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Separate Mac For Music?
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Bugstone
Prenoob

Joined: 06/08/2010 00:30:49
Messages: 6
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I still have not made the jump to a computer DAW (Studio One) yet. I am a Mac guy. When I was going to get a DAW years ago, I was advised to get a separate computer just for music. I am minimally competent on the computer. I would also want to use the music computer for my stereo with either Pure Music or Amarra with iTunes. I am sure I could run my business, web surf and email off the same computer; however, I would think that the more things I use the same computer for, the greater chance of screwing up my music files. That would put me in the loony bin. I like the idea of a separate computer just for music; but, is there a good reason for it? I read one fellow say he refuses to hook his music computer to the internet. I would love to get some feedback.

Thanks,
Bugs
KrisM
Presonic
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Joined: 29/07/2010 00:46:14
Messages: 112
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My MacBook is the center of my creative universe. I use it for everything and it all performs in top form, even compared against dedicated machines in it's spec-range.
I don't 'produce.' I write music.
themuzic
Baconator
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Joined: 17/04/2010 05:42:47
Messages: 8703
Location: Wheeling IL (North Chicago Suburbs)
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Ok, here's my view point on this.

option 1 - Overall, the best suggestion is to have a separate machine for your DAW and have, at the very minimum, a basic connection to the internet for licenses, registration and downloading program updates and so fourth. By minimum I mean just have a small scaled Virus software like Avast ( you'll have to check if there's a Mac version).

That's the best advice.

option 2 - That said, I have everything on my main Studio PC. Email, Halo, Video software, other audio programs and of course Studio One and Cubase (which comes off tomorrow) This XP box had every single Windows XP update (with Svs Pack 3) loaded and Avast Virus Software (the free version). I reboot it daily and when I go into a recording session I surely do reboot so the DAW can start on a fresh boot. So far I have only small issues where a reboot is required during a session.

Option 1 is by far, the best rule to follow and my laptop for my mobile sessions (which also doubles as a backup to the main box) follows option 1.

If you're computer savvy and \or you have an updated backup image (like I do) of your main machine option 2 is doable, but not recommended if you have only a tiny amount of computer experience.

Just my opinion on this one. Hope it helps.

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talmen
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 23:56:13
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Long time Mac user here. I've always loaded down my MacBook with all kinds of crap, and it still performs flawlessly. I surf the net all the time, too. With that said, there was one time (recently) that I installed a program that caused an obvious problem for S1. Immediately after putting the app on my system, S1 started crashing over and over for no good reason. I uninstalled the new program, and all was fine again with my system. Luckily the offending software only set me back $30.

If you want to be extra cautious, go for it, but with a Mac the likelihood of a problem arising out of net surfing, using iTunes, or even having a lot of whacky applications on the system is pretty low.

No matter what, I'd invest in 2 external drives and regularly clone your system startup drive with them -- especially before adding any new software or upgrading your OS -- then if there is an emergency you can always go back to a working system quickly and easily.

Besides backing up your startup disk, I also recommend backing up all critical audio, docs, session files that you keep on external drives onto at least 2 separate external hard disks. (They are cheap nowadays, and great insurance against disaster.) I store one copy off-site, too, in case of fire/flood/disaster. I always make sure that I never have more than one of the backup drive connected to my computer or AC mains to avoid losing all my drives at once to a major power event or lightning strike.
Field Kit:
MacBook Pro 9.2 i5 2.5 GHz, 8GB RAM,
OS 10.8.5;
A & H Qu-16, AB1818VSL, Alesis IO14 / IO26,
PreSonus S1 v2.6.2.25990, Boom Recorder 8.3.2

Studio Kit:
iMac 11.3, i7 (Quad) 2.93GHz, 8 GB RAM,
OS 10.9.3,
M-Audio FW1814, PreSonus Faderport,
PreSonus S1 Pro 2.6.2.25590
sunmachine
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 18:49:29
Messages: 2629
Location: Germany
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talmen wrote:Besides backing up your startup disk, I also recommend backing up all critical audio, docs, session files that you keep on external drives onto at least 2 separate external hard disks. (They are cheap nowadays, and great insurance against disaster.) I store one copy off-site, too, in case of fire/flood/disaster. I always make sure that I never have more than one of the backup drive connected to my computer or AC mains to avoid losing all my drives at once to a major power event or lightning strike.


That's the best advice you can ever get!!!
I do it the same way, but don't update my off-site backup as often as I should.
Alongside to that copy I use the online backup service mozy that makes regulary (daily) backups of my most important data a snap. Once set up it takes care of your data automatically in the background. That being said I have to admit that I only put personal data like scans of contracts, my address book entries and things like that into the online backup due to limited space and bandwidth. I only have the free 2 GB mozy account but it works very well for me. My music related files like songs and the sound library are copied to an external hard drive. If you're interested in mozy you can register with this link to get an extra amount of 250 MB of backup space (and me, too ). Make sure to navigate to the product called MozyHome Free. Of course you don't have to go with mozy -- I'm pretty sure there are good alternatives as well.

Until now I only have a MacBook Pro for everything but I will eventually buy a Mac Pro for music production. That's because it's not very convenient for me to always disconnect the audio interface, the external hard drive, the novation remote, the external keyboard and mouse and last but not least the monitor every time I want to take my MacBook along. Another reason is that the music computer won't be messed up with non-music related stuff and it will be easier for me to keep focus on my creative work when I have a dedicated machine that's only designated for making music. Nowadays I'm using different user accounts to separate tasks -- one for music, one for development and one for everything else like email, web browsing, home page creation and so on.

BTW there is a brief article about optimizing your Mac for audio applications:
http://support.presonus.com/entries/119100-optimizing-your-computer-for-audio-mac-osx

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 06/08/2010 12:23:38

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