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razor7music

Any PC and Mac DAW Users?

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Hello group

Let me start with the disclaimer this is not me trolling to start a PC vs Mac, Coke vs Pepsi, or Ford vs Chevy thread. I'm trusting this group to continue its professional and respectful platform that I have grown to trust.

Now that that's out of the way, I'm wondering how many of you use a PC and a Mac in your music production process? Why do you use one over the other, and if money wasn't an object (I wish) which would you prefer?

Let me clarify, I'm referring to a Mac with an Apple OS, not a bootcamp parallel dual boot PC on a Mac chassis.

I used to maintain the studio at GC that had both, and I've worked in the past for companies that use both, but that was very long ago and I'd like an updated perspective.

 

Thanks 👍

Edited by razor7music

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I have a PC I7-2600K based with 32GB of RAM (soon to be replaced with I9-10900K based components and 128GB of RAM with Thunderbolt 3).

I also have a 2013 MacBook Pro with a I7 Quad core and 16GB of RAM.

I have installed all my cross platform DAWs on both (Studio One 5, Reaper 6, Mixbus 32C v6, ProTools Pro 2020, Digital Performer 10, Cubase 10.5, Reason 11.

I have additionally installed Logic X on my Mac. I use core audio on the Mac but I have a spare Presonus AudioBox USB 96, just in case.

I have additionally installed on my PC CbB, Samplitude X5 Suite, Mixcraft Pro 9 and Acid Pro 9. I use an RME UFX on the PC.

I  also have all my libraries and all VST/VSTi programs installed on both machines.

I don't record on my Mac. I only record on the PC. Both machines are on opposite sides of the room.

So far I'd say that if a project runs on the PC (of the cross platforms DAWs) it also runs perfectly on the Mac.

I recently tried a test of an exceptionally large project (100 tracks and a boatload of plugs) from a tutorial on both the Mac and the PC. Read about it and the results HERE. Bottom line with a few minor tweaks Reaper on the Mac was the "winner" in that limited test case scenario. Probably the PC could have been tied if I made the same/similar tweaks there.

My Mac is not as bad as some make them out to be. Catalina caused some temporary grief, but for now that is in the past.

My conclusion: Neither is better or worse than the other. If money were no object I'm not entirely sure what I would do since both Top End systems would probably handle my fairly modest needs. I'm usually at the 40-50 tracks range with a fair dose of VSTs and maybe some Soft Synths too.

 

 

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I have both, and work within both. 

The Win10 is the AMD 3950X in my signature, and the macOS machine is a 12-core 96GB 2010 Mac Pro (affectionately called the Millennium Falcon) that runs Catalina 10.15.6, has Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt, 10GbE, and will soon benefit from running insert plugins via AudioGridder hosted in the AMD machine.  Both machines are concurrently connected to my Midas M32 mixer; the AMD via USB 2.0, and the Mac via a K-T DN9630 AES50-to-USB 2.0 adapter. 

My reason for this elaborate configuration is that I collaborate with musicians who have projects in Reaper, CbB (Win-only), Logic Pro X (Mac-only) Digital Performer, and Studio One.  In pre-Covid days, they'd bring over the projects on a portable drive of some sort. These days, things are so slow, that I'm learning video editing and doing wild audio configuration experiments to keep myself entertained. 

As for preference, it's still a 50/50 thing after several years of having a foot in both camps.  I like the backward-compatibility of Windows that preserves the investment in hardware, allows PCI (distinguished from PCIe) devices to still be used, and allows the re-use of technology orphaned from data centers.  On the Mac side, I like the multicam features of Final Cut Pro (Mac-only) that have yet to be matched by DaVinci Resolve, and the soft-synths built into Logic Pro X.

My eyes are happiest when using CbB.  The other DAWs are less beautiful to me. 

Edited by MediaGary
clarified PCI statement and added detail on spec of Mac
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I've used both since 1995, with the percentage spent on each varying over time. If price was no object, I'd buy the best Windows 10 desktop for Vegas and Cakewalk, and the best Mac desktop available for Studio One and Ableton Live. AFAIC both platforms have roughly reached parity. In theory Windows gives you more for your money, but if you go to a really good Windows system integrator for audio and get the best components, then the price is around the same...although the system integrator will likely give more personalized support.

The Mac downside is you have to buy into their ecosystem. The Windows downside is that it doesn't have much of an ecosystem. 

A lot of your choice depends on what else you do with the computer. If you do graphic arts, you pretty much have to get a Mac. For scientific applications, it's Windows. For keeping your personal life in order, I'd choose Mac if you have an iPhone because the two work so well together. 

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I have an iMac with Logic Pro and Garageband, have installed Tracktion Waveform on it in the past (I should try Ableton Live now that I have my license for Lite). I've messed about with it, but it's never been part of my workflow.

Money is very much an object in my life, and bang-for-the-buck, it's much easier to be a bottom feeder with Windows. As @MediaGary says, orphaned hardware from large companies and people upgrading is abundant. I have 3 Windows systems right now, 2 of which are used almost daily for music production. Those are my Dell tower and laptop. Both were given to me by friends who work for companies who retired them and let their employees pick them over. I even recently upgraded the processor in the laptop from a dual core i5 to a later generation quad i7. A cpu swap in a laptop??

The Windows world has much more free software available for it, Cakewalk being of course a prime example. Cost means nothing there, but it makes for a wider availability of software, music and otherwise.

If money were no object, and I had to choose only one platform, it would still be Windows. I like to tinker, but if money were no object and remained no object, I presume I would be handing down my "obsolete" systems to friends who wanted to get into computer music, and Windows systems do that better than Macs. Apple is just so annoyingly worse at backward compatibility and forced upgrades. Older Mac, they stop allowing their OS upgrades to install, then they add bloat and hooks into the OS that encourage software incompatibility, which eventually forces the user to either upgrade their hardware or go without the latest software. I love using my iPhone, but I also do so with the dread that probably within a year Apple will stop allowing it the latest OS updates.

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If money were no object I'd simply go buy out a major studio etc.

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