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> Is Macbook A Good Idea?
Gabriel Leopardi
post Nov 29 2016, 12:59 PM
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Hi guys.

I've been thinking on moving from PC to Mac (for different reasons regarding software and hardware), and the first idea that is doable but I'm not sure is to move from a desk PC to a Macbook Pro in my home studio.

I've started this thread to know your opinions about what you think about doing this. What advantages / disadvantages do you think I have by using a Macbook vs Pc?



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yoncopin
post Nov 29 2016, 02:56 PM
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I've owned both. I think the real question is why make the switch? I'd say you'd need a fairly compelling reason. You'll have to re-learn the OS to get comfortable again AND re-purchase/acquire any software you own or find alternatives. They are both just tools and can do most any job equally well.

In the end, I find the Mac hardware to be underpowered and ungodly expensive for what you get. I think you'd be happy with either, but you need to answer the question of why you're considering the switch first. Full disclosure, I recently moved back to Windows from a Mac and have been very happy with the decision.

This post has been edited by yoncopin: Nov 29 2016, 02:57 PM


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 29 2016, 07:23 PM
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I couldn't be happier about the switch to mac as a production tool, which I made a couple of years ago.

However as pointed out, you need a good reason to switch since the costs are high (time & money). For me it was a fairly easy decision, as I had seen how apple was capable of a uniform ecosystem with iphone. Mac OS has similar traits but is so much more powerful and flexible.

Since I am staring at the screen throughout the whole day - making the switch was like moving into a super modern and luxurious house - with all features uniformly planned and designed. Also I do spend much less time solving weird OS bugs - and i think the magic combination is MacOS + Logic Pro + Final Cut, all made by the same company.

I have to say Logic Pro is very different from cubase/nuendu. Rather than to learn how to do the exact same things, I changed my workflow and methods to what apple had envisioned, and I think it actually made me a better musician in the long run. But it was a very slow process.


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fzalfa
post Nov 29 2016, 07:59 PM
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QUOTE
Also I do spend much less time solving weird OS bugs


wheres bugs ?? i do not meet one with win since a long time....

cheers

Laurent


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 29 2016, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE (fzalfa @ Nov 29 2016, 08:59 PM) *
wheres bugs ?? i do not meet one with win since a long time....

cheers

Laurent


Well it could be user errors as well. I am simply not smart enough for Microsoft.


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fzalfa
post Nov 29 2016, 09:42 PM
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honestly, since win7, i do not meet any bug or crash !!!

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Laurent


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Mertay
post Nov 29 2016, 09:49 PM
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My experience; PC for home and mac on outside studios and some friends homes.

If you're thinking logic I won't argue but if its hardware based (like apogee) then I'd say no.

If you're capable with PC then you'll get more performance with lesser money(can remove junk programs/tweak on PC but not the Mac). This can go with stability too, I've probably seen more Mac crashes than PC in studio use where the computer is open all day. PC crashes atleast usually have a reason, with mac its usually a mystery biggrin.gif

I've always favored desktop systems either mac or pc (unless you'll use it on stage), building a studio platform on a notebook doesn't feel right to me specially considering music is what you do for a living...

Give us a bit more detail if possible, even if you're not 100% sure about your plan then maybe we can descuss in more detail.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 29 2016, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE (fzalfa @ Nov 29 2016, 10:42 PM) *
honestly, since win7, i do not meet any bug or crash !!!

cheers

Laurent


I was more referring to compatibility between major components and drivers, unexpected usability behavior etc. I have windows 7 via bootcamp. Just because they finally got it stable doesn't mean it's easy to use or that it does what you expect it to.


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yoncopin
post Nov 29 2016, 10:25 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 29 2016, 04:50 PM) *
I was more referring to compatibility between major components and drivers, unexpected usability behavior etc. I have windows 7 via bootcamp. Just because they finally got it stable doesn't mean it's easy to use or that it does what you expect it to.


Bootcamp isn't an entirely fair comparison. Apple writes their own drivers for their Mac hardware to run on Windows in Bootcamp. Apple driver support for Windows is definitely a second class citizen. I use Windows 10 and it's great, 7 was very reliable but 10 is the only version since then that is worth the upgrade.

As for compatibility with major vendors, I personally located two crashing bugs in Line 6 drivers for their Pod series on the Mac. No such bugs existed on the Windows version. Microsoft is still the most deployed OS and it vendors give it the market attention it has earned. I'm with Mertay on using desktop systems too.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 29 2016, 10:41 PM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 29 2016, 11:25 PM) *
Bootcamp isn't an entirely fair comparison. Apple writes their own drivers for their Mac hardware to run on Windows in Bootcamp. Apple driver support for Windows is definitely a second class citizen.


So which hardware should I use for a fair comparison?


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GeneT95
post Nov 29 2016, 11:57 PM
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Had both and built both at one time or another. And I think it depends, as others have mentioned, on what it will be used for.

I'm old. Well, not really really old, but old enough that the internet didn't come along until I was out of postgraduate school. I've built my own pc's and revamped mac's. I switched back to MAC from PC's after a fairly long time of Windows woes.........like fixing Millennium back in the day of kb modems and years of switching components in and out.

If you're going to use the computer for nothing but music, meaning it is dedicated to for that use, than I think either would suffice and is generally dependent on what you now own in gear and what it runs on and how much it would take in money for you to switch over. My experience with PCs, even good ones, is that they stumble in music/production when used for multiple other tasks. But if the system is dedicated to that one goal and left pristine with little else, either Mac or PC will do the job great.

If it is a general purpose computer, or will have other non-music orientated goals, and you have the cash, I'd recommend a Mac. I got a newer MAC computer a couple years ago but still have a 11 year old Macbook Pro that chugs along running Ableton live or Protools, an older Digidesign interface, and a firewire card with a legacy Mackie firewire mixer and can record multiple channels live without fail.

I switched my kids over to mac as I was constantly fixing the PC due to incompatibility issues, mainly due to programs that are for completing multiple different types of tasks. I recently upgraded their old mac laptops (one at 8 years) with a new solid state drive and ram and they're like new. I found them far easier and amenable to staying with the times than when I did this to PCs. I tried this with PCs and have changed out motherboards and processors and accessories, but it seemed a loosing battle given the persistent driver, dll, and OS issues. This may have changed as I re-converted to Mac in 2005.

What I do recommend, whether you go with Mac or PC is you get a computer that you can eventually Max the RAM and memory capabilities. I don't necessarily think processor speed is as much an issue these days with the speeds that are available but deserves checking. Even if you don't have the cash to Max the Ram now, it needs to be able to expand with time in that area. Some newer macbook (retinal display) you may not be able to upgrade the memory as it is hardwired into the board. I max my old Macbook from 4GB to 16gb for less than 50$ and 5 minutes. And a fast SSD or compatible storage solution. An SSD makes a big difference in speed. Generally, it may be cheaper to by a Macbook without one and then buy one and put it in yourself.

My home recording is small and so I'm not sure my comments are really applicable. But I leave my MAC on all day every day and it never crashes. It is rarely off (I know I know I forget). So, what I run all at once is relatively low intensity. At the most it runs Ableton Live with wet/dry recording tracks, APC20 ableton interface, AxeFX input/AxeEdit open, GuitarPro recording live-Tab, Video Record USB Canon using Canon Controller program running, IMovie, Out to Motu Audio Express all at once and never complains. The only problems I have if with my fingers, my pick, and my failing eyesight. wink.gif

It my opinion, I could get this done with a PC or PC laptop but it would be just much more of a hassle or I would have to buy a PC/Laptop with specs that put the price close enough to a MAC. Furthermore I feel it would be neccessary to use it for that one goal in order for it to be stable, which is rarely what a home computer is dedicated to.

As a caveat. My old macbook, is a MacBookPro built in 2005. Its got a processor of that time and 16gb RAM with an older (read easily affordable) SSD I put in it last year. My main system is a Late 2013 Six Core MacPro with 32GB ram. I bought it with the minimum,, I think 4GB Ram, and upgraded it later myself. I mention this only because my Main system is somewhat of a beast although I would't hesitate to take the old macbook out with the legacy Mackie firewire mixer and record some mediocre garage band or some dude in a coffee shop.

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yoncopin
post Nov 30 2016, 01:02 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 29 2016, 05:41 PM) *
So which hardware should I use for a fair comparison?


Any mainstream off-the-shelf PC? Dell, Asus, Toshiba, etc... Anything that's isn't dependent on their fiercest rival to work properly.


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GeneT95
post Nov 30 2016, 02:18 AM
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I do agree with Yoncopin on his point of using a Mac to run Windows stuff. Seems illogical and prone to poor results. But I don't necessarily agree about cost and power. See below.

And, I think one can build a pretty good PC Desktop Box for far less if they have that knack.

He and I are on different ends of the spectrum after probably similar yet opposite experiences.

I do not think an off the shelf box is worth the hassle if it is not dedicated to a certain goal unless things have changed drastically in the last 5 years, which is possible but I'm skeptical. An off the shelf box will not do what you want reliably. I do think a specially built laptop and a macbook, which could be close in price, would possibly be comparable. So, I did some snooping on the internet.

Here is an example. I googled 'Best laptop for music production' just to check out specs and went to these two sites. You can go to others, but the lists are probably similar.

http://www.sysprobs.com/10-best-laptops-fo...n-and-recording

http://www.laptoprunner.com/best-laptop-fo...sic-production/

Now I checked the Asus ROG listed on those two sites, there are two models. Both are fine computers except the price isn't that much different. For example, the Asus ROG 551 without an SSD is perhaps reasonable at $900 on amazon, but add a small 128 GB SSD and the price jumps to $1900. Ridiculous really. I could put a 1TB SSD in that box for $380 and a 460GB for <300. The Asus ROG GL752 (#2 or so on the first site) is more reasonable starting at the same price as the 551 but charging you $400+ for a small 128 GB SSD add-on, or $1300 US. Again, foolishness. Putting in an ssd is no more difficult then putting on one shoe.

A brand new MacBookPro Laptop, direct from Apple.com with 256GB SSD, is 1499 US and 1299 for 128GB. A MacBook Air is cheaper 1199 US and 999.

The PC notebook and Mac only differ slightly in Ram 16 versus 8, but honestly that is a small difference with Ram prices these days.

So in reality, by the numbers, price really isn't the difference. Both Mac and PC laptops that any musician of Gabriel's caliber or, well, any musician would want to use are comparable in price. You could buy a much much cheaper off the shelf PC laptop. But I believe you'd regret it. I did just that same thing. Bought a laptop b/c of price and held off on a Mac. 12 months of misery and hassle.

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yoncopin
post Nov 30 2016, 02:52 AM
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I'm enjoying this, I hope you guys are too smile.gif

The base model Macbook Pro from Apple is $2399 and the Air hasn't been updated since Oct 2015. The amount of RAM that is included with each of these is very important, because no Mac laptop has had user-removable memory since 2012.

The Asus ROG line you selected is the "Republic of Gamers" which is going to include much more powerful video hardware, among other things. It isn't really apples-to-apples with a Macbook Pro, I'd argue it's going to be more powerful for some applications.

The thing is, Gabriel doesn't need a gaming caliber machine for what he's doing. Audio production isn't that hardware intensive. A modern CPU, 8+ GBs of memory and an SSD will go a long way. Windows 10 is a very slick OS and that is also new in the last 5 years.

I would recommend something like the Asus K501UX at $949 It's very close to the base Macbook Pro for almost $1500 less. That's a Kemper/Helix/AxeFx right there.


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GeneT95
post Nov 30 2016, 03:03 AM
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Manic laughter. Nothing like getting a PC and Mac head debating. Gabriel no doubt has slapped his forehead a few times by now for such a simple question.

I agree with Yoncopin now regarding price. Somewhere deep inside I knew he was right but refused to see the truth. I quoted the 13inch prices not 15inch.

The Asus K501UX is a fine PC machine.

Get an AxeFx. Really a Kemper? Pwahh.

I didn't even have the heart to actually type Helix.

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yoncopin
post Nov 30 2016, 03:10 AM
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QUOTE (GeneT95 @ Nov 29 2016, 10:03 PM) *
Manic laughter
....
Get an AxeFx. Really a Kemper? Pwahh.
I didn't even have the heart to actually type Helix.


Oh now you're starting a whole other debate wink.gif


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GeneT95
post Nov 30 2016, 03:15 AM
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Nah. I haven't played all three. I have only one. So, I can't actually debate. I'd loose because of lack of suitable substance for my arguments. Just bone shaking certainty that my stuff is better than their stuff cause, darn it, its my stuff. wink.gif

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Rammikin
post Nov 30 2016, 03:50 AM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Nov 30 2016, 01:52 AM) *
I would recommend something like the Asus K501UX at $949 It's very close to the base Macbook Pro for almost $1500 less.


That only has a dual core and 8GB RAM, right? I'd recommend quad core for music. For processing plugins, the number of cores is generally more important than clock speed. And 16 GB is a must for the virtual instruments Gabe uses. A quad core i7 15" MBP with 16GB of memory and a 256 GB SSD goes for $1999. http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-...amp;step=config

That's probably the spec to be aiming for when comparison shopping for a music pc.


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GeneT95
post Nov 30 2016, 04:04 AM
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I have read that the number of cores are important back when I was considering a desktop or building a desktop. Quad being the least (i didn't check all the specs on the box) but past 6 its overkill at the moment for music unless your doing vids.

I don't run a lot of virtual instruments, so that is probably why my old Macbook moves along for simple recording. If I remember correctly, it doesn't like too many virtues at once. Pun intended.
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yoncopin
post Nov 30 2016, 02:35 PM
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QUOTE (Rammikin @ Nov 29 2016, 10:50 PM) *
That only has a dual core and 8GB RAM, right? I'd recommend quad core for music. For processing plugins, the number of cores is generally more important than clock speed. And 16 GB is a must for the virtual instruments Gabe uses. A quad core i7 15" MBP with 16GB of memory and a 256 GB SSD goes for $1999. http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-...amp;step=config

That's probably the spec to be aiming for when comparison shopping for a music pc.


This is a fair point, quad core laptop PCs are much closer in price. My personal opinion is that the performance gains aren't worth the cost difference, but that is up to the individual. I will say, this is exactly why I prefer desktop systems, for the same $700-$900, it would run circles around any laptop.


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