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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Variation to the tired Mac vs. PC question

glevitan

Hey guys, I am a noob to this forum but definitly not a noob to DAW production! I have been a PC user forever. I have used Reason, Project 5, and ACID EXTENSIVELY! And just purchased Sonar (learning as we speak).
I have recently decided to take my "dabbling" to the next level and want to start production straight up professional quality music. I have some money to spend and i guess my question is with a budget of about $2500 (give or take) should I stay with my PC and spend my money elswhere. (triple core AMD with plenty of RAM and a tet hardrive) Or should I spring for either a high-end Imac or a Powermac?
I havent gotten deep into Sonar quite yet so I am certainly open to using something like Cubase, if it isnt shocking hard for an amature like myself to pickup (or Logic).
So what is the verdict? Stick with my PC or go nuts and get a MAC?
July 20, 2009 @06:03pm
cmchamp

As brought up many times by myself and others, gear doesn't directly correlate to "Professional Quality."
I would first sit down and see if you can figure out what is holding your music quality back.
Personally, though I'm am a music educator, the only pro quality musical ability I have is singing. Though I'm a horn performance major, I'm a good 3rd or 4th chair and I'm adequate as a bass player. I know these shortcomings keep my personal music from being pro quality.
My engineering abilities, however, are very pro quality. No bragging, been told. I don't let my gear hinder my creativity.
I still record multi-track (24-32) projects with a 9 year old G4-dual 450MHz PowerMac, MOTU hardware and Digital Performer.
It does what I need, and other than upgrading to a MacPro for editing, I see no need to change hardware to increase the quality of the products I provide my clients.
So, find out what's holding the music back and start with improving that.
July 20, 2009 @06:43pm
glevitan

Great advice thank you....I think the ony thing "holding me back" per se, is my level of expertise with mastering, mixing, sequencing etc.
Much of my music, so i have been repeatedly told, already sounds very professional. I know better and I know it can be polished!
I guess what I am getting at, is that before I dive in wholheartedly and take the enxt step, I would like to know if I should stick in my PC ways or move over to MAC and finetune my craft there.
July 20, 2009 @07:46pm
DAS

I don't think there is any way for you to get an overwhelmingly positive response to switching to Mac. Most PC users will argue that the platform is more than good enough, and even die hard Mac users would likely be split on whether it's really worth making the move after you're already comfortable with the other platform.
It's hard to comment at all on this without making some pretty significant generalizations (always dangerous), but...Macs generally require slightly less computer knowhow to operate and keep operating at (near) maximum performance levels. Beyond that I'd be hard pressed to find a clear advantage for someone who already knows how to drive a PC/Windows, etc.
July 20, 2009 @07:58pm
cmchamp

Again, generally, it's not the hardware or the software, but how you use it. Now, the genre's I work in are orchestral, choral, jazz and southern gospel. I can't speak to the genre's and styles you work with.
I would not purchase any more hardware until you've explored what you can or can't do with Sonar.
I have used PT, Logic, Cubase and others, but the learning curve for me and the difference in tools I use in DP haven't yet found it necessary to change.
Explore Sonar and see how creative you can be with it. If you run out of flexibility, then move on, but since you've purchased it, use it.
My 2 cents.
July 20, 2009 @08:22pm
glevitan

Really great advice thank you!! I will be sticking with my PC. So i guess from here on out my question should be:
What should i do upgrade my PC (a family machine) in order to optimize it for my use? Fast external hardrive? better soundcard? etc I have 4GB of RAM and i think that will suffice for now.
I agree that hardware isnt as important as the user's skill. But I want to make sure I dont run into any problems and roadbloacks. I know myself and I get friustrated too easily :)
July 20, 2009 @09:17pm
Andrew_Malloy

You won't get anything out of upgrading your RAM now. It is at it's maximum. A good interface and hard drive would do you quite well, but I would say consider a dedicated machine rather than sharing a machine with the family.
July 20, 2009 @09:19pm
glevitan

You won't get anything out of upgrading your RAM now. It is at it's maximum. A good interface and hard drive would do you quite well, but I would say consider a dedicated machine rather than sharing a machine with the family.

Ahhhh this was my thinking too. I really started using Project last night and although the CPU percentage was low, the sound was skipping and hissing a bit. I think it has to do with the fact that my CPU shares so many other services already. Now the question is Mac or PC? I am used to PC but i enjoy the mac interface too! What will serve me better
July 21, 2009 @01:11pm
Andrew_Malloy

Another thing you may want to try is the PC optimization guide. This will ease some of the load that your PC is burdened with.
At the end of the day, music is music no matter what it was recorded on. One of my favorite albums was recorded on a PC in someone's basement. The follow up to it was recorded on a Mac in a pro studio with a completely different aesthetic.
If you aren't sure what you would use more and you are considering a new machine, take a look at the Intel Mac computers. They can do both Windows and OS X. I have found that sometimes, the same program actually runs better when I boot up into Windows rather than OS X.
July 21, 2009 @02:14pm
Foreverain4

buy a nice preamp.
July 21, 2009 @06:23pm
Andrew_Malloy

... and acoustic treatment, microphones, instruments.
July 21, 2009 @06:25pm
Psykostx

$2500

Get a new motherboard and processor with more RAM added also. That will run you $500. Make sure you have SATA harddisks and set them up as RAID don't forget to use a backup drive.
Now you have about $1900 left, so heres what I would do. Get a Motu 24i/o
and hook up the analog mixer of your choice. Then your next paycheck, get whatever mics you need and you are SET FOR LIFE! Remember keep your DAW computer off the internet unless you really know what you are doing!
August 4, 2009 @12:48pm
Justin

Get a new motherboard and processor with more RAM added also. That will run you $500. Make sure you have SATA harddisks and set them up as RAID don't forget to use a backup drive.

I'd take caution on this advice. Unless you're comfortable building your own PC don't go buy components at random. There is a lot of work that goes into making sure your motherboard is compatible with audio hardware, and then you may have to upgrade other parts as well. RAID is a bit complicated, and you won't need it until you get into really high track counts. (and if you're considering ProTools, it doesn't support RAID)
I'd try to optimize the system you have, figure out where the weak links are, fix those. If you get some good basic kit together, you can always move it to a new computer when you're ready.
Maybe invest in some good training DVD's and books first. So you have a better idea what you need.
You might want to check out Groove3's training videos. Great stuff, you can get a 30 day trial here: http://www.groove3.com/str/free-videos.html
We sell their training discs.
August 4, 2009 @01:41pm