Advice for laptop for recording

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TimWalter
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Advice for laptop for recording

Post by TimWalter » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:36 pm

Hello all
I need a portable recording option to record live events using my Apollo quad. It is thunderbolt, but also has firewire ports in the back.
Probably looking at tracking a max of 18 tracks (8 with the apollo, 8 using ADAT into apollo and if need be, another 2 using spdif in to the apollo, but probably not needing those last 2)

I am looking at one of the used old style Apple laptops. I have about 3 or 4 of these that crapped out on me and I kept the carcasses, so I have lots of parts, including larger 7200 rpm hard drives, 4gb RAM, etc).

If I buy one of these for about $130, put 4gb ram in it, a 7200 rpm internal drive, use a 7200 rpm external drive via USB for the audio, get an 800 to 400 Firewire converter, I am thinking I can have a mobile rig for less than $150. Or am I deluding myself? All the lap top wold be doing is recording the tracks, no processing.
Id like to use Logic Pro, but wonder if I can transfer the one I purchased and have on my imac to the new old laptop (Apple probably wont allow that, but that might require another $200,unless I use Garageband and export the files into Logic).

Thoughts, comments, opinions and experiences?

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-MacBook-MB ... B0013FRA0O

Tim
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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by Len911 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:19 pm

Probably looking at tracking a max of 18 tracks
Processor speed
I have about 3 or 4 of these that crapped out on me and I kept the carcasses, so I have lots of parts, including larger 7200 rpm hard drives, 4gb RAM, etc).
You have to determine which parts work, and if they are compatible. The hard drives likely will, but ram?? Ram is matched to the motherboard.
It is thunderbolt, but also has firewire ports in the back.
more considerations
http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/uni ... dio-apollo
Before going any further, I should mention that the Apollo won't play nicely with all Apple hardware, and requires OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or higher. I discovered this the hard way when the 15-inch Macbook Pro (model 3,1) I wanted to use turned out to be the only completely incompatible Intel-based Macbook Pro! The Apollo also won't work with any PowerPC, nor will it work alongside any UAD1 devices. A number of MacBook Pro models with FW800 ports will only work at FW400 speeds, too, apparently — full information can be found on UA's web site.
The good news,lol, is that if all you are doing is capturing the live tracks with no processing, there are plenty other options besides garage band, or Logic. The focus is probably more about thunderbolt or firewire.
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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by TimWalter » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:01 pm

Arghhh Len, you found a very very important point I had so far missed. The minimum OS requirement... Yes, I looked in my manual, and none of these old styles would support the updated OS required to be compatible with the Apollo... wow. Glad you caught that.


Thanks for taking the time to look up the SOS article. Very much appreciated.

Tim
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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by Len911 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:53 pm

Tim, here's what I'm thinking, a used or refurbished laptop or mini, sell the carcasses
http://www.macofalltrades.com/

There should be a way to use Logic on more than one computer, I use Cubase and it has a usb dongle with the license making it transportable.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3711263?tstart=0

looks like ram and hdd speed might be more important than processor speed??
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c ... nnels.html
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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by orest » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:06 am

Hi there!

You're looking for a model like this I guess:? (it's a mean machine)
http://apple-history.com/mbp_15_mid_12

I use Logic X on my Macbook Pro late 2011 (which has what you are looking for) and on my Mac Pro late 2013.
I've downloaded and installed it through apple store using my apple ID. It seems to work just fine on 2 machines!

Are you only recording audio on your portable setup? if so, an older HD will do fine. You should also be fine with around 8 gig of ram.
If you are recording VI's you should use 16 gig of ram and the newer typ of hard drive called SSD.

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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by cardell » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:18 am

I've found mixing/recording on a laptop to be extremely useful! I've taken my setup around to friends places to record their parts. It's quite fun.

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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by andygabrys » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:01 pm

there are a number of people that have bought the Macbook Pro from 2011 or early 2012 before they went to the retina display with glued in ram and ditched the DVD drive.

Robbie Hancock just bought one (on my recommendation and specs) and I think Matt Moss has one as well.

These are usually running for $1,000 and less. This is an example: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/D322LG5B8GDS/

They have thunderbolt 1 ports on them so you can directly connect your apollo.

Ram is going for about $85 / 16 gigs from Macsales.com right now.

Storage - , and you can either run a single 5400 rpm drive, or upgrade to single 7200 rpm hard drive, or replace it with an SSD. Currently the Samsung 850 EVO is hard to beat (5 yr warranty and cheap per GB space - although the 850 pro has a crazy long warranty, and it could be the last system drive you ever buy).

the 5400 RPM might be too slow to do live recording with a significant number of tracks so its worth upgrading.

This era of MBP has the DVD drive which can be removed (easy to do even for a novice at computer tweaking) to add the OWC data doubler (from macsales.com) and add another SSD inside the machine.

So this would allow you to have a lot of power for recording, working mobile with sample libraries etc.

HTH.

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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by orest » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:45 pm

Andy, that's exactly what I did with my late 2011 MacBook Pro.
I threw out the superdrive, made it external and bought another SSD and installed it. The only thing is that it's a SATA-3 connection instead of a SATA-6 on that slot (the superdrive slot).

But, 2 SSD drives and 16 gig of ram worked 3 years for me until i needed more juice. Now I use my Mac Pro and it's a totally different machine (a monster).
But, if you're not running hundreds of VI's, a MacBook Pro will do just fine!

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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by andygabrys » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:50 pm

orest wrote:Andy, that's exactly what I did with my late 2011 MacBook Pro.
I threw out the superdrive, made it external and bought another SSD and installed it. The only thing is that it's a SATA-3 connection instead of a SATA-6 on that slot (the superdrive slot).

But, 2 SSD drives and 16 gig of ram worked 3 years for me until i needed more juice. Now I use my Mac Pro and it's a totally different machine (a monster).
But, if you're not running hundreds of VI's, a MacBook Pro will do just fine!
Great! I had a feeling in the back of my memory I remembered you doing that. It was a 2.0 Ghz MBP and you had a PC laptop that you sometimes networked to it just to run samples right?

Yes that new Mac Pro must be awesome. I'll have to make do with my 5,1 :lol:

I suppose even if the DVD drive were SATA II (3.0 gb/s) you could just reverse your selection for which disk you run your OS on - so its actually running on the SATA II and the other drive (samples whatever) is running on the SATA III (6.0gb/s) right?

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Re: Advice for laptop for recording

Post by TimWalter » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:08 pm

Ok, just to close the loop, here is what I ended up doing:

I bought 2012 Macbook Pro, (Apple MacBook Pro A1278 Intel i5 2.5ghz/4GB/500GB/13.3" MD101LL\A 9,2) for $499 and free shipping (a store on Ebay).. even includes some software (Microsoft Office 2011). its a really nice computer. they really upgraded the feel of the keyboard since the 2008 era Apple laptops (which is the last era laptop I used).

Yes, as mentioned above, I was able to log into the Apple App store and download Logic Pro 10 onto the laptop no problem.

i ordered an adat cable, dug out the Fostex 160 that hadnt seen the light of day in probably 5 years, hooked it up and tried to figure out how to get my apollo and the fostex to speak to each other. First I had to find the Fostex manual, which took probably 3 hours, (lol) it should have been in the case with the fostex but it wasnt, and since I moved last year, had to go through numerous boxes to find it. Finally found that, and started trying to decipher how to do that. Seems their intent was to use the ADAT to mainly bring signals into the Fostex and have the fostex record it (with their 16 bit and older, more inferior A/D conversion), but I found a work around. Finally got them to speak to each other, and now in business!!!

Have a gig Sat nite, and plan to try and record the entire 4 hours of music.... vocals and other important tracks will be on my Apollo, other tracks above the 8 on the apollo will be relegated to the Fostex and its older, inferior 16 bit, and less pristine A/D.. Still, the end result will be miles ahead of a 2 channel recording of gigs off the monitor mix that we have been using.... excited!

Thanks for all your advice and comments.

Tim
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Tim Walter
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