Mac vs PC for Audio Production – who wins?


Hi, I’m Adam Steel for the Hop Pole, and today
we’re going to try and settle the argument once and for all – what’s better for audio
production, Mac or PC? And I can tell you now, one is better than the other! OK, so you’re getting a new production computer,
you have a set budget – what do you want to get? And I did say one was better than the
other, now here’s the answer – drum roll…. ……….
They’re both the same! I lied. It’s gone from a few years back being
a performance issue where clock-for-clock macs were faster than PCs, with PowerPC architecture,
and now they’re essentially the same machines, which is going to rile a lot of people up,
but it’s true. They are Intel X86 based computers, they even use the same Intel Core processors
in the Haswell range. They are the same as modern PCs. Mac and PC are almost identical, but not quite.
There is a lot of subtlety going on. Now this is where it gets to- what do you want to use
it for? Are you going to use it in your bedroom, is it just for you, how good are you with
making computers and understanding the insides of them? Because what it can boil down to is if you
know nothing about building computers, you’re not interested, you don’t care, but you have
a bit of extra money and you need the reliability, get yourself a Mac. Because they come in set
configurations that Apple decide, which means that they can test over and over and over
with the motherboards, the components, and they can make sure that they crash as little
as possible. Now i’m not going to say they don’t crash, because we have experience of
macs freezing, crashing, doing all sorts of stuff. But less often than a badly built PC.
Now there’s the crux. At the Hop Pole and Banter Media, we’ve been
making our own gear for years. I’ve been an IT guy since I was about 8 years old. I can
build computers, I know what goes in them, and not just as in like “oh this RAM goes
in the motherboard”. It can be like lego, putting things in, and you can just build
any old machine doing that, and that’s fine. But to make them stable, ie not crash, get
decent latency with your audio interfaces, you need to build a PC knowing whether a motherboard
is of decent quality, whether the ram’s going to fail, whether the processor’s better suited
to heavy duty video editing tasks, or audio. And if you don’t know any of that, just get
yourself a mac. We in our office are planning on getting a whole load of macs, where we’ve
been building PCs for years and years, and there is largely no difference, except that
partly it’s an image thing, people are going to walk into our offices and go “ooh, macs….
oh these guys must be good” – never understood that myself, but appearance can count. And
we know that they’re going to be compatible with the software that we use, we’re not all
IT pros in the office, so it should just work and when it does go wrong, i’ll still have
a fair idea of how to fix the flippin’ thing, or we can send them back. Now when it comes to laptops, this is where
it gets interesting, because laptops – if you just need something middle of the road,
say you’re going to be recording a guitarists singer-songwriter, so you’re going to be doing
a few tracks, nothing crazy, get yourself a mac. Our guy Kris has this MacBook Pro, couple
of years old now, works solid as a rock, has never gone wrong to my knowledge – he’s shaking
his head behind the camera so it’s never gone wrong – and unless he’s doing absolutely crazy
level stuff, it does the job perfectly well and the battery life’s good. As soon as you start getting into the realms
of high-end video or say you’ve got a virtual orchestra running and 20 guitar tracks and
everything’s got a ton of plugins on everything, even the best macbook pros can struggle. And that’s where I decided because I do video
editing as well, to get myself DING – this. This is a laptop by Scan, this has been custom
built for me, and this, as you can see, is huge. It’s like a tank, and it weighs as much
as a tank. But it does exactly what I need it for, which is to be a replacement for a
big, heavy desktop machine. So if you know what you’re doing with building PCs, get yourself
a PC, build it yourself out of quality components or go to someone like Scan who knows exactly
what they’re doing, or if you have no clue and need something good and reliable, it will
cost you more, but get yourself a mac. I’m Adam Steel, this is the Hop Pole. Thanks
for watching.