Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
amillionwinters
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:48 am

Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by amillionwinters » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:55 am

Hi,

For those who are familiar with producing music on a laptop:

Mac or Windows? And, what kind of system configuration should I aim for? Should I pay out $3000 for a Macbook Pro, or can I get away with something for much less?



Below is some context, if that sort of thing helps:

I have always worked on towers, but now I do most music production "in the box" and I would like to have something smaller and more mobile.

I have always used Macs, so that is what I am used to.

I don't like Apple as a company. I am tired of paying a huge markup for hardware I can get anywhere else for far less.

With that said, I do like Mac OS X. I dabble with programming and I have become quite accustomed to using Terminal on a daily basis, and I would miss having it.

I have never done any music production on a laptop. I am not quite sure about what kind of system configuration I should aim for.

I use Ableton Live 9 and Propellerheads' Reason 8 exclusively at this point.

I never record more than two tracks at a time, if I do any recording at all. I use a few vst/au instruments and effects (mostly u-he stuff) as well as Live's and Reason's built in instruments.

I have a Presonus FireStudio Project for recording, which is mostly to track guitar and bass through a ToneLab or Line6 POD. There is a possibility I will track drums again, but I no longer own any drum mics, so it will not be any time soon.

I also have a random assortment of midi devices (radium49, korg pad controller, etc).

And, if it helps, I don't produce music professionally. It is just something that I have to do because I always have, and I will go insane if I don't.

What I currently work on is an early 2007 Mac Pro.

Thanks for any suggestions or information you can provide!

yur2die4
Posts: 6531
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:02 am
Location: Menasha, Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by yur2die4 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:08 am

I think one thing that might help is to narrow down your requirements for the computer.

I'd first decide what size computer you want. The size will especially be helpful on the Mac end because there are only so many models to choose from, and you can get a better idea of the specs/price.

Also, I'd go check to see if there is driver support for that presonus device on all the operating systems you intend to use.

Pitch Black
Posts: 6451
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 2:18 am
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by Pitch Black » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:52 am

If you're on Mac, stay on Mac. IMHO any extra you might pay for your new Mac laptop will be saved by the sheer time-savings and convenience of migrating to your new hardware smoothly and easily via Apple Migration Assistant.

Mac OS is what you know and use, why would you go to the trouble of establishing an entirely new Windows hardware/OS/apps/plugins setup from scratch? *shudder*


/2c from a Mac guy
RMBP i7 2.8GHz | OSX 10.14.6 | Live10.1.15 | Fireface800 | Push 2
https://soundcloud.com/paddyfree

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:15 am

amillionwinters wrote: I am tired of paying a huge markup for hardware I can get anywhere else for far less.
While you certainly can find matching hardware for less, when you add it all parts up and spread the ownership costs over active years of service and subtract the significantly higher second hand value of Macs. I think you're simply miscalculating.
It's a good idea to always consider Total Ownership Cost and think of everything you're going to use the machine for. Remember to include any platform specific education too.

Choose the OS and the application set you want to work with first. Both platforms have their own set of issues. It's just a question of which ones you feel you can live with.
Make some music!

amillionwinters
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:48 am

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by amillionwinters » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:02 am

Thank you very much for the replies!

Stromkraft: thanks for putting that into a better perspective. I had not thought of it quite like that, I guess.

As for the size, I would definitely get a 15 inch. I am simply too use to using a large monitor, it would drive me nuts to go any smaller.

Pitch Black
Posts: 6451
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 2:18 am
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by Pitch Black » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:09 am

You can always keep using you external monitor with your macbook. Either mirroring both displays, or as an extended desktop across both. EG Live's Session View on one monitor and Arrange View on the other. I use a 24" monitor with my mbp in the studio.

re:dream
Posts: 4562
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by re:dream » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:00 am

A few thoughts from a Windows user (since 1985) who switched to Mac (in 2009).

- Windows machines can be cheaper but in my experience need to be replaced more quickly. I am still using my 2009 MBP, and intend to do so for at least a year more. No Windows lappy I ever used lasted more than 3 years

- The transition either way can be a mindfuck. The location and management of files is done quite differently between the two operating systems If you are used to Mac OS, stay on it.

- There is one thing Live can do on Windows that it can't do on a Mac, and that is have multiple instances running. Useful for people who want to change sets during a live show.

5argon
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:34 pm

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by 5argon » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:18 am

Hey I think it is not a good idea to buy any laptop now. Intel will refresh its processor to "Gen 5" soon. This means all i3 i5 i7 will get battery improvement and stuff. Not to mention the new core m that is new to the party.

I personally think this refresh is possible to make new laptop match its power to old power desktop. Maybe it is even possible to produce effectively on Mac Book Air with these gen 5 processors, who knows? If it happens you will get a huge bonus from MBA's portability while having power that maybe can match your old Mac Pro.

I'm waiting to see the new MBA myself. Screen size does not matter to me because Live is quite geared towards compact screen.

jlgrimes
Posts: 1499
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by jlgrimes » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:20 pm

The biggest difference is compatibility. Some programs like Logic wont work on PC and vice versa for programs like FL Studio and Sonar.

There are other differences though that you can look up. I wouldn't want to get too deep into the differences without starting a flame war here.

But both have their pros and cons.

In general Macs tend to be a bit more user friendly for some, where PCs are alot more affordable. Macs also in general tend to be more on the bleeding edge of technology which explains some of the price difference but with PCs you will find a wider spectrum of things from more conservative laptops to more high end gaming machines with the most powerful components money can buy.



Both platforms though are fully capable of producing professional quality music. It mainly comes down to what hardware/software you plan on using, budget, OS preference, and what you want in a music computer.

reeloy
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:25 pm
Location: berlin

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by reeloy » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:44 am

....if you can find a pc laptop that really has the same quality and comfort in the sum of it's single parts, you pay even a higher price....and still got to deal with that rip off os....

if it comes to desktops....the difference is not that heavy anymore....apart from dealing with that rip off os....

and i never heard about one single mac user that was really asking for working with that rip off os instead....

even the smallest mac book pro and some logic x alone can take you anywhere you can imagine....if you can imagine....

BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by BoddAH » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:54 pm

At the risk of perpetuating the oldest war in IT history...

Get a Mac for one simple reason: CoreAudio.

CoreAudio and audio and midi implementation in general is miles ahead of ASIO and anything windows.

Take this from somebody who actually isn’t an Apple fanboy. I own a powerful custom gaming rig and I still prefer my rMBP for music production.

Audio settings, MIDI settings, aggregate devices, interface sharing between the OS and the DAW, being able to hot-swap MIDI controllers… Everything about OS X for music production is just so much nicer than on Windows. Windows certainly has its strengths but music production is not one of them.
Also less variables. The Mac/OS X environment has kind of a walled garden approach which makes driver issues and random inexplicable crashes much less likely.

beats me
Posts: 23319
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:39 pm

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by beats me » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:09 pm

amillionwinters wrote:What I currently work on is an early 2007 Mac Pro.

I’d like to know how many PC users are using an 8 year old computer to run current music software…or to run anything for that matter. 8O

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:37 pm

5argon wrote:Hey I think it is not a good idea to buy any laptop now. Intel will refresh its processor to "Gen 5" soon.
That's false economy if you need a new machine. There will always be new machines coming "soon". And if you buy a Macbook or Macbook Pro the second value is high enough warranting buying what you need now and sell that later when you want a new machine again. .

The only valid reason I think to not get a new machine is if you actually don't need one right now (or can't justify the cost of course). If not, you can wait.

I think I need a new machine myself, but working with the limited resources that I have, has taught me to overcome the current limitations and still be able to focus on music making, which serves me now and will continue to serve me in the future.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Make some music!

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:40 pm

BoddAH wrote: CoreAudio and audio and midi implementation in general is miles ahead of ASIO and anything windows.
While that might be true people are using Windows successfully and producing music. These people have just picked the proper machines, windows versions and audio interfaces with the proper drivers. If you do, that should be enough.

Personally I prefer Macs, but I wouldn't rule out using a Windows machine.
Make some music!

yur2die4
Posts: 6531
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:02 am
Location: Menasha, Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: Never produced on a laptop. Mac or Windows?

Post by yur2die4 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:07 pm

Still, if you expect your computer to last generations, and the next iteration is only a couple months away, plus being stuck with that processor, it is worth at least investigating a comparison to see which option maximizes your results.

So you want optimum price, quality/features, at the best time.

Post Reply