A New Computer

November 4, 2008

As I mentioned in a previous post, my reliable old Apple Macintosh PowerBook G4 passed away some weeks ago. As this was the central piece of my recording studio, I have been unable to do any recording since this tragic event occurred. I have been considering changing my equipment to include a multi-track recorder, thus freeing myself from a reliance on a computer system. However, events have recently changed my opinion.

I purchased a new Apple MacBook Pro a couple of weeks ago, after Apple’s release of their new portable lineup resulted in bargain basement prices on their previous generation of MacBooks. When all was said and done, I managed to acquire a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro for about half of what it was originally priced. The machine in question has a 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 2GB of RAM, and 512MB of VRAM. I am planning to increase the RAM to the maximum allotment of 4GB, but that will have to wait until I have saved a few pennies!

However, even with a mere 2 GB of RAM, the new machine is both much faster and more robust in recording my various instruments. I have not yet encountered any difficulties in recording multiple instruments and in fact I have yet to have GarageBand crash as I am attempting to record a large real instrument track. This is very pleasing- my older machine showed definite signs of strain when recording long passages or multiple takes of a single track. And the new machine is much faster both at saving and managing songs- I don’t worry about overtaxing the processor with this machine!

I am also very pleased with my first exposure to the iLife ’08 suite that is bundled with said MacBook. There are some significant differences between the older version of iLife with which I am familiar and the new one.

The most important difference from my brief exposure is the ability to divide recording into sections. Thus I am able to select intros, verses, choruses, etc and divide up the song so that I can record each of them separately- something I was not able to do in the previous iteration. The new iLife 08 also has the ability to record several virtual tracks, enabling me to do several takes of a section before choosing the one that sounds the best. previously I had to erase then re-record, or utilize another track- which was very taxing to the computer!

After spending some time re-configuring the machine to my preferred state, i began recording, choosing a Japanese tune entitled ‘Wakare no Samba’, written and recorded by Japanese guitarist Hasegawa Kiyoshi. I have not yet completed this recording, but thus far it is moving along quite nicely. I expect to have it completed and posted to my MySpace page in the next week or two. i will of course announce it at this site once I complete the work on the recording.

Overall, I am very satisified with my new ciomputer, and I have therefore shelved plans to purchase a multi-track recorder as well. Should I require a separate recording machine, I will revisit this decision, but the new MacBook has proven to be quite satisfactory thus far. I would like to upgrade my software suite to the Logic Studio, but as that is a little expensive, i will probably defer that purchase until next year at the soonest. For now, Garageband, coupled with my reliable old m-audio Ozone does the job quite nicely.

My next purchase will be a <a href=”http://shure.com/ProAudio/Products/WiredMicrophones/us_pro_SM57-LC_content&#8221; target=”_blank”>Shure SM57</a> dynamic cardioid microphone, as I my current microphones are all condensor-types. While condensors are good microphones, I require something that is a little more portable- condensors need phantom power and a good cardoid does not, making it a little more flexible. I also understand that the SM57 is a good mic for both instrument and vocals- something my Audio-Technica is not. However, that is also something that is not necessary at the moment.