PC or Mac: which is better for music creation? This is a question that every person starting out asks. Can I produce good music on my PC or am I going to have to pay the premium for an Apple product? Maybe they’ve heard that many music studios use Apple products or have seen pictures of studios with a row of Mac Pros; for whatever reason, many people assume that you need a Mac to create music at a professional level. This is a fallacy.
Professional software for music recording and arrangement is available for both platforms. Hardware interfaces are also available for both PC and Macs. Some people may tell you that Apples are inherently more stable, and that is why they are used in the studio. While working as a software developer, I certainly experienced lots of problems with my Windows machine while rarely with my OSX machine. However this is meaningless in a studio setting; a responsible engineer sets up the computer for the sole purpose of maximizing the performance and reliability of her complete set up. A properly set up PC will be just as reliable as a properly set up Mac. So why would studios pay the premium for Apple hardware?
For one, studios like to have a cutting edge image; Apple products certainly look nice next to a rack full of blinking LEDs. Secondly, they want to have all the gear that a client might expect to see and inexperienced people expect Apples everywhere. Lastly, they may use Apple specific software. I didn’t touch on this before, but while professional software exists for both platforms there are some Apple specific software titles. Some producers and engineers use Logic (not that many overall), and some studios also perform film editing and might use Final Cut. Both programs are owned and developed by Apple and therefore are not found in the Windows world.
There are many software titles that work cross platform: Cubase, ProTools, etc. They will function exactly the same whether you install them on a PC or a Mac. Really, it is the software that you like that will dictate whether you need a Mac or not. If you can run the software you want on a PC and would rather not spend the money for a fancy case, by all means get a PC. If you want to impress your clients with lots of fancy brushed aluminum, then get a Mac.
Apple fan-boys and anti-Apple heads have been at war for over a decade. Apple fan-boys will blindly follow anything Apple, ignoring multitudes of problems and evangelizing in an almost creepy manner; anti-Apple heads are just as bad, ignoring any virtues of a Mac from simple blind hate. I prefer to see both PC’s and Mac’s as tools. I choose what tool is right for me in a given situation. Ultimately it is the person behind the controls that will make great music; not the PC, not the Mac, not the software. Choose what’s right for you.
I know it’s going to come up, so I’ll list my personal setup. I typically use both a desktop PC and Macbook Pro to produce music. On the Windows platform, I use Acid and Reason. On the Mac, I run Logic to write, produce and mix music, while I use Protools to track audio. If you’re confused about my choices, rest assured that you’re not alone; I confuse myself sometimes. I’ll go over software choices in an upcoming post.