An Apple Mac Virgin's new purchase - iMac
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default An Apple Mac Virgin's new purchase - iMac

    27" Screen
    2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM

    Purchased the above unit today to be delivered in a couple of days. This is the first apple mac I have ever owned so thought might as well get a good one. I decided on the fixed unit rather than a mac book pro as portability was not a consideration for me (home based) and considering the upgrade in spec and monitor size for an equivalent mac book the imac seemed the obvious choice.

    I'm planning on using the mac purely for my music interest whilst my other two PC workstations are for my photography editing and general internet browsing.

    I want to run both Traktor and Ableton on the mac and thinking of using the S4 and the vestax vcm 600 to control the corresponding programs.

    A couple of questions:

    1) Can the S4 be mapped to also control Ableton and traktor at the same time or is it better to purchase a separate controller to control ableton?

    2) Will the Imac allow me to have both programs running together on the same screen at the same time (dual windows open) so i don't have to switch between programs by closing one window down and opening another?

    3) I want to use ableton and traktor together in synch, what set up would you personally use to do this? S4 and APC40? APC40 and kontrol X1 etc etc

    4) What should I do once I receive my Mac in terms of preparing it for traktor and ableton? do i need to configure anything before installation??

    5) I have lots of music on an external hard drive currently used on on eth pc's. I would like to copy all my music across to the mac's internal harddrive, would you recommend this or would you play / access your stuff off an external drive?

    6) Any tips / advice on a first time Mac owner moving into music dj'ing and production using traktor and ableton in terms of things to do before setting the whole system up i.e. organising music tips, categorising samples etc?


    thanks
    Last edited by Mintaka; 12-28-2010 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    1) Can the S4 be mapped to also control Ableton and traktor at the same time?

    2) Will the Imac allow me to have both programs running together on the same screen at the same time (dual windows open)

    3) I want to use ableton with traktor, what set up would you personally use to do this? S4 and APC40? APC40 and kontrol X1 etc etc

    4) What should I do once I receive my Mac in terms of preparing it for traktor and ableton? do i need to configure anything before installation??

    5) I have lots of music on an external hard drive and would like to copy this across to the mac's internal harddrive, would you recommend this or would you play / access your stuff off an external usb drive?

    6) Any tips / advice on a first time Mac owner moving into music dj'ing and production using traktor and ableton in terms of things to do before setting the whole system up i.e. organising music tips, categorising samples etc?
    1) in theory yes. but it's not advisable because you WILL make mistakes working like this, especially as a beginner - plus, the S4 is premapped for its special version of traktor while controllers like the VCM or APC are premapped for ableton. trying to customize this is a waste of time unless you really know what you're doing. if you don't pay attention, you will end up spending more time on nerd shit than on making music. don't.

    2) yes, but it will look cluttered no matter how you arrange them.

    3) apc/vmc and s4 sounds like an ok combo. personally, I use a more complex setup but wouldn't recommend anything this weird. especially when you're just starting out, try learning one program at a time and use them together only when you've truly mastered each one on its own.

    4) no. macs are pretty much idiot-proof. just turn off stuff you don't really need when working on your music (such as: wifi, bluetooth).

    5) when you're at home, it shouldn't matter as long as it's not a shitty drive. I'd recommend firewire over USB though.

    6) no. make your own mistakes and learn from them. no workflow is as good as one you'll develop on your own.

  3. #3
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    27" Screen
    2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM
    Nice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    1) Can the S4 be mapped to also control Ableton and traktor at the same time or is it better to purchase a separate controller to control ableton?
    You can switch the S4 to midi mode and control any software yoy want with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    2) Will the Imac allow me to have both programs running together on the same screen at the same time (dual windows open) so i don't have to switch between programs by closing one window down and opening another?
    Yes. I have a cheap second monitor to do things like that with though but I only have a 21" iMac

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    3) I want to use ableton and traktor together in synch, what set up would you personally use to do this? S4 and APC40? APC40 and kontrol X1 etc etc
    Really it's just personnel preference. Watch a bunch of videos of people using the different things and choose the one that fits your workflow the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    4) What should I do once I receive my Mac in terms of preparing it for traktor and ableton? do i need to configure anything before installation??
    Turn it on and install the software, that's it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    5) I have lots of music on an external hard drive currently used on on eth pc's. I would like to copy all my music across to the mac's internal harddrive, would you recommend this or would you play / access your stuff off an external drive?
    Internal will perform faster imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    6) Any tips / advice on a first time Mac owner moving into music dj'ing and production using traktor and ableton in terms of things to do before setting the whole system up i.e. organising music tips, categorising samples etc?
    Lost of threads on this just do a search and enjoy your new computer.
    Chris Jennings FHP

    Podcast - Soundcloud - Mixcloud - Beatport Charts - x

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    thanks all.

  5. #5
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    The S4 has a built in sound card so need for an audio 8/4 etc...however the VCM 600 does not. If I am using the S4 to run traktor and my vcm 600 running ableton, can I use the S4's sound card when manipulating paramenters in ableton. What I mean is can i use both controllers to control both programs on the same mac without having to purchase a separate sound card?

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard optio's Avatar
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    It's only going to be a matter of time before you use the Mac to do everything and the old PCs will be reduced to function as coffee tables. I promise :P

  7. #7
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Apple family. Also, you might change your mind about using the PCs for photography if you ever try Aperture. I love it. I don't do HDRs or anything ridiculously serious, and I haven't started Photoshop in a long time…Aperture 2 is freaking killer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    A couple of questions:

    1) Can the S4 be mapped to also control Ableton and traktor at the same time or is it better to purchase a separate controller to control ableton?
    Kinda. You can use something like MidiPipe to send some signals to one program or the other, but it's another app to run, therefore it's one more thing to break. It's also not the most intuitive program I've ever seen. I decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    2) Will the Imac allow me to have both programs running together on the same screen at the same time (dual windows open) so i don't have to switch between programs by closing one window down and opening another?
    Not really. Kinda. Traktor is very specific about the sizes it will use. If you can squeeze Ableton in beside it, yes…but you probably won't have a lot of room for whatever you're doing in Ableton.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    3) I want to use ableton and traktor together in synch, what set up would you personally use to do this? S4 and APC40? APC40 and kontrol X1 etc etc
    I've done this with 2 X1s and a VCM-600 using Traktor Pro as the MIDI master sending to Live through the Traktor Virtual Midi port. It works fine as long as you don't do anything ridiculously stupid or expect it to work like Bridge…it takes a tiny amount of time for Live to catch up when you change Traktor's tempo (either with an internal master or auto deck master), and I wouldn't expect you to be able to 'scratch' live's output like you can with Bridge. Everything else seems to work, though.

    As far as the controller for Live…it's just about what you want to do. If you're making beats and editing them in Live, the APC40 is probably right up your alley…it probably works well if you're working with remix stems too.

    I have the VCM-600 because I bought it so that Live would be my only system (the way Sasha mixed for a while). Adding Traktor was pretty recent, and I don't really use them together much except to prove to myself that I can. I have a feeling that if you do it that way, you'll end up heavily favoring one system over the other (i go back and forth) and feel like you wasted $800 on one of the controllers or the other.

    I also would advise getting into the Ableton community as you get more familiar with the program. There's a LOT you can do with either the APC40 or the VCM (or any controller) if you are or know a python hacker. There are a lot of midi remote scripts for the APC40 that do a lot of really cool things. Unfortunately, there's a bit less community support for the VCM, probably because it's so much more expensive. I'm having to write a lot of stuff for it that's been implemented for other controllers because of some differences.

    Actually, the whole reason I got the Traktor setup was because using Live for DJing turned into a coding project…it's enjoyable, but sometimes I just want to play tracks…you know?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    4) What should I do once I receive my Mac in terms of preparing it for traktor and ableton? do i need to configure anything before installation??
    Not really. I find a few utilities useful (Caffeine, InsomniaX, smcFanControl). It's just basic software setup. Caffeine keeps your display from sleeping. InsomniaX disables suspend when you close the lid (not a concern with the iMac). And smcFanControl gives you temp readouts and lets you turn fan speeds up.

    Apart from that, you might want to disable Spotlight indexing while you're performing, but I find it's not necessary as long as my disk doesn't change drastically. Disabling secure virtual memory can help, but I don't remember if it's on by default. And I disabled Dashboard, but that was more because I find widgets annoying than because it was actually a performance hit.

    Also, Apple seemed to have accidentally left QuickSilver out. That thing saves me a lot of time. Alfred is another example. Some people–especially if they just came off Windows–hate working like that…I still hate mice and find it invaluable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    5) I have lots of music on an external hard drive currently used on on eth pc's. I would like to copy all my music across to the mac's internal harddrive, would you recommend this or would you play / access your stuff off an external drive?
    If you're not traveling, I say it's not a big deal. I would never bring an external to a venue, because it's one more thing to accidentally get unplugged and potentially cause problems…it's also one more failure point that you don't need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    6) Any tips / advice on a first time Mac owner moving into music dj'ing and production using traktor and ableton in terms of things to do before setting the whole system up i.e. organising music tips, categorising samples etc?
    Yeah…keep backups. And be ready to change everything when you find a better way of doing things. If you were using Traktor and/or Live on your PCs, using those applications isn't that different. I made the switch to Apple after I started using Live, and the only thing I noticed was that everything worked more smoothly and that Spotlight's searches actually found things. And that I threw my Apple across a room a lot less frequently (it's only happened twice with this one in the last 2 years as opposed to twice the last week I had a thinkpad back in 2005).
    Last edited by mostapha; 12-28-2010 at 12:25 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    Actually, the whole reason I got the Traktor setup was because using Live for DJing turned into a coding project…it's enjoyable, but sometimes I just want to play tracks…you know?
    Yes I know. I don't want to do too much too soon but at the same time I do if you know what I mean. I want to be able to use traktor and also ableton, i want to be able to create loops on the fly, chop them up, have 8 cue points to juggle and also to be able to launch my own samples and use awesome vsts to create unique effects.

    I think I may be trying to do too much too soon and may be better off just sticking with ableton or traktor and learning these programs fully and becoming proficient before starting the other.

  9. #9
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    I think I may be trying to do too much too soon and may be better off just sticking with ableton or traktor and learning these programs fully and becoming proficient before starting the other.
    This, they both can be overwhelming on there own, probably more so with Abelton. I would learn most of what you need with Traktor first since it's the DJ specific program and then try doing one extra thing at a time with Abelton.
    Chris Jennings FHP

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  10. #10
    Tech Guru DigitalDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mintaka View Post
    I think I may be trying to do too much too soon and may be better off just sticking with Ableton or Traktor and learning these programs fully and becoming proficient before starting the other.
    Good idea there. I've learned that the best way to master things is to introduce things gradually, especially with Ableton as the possibilities are endless. Focus on learning to use one new thing (and by "thing" I don't mean an entire program, but a single effect/process/etc), play around with it exclusively for a bit until you're comfortable with how it works, and then move on to the next thing. In my experience, you'll get comfortable with your equipment and software much more quickly with that method than diving in, trying to do everything at once, and immediately forgetting everything.

    Congrats on your new toy, have fun.

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