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Mac or PC for HW?

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.

Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby telemanr » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:04 pm

However programs like Protools are quite expensive and most HW users aren't in the commercial recording world where that sort of expense is justified.
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby fermata » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:51 pm

Yes, the platform argument for audio recording goes back a lo-o-ng way...
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby Antoni Scott » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:09 am

Depending on the sample set size, the Mac Mini is an excellent computer and inexpensive compared to their big brothers. When I bought my MacMini for a project, it only went up to 8GB Ram max. Third party vendors were selling a 16GB upgrade, but rumors and misinformation was swirling about that 16Gb wouldn't work or would damage your computer. Apple clearly stated that they wouldn't support 16GB upgrades. Concerned looks and head shaking didn't reassure me. After re-assurances from others, I installed the two 8GB modules in less than a minute and Bingo !!!! 16GB. My MacMini didn't go up in a puff of white smoke or burst into a ball of flame.
That was back in 2011 and it's still working 100%. The audio was clean, no glitches, etc.
The sample sets are getting much bigger so I think it has limits.
Today, the MacMIni has soldered in RAM so you can't upgrade yourself.
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby josq » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:00 am

My understanding is that Mac vs PC is a matter of stability vs cost.

Especially if you want a large amount of RAM (32 GB is nowadays a minimum for surround sample sets) a Mac can be 3x more expensive than a PC.
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby fermata » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:35 am

If I do not use a surround system, but content myself with active stereo speakers and a modest subwoofer, how much RAM will I need (or how little can I get away with as sufficient)? Do sample sets themselves have different RAM requirements?
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby csw900 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:49 am

To fermata

Just like me you have a modest requirement -- I have successfully run Hauptwerk on a PC
which had only 2GB of memory.

However this is the absolute minimum you can get away with, I have found that 8GB is
perfectly adequate and does not restrict me at all. I have absolutely no interest in HUGE
sample sets and I also find that stereo sound + sub woofer is adequate.

Yes sample sets do have different RAM requirements.

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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby mdyde » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:12 am

Hello fermata,

fermata wrote:Do sample sets themselves have different RAM requirements?


Yes -- sample sets vary enormously in RAM requirements, from a few hundred MB to 48+ GB. Our website instruments database gives a guide to the memory required by most sample sets with their default rank options:

https://www.hauptwerk.com/instruments/

Respective sample set producers' websites will usually give more comprehensive requirements.

Most people buying computers these days go for 32 or 16 GB of installed RAM, so as to be able to use a reasonable range of sample sets.

There is general background information and recommendations for computer hardware and RAM on the 'Support | Requirements' section of the website:

https://www.hauptwerk.com/learn-more/requirements/
https://www.hauptwerk.com/clientuploads/documentation/PDF/HauptwerkPrerequisites.pdf
https://www.hauptwerk.com/clientuploads/documentation/PDF/HauptwerkBackgroundTechnicalInfoOnComputerHardware.pdf

Note that you can disable some ranks in Hauptwerk, and/or change rank memory options, to help fit portions of sample sets within available memory. The 'Organ menu | Loading organs' section in the main Hauptwerk user guide covers that (pages 72-76 in the current v4.2.1 version).
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby Antoni Scott » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:43 am

My first Hauptwerk computer was a MacPro which was built for me in 2008 because I didn't (still don't) know much about computers. That was 2008 and I'm still using it daily. It has been extremely reliable. In eight years of constant daily use, the only thing that went bad was a RAM module riser board and a RAM module. Another incident turned out to be only a RAM module that was not properly seated. That's it.

When I decided to experiment with retrofitting an old transistor organ to Hauptwerk in 2011, I didn't want to spend more money on another Mac. PC's were far cheaper for what appeared to be the same performance, so I purchased a PC. Right from the start,, I was plagued with frustrating audio problems, random glitches, etc. Repair centers were baffled. It was many years ago but I think I saw an entire page in the Hauptwerk manual just dedicated to optimizing PC audio, that for someone like myself who was basically computer illiterate , was impossible to follow. I gave up and bought a MacMini which was far less expensive than its big brother, and not much more than the PC. Right out of the box, it worked flawlessly. Somehow I incorrectly thought that a tiny thing like a MacMini could not power such a big "wet" sample set such as the 66 stop Zwolle, but it did (not surround).

So, for me, the Mac is the only way to go.

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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby profeluisegarcia » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:59 pm

Antoni Scott wrote:

So, for me, the Mac is the only way to go.

Antoni


For me too (and people who had follow my advice). I think for an average HW user (not professional or church organ) Macbook is the right choice
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby fermata » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:07 am

Thank you all for your very helpful responses. I would love to go with a Mac Mini, mainly because of its tiny footprint. Plus, it's a Mac, which I have always used. I'm not a computer whiz, either.

The MacMini does not have a 64-bit quad core processor as recommended in the Hauptwerk prerequisites, but rather a 2.8GHz dual core i5 http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs/. Is this a problem?

I'd like to go with the 2.8 GHz model, maxed out with a 2TB fusion drive (whatever that is) and 16GB of memory. Does this sound okay? Will loading be sluggish whenever I turn the organ on? What performance should I expect with this computer?

I may never use another sample set beyond the St. Annes provided with Hauptwerk. I'll be happy if it is better and more varied than the one chapel organ sound I get from my Casio digital piano.

Question:
I would like to get lots of pistons and possibly rocker tabs, so as to avoid having to keep a touch screen on my console. Will this eat up extra memory?

Question:
How do I get rid of all the junk that will be coming with my MacMini -- built-in apps that I will never use, since this unit will be dedicated to Hauptwerk alone?

Thanks very much in advance for everyone's helpful comments!
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby mdyde » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:31 am

Hello fermata,

fermata wrote:The MacMini does not have a 64-bit quad core processor as recommended in the Hauptwerk prerequisites, but rather a 2.8GHz dual core i5 http://www.apple.com/mac-mini/specs/. Is this a problem?


Looking at Apple's website, the top CPU available for the Mac Mini is currently a dual-core 3.0 GHz i7 (which is an upgrade configuration option on their website from the 2.8 GHz model that doesn't add a huge amount of cost), so I'd definitely advise going for that. The i7 CPUs do manage to squeeze quite a bit more useful processing power out of a given GHz frequency (mainly due to Hyper-Threading in the i7, which in Hauptwerk is especially useful for handling non-audio events/processing, such as MIDI and the background models, and since the i7 models may have more CPU cache).

All of Apple's Macs have 64-bit CPUs.

Although it's still only a dual-core CPU (as opposed to quad-core, for example), I think you would find the 3.0 GHz i7 to be ample for current small and medium-sized sample sets stereo sample sets (or surround sets loaded in stereo). Certainly it's more than sufficient for an organ the size of St. Anne's.

fermata wrote:I'd like to go with the 2.8 GHz model, maxed out with a 2TB fusion drive (whatever that is)


If organ loading times are important to you, my advice would be to avoid the 'Fusion drive', which I think uses a 5400 RPM drive for most of its storage, and would potentially make for rather slow organ loading. For fast organ loading, with sufficient space for a reasonable number of medium-sized sample sets, I'd suggest going for the 512 GB 'PCI-e Flash Storage' option (or the 1 TB Flash option if you plan to install quite a few organs).

fermata wrote:Question:
I would like to get lots of pistons and possibly rocker tabs, so as to avoid having to keep a touch screen on my console. Will this eat up extra memory?


No -- MIDI pistons/tabs don't use any significant amount of extra memory.

fermata wrote:Question:
How do I get rid of all the junk that will be coming with my MacMini -- built-in apps that I will never use, since this unit will be dedicated to Hauptwerk alone?


I wouldn't worry about it personally. Just avoid running any of those applications whilst Hauptwerk is running, and (temporarily) disconnect the Mac from the Internet if you want to make sure that no applications try to update themselves whilst Hauptwerk is running. If you try to remove built-in applications/components you might risk breaking your OS X installation, and they would probably come back automatically anyway next time to you applied an OS X update.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby fermata » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:12 am

Wow, thanks, Martin! I'll certainly follow your advice.

Question:
When will I ever need to go online with my Hauptwerk computer, except to get new sample sets or a Hauptwerk update? Why would I need an OS X update? Theoretically, it could run forever on the current OS, right?

Also, if I am online getting a new sample set or a Hauptwerk update, what if some useless Apple app tries to update itself as well -- could that be a problem? Can it be thwarted?
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby OrganoPleno » Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:57 pm

fermata wrote:When will I ever need to go online with my Hauptwerk computer, except to get new sample sets or a Hauptwerk update?


My Hauptwerk computer, built Feb of 2010, has NEVER been online. I get new sample sets and Hauptwerk updates on my OTHER computer, which is online. Then transfer everything via flash drive or CD/DVD.

fermata wrote:Theoretically, it could run forever on the current OS, right?


Exactly. I'm still running Windows 7 64-bit Pro, from BEFORE "Service Pack 1", and it has NEVER been updated. Why mess with it, once you know it works?

fermata wrote:Also, if I am online getting a new sample set or a Hauptwerk update, what if some useless Apple app tries to update itself as well -- could that be a problem?


Yes, absolutely,

fermata wrote:Can it be thwarted?


Easiest way is: Never go online with that Computer.
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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby NickNelson » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:31 pm

Agree with OrganoPleno in every respect.

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Re: Mac or PC for HW?

Postby fermata » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:18 pm

Thank you, guys! Duly noted!
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