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Mac OS X, Powerbook G4, Live and Reason - My experiences

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:58 pm
by Novacosmic
Although I have some limited experience with Digital Performer and Cubase in a studio environment, I have only recently gotten into doing it myself. And that meant a ton of research to go from a total beginner to an informed consumer.

I am a documentary film maker working with Final Cut Pro, so my system needed to be a Mac. After about six months of research, I went with a G4 Ti 800 mHz Powerbook with 1 gig ram, mainly because I would be running FCP, Peak DV and Photoshop in OS X. Therefore, my audio needs would have to conform to my decision to go with OS X.

At the advice of a well known producer that has worked with The Chemical Brothers and Canada's David Usher (a recent no. 1 single in Canada sounds like it used Live), I purchased Live and Reason together, (along with my personal choices of a USB Quattro/Omni interface, and an external Lacie 120 gig firewire HD, which runs at 7200 rpm). He warned me about the growing pains that OS X was experiencing in the audio area, but my experiences with it in other capacities convinced me that OS X was the wave of the future. At the time, those experiences were limited to OS 10.1.5, the first (I believe) OS X with core audio, but a far cry from Jaguar. Once Jaguar came out, it was unbelievable what happened to my video and graphic design suite: everything became sort of "liquefied", if you will, and so rock solid that I can be running massive 40 gig video files in full screen view with dual monitors, audio plug-ins, etc. in Final Cut Pro, and still do several real-time edits with no problems. This lead me to a conviction based upon real world experience: once Apple sorts out their audio system, including assisting developers better, they are going to produce a dream OS for seamless integration between multiple apps.

Of course many are not interested in tomorrow; they only think about today, and things are far from perfect right now. So it would be easy to lack foresight and jump ship to a PC-based system. But I believe that Apple is a company that thinks like artists, and their recent acquisitions prove that they are investing heavily in the future of audio production. That convinces me that my investment in Apple is in concert with my personal development goals.

So, I brought home my new software, installed the Quattro drivers into OS X 10.2, and then installed Reason and Live 1.5.2. I plugged in my keyboard, and loaded Live with Reason as a slave. I have never used either program before, but after setting the preferences as per the manuals, I was making music right away. My Powerbook ran for twelve hours that day, without one crash, running a dozen tracks of audio and a dozen devices in Reason with lots of effects.

Then came the Live 2.0 upgrade, and I couldn't resist. As I have no other sequencer, the new features were crucial to me. Since I had missed qualifiying for the free upgrade by two weeks, I paid the fee and downloaded the program. I installed it right away and got to work.

As soon as I recorded an audio track using "Live In" - in this case it was a live female vocalist - the system would crash if I tried to play back a take. Several crashes and hours later, I discovered that if I saved the file before I tried to trigger the clip, then no crashes.

Since that time, I have worked in Live for at least 300 hours without a crash. I save on the fly continuously, like some sort of nervous twitch, but everything else is stable, which keeps me making music.

I have run my Powerbook for 14 and 16 hour sessions, and the fan barely ever comes on. One MacWorld tester kept his Powerbook running for 3 days and it still didn't overheat. The monitor is razor thin, big and bright. I can't speak for everybody, but the vibe of the Powerbook just syncs with my nature. Perhaps it is my graphics background, but unless something feels right to me visually, I can't spend thousands of hours interfacing with it. Live and OS X have become a great combo for me, and I have been spending countless nights absorbed into one song or another.

Live and OS X have a lot in common: both are young and beautiful, and hold what I believe is the golden key to the future of audio. But being young, they are also a little bit unaware of themselves (the code, man, the code!), which should improve with time. By all accounts, it is a sure thing. And those of us who helped finance them through their adolesence will truly be partners of a sort, and the dividends we collect will be the great music we produce. It's all about the music! 8)

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 6:13 pm
by Stubby
here here... clap clap clap clap clap clap...standing ovation.

my friend Ableton had better hire you to run their marketing dept. :D

keep up the good work. I'm sold.
what made you get the quattro instead of a firewire audio interface? and are you doing all of your audio in osx on the quattro, never going back to 9x for anything?


Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 6:21 pm
by astromass
this proves another one of my assumptions:

apples and caffeine go great together!

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:37 pm
by Novacosmic
"what made you get the quattro instead of a firewire audio interface?"

1. I felt that since I was basing my software around Live and Reason, I wanted to stick with M-Audio, due to close cooperation between all three companies. 2. USB because I wanted to have the option of greater mobility to go with the Powerbook.

"and are you doing all of your audio in osx on the quattro, never going back to 9x for anything?"

Well, a couple of days ago I installed everything in OS 9 on an old G3 blue & white, and have the intention of running some VST effects that aren't yet carbonized. I don't own ReCycle yet, but figure I can wait until it comes out for OS X. For now I'm doing it all within Live, albeit with certain roundabout methods that I would like to eliminate in the future.

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 8:06 pm
by Guest
cool i'm giving my ibook to a friend and will be getting one of the new powerbooks, not sure which one yet, i'd like the 12", but everybodys talking about the limited cache

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 8:09 pm
by Stubby
forgot my name on the last post