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New DAW: MacBook, Thunderbolt, external PCIe, MADI, UAD, external HDD?
Old 19th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
travelboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
New DAW: MacBook, Thunderbolt, external PCIe, MADI, UAD, external HDD?

What hardware do I need to turn a MacBook Pro into a Multi-I/O DAW and re-use some hardware?

My current setup is:
- Mac Pro (tower, 6 years old, needs to be replaced)
- RME HDSPe MADI (PCIe MADI card installed in the Mac Pro)
- SSL AlphaLink AX (19" 24-port audio interface connected via MADI)
- UAD Quad (PCIe DSP card)
- lots of analog outboard

I use my analog outboard like plugins for mixing (i.e. the audio goes from Logic through the SSL D/A, through the analog device, through the SSL A/D back into Logic).

Now I need to replace the old Mac Pro. I have a new MacBook Pro Retina which is blazing fast and would make a good audio computer, but there are two obstacles:

1. The MacBook's SSD is too small for sample libraries and recording
2. I cannot connect my SSL audio interface

I have come up with the following ideas: I could get an external HDD. USB is obviously too slow, but Firewire sounds good. Does anybody know whether it's a good idea to connect a Firewire HDD through a Thunderbold-to-Firewire adaptor and how it performs? Throughput? Latency? To connect my audio interface, I could get an external PCIe case with thunderbolt connector (such as the Sonnett Echo Express) and put the RME MADI card in there. I could even put the UAD Quad in there too. Any thoughts on that?

Furthermore I have been thinking about the new UAD Apollo which sounds very promising... but I would like to use it in addition to the above, not to replace another part (except for maybe the UAD Quad). In theory, thunderbolt should have plenty of bandwidth to accomplish all of that and use all devices in parallel without them interfering. I'm not sure though if I should believe that.
Old 19th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
phas3d's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Why not get a Magma and put in your UAD and RME cards there? You wouldn't have to change a thing on your setup apart from that. You'd still maintain your 24 I/O too.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
travelboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phas3d ➡️
Why not get a Magma and put in your UAD and RME cards there?
Thanks, I didn't know the Magma yet. It seems that the Magma ExpressBox 3T is similar to the Sonnet Echo Express. According to both manufacturers' websites, UAD cards don't work yet ("driver in development") but RME does. Has anybody used Magma or Sonnet Echo with success?
Old 19th September 2012
  #4
Gear Head
 
ageofaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelboy ➡️
USB is obviously too slow, but Firewire sounds good.
USB3 should be faster than Firewire.
Check this thread: USB 3.0 vs. Firewire 800 - MacRumors Forums
or other similar discussions on this topic.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
EastWest Lurker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelboy ➡️
Thanks, I didn't know the Magma yet. It seems that the Magma ExpressBox 3T is similar to the Sonnet Echo Express. According to both manufacturers' websites, UAD cards don't work yet ("driver in development") but RME does. Has anybody used Magma or Sonnet Echo with success?
I am using the Sonnet Echo Express Pro with my RME and UAD-2 cards. It works fine, fans are a little noisy.
Old 29th October 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 
tomteontour's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastWest Lurker ➡️
I am using the Sonnet Echo Express Pro with my RME and UAD-2 cards. It works fine, fans are a little noisy.
Hi,

just curious. Which Set Up are you using ?

I am currently thinking of leaving Mac Pro and MBPro to switch solely onto a Retina 13" and use a Sonnet with a SSL Madi 64 ( Drivers coming ) and an UAD-2 card. One UA Apollo as well as one USB3 or Thunderbolt HD for memory extension ( going 256GB HD in the Retina )

cheers
Old 29th October 2012
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
You might want to check out OWC, they've got some really cool Thunderbolt expansion chassis that might fit the bill for you.
Old 29th October 2012
  #8
Gear Addict
 
tomteontour's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Great thanks... quite open to any brand. Only requirement : 2 PCIe Slots and Compability for SSL Madi Extreme and UAD2
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