How can the news that I need to spend $1000 be a good thing? Consider that the alternative is that I scrap everything and start over.

Mark of the Unicorn (aka MOTU) announced an upgrade path for owners of their recording systems. Anyone with a 424 card (the PCI card which connects to the Mac) can, for $69, upgrade to the new 424/G5 card which will be necessary to run in one of Apple Power Mac G5’s PCI-X slots. This benevolent policy was unfortunate not extended to include people like myself, owners of 324 card-based systems. The bottom line now is that I can either sell my MOTU 24i recording system (which is one avenue MOTU tech support recommended) and start over afresh, or I can spend $1000 on a MOTU 2408mk3 core system to which I can connect my 24i.

I’ll probably opt for the latter, though spending another $1000 on recording equipment wasn’t really in the cards. It will inevitably delay my G5 purchase, probably until next year. But seeing as how there is no other upgrade path and the alternative is, well, buying a MOTU 2408mk3 core-like system anyway, I might as well just build up my studio to include the 24i I already have.

All of this is not to say, however, that I’ve not been making progress on getting my recording studio back together. As you may recall, my G3/300 PowerLogix accelerator crapped out in the late spring turning my Power Mac 7600 from a G3 back into, well, a Power Mac 7600. That’s too slow to record much of anything, in case you were wondering.

I installed a Sonnet G4/700 accelerator yesterday, and I’m happy to report that it has been rock solid. Speeds are clearly better than my G3/500 PowerBook (aka Trinity) and on some Altivec-based tasks, a great margin better. MP3 encoding, for example runs at about 3.5x on the PowerBook and 10.2x on the G4/700. A G4/700 will be more than enough juice to record multiple tracks of audio and MIDI data—especially since everything I’ve done up to this point has been on a G3/300. So the Power Mac 7600 (aka Zephyr, or Zeph for short) is looking good on the processor speed front.

I’m also in the process of upgrading the RAM. The machine only has 96 MB at present; I’ve got another 256 MB coming on Tuesday. That’ll give me 352 MB of RAM with four open RAM slots to go should I need to juice up the system even more.

The hard drives have proved problematic. I’ve got a 9.1 GB IBM SCSI drive internally and I was hoping to upgrade the second 1 GB Apple drive to a 9.1 Western Digital. Thus far using the IBM and Western Digital drives together hasn’t worked. I get system lock-ups requiring a hot restart, and that’s never a good thing. I tested the IBM drive with different 1.2 GB Apple drive last night, and it worked fine, so I guess I’m sending the Western Digital back unless tech support has a solution for me. I’d guess it was a SCSI termination issue, but I’m not sure why since it looks to me like everything is terminated properly. Anyway, I’m still messing with this end of things. Regardless, even 1.2 GB is enough space to record a song or two before dumping down to a Jaz cartridge or CD-RW.

Even with the news that my purchase of G5 is now delayed by the need to buy another MOTU system (which admittedly does have it’s own advantages), I’m very close now to being able to record music again. The long, tuneless summer is coming to a close.