It’s the moment of truth: we finally get to see how Intel Macs compare to G5 and G4 Macs when running serious audio software.

I got my first opportunity to work with James Galbraith and Macworld Labs to put Apple’s Intel-based Macs through their paces running the new Intel-native Logic Pro 7.2. The results were impressive: a dual-2.0GHz MacBook Pro holds its own when compared to a Power Mac G5 desktop. You may recall that the early reception for the Intel Macs was somewhat lukewarm, when testing the new Intel iMac, MacBook Pro, and mini on consumer-level software like iLife. Serious computer audio lovers, though, must have immediately imagined throwing a bunch of Logic’s Sculpture instruments or Space Designer reverbs at the new machines, and that’s exactly what we got to do.

Testing Logic’s Universal appeal: Intel-native audio app delivers improved performance

I also got a chance to look briefly at the benefits of Logic Pro 7.2 for PowerPC users. I do think it’s an essential upgrade, even if you don’t have an Intel Mac. (The Macs I own are still G4/G5, and for me, the fixes to ReWire alone are worth the upgrade.)

Anecdotally, I can say this: the moment I can pick up a MacBook Pro of my own, I will. While we didn’t get a case labeled “PowerBook G5,” as many of us prior to the Intel announcement last June, we got effectively that. The MacBook will be a dream for laptop musicians — it’s not quite on par with desktop machines, but for live performance, it requires few compromises. (The ATI video card inside also looks great for running live visuals.) And of course, for you Windows lovers out there, this is also very good news for the PC platform and its audio and visual software.

There’s already a lively discussion over on Macworld of the story, but I’m happy to hear questions or comments here.

  • kokorozashi
  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I did notice unusual noise on my MacBook Pro review unit for Macworld. Now, it's one that had been sitting in the Macworld offices for a few weeks, so I'm guessing it's one of the early models off the assembly line. But the noise is just loud enough to be a little distracting. I'll follow up on this later this week.

  • http://Curved-Air.blogspot.com actuel

    If you're having 'whining' or noise issues you should take a look at this thread, which has fixed the majority of folks problems:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID

    /a

  • carmen

    soo. how about some WinXP Logic 5.5 vs OSuX logic.whatever on the same macbook benchmarks…

  • kokorozashi

    I wouldn't compare version 5.5 of Logic on Windows to anything but version 5.5 on Mac OS X. Any other comparsion would make little sense unless you plan to limit yourself to the features that were in version 5.5 when using a later version on Mac OS X.

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  • Tim

    We should compare 5.5 (on XP via bootcamp) with 7.2 OSX! E.g. how many stereo audio tracks simultaneaously before crackling, howmany Platinum verbs, etc.

    The results would be a good starting point for possible switchers (from pc to mac / 5.5 to 7)

    Like me :-)

  • kokorozashi

    I suppose if you're trying to decide whether to switch, then it makes sense to compare an earlier version of Logic on Windows to a later version of Logic on Mac. I was assuming the idea was to figure out which platform was better suited to audio in general.

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  • http://www.puncturevine.ca jeff carter

    It's really no longer a question of quantity …( ie: number of tracks / number of platinum reverbs. ect…) It's very much a question of quality ( higher bit resolution mix engines, using space designer convolution reverbs or sculpture plug-ins, ect )

    The amount of sonic detail and musicality that can be created with the new logic 7.2 plug-ins really puts the logic 5 plug-ins to shame. There's no comparison. Instead of layering 5 vocal tracks or guitar tracks together to create one "huge", mushy, indistinct, layer, you can use one vocal part, with total clarity and separation, gorgeous eq, rich, realistic reverb, and a thick, warm, linear phase eq tone that spreads out beautifully in front of you….We no longer have to rely on studio layering tricks to make a single part have power….every track can breathe in its own space….I'd rather one perfect chocolate cake, than say, 5, 99% perfect chocolate cakes with 1% arsenic each…..stupid analogy I guess….but the quality of a single tone ( or performance ) speaks leagues more than a thousand tracks ever will….god is in the details, so they say.

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  • chibeatz

    Can you run logic 9 on a intel based mac and run Windows XP anybody?