Skip to main content

pc vs mac

Maybe this has been answered many times before, but I don't understand why a mac is better for recording. I know they are well built, easy to use, and much more stable. But if you know how to maintain your computer does that really matter? You also get a lot more bang for your buck with a pc or windows based laptop. I'm asking this because i'm looking into getting a new comp, preferably a laptop. Everyone raves about macs for recording but when i look at the specs on a windows based comp and a mac you get a hell of a lot less on the mac for the same dollar. Will a mac still outperform anything else regardless of lower processing speeds and lower ram?


Pro Audio Guest Fri, 12/01/2006 - 15:35
>>I don't understand why a mac is better for recording
They are not. The Mac myth is only are result of marketing. In fact, the Mac of today IS a pc!

I use both Mac and PCs and have been using computers with music since BEFORE the days of the ATARI 1040 ST and the old Mac 512/Mac Plus.

I don't have to time to go into the history and technical details of all platforms now but, I will offer this:

Today, the ONLY major difference between a Mac and any other PC is the operating system. Since Macs now use Intel chips, the point is moot.

Unless you have a music application (like I do) which ONLY works on a Mac (Logic PRO) there is NO technical reason whatsoever that a Mac is "better for music".

There are Grammy Winning Film Composers, Engineers and Producer who do NOT use Macs.

Ultimately, it depends on the software you want to use. If you are looking at Cubase/Nuendo/WaveLab and others, a Windows PC will be just excellent. Especially, if it's Athlon dual-core based.

If you want to use Logic PRO you have NO choice but, to buy an OS-X Intel machine (formerly known as a Mac).

Scoobie Sat, 12/02/2006 - 08:32
There is not a , this is the best model of computer there is for recording. The best thing to do , Is stay away from a name brand computer company.
Built one for yourself or have it built by a person that dose audio computers.

And one other thing, Do your homework before you buy anything. Pick your software and your interface frist. Then find out what other people are useing, motherboard (chipset), Get what is known to work and work well. You will be glad you did.

Alot of interface's will not perfrom right with the wrong motherboard (chipset). That is why you hear stuff like , That sound card sucks, then someone eles saying. It works great for me.

What ever you end up useing, Do your homework frist.


Pro Audio Guest Mon, 12/04/2006 - 16:06
You may want to know that you can run Win Xp on a Mac. Mac's new OS comes with an application that allows you to dual-boot (i.e. choose whether you want to boot up in the MAC OS(Tiger) or windows xp. If you're looking at buying a new mac, you'll be able to run xp on it.
The link will show you everything you need to know on that front

There is a way however, that you can get the MAC OS to run on a pc. The nice people at these links will show you how.

I hope this helps with your decision, whichever way you go.


hueseph Mon, 12/04/2006 - 21:08
Randyman... wrote: Wow. OS-x on a PC. I might have to try that for kicks and grins :)


Unfortunately a pc is hardly as capable of running OSX as a Mac is of running XP. That's just the way it is.

Regardless of the system you decide to get, maintenance is the key. Keep track of your files, do regular back ups and don't use crack.

The one thing Mac has over PC is the need, or lack thereof, for antivirus software. In fact most of the antivirus software out for Mac is in order to prevent your clients and friends from getting viruses which have absolutely no effect to your computer but may destroy a PC.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 12/13/2006 - 20:56
PC is superior

I have used both Macs and PC's for recording and I firmly believe that one is not necessarily better than the other (unless you factor in cost). You can get a far superior PC for the money than you can a MAC.
Every program, every plug-in, every upgrade you ever buy on a MAC will cost you 30% more.
When I started out I thought it was a close call. Spend a little more, get a Mac. no big deal. But add up 2-3 years of upgrading and adding on programs and you get a huge difference in cost.

Dont fall for the MAC myth.

They crash, stall, and goof up just like PC's.
(I think those problems are mostly in the software)
The only thing i can really say is better is that I havent had to worry about viruses. But maybe I will soon find out that is also a myth?

One more thing,
maybe not so much in the audio world, but in regular life Macs dont have near as many programs to choose from as PC's. And forget about ever getting programs for free.
If it didnt come pre installed on your mac, your gonna have to pay top dollar for it. No cracks, no sharing, nothing.

And plus, life really isnt worth living without a right mouse button.

Austin, Tx

Kev Wed, 12/13/2006 - 22:46
do we have to do this again ?

I use both and always have done and always will
I have free programs for both
I will never use all the programs available for both
some programs are only one or the other
I've had a right mouse button on all my Macs for a very very long time

my longest serving machine is my 386 running DOS6.22 with LEAP and LMS
and Protel

my longest serving audio computers are my 9600 and 7300 ... both with digidesign hardware (Mixplus, SampleCell, AM3 and 001)
and have had processor upgrades (G3)

but the 001s and AM3 will probably end on XP machines

I tried to use a PC for my HD system but it all failed and I have a Dual2.3 on the way
that beast (3G 2G 1+terabyte) has been recycled to a DVB and media server

and to cap things off
I can't use a Mac to log on to my ISP ... so I have to use an old 98 machine

there never has been a single correct answer here
and there never will be

hueseph Wed, 12/13/2006 - 22:58
Re: PC is superior

aclane wrote: No cracks, no sharing, nothing.
I thought that this was more of a plus.

Regarding free software for mac's it's out there there are even many plugins which are free exclusively for mac.

By the way, Macs have had a right mouse button for a while now. Personally I think it's best to have both Mac and PC. But that's just me.

guitarjazzman Fri, 12/15/2006 - 02:14
I am relatively new to the whole recording thing but thought I would share my thoughts.

I am a jazz guitarist and recently revamped my teaching studio to record in (acoustic foam, bass traps, recording gear, etc.) this forum has been amazing in helping me along the way - thanks guys!

I have always used PCs and as I would be using mics for recording was looking for a quiet PC. A friend recommended Carillon PCs and their site had loads of info on how their PCs were custom built to be quiet for recording and the rep assured me I would be able to record in the same room with mics. I then had about a 6 month nightmare of waiting for the PC to be built and various machines being sent back. To cut a long story short, the first one was whisper quiet although kept turning itself off (I was later told that if it was that quiet - the fans probably weren't working properly and that is why it kept cutting out). The second was the noisiest PC I have ever heard! Carillon then agreed to build me a high spec machine for the same price as the more basic machine I had ordered. The rep again assured me that using mics in the same room would be no problem. It was a monster machine although was also extremely noisy. when I set up mics at the far end of the room, the recording meters on Sonar were about a 5th of the way up the scale just with fan and hard drive noise. Also, only half of the inputs worked on the Firepod I had bought.

I sent this 3rd machine back and decided to get a mac. I ordered a 20" screen Imac with Logic 7 and am so glad that I did. The machine is whisper quiet so I can easily use mics in the same room. I didn't even need to install any drivers for the Firepod - just plugged it in and it works perfectly.

I know macs are relatively expensive compared to the same spec PC but surely if noise is a problem, the current macs are far superior. I know you can build a PC with quiet cases, liquid cooling, etc. but for ease - I am so glad I ended up with my Imac.

A bit of a long reply but when I was initially searching for people's views on how quiet macs were, I couldn't find much info. From experience if you use mics in the same room - an Imac is the way to go!

gdoubleyou Wed, 12/20/2006 - 19:04
"Every program, every plug-in, every upgrade you ever buy on a MAC will cost you 30% more."

That's not accurate, if you take a look at the cross platform apps and plugins they cost the same and most of the time come in the same box, on the same disk.

I own both platforms, it take more time and effort to research hardware on the PC side.

My business plan for next year is to ditch my PCs, because it is now possible to Run XP/Vista inside of an OSX window using virtulization software, ie: I could run Logic and have wavelab open at the same time sharing audio files.

In the end it's about software, choose the software you prefer and get the hardware run it on.

Besides can you HEAR what computer a song was made on?


VonRocK Fri, 12/22/2006 - 11:28
I hate reading about all the lies that windows users spread about macs.

OSX has a thing called Core Audio. Go research it. That's a BIG difference between the two.

Macs are NOT more expensive than their Windows based counterparts. Do some freaking research and quit listening to liars.

Stealing software is something that THEIVES do. If you want to be a THIEF, then go right ahead and buy a Windows based machine, and STEAL all the software you can. Freaking thieves. Might as well leave your front door open all the time too and invite anyone to come in and take all your shit, seeing as you morally support STEALING.

You CANNOT run OS X on a windows based machine without breaking the law.

This debate about which is better is absurd. It always comes down to a whole bunch of misinformation and some sort of computer pissing contest instead of an intellegent converstation based on FACT about the pros and cons of each operating system.

Good luck with your choice.

when i look at the specs on a windows based comp and a mac you get a hell of a lot less on the mac for the same dollar

Where did you look, and what are you looking at?

gdoubleyou Sat, 12/23/2006 - 09:02
Cresta wrote: [quote=VonRocK]OSX has a thing called Core Audio. Go research it. That's a BIG difference between the two.
please would you like to be so gentle to explain me what can be done with Core Audio that cannot be done in a Windows/Direct Audio/ASIO environment?
It more about Midi/ audio being addressed at system level without the need for extra 3rd party software.

Devices that are Firewire/USB complient don't require drivers. I own both platforms, it's just a different solution to the same problem.


RemyRAD Sat, 12/23/2006 - 09:44
Everybody is really talking about 2 entirely different operating systems.

The Bill Gates Windows, is Windows. The wonder of Windows! I.e., will it work the same way tomorrow as it did today? Maybe, if you're lucky. Most of the time I'm lucky.

OS X is UNIX and is based on a more stable scientific operating system developed by IBM many years ago. Think about that for a moment.

Apples now use Intel....

Isn't that sort of like the Jews joining the Nazis to defeat the French? Or is that too bullish?
Ms. Remy Ann David

Scoobie Sat, 12/23/2006 - 20:50
I never have understood what the big deal was about , MAC / PC. I have seen Mac DAW's that was bad ass, PC DAW's that was too. I use both all the time. The computer I'm useing right now is a Mac. They both can get the job done.

I guess it all depends on what software you want to use, Hell I don't know. Oh yea, Apple useing windows, what is that saying......Thats something to think about.


VonRocK Sun, 12/24/2006 - 09:02
Scoobie wrote: Apple useing windows, what is that saying......Thats something to think about.

That's saying that if you absolutely must use a windows only program, you can. Apple isnt useing windows. It allows a user to run a windows operating system within the mac operating system, or you can run windows all by itself on your mac hardware.

It is a marketing strategy aimed at people who don't want to or can't let go of some peice of windows only software.