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Switching to Mac? Audio Interfaces
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Switching to Mac?

The further I go down this music production rabbet hole the more it feels like I'm better off with a Mac with it's Thunderbolt compatibility. Top of the line Macs are over $4000 but there are lesser models that might be serviceable are around $2000+,,, then there are refurbished Macs that are discounted. Not sure how I feel about refurbished computers but I think they would be alright. Then there is the issue of softwares already purchased for PC and the work involved in re-installing everything. All of this is do-able but not without significant effort and cost. I guess what I'm asking is which Macs would you recommend? I don't really like laptops so an iMac is preferable. My other option is buying a new custom music production PC with Thunderbolt ports, though that looks like about $2500-$3000 investment. thanks for your input!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Poinzy's Avatar
 

When considering a Mac, always ask: "How much do I have to spend?"
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
The iMac is a respectable choice. The iMac Pro is probably out of the price range you're talking about, but it is incredibly well spec'ed and a performance beast for those that need it for a heavy diet of 4K video + music production. In other options, the new Mac Mini is definitely worth a look, as it's much less of a compromise than the line has represented for many years and has user upgradable RAM as a bonus. A new Mac Pro is expected to be announced in 2019 but we know virtually nothing about it at this point beyond that. If you're in no rush you could wait out the announcement to see what it brings to the table.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Addict
Just imagine what kind of computer you can buy for that money...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Sigma's Avatar
lol i paid 1k for a 2x 3.46 ghz 6 core [12 core] with 48 gig ddr 3 ram 2012 body

works great
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Nut
Dante and MADI are more frequent now (Apogee, SPL MAdison, Lynx, RME, etc.) and Thunderbolt 3 is now available on some equipment (Antelope). These communication protocols are fine with a PC. I think that soon there will be no connectivity reasons for going to MacIntosh, PC will be just fine and cheaper. USB-C is also manageable most of the time.

For Thunderbolt 3 you need a motherbard with PCIe rev3 (I think??). My 4 years old I7 is not compatible, I would have to buy a more recent one. If you go to Mac, do it for reasons other than connectivity. For $4000 you can get an SUPER PC with MADI, DANTE or Thunderbolt 3 interface.

Have a great day,
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post
then there are refurbished Macs that are discounted. Not sure how I feel about refurbished computers but I think they would be alright.
For what it's worth, I only buy refurbished Apple products and have never had a problem in the last 10+ years. Refurbished Macs and other Apple products bought from Apple have the same 1-year warranty as a new machine and may undergo more QA than a new machine does. The only limitation is that you can't customize them so if you're looking for very specific specs you may need to buy new. That said, I saved nearly $1,000 off the price of a new Mac Pro last year by waiting until I saw the exact model (32 gigs RAM, 1 terabyte SSD, 2 D700 GPUs) that I wanted in the refurbished store. It has been rock-solid reliable; I do use it for audio but needed that horsepower to run Davinci Resolve (an NLE for video editing and color grading that does all its image processing in the GPU).

Having said all that, as someone who has switched back and forth between Mac and Windows a few times over the years, I wouldn't switch unless there's a very clear reason to do so. Switching from Windows to Mac, or from Mac to Windows, is going to cost you in terms of productivity, not just money for new equipment and software. Yes the two platforms are a lot more similar than they used to be, but different enough that you'll still find yourself wasting time trying to figure out things you knew how to do on the other platform. I'm not referring to cross-platform apps, which should be close to identical (but not always) on each platform, but rather more routine things like printer setup, troubleshooting problems, setting up networks, that kind of stuff. There will be things that make you angry and frustrated (this was so much better on Windows than it is on the Mac, or vice-versa), and there's enough stuff in the world to make us angry already without our computers adding to it.

Only switch if you have to.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
For what it's worth, I only buy refurbished Apple products and have never had a problem in the last 10+ years. Refurbished Macs and other Apple products bought from Apple have the same 1-year warranty as a new machine and may undergo more QA than a new machine does. The only limitation is that you can't customize them so if you're looking for very specific specs you may need to buy new. That said, I saved nearly $1,000 off the price of a new Mac Pro last year by waiting until I saw the exact model (32 gigs RAM, 1 terabyte SSD, 2 D700 GPUs) that I wanted in the refurbished store. It has been rock-solid reliable; I do use it for audio but needed that horsepower to run Davinci Resolve (an NLE for video editing and color grading that does all its image processing in the GPU).

Having said all that, as someone who has switched back and forth between Mac and Windows a few times over the years, I wouldn't switch unless there's a very clear reason to do so. Switching from Windows to Mac, or from Mac to Windows, is going to cost you in terms of productivity, not just money for new equipment and software. Yes the two platforms are a lot more similar than they used to be, but different enough that you'll still find yourself wasting time trying to figure out things you knew how to do on the other platform. I'm not referring to cross-platform apps, which should be close to identical (but not always) on each platform, but rather more routine things like printer setup, troubleshooting problems, setting up networks, that kind of stuff. There will be things that make you angry and frustrated (this was so much better on Windows than it is on the Mac, or vice-versa), and there's enough stuff in the world to make us angry already without our computers adding to it.

Only switch if you have to.
Thanks one and all, you've been very helpful generous with your time. It seems like the "Goldilocks zone" for the specs I'm after costs from $2000 to $3000 for refurbished iMacs or a new Slick PC. I've got extensive PC experience so I'm more confident in my ability to troubleshoot problems with a PC, though the fact that we're collaborating with other band members who live in other states (who use Pro Tools) may make me more open to switching DAW platforms and possibly the computer itself. Still weighing all the options.

thanks again!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post
Thanks one and all, you've been very helpful generous with your time. It seems like the "Goldilocks zone" for the specs I'm after costs from $2000 to $3000 for refurbished iMacs or a new Slick PC. I've got extensive PC experience so I'm more confident in my ability to troubleshoot problems with a PC, though the fact that we're collaborating with other band members who live in other states (who use Pro Tools) may make me more open to switching DAW platforms and possibly the computer itself. Still weighing all the options.

thanks again!
+1 for refurbished macs. Bought a trash can 12 core last year and it's been fantastic for half the cost of a new one.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dethbyoogabooga View Post
+1 for refurbished macs. Bought a trash can 12 core last year and it's been fantastic for half the cost of a new one.
Thanks,,, I'm looking at them closely. I just pulled the trigger on an Apollo x8, need a computer now to handle the Thunderbolt 3.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post
Thanks,,, I'm looking at them closely. I just pulled the trigger on an Apollo x8, need a computer now to handle the Thunderbolt 3.
Apollo 8X is thunderbolt3 and compatible with PC equipped with a recent motherboard. I7 quad core is recommended.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Nut
FWIW, when I started my studio a couple years ago, I was in a very similar situation, debating on PC/MAC and having an interface upgrade dilemma intertwined. I went with a refurbished iMac and UAD Apollo 8 & Twin setup. With the money I saved buying refurbished, I was able to buy a maxed out iMac and still be cheaper than a new one. Still have yet to encounter any issues, thing is rock solid, super fast, and ultra dependable.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
For what it's worth, I only buy refurbished Apple products and have never had a problem in the last 10+ years. Refurbished Macs and other Apple products bought from Apple have the same 1-year warranty as a new machine and may undergo more QA than a new machine does.
Adding my two cents, I bought a MacBook Pro refurb 3 years ago from Apple and its been a nightmare. They've repaired it 6 times now, the data cable to the internal drive kept shorting out, so every few months it would just show a flashing question mark & wouldn't boot. Apple would replace the data cable, only for it to short out again a few months later. They tried drive replacements & the last repair replaced the entire motherboard, since they'd already tried replacing everything else. Every time they repaired it, I had a week of downtime, so I've lost weeks of productivity with this thing, it pushed me into switching back to PC.

YMMV. My father bought a refurb MacBook Air and so far his has been fine, though he only uses it occasionally for Microsoft Word & email.

If you do buy a refurb, consider getting AppleCare to extend your warranty to 3 years, especially if you're in a country that doesn't mandate a 2 year consumer law warranty.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
lol i paid 1k for a 2x 3.46 ghz 6 core [12 core] with 48 gig ddr 3 ram 2012 body

works great
Thats the route Ive been going since about 2003 or so? Last new Mac I bought was a Quicksilver 2002 800Mhz G4 model heh. The G5, 2006 Mac Pro and my current 2010 Mac Pro were all used and did well up until I just couldn't take software of mine being outdated because of my OS. The 2010 is still up to date, cost me another $100 for a used Radeon RX570 to install 10.14, and its still plenty fine for me at this point. I do think in the future, when the time comes, Ill be looking into the Mac mini and finally giving in and going external with everything. Ill miss the old tower but, if Ive got Thunderbolt/USB-C, my drives can always live there and any gaming I do will be on a cheaper to build, more up to date, PC from there on out heh. The Pro is just way out of my price league nowadays.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SyneRyder View Post
Adding my two cents, I bought a MacBook Pro refurb 3 years ago from Apple and its been a nightmare.
Wow, it sounds like an awful experience. To be fair, though, you could have experienced the same nightmares with a brand-new machine; some are just lemons. While Apple has a pretty good reputation for quality, almost every new Mac I bought from 1987 until about 10 years ago (when I started buying refurbished) either came with major hardware problems or developed them within a year or two of purchase. In fact the reason I switched to buying refurbished, apart from the cost savings, was because I read somewhere (from David Pogue, I think), that refurbished Macs actually undergo more QA/QC than new ones do.

In many cases, "refurbished" Macs are actually brand-new machines that were returned in their boxes unopened, from corporate or other customers who ordered too many by mistake or for whatever reason decided to return them without using them. In other cases they are real refurbs, machines that were lightly used and then returned.

I've owned a refurbished MacBook Pro, two iPads, a Mac Mini, and Mac Pro, and all of them have been trouble-free, unlike any of the Macs I bought new over the years. Probably just dumb luck, but it has worked out well for me.

If the operating system weren't so good I would never buy Apple products, though. I hate the fact that they are not user-upgradeable or repairable; for me that adds to the cost.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

What, specifically, makes Thunderbolt ports a necessity NOW that warrants spending $1,000s to do so? Just curious.

By the way, new PCs will have Thunderbolt ports late this year, early next year (supported by the Intel CPU etc).
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i have a 2012 Mac Pro 12 core.

to that i added a UAD OCTO and a SOLO.

i have maxed it out but only once. works real good for me.

im running a firewire system so no thunderbolt.

Buddha
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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didlisquat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
Wow, it sounds like an awful experience. To be fair, though, you could have experienced the same nightmares with a brand-new machine; some are just lemons. While Apple has a pretty good reputation for quality, almost every new Mac I bought from 1987 until about 10 years ago (when I started buying refurbished) either came with major hardware problems or developed them within a year or two of purchase. In fact the reason I switched to buying refurbished, apart from the cost savings, was because I read somewhere (from David Pogue, I think), that refurbished Macs actually undergo more QA/QC than new ones do.

In many cases, "refurbished" Macs are actually brand-new machines that were returned in their boxes unopened, from corporate or other customers who ordered too many by mistake or for whatever reason decided to return them without using them. In other cases they are real refurbs, machines that were lightly used and then returned.

I've owned a refurbished MacBook Pro, two iPads, a Mac Mini, and Mac Pro, and all of them have been trouble-free, unlike any of the Macs I bought new over the years. Probably just dumb luck, but it has worked out well for me.

If the operating system weren't so good I would never buy Apple products, though. I hate the fact that they are not user-upgradeable or repairable; for me that adds to the cost.
I have a refurbished MBP, but think it's lacking in too many respects for the price tag. Some of us can't afford a new gadget every blue moon or two. The operating system although also lacking more than I would like in a world that is supposedly technologically advanced, is more to the point than my experience with PC / Windows.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitocorleone123 View Post
What, specifically, makes Thunderbolt ports a necessity NOW that warrants spending $1,000s to do so? Just curious.

By the way, new PCs will have Thunderbolt ports late this year, early next year (supported by the Intel CPU etc).
The only thing that really makes them a necessity is the fact that Apple dropped everything else and forced it on us.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The only thing that really makes them a necessity is the fact that Apple dropped everything else and forced it on us.
True (I have a MBP and Win PC).

However, the OP was saying they felt the need to go Apple because of Thunderbolt. Despite having money invested elsewhere. Nothing wrong with making a change, but I was just curious why now - especially since it seems $$ is a factor (and PCs will have Thubderbolt natively supported soon ish)
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitocorleone123 View Post
True (I have a MBP and Win PC).

However, the OP was saying they felt the need to go Apple because of Thunderbolt. Despite having money invested elsewhere. Nothing wrong with making a change, but I was just curious why now - especially since it seems $$ is a factor (and PCs will have Thubderbolt natively supported soon ish)
As I search I'm finding that the 2018 Mac Mini can be had more reasonably than the other models and they can be spec'd up nicely. Right now the front runner is a 2018 Mac Mini, 3.2ghz, 6-core Intel i7, 32gb, 1TB SSD,,, (4) TB3 ports. I'll take a closer look at the PCs that are available with TB3.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post
As I search I'm finding that the 2018 Mac Mini can be had more reasonably than the other models and they can be spec'd up nicely. Right now the front runner is a 2018 Mac Mini, 3.2ghz, 6-core Intel i7, 32gb, 1TB SSD,,, (4) TB3 ports. I'll take a closer look at the PCs that are available with TB3.
You will need something like this and a mother board with the right PCie slot version:

ThunderboltEX 3 | Motherboard Accessories | ASUS Canada

Dan
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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These mini desktops from Newegg spec out nicely...

Intel NUC Hades Canyon NUC8I7HNK Premium Small Form Factor Gaming and Business Mini Desktop (Intel 8th Gen i7-8705G, 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, Radeon RX Vega M GL, WiFi, Thunderbolt 3, 4k, Win 10 Pro) - Newegg.com

Intel NUC Hades Canyon NUC8I7HNK Premium Small Form Factor Gaming and Business Mini Desktop PC

• 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8705G quad-core Processor (3.10 GHz upto 4.10 GHz, 8MB Cache)
• Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics
• 32GB DDR4 Memory
• 1TB PCIe SSD (Solid State Drive)
• Windows 10 Professional (Win 10 Pro)
• 2x 10/100/1000, Intel Wireless-AC 8265 + Bluetooth 4.2
• USB3, 2x USB 3.1g2 (Type A and C); R: 4x USB3, 2x Thunderbolt3 (USB3.1g2); INT: 2x USB2, 2x USB3, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 Gen2, Dual M.2 slots with PCIe x4 lanes, SDXC with UHS-I support, CEC, 2x USB2.0, 2x USB 3.0, FRONT_PANEL
• 4k Support
• Dimensions (L x W x H): 10.8 x 7.8 x 4.8"
• Weight: 6.4 lbs
• 1 Year Manufacture warranty from the Seller
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post
These mini desktops from Newegg spec out nicely...

Intel NUC Hades Canyon NUC8I7HNK Premium Small Form Factor Gaming and Business Mini Desktop (Intel 8th Gen i7-8705G, 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, Radeon RX Vega M GL, WiFi, Thunderbolt 3, 4k, Win 10 Pro) - Newegg.com

Intel NUC Hades Canyon NUC8I7HNK Premium Small Form Factor Gaming and Business Mini Desktop PC

• 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8705G quad-core Processor (3.10 GHz upto 4.10 GHz, 8MB Cache)
• Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics
• 32GB DDR4 Memory
• 1TB PCIe SSD (Solid State Drive)
• Windows 10 Professional (Win 10 Pro)
• 2x 10/100/1000, Intel Wireless-AC 8265 + Bluetooth 4.2
• USB3, 2x USB 3.1g2 (Type A and C); R: 4x USB3, 2x Thunderbolt3 (USB3.1g2); INT: 2x USB2, 2x USB3, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 Gen2, Dual M.2 slots with PCIe x4 lanes, SDXC with UHS-I support, CEC, 2x USB2.0, 2x USB 3.0, FRONT_PANEL
• 4k Support
• Dimensions (L x W x H): 10.8 x 7.8 x 4.8"
• Weight: 6.4 lbs
• 1 Year Manufacture warranty from the Seller
I'm liking the specs and small footprint but I'm concerned about fan noise on this mini PC,,,
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Why do you think you need thunderbolt? Do you require ultra low latency? I'm a life long Mac guy and I can't justify giving Apple even $2000 for what they're releasing now. If you really want to spend $4k wait until the new Mac Pro is announced likely this summer.

I'm eyeing a 12 core 2010 Mac Pro to replace my 2006. I'd like thunderbolt but PCIe works for now and the forseeable future. I'd go Mac Mini but I'd have about the same CPU power as I have now in my 8 core and only gain Thunderbolt.

How much power do you really need? Any recent PC should do fine in just about any area. If I didn't use Logic Pro I can't say I'd still be a Mac guy in the Tim Cook era.

Last edited by L-Fire; 1 week ago at 03:30 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #26
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The only thing that really makes them a necessity is the fact that Apple dropped everything else and forced it on us.
some people are still sore that Apple dropped the floppy disk before everyone else as well....
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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bambamboom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dscuyamungue View Post

I just pulled the trigger on an Apollo x8, need a computer now to handle the Thunderbolt 3.
Apollo X is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt. You just need an adapter.

I would recommend Mac Mini. Great bang for the buck for studio use, and recent models can handle very large sessions with ease.

Absolutely check out the Apple Refurbs. I have bought all my Macs this way and it has always worked out wonderfully.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
some people are still sore that Apple dropped the floppy disk before everyone else as well....
Apple drops everything first and after a year or so of whining the rest of the industry follows. Funny how that happens over and over again. I'd call their ability to drop widely used protocols and have the entire industry soon follow innovation.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Muser's Avatar
I thought apples USB C connector carried legacy protocols. I was under the impression, even firewire.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L-Fire View Post
Why do you think you need thunderbolt? Do you require ultra low latency? I'm a life long Mac guy and I can't justify giving Apple even $2000 for what they're releasing now. If you really want to spend $4k wait until the new Mac Pro is announced likely this summer.

I'm eyeing a 12 core 2010 Mac Pro to replace my 2006. I'd like thunderbolt but PCIe works for now and the forseeable future. I'd go Mac Mini but I'd have about the same CPU power as I have now in my 8 core and only gain Thunderbolt.

How much power do you really need? Any recent PC should do fine in just about any area. If I didn't use Logic Pro I can't say I'd still be a Mac guy in the Tim Cook era.
My Apollo X8 purchase is driving the TB3 requirement. I know that there are TB2 and Firewire options with the Apollo (and with the computer options as well), but I wanted to go with the more recent and robust tech, hopefully this will serve me for a long time. So far I've only found a few PCs that are similarly spec'd with on board TB3,,, there's Slick with nice setups but no real cost savings,,, there's Newegg with Mini-PCs that may have a fan noise problem. There's another company,, ADK or AKG or something, nice units but they're pricier than the Mac mini
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