Computer Systems Mac

Which Macintosh Computer Systems are the best for personal Digital Audio Workstations ?

If you made your decision for the Mac platform you still have to choose the right model. Do you go mobile, stationary or both? Do you have a DSP driven system like Pro-Tools or do you want to use "native" software alone?

Here are examples of some computer systems for different needs:

  1. "The native Reference":

    If you look for the very best in "native recording" (without additional DSP Hardware), there is no alternative to the Dual Power PC G5 2,5 GHz.

    I don't want to go too much in detail about specifications. Just what's important to us.

    This Mac can be up to 3 times faster than 2,5 GHz Pentium 4 computer systems. That means a lot more plug-ins and virtual instruments.

    It is liquid cooled and that makes him really quiet which is nice for audio applications.

    It has all the important interfaces like fire wire 800/400, USB 2.0, serial ATA, very fast graphics card,  dual monitor support etc...
  2. The "DSP-Host" Solution:

    A system with DSPs like Pro-tools or other takes the main load of processing away from the CPU. Therefore you can also use a cheaper G5 or even a G4 as Host computer.

    It mainly depends on which Hard disks you want to use. With the internal IDE drives you can go a long way. If you want to take one of the external units via fire wire or USB you should rather take the newer models because it works much better and faster there.
  3. "The Compact" iMac G5:

    The new iMac G5 is a 17" or 20" TFT Monitor that has anything built in. That gives you a compact workstation that you can take everywhere, but not as expensive as a powerbook.

    Together with one of the new fire wire or USB audio interfaces you get a great workstation at a reasonable price.


    • Compact and portable
    • Inexpensive
    • Easy to setup
    • Very fast with G5


    • Not very expandable

  4. "The Ultimately Portable", Powerbook:

    The Titanium Power Book G4 offers quite some power for a professional audio (and even video) workstation. It won't take long and you will also get it with a G5.

    The G4s however also offer lots of power and are very reliable.


    • Beautiful
    • Big 15.2" Screen
    • Lightweight, only 5.3 pounds
    • 5 hour battery
    • built in airport
    • exceptionally strong (titanium)


    • At the moment only with G4 processor
    • Not really cheap
  5. The "Vintage Version", a Power Mac 9600 with G4-card:

    If you have a complete studio with all kind of SCSI peripherals, serial port driven Midi-interfaces, Modems or printers your best solution is getting (or keeping) an "old" power Mac 9600 with a fast G4 accelerator card.

    Because a Power Mac 9600 with a G4 processor has almost the same processing power and speed as a new G4, but a lot more PCI slots (6) and also all of the interfaces you still might need (SCSI, serial, Floppy).

    The case has the option for mounting additional drives or maybe an internal CD burner which is nearly impossible with a G4 case.

    It is not much slower than the new G4s but has a lot more space for extensions.

    • 6 PCI-slots
    • Serial ports
    • Floppy
    • SCSI
    • Much cheaper
    • No need to change peripherals
    • Great case with much room for peripherals


    • No fire wire
    • No USB
    • Slightly slower
    • No cheap IDE drives