Pre-purchase Qs


New Member
As background, I've been recording using Music Creator on Windows for several years. Starting down the Apple path with Apple TV, then iPad, then iPhone, and the clincher was GarageBand on the iPad. My version of Music Creator is several years old, but it was an eye opener to create something on iPad GarageBand in a couple hours that sounded better than anything I've *ever* done in Music Creator! So, looking forward to bailing on my PC and moving to an iMac! Been researching for awhile now, and hoping that I could get some feedback on choices from the community before I jump.
The biggest consideration seems to be the audio interface choice. I'd like to be able to:
Use my Roland Fantom X7 as both and instrument AND as a midi controller for instruments in Logic Express.
Use my Alesis DM6 pads as a controller for LE drums.
Record a phantom powered mic.
Record guitar.
I'm assuming that using the Fantom as an instrument would just require two 1/4" inputs on the interface, but I'm not sure about connecting it as a controller. It has both DIN5 connections (in/out/thru) and also has a USB connection which, from what I've read, should transmit midi. I've never used either.
Another consideration is the Alesis drum pads. They have USB connection, but no DIN5.
My thinking is I would first try to connect BOTH the Fantom and Alesis pads into the iMac via USB. I have no idea if having multiple USB midi devices is going to be problematic, and thinking I would get an interface with DIN5 just in case (for use with the Fantom, Alesis would still have to be USB).
So, I'm leaning towards the M-Audio Fast Track Pro ( which is priced nice, has both balanced and unbalanced outs (nice) and DIN5. Considering the above, I would appreciate any feedback on that choice. As far as the guitar / mic and Fantom as instrument, I figure I'll just swap out cables into the interface as need be. I am a bit concerned about having to mess with settings on the interface each time I swap, it would be nice to have dedicated inputs for all and ready to roll, but I'm not sure the extra $$ is justafiable for a more accomodating interface. Appreciate any thoughts there as well.
As far as the iMac, I'm going to go with the "entry level" 2.5GHz machine. I don't believe I'll run into a performance problem, and frankly hate the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a machine only to hear "you should buy more memory". But, if anyone has had performance issues running LE on a standard 4G RAM machine, I would like to hear about it.
Finally, my understanding is Lion supports 64bit apps. Ive read in, I believe, a FAQ on this site instructions for setting logic to run in 64bit mode. Will / should I follows those steps once I'm running?
The biggest fear is sinking thousands of dollars into this system, and it behaving like my currect machine (look at the Lexicon interface the wrong way and it stops working). I just want to connect cables and start recording. So, appreciate any and all input!