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Thread: Macbook pro 16 inch 2019 + universal audio arrow. Worthy investment?

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    Macbook pro 16 inch 2019 + universal audio arrow. Worthy investment?

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    First and foremost. It's a new year. Happy new year everyone!

    So this year, I've planned to take my music career to a whole new level.
    That means moving out of my hometown to the capital, and also investing in new gears.

    Since mid-2019, I've planned to upgrade my main laptop / workhorse. Mine is currently an MSI laptop with 7th gen i7, GTX 1070, 16 gigs ram, and all the good stuff. No thunderbolt though.

    To convince my future partners, clients, etc that I am being serious about this, i'm planning to get a new macbook as my main workhorse. A 16 inch, i9 macbook pro to be exact.

    To pair the macbook, i also planned to get the universal audio arrow interface.

    My main focus on music will be producing jingles, march, pop music and stuff, rendering youtube videos, and also will be using it as a sequencer for live situation. maybe also DJ-ing.

    1. Is it a worthy investment? I think in my country it's worth equivalent to 3000 something dollars. So i don't want to make bad investment. Remember, i need to get the hype of using macbooks. So not just about pure performance.

    2. Is the universal audio arrow good? Especially for use as a sequencer. Can i run a click track from outputs separated from main? I notice it only has main and 1 headphone outputs.

    Thanks for your help

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    I have the Apollo x16 so I don't have the unison preamps, but if I did I would definitely use the 1073 and other pre's they've got. I will say that the UAD plugins--and from what I've heard, the unison preamps--are very very good. To me it's a gigantic upgrade from the stock Logic plugins. I went from a MOTU 828 mk3 to the Apollo x16 and it was a jump so big that my recordings from last year sound like low-fi demos compared to now.

    But I will say that the Arrow seems to have a very anemic CPU for running plugins. It looks like a single core. I would research the preamps you want to model, and the plugins you think you'll be using to ensure that you get a useable amount of CPU to power the unisons plus a couple plugins in the chain into to your DAW. Then you may end up like I did, and use the CPU to also power UAD plugins in your DAW on the mix. I briefly had a quad-core Apollo 16 and that struggled with larger band projects (random UAD's on single tracks and buses for 20+ track projects) once I started using UAD compressors left and right. But if you're ok knowing the amount of UAD plugins you can realistically run before you pull the trigger, I think if you buy the Arrow it would be on you if your recordings aren't pro quality

    The Apollo Twin X gives you two or four cores depending on the model. To me, for a two-track recorder the quad core CPU would let you use a lot of plugins+unison pre's on one or two inputs on the way in, and then a healthy amount of UAD plug-ins on the mix and main bus in your DAW once you have a bunch of tracks recorded. They have a list of how much CPU each plugin uses. Check that and check your needs and check what you're willing to pay. A little of financial pain now might benefit you down the road if/when you realize you need more plugins running on a project and don't want to sport for a UAD Satellite just for some extra CPU horsepower. From what I understand the unison plugins need the CPUs to work too, but I could be wrong! UAD-2 DSP Chart – Universal Audio Support Home

    Anyway, as an Apollo x-series/thunderbolt 3/grey unit owner I am beyond pleased with how it's sounding for me so don't let that concern you.

    Macbook Pro: unless your current computer is really, really killing you, you should spend more on the UAD interface and maybe a nice mic or room treatment. Or monitors.

    This is my 6-core x16 running with a Neve 1073 (I use it for color and eq, I WISH I could also use it as a unison preamp!) and some 1176's on my guitar DI and mic tracks, plus another 1073, 1176, and LA-2A on a vocal track (sometimes I swap the 1176 for the dbx160), using 31% of the 6 cores in the little meter at the bottom left:
    screen-shot-2020-01-04-10-47-24-pm-png

    Here's just turning off the 1073 on the vocal track. Brings the 6-core from 31% to 25%:
    screen-shot-2020-01-04-10-47-37-pm-png

    And turning off the entire vocal chain brings it to 20% of the 6 cores:
    screen-shot-2020-01-04-10-47-50-pm-png

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    I should have added: Unfortunately I don't know about the Arrow's routing. But in most DAW's you can have a click track running in the headphones and the music out of the speakers or any combo of that. You can control the click volume separately from the mix in Logic at least. Hopefully that works for you if you end up getting it!

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    I wouldn't go near any Universal Audio interfaces. Lots of bad blood between us years ago, with the way they treated our shared customers, but I hear they are doing better now.

    But why? Get WAY better drivers for cheaper with an RME setup, or much better for cheaper than that with a few of the other brands or slightly better for WAY WAY WAY cheaper from just about anyone else

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    Ditto what GoodTimesRec said: spend the money on the interface, especially if you need multiple output sources for different mixes. If your main focus is recording and producing, decide how many instruments you'd be recording simultaneously. I record drums as home so I need a minimum of 8 inputs so I opted for the Scarlett 18i20.

    For the output mixes, how many different mixes are you talking about? I have 2 headphone outputs with independent volume control which is fine as I am usually only recording 2 people (bass and guitar) at the same time. Bass player just likes to hear the click, guitar player wants the full mix.

    For live, a dedicated mixer is a better idea (ZED-FX or something).

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