I am seriously considering switching all my audio production and recording over to Logic Studio 8. Given recent frustrations with the whole iLok prison and limitations and costs of the Digi upgrade trap (I do like ProTools, really), I am interested to know how Logic users have their systems configured. Most notably, hardware interfaces and CPU specs. I am leaning toward Logic with an Apogee AD16 and an Apogee Ensemble which would give me 24 in and 8 out, 40 virtual instruments, and about 80 plugins WITH NO DONGLES or iLoks. for about $5500. About the price of a HD1 Accel card and ProTools software (no interface) Another $600 for a PCI express card would allow it all to run on a MacBook Pro and keep me totally mobile :)
In that case, cost-performance wise, it seems DP with multiple firewire interfaces would be the most cost effective way to get 24-32 simultaneous AD record inputs into a Macbook Pro. They say that you can chain multiple firewire interfaces. I haven't seen it done though.
Any word if Logic can support more than one firewire interface?
I'm sure there is a slight difference in quality but I refer to your indian/bow analogy.
I am just looking for the best and most affordable (without sacrificing too much quality) way to get a remote system that will record 24-32 inputs. I don't want to haul around racks of gear and desktop units. Also, I'm just talking about recording, not having 72 instances of soft-synths (which I think is amazing Jim!) running at once.
Right now I can get 18 inputs with a Digi 003 and I think the RME will allow 26 right? Question is, is that simultaneous?
Hey Doug, we were wondering when you'd find your way here - thanks for jumping in. You definitely hit at least one point I didn't - the issue of PCI(e) being faster than Firewire. It's true that Firewire can add a slight additional latency and overhead compared to a PCI card solution. However, in real-world usage (especially with newer hardware like the 8-core Mac Pros), it's irrelevant with the exception of tracking large numbers of live inputs at the lowest buffer settings. In that scenario, no doubt the Symphony rig would probably win out.
You asked if I had tested all 26 inputs simultaneously at 32 sample latency - no. I'm not tracking a ton of live inputs. However, I'm running massive amounts of virtual instruments (and some live inputs from slave machines), which can be much more demanding. When I get a chance, I'll do some tests and let you know how it goes.
Either way, I've had the FF800 for over 3 years on my G5 and it was rock solid with that machine (at 128 samples). On the 8-core, it doesn't even break a sweat at 32, so life is good - I can't make it choke no matter what I've tried (so far).
I get sucked into reading those DAW war threads for the sheer entertainment value, and although I too am highly biased towards Logic (there, I said it!) - I couldn't agree more that it's the Indian, not the bow.
Hey Jim, you might wanna explain exactly what's running in those "high stress channel strips" cuz 17 channels does NOT sound like much to a casual reader. I'm just sayin'.....I have a dual 2GHz G5 and I can get way more channels than that in a real-world situation.
Points taken. I know for my personal use FW I/O is fine. However, I have worked with a number of people who can not live with even the slight latency in the FF800 or the Ensemble. For those folks, it is either a PCIe solution such as Symphony or Pro Tools HD.
Yes, you can use multiple FW interfaces with Logic. The Symphony System will give you the inputs you want with great converters and the lowest latency and overhead, but it is significantly more money than the Firewire solutions which may just give you everything you need.
As far as DAWs.... while it is the Indian and not the bow, I'm sure any good Indian has his favorite bow, and Logic is mine. But, I don't make music for a living. I geek around with this stuff but you guys are the ones that use these tools day in and day out. I definitely defer to Jim for real world experience with these tools.
I suppose you could...I want to talk to my buddies at Apogee just to confirm that there are no issues. My concern is this; what kind of performance hit will there be running 24 tracks of audio as well as an external FW hard disk for recording the audio? My primary reasoning for suggesting Apogee was to get the low latency performance of the Symphony System, which helps justify the additional $$...and this way your audio I/O is on a separate bus from your FW audio drive, giving you maximum performance from both.
Jim, your thoughts? Has anyone here tried recording 24 tracks of audio at 24/48 via Firewire on a MacBook Pro? Do you think this is a legitimate concern or a non-issue?
Running multiple FW I/O is NOT the same as running your I/O off an Express card (which is an entirely separate and higher speed bus than FW) and your Hard Drive off FW. Even if you have a MacBook Pro with multiple FW ports, they are running off the same bus so there is no additional bandwidth.
I spoke with a tech from Apogee. They do NOT support aggregate drivers so you can not use 2 Apogee FW interfaces together. The tech I spoke with said there would definitely be bandwidth issues trying to record 24 channels over FW. if you want more than 8 channels of Apogee I/O, it only makes sense to go Symphony. If you decide to go the FW route, I would go MOTU or take Jim's suggestion and look at RME. I'm just doubtful you will be able to record 24 channels of audio at once using a FW HD for your audio.... and it is never advisable to record audio to your system drive.
Only have a second - I'll reread later and try to answer all this stuff. In the meantime:
1. I figured that was the case with using an Ensemble and AD-16X via firewire - that sounded like an aggregate interface solution, which works IN THEORY - but I've never had any real success trying it.
2. If we're talking about recording lots of simultaneous inputs on a laptop, you should have at least a MacBook Pro, and as Doug said, separate Firewire buses (one dedicated for your recording drive and the other for your interface). There are several companies that make ExpressCard Firewire ports - just make sure you get one that uses a Texas Instruments FW controller chip. As for the drive/mechanism itself, MacGurus makes my favorite enclosures (built-in power supplies, removable trays, tank-like build, and true FW800 transfer speed).
3. I've never tried that many live inputs on a laptop. Not to keep pushing The Fireface 800, but since it's the only FW interface I know of that uses FW800 (as opposed to standard FW400), it's probably the best chance you have of getting maximum I/O using a Firewire-based solution. I do know that on a Quad or 8-core Mac Pro, it can handle pretty much whatever you throw at it, even at 32-sample latency (which is essentially the same as listening to your nearfields from 2 feet away). Plus, if you want true "zero latency" there's always RME's "Totalmix" routing software which lets you route any input(s) to any output(s) in any combination you want. This occurs in the hardware itself - just like a TDM PT system. When I do vocal tracking at my place, I use this to create artist mixes that are separate from my Logic project, complete with outboard cue reverbs, etc. Works like a champ! Kinda the best of both worlds...
One little thing about MOTU interfaces... I've been through just about everything they make. They're great on paper, and when they work, their drivers are rock-solid. However, I don't trust them or recommend them for mission-critical work because their Firewire ports have a bad habit of going bad. I had 3 consecutive 828mkII Firewire ports stop working, and I never even hot-plugged them. It's a shame, because they're good solutions otherwise.
Bottom line, if you end up with a FW solution I'd look at RME or Apogee. If you need maximum track count, that probably puts you squarely in RME territory.
If you have the budget though, the Symphony system definitely rocks!
P.S. Yeah, this Indian's favorite bow is Logic as well - I'd sooner quit than have to use another bow ;-)
I routinely get a full 18 tracks with a 003 and an external FW400 drive on a PC laptop, and that is on a single buss. In my mind, it shouldn't be this difficult to move to 24 channels. Don't get me wrong, I love Macs but a PC for processor based DAW tends to out perform because the operating system does not reserve so much processing for graphics. That's why Macs always look so good :)
However, all that aside. Logic is a Mac program and I really like it, hence, I am searching for a solution. It might not be out there.
I may be better served to get a couple more MOTU interfaces and stick with the PC Laptop for remote recording and then rock out a G5 8 core with Logic here in the studio to finish a project on. I was just hoping to find a solution that would give me 24-32 recording tracks on a MacBook Pro. Then I would be really happy and so would my bank account :)
Hey, it might work just fine, I am just concerned it may not. I would love to get some more Logic users in this group so we could get some more real world use feedback. I'm going to invite as many of the local users I can to join this forum.
You know, I was just thinking - I routinely run 50 tracks of 24 bit/44k audio on the internal (7200 RPM) drive on my MacBook Pro, and my disk meter in Logic doesn't even get near 25%. I haven't tried 24 live inputs yet, but I'd be willing to put big money on it not being a problem, especially with the well-written RME drivers and hardware. Obviously the Symphony rig would have no problem either, and would be at an advantage with high numbers of live input.
The separate buses recommendation is really just a best-case scenario, but it's pretty amazing what you can do with a MB Pro these days.
I gotta take issue with the 'PC more powerful' argument as related to graphics - at least on MB Pros. They have dedicated graphics GPUs like any higher-end machine, which handles all the graphics heavy-lifting. And of course, any new PC will ship with Vista, which is, uh, less than desirable - it mimics the Mac OS "experience" but without the stability behind the scenes. Just my $.02, of course, but I don't think you can find a more capable "pro" laptop than Apple's line....
Bottom line, if you already have a capable PC laptop that gets the job done for remote work, I'd DEFINITELY recommend opting for that 8-core Mac Pro for studio work. It's ridiculous! But again, you shouldn't have a problem with track count on a MacBook Pro. If you can give me until next week, I'll give it a shot with my FF800 and let you know how it goes.