MacBook v. MB Pro, Duet v. 0404, etc.
Nov 12, 2008 at 9:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

etemkin

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Posts
13
Likes
0
Hi Everyone,

So, I'm about to get a new notebook and I'm weighing between the new MacBook and the new MacBook Pro. For the most part I'm not a real power-intensive computer user, but I'm planning to make a fairly serious foray into the world of digital audio, both in terms of recording and listening. For recording, I'm only doing guitar (acoustic and electric) and vocals, so I don't need something that will do 8 channels, but I would like high quality. Preferably, whatever digital audio interface I go with will also do well for listening purposes, both through monitors and headphones. So, here are my dilemmas...

First, what computer should I get - MacBook or MacBook Pro? Can a regular MacBook handle serious recording, editing, mixing, etc? I know I'll want to get up to 4gb of RAM on either one, but can the smaller computer really handle Logic or ProTools well? I prefer the form factor of the MacBook and definitely the cost, but I'll bite the bullet if it's worth it. Plus, there's that whole issue with the missing FireWire port, which brings us to...

Second, what digital audio interface should I use? I've been lurking on these forums for quite a while and thought I had it all nailed down with the Apogee Duet. It does a couple channels of recording, has excellent sound quality, is reasonably affordable (a friend is trying to convince me to get a Black Lion Audio Signature Modded 003R, so it's all relative), and is beautifully designed. Plus, it's quite highly regarded around here. But, then Apple decided to remove the FireWire port from the MacBook and that pairing is impossible. So, are there good USB alternatives? I've heard good things about the E-MU 0404 USB, but can that really compete with the Duet? Are there other places I should be looking? Should I stick with the Duet and have that guide me towards the MacBook Pro? Are there other important considerations that I haven't even accounted for?

So, I have a couple entangled decisions to make, and I'm doing so with very little experience with both Macs and digital audio work. Thus, I come begging for advice. I'm hoping to buy a computer in the next couple weeks, try and survive the holidays, and then get the audio interface once the coffers have recharged a bit. But, I need to have a good direction on the audio side soon so I can make an informed decision buying the computer. I'm flexible with software - not much experience with either Logic or Pro Tools, so I'd be learning either one and I gather they're both more than capable for what I want to do. Your thoughts?

Any advice you have would be much appreciated - thanks in advance for your help!

Regards,
ET
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 11:45 AM Post #2 of 7

paaj

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Posts
2,139
Likes
22
Location
Amsterdam
no more firewire? I remember getting a mail from apogee saying the Duet was also compatible with the new macbooks but I can't find it anymore. The duet sounds better than the 0404USB, but 0404USB should do for normal use and both can probably not compete with 'real' recording stuff.
maybe you can send apogee an email about this.
for other options look at m-audio.

processor-wise there is not that much difference in performance so I think the normal Macbook will do for Audio. You will really appreciate the bigger screen when working though.
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 12:13 PM Post #3 of 7
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Posts
17,311
Likes
10,793
Location
Fukuoka, Japan
The new Macbooks don't have Firewire, very unfortunately. Audio is quite straight-forward in Mac OS X - you just plug in whatever and work away after selecting the device you're using in whatever program + and Audio Midi setup if required.

The Duet is great as a 2-channel studio. I found it a bit un-musical for music listening personally.
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 12:24 PM Post #4 of 7

paaj

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Posts
2,139
Likes
22
Location
Amsterdam
Too bad they took Firewire out
frown.gif

Duet is a little to the bright/analytical side but I think it gives good detail and sounds very good for the price and def. for recording.
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 10:27 PM Post #5 of 7

Bones13

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 21, 2005
Posts
1,579
Likes
43
The Duet is Firewire only, and I don't imagine will work with the new MacBook in the current iteration.

The USB devices should all work with the MacBook.

The CPU horsepower, and available RAM and Hard Disk Options make the MacBook and the MacBookPro pretty close together performance wise.

The MBP has an edge on power, larger screen, and a Firewire port, at the expense of larger size and being heavier. These two are much closer than the original MacBook vs MBP.

I too bought a Duet to use with my original MBP, but found it to be too dry for my taste, and much prefer the Predator. I think that this is the case since the Duet is designed for music recording, and is supposed to be clear, analytical and non-colored.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 1:27 AM Post #6 of 7

etemkin

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Posts
13
Likes
0
Thanks for the advice! From what I hear, it sounds like FireWire is really the way you want to go for recording at least. So, I think I'll wait 'til Black Friday, hope there are some good sales on the MacBook Pro, and go ahead and suck it up and get one. Then I'll start with the Duet - if I decide later I don't like the sound, I can always look at a different DAC/Amp then.
Thanks Again,
ET
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 4:37 AM Post #7 of 7

illkemist

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Posts
332
Likes
10
I just switched from a MBP to the new MacBook. I can say with confidence that the performance between the two is negligible when graphics are not an issue. I use Aperture 2 for most of my photo work. There is a noticeable difference in performance between the two. However, there is almost no apparent gap in any other apps that I've been using. And I have to say that I love the new MacBook. The glossy screen takes a bit of getting used to, but it just means that I have to adjust the viewing angle sometimes. But looking at the two next to each other, you can see that the MacBook pops just a bit more. And it's built really tough. I like the way it feels in my hands. Real solid.

I have the duet, but I am selling it since I no longer have a firewire port. I never used it much anyway, as I originally bought it for podcasting. But I can say that it worked quite nicely as a DAC/Amp with the MBP. And thanks to the design, it looks like it was meant to be with the MBP. Very nice.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top