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Topic: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

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  1. #1

    MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Perhaps a Mac guru can help sort out my current brain freeze regarding DAWs.

    If someone had a decently spec-ed PC but wanted the advantages of MAC software and UI, what are the possibilities, advantages/disadvantages in terms of networking, say, a Mac Mini as the 'sequencing/UI' computer to the 'sample library/audio storage' PC? (I say Mac Mini because I have a plan. Its too complicated to get into here, but I will eventually have a PowerMac.)

    The deal is that I had the opportunity to buy a new PC desktop for the express purpose of music, and I regret the decision. I am in a financial position to move to Mac via the Mac Mini initially and am wondering if I can stop-gap until I get the finances together to get a PowerMac and either ditch the PC or relegate it to office duty. I will be doing a large variety of projects ranging from orchestral mock-ups to demos to backing tracks.

    1. If I have sample libraries - for instance a certain Kontakt-orientated orchestral lib - on the PC and want to trigger/record them with Logic, what RAM resources are used, the MAC's or the PC's? Is this a 'Rewire' thing?

    2. If I record audio via Logic, can the audio data be 'ported' to the PC for storage? Even during recording? Or is this a pipe dream.

    3. In terms of audio interfaces - which computer does the audio interface have to be plugged into? If I want to record with Logic, is it possible via networking to utlize inputs on the PC? Or vice versa? Or does the interface have to be plugged into the machine doing the recording (that sounds silly even asking it).

    4. Should I even worry about this and give up my lust for MACs?

    Ok thats it. And I'm not looking for a MAC/PC debate or "just sell the PC and buy a MAC". I can figure that out on my own. I'm curious why people have both in their studios and how they integrate them and if this can be of use to me in the sort-term.

    THANKS

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    You're going to hate this answer, but:

    1) The porting/sharing ideas you're proposing would probably be very cumbersome in practice...more cumbersome than merely outfitting the PC well and using it to the peak of its potential.

    2) If you want a nice Mac, save up for it and skip the "mini."

    You didn't relate your full evil plan, but I just don't think you're going to get there with stopgap measures. What I hear you saying is that you plan to spend the money anyway, so I would probably try to work the hell out of the PC you have while saving for the full Mac setup. I would not advise spending the money on solutions you don't really want in the interim.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Forget the mini - if you're going Mac get the G5 Dual to sequence on. Regarding the rest, what Bruce said.

  4. #4

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    What audio interface do you plan to use ? What is the config of the PC? What MIDI devices do you have/potentially need? What is your budget?

    No, you cannot easily record audio into the mac and have it stored to the PC, why would you want to anyhow?

    The main disadvantage of the mini is slower internal drive, lack of PCI buss, and lack of gigabit ethernet.

    BUT - the mini is a very viable option IF you have both a Firewire Audio Interface as well as a FW or USB2 hard drive.

    The mini is basically the same guts as a Powerbook - i, as well as many others use a Powerbook + FW Drives/Interface for a portable solution.

    Give a few more details and lets see what will work for ya.

  5. #5

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Mini only allows 1 GB RAM. Even if you put that RAM into, you will not be able to increase it in the future (1GB is very little in the present, imagine in the future)

  6. #6

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Thanks, folks. A few more details.

    The PC in question:

    3.0 Ghz P4
    1GB SDRAM
    80GB SATA HD
    200GB SATA HD (not yet installed)
    FW 400, USB 2.0 out the wazoo
    Windows XP Home
    17in Flat-Panel display
    128MB video card

    I have a Yamaha S90, PC2R w/orchestral expansion, and a bunch of other gear not necessary to mention. I'm looking at adding an orchestral library, sequencing program, and firewire audio interface and HD with this package.

    This PC system is brand new and I have no 'problems' with it other than I know MAC is an inevitability. It is one of four PCs in the house. The plan is to move the studio to MAC. I would use the Mac Mini for sequencing/etc. until funds are acquired for the PowerMac, at which time the Mini would be relegated to internet gateway/kid duty (we run wireless throughout the house). I would then either sell the PC or use both.

    I guess I'm trying to see if I can find any use for the PC now should I decide to go this route. I'm comfortable with it being the muscle until the PowerMac is added to the setup if that is something that makes any sense or is going to lend any help to the underpowered Mini. I don't see the Mac Mini as a long-term solution.

    The 'problem' is that I have two large projects that I need to get started like, yesterday (which incidentally will pay for the gear). I have been using a Yamaha 16-track digital for everything (before that a Fostex VF16)...and really don;t want to deal with the hassle of those endless menus and negligible editing capabilities any longer.

  7. #7

    Thumbs down Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ELP71
    The PC in question:

    3.0 Ghz P4
    1GB SDRAM
    80GB SATA HD
    200GB SATA HD (not yet installed)
    FW 400, USB 2.0 out the wazoo
    Windows XP Home
    17in Flat-Panel display
    128MB video card

    I guess I'm trying to see if I can find any use for the PC
    Why donīt you try making some music with it????

    You see, you have this monster that many people only dream about, with a 17 inch flat monitor that probably costed almost one third of the entire machine... and somehow you just think it is so useless to your greater talent, that you have the brilliant idea of buying a MAC mini (!!!!) to be the front end of the beast itself. Meanwhile, you gather more money to buy another expensive computer, when actually you have no idea on how to integrate the two of them... Thatīs the most stupid idea I heard in a long time!
    Itīs not only stupid, itīs offensive to those who canīt afford a machine like yours!
    This is not about integrating two platforms. Integrating MAC and PC is for professionals, and people that know what they are doing. I see your problem, and the problem here is you, my friend!
    You have too much money, but no idea on how to spend it wisely. Your words simply demonstrate that you are clueless about your own work flow, and you think it is just natural to buy a P4 3.0 Ghz and regret later, as if it was useless. This is unforgivable to someone who is spending so much money in a new setup.

    Do some research, go find your needs and only then come back here to ask decent questions. Donīt make serious people spend their precious time with your rich boyīs perspective of life.

  8. #8

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    I'm going to answer the question differently.

    The Mac Mini will run MIDI only no problem, and you can use the PC as a sound module. I don't agree that this is such a crazy thing to want to do, in fact that's what lots of people do, and what I do with three PCs (although I use the Mac for other things as well).

    The problem comes when you want to record audio on the Mini. You'll need to add a USB or preferably Firewire audio interface to it, along with a Firewire hard drive. That machine is going to be underpowered for heavy-duty mixes, but it'll be fine if you don't run too many plug-ins.

    You'll need an audio interface (aka sound card) on the PC as well, along with a MIDI interface on both machines - unless you use MIDI Over LAN (www.musiclab.com).

    So it's not a totally crazy idea, but the PC is going to be much more powerful than the Mac Mini. However, I personally don't think it's the wisest way to invest your money, since it's not really going to bring you any added capabilities.

  9. #9

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Guga Bernardo
    Why donīt you try making some music with it????

    You see, you have this monster that many people only dream about, with a 17 inch flat monitor that probably costed almost one third of the entire machine... and somehow you just think it is so useless to your greater talent, that you have the brilliant idea of buying a MAC mini (!!!!) to be the front end of the beast itself. Meanwhile, you gather more money to buy another expensive computer, when actually you have no idea on how to integrate the two of them... Thatīs the most stupid idea I heard in a long time!
    Itīs not only stupid, itīs offensive to those who canīt afford a machine like yours!
    This is not about integrating two platforms. Integrating MAC and PC is for professionals, and people that know what they are doing. I see your problem, and the problem here is you, my friend!
    You have too much money, but no idea on how to spend it wisely. Your words simply demonstrate that you are clueless about your own work flow, and you think it is just natural to buy a P4 3.0 Ghz and regret later, as if it was useless. This is unforgivable to someone who is spending so much money in a new setup.

    Do some research, go find your needs and only then come back here to ask decent questions. Donīt make serious people spend their precious time with your rich boyīs perspective of life.
    I appreciate your attempted insults, although I don't take them to heart because they are so off base..

    First off, I am not a "rich boy", as you presume. I'm a hard working married father of two that has put food on the table for ten years solely through the arts. I have done lots of recording/tracking on 'standalone' gear - Fostex VF16, Yamaha multitrack, etc - and have just taken the plunge into computer based recording. This is not a kid with a credit card and an 'up with the Joneses' mentality. Far from it. The PC in question cost around $800US. Not exactly a 'break the bank' sum if you ask me.

    Allow me to clarify further. I understand that the Mac Mini is not an optimal music making machine. However, I prefer the MAC-based apps and was wondering about integrating the two. I am also considering moving the entire house to MAC (as I mentioned), thus my question about the networking.

    You couldn't get past the specs of the PC and read the rest of my post and my intentions. If you are unhappy with your setup, I'll gladly sell you my PC so I can go ahead and buy the PowerMac now

    I really don't understand the hostility, your talk of my 'greater talent', etc. I don't think my questions were useless. And if you think I have 'too much money' - that's a laugh.

  10. #10

    Re: MAC/PC networked: musings and questions

    You know, the other thing is, I have never - EVER seen someone called 'stupid' on this board. I have seen many, MANY other posts with less weight than mine here (like "Hey - I have my MIDI cable connected - why can't I record the sound"). Yet the level of vitriol and flame from your post, Guga, has not been met. Clearly you are having a bad day.

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