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Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread #2996068 06/26/19 08:47 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Back in the day, Mac vs. PC threads were pretty common. Windows was still in a minority among musicians, but like today, they gave greater value if you were willing to put up with their needing tweaking "under the hood." Both their audio facilities sucked until the Mac created Core Audio for OS X, and more recently, Windows finally came up with their relatively low-latency WASAPI drivers (although ASIO still rules for Windows).

But the times are changing. Apple's new Mac Pro starts at $6K, and is overkill for audio. The Mac Mini is cool, but to configure it to where it's a good computer for music, you need to pay around $2,700 or so. The iMacs are powerful, but the all-in-one design limits expandability.

Windows machines have a more open architecture, so there are companies like PC Audio Labs, Sweetwater, Studio Cat, etc. making custom Windows machines that deliver excellent performance. But the consumer models you find at Office Depot and the like may or may not be good for audio; it's a bit of a crap shoot, and the odds aren't great you'll win. When it comes to laptops, Windows laptops are fine, but Apple's MacBook Pro remains a steady, mostly reliable performer (if you look past the butterfly keyboard fiasco). When you see a DJ running Ableton Live, it will probably be on a MacBook Pro.

I've used, and continue to use, both platforms. However, Windows does all the heavy lifting for my audio and video work. The MacBook Pro is more of a personal computer, while my circa mid-2000 Mac Pro is more or less dead in the water because it can't update to a 64-bit operating system. I'll probably replace it with a tricked-out Mac Mini someday, but it's not a priority.

If someone came to you today, wanted to get started in computer-based music, and wanted to know what computer to get, which would YOU recommend?

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996077 06/26/19 09:43 PM
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My profession is computer service and networking, and I use both platforms (plus a small amount of Linux). Recommendation would depend on such things as: how knowledgeable is the "someone?" Do they have considerable experience in one platform but not the other? What do they want to DO with the computer?
If the "someone" had very little experience with either, for the purpose of computer based music, I would likely suggest that they begin with an iPad, and next go to Mac OS. Reasons: IF what one wants to do can be done on an iPad (maybe, maybe not) with available apps, it is by far the simplest and usually most economical method. Barring that, ALL DAW software has a significant learning curve. MainStage (which I do use) and Logic (which I may use in the future) seem to me to offer by far the best value for the money.

My Mac systems: first bought 2011 Mini with quad-core i7. Maxed the RAM to 16GB, replaced one HD with 500GB SSD - result was a machine that really performed well for the amount invested. This machine is now serving for audio-visual in my church. Second machine, that I still have is 2011 MacbookPro 15", again quad core i7, 16G RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. Used in my service business when I'm not sure what the client may have (or if they have both - one of my specialties is "Making Apple and Windows PLAY NICE" Also running four VMs using Parallels - 3 of which are Windows 10 and other is Mint Cinnamon Linux.

My heavy duty desktops are HP Workstations running (generally) Windows 10 - and my business was served with Windows software before I got into the Mac realm. I do have a couple of older Windows machines that are running low priced DAW software. I had so much trouble over the years with adding one thing - then having to work for days to get all the stuff running again in Windows. The Mac seems more just plug it together and it works (as one would expect when MIDI and audio are built right in to the OS, although Windows 10 is getting there a lot better than older versions.

Professionally, my "best OS" is whatever one my business can use to generate revenue and profit (one reason for minimal use of Linux - mostly there I'm supporting various NAS boxes for clients that run on Linux variants). Operating systems are not a "religious" issue to me - some things each does better than the other.


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996151 06/27/19 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton

If someone came to you today, wanted to get started in computer-based music, and wanted to know what computer to get, which would YOU recommend?


I'd recommend doing what I do, and have been doing for 20 years or more. I'd visit the used computer store (or eBay equivalent) and buy a two or three year old "business grade" computer, Dell or H-P, with Windows 7. If it's a desktop computer, it should have at least a couple of expansion slots. If it's a laptop, good luck, because few have offered anything beyond USB expansion for some years now. You definitely get more bang for smaller bucks on the Windows side, and that's a good thing for someone wanting to get started in computer-based music.

But . . . depending on what kind of "music" he plans to do - which he may not figure out for a couple of years - the first computer may become inadequate for the work of choice fairly quickly. So it's important not to spend too much money when getting your feet wet. I've never used a Mac, but I believe that it's the right path where video is involved. Also, Windows computers never really supported Thunderbolt, limiting the choice of audio interface hardware. Now USB-C seems to be taking over the Thunderbolt path, but a three year old Windows PC won't support it. There are plenty of excellent USB2 and PCIe interfaces so that won't be a problem until it's time for a major expansion, and by then the user shouldn't still be a beginner, so he will be better able to make an intelligent choice on his own.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996167 06/27/19 01:44 PM
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I struggle with this.

I've always built my own PCs for music. Last desktop build is now probably about 4 years old and still going relatively strong but I've been contemplating doing an update soon.

That being said, I have been using a MacBook Pro for my daytime gig for the last 8 years or so currently on a 2015 model.. I use it for all the normal work / office stuff but also do a ton of photo and video work on it. Although there are moments where the file system drives me nuts compared to Windows, this thing runs as good as that day I got it. I do have Bootcamp on it because initially I was still booting into Windows to run Sony Vegas but I do that less and less these days. Add programs like MainStage and the overall ecosystem of Apple things like iMessage and more (since I do have both an iPhone and iPad) the Mac platform is more compelling all the time.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Mike Martin] #2996249 06/27/19 05:01 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin
I struggle with this.

I've always built my own PCs for music. Last desktop build is now probably about 4 years old and still going relatively strong but I've been contemplating doing an update soon.


It sure would be cool if when you create a new machine, you post a thread with the components you chose.

Quote
That being said, I have been using a MacBook Pro for my daytime gig for the last 8 years or so currently on a 2015 model.. I use it for all the normal work / office stuff but also do a ton of photo and video work on it. Although there are moments where the file system drives me nuts compared to Windows, this thing runs as good as that day I got it. I do have Bootcamp on it because initially I was still booting into Windows to run Sony Vegas but I do that less and less these days. Add programs like MainStage and the overall ecosystem of Apple things like iMessage and more (since I do have both an iPhone and iPad) the Mac platform is more compelling all the time.


Good point - Apple gives a much tighter ecosystem. After Windows threw in the towel on the Windows phone, there has been increasing integration with Android. And Windows has also been good about scaling their programs across mobile to desktop, but it will likely never have the same level of integration of all the "moving parts" that Apple has attained.

Ultimately I don't think it's possible to have a non-dedicated music system that handles all your photos, personal stuff, etc. Perhaps the route going forward is custom Windows desktop for music, Apple laptop/pad/phone for personal.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996485 06/28/19 07:16 PM
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I have so little experience with PCs that my qualifications to comment on the Windows platform are minimal.

That said, I have had to be the IT guy for my wife's PC; and it's been a real struggle trying to deal with antivirus apps trying to uninstall each other and Microsoft trying to update system software without my permission. Issues like that crop up any time the computer is on for longer than an hour. I imagine that if I were to take the time, I could get it all sorted out; but I'm not eager to invest the time in a platform I've mostly migrated her away from.

In contrast, my Macs just work; and in the rare instances in which they don't, I find that Apple is the gold standard in tech support. Microsoft's tech support, on the other hand, is roughly as bad as Avid's is, in my experience. Both companies offer minimal assistance by email, whereas Apple offers phone support; and they stay with you on the phone as long as needed. That's worth the "Apple tax" as far as I'm concerned.

I've used Microsoft Office for decades, and I have more experience with the company for that product than I do for my wife's PC. I've had more problems with MS Office bugs than I've had with most Mac apps over the years. Maybe Microsoft is better at writing software for its own OS?

Nonetheless, I might still recommend Windows over Mac for the technically inclined. Windows allows users much greater flexibility in building your own computer than Apple does. With Windows, you can spec exactly the computer you want. With Mac, you only get to choose from the options Apple offers at Apple prices.

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Geoff Grace] #2996498 06/28/19 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Geoff Grace
I have so little experience with PCs that my qualifications to comment on the Windows platform are minimal.

That said, I have had to be the IT guy for my wife's PC; and it's been a real struggle trying to deal with antivirus apps trying to uninstall each other and Microsoft trying to update system software without my permission. Issues like that crop up any time the computer is on for longer than an hour. I imagine that if I were to take the time, I could get it all sorted out; but I'm not eager to invest the time in a platform I've mostly migrated her away from.


Actually you've hit the nail on the head: You can't be a "part time" Windows user, and you need to go all in. The only antivirus I use regularly is Windows Defender. I do install Malwarebytes every few months and run a scan, then uninstall it because Defender is good about updates. I (knock on wood!) don't get viruses.

The OS updates can be more problematic because of their frequency. To be fair, most people have seamless update experiences. But for those who don't, it's a total beeyotch to lose your OS until things get sorted out, or you re-install from scratch. With Apple, there may be some features that don't work or incompatibilities, but odds are your system won't be fried (although that happened to me when going to Mojave). However a fried system is one area where Apple is way ahead: You can re-install the complete operating system from scratch, and all your apps remain untouched. With Windows, it's wipe hard drive, and re-install everything.

I've had a major problem with the Windows 10 1809 update, but again to be fair, AT&T dropped the connection during the update, and Windows 10 was installed 4 years ago as an in-place install over Windows 7 instead of a clean install (not optimum, to say the least). Given you much I abuse my computer, it's to Microsoft's credit it's kept going for this long. For now, I'm postponing updates and hoping that the latest update fixes whatever was wrong.

Regardless, you're certainly right about the hardware. Windows machines outperform Macs that cost way more, and that's what got me into Windows in the first place after being Mac-only for 10 years.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996674 06/30/19 02:37 AM
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I have no objective view as a Mac music make for 25 years, but on the 'lack of expandability' for iMac, I'm not finding that to be an issue at all. That said, I've spent (too much) up front on the maximum sized SSD drive I can etc, but with increasing support of external drives for plugins etc, I've never had a problem on the expandability front. I'm also way ahead financially as I've spent 15+ years writing on Macs and music which I couldn't have done otherwise wink

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996681 06/30/19 02:53 AM
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¡Hola!

Well... 20 years ago I was a 100% a PC Guy, mostly because I didn't have money for a Mac.
And then, reality is that even the most powerful laptop Mac, 20 years ago, was perhaps as powerful as a good PC desktop adapted for stage use. So, it made no sense to spend in a Mac if truly a PC could do the same, cheaper.

20 years later I am a full 100% Mac guy. Love it. Fan boy. iPhone. iPad. AirPods. MacBook Pro. iMac. Apple Watch. I could not be happier.

Why? 2012 was a significant year for me: I got my first quad-core, 500 GB HD, 16GB Ram i7 MacBook Pro. It was WAY more powerful than my iMac. And that any PC I ever had.
Expensive, you bet. But it was a monster machine.

In 2014 I upgraded it to the SSD model, same specs. Used in a continental tour with a band for my synths and have used it for all of my tours of clinics with presonus, is my studio's main machine, too.
5 Years old and still kicking butt.

I am sure I couldn't find a PC who could ever make me as happy as this machine. cool

The Mexican is back. twothumbs


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Gus Lozada] #2996691 06/30/19 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Lozada

The Mexican is back. twothumbs

¡Hola Gustavo! wave

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Gus Lozada] #2996748 06/30/19 06:34 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gus Lozada
20 years later I am a full 100% Mac guy. Love it. Fan boy. iPhone. iPad. AirPods. MacBook Pro. iMac. Apple Watch. I could not be happier.
I am sure I couldn't find a PC who could ever make me as happy as this machine. cool


Interestingly, I too have an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro (as well as a older desktop that needs to be replaced). Apple products have a "fun factor" that Windows ones do not, so when you say your computer makes you happy, that makes perfect sense. It's always fun to boot up my MacBook Pro when it's in Mojave's night mode smile And an iPad runs circles around other tablets.

For day-in-day-out work, though, Windows still gives the best bang for my buck by far - not just the initial cost, but in terms of being able to upgrade economically and keep the same machine going more or less forever. I was very excited when the new Mac Pro was announced, but the $6K price tag (with a lot of that going to video capabilities I won't use), was a non-starter. I'd hoped there would be a stripped version that I could populate the way I wanted, but apparently it's either all or nothing. I'll get a Mac Mini one of these days to replace my desktop, and I'm sure that when tricked out, it will do everything I need for $2,700.I think a big Mac advantage these days is Thunderbolt, because that makes it easier to expand. Windows' Thunderbolt is not as developed although ultimately, USB-C looks very attractive for both platforms.

Quote
The Mexican is back. twothumbs


I'm so glad you were able to make it through that wall!! (Great avatar picture, by the way!)

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996799 07/01/19 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Apple products have a "fun factor" that Windows ones do not, so when you say your computer makes you happy, that makes perfect sense. It's always fun to boot up my MacBook Pro when it's in Mojave's night mode smile And an iPad runs circles around other tablets.


As long as MS Windows is the alternative to macOS, I'm staying at this, the fun side.

Originally Posted by Anderton
I was very excited when the new Mac Pro was announced, but the $6K price tag (with a lot of that going to video capabilities I won't use), was a non-starter. I'd hoped there would be a stripped version that I could populate the way I wanted, but apparently it's either all or nothing.


When I was working for AVID I was always looking for the most powerful computer ever, since Pro Tools is so CPU hungry.
Studio One Pro runs quite perfectly on my son's MacBook Air, 256 GB, 8GB RAM. That said, I couldn't care less about the $6K Mac Pro. Not for me.


Originally Posted by Anderton
I'm so glad you were able to make it through that wall!! (Great avatar picture, by the way!)


It's getting harder and harder every day. But ... I'm here! grin ... and that microphone really helps my voice and looks


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2996807 07/01/19 08:17 AM
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They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

With regards to upgrades, maintenance, and compatibility - 2 very different experiences.

One thing that bothers me about Apple is that at some point, they pretty much just totally pull the plug. My first gen iPad is worthless. Can't update it at all and nothing any longer supports its old iOS. My old MBP I basically don't change anything on. I have a piece of software I use with it and as long as it keeps working, I'll leave it at that. At one point I needed to install some software that SHOULD work on that model of laptop, but I hadn't updated the OS in a long time and it was incompatible. Unfortunately, Apple would no longer let me update to the latest software that the MBP was compatible, it wanted me to upgrade to the NEW OS, only to then tell me my MBP wasn't supported. Luckily there are other ways - somebody guided me to a link where I could download the latest OS my MBP was compatible and I managed to get it installed, which then allowed me to install the software I needed. But at this point, it's more or less frozen in time.

Windows, on the other hand, by NOT locking things down, provides a ton of POTENTIAL compatibility. Lots of new software works on older OS's that are no longer supported, lots of OLD software (if you have a disk or something) will run just fine on the latest OS. But since it's not locked down, something might seem like it's going to work but then introduce problems that you have to troubleshoot. Biggest headache seems to be drivers. ESPECIALLY when your legacy equipment gets bought out by another company (like my M-Audio Fasttrack Pro and Avid). Sometimes it's hard to tell what's conflicting. Sometimes a supplied driver causes problems and you find out that there is some other 3rd party driver that works better. Sometimes doing something as simple as installing a printer messes up something completely unrelated like your video editing software.

Different kinds of problems and what's funny is the steps they take to solve problems that exist on one platform create different problems on another. For that reason, I don't think either one will EVER be the perfect solution.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: J. Dead] #2996818 07/01/19 12:18 PM
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I see this question in two parts. The first part - My interest is in using a laptop and controller for live performance, a Kronos alteranative if you like. I started out with Windows 7, Cantabile and an ever expanding library of purchased VI's. Then switched to OSX with MainStage and am a happy camper. It just works and I like MainStage's GUI in Perform mode, no other host comes close.

The second part, how much tech knowledge do you have and how much time do you want to invest in tech? If a lot of knowledge or happy to invest time in tech then Win 10 can deliver everything OSX can, except MainStage (or Logic).

Its about the tools, not the toolbox in which you keep your tools.

And if you are really tech savvy and want OSX on a lower budget then build a Hackintosh. Just stick to the Apple hardware menu.


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2997030 07/02/19 08:34 PM
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If the person is rich, Mac. If they are on a budget, Windows. smile

Actually, for me the choice is more about control. If you like to use several internal drives dedicated to things like programs, sample libraries, output files, etc... then Windows is the way to go. This is how I like to operate. If you are not a techie and are happy letting the OS make all your decisions then Mac. One thing that has always driven me crazy with Mac's is the way it want to control where everything goes. There are specific applications that make the choice easy. The MacMini is a GREAT media computer. I use one for my song library. Power consumption is low and I can leave it on without worry. It is accessible from my AppleTV and Sonos. I've tried Windows alternatives but they cannot match a MacMini +iTunes. For games, word processing and database, Windows is the only route I take. I have office on my MacBookPro but I prefer it on Windows. And why pay twice the price for a computer to run office.

Now, the biggie. If you want a notebook computer for music, and more so, for stage, MacBookPro is the easy choice. Some people do great things with Windows notebooks for music on stage, but Mac is easier.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: RABid] #2997046 07/03/19 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RABid
Now, the biggie. If you want a notebook computer for music, and more so, for stage, MacBookPro is the easy choice. Some people do great things with Windows notebooks for music on stage, but Mac is easier.


I agree, but with one caveat. If anything happens to your Windows machine, you can go to Office Depot just about anywhere, load some strategic programs from your mirrored hard drive, and do the show. Or, if you want to carry two computers so you have a backup, Windows will save you a bunch of money.

Otherwise, Macs are great for live performance - especially if you dedicate it to live performance. Apple's right when they say "it just works."

BTW thanks for the Mac Mini comments. Pushes me closer to getting one smile

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2997822 07/09/19 06:01 PM
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My main studio computer is a souped up home built PC. I've reached the miracle plateau of getting it to hum along without reaching memory or CPU bandwidth ceilings. I will very shortly upgrade one more time to make sure I am well-above that ceiling. I haven't used a Mac for music in a very long time. I do have an IMac I use in my home office that is running the incredible VCV, but it's old and non-upgradeable. Even the RAM is soldered in.

That said, when my kids each wanted their own DAW to get started, I got each of them a MacBook Pro. Even though they are not shallow by the long shot, I think they were happy that they had the laptops that they see Pharrel, Zedd, Dre, etc using. I was not interested in being the home IT tech. So that's what they got.

If a MacBook could host 64 gigs of RAM, I would switch today just for the reduction in fan noise.


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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2998627 07/15/19 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
<...snip...>

If someone came to you today, wanted to get started in computer-based music, and wanted to know what computer to get, which would YOU recommend?


PC. Why? I'm a live gigging musician so my views are skewed in that direction.
  • Easy to get a replacement when "The Show Must Go On" - You can get a Windows machine if needed at any office or department store
  • You can get a cheap backup that will limp you through the show - for a couple of hundred bucks
  • Easy to transfer files to and from with a flash drive - no having to upload/download from the cloud.
  • No exclusive firewire or other Apple non-standard connectors
  • Universal compatibility vs. Exclusivity
  • More available software titles and apps that come out on both platforms are usually released earlier on Windows and with more features than OSX


I use ThinkPad computers on stage, and they have proven to be at least as reliable as any Mac. I still have a 2002 ThinkPad with the IBM brand on it working full time bouncing on a keyboard stand and transported in a hot van to cool venues as I make my living doing one-nighers.

There was a time when I preferred Apple, and they make fine hardware, but their efforts to keep me 'in the fold' and lot let me play with others turned me off. When my iPad dies, I'll probably get an Android tablet.

Many years ago, the 'sax for hire' at recording studios saw me looking at nothing but Apple computers, now I see both, and sometimes no Apple. I think the days where Apple was the clear cut leader have passed.

Of course there are those who love Mac/Apple products, and there is nothing wrong with that. But for an on-stage gigging musician, I think Windows is the better choice.

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Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Notes_Norton] #2998758 07/16/19 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
But for an on-stage gigging musician, I think Windows is the better choice.


I agree about the "you can get a replacement anywhere." But I also agree about the "you can get a cheap backup that will limp you through the show" - you can bring a second, mirrored Windows laptop and the price for both would be the same as a good MacBook Pro.

But to be fair to Mac, it makes it soooo easy to boot off a separate drive. So if the problem is your computer dies, Windows is way ahead. But if the problem is if your system drive dies, I think the Mac has an advantage.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999147 07/18/19 04:07 PM
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Mac here. My day job is as a Mac admin, so I'm deeply into the platform anyway but I do like it for stability in general (fewer variables helps).

I think you can go either way, really, depending on what you're comfortable with. For me, I like not having to screw around with my DAW machine on a regular basis - sure, you can tinker with PCs a lot easier but I'd rather not tinker when I'm on my own time. wink As for cost, there's really not that much difference when you factor in usable life span, and the cost of premium PC parts.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999226 07/19/19 02:37 AM
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Dr Mike Metlay Offline
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I will echo something here that many folks have said, with a twist or two of my own.

I've been making music using computers for about 35 years, starting with a PDP11 in an academic music lab and moving through many platforms between then and now. I have done tracks on PC, Atari 1040ST, Amiga (!), PalmOS (!!), Windows of various flavors, Linux, macOS, and iOS, and I've seen a lot of changes. Where I am now is largely based on understanding my music needs in opposition to my personal skill set, degree and type of commitment, budget, and comfort zone.

That's an understanding everyone has got to have going in, and it boils down to: are you comfortable doing what it takes to keep the machine healthy? If the machine is healthy, the music making experience will be too.

It's been a long time since I did any serious music work on a Windows machine, but I remember what was involved in getting where I needed to go. It's not egregious; you have to understand how the system goes together, be comfortable with tracking updates to your drivers, plug-ins, etc., and stay on top of what's happening with the operating system. A lot of people have this base set of skills where Windows machines are concerned, and for them, the extra hoop-jumping to get a music system up and stable isn't onerous. They can take advantage of the expandability, modularity, and cost savings on the Windows platform, and use some pretty great software that you can't use anywhere else (Cakewalk by BandLab and Acoustica Mixcraft come to mind).

That said, I have been on stage with people using computers doing music for decades now, and I have watched many meltdowns... and while I couldn't and wouldn't try to put a percentage on them, I would say that in my experience, Windows screwups significantly outnumber Mac screwups. Even the guys who put in many hours of prep work and know their Windows systems inside out can boot up and be confronted with a sudden driver issue, lost peripheral, etc., and have to do troubleshooting instead of just getting started playing. This happens much less often in the walled garden of macOS, CoreAudio/CoreMIDI, and compatible software.

I have a real problem with statements like "it just WORKS" and "I have better things to do than learn to wrench my music machine"... that's loaded language and puts the onus on the other guy to prove that his system's just as reliable, and you can't prove a negative. All I can say is that I use macOS because I have a combination of many years' experience, a firm understanding of which hardware is reliable and which isn't, enough under-the-hood savvy to spot when a problem's above my pay grade, and a strong preference for how Apple handles upgrades and updates and support vs. how Microsoft does it.

That said, I am not a complete Apple fanboy. I think that Jony Ive leaving the company is the best thing that's happened to them in a decade; his slavish insistence on "thin and light" has produced some truly hideous black marks on Apple's record, from drives you can't replace and memory you can't upgrade to keyboards that hurt your fingers and break if you glare at them... and don't get me started on what they consider "high end" and what they charge for what you get. Apple dumping the MacBook and going back to the MacBook Air was the first sensible thing they've done in the laptop sector in years, and the Mac Pro, while stupid expensive and really aimed at Skywalker Sound and its ilk, is at least a box you can open and futz with.

My usual recommendation these days is to get a used refurbished Mac of about 2012 vintage, load it for bear, lock down the OS at Mojave, and just hunker down and wait for scissor switches to come back. I have a 2012 quad i7 MacBook Pro, pre-Retina, with two SSDs and 16 GB RAM in it. Amortized over all the years I've used it, it's been the cheapest computer I've ever owned, and when it dies I will almost certainly replace it with an identical model. I'm typing this on a 2011 iMac that goes gangbusters for me on most applications (still running Sierra), and my beater is a dented, ugly, dead-solid-reliable 2014-vintage 11" MacBook Air that's been my live companion from Shanghai to Copenhagen and all points in between.

If I had to start over and do everything with Windows, I could, and I'd get good at it and relatively smooth. But I do love my Macs, and I am willing to wait until the post-Ive generation of gear that is properly Pro rather than "thin and light".

One other note: I am also a fanatical iOS music user, and that's worth a thread in and of itself. I don't see myself going full iOS any time soon because I do so much in Ableton Live, but I really enjoy working with my iOS devices. They are a great value for a beginner just getting started, but I must inject a note of caution... with only one Lightning port, you have to get very clever with how you hook stuff up to your iPad, and it pays big dividends to know what you can and can't do wirelessly to supplement that. I'll probably launch a whole thread on the topic, which I've been teaching for years and years.

(Android? Don't. Make. Me. Laugh.)


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
Wordsmith - Musician - Tech Freak - Amiable Zany
Everyone on this forum is a friend I haven't met yet
-- except for Bryce, who's, well, YOU know.
Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999246 07/19/19 05:54 AM
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Anderton Offline OP
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IOS is really only the only choice for music apps. Android is too scattered, too incompatible, and to be slow to do the job right. There are a few exceptions, but they are few and far between. I do not think the situation will change long-term.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999289 07/19/19 03:33 PM
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I have been using Windows machines on stage since 2002. I still have one of the 2002 computers running on stage every gig.

They get heated up and bounced around in the van transported to the gig. Then they either cool down in the air conditioning or get even hotter if the gig is outdoors. During the gig they bounce along on a keyboard stand. Then back home in the van. And I make my living playing one-nighters. One nighter's are notoriously tough on computers.

I keep two running on stage at all times even though I need only one, because I am a "the show must go on" kind of guy. I display words or music on one and play the backing tracks I create myself on the other. I could use one computer for both functions.

Since 2002 I went to a backup computer twice. The first time the hard drive started making a mechanical noise, and I didn't trust it, so the USB went out of one and into another between songs. I replaced the drive the next day, that computer is still running. The second time the battery that powers the CMOS died so I went to the spare. The replacement cost $5. The computer that became the backup computer performed both jobs without ever so much as a glitch.

Eventually the hinge on one got loose, and I bought a Win7 machine. I don't remember what year, and I'm running it with the 2002 machine. Getting the parts to fix the hinge on a 10+ year old computer isn't easy or cheap. It made sense to replace it. I think that Macs cannot be any more reliable than that. I've never had a crash, lockup, or meltdown.

I saw a tour of the International Space Station on video. They showed 2 laptops that control all the astronaut life support systems, and I recognized 2 ThinkPads doing the work. Like my setup, the second one was redundant.

I started computing on a Texas Instruments TI99, then an Atari ST, followed by a DOS PC and a Mac Classic. The last Mac I had was an early version of OSX (I have an iPad but don't use it for music).

Actually, Mac and Windows are both fine operating systems. There are things I like and dislike about both. IMO you should let the software you want to use most dictate the OS you are going to use. Plenty of apps run on both, but some are only on one, or run better on one.

I write aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box at http://www.nortonmusic.com and that means my main computer is WIndows. Why? BiaB offers a StyleMaker app that is bundled in BiaB, and it both works better and has more features on the PC platform than the Mac. In other words, using Windows means I am capable of writing better and more musical styles than I could on the Mac. It's not the fault of the OS but the fact that PG Music probably makes about 20 times more money selling the Windows version. When I write the styles on Windows, they will play correctly on the Mac as they are 100% compatible, but I can't write styles as good on the Mac.

Between this and the reasons I stated on my earlier post, Windows is my choice. I do reserve the right to switch if the situation changes to make that an advantage to me.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Notes_Norton] #2999319 07/19/19 07:43 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
I have been using Windows machines on stage since 2002. I still have one of the 2002 computers running on stage every gig.


Got a spare one of those that you can spare? I have an offer of an Audio Precision Series 1 audio signal analyzer but it connects to an ISA expansion card. I think the last of the computers with an ISA bus expansion slot left the building here two or three years ago in a garage clean-up. Who knew???? If I get desperate, I can buy a new motherboard with a Pentium 3 CPU, 1 ISA and 3 PCI slots for about $400, though PCs from the 1980s have become "vintage" and therefore expensive. Apparently people are running vintage games on them.

Macs never had ISA (Industry Standard Architecture), but had an expansion bus of their own. ISA pre-dated Windows though it stuck around at least through the first computer I had that ran Windows 95. Nowadays, you can buy a real hot rod of a motherboard with an ISA slot for less than I paid for that Win95 computer when it was new

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999454 07/20/19 02:22 PM
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Let's not forget that if you take it you use x86 based machines, there are not two but three different option to run an OS on the same type of hardware (processor, CPU, memory, drives, graphics card, etc). The hardware of a PC can be the exact same as for a Mac, except OSX doesn't provide drivers etc for PC architectures with components it doesn't recognize. Also, you could take a Mac, and put Windoze on it.

I normally use Linux (Usually a recent incarnation of Fedora _64 for Intel/AMD based machines) for my sound processing, recording, and software instruments, because I really don't dig much of the available windows tools. I've got Cubase, what's it's name which promises sample accurate processing, it's OK, but doesn't do much I covet.

On Linux, there's a lot of usually Free and Open Source software from Drum computers to Piano plugins (in fact, also Pianoteq, which isn't a bad idea to run on Linux), that can use a few audio processing schemes. I usually use Jack, because it allows highly accurate digital connections between programs and plugins. I use Rosegarden's recording facilities at times (usually 96/32) and I've made some very complicated signal processing graphs I work on, to make sampled ("digital") recordings sounds better. There are good samplers on Linux for instance that could be popular with nice GUI, like Gigasampler.

Probably a lot of people want to click-n-swipe their way into tracks that sound a certain way to them, without learning much. For those, Linux with LADSPA/Jack/Alsa/Lv2 probably is not intuitive and not in line with expectations. Academically though, neither the most Windows nor the modern day Unix with X-windows on the MAc are telling people much about what's musically right or wrong or what digital processing doesn't offer, though everyone seems to say it's perfect.

T.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Mike Rivers] #2999539 07/20/19 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
I have been using Windows machines on stage since 2002. I still have one of the 2002 computers running on stage every gig.


Got a spare one of those that you can spare?<...snip...>



Sorry, like my cars I keep them and work with them until they are dead. I have one spare that I'm keeping in the event the 17 year old one dies.

I think NewEgg sells some refurbished ThinkPads, but I have no experience with them so I can't recommend. I just spotted them a year or so ago while looking for something else.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Notes_Norton] #2999599 07/21/19 11:19 AM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton

I think NewEgg sells some refurbished ThinkPads, but I have no experience with them so I can't recommend. I just spotted them a year or so ago while looking for something else.


I have a turn-of-the-century Thinkpad, but Thinkpads don't have ISA bus expansion slots.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999613 07/21/19 02:50 PM
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All I have are ThinkPads. All I need is USB for the tasks I do with them.

I record from a stack of hardware MIDI sound modules through a mixer to a USB-Audio interface and into the USB of one of my 64 bit ThinkPads.

I make backing tracks for my duo and demo files for my Band-in-a-Box styles. If I want to do a 'real' recording, I'll need to go to a studio, I don't have room for a pristine recording environment in my 900 square foot cottage in paradise.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Notes_Norton] #2999647 07/21/19 08:16 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
All I have are ThinkPads. All I need is USB for the tasks I do with them.


I can handle all my audio devices with USB or Firewire, and I suppose when I get one, Ethernet nowadays. But I've been offered an Audio Precision Series 1 test set (the current version is about $7500) but it has an ISA bus card to connect it to the computer. Someone sells a modified driver for Windows 98 along with a cable to connect it via a parallel port (when was the last time you saw one of those on a computer) for $175, and I could use that with a computer that I already have. I just thought it would be nice to have a whole vintage system.

Oh, yeah, I think computers are too complicated, too. But I've progressed from the stone age to the bronze age, so I'm getting there.

Re: Time to Re-Visit a Mac vs. PC Thread [Re: Anderton] #2999766 07/22/19 04:00 PM
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I have a love/hate affair with my computers. I love them when they make my work easy and hate them when they screw up. I guess I'm not alone.

I had a hard time giving away my old computers. The TI99 went quickly to a salesman in a computer store (remember those?), the Mac Classic died, and the Atari ST ended up going to electronics recycling (and who knows if it ended up in the landfill or not). I was giving it away, not selling, just foot the postage.

My first PC was DOS 5 with Win3.1 riding on it's back. I had to get a card to run MIDI out of it, and if I remember it had RS232 and a parallel printer port (Centronix???).

And part of the love/hate is replacing an old computer. OK, here are the discs, or the downloads, but it'll take a day for all the updates to download, and they might not work right on the new OS, and so on. But when it's FINALLY complete, the new computer is like a new sports car. Zoooooom.

Bob


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
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