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Blog // Sounds
January 18, 2014

Mac Pro Thoughts

Apple’s new Mac Pro is on sale now. Again, Apple have released a forward thinking computer which is also a masterpiece of industrial design. Since I’m in the process of finalising my Tokyo studio, I decided to take a good hard look at the new Mac Pro’s specifications. What I saw inspired me to keep […]

Apple’s new Mac Pro is on sale now. Again, Apple have released a forward thinking computer which is also a masterpiece of industrial design. Since I’m in the process of finalising my Tokyo studio, I decided to take a good hard look at the new Mac Pro’s specifications.

What I saw inspired me to keep and upgrade my current 2008 Mac Pro. This machine already does a great job with the current version of Logic Pro. Adding an extra 8GB of RAM and putting in Solid State Drives leaves me with a computer that can zip along with the work I do and run a lot quieter in my studio.

The process has been quite painless. If you shop around, Solid State Drives are quite competitively priced here in Tokyo (with the Icy Dock enclosures also available). I did order the RAM from the US though, as the modules for the Mac Pro were crazy expensive here. At first the RAM did not recognise properly, though following the guidelines on this site helped me get a configuration where all the modules were recognised properly.

The new Mac Pro looks like an amazing machine. It’s just that as things now stand, it’s overkill for music production. The new Mac Pro feels like a machine designed for video post processing, which is not a bad move on Apple’s part, since video is the field putting the greatest demands on professional computer design these days.

For music the best solution, in terms of a new machine, might be a Mac Mini in something like this rack mountable unit from Sonnet. This allows you run legacy PCI cards, like the UAD cards, or expansion cards for high track count AD/DA conversion, with MADI or AVID HD systems.

While studios can now work at really high resolutions, most people are still running with 44.1K or 48k, with a few venturing out to 88k or 96k. Computational requirements (and my desire for a new Mac Pro) might change when and if resolutions like 96k or 192k become standard. But, with most people still listening to music on mp3 and low quality streaming services, one wonders when that will be.

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