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Thread: Mac computer recording software

  1. #1
    Registered User Barry Platnick's Avatar
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    I have an 8 yr. old apple power mac sitting in the basement doing nothing. Abandoned when I took a new job and it was all PC. It still has OS9 on it its a G$ 450mhz I think.

    The question is:
    I now have a room in the basement that is all mine for music and I want to experiment with recording.
    Should I use the Mac or just use my 4 yr old laptop pc that I use for work? I'd love to put the Mac to work rather than throw it out.

    Do I need to upgrade it? If so with what and is it worth it? what software is the best and...Easiest for a not very computer literate guy?

    thanks






    [U][B]
    Barry

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    You can install OSX and have a relatively modern, albeit a little slow machine. I'm running OSX on an "antique" G3 that someone gave me several years ago, so your G4 would seem like a big upgrade to me!

  3. #3

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    You can also leave it with OS 9 and use some of the free software to record with:

    Coaster: http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/programs/Coaster/

    Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/mac

    The list from macmusic.org: http://www.macmusic.org/software/cat...ng/en/id/7002/

    Digidesign ProTools used to have a free download for OS 9 computers.
    Sheryl --- Me

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    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    I record on a G4 laptop with OSX and Garageband. It works great with a firewire interface. Someday I dream of a big bad power book and more sophisticated software but I still suck on what I got and it works soooo......
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tenorbanjoguy

    "Gettin' by" with the imports!

  5. #5
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
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    The ProTools Free never worked very well, I'm sorry to say.

    Your 450mHz Mac is very useful, with OS9 or OSX. There are lots of OS9 software thingies out there
    that are cheap now. A Digidesign ProTools TDM system is very inexpensive now, and will deliver some
    serious recording power, and the ones that Sheryl lists are great, too.

    To run OSX on your Mac you may have to choose your software carefully. Many OSX apps are big and
    expect a lot faster processor.

    Also, there are cpu upgrades available that can raise the processor speed of your Mac, or even replace
    the CPU with a faster one.

    For now, try Audacity. It's a little clunky and not very intuitive, but if you read the notes and learn how to use
    it, you'll have a good grounding in digital editing to start.

    After looking at MacMusic.org, have a look at some online music gear retailers and you'll see that there are a lot
    of recording pkgs consisting of a box to plug mics/instruments into, and those connect to the computer in various
    ways, and then a software application that receives and edits/mixes the audio that comes in thru the box.

    Some of these are quite affordable and easy to use. Oh, and you'll want a whole bunch of hard drive space to store
    your audio, and backing the files up to CDrs or DVDs is nice. (Back up early and often. Redundancy of data is your
    best friend.)

    I hope this helps, have some fun!

    stv
    steve V. johnson

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    The Line6 Toneport comes with some free recording software, plus an incredible array of tone shaping amp and cabinet simulators, effects, reverbs, delays, etc. You can get the cheap $60 one if all you need is one 1/4" input jack, or the fancy one if you need to record with a stereo mic setup. Even though it came with recording software, I still use Garage Band because I find it so easy and user friendly.




  7. #7
    Registered User Barry Platnick's Avatar
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    Thank you all so far.
    Can I use garage band on my current set up?
    i've heard alot about that.
    Barry

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    Good question, I don't really know. I did a quick google of this:

    garageband system requirements

  9. #9
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    G4 desk top with OS-X 10.3 is just pre having garage band included,
    that's what I have, so I'm following this with interest.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  10. #10
    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    I am no techie but it should work and it comes bundled with iLife 08. I have the last version and I really should update sometime.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tenorbanjoguy

    "Gettin' by" with the imports!

  11. #11
    Professional Novice Chris Travers's Avatar
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    My brother just bought a new mac book pro. The recording program is awesome!
    Spread the mandolin gospel!

    Chris

    My Blog: Mando-Learn

    My Vimeo Page

  12. #12
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    I have been on Macs for a while now, I am using an older G3 iBook to record some audio with, and find it to be pretty great! Software is an issue for some people, kvraudio.com has listings for free and cheap software as well as budget friendly effects....

    Another thing to check out is the inside home recording podcast over at www.insidehomerecording.com

    They feature a lot of Mac based stuff there... My big studio rig now is a rather new iMac running Logic, with a PreSonus Firepod and a bunch of nicer mics and such... Took me a while to get there though...

    But if I can use this little iBook I am typing on to do two tracks of "decent" audio with minimal effects and mid level bit depth to the file then you should be able to do a fair amount with your system. Does it have Firewire or USB? all kinds of stuff to look into for interfaces, depending on what you think you can spend.

  13. #13

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    Barry asked:
    << Can I use garage band on my current set up?
    i've heard alot about that. >>

    You need to tell us whether the Mac you have is a g3 or a g4. You can find this out by booting it up, and using the Apple System Profiler, which will give you an outline of "what's there", hardware-wise. You can get an idea of the machine's installed RAM, processor speed, types of ports, etc.

    You can also find out more by going to "everymac.com".

    I will guess that it's a "g4" instead of a "g$", correct? It _might_ be the version of the g4 called "Gigabit Ethernet" - these came with 450mhz CPUs (single or dual, I believe). This is still very functional and there are numerous CPU upgrades available - but be forewarned about spending too much $$$ on an older Mac. You might find yourself getting into it and longing for something newer!

    You might consider installing OS 10.3 on it, which will handle GarageBand. You need at least 10.3.7 (I believe) in order to have the "CORE audio" drivers (part of the system software) which make the Mac particularly easy to connect to audio interfaces (I use, and recommend, a Presonus Firebox, particulary if you can get a deal on one on ebay).

    You can probably pick up a copy of 10.3.x on ebay "on the cheap". Be aware that you MUST buy a "full install" version (the commercial version that was sold to install on any Mac). Some folks sell "OS X install CDs/DVDs" that are specific ONLY to certain Macs, such as iMacs, etc. These WILL NOT do an install on any machine other than the one they were sold with originally.

    I'd suggest 10.3.x (can be upgraded for free to 10.3.9 through "software update"), as it uses less memory than 10.4 and can still handle a wide range of software (though more and more _new_ software seems to require at least 10.4 these days).

    I'm typing this on a 4-year-old g4/1.25ghz MDD, 10.3.9, and GarageBand 2.0.2 runs just fine on it. In fact, I like the older version of GB a little better than the most recent ones.

    - John

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    Modulator ;) PhilGE's Avatar
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    If this hasn't been mentioned, check available RAM. You may need to add more. If you do, research options carefully so

    1) you know if you can configure your Mac with enough memory to run the apps you want and

    2) you get the right memory chips for your machine (once got the wrong chips - ooops!).

    -Phil




  15. #15
    Registered User Barry Platnick's Avatar
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    Thanks. Yes its a G4 not a G$ (told you guys I'm not a keyboard wiz). its a 450 dual with 512 I belive.

    There are several OS 10.4 on ebay that come with ilife '04
    Will the 10.3's run better/faster on my machine?
    how much ram should I have to run well?

    Am I barking up the wrong tree all together? I want an easy to use program that will let me record and use some some effects.
    Does Garage Band fit the bill?
    Thanks
    Barry

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    I did a lot of recording on 512MB of RAM but when I put a full gig in there it really opened up my resources for effects a lot! Reverb is a CPU hog, and can bog one down fast... If you use a lot of amp simulators it can wear you down as well.... Of course with some of those effects like amps... you would be better off to save your CPU and just mic up a real amp in the first place

    I would be willing to bet though that Garage Band is going to treat you very well, and with just a little bit of luck you will get some great recordings.... I have been using it since version 1.0 that came with my first machine!

    Your best bet in the long run will of course be to buy a nicer machine with bigger specs, and all that... I would upgrade my audio interface/soundcard first and also buy better mics and cables and even monitors before going too crazy on the machine.... I also think that room accoustics are the best bang for your gear dollars, hands down.

    Good luck and post us some audio when you get this thing going.

  17. #17

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    Barry wrote:
    << Yes its a G4 not a G$ (told you guys I'm not a keyboard wiz). its a 450 dual with 512 I belive.

    There are several OS 10.4 on ebay that come with ilife '04
    Will the 10.3's run better/faster on my machine?
    how much ram should I have to run well?

    Am I barking up the wrong tree all together? I want an easy to use program that will let me record and use some some effects.
    Does Garage Band fit the bill? >>

    OS X will make use of both processors, where OS 9 could not. That's a big plus, speed-wise.

    From keeping an eye on ebay, it's looks like a "full install" version of Tiger (OS 10.4) goes for upwards of $60-70, whereas you might grab a version of Panther (OS 10.3) for as little as $25-30.

    You could pick up Panther on the cheap and use the leftover $$$ to bump up the RAM from 512mb to 1gig. For RAM, I'd highly recommend Data Memory Systems at datamem.com. (no financial interest, just a satisfied customer).

    Whether you pick up Tiger or Panther, be sure to go to Apple's software update and get the free updates. Panther goes to 10.3.9, Tiger goes to 10.4.11. You need AT LEAST 10.3.7 in order to have CORE Audio installed to be compatible with the Firewire interfaces out there that are designed to use it.

    GarageBand comes with a suite of Apple "AU" (audio unit) effects modules that work well and are easy to apply and modify.

    Remember that you'll need an audio interface as well if you don't already have one. I'd suggest something that is firewire-based. Avoid USB, firewire has much greater bandwith.

    - John

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by (guitar junkie @ May 11 2008, 13:18)
    I did a lot of recording on 512MB of RAM but when I put a full gig in there it really opened up my resources for effects a lot! Reverb is a CPU hog, and can bog one down fast... If you use a lot of amp simulators it can wear you down as well.... Of course with some of those effects like amps... you would be better off to save your CPU and just mic up a real amp in the first place

    I would be willing to bet though that Garage Band is going to treat you very well, and with just a little bit of luck you will get some great recordings.... I have been using it since version 1.0 that came with my first machine!

    Your best bet in the long run will of course be to buy a nicer machine with bigger specs, and all that... I would upgrade my audio interface/soundcard first and also buy better mics and cables and even monitors before going too crazy on the machine.... I also think that room accoustics are the best bang for your gear dollars, hands down.

    Good luck and post us some audio when you get this thing going.
    sell a mando and get an imac with logic pro 8 with 4 gigs of ram. you won't regret it. just my two cents worth..
    mandolinosoarus rex

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    One other thing you need to bear in mind before you start to load up all the suggested software and OS upgrades is that the 450mhz G4 only came with a 20GB hard drive. Huge in its time but probably lacking today - reminds me of the 40 MB drive my first PC came with!
    Ray

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    this is true the hard drive is small, which means you are going to either want to burn projects to CD or else set up a bigger hard drive for storage.... these days at least you can pick up huge drives for not that much money.

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