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Using bog-standard macbook for 8-track recording? Audio Interfaces
Old 29th December 2010
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Using bog-standard macbook for 8-track recording?

I'm thinking of getting something like the alesis 8 (usb2) interface (ALESIS MULTIMIX 8 USB 2.0 - U.K. International Cyberstore) to do some basic multi-track recording with my band.

The fastest computer we have available to us at the moment is the drummer's standard macbook, he tells me the specs are:

mac OS X version 10.5.8
2.1 GHz intel core 2 Duo
1GB
667MHz
DDR2 SDRAM

I've come at recording/mixing from a musical background, and before getting into it had no more knowledge of computers than average joe, so I don't really have much of an idea of whether it'll be able to handle tracking 8+ tracks at once, but this thread:

32 track recording to macbook pro

and the fact that I've mixed on that mac before with 12+ tracks all heavily processed with plug-ins, automation etc. with no problems gives me a bit of confidence.

Would appreciate any estimates of how that computer'd perform with that interface, though...
cheers
Old 29th December 2010
  #2
Your greatest bottleneck in performance is of course the RAM; Only 1gb? RAM is so cheap these days, do yourselves a favour: Chip in together to buy some extra RAM and a better HDD than the one the MacBook ships with.

I don't recommend using a MacBook with any audio applications with less than 3gb of RAM.

Also: Snow Leopard is a much less resource intensive OS. I highly suggest upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard as well.
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammy Havoc View Post
Your greatest bottleneck in performance is of course the RAM; Only 1gb? RAM is so cheap these days, do yourselves a favour: Chip in together to buy some extra RAM and a better HDD than the one the MacBook ships with.

I don't recommend using a MacBook with any audio applications with less than 3gb of RAM.

Also: Snow Leopard is a much less resource intensive OS. I highly suggest upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard as well.
Cheers for the reply - I'll talk to him about this. He was already thinking about upgrading the RAM, and it looks like you might be able to get 4GB for $100 or so, which looks great.
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
Add some ram.........have tracked 16 at once with 4gb ram and 2.4 duo macbookpro. Tracking 8 you should be fine. Writing the audio to an external drive is recommended also (7200 rpm FW800 is what I use)

Tracking is not so intensive, Its when you get 16 tracks ready to mix and you start adding EQ's, compressors, Reverbs, and all the plugins that will tax your system more than the tracking.

When your internal drive starts getting full the performance will suffer and tracking 8 at once will fill it up fast.

As for the Alesis.........not a fan. There are many rack units with 8 pres that are well worth the extra cash and expandable later on and much better quality.

Mackie Blackbird (ADAT capable for adding another)
Presonus Firestudio project (no ADAT)
are two I can think of that are both $500
Thats the average price range for 8 ch as far as entry level goes.
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
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Definitely upgrade the RAM but then try it out before upgrading other stuff.

I use a 6 year old black Macbook which is 2ghz +2GB Ram with a 5400 internal drive. I've tracked 8 tracks at the same time with no problems. i use an M-Audio interface, so don't know about the Alesis.

I'm still on Leopard 10.5.8 and Logic 8 btw - different OS and Logic might make a difference.

As for mixing, so long as you don't go bananas with plug ins, especially the CPU intensive ones like amp sims, virtual insts and Space Designer you should be ok. Ypu can always freeze or bounce if things get tight.

Last edited by PrettyGone; 30th December 2010 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: More...
Old 31st December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manfrensengensen View Post
Add some ram.........have tracked 16 at once with 4gb ram and 2.4 duo macbookpro. Tracking 8 you should be fine. Writing the audio to an external drive is recommended also (7200 rpm FW800 is what I use)

Tracking is not so intensive, Its when you get 16 tracks ready to mix and you start adding EQ's, compressors, Reverbs, and all the plugins that will tax your system more than the tracking.
Maybe the drummer gave me the wrong specs, because I've used his macbook for mixing before and I've had 12 or more tracks running, pretty heavy on the processing, and there've been no problems. If mixing is more intensive than tracking then it should be alright as is, shouldn't it? (although I'll still recommend he upgrades RAM, unless he was waaaay off with the specs...)

Cheers for the tip about recording to external harddrive - just chatting to my bassist, he has a 500gb USB2 harddrive, should work a treat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manfrensengensen View Post
As for the Alesis.........not a fan. There are many rack units with 8 pres that are well worth the extra cash and expandable later on and much better quality.

Mackie Blackbird (ADAT capable for adding another)
Presonus Firestudio project (no ADAT)
are two I can think of that are both $500
Thats the average price range for 8 ch as far as entry level goes.
Cheers for the recommendations, I've checked those out and they look great, but I need a USB interface - the macbook he has hasn't got a firewire plug, unfortunately :(.



Quote:
Originally Posted by PrettyGone View Post
Definitely upgrade the RAM but then try it out before upgrading other stuff.

I use a 6 year old black Macbook which is 2ghz +2GB Ram with a 5400 internal drive. I've tracked 8 tracks at the same time with no problems. i use an M-Audio interface, so don't know about the Alesis.

I'm still on Leopard 10.5.8 and Logic 8 btw - different OS and Logic might make a difference.

As for mixing, so long as you don't go bananas with plug ins, especially the CPU intensive ones like amp sims, virtual insts and Space Designer you should be ok. Ypu can always freeze or bounce if things get tight.
Thanks man - I've had a nightmare of a time mixing stuff on my own laptop, it gets up to about a dozen tracks (less with heavy processing/automation) and then just goes nuts. I think I had about six or seven different files for the last thing I mixed, because I had to keep bouncing stuff down to save CPU...
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