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8 years PC use ... ZERO knowledge of Macs ... been given an eMac ... options??
Old 29th July 2005
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar
🎧 15 years
8 years PC use ... ZERO knowledge of Macs ... been given an eMac ... options??

Pheeeew ... this is like sticking your head out of a car window in a narrow road surrounded by dense bush/trees, closing your eyes and hoping for the best, but here goes.

Aside from audio applications, I have been working with (hard and software) IBM computers for 8 years and believe it or not, where I live the Apple Mac is an unknown entity ... no support ... no shops etc.

I currently use Cubase SX3 running on a Pentium 4 2.4ghz with 1gb of DDR Ram and started out WAAAAY back in the days of a 386 running windows 3.1 and Cakewalk Version 3 .... so I completely understand (almost from a "technical" or should I say "technician's" point of view) what type of machine I could work on and what I could expect to get out of it.

Now ... a friend of mine here wants to literally GIVE me an eMac.

I have NO IDEA right now what speed processor it has and so on and I also have NO IDEA what to look for in Macs .... I know he bought it brand new around 2 years ago and has never used it (another friend of mine who bought one for his graphic design business around the same time seems to think that it probably has a 1ghz processor).

Even if I went and spent a week researching online, I would probably end up at the top end of the game with the latest info etc .... so that is why I am posting my question here.

Firstly ... I use an analogue console and outboard equipment, so my use of the software environment is PURELY for virtual tape machine and editing facilities.

I am not one of those 90 + track mix gluttons ... I seldom go above 24 for my music .... BUT ... I do find myself doing a few outside projects from time to time.

I would like to DABBLE with a ProTools setup and will ONLY BE DOING THIS because of the "free" Mac that may well be lurking in my house next week luring my motivations.

So I guess this thread should have been headed "Newbie" or something like that, but that is not really the case.

So ... the scenario is as follows :

You get given an eMac (let us say for arguments sake it is around a 1ghz processor with 256 - 512mb Ram and the drive is irrelevant) and you now go and look for some ProTools hardware to get on the bus at this late stage in the game.

A. Will the Mac hold up (no plugins expected ... looking for maximum 16 simultaneous tracks down at any one time and let us say 32 on playback).

B. What hardware setup will work with this Mac (would like to have 16 individual inputs and 24 - 32 individual outputs if possible).

Thanks for any help and comments guys.

Old 29th July 2005
Lives for gear
stag's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Sell it and spend the money on beer ... or upgrade your PC.
Not that MACs are good or bad, i don´t know either, but why loosing time to learn it when the bottom line is music???
Nevertheless i heard of interesting plugs that only run on MAC like the Altiverb and Zebra... Well give it a try and then trade it for beer.

Old 29th July 2005 | Show parent
Reptil's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
free emac.. mmmm
lots of nice freeware for that, give PT a try, or some other app
macs are easy to learn, even for diehard pc guys
so you could make this a email, internet machine, and keep the pc for studio
macs are perfect for internet duties, much better protection.. (out of the box that is)
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
Gear Guru
theblue1's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I'd keep it, all things being equal. The resale value would be quite small, from what I've seen. And it can't hurt to be conversant on as many platforms as possible. The Mac may not have a big slice of the overall pie -- but in audio, it's still a significant presence. (And, of course, in prepress graphics, it's the de facto standard.)

The eMac actually has the best performing HD system of any but the top of the current Mac lineup (at least as of a few months ago). It outperforms all but high end PowerMacs with RAID setups, as I recall. (You can compare various aspects of Mac model performance here:

With regard to "easy to learn"... yuh, I dunno. I'd read fairly extensively about OS X and its GUI, had a number of walkthroughs with friends, and sat over the shoulder of a number of Mac users -- but when a G4 Powerbook dropped in my lap for a couple weeks, I was flummoxed by how much OS X looks like XP but acts so differently.

Most of that was just things like button placement and 'inverted' functionalities (click on the top bar of a window in Windows and it pops up to maximize or down to float -- do it in the Mac with an open window and the window disappears...) And, don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything inherently better or worse in the way either of the platforms does things -- but they are different in quirky little ways that can throw you at first.

I was (secretly) almost a little afraid that I'd "fall in love with" the OS X GUI.

Not to worry... even though I'd built up this idea that the Mac had a much more logical and straightforward system access structure -- I found that the reality was often quite hard to intuit. I had to call my Mac pals more than a few times just to sort out what seemed like the simplest of issues. These are things that you get past, of course. But I was surprised, nonetheless.

All that said, I've lately found myself showing my clients how to do some things on their Macs that they didn't know how to do.

One client had a bunch of Photoshop PSP files that needed to be saved down to JPGs. I asked him about batch processing and he didn't know what I was talking about. So I called up his graphic artist, a guy whose been using a Mac for about 10 years to ask him. He said, funny enough, he'd just called his Mac guru to ask him how to do it and he said it was "too hard" and "not worth the effort."

Since we had something like 90 files to convert there was no way I was going to go with that...

It took me a while to figure out the fuddle-brained Adobe nomenclature (those people really are idiots) but once I figured out their somewhat odd terminology [someone buy those dorks a dictionary!] it really wasn't hard at all to "record" the process and plug it into their batch processor.

Cracked me the hell up.

Someone should have asked that "guru" to hand convert all the files. Hopefully he'll do some time in computer purgatory doing just that... heh
Old 1st August 2005 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
Bones's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the link ... it does help to get some pointers as I am sure we all know that researching ONE little issue out of the MILLIONS of "items on the list" can take a very long time!!

I do agree with the suggestions to stick to what I know etc, but I am interested in getting a look at Pro Tools.
I am not keen on the PT-Lite route and also not to keen on the Digi001 route etc ....... why? ..... hmmmmm ..... good question ...... it MUST be that damn GearSlut alter ego popping its damn head up again!! Down boy!!

I have seen (and that is about that ... just SEEN) the PT hardware since the mid 90's in such magazines as Sound on Sound etc, but as I gathered right up front that it was basically Mac hardware, I did not even read ONE of the supporting articles etc, so it is really tricky to go back now and research the various hardware options and the related "machine" requirements.

Even though the latest, greatest PT systems are probably the way to go, I am keen to rather go for a used hardware setup that simply gives me (as commented on) a system that works and allows me to get on with the music.

Anyone got any suggestions on PT hardware to "start off" with (12 - 16 in and 24 - 32 out)??

Old 1st August 2005 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Check out Mac Update for lots of freeware, shareware, etc...

It's funny, but I had a similar experience to theblue1 when using Windows XP Pro. To me, System Preferences in Mac OS X is more logical than Control Panel in XP. Other than that, you just need to know that the Utilities (such as Disk Utility) are in Applications/Utilities.

I'm sure it's mainly just a matter of familiarity though. I do agree that you have to worry a lot less about viruses and worms and junk on Mac as opposed to PC, so the suggestion to use it as an internet machine is a good one.
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