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Audio interface for Mac Pro

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Nace Zavrl
Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 8, 2010 at 9:26:00 am

I am planning on getting a Mac Pro mostly for video editing, photography and other multimedia needs.

I have been looking into the Genelec 6010a monitors, combined with the 5040 subwoofer, and am interested which interface should I use to connect the monitors and the Mac, or am I better off to just plug the Genelecs in the Mac directly? Also, are the monitors a good choice?

I occasionally also use an XLR mic for voiceover stuff, so the interface should incorporate that input as well.

Thanks,
Nace


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 8, 2010 at 5:01:31 pm

Hello Nace and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

What pieces of hardware have you found in your search?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Nace Zavrl
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 8, 2010 at 5:17:48 pm

Thanks for the response Ty,

I was thinking of buying the Apogee Duet, which has all of the inputs I need, but as it is my first time buying monitors and interfaces, I am not so sure about it. I was also considering something like a Matrox MXO2 Mini, which also has video I/O options for pretty much the same price.

But as I said, it's my first time buying these things, as I am currently still on a dull 08' iMac which just doesn't fit my needs anymore.

Thanks,
Nace


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John Fishback
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 8, 2010 at 9:31:25 pm

The Duet gives you a lot of control and acts like a mixer that control various gains. You might also consider its Breakout Box for ease of wiring. The MXO2 Mini gives you tremendously most flexibility, especially for video, but you'll need a mixer to control your audio inputs. Also, I think the MXO is more expensive than the Duet. BTW, I love Genelec monitors, although, I've not heard the ones you mentioned.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.2, Motion 4.0.2, Comp 3.5.2, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.2)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Sam Mallery
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 1:52:19 pm

The 6010 & 5040 are a good combo. This system also comes with a really handy volume knob that sits on your desk. It comes with a cable that you can plug directly into the output on your computer.

Since you only need to do voiceovers occasionally, I think you may be better off with just a good USB microphone (like the BLUE Snowball). Having to fuss with an interface may be more trouble than it's worth.

The goal is to get good sound and to produce good content. You don't need to spend a ton of money to do that. An interface isn't really necessary.

In what way have you outgrown your 2008 iMac?

http://www.sam-mallery.com


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Nace Zavrl
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:12:17 pm

Thanks for the reply,

My iMac just doesn't have the processing power or the storage and connectivity options I need nowadays. Also, the lack of more FireWire ports, no eSATA ports, PCI expansion and extended I/O capabilities I frequently need, is starting to annoy me.

Anyway, back to the audio stuff. I am now deciding between the simplicity of the 6010a connected directly to the Mac, or buying an interface (I stumbled upon the M-Audio ProFire 610 - cheaper than the Duet) and having more options for connectivity in the future.

I am already working with the Rode NTG-1 microphone a lot, which has a XLR output and needs phantom power, so not buying an interface will mean buying a XLR-USB converter and I just suspect that buying an interface which already allows XLR inputs gets you more bang for your buck than just buying a separate converter? Or not? Also, are the Genelecs 8020b (without a subwoofer) worth the extra price over the 6010a + 5040?

Thanks,
Nace


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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 6:45:17 pm

So I'll play the part of the snobbish audio guy.

You need an interface. Period. Built-in audio on even Mac Pros is laughable going into anything but middling headphones. If you want to produce good audio content, you need to start by hearing it. Also, with an interface, you'll be able to plug in any microphones you want, including decent ones you rent when needed. With USB mics, you're stuck with the same I-wish-it-was-more-decent mic all the time.

The ProFire 610 has good converters and mic pre's for the price, super-solid drivers and plenty of flexibility if your plans change. I wouldn't recommend the Duet, personally. It's really a product for people who want the Apogee name (and price) but don't need it. I've tested one out for a while and it left the impression of a hipster's toy with any serious use being an afterthought.

Which brings us to the monitors. Monitors are always such a touchy subject because they are so subjective. I love a big Genelec room, but I'm of the opinion Genelec's "budget" range is not worth it. The 6000 series in particular. They sound like budget speakers, plasticky and shaky, which the price tag suggests they shouldn't. Giving the same amount of money to a company like Adam Audio or Dynaudio will give you much sweeter sound, IMO. Some people would argue with me for hours on this (and some have), but I think you're mostly paying for the word "Genelec" on the front of your speakers at that price point. Now, if you told me you wanted a pair of 1039AM-VU's with a 7271A sub, I'd be getting my snobbish ass in line to book some time with you, but that's the other Genelec, the one you have to talk to your bank manager about. The 8000-series sounds more robust, but may be a bit much for your needs right now.

Your Rode mic is right-on. It's versatile and works well for most VO talent. I'd just keep that and find the best rental place in town to get some nice toys for more-important gigs.

IHTH

/snobbish audio guy

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:10:48 pm

about the monitors.

I have been exceedingly happy with the Event Opals.

Still using my JBL L100 (derived for the JBL 4311), but the Opals are more transparent.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Nace Zavrl
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:49:18 pm

Excellent sum up there. After a bit more research I was thinking of getting the ProFire 610 and the Genelec 8020b monitors, as they are just the right size and still within my price range. Do you suggest anything else for my video editing setup in terms of audio equipment or am I pretty much covered?

Thanks,
Nace


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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:06:47 pm

If the 8020's are in your budget, by all means go ahead. If there was a pair of beers between us, I might be inclined to argue that point a bit, but it would truly be nitpicking at that point. With the ProFire and those, you should be more than set up for audio. Hits have been mixed on lesser setups.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Sam Mallery
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:30:34 pm

The 8020's lack bass. If you're primarily working on video, you want to be able to hear the sub frequencies because you pick up a lot of low end noise in video, and it's good to know when you need to cut it, and when you don't. For video work I'd rather use the 6010 system with a sub than the 8020's without.

Also, M-Audio stuff is decent, but pretty low on my list of manufacturers that I'm excited about. People pay more for Apogee for the sound quality. You can call it smoke and mirrors designed to get "hipsters" to open their wallets, but I've heard good things about the Duet from enough qualified audio people to know otherwise. But then again, I don't think this poster needs to spend money on an interface. That money would be better spent on his future Mac Pro.

Every Mac I've ever owned has had a great sounding audio output. It's not uncommon for professional DJ's to plug directly into a system with the headphone output on their MacBooks. Sure, it's not optimal, but it works just fine. I just bought a new MBP and the output sounds great.

http://www.sam-mallery.com


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Micah McDowell
Re: Audio interface for Mac Pro
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:10:16 pm

My trusty G5 Powermac has an AWFUL sounding audio output. It's always had a constant buzz/squeaky sound that varies under processor load and was an issue with many of those computers. Your Mac Pro is probably fine, but you should listen closely and make sure.

I've been using a Presonus Firepod Firewire audio interface for several years (now they call it the FP10). It's very affordable and has been very near flawless for my audio I/O needs. Eight XLR preamp inputs, so great for cutting VOs or even recording a band demo.


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