of processing and effects, editing, etc.

Will it be snappy? How much better is 2 GB of memory than 1? Is the slower hard drive not a bottleneck? A friend's PC with Sonar barely shows any hard drive activity. Is FireWire 400 enough for the interface?

I was going to get an iMac, but I'm hoping a mini will suffice for now.
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorRobert View Post


Is a Mac mini enough to use Logic (Express or maybe Pro) comfortably?


I wouldn't even consider it. The Mini processor is no doubt good enough, but I want a large, desktop hard drive and the ability to add a second drive. Also, I have a MOTU 24-bit A/D converter in one of the PCI slots for recording audio tracks, a model 2408. I do use a USB MIDI connection, but if you have PCI slots I think you can have MIDI on a card too. My other PCI card is a four port USB card. Can't have too many USB ports.

I settled on a dual 1.25 GHz G4 Power Mac, the Mirror Drive Door model just before the G5 came out, after Apple fixed the fans. That was a couple years ago. Today I would probably get a dual core G5 with PCI express slots. I think MOTU makes a 24-bit A/D converter for PCIe now. I paid abut $700 for the dual processor G4. I don't know what a dual core G5 goes for on eBay.

My next music computer will likely be today's Mac Pro, in about 2 or 3 years. Oh, by the way, we are running Logic Express and sometimes Garage Band. All software MIDI controlled instruments, and live audio tracks from both microphones and electronic instruments. My wife is the musician/composer. I am tech support.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Cool--Mac-using musician wife

Really, you wouldn't even consider it? Will it be a pain to use?The thing is, companies sell Macs here in Chile with an artificial (probably illegal) 30% markup (on top of the VAT, which is by itself pretty crazy at 19%) even though we have free trade with you guys, whereas I can have someone bring me a mini from the US (and maybe get a refurbished one, which also isn't available here, or, hopefully, a C2D mini, which probably won't be sold in Chile until months after release).

Also, I plan on upgrading in about a year, and in the meantime it'll be mostly for fun with my co-composer (my McCartney, if you will), as I'll be quite busy with other things, and he has disk space to back up. The portability of the mini is a definite plus for us, too.
post #4 of 12
I don't think Snoopy has any idea of what he's talking about. I've been using a MacMini with Logic Express (1 GB RAM) for over a year now and no problems. On top of that, MacMinis are the quietest if you do microphone recordings in the same room (and that is when the fan is on, otherwise no noise at all).

I use it together with a Lacie external firewire 120 GB hardrive that looks like a Mini and snaps right under it. The two look like one piece of gear, awsome! I'm also using a Tascam firewire audio interface with no issues. (FW-1804)

Now my desktop has more space and looks fantastic (I also have a bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo). Did I say they're very affordable? To me using a MacMini was a non-brainer. I'd recommend getting the Intel based if you're planning to use lots of plugins.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Machine View Post

I don't think Snoopy has any idea of what he's talking about. I've been using a MacMini with Logic Express (1 GB RAM) for over a year now and no problems. On top of that, MacMinis are the quietest if you do microphone recordings in the same room (and that is when the fan is on, otherwise no noise at all).

I use it together with a Lacie external firewire 120 GB hardrive that looks like a Mini and snaps right under it. The two look like one piece of gear, awsome! I'm also using a Tascam firewire audio interface with no issues. (FW-1804)

Now my desktop has more space and looks fantastic (I also have a bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo). Did I say they're very affordable? To me using a MacMini was a non-brainer. I'd recommend getting the Intel based if you're planning to use lots of plugins.

Thanks for the reply, M-M. That's great news. I'm definitely getting a mini. It'll be my first Mac since the beige G3s
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Machine View Post


I don't think Snoopy has any idea of what he's talking about. I've been using a MacMini with Logic Express (1 GB RAM) for over a year now and no problems. . .


Glad to hear it works well with Logic. I was talking for myself. "The Mini processor is no doubt good enough, but I want a large, desktop hard drive and the ability to add a second drive. Also, I have a MOTU 24-bit A/D converter in one of the PCI slots for recording audio tracks, a model 2408." Naturally, a Mini does not fit my needs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorRobert View Post


. . . I'm definitely getting a mini. It'll be my first Mac since the beige G3s


Cool. We had a beige G3 for music, using MOTU Digital Performer. When we decided to go to Logic Express we had to get a G4 and faster processors. Digital Performer, the older version, did not handle software instruments, which make life easier, IMHO.

Sorry I didn't get back sooner. General Discussion was a bit sleepy for a while, so I haven't visited lately.

post #7 of 12
Hi there
I was interested in this discussion because I'm upgrading from a G4 powerbook 1.5ghz that has real difficulties recording wtih Logic Express. It can't record more than one track at a time without the fan running and regular 'Processor couldn't keep up' type messages. it has 1.25 GB ram so I guess its the hard drive and processor that are the real sticking points. (the M-Audio firewire box works fine)

Would an Intel mac mini be fast enough given that its hard drive is also quite slow?
Or would it be possible to record direct to an external firewire drive at 7200 rpm?

Any insight gratefully rec'd! haven't quite got the 1600 GBP for a Mac Pro (clearly the best option!)
and iMac's fans are way too noisy to use as a recording machine.

cheers all
alex
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Snoopy, glad to hear back from you.

Alex, I know nothing, but it seems the hard drive is not a limitant.

________________________________________
Calculations:

Data flow for recordings in a generous 24 bit, 96 kHz

24 bits * 96 000/s = 2 304 000 bits/s
= 2250 kbits/s = 281.25 kbytes/s

Now, a hard drive, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_drive, should have a transfer rate of at least 44.2 MB/s; but let's say they're talking 7 200 rpm, and only the initial burst, and the OS uses some, and whatever, so let's conservatively put the mini's hard drive at 15 MB/s. The amount of tracks one could have going without hiccups would be:

15 MB/s = 15 360 kB/s

( 15 360 kB/s ) / ( 281.25 kB/s ) = 55
________________________________________


So, there is plenty of room for reading and recording audio files, but the processor has to orchestrate everything and perform the audio processing, etc., so I would say the bottleneck is at the processor, mostly, and a mini would be a big step up for you, particularly if they come out with Core 2 Duos (which has a significant effect in performance, even with no other changes, as shown in http://www.hardmac.com/articles/69/)
post #9 of 12
Thanks Dr Robert! That was a most enlightening post!
As the mac mini's are up to CoreDuo now maybe I will indeed give them a go!

Many thanks for your help
alex


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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by festivalhall View Post

Thanks Dr Robert! That was a most enlightening post!
As the mac mini's are up to CoreDuo now maybe I will indeed give them a go!

Many thanks for your help
alex

Glad to help . Do keep in mind that the mini may be updated soon--I'd say there's an above-50% chance of it being updated in March, and an above-85% chance of an April or March update. The update will probably consist of a Core 2 Duo 1.83 for the entry-level model (which would be noticeable--http://www.hardmac.com/articles/69), and at least something else--the mini's way too poor of a competitor right now, and this update has to last a few months.

Cheers.
post #11 of 12
There's never been a better time to get a Mac for use with Logic, because every machine Apple's selling at the moment is more than capable of handling Logic Pro.
post #12 of 12
I recently purchased my first Mac (ever!) and also bought the Motu Ultralite. I went to the Motu website to download the most recent drivers and I have not been able to get my Mac to recognize the Motu - at all!! I am at my wits end with this thing. To be able to run my show, I have gone out of the headphones jack to my sound board and bypassed the motu altogether. I really don't want to have invested in a 600.00 paperweight. IF anyone knows how to get these two machines to communicate I would appreciate it.
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