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New Macbook Pro for VSL SE 1 & Dorico
Last post Thu, Jun 06 2019 by civilization 3, 4 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Jun 05 2019 12:08
by jsmunchen
Joined on Mon, Sep 22 2008, Posts 3

Hi All,

I started composing small orchestra pieces 15 years ago as a high school student. Unfortunately somehow my interest got lost over the years. But now I want to start writing on a non-professional level again. My equipment lists:
-VSL Special Edition Vol.1 Standard
-Sibelius 6 (used for writing)
-RME HDSP 9632
-Doepfer Masterkeyboard
-Roland bi-amp monitor DS-7
-a 12 year old desktop PC

The old desktop PC is almost broken and thus I need to buy a new computer. Therefore I decided to buy a laptop, because I want to be mobile and also use the laptop for personal use. I also do not want to buy a large laptop with a numpad. Sibelius critically depends on the use of the numpad, so therefore I want to switch to Dorico (as it seems nice to me and does not need the numpad). At home, I would then use an external audio interface to connect the laptop with the masterkeyboard and the monitors, together with an external screen. I have the feeling that I want to switch to a macbook pro.

My requirement would be that the system can handle up to 20 ( up to 30) instruments from the VSL SE when played back in Dorico (full orchestra, but no giant scores). I am more interested writing than producing.  If you browse in forums, you typically get the answer: As much RAM as possible, and the core as fast as possible. I think, this does not apply to my situation, as I am definitely far away from high-end solutions. Therefore I have three concrete questions

  1. Which macbook pro 13"/15". Is the 13" for mobile use sufficient or does it get too small?
  2. Which processor? Is an i5 Dual core 8.th gen sufficient?
  3. How much RAM? If I calculate the RAM usage for 30 instruments*100MB/instrument I end up with 3GB RAM usage and thus 8GB RAM seem sufficient.

I am considering the  MBP 2018 13" (i5 2x2,3Ghz, 256GB, 8GB RAM) or MBP 15" (i7, 6x2.2Ghz 256GB, 16GB RAM)

Thank you really much for your answers!

Cheers Julian

Posted on Wed, Jun 05 2019 14:56
by RLD
Joined on Thu, Jan 26 2017, Posts 68

If I was you I will get 32GB of Ram, It's better to have too much Ram than not enough and getting pops and clicks

You did not specify if you where taking HD or SSD ! SSD is highly recommended !

Posted on Thu, Jun 06 2019 07:36
by jsmunchen
Joined on Mon, Sep 22 2008, Posts 3

Thanks for your recommendation. Yes, I only consider SSD drives

Posted on Thu, Jun 06 2019 23:42
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1636

I've had a couple of 13" IME it's definitely too small.

As your needs expand musically your needs for more resources also grow.

for the rather modest sets you mention an i5 will do you but the lack of screen space is more than it looks like on paper. With the new Macs, you don't have the option to expand it yourself. I think 16GB would therefore be a mistake.

Any of this is a substantial investment to my view, I would recommend as much a future-proof system as you can afford. I got the i9 with 32GB and a 1TB drive. I almost regret not getting it with 2TB but the price diff is huge.

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
OSX 10.15.5
VE Pro 7
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