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Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Discussion of Digital Performer use, optimization, tips and techniques on MacOS.

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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby bayswater » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:12 am

James Steele wrote:
Prime Mover wrote:Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.


Cool. Just tell me what I do with my UAD-2 Duo, PCIe-424 and my HD192 and 24 I/O?
I think you would just keep using them as you are now, and when it comes time to upgrade the Mac, instead of one large box, you would get an external unit for the cards, external drive cases, maybe an external burner (also becoming obsolete in Apple Land) and one or more CPUs in small boxes (a la Mini) and link them together with something like TB.

But eventually, none of it will work. I have three large blue Rubbermaid tubs under the stairs full of stuff that won't work with a Mac any more. Most of it won't work on a PC either.

Despite its strengths, Apple has never placed much priority on supporting old technologies, particularly when they have been so successful selling newer alternatives.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby James Steele » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:17 am

bayswater wrote:
James Steele wrote:
Prime Mover wrote:Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.


Cool. Just tell me what I do with my UAD-2 Duo, PCIe-424 and my HD192 and 24 I/O?
I think you would just keep using them as you are now, and when it comes time to upgrade the Mac, instead of one large box, you would get an external unit for the cards, external drive cases, maybe an external burner (also becoming obsolete in Apple Land) and one or more CPUs in small boxes (a la Mini) and link them together with something like TB.

But eventually, none of it will work. I have three large blue Rubbermaid tubs under the stairs full of stuff that won't work with a Mac any more. Most of it won't work on a PC either.

Despite its strengths, Apple has never placed much priority on supporting old technologies, particularly when they have been so successful selling newer alternatives.


No... I know things obsolesce over time. But really, as long as MOTU supports older Apple hardware I'll be staying back for a while. I'll let those of you who want/need the latest, greatest hardware offerings from Apple have it. But basically every Mac sold currently still supports my PCIe cards and since I'm doing basic rock type songs, and have been getting by with a MacPro 1,1... I'll maybe eventually get a used 8 core for cheap and keep working for as long as I can.

I used to try to keep up with the latest MacOS and all of that, but Lion ruined that for me anyway. Snow Leopard is going to be where I will stay for a long time, barring I get some obscene windfall and can ditch all my PCIe stuff and buy new interfaces, etc. But as you said, maybe an expansion chassis solution will be forthcoming.

If I wanted to go through the hassle, this would probably be an opportune time to unload all the PCI-based hardware. If I *had* the money, I'd be looking at the UAD Apollo. Heck, I hear the preamps are good. I could unloaded my Millennia HV-3C preamp as well to make the transition.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby bayswater » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:47 am

So James, it seems it doesn't really matter much to you what Apple does over the next two years. You have what you need and it has lifespan.

I'm in that boat. My UAD-1 PCI is in a G5 and accessible from an iMac running DP via ADAT. As long as the G5 runs, I can do what I need. I'm getting past always having the most recent OS. The critical moment comes when the 828, 2408 or G5 stop working. At that point, my options may be a PC or Apollo.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Prime Mover » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:09 am

James Steele wrote:...have been getting by with a MacPro 1,1... I'll maybe eventually get a used 8 core for cheap and keep working for as long as I can.


Hate to break it to ya, but the 1,1 can't be upgraded to 8 cores. The best we can possibly get is 3Ghz 4 cores (twin 2 cores), and that's about $800 right now. Maybe you can replace the main board, but that's about $1500, and there's no guarentee that the new mainboard will have the same footprint, and you'll have to replace the power supply too, so you might as well buy a new Mac Pro. The 1,1/2 was the wayward step child of the Pro line. They changed a lot of the architecture the next year.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby James Steele » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:37 am

Prime Mover wrote:
James Steele wrote:...have been getting by with a MacPro 1,1... I'll maybe eventually get a used 8 core for cheap and keep working for as long as I can.


Hate to break it to ya, but the 1,1 can't be upgraded to 8 cores. The best we can possibly get is 3Ghz 4 cores (twin 2 cores), and that's about $800 right now. Maybe you can replace the main board, but that's about $1500, and there's no guarentee that the new mainboard will have the same footprint, and you'll have to replace the power supply too, so you might as well buy a new Mac Pro. The 1,1/2 was the wayward step child of the Pro line. They changed a lot of the architecture the next year.


Please re-read my post. I said nothing about UPGRADING my MacPro 1,1... I was talking about BUYING A USED 8-CORE in the future. Thanks.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Prime Mover » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:29 pm

Ah, by 8-core I thought you just meant the processor. Sorry 'bout that.

I'm a little peaved, though, that I can't upgrade my Mac Pro more. That's the whole reason I bought it, and I purposefully got the lowest model possible (which was more than adiquate at the time) so that I could throw in more, better processors later. Silly me, thinking a tower could be upgraded!
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby James Steele » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:24 pm

Prime Mover wrote:Ah, by 8-core I thought you just meant the processor. Sorry 'bout that.

I'm a little peaved, though, that I can't upgrade my Mac Pro more. That's the whole reason I bought it, and I purposefully got the lowest model possible (which was more than adiquate at the time) so that I could throw in more, better processors later. Silly me, thinking a tower could be upgraded!


Hmmm... I really don't think in those terms when it comes to Macs. I've done processor upgrades in older machines, but generally processor swaps is something that it seems to me is more the domain of the generic Wintel boxes?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Splinter » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:24 am

James:

If you've been following this thread, I'm in the same boat as you, only with an older tower - a Dual 1.8 G5 - with a 2408mkIII and HD192. I have no reason to get rid of the interfaces, their great, but considering the cost, and potential demise, of a MacPro, I'm reluctant to dive in. I'm seriously considering cutting my losses and just going all Firewire and TB.

So, I'm still wondering for those who run DP on a laptop or iMac, how is your performance with DP and track throughput, what sort of I/O and drive configurations are you running, are you using multiple interfaces, and how does it compare to performance on a MacPro?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:31 am

I recently did a 1.5 hour live show where I recorded 16 channels onto my 2010 macbook pro using a Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 (firewire). No problems. I even recorded directly onto the system HD. The macbook pro seems well suited to doing this kind of stuff-- recording, mixing, mastering. Where it fails is doing MIDI composition with lots of tracks. Then you need some kind of a slave PC. Don't forget that if you go with the new MBPro you need to buy the thunderbolt display (way overpriced) because it's the only way to connect an external monitor. At least with the TB display you get additional USB (2.0!), FW, and ethernet ports. EDIT: there are various adapters out there that convert thunderbolt.
Last edited by mhurwitz on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby bayswater » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:30 am

mhurwitz wrote:I recently did a 1.5 hour live show where I recorded 16 channels onto my 2010 macbook pro using a Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 (firewire). No problems. I even recorded directly onto the system HD. The macbook pro seems well suited to doing this kind of stuff-- recording, mixing, mastering. Where it fails is doing MIDI composition with lots of tracks. Then you need some kind of a slave PC. Don't forget that if you go with the new MBPro you need to buy the thunderbolt display (way overpriced) because it's the only way to connect an external monitor. At least with the TB display you get additional USB (2.0!), FW, and ethernet ports.

I also have a 2010 MBP, and didn't consider that it would be able to do all this. I'm keen to give it a try. Are you using the original drive that came with the MBP?

On monitors, are there no converters that let you use a more conventional video display? E.g., wouldn't something like this work? http://www.amazon.ca/EnjoyGadgets-Thund ... B006GFPQWA
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:32 am

Yes, original HD. I set the buffer to 1024. Keep in mind that this is with no FX, just the dry tracks. Any FX processing for the live sound was done in the Studiolive. RE: Display. Yes, OK, I take that back. It seems there are various thunderbolt adapters out there.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Splinter » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:16 am

Thank, guys. This is great info. It's also got me thinking about going with a Firewire console for I/O. What do you think about the Presonus? Can anyone compare the Mackie Onyx to the ZED-R16 to the Midas Venice F or others I'm not thinking of with a MOTU Firewire interface? How do the drivers fair with DP? Is this a reasonable road to go for a studio setup and what are the trade offs?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Prime Mover » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:50 am

I have a 2011 13" MBP. However, I replaced the original drive with a 500GB 7200rpm, and it works very well (battery drain took a hit, but worth it). I recorded a 10 track studio session, with live VIs, then proceeded to edit it with serious processing intensive effects (Waves). It runs circles around my 2007 Mac Pro. I mean, I'm sure if I had a 12-core, 3.3Ghz Mac Pro with 16GB of RAM, it would do cartwheels, but I haven't run into any big walls with the CPU yet. Well, I did experience some slowdown, but trashing prefs and repairing permissions solved that.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:02 am

YMMV. I strongly dislike firewire. So much that I'm all PCIe now. For one, FW is just a flimsy connection. It's too easy to knock it out of the socket. Also, I often have problems with firewire failing to initialize...especially after a sample rate change. But for portability it can't be beat, I guess (except by thunderbolt?). But for me the real reason to go PCIe is that I get lower latencies with PCIe than firewire. Latency is a huge deal when it comes to MIDI composition but not so much for audio tracking/mixing/mastering. The Studilive is great if you do live shows. It's not so great for high end studio production, mainly because the preamps are not particularly nice sounding.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Prime Mover » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:13 pm

Ya know, I've noticed that Firewire and MIDI don't play nicely. Not sure what it is, but I suspect there's something going on with the CoreMIDI framework and firewire controller. USB MIDI is a lot more solid in my experience. I have a cheapo Roland USB MIDI cable, and it runs circles around my 828mkII and 8pre MIDI ports. Your bad taste of firewire may be limited to MIDI only, which IMO, is not a particularly important point. I'd be curious to see whether there's much difference between PCIe and USB2.

The fact is, is that at the speeds we're talking,these data streams shouldn't matter. MIDI itself is magnitudes slower than USB, Firewire, or PCIe. All of these data streams are extremely low latency, in of themeselves. There's no human alive that can detect an auditory delay of that short of time. So the bottleneck is in the driver and controller. This means that it's certainly possible for Firewire with poor MIDI drivers to be poorer than its slower USB counterpart. It's even plausible for USB MIDI to outperform PCI if the drivers are more streamlined, even if the actual data speed is about 1/10th of the speed.

My point is, don't judge an entire protocol by one particular function. Firewire spins cartwheels around USB in almost every application, ESPECIALLY audio, but it appears that Apple may have botched the drivers for MIDI... or maybe it's MOTU. Never-the-less, USB MIDI is so solid, I don't even care. I just hook up a cheap USB interface alongside a Firewire audio interface, and I'm off.

Gotta dissagree about the physical connecton, though. Firewire 400 is anything but flimsey in my experience, and Fire 800 is just plain solid.
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