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Multitracking: Logic/Pro tools, Macbook, ext HDD


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Howdy everyone


This question could be a little more suited to a computer forum, so, mods, if your not happy then feel free to close this one.



I'm in the market for a new laptop. I currently have an old Apple iBook, and looking at getting a new Macbook, and cant really, stretch for a Macbook Pro.


Alongside basic laptopy functions, I do alot of design work and multitrack recording.


Macbook will do all that fine, however I have recently been doing alot of location multitracking using logic. (8 tracks usually of live gigs)



My issue is that to happilly multitrack on a laptop I need a fast hard disk. The macbook HDD will max at 5400 rpm, whereas the macbook pros go to 7200.


I dont really want to stretch to a macbook pro, but could using a 7200 rpm external hard drive, or even a RAID drive connected threough USB 2.0 or firewire 400/800 work equally as well?



Sorry if this is completely the wrong place, but im sure some of you have some knowledge on this I could dip into.


Has anybody been in this situation? I'm open to suggestions. Somebody even suggested a basic stand alone hard disk recorder which could do 24 tracks.

I dont exactly have a "budget", but I want to look at different options, ideally tying in with a new macbook.


I also did a searchy on this topic too, but couldnt find something that answered my questions.





Any Q's feel free to aske me :** laughs out loud **:



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What input interface do you use?


I have afriend who uses a Motu traveller (which IIRC has at least 8 inputs) linked to a Macbook and HDD by Firewire. This is very capable of multitrack band recordings etc, and has the benefits of storing all the data on an external drive, so you can have a disk for a large project etc, and also keep the internal HDD free for other applications etc.

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I use both a Macbook Pro and an eMac with ProTools. Both have firewire external hard drives either 400 or 800 will work with proTools/Logic


The key, as you've said, is spin speed. As long as the drive is going at 7200 RPM it will work to record audio. I would always recommend Firewire connection over USB2 though as I believe the Firewire is still faster than USB2

Plus the bonus of keeping the internal drive free is that it doesn't get as fragmented if your audio is recorded externally.

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I use both a Macbook Pro and an eMac with ProTools. Both have firewire external hard drives either 400 or 800 will work with proTools/Logic


Just a note to this is that the FW800 interface is not officially supported by Protools and can cause a number of problems. (I have witnessed this multiple times with various configurations and unstability has resulted, for info the 17" MBP seems to be the worse offender!)



I have just got a MacBook and are very keen to explore high quality multitrack recording. Could you use a Firewire sound card AND a Firewire HDD on the MacBook's single port at the same time?


Thanks, Dan


Yes you can connect both a firewire hard drive and interface to the same port and have the system work well. I have on numerous occasions recorded 16 simultaneous tracks with protools onto a firewire hard drive sharing the FW bus with the interface. I have heard of people having problems with this configuration and it seems to be related more to the hardware types connected and the usual compatability issues that can arise.




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I often use a Lacie 250GB external FW drive with my MacBook. I bridge a Digidesign 002r through it and have never had any problems. External FW is definately the way to go - indeed it is all about spindle speed.
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