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  #1  
Old 09-12-2020, 04:25 PM
Brawders Brawders is offline
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Default Which Mac

Good afternoon. I am just feeling overwhelmed in the information available and I thought it best to post here. I am currently using a Mac Pro 3.1 (2x3.2 quad 20 GB) running dosdudes Mojave patch. The video card is supposed to not be compatible but it works with a little visuals glitches. I have the educator Pro Tools 2020.5.0 and it works pretty well.

My issue is that I want two monitors for faster work flow, and running Mojave with the 3.1 only allows me 1. I’d also like a little more processing power. I have been looking into upgrading a computer but I’m running into so much technical info. For me it’s up to buying a 5.1 and upgrading, but still running a patched version of an OS. Buying a 6.1 and upgrading memory. Or a Mac mini 2020 with the fastest processor and 1gig SSD, and installing extra memory on my own.

I only use this as a hobby at home recording and at MAX like 25 tracks with 2-4 plug-ins on each. I don’t care about the Mac mini video card being meh because I don’t need the visual power.

I am leaning towards the Mini because of the current OS and it should last me a while. Educator discount can get me one for about $1,200.

Thoughts/opinions? And thank you so much.
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2020, 04:30 PM
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DetroitT DetroitT is offline
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Default Re: Which Mac

Mini but beef it up. Easy research.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2020, 04:55 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Which Mac

The Mini is appealing... upgrade the memory yourself, basically max it out.

The SSD is soldered to the motherboard and you cannot upgrade... so as with all Macs like this I would try to max out the internal storage. And with Apple tax that's expensive but I would do as much as you can afford. You can use that for macOS, your sessions, and samples if they will fit, and it's often easier, faster (*much* faster than external HDD), and more reliable than external storage.

Remember Macs are migrating to ARM based processors and will start doing so ~the end of this year. With no guarantees now about Pro Tools compatibility on those new ARM based Macs (so you might be better on a known working platform, and it does not sound like you want to be a bleeding edge type user). Or about how long new versions of Pro Tools will remain supported on the mini you purchase. But if you need to upgrade now it may make perfect sense, esp. if say if you plan around a ~3-4 year computer life.
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  #4  
Old 09-12-2020, 05:23 PM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is online now
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Default Re: Which Mac

Quote:
Originally Posted by DetroitT View Post
Mini but beef it up. Easy research.
You lazy b. (irony!)

Brawders, I owned a 3,1 myself and pushed it to sierra, lots of ram and ssd's. But now, I'm so happy that I got a mac mini, even though a modest one, because there are so many advantages.

Cheap.
Upgrade the ram yourself.

High speed internal flash drive.

Four TB/USB-C ports.
As many peripherals and displays as you need, almost.

Catalina and a modern mac is a spearhead in user experience. As they should be. Things work.

Even my i3 version is much more powerful than my old mac pro.


(One BIG issue, though; bluetooth performance on the latest mac mini's is less than adequate. So if this is important to you, then google it before you buy one.)


PS: I got the Mini in my signature used for 500 and upgraded to 16 GB for 100. It handles PT sessions of medium size just fine.
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:36 PM
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Southsidemusic Southsidemusic is offline
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Default Re: Which Mac

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Originally Posted by Ben Jenssen View Post

(One BIG issue, though; bluetooth performance on the latest mac mini's is less than adequate. So if this is important to you, then google it before you buy one.)
Just a Tip for all the Mac Mini users.

A studio in LA showed me the fix for crappy Wifi and or Bluetooth on Mac Mini and they have it upside down!

Works 100% better and they have no issues at all after turning it upside down.

It has something to do with where the components are placed and the chassi prevent the signal to get thru properly. Go figure!
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2020, 05:59 PM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is online now
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Default Re: Which Mac

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southsidemusic View Post
A studio in LA showed me the fix for crappy Wifi and or Bluetooth on Mac Mini and they have it upside down!

Works 100% better and they have no issues at all after turning it upside down.

It has something to do with where the components are placed and the chassi prevent the signal to get thru properly. Go figure!
A fix, but not a fix in a real sense.
I've had to place my Mini high up on the wall so that it has direct "view" to my bluetooth devices for it to work. And "upside down" simply because the wifi and bluetooth antennas are placed underneath.

In comparison to my old mac pro and imac, the bluetooth of the mac mini is scandalously bad. The pro and imac could be behind walls and still function. Compare that to; if I cross my legs and my knee gets in the way of the mouse, bluetooth fails with the Mini.

This is all over the net, I've looked hard, and I think there is no solution. Yet. The consensus is that it's a design flaw. Apple is silent.

Anyway, if you have the Mini on your desktop with input devices next to it, it's no problem.


My thread on MacRumors:

Mac mini 2018 bluetooth problems
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  #7  
Old 09-12-2020, 08:25 PM
Brawders Brawders is offline
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Default Re: Which Mac

Hey everybody, thank you guys so much for the responses. I think the mini super beefed up sounds the best. I wouldn’t use the computer much for internet so is the WiFi a deal breaker? I’m probably primarily only using this for recording and not many peripherals.
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2020, 10:23 AM
SomeOtherGuy SomeOtherGuy is offline
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Default Re: Which Mac

Any reports on how much the fan kicks in while running a big ProTools session?

I heard that it kicks in fairly high and gets pretty loud--is this true?
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2020, 11:33 PM
mrtomcat mrtomcat is online now
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Default Re: Which Mac

I had a beefed up Mac Mini (2018) for the past year with an external sonnet tb3 chassis for my HDX and UAD satellite and it's been more than stellar...except for the bluetooth issue which made me not use anything bluetooth on it because it drove me insane... I also do a lot of video work as of late and for that it did not do well. I ended u getting the sonnet puck eGPU which made things dramatically better but not good enough... So I "just" ended up getting the 2019 Mac Pro (12 core/48gig ram) last week ( now I am broke).
First of all the bluetooth on that is just as bad, I tried to use the magic mouse that comes with it and it's useless (the mac is to my left under my desk) so I went wired mouse again... seriously lame Apple.
I just finished setting everything up this weekend and ran a large PT session through it and quite frankly not much difference to the Mac Mini ( I tried to change the buffer from 256 to 128 and it bombed... really disappointed. Again it's a pretty big session with lots of automation (it crashed saying it can't handle the automation)... Pro Tools has simply not been written for multi threading it seems. Where it's blowing me away is Final Cut Pro X... a render that took 30 minutes on the mini was done in less that 5 on the Pro... now that is impressive. I am still going to do a bit more tweaking but I really thought I would be able to lower the buffer at least to 128... It would be curious to know if others have the same experience (hdx is in slot 5 as recommended by avid) gpu is the radeon 5700. Moral of the story: the mac mini loaded is quite the beast and for the money the better choice if you're doing audio imho.
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2020, 03:00 AM
Sardi Sardi is offline
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Default Re: Which Mac

Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeOtherGuy View Post
Any reports on how much the fan kicks in while running a big ProTools session?

I heard that it kicks in fairly high and gets pretty loud--is this true?

Can’t comment on large sessions as mine aren’t typically massive, but the fans ramp up on an offline bounce. One would assume it’s using as much CPU as possible when bouncing hence the fan noise.

When I’m doing processes in Izotope RX, the fans go nuts too. I opened Activity Watcher the last time I did an RX render and all cores were pegged, hence the fan noise.

For most of my PT use, I don’t really hear the fans. When they do come on though, they sound louder than the older Minis. I have 5 of these machines, hexa, quads and duals from 2011 onwards. The new Mini definitely sounds the loudest and definitely gets hotter than the others.

TBH, I kinda feel like there’s some software issues with these Minis. Firmware or something. It definitely has a few quirks.

Oh also, BT has been absolute rubbish on all Minis. At first it was said to be bad shielding on the BT chip and the dropouts were exacerbated by USB3 devices. Well, every model I own has terrible BT performance. The studio ones have been the worst though. I even tried external BT adapters that were better at first, but they still had issues. I dunno what the problem is TBH. I just went back to wired keyboards and a Logitech mouse with its own receiver.


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