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Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

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Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Tweak on Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:53 am

Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform


http://tweakheadz.com/rigs.htm#Rig4

Who it is For:

Ideal for the Mac based home composer who want a completely software driven studio for electronica, film scores, small ensembles and other big projects with a minimum of hardware and wires.

Hookup example:

Simple really. The 828mk3 hooks up to your Mac's firewire port (1 cable). The new Mackie Control Pro will take a USB port. You mics, synths, and monitors connect to the MOTU. You can plug a guitar into the MOTU's combo jack input (2) and flick the switch to instrument. If you want to connect turntables you will need a separate phono preamp and connect that to any pair of MOTU line inputs.

Suggestions:

Mac Pro
Interface possibilities: Motu 828mk3
http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--MTU828MK3/sid--rigs
RME Fireface 800 or 400 http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--RMEFIREFACE/sid--rigs
Apogee Ensemble
Logic Studio http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--APLLOGICSTUDIO/sid--rigs
Mackie Control http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--MACMCUPRO/sid--rigs
Keyboard workstation or controller of choice

Monitors of choice:
Suggestions:
HR824MkII http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--MACHR824MKII/sid--rigs
DynAudio BM5 http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--DYNBM5A/sid--index

Down the road add
NI Komplete http://www.zzounds.com/a--3745/item--NINKOMPLETE2/sid--rigs
UAD2

Tweak's Standard Classic Mic Picks
Rode NT2a (or alternate Large condenser)
Shure SM81 (or alternate small condenser)
(get two if you record drummers)
Sennheiser MD421, Re20 or SM7b (pick 1)
Shure SM57 (at least 1)

You can add premium preamps to upgrade this rig and I recommend supplementing the onboard preamps of the 828mk2 with some really good ones.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Tweak on Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:53 am

Discussion of Rig #4
The Mac Pro is now the standard for Mac based studios. One great thing about them is you can connect many video monitors and hard drives to the system, ensuring a maximum of eye candy (consider three--or four!-- 23" monitors side by side--awesome!) and enough storage options to store years and years of projects. As today's Macs are using Intel Core 2 Duo processors make sure that any 3rd party products you intend to use are up to speed. Software must have the "Universal" logo on them. The MOTU devices already compatible with the Intel Macs. MOTU interfaces and Apple computers have a great history of compatibility. Logic, of course, is Universal. NI's Komplete bundle has updated nearly all of its new synths to Universal Binary as of this writing. Wait till you hear the FM8, Akoustik Piano, Absynth4, Reaktor5 and other heavy soft synths on a system that can slice through them easily.

Logic pro is my preferred way to go here, though you could run Digital Performer 4 or run Pro Tools LE (if you get an digi 002 system). The MOTU 828mk3 is a super value as an interface with preamps, 10x10 analog i/o and ADAT lightpipe i/o. If you need 8 preamps, go with the MOTU 8 pre. If you are on a Mac you really can't go wrong with a MOTU interface. Just make sure it has the preamps and i/o you need. RME's Fireface makes an excellent higher-end alternative. Add the Mackie Control as a control surface if you want hardware to control your software mixer. Mackie control software was developed with Emagic (the company that originally made Logic) and it fits Logic like a glove.

Waves and Native Instruments fully support Apple's Core Audio. The Komplete5 gives you nearly all the great NI softsynths and soft samplers to augment Logic's impressive array. Waves Platinum is used by the pros. Note that the latest Macs are PCIe based. If you want to go with UAD-1 systems for plugins, make sure to get the PCIe version of the UAD-1 card, which is available now. I personally prefer the sound of the Universal Audio plugins.

A MacPro desktop system is not cheap, but you already knew that. Any MIDI keyboard will work, but I am a believer that you need at least one device that makes sounds outside of software. But its not necessary to get a full keyboard "workstation". If you get Logic and Komplete 4 you will have plenty of samplers. A Yamaha S90ES, with its 88keys, would really be the dream keyboard for the dream rig.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby mark9500 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:13 am

Hi Tweak,

I have read your articles extensively over the last little while, and have learned much (I hope!)

Thought I'd publish progress on my own studio building efforts. Due to budget considerations, I'm a little lower spec'd than I'd like, but we have to live with what our partners will let us spend, I guess . . .

Currently, my home setup consists of:
Apple iMac 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB Memory (which seems to keep up reasonably well - though latency while recording needs to be monitored religiously);
MOTU Ultralite;
Mackie 1604 VLZ3 Mixer (while the MOTU provides 8 inputs, I like the Mackie's preamps, needed more inputs and a more versatile mixer for my live stuff too - just need another MOTU for the other 8!);
Logic Studio (I reckon this is the best deal in terms of cost - so much to offer for about AUD$600. I'm not half way through using it all yet.);
DBX 266 XL Compressor (which I use primarily for vocals - I use it for both monitoring and recording, but keep the dry recording track as well just in case);
Rode NT1-A (x2), several Shure 57s and 58s and a Senheisser E 602-II for drum kick; and,
Yamaha HS80M powered monitors.

There's lots more to get into should the opportunity (and $s) arise, but I'm fairly happy with the results I'm getting so far.

Mark
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Music Bear on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:25 am

This system is very similar to mine. Here's what I run so far:

Euphonix System 5MC (20 faders) running Logic Studio
Apogee Rosetta 800 w/firewire card
Meyer CP10
Focusrite Liquid Channel
Manly Voxbox
Lexicon PCM 96
Focal Solo 6 (2) & Sub 6 (2)
Monster Power AVS 2000 & PRO 7000
Furman HR6 headphone monitor system (4 pods)
MAC Pro 8-Core 2.93 GHz (32GB) (6TB:RAID 5)
Glyph 800 Rack Bays
Two 30" Apple Displays
Euphonix System 5MC (20 faders) | Apogee Rosetta 800 | Meyer CP10 | Focusrite Liquid Channel | Vox Box | Focal Solo 6 (2) & Sub 6 (2) | TC Helicon VoicePro | SSL "G" Compressor | Furman Headphone system | MAC Pro 8-Core 2.93 GHz (32GB) | 30" Apple Display (2)
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby davidroseberry on Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:59 am

^ ^ ^ wow.....that is sweet! do you have pics up here, Music Bear? I'd love to see it!
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby d4rkst4r123 on Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:43 am

How many channels could possibly be recorded at once with this rig?
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Swami Digital on Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:18 am

It's very expandable I think. The 828mk3 and the FF800 both have 10 inputs + an additional 16 via ADAT so that would be a total of 26. Of course you would need preamps, and a/d converters for the additional channels by ADAT, and preamps for the line inputs on the interfaces. In retrospect, I could have saved myself some gear flipping if I had just started piecing a setup like this together from the start. :P

-D
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby d4rkst4r123 on Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:14 am

Yes same with me, I wish I hadn't gotten too much of the lower end gear, that's why now, I'm saving up and saving up more to get the highest I possibly can.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby BasementX on Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:50 am

Thank you Tweakzz your website is amazing.. I will try to buy stuff on zzsound to support you..
here;s some questions (there's so many things brewing in my brains these days in regards to buying equipment)
I'm have a really tough time deciding on a MAC or PC.. Right now I'm running Cubase on a PC (built for me by a friend) and it runs beautifully.. The only programs I run on it are Cubase SE (stripped down old version of Cubase) and Battery 3. I have an edirol 24/96 audio interface, a Korg Triton Keyboard, a rhode NT-1 mic etc.. My PC was pretty nice when my friend built it 5 years ago (1 gig RAM, high end mother board, Pentium 4) I produce a ton of dance music (hip-hop, reggaeton, dance hall reggae etc..)...I also use it to make rough tracks for other kinds of music (rock/jazz etc).. I am getting tempted to buy a good "processor" software program (the universal audio software package) a guitar amp program, a few virtual synths, and the new Cubase 5. From researching it so far I think there's little chance my current computer could handle those programs. I want to get these programs to make my dance stuff sound polished and professional. Any advice on what I should do... I would really like to get a PC but it seems like MACS are more hassle free (this is good because I'm terrible at trouble shooting and fixing problems)and the price between the PCs and macs SEEM to be comparable.. Looking at PC audio labs and other similar "audio PC" sites (Sweetwater) the PCs I want are over $2000...

Any suggestions? Is there any way I can update my current PC to run these programs smoothly (I'm guessing not)? and is MAC really the more trouble free way to go? Is a $2500 PC more powerful than a $2500 MAc? It is difficult to find answers to these questions. I love my current PC but I wouldn't hesitate to try a new OS if it would run more smoothly in the long run..

Oh.. and .. I also have a store bought Sony Viao laptop with an intel core 2 duo cpu 2.0ghz 3gig ram (only a 5400rpm harddrive) that I don't do any recording on right now (strictly a PC to go online with).. I'm doubting the laptop would run all the software I want, but if anybody could think of a solution using my laptop I'm all ears.. I only record one track at a time (occassionally 2 or 3 tracks) so maybe I COULD get by with something like this (keep in mind the software I want to run listed above)..

As you all can tell I'm driving myself nuts with these decisions!! someone please help me!! my budget is anywhere from FREE (if you all can get me going with my current rig I can spend money on a sick microphone and a killer preamps for vocals) to $4000

here's some of the stuff I currently make if you were curious myspace.com/rexsbasement
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Music Bear on Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:12 am

davidroseberry wrote:^ ^ ^ wow.....that is sweet! do you have pics up here, Music Bear? I'd love to see it!



Sure... Here's a peak at my home studio. Finished it a few months ago. Now I need to learn how to use it. So many things to learn. Recently got LA Scoring Strings. Anyone familiar with it in the SOCAL area?

Image
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Partial equipment list at:

http://www.euphonix.com/pro/news/?id=150
Euphonix System 5MC (20 faders) | Apogee Rosetta 800 | Meyer CP10 | Focusrite Liquid Channel | Vox Box | Focal Solo 6 (2) & Sub 6 (2) | TC Helicon VoicePro | SSL "G" Compressor | Furman Headphone system | MAC Pro 8-Core 2.93 GHz (32GB) | 30" Apple Display (2)
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Tweak on Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:37 am

Man that is one heck of a rig! That 5mc looks awesome. LA Scoring strings sound awesome too. You have a Dream Mac System, sir!
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Rick Levine on Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:53 am

That's just over the top. Nicely done.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby davidroseberry on Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Wow!! Thanks for posting! What an amazing setup! I'm super jealous....
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby davidroseberry on Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:32 pm

PS. What is it you do exactly...scoring, mixing, editing?
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Music Bear on Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:18 pm

davidroseberry wrote:PS. What is it you do exactly...scoring, mixing, editing?



Songwriter here. I still have a TON to learn. I always wanted a home studio, but never knew how much I would need to learn to use it.

So many buttons and dials... SHEESH!
Euphonix System 5MC (20 faders) | Apogee Rosetta 800 | Meyer CP10 | Focusrite Liquid Channel | Vox Box | Focal Solo 6 (2) & Sub 6 (2) | TC Helicon VoicePro | SSL "G" Compressor | Furman Headphone system | MAC Pro 8-Core 2.93 GHz (32GB) | 30" Apple Display (2)
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby stevesaxman on Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:31 pm

Hey gang!
This is my first post here. I came across this rig and realized it is almost exactly what I am using which is, needless to say, ironic. Here's my gear list:
8core 3.2Ghz Mac Pro (4GB)
Motu MK3
Furman Power Conditioner
Axiom 61
Logic 9
Ableton Live 7
Komplete 5
Kore
Kore Controller
Rig Kontrol Pedal Board (which I use for saxophone live...sweeeeet)
Pad Kontrol49

Let me first say that if anyone is in doubt, this setup is smokin!!! I need to probably up my RAM and a couple more harddrives would be nice but I've spent more than I can really afford as is. I use this rig primarily for songwriting and recording but it seems as though I am going to be touring again soon. Here's the kicker...I shockmounted my computer in a road case with the motu and furman in the top rack spaces. I modified the top rack with a flat board and used two-sided velcro tape so that I can put my Kore controller and the pad kontrol on top to "tweak" sounds live. Its all pretty sick and I am absolutely in love with Apple and I am a huge fan of Native Instruments as well although, admittedly, I have not tried many other plug-ins for software instruments. All of the controllers are usb-midi, so I don't really have a whole lot to worry about with regards to wiring. My issue is seamless transitions between songs playing live sets, looping stuff, instrument changes, etc. If anyone has any advice on that sort of thing, I would love to hear it. I'm torn between Lainstage and Live for gigging.. Any thoughts?
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby aww-de-oh on Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:43 pm

Music Bear wrote:
davidroseberry wrote:PS. What is it you do exactly...scoring, mixing, editing?



Songwriter here. I still have a TON to learn. I always wanted a home studio, but never knew how much I would need to learn to use it.

So many buttons and dials... SHEESH!

Hey Music Bear.
Is that the Focal 6 Be i see in your studio? (cool setup btw)
If so, what's your impression of them? I'm interested in these monitors, and gathering info before i test these and another pair.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Elpimpo on Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:20 pm

Bear,

Awesome Setup, but TWO Mac Pros?!!!

What about us poor people man?

(hate coming out)
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby learningtheropes on Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:23 pm

Hey all.

I'm a new guy to learning this stuff, so I've been going, one by one, through the lessons that are being posted.

My set-up is an iMac (previous gen) with a 88-key keyboard hooked up via a USB/MIDI interface (only one port).
At this point in time, I have no intention of recording audio. All I am looking for are some ways to more quickly make up compositions and make some more intricate tracks.
At this point, all I have for DAW is Logic Studio with all the instruments and plug-ins added. I do not have any other instruments or synths.
First, any gear that I'm missing that I should look to invest in?
Second, if I'm looking to make rock-symphony type stuff, what are some good software instruments to invest in?
Third, I'm having a technical difficulty issue with Logic and assigning MIDI channels. I'm going to consult the user manual (the very very big one) but anybody have anything to suggest on how to do what I need to?

Cheers all,

Alex

(PS: I am intending to save up for a more powerful Mac Pro with the full 8 cores, so I already know about that one.)
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Tweak on Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:08 am

Make sure to understand the midi concept completely first. Know that midi interfaces may have multiple ports. Each port has 16 channels. Some keyboards have midi interfaces on them; some don't. They might just have midi i/o that has to be connected to a midi interface that you have to buy separately. Soft synths actually create their own virtual midi interface and port inside logic. Soft synths may be multi timbral or mono timbral (1 channel only). This may sound confusing, but that is the way it is.

The Mac automatically sees all the interfaces/ports when the system boots and these can be edited in the audio/midi utility. When you launch logic, these are again recognized and made part of Logic's midi i/o. As you launch soft synths inside Logic, the ports and channels are automatically generated.

All this i/o can be "redefined", named, and given extended definitions like patch names in Logic's environment. I create a "multi" for each hardware 16 channel device on my system. While this step is optional, it helps logic get control of not only of all the channels and ports, but of the often many banks of patches and their names. This way you can click through a list looking for the right bass patch rather than spinning dials on the synth or module.

Its far from intuitive, the way it actually works. This is because MIDI has taken on tons of functions in the modern sequencer, with virtual midi ports and channels being added on to hardware midi ports on interfaces and USB midi keyboards.

The thing is to know what you have hardware wise and what channels midi operates on. The currently highlighted track may have 16 channels available in the inspector, but midi only works on the channel the keyboard is receiving on.
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby AlexWizard on Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:56 am

Absolutely fantastic site. Using a very basic setup at the mo, but have learned from scratch about recording from here. Thinking about upgrading to something as suggested on this rig.

Those pictures.....that's the kind of studio I want.

I'm going to go and price up Tweak's spec from a place in the UK. I suspect I won't get change out of £5k though.....
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby BasementX on Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:27 am

Yea it is a nice site! I learned so much about recording from the Guide and the Forum..
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby ziri on Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:14 am

Hello, I have been producing music for about 8 years now and currently am serving in the Navy overseas... When I get back to the states I plan on stepping my studio up a notch or two.

I currently have (Gunther)

Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
8GB 1067Mhz DDR3
320GB HD and 1TB external

I use mainly my laptop and headphone to produce as I am always out to sea... but not for long! My music has massive potential but i need that little extra and am willing to pay for it. www.soundcloud.com/ziri

I use:

M-audio mbox 2 (at home not often) with some m-audio av40s
Logic Pro 8 Studio
Waves Bundle
Sonnalkis Bundle
BBE Harmonizer
Logic plugins
Ableton 8 I believe and its plugins
Sometime my UAD Solo 2 (its broke 3 times so i pull it out on mixing sessions

There are 2 parts to this post.
One - Is a mac pro going to fix my problem of sessions getting mixed down like a skipping cd (latency maxed)?

I understand I will need a DAC... should i sell the mbox and get an alternative interface?
I will be running the KRK VXT 8's most likely for monitors with the KRK ERGO studio monitor room processor
A Mac Pro is on the list and I will name her "Barbara Streisand"
I already have a the sh201 which I cant record with because of delay issues with midi to audio.

Mic and Preamp will come soon after the ESSENTIALS!

Please help out with some input, i will be spending a good deal of money.

Evan :xmas:
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platform

Postby Neil on Fri May 06, 2011 7:01 pm

Hello Tweak,

I've been planning a studio similar to Rig #4 for about a year.
The main difference is that I intended to use a 17" MacBook Pro notebook instead of a Mac Pro desktop.
The notebook has a 2.2 GHz Quad-core Core i7, 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM and a 7200 PRM hard drive so its a pretty powerful workstation. Also has Thunderbolt for future connectivity flexibility.
The other components in my plan include an Apogee Ensemble, Logic Suite, A mix of Rode, Neuman and Shure microphones.

I wanted to use the notebook because I already have it and it is very quiet - it will have to be near the microphones I will use to record piano, voice and guitar.
What do you see as the most important disadvantages to replacing the Mac Pro with the MacBook?

Thanks,

Neil
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Re: Rig #4 Dream Home "Mixerless" Software Studio--Mac Platf

Postby Music Bear on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:35 am

aww-de-oh wrote:Hey Music Bear.
Is that the Focal 6 Be i see in your studio? (cool setup btw)
If so, what's your impression of them? I'm interested in these monitors, and gathering info before i test these and another pair.


Hi there. I really dig these Focals. The sound is amazing.
Euphonix System 5MC (20 faders) | Apogee Rosetta 800 | Meyer CP10 | Focusrite Liquid Channel | Vox Box | Focal Solo 6 (2) & Sub 6 (2) | TC Helicon VoicePro | SSL "G" Compressor | Furman Headphone system | MAC Pro 8-Core 2.93 GHz (32GB) | 30" Apple Display (2)
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