Mac or PC For Home Recording?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by runningman, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. runningman

    runningman Member

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    I know this is an age-old debate, but I'm in the market for an entirely new DAW, and I'm not sure which way to go.

    I've been using a PC with Cubase for a while, and it's ok if not particularly intuitive to use. We've owned Macs as well, just not used for music production.

    From the research I've done, it's basically down to a PC running Reaper on Windows 10 or Logic on an iMac.

    I'm drawn to Logic based on the stellar reviews and seamless integration with iOS, and there's much less to think about in terms of the actual computer.

    Any thoughts on the pros/cons of each would be appreciated.
     

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  2. Less Paule

    Less Paule Member

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    When I decided q few years ago to move away from standalone multitrack recorders like Tascam or Boss and learn how to use a DAW, I researched as much as I could and decided on an iMac and Logic.

    Until then, I was always a PC Windows user and knew nothing about Apple except their phones.

    I have ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS on my choice and you couldn't pay me to go back.
     
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  3. Nordberg

    Nordberg Member

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    As someone who does composing for films for a living, I've tried every daw you can think of. If it's down to those two, I'd go for Mac and Logic.

    I'm on Mac AND Pc running Digital Performer.
     
  4. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    I think Logic is a bargain. And the Mac OS works well with audio. The downside, whatever you save on the software, you will take it in the pants for the hardware.

    On the PC side, the sky is the limit. The hardware is cheaper and plentiful. On the software side, while pricey, I prefer Cubase, but I could understand someone going for another DAW. In my opinion, the midi drum editor in Cubase is just 1000x better than anything else. Actually, I prefer the way it handles midi for regular instruments as well. And the pitch correction tool is bone simple and natural sounding.

    Ofcourse, ProTools is still VERY popular in the States. Presonus Studio One has made a lot of headway too. Reaper, hard to beat the price.
     
  5. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    Haven't used a Windows DAW in over 15 years, so I can't comment.

    Always been Mac/Pro Tools for my recording rig. Best to find good quality legacy Macs (even a pre-trash can Mac Pro), get it cleaned and updated, and it'll run like a champ for years. (Note: My first recording mac - PowerMac G4 - ran for over 11 years. I replaced it with a Pre-Intel G5 that ran a further 6 years, and only switched because I got my friend's old 2008 Mac Pro running PT 11. Go for the older models if you go Mac.)
     
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  6. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Mac.

    And if Mac, Logic becomes a no-brainer.

    But if you think Cubase is not particularly intuitive, let's just say that "Logic" is an oxymoron.

    As one reviewer said, "Logic is the only DAW that makes me want to bang my head against a wall".

    All of them of course have their pros and cons.

    And really, Reaper is the "outlier" IMHO. It's as "anti-standard" as you can get and still call it a DAW. So it's actually far less intuitive than anything out there - or, I should say, Reaper is a Mandolin, while Logic is a Tele, Cubase is a Strat, Pro Tools is a Les Paul....

    You can make music on all of them, but Reaper is different enough from the mainstream apps that you can't take what you know from Logic and apply it directly without a lot of re-orienting, but you can transition from Cubase to Logic or Pro Tools (or Cakewalk, or Studio One, or Digital Performer, etc.) without too much hassle.

    I work with Pro Tools, Logic, Garageband, and Cubase daily.

    I only messed with Reaper because I needed something cheap, and needed it to run on an older computer. But if given my choice, Reaper is not going to be my "go to" app. Pro Tools for Audio Recording and Editing, Cubase for Music Production, Logic as a nice substitute if neither of those are available.
     
  7. fitz

    fitz Member

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    Heck, Garage Band is good enough for me. I don't want to waste time fighting with a program in a creative moment.
     
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  8. Madsen

    Madsen Member

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    I'm all for going with what you are most comfortable with & what fits your workflow. I've always built my own PC's & got hooked on powerful but "obsolete" Creamw@re soundcards many years ago, so my current system is built around that. Also using Reaper.
     
  9. peter_heijnen

    peter_heijnen Member

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  10. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Member

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    I switched to Mac for home use and recording about a decade ago and I've never looked back. I do use PCs every day (I'm on one now), and have since the 80s, so I'm totally comfortable with them... it's just more hassle. At least w/ the Mac when things break I can usually fix it quickly. Fewer things "randomly" break. I just want to turn on the machine and go. For the most part - outside of one OS upgrade breaking a lot of plugins - it's been that way. As much as I grumble about Apple, OSX is generally pretty good... especially if you stop updating once you get something that works.

    Hardware is expensive, yes, but you likely don't need anything too high-end. Get and older model iMac or Mac Mini and you can get a perfectly capable machine for not too much. Yeah, it's a lot more than a similary-spec'd PC, but IMHO the stability more than makes up for it. It's about the OS, not the hardware. I'm still using my 2009 iMac, Logic 9 and 8-channel Presonus Firepod. I've had them for a decade and they still work great for my needs. To me, my time and stress level are more valuable.

    To be honest, I had a hard time wrapping my head around Logic initially, but a friend of mine who was an expert user walked me through the basics and that helped a LOT. I don't know how Logic X is, but I'm guessing it's worth your time doing some tutorials.

    All that said I haven't done any recording on PC in a long time, so I can't give any kind of objective comparison. Obviously millions of people use PC-based DAWs just fine. Things are probably much more stable now than when I was using Cubase in 2002.
     
  11. Vcaster

    Vcaster Member

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    @runningman,

    I was somewhat recently facing a similar decision. From my experience, one thing I suggest is, if possible, take a "system" perspective. Me, I gravitated toward the Universal Audio recording ecosystem, which at that time was very Apple iOS-centric. There was also the hardware interfacing aspect, with Thunderbolt getting the nod.

    For what it's worth, here's the route I took:

    Apple iMac
    • 2018 build on a 2017 model
    • 27" Retina Display
    • 4.2GHz i7 Processor
    • 8GB RAM (user-upgraded to 40GB total https://eshop.macsales.com)
    • 2TB Fusion Drive
    If I had it to do over, I might opt for the more expensive solid state drive (SSD), over Apple’s hybrid Fusion Drive. Not a huge deal. There are pro’s and con’s, outlined here: https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/fusion-drive-vs-ssd-hard-drive-3491965/
    I've since added a 2TB external SSD, which I can also use with my QSC TouchMix 16 mixer.

    The above setup is a dedicated audio/visual workstation. (I have a Windows 10 setup for my other needs, plus Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod.)

    For audio work on the Mac, I'm primarily running Apple Logic Pro; and UA Console and plugins. Logic is amazing, plus I was already using Final Cut Pro for video.

    Related hardware includes UA:
    • Apollo Twin MKII QUAD Thunderbolt audio interface
    • Satellite Thunderbolt QUAD digital signal processing (DSP) accelerator
    • 4-710d mic preamps plus compressors
    This is just one approach. Hope it helps!

    Disclaimer: I still have a lot to learn about home studio recording, the software, the hardware, music, etc. ... but that's part of the fun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  12. jammybastard

    jammybastard "I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."

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    Garageband/Logic on a Mac.
     
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  13. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

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    I’ve been using Logic and a Mac for the last 5-6 years. Aside from Logic not having “Dave Lombardo in a box” in the drum section, it’s just a fantastic program.
     
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  14. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Between those two? Definitely Logic on a Mac.
    Reaper is not at all bad, but Logic is much better.
    You can also get Cubase (and Reaper) on macOS.
     
  15. spiral

    spiral Member

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    Mac. My reasons:
    • Logic (as mentioned) is highly efficient and optimized for the Mac OS in addition to including many fantastic plugins and instruments
    • Lower latency (this is a function of all the parts of your audio chain but PC drivers tend to have more overhead)
    • Drivers tend to perform better, or many interfaces use Core Audio which is the native audio system in the Mac OS, so no drivers needed
    • Stability is much better on the Mac (IME)
    • Better integrated audio tools—the Mac has many native control panels and apps that are geared towards audio & MIDI. PCs tend to have a hodgepodge of 3rd party vendor control panels and drivers that may or may not work correctly day to day.
    FWIW I tried moving to PC a few years ago in the hopes of power house laptops for a bargain price but that dream was quickly snuffed out. The performance was very low and the stability was not great when it came to audio.
     
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  16. Stokely

    Stokely Member

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    I've used both for DAWs and just sequencing going way back to the late 80s. Over the years, macs were always easier to get going, not as many driver issues etc. That said: my windows experience for music only goes up to XP, so things may have changed a lot.

    I'm very happy with mac and Logic. Logic comes with a large number of very useful plugins, though I have replaced/supplemented many of the instrument plugins over the years. Alchemy used to be a standalone very expensive synth (costing more than Logic does iirc) and by most accounts it has been improved since Apple bought out Camel (to the great chagrin of many Camel Alchemy users).

    I'm far less happy with the direction Apple has taken with their hardware. I adopted my wife's 2016 macbook pro since I needed a new one way more than she did for her spreadsheets LOL...and it's unusable without an external keyboard and mouse (which thankfully I use since it stays on my desk). I don't get Apple's obsession with "razor thin and ultra light" for what should be a power machine. Let noodly-armed business users carry an Air to run their dashboards and powerpoints on.

    Edit: as far as "intuitive"...can't say I've ever found any sequencer or daw easy to learn. Just too much stuff to pack in to mostly one screen. Over time you learn where things are, and today with youtube makes it much easier than when I was trying to learn Vision and Voyetra (dos sequencer!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  17. ieso

    ieso Member

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    I used Reaper for about 10 years on PC and finally switched over to Logic on an iMac full time last year. Reap is really good, no complaints, but Logic is amazing for the price
     
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  18. Pewtershmit

    Pewtershmit Member

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    I run a 2010 iMac with Abelton Live and Cubase. And it still runs great. Despite that I’m considering moving to a PC laptop due to cost and the ability to do a little more gaming on the road but I have to say the big thing with Mac OS is it doesn’t poop itself with bloatware and automatic updates. It’s much more efficient on hardware resources so don’t consider spec comparisons TOO much. If you’re looking at processor / ram comparisons you’re barking up the wrong tree. You need to specifically consider the operating system.

    And Abelton rules.
     
  19. toddincharlotte

    toddincharlotte Supporting Member

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    Guess I'm the outlier. I'm on a PC using Ableton Live 10. I totally understand why people lean toward MAC/Logic though. Seems to be the home studio standard these days.

    FWIW I don't think you can go wrong with either. Just make sure you understand your budget. Buying a Mac/Logic is just the beginning. Then you've got an interface, mics, plugins....it's a money pit for sure, especially in the beginning trying to get your initial rig up and running.
     
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  20. chillybilly

    chillybilly Member

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    PC: driver nightmares. Frequent updates/patches to drivers & software. Frequent updates/patches to the OS resulting in incompatibility. Memory & CPU hogs. Instability. Latency. Plug and pray. Hardware upgrade curve steep.

    Mac: install once, configure once. Smooth graphics. Plenty of processing power. Infrequent updates to OS that don't break apps. Plug and play. Upgrade curve is rather shallow.

    I use a PC for everyday work and tasks but a Mac is vastly superior for recording and production.
     
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