Going Mobile w/Pro Tools 9, Macbook 2.2 Intel Core i7 10.7.5

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trodden
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Going Mobile w/Pro Tools 9, Macbook 2.2 Intel Core i7 10.7.5

Post by trodden » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:33 pm

Hey all.

I'm losing my studio space of 6 years in 60 days. I'm going through the many options I have to continue on.

I'm wanting to put together a mobile rig so I can at least go to bands and offer rehearsal space demos, location tracking, etc.

I have a Macbook Pro, 2.2 Intel Core Processor i7, 4 gb of ram.

I also have Pro Tools 9.

The only audio uses I've used the macbook for is running LIVE for live show (soft synths, samples, textures)

I know NOTHING about Pro Tools on a macbook and would like some suggestions on interfaces and operations.

I would like between 8-16 A/D? THERE ARE SO MANY OUT THERE!! It's distracting!
Firewire or USB interface?
Do I use an external drive like I do with my HD system?

I'll basically be shoving 16 channels of pres, a few compressors, cabling, and whatever interface I choose into a 14 space road rack. Also will look into powered monitors.

Thank you for your time. I'm a bit overwhelmed with losing my space. I also live here, my bed is in iso room #2? I love it here, but with the way Seattle is changing, I can't afford first/last/deposit as well as another build out in a new space. Looking to put this together as well as a small mix/overdub room? I'll figure out where I'll sleep after that..

Cheers.
Brandon

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Post by kslight » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:28 pm

Bear with me for not knowing the details of your reasoning to keep PT9...but if updating is an option I would say that PT12 performs way better in my experience once you get the stupid bs out of the way (new Ilok, Aax). I begrudgingly made this transition and despite the expenses incurred, I have no regrets and would not look back.


As far as the interface goes, if it were me (and in the interest of keeping a compact setup...14 rack spaces is heavy...12 is what I've got right now and I am pretty barebones...24 ch pres, xlr panel, furman, alesis hd24xr.), I would be considering the Antelope Zen Studio. I have no issues with FireWire today but that's definitely on its way out and may not work with your next laptop.

One thing I find a bummer is that even on a 15" MBP, i wish I carried another screen with because when the pooter is sitting above the console at the studio it's too small...maybe a non issue if you plan to be in front of the pooter. I also carry a Logitech wireless keyboard and trackball.

I don't think you actually "need" to track to a separate drive anymore, but there are also kits you can get to swap out your laptop dvd drive with another hard drive, which would also help with portability.

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Post by trodden » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:43 pm

kslight wrote:Bear with me for not knowing the details of your reasoning to keep PT9...but if updating is an option I would say that PT12 performs way better in my experience once you get the stupid bs out of the way (new Ilok, Aax). I begrudgingly made this transition and despite the expenses incurred, I have no regrets and would not look back.


As far as the interface goes, if it were me (and in the interest of keeping a compact setup...14 rack spaces is heavy...12 is what I've got right now and I am pretty barebones...24 ch pres, xlr panel, furman, alesis hd24xr.), I would be considering the Antelope Zen Studio. I have no issues with FireWire today but that's definitely on its way out and may not work with your next laptop.

One thing I find a bummer is that even on a 15" MBP, i wish I carried another screen with because when the pooter is sitting above the console at the studio it's too small...maybe a non issue if you plan to be in front of the pooter. I also carry a Logitech wireless keyboard and trackball.

I don't think you actually "need" to track to a separate drive anymore, but there are also kits you can get to swap out your laptop dvd drive with another hard drive, which would also help with portability.
I'll look into the Antelope Zen Studio. Thanks.

I just moved up from pro tools 6.4 (nearly 10 years) on a mix plus rig to pro tools 9 on an HD2 accel rig just 4 months ago. pro tools 9 IS A VERY BIG UPGRADE FOR ME. I'm going to be on 9 for awhile? :) I did 15 years between a digi 001 on PT5 and my previous mix plus on 6.4. I'm sure i'll squeeze another 10 out of this. The fact that I spent 2500 on a HD rig that would have cost 20,000 8 years ago.. yeah..

I already have a couple 14 space road racks sitting around.. My 14 is going to be only a little heavier than your 12. And, its on wheels.. and has handles, on all sides. I lug them around filled with synths modules, effects, power conditioners, gear drawers and power amps all the time for my synth rig. :D :D

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Post by kslight » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:18 pm

Yeah I mean I was on 9 forever and skipped 10 and most of 11 entirely, when it went on sale with free update to 12 I finally decided to do it. Seriously it made a new Mac out of my old 2010 quad core Mac Pro....runs way better on 12 than it ever did on 9...written a lot better to take advantage of hyperthreading and lots of memory I guess.


My 12 space is one of cheesy Gator cases with wheels and handles and such, and I have my patch panel on the rear rails even, loads of snake cabling...it's not unbearable but would love to shrink it you know...

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Post by IanWalker » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:25 pm

I ALWAYS go to an external drive. It's worth it on speed alone. I'm pretty sure their internal drives are still 5400RPM, unless you're on an SSD obviously.

I've always gone FW over USB on my Macs, but with USB3 that should be less of an issue. These days I go FW for interface, and USB for drives. Keeps them on separate buses, and I've had nothing but good experiences with that.

I've only ran PT 7-8, and now 10 on my personal gear. Isn't PT9 still tied to their hardware? Or was that the first version that authenticated to iLok?

And as a general rule, give you Mac as much RAM as it can take (and your wallet can afford). 4GB isn't a lot these days, sadly. Check out datamem.com. I buy ram for all my systems from there, as well as when we need to upgrade systems here at work (where I'm the IT guy).

Good luck with the move. It sucks to lose your space.
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Post by trodden » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:32 pm

IanWalker wrote:I ALWAYS go to an external drive. It's worth it on speed alone. I'm pretty sure their internal drives are still 5400RPM, unless you're on an SSD obviously.

I've always gone FW over USB on my Macs, but with USB3 that should be less of an issue. These days I go FW for interface, and USB for drives. Keeps them on separate buses, and I've had nothing but good experiences with that.

I've only ran PT 7-8, and now 10 on my personal gear. Isn't PT9 still tied to their hardware? Or was that the first version that authenticated to iLok?

And as a general rule, give you Mac as much RAM as it can take (and your wallet can afford). 4GB isn't a lot these days, sadly. Check out datamem.com. I buy ram for all my systems from there, as well as when we need to upgrade systems here at work (where I'm the IT guy).

Good luck with the move. It sucks to lose your space.
Thank you for the info! This is the stuff I like to learn!

PT9 was the first one to lose the interface "dongle" A WHOLE NEW BALL(game).

I'll look into quickening my RAMming speed.

Cheers.

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Post by kslight » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:52 pm

I went from 3gb to 16gb of memory, and I really didn't notice a difference until I went to PT11. I just don't think older l versions of PT and OSX are as efficient at handling extra RAM and cores. Never hurts to have a lot of RAM, but those are my experiences. Ymmv of course, just food for thought.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:03 am

I'm real into this topic. I've been doing some real thrown together mobile jobs for a couple years now, always scrounging up whatever gear I can from friends to cover what I don't already own and I've been considering upgrading to something that is rad and very much my own a lot lately.

The interface choices are completely daunting. I've been looking into the Apollo things and the Apogee Ensemble. Curious if anyone has experience with those.

I also no very little about computers and what works best. I def. want to get a laptop. I have a 2004 ( :oops: ) powerbook / 002 / PT 6.9 setup that I've used for around 10 years, but it's finally become annoying to the point where I need to upgrade before I throw the laptop out my window mid-mix.
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Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:05 am

kslight wrote: I just don't think older l versions of PT and OSX are as efficient at handling extra RAM and cores.
That has been my experience. I upgraded from 512MB to 2 gig (the max my laptop allows) and saw no difference whatsoever in how ProTools performed.
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Post by kslight » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:55 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
kslight wrote: I just don't think older l versions of PT and OSX are as efficient at handling extra RAM and cores.
That has been my experience. I upgraded from 512MB to 2 gig (the max my laptop allows) and saw no difference whatsoever in how ProTools performed.
Some film score engineer I'm working with said that Avid made an agreement with Apple to open up all the system resources, whereas previously Apple throttles other programs so that Logic appears to perform better.

I have never heard anyone say that before, but it would make sense, I guess...so take that with a grain of salt.

I always thought the performance boost was just going from 32 to 64 bit.

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Post by ott0bot » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:04 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:I'm real into this topic. I've been doing some real thrown together mobile jobs for a couple years now, always scrounging up whatever gear I can from friends to cover what I don't already own and I've been considering upgrading to something that is rad and very much my own a lot lately.

The interface choices are completely daunting. I've been looking into the Apollo things and the Apogee Ensemble. Curious if anyone has experience with those.

I also no very little about computers and what works best. I def. want to get a laptop. I have a 2004 ( :oops: ) powerbook / 002 / PT 6.9 setup that I've used for around 10 years, but it's finally become annoying to the point where I need to upgrade before I throw the laptop out my window mid-mix.
I have a Apollo 8 quad now, and I love it. The pres are way better than I expected, not a huge difference from the UA 710 I traded. The unison preamp feature is pretty nifty. The convertor quality is pretty solid, on par with the Lynx Aurora I used to have. The main feature that will make the biggest difference is the real time headphone routing. it's so incredible nice to have multiple headphone mixes without all the latency. The unit also has the DSP for plugins, which is nice, but really just an added bonus IMO. I'm using FireWire now, but hope to upgrade my computer for t-bolt usage, which is even quicker and more efficient.

A few items of note:

You need to have Snow Lepoard at minimum for the FireWire set up, and mountain lion for T-bolt...which I'm guessing you don't have on your old computer.

If you are using FireWire, you have limited bandwidth since the interface and DSP uses a large percentage. I've found using and external FireWire drive unusable for larger sessions. I've had to resort to using the internal drive for this, which is annoying because my old iMac is kinda full.

I have the maximum amount of RAM for my iMac, 3 GB, and it's not sufficient for running pro tools and the UAD mixer for large sessions. when I try to edit, it drives me nuts with all the DAE and buffer errors.

So it stil works, but I have a few limitations until I can upgrade.

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Post by norton » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:40 am

Stay away from firewire...it's a dead end. Usb3 is faster, more stable and is not going extinct.

Thunderbolt's future is also uncertain.... It's brilliant and I really like my thunderbolt drives and interface....but if I was buying today I'd make sure usb3 was an option.

It would be nice if your interface was able to outlive a couple of laptops.

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Post by ott0bot » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:43 pm

norton wrote:Stay away from firewire...it's a dead end. Usb3 is faster, more stable and is not going extinct.

Thunderbolt's future is also uncertain.... It's brilliant and I really like my thunderbolt drives and interface....but if I was buying today I'd make sure usb3 was an option.

It would be nice if your interface was able to outlive a couple of laptops.
That's what's nice about a system with a replaceable card like the Apollo, Apogee Sympony, or Lynx Aurora. You have a little bit more life in a unit when technology changes. T-bolt is the best we have right now Mac-wise.

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Post by trodden » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:48 pm

Good info everyone.

My late 2011 macbook pro is running 7.5.5 and does have a thunderbolt port. I've never used Thunderbolt? I'll look into that.

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Post by alexevansohio » Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:03 pm

I'd throw a hat in the ring for the Apollos. I've been using a very compact 10 channel ITB setup for mobile tracking with a 13" MacBook Pro (3.5yrs old, 8GB RAM, TB, etc). I use an Apollo Twin Duo along with an Audient ASP880. 10 pres, 4 outputs. 2 outputs to a pair of Adam AX7s, two to a Presonus headphone amp. Super simple easy mobile tracking solution. I'm now looking at buying an Apollo 16 to give me the option to mix OTB when in studios with decent consoles or available outboard and to give me the option of creating unique headphone mixes. I think you could do far worse than getting an Apollo 16, a pile of whatever pres float your boat, maybe a lunchbox with compressors and EQs, a cue system or headphone amp, and a pair of good powered monitors. Add a box of mics,a box of cables, a snake, a bag of stands, and perhaps some mobile treatment (I have a combination of homemade traps and Realtraps mounted on mic stands), and you've got a pretty formidable mobile tracking solution.
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