MacBook Pro as a Master with C7?

Hello Friends,

I’m in the market for an additional computer for my setup. Since I now require portability, I’m considering a top end MacBook Pro, and using it with VEPro to slave my current PC. Does anyone here use a MacBook as a master? I am primarily MIDI based running C7, and score to picture…nor sure how well it would perform. Does anyone else here compose for film on a MacBook?

Any advice appreciated!

BTW: I’m new to the board (been a lurker for a while). Recently converted from 20+ years on Cakewalk/Sonar. Absolutely loving Cubase.


I you are a PC user, I suggest you get an HP ZBook (formerly Elitebook) for about the same price as a MBP. It’s a MUCH better machine: ruggedly built (to military standards, unlike anything Apple), top-notch components (unlike anything Apple), a gazillion ports (unlike anything Apple, including output to three monitors and FW that works with audio interfaces), screen up to 17" (unlike Apple) and room for up to 3 internal drives/SSD’s with the 17" model (again, unlike Apple.)

In addition to that, Cubase runs better on Windows (ask anyone here) and there’s no Sonar version for mac. If you buy a MBP, you’d end up bootcamping it. You might as well get a stronger machine for the same price.

Hey Papi,

Thanks a lot for the info you sent me…much appreciated! I agree, the new ZBook looks fantastic, I didn’t think there was anything like that available. You are right about Sonar, and I really don’t want to use boot camp…nor do I want to abandon Sonar completely. I have absolutely zero complaints about C7 and Sonar X2a, they run smooth as butter on my system and can handle pretty much anything I throw at them. I just figured since it was time to purchase a serious laptop, the MacBook pro was the way to go. For myself, it’s difficult to not fall prey to the Apple seduction…especially with pressure from my colleagues LOL! Is it true C7 runs “better” on PC? I’m very new to Mac, so it would also be a steep learning curve I’m sure. Before diving in, I’ll wait until the ZBooks are available in my area so I can check them out.

PS- I agree about the “cheapness” of the MP’s, they seem very flimsy and you need an adaptor for every little thing!!

Aloha W,

IMHO yes!

Even when using a Mac only, Cubase is ‘zipper’
running under ‘BootCamp’ than in OS 10.x.

Make ya wonder why folks use a Mac at all; but then again
I still wonder why I married my wife. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I’m using a MacBook Pro 2010 with VE pro and a win 7 PC from 2008 as slave. Also got two external esata Glyph drives for samples and projects which works great. Have only needed around 40 tracks through VE Pro so far without a glitch.
No problems so far and pretty stable. I have recently had a few random crashes with the latest C7 update or since I installed a SSD disk. Not sure yet if that could be the problem or if it’s Cubase or maybe Automap that I also use.


Thanks. Are you scoring to picture as well?

Hello, and welcome to the forum! :slight_smile:

Way off topic, and out of pure curiosity, why did you switch after such a long time going and with X3 on the horizon?

Video handling. Cubase has far better video funtionality when it comes to film scoring. Sonar X3c was supposed to address video, but apparently it’s been delayed until X3d (I can’t even import a Quicktime file). I love Sonar, but they never paid attention to those writing film music. If they get it sorted out, I may go back in! But until then, Cubase is home, and so far it’s working great. There are a few things I’m still getting my head around, but overall I’m happy.

I did some digging into an HP Zbook, and it’s not available in Canada. I can get the Elite Book series (the ZBook predecessor), but HP won’t customize for Canadian orders…WTF?? Sadly, I still gravitate to the MacBook Pro’s for some reason. I could always buy a ZBook online somewhere, but I want the 30 day return policy that HP offers.

I would say that they never paid attention to those writing music in general, as the score editor has not changed since version 7 (2006, IIRC) and it’s still incomplete and buggy. For all practical purposes, it’s unusable. And that’s my biggest gripe with Sonar (I do film music too, converting video file format to me is no big deal, but yeah, I wish they’ll fix that.)

Papi61, do you recommend VEPro even when using a single machine?? I am wondering if there is a benefit.

Yes if you’re using ProTools. No if you’re using anything else. :wink:

Well, I took the plunge and splurged on a new MacBook Pro (running Mavericks)…went with the 15" Retina, 16GB Ram, 512GB Flash, and a UR22 interface. Using my PC as the slave (via VEPro 5), it is absolutely amazing. I also have two external 24" monitors running off the Mac. I have scored a short film already, running fairly large templates, and honestly I don’t see any performance difference betwen Windows and Mac (I call BS on those who think C7 runs better on Windows). In fact, I have not had a single crash yet. I was a little hesitant about jumping to Mac, but I really wish I had switched sooner. Everything just “works”…no screwing around with optimization settings, etc. Plus, for $150, the UR22 is a great little interface for those who are mainly MIDI composers. No latency issues whatsoever.

If you’ve been on the fence about Mac, just do it! The cool part is, Apple gives you two weeks to try it out…if it doesn’t work for you, just return for a full refund. A no-brainer. :mrgreen:

hey wolfie, recently bought the same MBP - mainly that I wanted to try apple computer, for developing apps, etc, but interested in running it as master with my current PC desktop as slave - i dont know if its stupid or not…

What are your pC slave specs?

My PC specs are…

i7 2700k
Windows 7 Pro
32GB Ram
2 x 1TB 7200 HDD
1 x SSD (this drive houses all my demanding libraries, such as EastWest Hollywood Strings).

You don’t even need a soundcard on the slave, just a Gigabit ethernet connection. You simply connect the machines directly with a regular ethernet cable. For the MacBook, I bought a Thunderbolt ethernet adaptor.

If you use high track counts and tons of VI’s, it’s the way to go. All of the VST processing is handled by the salve, which enables the master to dedicate itself to the DAW tasks. You could always download the VEPro demo and try it for 30 days, you already have the eLicencer (they call it a Vienna Key).

And seriously, Apple is VERY simple. Especially for guys like me that just want to get creative without all the nonsense.

Hmmm, interesting, at least I should try it, I use usually lots of tracks and abuse VIs a lot, i know VEP 5 sells for 250E or sth like that which is OK for what you get

My PC slave would be i7 960-4 cores, 24RAM, 2xSSDs,3xHDD, win7 64 bit
My AI is RME FireFace UCX - can connect via USB 2.0 or FW

So, do i need router or sty like that or directly connecting these 2 computers should be enough? after setting up, I would use DAW-C7 in my MBP - can use elicenser for C7 and VEP5 at the same time, right. Then Id have iLok for my libraries, which I can plug in into my slave, right? - whats the best setup I could use given that my audio interface can be USB or FireWire - which adapter for what would you recommend?

So you don’t have any problems running C7 off Mac OS?

Thanx a lot for you help!

You can use a router, but I just went direct to avoid any possible conflicts. You just need the interface connected to your MacBook, USB works great. Just use whatever you’re comfortable with.

If you decide to give it a go, send me a PM and I’ll send some detailed instructions. Someone recently helped me get going with VEPro, and I’ll gladly pass along the info.

What you wrote doesn’t make much sense. How do you know that your mac performs just as well as a Windows machine with the same specs if you haven’t made a direct comparison?

And no, optimization is not needed with win 7/8. You are starting to sound like an Apple fanboy, rehashing old arguments that no longer apply to modern win versions.

Because I’ve loaded previous scoring projects (into the Mac) that were created on the Windows machine (without using the slave). IMO, everything runs just as smooth. The biggest difference is the video performance, but that’s most likely due to the fact that the MB has a great video card. Plus, the external SSD on Thunderbolt is super fast.

I disagree about Win 7 (not sure about 8). You can’t simply fire up a new PC for the first time, load your software, and go. There’s always a bunch of Windows optimization tweaks that are needed. These are even noted on the Steinberg site. Simple tweaks mind you, but the Mac is just simple in that regard.

Am I a Fanboy? Sure, why not. I still love Windows, but my Mac setup (so far!) is killer. Was it expensive? Sure it was, but IMO worth every penny. The main thing is I know exactly how everything will perform when I am out of town in another production facility.

PS- The HP ZBook is a nice machine, but is not available for order in Canada.

Not the same machine with the same CPU. If your mac runs faster, then your PC is weak and/or old. Reading from the specs you list, I’m finding the confirmation of that: you’re basically comparing a mac with a fourth-generation i7 to an old PC with a second-generation i7. Now, if you really want to be taken seriously, you should compare the performance of your mac with the performance of a windows laptop with a Haswell CPU. But you’re afraid of doing that, because you’re not going to like the reality. It’s much easier to just slander the people who have actually run those tests and accuse them of peddling BS. Like you did (and yeah, that irked me big time.)

IMO, everything runs just as smooth.

So, it’s an OPINION based solely on your newfound enthusiasm for Apple. Pretty arrogant of you accusing people who have actually run tests of peddling “BS” (the exact word you used.)

The biggest difference is the video performance, but that’s most likely due to the fact that the MB has a great video card.

More proof that you don’t know what you’re talking about. No AppIe product has a “great” GPU, not compared to what you get from a PC at equivalent price level. Again, you’re comparing your new mac to your old PC which evidently also has a weak GPU.

I disagree about Win 7 (not sure about 8). You can’t simply fire up a new PC for the first time, load your software, and go. There’s always a bunch of Windows optimization tweaks that are needed.

That’s really BS. You’re talking about something that was needed a decade ago.

These are even noted on the Steinberg site. Simple tweaks mind you, but the Mac is just simple in that regard.

Those tweaks are NOT necessary, but they will squeeze even more performance out of a windows machine, whereas the mac cannot give you an inch more than what the people at Apple have decided you need. It’s not like you have a choice. Heck, with the new MBP’s, you can’t even add RAM by yourself.

my Mac setup (so far!) is killer.

Compared to your old and weak PC, maybe. Compared to a new windows laptop of equivalent price range, it’s just a fashionable toy.

Holy cow, dude. You have taken serious offence to something which is my opinion (aren’t I entitled to it?). From my own experience, I notice NO DIFFERENCE in performance…period. I have heard rants about C7 runing better on Windows over OS…but I have not experienced it. So…if you’re so hung up on it…what IS the difference? I am very curious. Have you ran C7 on a new Mac?? My “old” i7 might be old, but I cranked out a ton of professional work on it which is all that matters. And…it’s a killer slave machine.

Again, I love both Windows and Mac environments, and I now prefer Mac to host my DAW for personal workflow reasons. We are all entitled to our own preferences.

Your hatred towards Mac is typical of long time die-hard Windows users (I was one myself!), but like I said, they “just work”. :smiley: