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-   -   Do I need a PC? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/23195-do-i-need-pc.html)

Marco Leavitt March 19th, 2004 12:10 PM

Do I need a PC?
I'm very happy with Final Cut Pro on our Mac, but there seem to be pretty limited audio programs out there. I plan to pick up Peak next month, but it seems like just about every other cool program out there is Windows only. I thought I would ask the audio gurus out there if it's absolutely necessary to get a PC to do serious audio work. I'd rather not.

John Britt March 19th, 2004 12:21 PM

What version of the Mac OS are you running? Digidesign offers a free version of Pro Tools for OS9 at http://www.digidesign.com/ptfree/

According the them, "Pro Tools FREE offers up to 8 tracks of audio and 48 tracks of MIDI, real-time plug-ins, and many of the same editing and mixing features the pros use." I know people who use the free version and they love it.

I only wish they had a free version that worked with Windows XP!

I love my PCs (even when I hate them), but I wouldn't recommend switching platforms just for "cool programs." Unless you've got a grand to burn just sitting around. Are they some specific applications that you want, or specific audio needs that the Mac simply can't fulfill?

Douglas Spotted Eagle March 19th, 2004 12:26 PM

No. Want? yes.
I have both. Use both. I went from being a die-hard Mac-only guy who always said "I don't do windows" to being a ""Mac sucks, they can't keep up" guy to now being a "they both are good for various things" guy.

The coolest audio tools are developed on the PC regardless of any argument. Deck and Peak are good tools. ProTools is a wanna-be/once was world's most awesome tool. I was using early versions of ProTools when Windham Hill poured a buncha money into them.

For the low cost, it's hard to beat the tools available on the PC, and the lack of hardware requirements makes it even more stimulating. With Apple absorbing all the various competitors out there, no incentive exists for anyone to improve on what's there, because Apple will only compete harder. How can you compete with that?
The other thing is SPEED! I have a powerbook 1.25 gig, and it's painfully slow at processing compared to my VAIO. I can use the exact same plugins on both systems, and yet I see the beachball for at least 10-15 seconds before a simple process is achieved whereas on my VAIO I can run the process in real time, while the app is running with no hardware support.
I'll be showing both at NAB should you care to see for yourself.

John Britt March 19th, 2004 12:33 PM


I hate to go off-topic, but I have to ask: Pro Tools is a wannabe? I live in a town obviously overrun with musicians and Pro Tools seems like it's a studio standard. I've heard great work done with it. Local studio man John Keane (REM and others) even wrote a book on using Pro Tools. I'm surprised to hear it called an also-ran...

Cannon Pearson March 19th, 2004 07:09 PM

A lot of serious work is done in Logic, Digital Performer, Protools, and Cubase.

Douglas Spotted Eagle March 19th, 2004 08:00 PM

Wanna-be is a hard word, I realize. But to me, as a day in, day out working guy with this stuff, ProTools lost it's panache a while ago. It's the Avid of the audio industry. Now there are MANY tools that do as much and more but faster and easier. However, if you are just getting into the biz, it needs to be a learned tool in order to survive. We have a ProTools station here too. It gets turned on when certain artists or producers come to town. For instance, ProTools was one of the last to the 24/96 party and the 24/192 party. And it's exceptionally cost-prohibitive to upgrade to all that, while Audition, Vegas, Sonar, Logic, Nuendo all can do the same thing. There is NOTHING one can do in ProTools that can't be done elsewhere. But it IS a standard, because it was the first 'real' DAW available many years ago. But imagine someone saying that AVID's Express is the best video editor. You'd laugh. It's a damn good editor, but there are many competing products that do as much and some do more. It certainly isn't the king of the hill anymore, and certainly isn't the one-and-only-tool it once was. And since they aren't doing anything really spectacular with it.....in my mind it's an also ran. But I do have the gear.
BTW, ProTools free is worth exactly what you paid for it. Mackie's TRACKTION is more powerful for $50.00.

The one that REALLY gets me laughing is when I hear musicians or producers say "ProTools sounds better." Ummm......it's the converters, dude. There are better and lesser converters. If a guy is using a bottom line Aardvark converter and you're comparing that to a ProTools converter, of course it's gonna sound better. Stack up a Layla or Apogee or Delta....now you've got a comparison. Otherwise, it's just data. Reverbs might sound better, compressors might sound better, but these are all plugins, not the app.

John Britt March 20th, 2004 10:12 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle : Wanna-be is a hard word, I realize.

Don't worry, no offense taken -- I was just curious; I can see what you mean. I've just assumed that Pro Tools is the most "pro," uh, tool...

Say, is that "$50 for Traktion" a typo or a special deal/rebate on the app? (the Mackie site says $80)

Douglas Spotted Eagle March 20th, 2004 10:22 AM

They had a 50$ thing going back during NAMM, perhaps it's gone now. I haven't looked recently. 79.99 is the retail price.

Dave Perry April 1st, 2004 05:44 PM

No, you can get rid of the PC. Pro Tools and OS X. Pro Tools is the Photoshop of audio and OS X is so much more efficient than windows.

Douglas Spotted Eagle April 1st, 2004 06:39 PM

ProTools WAS the photoshop of audio, and was the Avid of video. Just like many great tools similar to FCP have come along to take market away from Avid, same with other tools as ProTools. Having had pretty well every DAW out there, ProTools is just a big brand name now. Maybe someday Avid will sink some resources into ProTools, and it will regain it's market superiority. It's still a tool that everyone should know if they're gonna be moving from studio to studio.
But to say OSX is "so much more efficient than Windows ...." is ridiculous and merely shows that you've not worked with a high speed, well built Windows system. Again, having both, both have their places. But if you wanna talk efficiency without need for all sorts of hardware....OSX can't remotely compete. It's simply no contest.
Tell ya what....I've got a G5 next to a couple P4's. Let's take a 4 minute 24 channel aif session in ProTools and Nuendo, Vegas, Logic 5 or SONAR, and since it's native to OSX but not to Windows, we'll put them both side by side. We'll put the Windows system at a disadvantage with the aif file. We'll apply a WAVES C1 to each track, and a Trueverb to each track. We'll further apply a Renaisance EQ to 6 of the tracks. Play them back. Oh yeah....the G5 can't do that without buffering it all up. I did this project as I typed. To output the final file took Vegas less than 12 seconds. My G5, which has more ram and more raw horsepower, took over 45 seconds to render out the same session. Not to mention that in my Windows system I can drop and manipulate in real time, all the time. But the biggest kicker of all is cost.
ProTools is a fine system. OSX is a fine system. I enjoy my GarageBand and FCP, Soundtrack is great too. I love the weight, look, and feel of my Powerbook,and most of all love it's battery life. My G5 is very sexy, provides good service when I need it. But more and more, I'm using my various Windows machines for my "real work." Because it's far more efficient, with ridiculously more options open to me, which is what Marco's original question was related to.

Dave Perry April 1st, 2004 08:04 PM


Thanks for your real world experience. Maybe I should have just read this forum rather than post because I am certainly not an audio "guru".

I'm a professional web designer primarily, who has gotten very interested in DV over the last 2 years. So I'm not even a DV guru. I do have a passion for it and gobble up all the info I can find. I'm very pleased to find this forum as a matter of fact.

Being a web designer does not require top line hardware, as you know. My experience with PCs was with the typical consumer level machines, then numerous upgrades, blah, blah, blah. Two years ago I was faced with sinking more money into a barely upgradeable PC or buying a new one. I started looking at Macs and the more I looked the more i liked. Especially since at that point they were really starting the transition from OS 9 to OS X. To be honest, if it were not for OS X I'd probably still be on a PC. Any way, I was blown away by the ease with which OS X worked. I finally learned what plug and play was, I have not had a system crash in 2 years, no longer need to run scan disc and defrag, forgotten what a virus or worm is, and can work unhindered by the workings of an "operating system". The numbers game and spec sheets don't take into consideration down time and routine system maintenance. My experience has been that the Macs I use are faster, more efficient, and cheaper than any PC I've ever used whether of my own or those of any of the coporate PCs I've used.

Back to the question at hand though, "...if it's absolutely necessary to get a PC to do serious audio work". No, it's not absolutely necessary to use a PC for serious audio work.

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