Mac vs PC

Hi

I currently use Ableton on a PC, but its getting rather tired and old looking (the PC not the user) so I'm planning to get a new one. My question is, should I get a PC or a MAC. I've never used a Mac before so don't have anything to compare my PC to, but seem to notice that most serious music producers (and not so serious) use a Mac.

What are the benefits of using a Mac over a PC, as the difference in price is noticeable?

Thanks

21 followers

mollyfatha 3 years ago | 0 comments

21 answers

  • Warrior Bob
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    10 votes

    Mac fans will tell you to get a Mac. PC fans will tell you to get a PC. I'll tell you that so long as your hardware is good it doesn't much matter, as Live works pretty well on both of them. 

    Apple builds high-end computers out of quality components and charges a fortune for them. There also exist PC manufacturers who do this as well, but on the PC side there are also midrange and introductory range options, since there are a many manufacturers.

    Many Mac users like that there is a comparatively small spectrum of hardware, so it's fairly rare to find a program that runs on "only some Macs." On the PC/Windows side, there's a huge variety of hardware so it's quite mroe likely to get spotty equipment if you're buying blindly, which (especially in the case of audio with its low-latency buffers and dependence on good drivers) can result in crashes and audible glitches. For many users part of the price of the Mac is for peace of mind more than anything else.

    There was recently a thread on this on the Ableton UHE forum, which I thought brought up a few good points relevant to your question: http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=170796

    In the end, it's basically "get whichever platform you prefer and trust more." By all means, do try out using Live (maybe the demo?) on a Mac at a friends' house or in a computer store. See if you like it. See if there are things about it that drive you nuts.

    In the end you want a machine that works for you and that you trust to get the job done, whatever that happens to be. If you're playing live, the tolerance for errors is much lower, but you can get away with a lot more of them if you're just producing at home, where there's no client or audence to annoy.

    Best of luck :)

    3 years ago | 1 comment
  • mr_melvis
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    I build my own DAWs - and have done so back to the DOS days (sequencing on a 286 with 1MB RAM).  If you want to have a killer machine - build your own.  I currently run an Antec silent case and power supply, 2 128GB SSDs and 1 10K RPM  320 GB drive (apps and samples go on the SSDs, storage on the regluar drive) - i7 950 OC'ed to 4gHz (water cooled), 12 GB RAM, and Echo Audio Layla audio card (M-Audio 4x4 Midi interface) - all done for under $1500.00.  I can meet or beat any Mac for price or quality when I build my own.  There is also a LOT more software available for the PC in the music realm than there is for Macs...  Just my 2 cents

    2 years ago | 1 comment
  • jasperhb
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    I can't help you on the Mac side, only say that I am very happy about running Ableton on the PC running 64 bit Windows 7 (I'm looking forward to
    Ableton going 64 bit as well, but that is another topic).

    I also like the many options I have on a PC to stay fresh with hardware upgrades once in a while. Of course if you choose a notebook then your options here will be more limited.

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • idrob2001
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    I've never had any problems running Ableton on a pc.  I'm planning to upgrade to a new notebook within a month and thought about getting a Macbook.  After comparing features and prices I decided to get a Pc.  It comes with similar features and with the saved money I'll use for another software or hardware. 

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • rue71
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    I have both. I have a PC and a Macbook. And I notice no difference. Ableton is running good on both.

    My advice is: Buy a PC. My decision is to change back to a Lenovo Notebook, when the Macbook is outdated or broken. "It just works" is simply a lie, and yes a Mac can hang, too. I found no reason which justifies the price.

    Some other reasons are: You already have a PC, so you are used to it. It takes time until you get used to a mac. Your peripherie won't work with the Mac, when you are lucky you can make it running fumbling around with linux-drivers. And the question is: What kind of computer do you use at work, at school or most of your friends have?

    And don't forget: Apple-products are not made for working with it. They are lifestyle-products. Apple pays more attention on a neat design as on function.

    2 years ago | 2 comments
  • The JackProject
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    I think core-audio on mac is what makes the difference. It works much better than asio. This is why osx can handle realtime audiotasks much better. 

    2 years ago | 1 comment
  • MidiFinger
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    Well, I'm thoroughly Anti-Apple. Apple sells over-priced cheap ass Chinese Foxconn junk that is made in deplorable work conditions by Chinese children and Chinese prison laborers. Anyone with any fiber of morality should not support such an evil capitalistic corporation.

    Apple ignored most standardized technology for years, basically lost the War and in the end had to start using PC components. So if you're going to use PC components in your Mac, why not just get a PC ?

    Personally I think the worst thing about Mac, beside itunes, is their crappy, clunky OS... well... and their rabid, mindless Apple Zombie fan base. The Apple Zombie Apocalypse is coming (but that's another song).

    That being said, I'm happy running Ableton Live 9 Studio on a custom built PC. I7-4770, 32GB RAM, (4) 480GB SATA-3 SSDs in a striped array for performance, a 2TB image drive for backing up the SSDs, Blu-ray Burner, ATI Quad Head Card, (3) 39" Vizio LEDs, Windows 8.1 x64 Ultimate all in an Enlight Rackmount case.

    The money I saved by not getting an over-priced Mac, I used to get a UA Apollo Quad and a TI Firewire 800 card.

    Ableton Live runs GREAT ! No problems with any of the VSTs. Life is Good !

    4 months ago | 0 comments
  • Funk N. Furter
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    One good reason to get mac is that you can automate live using iKey. You can automate routine tasks and assign them to custom shortcuts. This will save you time, stop you getting RSI, and let you concentrate on the music and not the wrist ache.

    Tutorial here

    http://www.macableton.com/features/mac-stuff/automate-live-9-with-ikey.html

    video

    2 years ago | 2 comments
  • mwj
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    Nice topic, because I also think to change from pc to mac in future, but I 'm not yet convinced to 100 %.
    Everybody here is talking about the stable system and cool design, but what is about the real important things that makes a mac better than a pc for audio software?
    Some of my questions are:
    -Is Core Audio really faster than Asio (latency) and does it work with all Audiointerfaces?
    -Can I also use my VSTs that I bought e.g. NI Maschine, NI Massive...
    -Is Firewire the better choice for Audiointerfaces? (I'm actually using a focusrite 2i4o usb)
    -Is it possible to use my old ableton projects from windows (with .wav samples and VSTs) on a Mac?
    -and is the workflow the same or even better (shourtcuts,...)?
    That are some of my questions...it would be nice to hear some opinions :)
    I'm sorry for my bad english.

    6 months ago | 1 comment
  • S.Rueckwardt
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    Yep Linux is the only free choice...
    crAPPLE or WinDOS . !?! Choice..lol..
    The technical side is equal a good workstation laptop for win can cost big money and a mac yeah cost money.
    But mac have thunderbold and a 2 m cabel cost 50 € in Germany.
    ..usb Ports oh not really much on a mac 15 zoll.
    But for mac Speaks the core audio driver and a lot of possiblities with that .
    Routing audio and midi oh. I love that feature.
    Core audio is not really faster but you need on windows a good driver I mean that driver that comes from your audio interface manufactur.
    Choose a really good interface and test it.
    Mac can have problems with short Buffer settings but its your interface and together with the inbuilt UsB chips that count .


    P.s. no Ableton for Linux I know really bad ..
    The only think now I use a mac or pc is Ableton live and max msp.
    All other programs have Linux versions and Run Perfect on linux.

    5 months ago | 0 comments
  • bartley99
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    Live rocks on both Win and OSX.  Same user experience once in the application.  Kudos to Ableton!

    I was a major Steve-Jobs-ass-kissing-Apple fanboy but their quality and design choices are not aligned with a musicians needs.   They look great but really can't handle heavy loads that a LIVE user will put on them. FYI - I use a lot of VST synths concurrently that are CPU munching hogs.  For the past 3 years, I've had nothing but problems with Mac laptops and desktops.   My laptop had the MoBo (logic board) replaced three times in 2 years because the GPU melts off the logic board.  Very cheap parts.   I think apple is focusing on the Facebook crowd more than the power users.   Even their new trashcan pro's are having the same issue with parts running too hot.  

    Here's the biggest challenge you will face with Apple latest version of their hardware...not enough i/o.   No firewire, limited USB ports, no PCIexpress and no ethernet to name a few.  I have a lot of peripherals in my rig and there would be no way to connect it to my mac without the use of hubs and convertors that will only add to latency.  

    That said, their os rocks.  OSX is stable and you really don't have to funk with it when adding new software.   It looks nice and it's intuitive although it is getting bloated with crap software that is wasting CPU cycles.   

    Bottom line, go with a high quality PC or preferably, build your own and run it with OSX.    You need to pay attention to what hardware you choose and don't skimp power or quality.   You can dual-boot windows or run VM-fusion to have more OS choices available (e.g. ubuntu, win7, win8, etc.).  When it comes to components, don't skimp.  Select a CPU (number of cores) based on how you use Live.  I run an 8-core CPU and it screams.   Get a fast mobo with fast ram.  Go with SSD's.  I built a beast with the highest quality parts for under $6,000.  A mac equivalent would cost at least 15K and it would still be slower.    FYI - I'm getting 2ms latency.  Holy freaking cow!

    Mac's look cool (my mom loves hers) but their hardware focus seems to be on the casual pc user not the cpu-crushing apps that I run.  Win7 is still a pain in the ass to manage (keeping it clean and tuned, virus threats and performance degradation overtime).  You do have to do some of the same things on OSX to keep it optimized (i.e. repairing disk permissions or removing KEXTs) but it it not as time consuming as WinDos.  There hasn't been much work on OSX to enhance the musicians experience in the past 4-5 OSX releases.   I can say the same for Microsoft.  Most of the focus is on improving social experiences in my opinion.  Don't really care for Logic X which is why I jumped to ableton and haven't looked back.  

    If you need a laptop, go with Mac but expect it to only last 2-years if you work it hard.  Also, if pay attention if you have a lot of peripherals that you need to attach.  You may need to have to upgrade your external hardware (e.g. audio interfaces) to make it all work.    Use caution with the thunderbolt to FW convertors:  they will cause you system to run hotter with more audio artifacts (glitches, stutters and pops).   

    There are a lot of sites that can help you with PC builds and hackintoshes.  Do your homework.   I'm seeing more and more ableton users jumping back to the windows world or building their own hackintosh.   You will be happy with Ableton no matter the platform....same experience. 

    Let me know if anyone wants the specs on my systems and any build recommendations.   I spent a couple months researching this topic.  

    Happy Abletoning to y'all.

    CB!

     

     

    4 months ago | 0 comments
  • CBEtsinger
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    Ive been a PC user since 1998. Built many computers and worked with hundreds of mac units over the years as a CompUSA software specialist and a Mac Genius. 

    My personal preference is the MBP for most of my apple needs. I use a push. iPad with Ableton. And an APC 40. Therefore my needs are met. The 2 (yes only 2 USB 3.0) ports are okay. I use a time capsule and a NAS attached to my Nighthawk router for backups and to run the "Apple" part of my home. With 256 SSD as my main storage i have no issues running Ableton Live. Because of my needs I'm also a Beta tester. 

    My main purchase decision is seeing most of the other dj's around the world and even those who come to Hawaii they all have MBP. I tried to use my i7 pc laptop, upped the ram to 16gb. Basically made it to spec of my MBP. The pc started to lag. The OSX OS is in my opinion superior to windows. 

    PC for me has been iffy with the music world. Those of you on here that have had luck, kudos to you. My short stint with PC and music software hasnt been as smooth as with my apple products. Running Traktor on the pc showed the "lag"/"latency" issues I never experienced working on the MBP.

    If you are a PC user. Stick with PC if you are interested in using Apple possibly I would suggest getting your hands on one and actually using the os and familiarize yourself with it. Im sure this would be a hard issue, but once you learn both OS's you will know which would be best for your needs. 

    Pc has many upgrade parts out there. Dont really see apple guys needing upgrades much. My MBP cannot be upgraded, and it does not need it. 

    I spent 2 full months researching and reading these forums. Native Instruments forums. Beatport etc. Knowing my choices and getting my hands on machines helped get me to my final decision. 

    4 months ago | 0 comments
  • steturne
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    I bought a mbp in 2010 and the thing died on me in 2013. I bought one of the entry level models and mainly just used it as my home computer only using garage band occasionally. It was the slowest computer I've ever owned. Previously I had purchased bargain windows machines which generally have a 2 year lifespan I've found. I thought that with the MBP I would be paying a little extra for twice the life and better performance, not so, and I spent so much time looking at the rainbow wheel. Last year I decided to buy Ableton and switch from playing piano to computer music as I had been getting bored of the piano. After doing a bit of research I settled on a Lenovo Y40 gaming laptop. For an equally specked MBP (core i7 etc) I would have had to pay $2500 plus but instead only paid under $800. The performance is fantastic on the Lenovo, when it's plugged in (runs slower unplugged regardless of power settings), I've had songs with 100 tracks and about 5-10 effects on each one and it doesn't max out the CPU. I think that live performance might be better on MBP because I did have latency issues with a live performance (I simply unplugged the computer and played acoustic). So I think it really all depends on what you do. If you are on a budget and do not do a lot of live performance, take my advice and buy a super fast PC for a third of the price. You can upgrade every 2 years without breaking the bank. From my experience so far computer speed is absolutely necessary when running a lot of VST's. There's no way I would settle for anything slower than my quad core i7 with 8gb of memory, I would seriously have to change the way I do things if I had anything slower. That being said I absolutely cannot afford a $2500 computer right now, $800 was a stretch. On a side note, this might just be a personal preference, file management is a whole lot easier on a PC, you can do whatever you want very easily with any type of audio file.

    1 month ago | 0 comments
  • Funk N. Furter
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    PCs are cheaper but you have to make sure you get a suitable one. Any new mac will run Live no bother. Sometimes you can get them cheaper than normal, or get a year old one. I have seen new imacs for £800

    By the way, I started a website for new to intermediate users of Live on macs. its http://www.macableton.com

    Lots of tips on there. PC users can use the site, it's just that I don't have one so I can't check stuff, and I only include stuff I'm sure of.

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • shaneblyth
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    ive used both for years. I only switched for musical use because there where no drivers to worry about or conflicts of hardware. Seemed alot more stable and was good quality. Macs dont take alot to learn and are solid and retain their value better than PC's. Buying a pc requires alot more research and you need to "up with things" I want to make music so got sick of the hassles and worrying about such stuff. Thats was 5 years ago mind you and I'm much less stressed and things work great never had a issue since.  If you like PC's and dont mind the extra work and research and just use the pc for music and nothing else youll be fine. I find one of the biggest problems with PC's is using it with other programs and using it for other purposes. My mates that seriously use a PC for music keep the thing of the web and dont install anything but their music apps and are happy. Others that are just as serious and use a Mac dont seem to have these restrictions and can put lots of things on their system, access the web , no antivirus to slow things down or driver conflicts or even driver installs and have a rock solid system My macbook air does live gigs, all my day to day web stuff, My other job of designing websites and everything else I can throw at it and it's never missed a beat or crashed in 2 years and is very quick (12 second boot)  Only you can choose your system based on your needs. I'm not too sure about windows 8, I have it in a virtual machine along with windows 7 and ubuntu linux on the same machine so i can try and keep up with windows as I also fix PC's as part of my job

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • S.Rueckwardt
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    0 votes

    Yep Linux is the only free choice...
    crAPPLE or WinDOS . !?! Choice..lol..
    The technical side is equal a good workstaion laptop for win can cost big money and a mac yeah cost money.
    But mac have now thunderbold and a 2 m cabel cost 50 € in Germany.
    ..usb Ports oh not really much on a mac 15 zoll.
    But for mac Speaks the core audio driver and a lot of possiblity switch that .
    Routing audio and midi oh. I love that feature.



    P.s. no Ableton for Linux I know really bad ..
    The only think now I use a mac or pc is Ableton live and max msp.
    All other programs have Linux versions and Run Perfect on linux.

    5 months ago | 0 comments
  • JonCD
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    Well I have been a PC user all my life and for music I would advise a Mac if u need portability use a Mac Pro 15inch they r the best for live entertainment otherwise go for the tower product also don't forget u can still run windows on a Mac if u so choose. I am tired of MS Op issues and prefer the solidity of a Mac and Mac OS just bite the dust initially and you'll be happy you made the transition!

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • Dillinger63
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    I was an avid PC user, but 6 or so years ago I went Mac.  Although this may change in the future my main reason for the switch was the virus issues on a PC.  Even though I had all the protection I could think of, I still had some viruses come through.  Since my PC was getting old anyway, and I was frustrated with viruses and trojans (which by the way Mac's now have trojans) I decided it was time to switch if I was going to do it.  Every computer in my house and where I work are now Mac's from MacBook Pro's iMacs to Mac Mini's.  I'd say go with the one YOU prefer.

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • lsc9x
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    I agree with WarriorBob, Mac users will say Mac, and PC users with say PC, and I fall into the "mac" category.

    Having said that, there are some solid reasons that I personally go "Mac".

    1) Compatibility. You can run Windows on your Mac.  Need Windows?  Install it and use it!  End of story.  Windows 7 works great on both my Macs.

    2) Stability. Mac OS X is FAR more stable and secure than Windows.  If you are using your "home" computer as your "gigging" or "recording" computer, one wrong website click on your Windows-based PC and that can be the end of it! Your PC can be infected with a virus, and then your whole system can become "shot" putting all your hard work and personal files at risk.  If your Windows partition on your Mac becomes infected, no big.  You can still run OS X and fix the issue.

    NOTE: Macs are NOT bulletproof, and there are viruses and spyware for Macs, but I have never run into any and I have been running Macs since 2005.

    Additionally, Mac OS X just doesn't have the same issues as Windows.  You're not going to run into "missing dll" errors, software installation conflicts, registration conflicts, corrupted registries, etc.  These are all problems specific to Windows.

    3) Device compatibility.  Mac OS X handles almost every USB device without the need for additional drivers.  I have owned several macs, and most of the time you just plug something in and it works.  Done!  Yes, I have a TON of USB devices, and I have to actually unplug half of them to boot Windows 7, but I don't have to unplug any of them to boot OS X.

    4) Value. Macs DO hold their resale value better than Windows PCs.  I can sell a 2 year old Mac for 1/2 the new price (or more!). and this is how I usually end up upgrading:  I get half the money out of my old Mac.

    5) Quality. Mac usually uses high end components, especially in their displays.  If you need a gaming computer, many new Macs are more than capable of running even the most demanding PC game (with windows installed, of course).

    Having said that, you do NOT need a high-end Mac to run Ableton Live!  If the machine has a fast processor, more than one processor core, and a decent amount of RAM, that's all you need.  Just make sure you have a 7200rpm or higher hard drive.  Don't get a Mac with a 5400rpm drive.  Yes, a 5400 will work, but it will load a perform more slowly.

    6) Simplicity. I am not going say that Mac OS X is easier than Windows, you still need to know how to USE a computer, but it's certainly not HARDER than Windows.  If you know how to use a Windows computer, I could teach you how to use a Mac in 10 minutes.

    Finally, I am NOT going to go so far as to claim that Macs are more dependable.  Computers, in general, are delicate pieces of machinery and they break often.  But Apple is great about standing behind their products, and sometimes the fix makes the machine better and last longer.

    On one of my Macs, Apple determined that there was a manufacturing error with my main board so they replaced it, even after the protection plan had ended, FOR FREE.

    One VERY important suggestion if you decide to get a Mac: GET the 3 year protection plan!  I don't normally recommend, nor do I buy, protection plans because often they are a scam. However, if you do get the plan, you can sell your 2 year old Mac as one that still has a 1 year warranty, and get half your purchase money (or more) back from it.  Also, Mac components and repairs can get pricey, but with the plan, they are free.

    Finally, one word in favor of PCs:

    PCs are cheap.  If you are really pressed for money, and just can't get a Mac, get a PC you can afford.  Just be careful if it is your production or gigging computer, or if it has to double as your home computer, make sure you have a good anti-virus program AND a good anti-malware package.  I run Comodo AV and Malwarebytes anti-malware.

    Lastly, if I HAD to use a PC and just could not get a Mac, I'd build a LINUX based PC, and just dual boot it with Windows, but that's a whole other story...

    =)

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • scottiedo
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    Mac. No driver or application install headaches.

    3 years ago | 1 comment
  • karlosm
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    -7 votes

    mac,pc sucks..

    2 years ago | 2 comments

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