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 :)
Logic is great!!! I think it's far from beating PT in audio editing at least, but songs I get in the studio are either Logic sessions or bounced from Logic at least. I know quite a few people who swear by the Apogee stuff. I'd still keep a PT system around (even LE), but your programming would definitely become so much easier.
I'm running mine (both Logic 7 and 8 - I had to keep both on machine, because some of my older sessions won't pull in, yet) on a Mac Pro (2 dualcore 2.66, with 6 gigs of RAM). I also run it on a 15", 2GHz MacBook Pro with 2 gigs of RAM when I travel, using it to make loops and sequences for Ableton Live.
Usu both at home and when I travel, I'm running through a MOTU 828mkII, and can EASILY record with buffers at 64. (usu. this is a two mic setup for guitar, however with my current PT LE setup (mbox original), I can't go lower that 256...UGH...so much latency), so even when I'm working tracks for PT guys, I still end up doing them in Logic.
The MOTU is about a month away from being changed out for one of the new upgraded Metric Halo's, so I'll let you know how well that works, asap.
This system (other than the software upgrades) has run me with Logic for 3 years (starting on a 17", 1.5 GHz Powerbook with a gig of 333MHz RAM) The new RAM is 667 I believe
anyway, I must organize my calculators and pocket protectors....
Hit me back, if I can help, but most of the other guys are probably much more advanced at this than I am...
I agree with keeping ProTools around (which I will) but for upgrading my audio (input) quality and finally having a truly creative environment, Logic seems the way to go, even for serious ProTools users, like me. The basic editing functions in Logic, especially the comping feature, are far adequate for most all editing requirements. Just have to adjust to a new set of commands and mouse moves.
Hey all, been out a while but now I will try and make a bit of a return, and what better than a Logic group OH MAN am I ready for this.
Now I have been using Logic since 4.8 when I switched from DP 3.x --- I really haven't looked back *too much*.
I have to say that over all I agree with Jim D on his take so I will default to most of his comments thru this whole discussion - hope that is ok JD. I still use Logic 7.1 on a G4 with a Node machine, and a very vintage TiBook. I am getting a new MacBook so an update to 8 in the VERY near future. I will hold off on my PowerMac upgrade - for now. Between some UAD and TC cards and the Freeze features on most DAWs I can have power for days on this system. Plus it is tweaked with all the plug-ins I have used for years and has the correct OS upgrade balance to DAW version.
So, I own and run Logic, DP, ProTool and Nuendo. I have to. I have too many clients that work on different platforms and it is just easier for me to do this -- Do I have a favorite, yes - two - for very different reasons.
Logic is hands down the best for production. End of story. DP has some very cool features that would be a nice adoption in some form (chunks to name one) but the shear power of Logic and the included toolbox is amazing. Now the VI's are great, granted the ESX is long in the tooth, and there are some issues importing older Akai libraries in X (so I have a 9 partition still). But wow - the plug-ins are so far beyond other DAWs it is just amazing. Now a few issues that bother me as an engineer, first is the implementation of Delay compensation. Still not properly utilized. PT, Nuendo, and I believe DP have it all correct - my MIDI(external) stays in time with my audio on other platforms, not Logic. I can add tracks and parts with the PDC on and I have no problem in other DAWs, but Logic, I have to turn it off, then turn it back on. I can record with PDC on in DP and PT and Nuendo and my audio manages to get placed properly. Now to the automation issues. I know that is not fixed in 8 because in a Logic demo they spent almost 10 minutes trying to prove to me that it was fixed. It failed each time. Take a session, get some VI's going, and a bunch of audio tracks - use some Groups and some busses, you will be surprised at what will randomly happen, or not. Perfect example for those reading along, just take 3 tracks, assign them to a group and start writing automation - I am willing to bet that the #2 track automation will only accept the new information 1 out of 10 times....if you are lucky it remembers it at all, ever. With that being said, I have NOT tried the automation in 8.0.2...but in 8.0 and 8.0.1 broken.
I know there are people out there using it each day and "have never had a problem" and I must admit, I have VERY few problems with Logic in general. BUT we/they have all learned work-around's and they are now part of the work flow so it doesn't seem like an inconvenience.
Nuendo is hands down my favorite mixing/editing platform. Now I 'grew up' with ProTools and really like it too. However Nuendo offers me the same plug-ins for much less money in the VST format, AND with an 8 core computer and a RAID 5 - I am not sure I am missing much from a few Accel cards. The automation works every time, the process history window (for Audio Suite type stuff) is a great processor saver. Folder pack and unpack as I expect them to.
As far as interfaces - I will again in part echo JD's post above and below. I have always been a big fan of the RME equipment. GREAT drivers, Great hardware. However I often find myself back at MOTU just for a few feature sets at a slightly better price. I have/had 828's I, II, 2408I, II, III, 896's, all have been trouble free and for the most part great drivers. I believe I sent back 1 828....they fixed it, all is well. Fortunately I have had a RADAR to do most of my converting instead of the MOTU A/D's --- but I really have few complaints there. I have had limited experience with
I have not upgraded to 4 yet either - I just don't have the computer for it yet. Just like with Logic 8. Plus I may go PC for Nuendo - while it works on my mac....it is only ok there. It seems that Cubase 4.x is a bit ahead of the Nuendo 4.x in the updates...seems a bit smoother and more refined - from what I have used of both.
It is hard, sometimes, to explain to *some* clients consolidating, or OMF - which STILL is not good in Logic - - If I get an OMF I have to open it in Logic 6.4 in OS 9, then move it all to OSX -- takes WAY too long. So I don't do that anymore if at all possible. But there are people out there who spent the $$$ on the Digitranslator. LOL
I actually started (a few weeks ago) collecting the Logic 8 key commands and as many permutations of Logic X to PT crossover commands I could get my hands on. It is very challenging not just due to functionality, but verbage. I kinda put it on the back burner - too many pieces of paper with too many colored markers. LOL -- I am sure there is a more 'high-tech' way to do it, but I really need to see it to make it work. Nuendo PT and Logic are creative in the way they word the same commands differently.
Now there will be two of us Nuendo users. LOL - lets get one going and complain about having to use a plugin for sidechaining!! LOL
As a long-time Logic guy, you'll only get rave reviews from me. Well, for the most part ;-) As usual, your choice of app will come down to your needs & preferences. If I were tracking bands or editing drums all day, I'd probably use PT more. As a composer/programmer though, nothing can touch Logic, and I'd be miserable in PT. Either app will get the job done, but each obviously has its strengths.
My current setup (again, primarily for composing) is based on 3 Macs: an 8-core Mac Pro as the main machine and a dual G5 and MacBook Pro as virtual instrument slaves. My main audio hardware is an RME Fireface 800, which has been AWESOME in every respect - audio quality, routing flexibility, super-low latency, etc. My slave machines each feed the master 8 channels of ADAT litepipe from M-Audio 1814 interfaces, and if it's a high-end project I'll send everything out 24 channels of RADAR D/A conversion through whatever analog summing sounds best for the project (Neve 8816, etc.).
My main machine (the 8-core Mac Pro) is running Leopard 10.5.3 and Logic 8.0.2, which finally feels as snappy and stable as any other system I've ever used (mostly due to OSX tweaks in 10.5.3). I've got 8GB RAM in that one as well as the G5, and all my high-end sample libraries stream off their own dedicated 10kRPM "Raptor" drives (they're housed in MacGurus 'Burly' enclosures). However, you can have (5) drives in any Mac Pro these days (4 regular bays plus one in the 2nd optical bay).
As for the Ensemble, it's a great box, but frankly the Fireface 800 gives you a good bit more bang for the buck, and they are both in the same league sonically. The Ensemble will only give you 18 inputs max, not 24 (8 analog, 8 ADAT and stereo SPDIF), whereas the FF800 gives you 26 inputs (8 analog, 16 ADAT plus SPDIF). Both units have great routing features, but I'd have to give the edge to the FF800 again - its software mixer puts anything else to shame, despite the fact that the Ensemble can be directly controlled from Logic (to me that's irrelevant). The only solution that's better than the RME is Apogee's Symphony system, which is in a whole other league in terms of price - and the only real advantage (although a big one!) is its V-Bus and S-bus technologies for larger systems.
As for the mobility aspect, the FF800 is a firewire solution so you'd be covered there (then again, so is the Ensemble). Sounds like you might have been talking about the Symphony system, because you wouldn't need anything else if you went with an Ensemble.
Not sure where you're getting your numbers as far as plugin counts, etc. - that will obviously vary with CPU specs, RAM, system settings, etc. I've got a benchmark test for Logic that uses a high-stress channel strip that's duplicated over and over until the CPU chokes. Here's the results:
dual 2.3 GHz G5, 8 GB RAM: 14 channels max (buffer set at 128)
dual 2.2 GHz MacBook Pro, 4GB RAM: 19 channels max (buffer set at 128)
8-core 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 8GB RAM: 72 channels max (buffer set at 128, although I can go all the way down to 32 on this machine no problem!)
Good stuff. In talking with Doug Roberts (Apple Rep) he suggested using an Ensemble as the main interface and adding the AD16 for 16 apogee converters in. This would give a pretty portable 24 in - 8 out system without getting into a Symphony system. Those two interfaces would be in the $5000 range. That's around what 2 Digi 192s would cost giving 32 inputs but then you are looking at PCI cards and PT HD starting at $5000+ and not really mobile at all. Add the cost of plugs and such and one can quickly see the advantages to the Logic/Apogee system.
It was fun to watch Jimmy Nichols and crew track a full band session in Logic at Mix Nashville. With the right hardware, it's definitely a viable alternative to ProTools and at that point it becomes a comfort level and financial decision.
Doug is "good people" - glad he's helping you out. Unless I'm missing something though, the math isn't adding up on the Ensemble - it only has one ADAT input, so that would only give you 16 inputs (8 analog on the Ensemble and 8 on its ADAT port). You'd be wasting half of the channels on the AD16!
As nice as the Ensemble is, I still stand by the RME Fireface 800 as a much more capable interface for less money. And it sounds phenomenal - easily as good as the Ensemble (if not better in some respects). I'd take a FF800 with additional convertors (Lynx Aurora, etc.) over the Apogee route any day - less expensive but just as flexible (if not more). And RME's support is top-notch. Wish I were receiving kickbacks for my praise of their stuff - I'm not - but it really is that good.
Either way, you can't go wrong. For my money (given similar audio performance) I'd rather put the savings towards some other goodies like one of the new Euphonix control surfaces or plugins.
As for making the switch to Logic, the great thing about Logic is its customizability - you can set up your own screen sets & key commands to do whatever you want (even emulate your PT key commands so your learning curve will be minimized!)...
The math on the Apogee set up is thus - Ensemble = 8 anolog in, 8 digital in and then add a second interface - the AD-16x which is an additional 16 converters in. With these two interfaces, which will run on a PCM-CIA Express Card, I would have 24 AD converters and 8 DA converters. At least that's how Doug explained it. My main problem is I want to be able to record at least 24 tracks with the option to expand the number of simultaneous inputs. Most for remote recording applications. How many RME 800s can you run at the same time to get a multi-channel system? I Have a MOTU 828 and was considering adding two more of those but I not so confident in the sound quality of those units. It would work fine but I have not been able to test the reliability of running multiple Firewire interfaces. The Apogee solution has a dedicated buss card that handles multiple interfaces.
Sounds like something was missed in Doug's explanation, OR he was talking about a Symphony system. Here's the deal:
An Ensemble will only give you 18 inputs MAX, regardless of what you have connected externally. You get the 8 analog inputs, the 8 ADAT channels and stereo SPDIF. If you connect an AD-16x to the Ensemble, you will only be able to use 8 of its 16 channels, which would be a bit of a waste ;-)
The Ensemble is a standalone Firewire interface - there is no PCI or ExpressCard involved, and there is no other expansion capability. You may be able to daisy-chain a pair of Ensembles - I'm not sure on that point. For the cost of that though, you might as well get into the Symphony system...
With a Symphony system, you would get the PCIe host card (and/or ExpressCard for laptop use), plus whatever interface(s) you wanted for I/O. WIth a single-card system you get up to 32 channels of I/O, but that would be almost as expensive as a PT HD setup:
$720 - Symphony PCIe Host Card
$360 - pair of X-Symphony cards (one for each of the following)
$3150 - AD-16X (16 channels AD)
$2700 - Rosetta 800 (8 channels AD & DA)
$6930 total, and that's not counting the optional ExpressCard for laptop use!
No doubt the Symphony rig is awesome - it's just very expensive. Other than the upcoming S-bus protocol for moving audio between linked computers and the Logic integration (which again is not really a big deal, and I'm a Logic user) - I don't see the point in spending that much for what you get.
Again, I hate to sound like an RME fanboy, but their stuff is VERY well thought-out. A Fireface 800 gives you 26 simultaneous inputs, and with 16 of those on ADAT ports, you can use whatever external converters float your boat. Sure, you could daisy-chain a pair of Firefaces, but that would only give you 16 analog inputs (plus 32 ADAT ins/outs). For the same money I'd use 1 Fireface and get a 16-channel AD/DA like a Lynx Aurora 16. Then you'd have 24 channels of analog I/O plus SPDIF, all on a single Firewire connection that you can use with your desktop OR laptop.
As for latency, the RME stuff is top-notch there, too - always has been (I can run it all the way down to 32 sample buffers on a Mac Pro without a glitch).
Remember, the Apogee Symphony latency specs have an asterisk attached - those super-low latencies are only at high sample rates, and they only apply to tracking. If you're running sessions at 44.1 or 48k and/or using lots of virtual instruments, those numbers suddenly come back to reality pretty quick, and the Symphony rig starts sounding a lot like any other solution ;-)
Again, hope this helps. I don't mean to sound like I'm steering you away from the Apogee stuff - it really is top-notch - I just think you can get the same performance (if not more) by spending a LOT less money.
Thanks for all the specs here, it does help sort all this out. Hopefully Doug will see this at some point and clarify, but, as I understand him, you would not have to use the AD-16x into the Ensemble. The PCM-CIA Express Card will support up to three interfaces (firewire). There is a Fireware option for the AD-16x so it WOULD give you the full 16 in, coupled with the 8 in of the Ensemble totals 24. The only (converted) outputs would be from the Ensemble - 8 channels. We're not talking Dig ADAT format inputs but full AD converters. That way, on a remote, I can take channel DIs out of a house console if need be, or use any combination of Tube Pre's and such and get the Apogee conversion from analog sources. That's where I would like to hear the difference between the Apogee based system and the RME based system.
As far as I understand, there is no need for the PCIe cards and XCards. Just need an Express Card for a Laptop. If I am going to the expense of a Laptop, I would probably use it in my home setup as well. If I can really get 24 in, why get a G5 tower?
This would be good to see and more importantly hear in action, no?
I totally trust your opinion on the RME stuff, just so you know :)
Oh, I see what you're saying. Yes, you can get a Firewire option card for an AD-16x and just use it like any other Firewire interface WITHOUT having to get into a Symphony system. My only question is, would the Ensemble and AD-16x act as a single large interface then, as far as the computer's concerned? I'm not sure how the Apple/Apogee "Maestro" software would handle that - Doug probably knows.
The Fireface 800 still gets my vote, personally. Dollar-for-dollar, you get a lot more capability, accessible, friendly support, rock-solid drivers, killer software mixer (same features as Maestro but more routing capability), etc. Just my $.02.
As for the laptop vs. desktop argument, I guess it depends on what's more important: performance vs. portability. I love my MacBook Pro, but it doesn't hold a candle to the 8-core Mac Pro tower (19 channels of 'stress test' vs. 72, respectively). For that kind of performance gain, I'd gladly schlep a tower and monitor around town. Now if you're doing fly dates that's another story... but for similar money, the 8-core simply blows away the laptop. Not to mention you can put up to 32 GB of RAM and 5 hard drives in the tower, vs. 4 GB RAM and 1 drive in the laptop...
Bret, I think we miscommunicated somewhere along the way. I was not meaning to pitch the idea of using the AD-16x with an Ensemble. The Apogee Symphony System as Jim laid out in an earlier post was what I was suggesting.
Jim, I don't want to get into an argument about competing hardware. I actually have both an RME Fireface 800 and a Symphony System with an AD-16x and DA-16x at the moment and I love both. No doubt, the RME interfaces are great and a great value.
That said, I still think the performance and quality of the Symphony System is well worth the money, as it comes in significantly less than a Pro Tools HD system with equivalent capabilities. In addition to great converters, Apogee has exceptionally well written drivers and they use the ultra fast PCI Express slots. The Firewire bus is inherently slower and there is no way around that.
I am curious, you said you run the Fireface at 32 samples.... can you do that recording on all 26 inputs simultaneously? I have seen the Symphony System recording on 64 tracks at 32 sample buffer setting with tons of plugins running as well with no hiccups.
If you had to buy just one interface to work on either a MacPro or MacBook Pro and had a limited budget, you would not go wrong with either the Ensemble or the Fireface. However you will get the best performance using the PCI Express bus. The Symphony system allows you to buy any combination of their converters (up to 32 channels of I/O) and use them with either the Symphony PCI Express card in the MacPro, or the Symphony Mobile Express 34 card in the MacBook Pro. And this is of course expandable in the MacPro by adding additional Symphony PCI cards.
Anyway, there are many good solutions out there. You simply have to balance the issues of cost vs. performance along with your personal preferences and find what works for you.
I was just reading one of the other threads on the DAW wars. Although I do have my obvious personal preference, I have to agree with what a prominent Nashville producer said to me a few months ago.... "it's not the bow, it's the indian that makes the biggest difference". In other words, a great engineer can produce a great record on a 8 track tape with a Tapco mixer and Hosa cables. A great song is a great song, regardless of how its recorded. Great tools just make the job easier.... easier to make great music or terrible music (and of course that is subjective).