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  1. #1
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
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    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    My specs:
    Macbook Pro 15" running 10.6.8; 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5; Ram of 4 gb & 150gb left on hardrive

    I'm looking to create house music and other similar genres. I'm on a low budget since I'm starting college next year.
    So for my graduation gift, I assembled this list of things:

    While I'm interested in recommendations for what I've already listed, mainly I'm concerned about what I'm missing from my list.

    Do I need an audio interface, or can I use the midi-usb adapter and it's good enough?

  2. #2
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    261
    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    Hi there!

    Logic only needs the computer to run and make music however it is highly recommended that you buy a USB midi controller (which I see is on your list to buy) otherwise you will be limited to creating music solely with loops. They typically require a USB to Mini USB cable that plugs directly into your computer's usb port, not a midi cable (however if you have the right equipment interface, you can still use a standard MIDI patch cable). Logic does have a feature where you can push caps lock and it will turn your computer keyboard into a makeshift midi controller but it is rudimentary at best.

    You do not need a USB audio interface if you plan to make music using loops and midi recordings, however if you plan to record stuff through a microphone, you will need one. USB audio interfaces also take some of the workload off your computer's processor by decoding and converting all the system audio for it.

    Here is a basic Logic setup:

    (When recording with MIDI/Synths)
    MIDI keyboard controller -> computer (Logic) -> USB Audio interface -> headphones/speakers

    (When recording with a microphone)
    Microphone -> USB audio interface -> Computer (Logic) -> USB audio interface -> headphones/speakers


    If you plan to not record with a mic or just don't have the budget for an audio interface right now

    MIDI controller -> computer (logic) -> headphones/speakers via the computer's headphone jack

    You can also use your computer's mic input but it will not sound nearly as good and you will probably need to invest in an adaptor. Audio interfaces use balanced inputs that are not susceptible to interference and they have on board pre amps which will allow higher volume levels. I would recommend getting one.

    As far as your computer specs, they all look ok. I would recommend upping the RAM at some point (Logic is a huge memory hog) to at least 8 gigs. You can do this at microcenter for about 35 bucks.

    Maye get an external hard drive at some point too.

    Hope this helped!

  3. #3
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
    Posts
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    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Wow Adric, your post was incredibly helpful! I'm really grateful for such a quick and complete response.

    I didn't realize that USB to mini USB was more popular [my keyboard from 2003 used a midi cable, so I just assumed]. I checked the keyboard and it comes with its cable, so I guess I won't be needing a cable for it.

    I should have specified that I don't think I'm going to be recording any vocals or live instruments any time soon. You really explained what an audio interface was really well, it had been confusing me.

    And yeah, I have been wanting to upgrade my RAM for sometime; and don't worry I won't get it from apple cuz they price it so high.

  4. #4
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    261
    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    Glad to be of service.

    Yeah just think of audio interfaces as external sound cards with all sorts of inputs and outputs. You will also need one if you ever plan to get a pair of studio monitor speakers down the line.

    For now though I think you'd be just fine with only the MIDI controller and your computer. That will get you in pretty well.

    If you want, also look into getting a midi controller that also has some knobs and faders on it. Logic has a learn feature (command L) that will sync those knobs on your midi keyboard to control the on screen pan, volume, sends, etc knobs in logic. It's almost like having a small mixing board on your midi keyboard!

  5. #5
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
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    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Quote Originally Posted by Adric View Post
    I didn't realize I needed an audio interface for monitor speakers... shoot. I guess I should get one! And yeah, the small keyboard I got has a few knobs for me to play with ^^
    Also, just checking: when you say MIDI controller, you mean the Akai keyboard?

  6. #6
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
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    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    Quote Originally Posted by ohmykira View Post
    I didn't realize I needed an audio interface for monitor speakers... shoot. I guess I should get one! And yeah, the small keyboard I got has a few knobs for me to play with ^^
    Also, just checking: when you say MIDI controller, you mean the Akai keyboard?
    Yes. A midi controller usually looks like a piano (usually - not all of them do). They are different from electronic pianos in that they don't actually have any sounds loaded onto them and exist only to control midi performances on your computer using soft synths. In short, they require a computer to play anything whereas electric pianos do not. Don't worry though, Logic has a whole bunch of soft synths as does Garageband. You can also buy countless others covering all genres from 3rd party companies such as Native Instruments, EastWest Quantum Leap, Garritan Libraries, Vienna Orchestral Libraries, etc. They all range in price from a couple hundred all the way up to $11,000 for the complete Vienna Symphonic Library. Adding soft synth sample libraries will also eat up a WHOLE lot of hard drive space so external drives will be required if you ever plan to add more. For example, Kontakt 5 from Native Instruments is about 35-40 Gigs in size. The complete Vienna Symphonic Library is almost a terabyte.

    Before you jump into getting an audio interface, check and make sure that your studio monitors don't have any unbalanced inputs (they look like standard RCA jacks). If they don't then yes, you will need an audio interface which will have the balanced outputs (that look like 1/4" headphone jacks or guitar cable jacks) to connect to them.

    If they do have the unbalanced RCA inputs, then go to radio shack and buy a mini jack to stereo RCA adapter for a few bucks. Then you can just plug that adapter into your headphone output on your computer, then just use any stereo RCA cable to run to your monitors.

  7. #7
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
    Posts
    10
    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Oh I see what you mean. I use to have an electronic piano so I get what you're talking about. And don't worry, I have an external HD with 350 GB so I think I'll be okay for a good amount of time!
    Oh, thank you for the heads up about the studio monitor input. I'll check soon.

  8. #8
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
    Posts
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    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Quote Originally Posted by Adric View Post
    Before you jump into getting an audio interface, check and make sure that your studio monitors don't have any unbalanced inputs (they look like standard RCA jacks). If they don't then yes, you will need an audio interface which will have the balanced outputs (that look like 1/4" headphone jacks or guitar cable jacks) to connect to them.

    If they do have the unbalanced RCA inputs, then go to radio shack and buy a mini jack to stereo RCA adapter for a few bucks. Then you can just plug that adapter into your headphone output on your computer, then just use any stereo RCA cable to run to your monitors.
    So finally got around to checking the speakers I plan on getting [http://amzn.com/B000979TV0] and I'm pretty sure they use RCA inputs. I was thinking about just getting an audio interface after all [http://amzn.com/B002QQC1ZI], or do you think I should get the adapter like how you described in the 2nd paragraph?

  9. #9
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    Neither one of those links works.

    It kind of boils down to this. If your speakers have only unbalanced RCA inputs, then you'll probably do better to just get that adapter at radioshack unless you want to hunt for an audio interface that also has unbalanced outputs (most of them don't). Otherwise, you'll only be using the interface to record with and/or use headphones with.

    If your speakers have both inputs (RCA and 1/4" jack) then I would go ahead and get the interface and use the balanced outputs on it and run it out to the speakers. Audio interfaces are just one of those basic things that every home recording musician should have just in case. I went a long time without one myself and once I finally broke down and shelled out the cash, it made my life a lot easier in the rare instance that I had to record something live (most of my compositions are MIDI based too!). It was nice to have that weight lifted off of my shoulder.

    ***Please note that once you connect the audio interface to your computer, all of the computer's sound will be handled by the interface. This includes safari and iTunes. All volume adjustments are also handled by the interface. In fact, the on-screen volume controls on your desktop become grayed out once the interface is connected (and selected under your system sound preferences of course).***

    I am attaching some pictures of my monitors and audio interface to help illustrate these connections.

    Back of one of my monitors (KRK Rokit 5's). Notice the RCA and 1/4" jack inputs.


    The 1/4" jack balanced connection


    Back of my USB audio interface (Alesis iO2 Express). The 2 black circular connections on the right are a MIDI input and output. Notice it does not have any RCA outputs.


    and the interface.


    I'll explain as they all pretty much function using the same principles.
    -The main level knob (bottom right) is just the main volume knob for the monitors.
    -The monitor mix knob adjusts the volume of your system audio relative to what the microphone is picking up. Turn it up and you'll get just your music and no mic audio. Turn it down and your music gets quiet and the mic audio gets loud. If it's turned down and you talk into a connected microphone, you will hear yourself on the speakers. If it's up, you will hear nothing when talking into the mic.
    -The knob next to the headphones input (bottom left) adjusts the main headphones volume.
    -The 2 gain knobs right under the mic, line, and guitar inputs adjust the preamp volume on the microphone. Turn them up and your voice will be louder in the recording.


    Hope this was helpful.

  10. #10
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
    Posts
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    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Wow, your posts are always so incredibly detailed and really helpful, I really appreciate! Thanks for taking pictures too, really makes things clear

    The urls didn't work because the link thought the bracket I put it around was part of the url, so here's the speakers... Amazon.com: Behringer MS16 Powered Studio Desktop Monitors: Electronics

    it looks like there's two different inputs you can use, the 1/8 TRS [so I can just use that like how I plug headphones into my macbook?] as well as the RCA Right and left. So could I just use the 1/8 TRS and skip the balanced vs. unbalanced?

    Also, do you recommend that audio interface?

  11. #11
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
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    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    That link worked!

    I've got good news and bad news.

    Good news: I think you can make those speakers work with an audio interface.

    Bad news: you're still going to need an adaptor from Radio Shack.

    You will need two 1/4" female to 1/8" male TRS adaptors. They look like this:

    They're pretty cheap (around 3 bucks I think?) so luckily it won't be a big dent in your wallet.

    I've had no issues with my audio interface so yeah I would recommend it! It's super easy to set up (just plug it in) and it does what it's supposed to.

    I'm glad to be of help! I know getting all of this stuff off the ground can be a headache.

  12. #12
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?

    Member Since
    Aug 29, 2010
    Posts
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    Specs:
    Macbook Pro core i5 15" 10.6.8
    Well I think I can say the good news greatly outweighs the bad! This was a really great learning experience and I owe you so much for helping me in such a detailed and caring manner!

  13. #13
    Do I have all the stuff I need to run Logic Pro 9?
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    261
    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    Anytime!

    One last thing. After connecting your audio interface, make sure you have it selected under system preferences or it won't do anything.

    Go to Apple -> System Prefrences

    Select sound

    Under the output and input tabs, make sure you select the audio interface instead of the internal speakers and mic.


    Best of luck with everything!

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