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ARSCLIST  June 2005

ARSCLIST June 2005

Subject:

Re: AV to DV - PC or Mac?

From:

Scott Phillips <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 18 Jun 2005 15:25:23 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

It is interesting to me, reading the various replies in the Mac vs. PC
area. Like the this gentleman, we use both systems. It used to be
difficult to get seamless networking between them, but this hasn't been
a problem with more recent additions of both the MAC and PC OS's. Unlike
him, we haven't had any problems with stability or support... But then,
we aren't an institution, but a business. IT people, when we use them,
are as well versed at sound cards and interfaces as they are high res
video for applications. This applies to good sound cards / interfaces
for Mac's as well. As a business, we control who touches the equipment,
and don't hire anyone not qualified. An audio specialist would be
consulted as well for advise on interfaces, if needed. This is a real
problem for many institutions, hard as it is to fire poor support
people. Besides, where is the focus of a support group that is too busy
dealing with Marge the secretary's fonts to look at special needs?

I've seen this attitude in both the MAC arena and the PC arena. I can't
say, at least in our environment, that we have more problems with PC's
than Mac's. It is about the same, with an equal number of each type. A
dead hard drive is still a dead hard drive. All computers do about the
same things, after all, it is just how they go about it.

I would say there is truth to the fact that a cheap no-name PC may have
all sorts of BIOS / compatibility problems you won't see on a MAC. Fair
enough, you pay a lot more for that on the MAC than on the lousy, cheap
PC. If you buy reasonable quality PC's, this difference vanishes, and
they still are cheaper. The 'really cheap' PC ends up casting a shadow
on the better ones. Yes there are 'really cheap' Dells or Gateways, but
they simply don't cut the mustard. Can't happen as much on the MAC's,
since they can't be had cheap anyway except on eBay. Buy one there,
you'll find all sorts of 'problems'. You get what you pay for, in both
cases. I have to hand it to Apple, they have managed a monopoly well
enough to enforce pretty good sexy industrial design, at the cost of a
tiny market share. PC's just haven't quite managed the 'cool' factor yet
like Apple, that's for certain. Better function... Not really. Just
different.

If I'm honest with myself, I like the MAC interface 'a little' better
for casual work. Because of the huge number of applications for PC's,
they tend to do more of the heavy lifting for us. More software on a
single box always means more 'possibilities' for conflicts, PC or Mac.
It all comes down to the basics: (no particular order)

1.) Pick the software you want / need to run FIRST, before committing to
anything else.

2.) Which (or both?) platform will run everything you need to run ON AN
INDIVIDUAL WORKSTATION ?

3.) Is it smarter (usually !) to run your email, word processing, heavy
duty spreadsheets, internet on a second separate system ? ANY Pro
editing / recording software package is going to strongly recommend you
use your machine for as little else as possible, regardless of the
platform !!!

4.) In house support.. And what is the quality of the available support.

5.) Is your data to be exchanged directly with others either inside or
outside your organization. (Be honest with yourself, forget what you
'like'.) What software (and thus hardware) makes this easiest?

6.) Will the workstation be used for casual web surfing or the like..?
If so, you'd best be not using it for serious work unless YOU are the IT
guy. It is a nasty world out there, and it is true that 'Mr. Gates' is a
disproportional target. Mac's are hardly immune to this either, but
being a small target in the market place, it just isn't QUITE as much
fun for hackers...yet. There is great antivirus software out there for
both systems, but they don't catch everything. Get used to it...it is
here to stay for a while. 

Everyone's situation is different. Best to look at this as a technical
exercise of the requirements in particular circumstances. There isn't
(IMO, anyway) a right or wrong, one side fits all answer. There are
horror stories from both ends of the aisle..  So it is perhaps best to
just try to be as clinical about it as possible.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Seubert
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 2:01 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] AV to DV - PC or Mac?

I hate the Mac vs. Windows debate (I use both daily) but audio is very
different than word processing or sending email, so I'll throw out a few
thoughts.

In our audio lab we run Gateway PCs with Sound Forge and Wavelab and DAL
sound cards. I went PC because our library is 99% Windows and UNIX and
the IT people "can't support Macs." Unfortunately, they can't really
support Windows audio workstations either, since they don't know
anything about sound cards, audio drivers and the specific software we
use and the potential for conflicts that arise.

Maybe DAL just writes really buggy audio drivers (can anybody confirm
this?), or maybe Windows doesn't handle audio drivers well (I don't need
confirmation on this) but in my experience there are lots of
software/hardware/driver incompatibilities in the PC world. Just try
installing Realplayer (a legally distributed virus if there ever was
one) on a PC and see how quickly it can make everything else stop
working. So either way, you'll likely be on your own to some extent, and
if you are on your own, I'd go Mac. Surprisingly, I've never used Macs
for audio, but I use them for everything else and there is no way that
it can be worse than doing audio on a PC.

And once you get your system up and running, never let the IT guys touch
it. No service packs, no critical updates, no new versions of the audio
software, no driver updates. In our experience, each upgrade will cost
you a minimum of two days in getting the thing stable again.

As for the cost issue, on high-end machines the cost differences are
trivial and it's moot anyway when compared to the cost of a couple
people sitting around the studio for an afternoon uninstalling and
reinstalling drivers.

David Seubert
UCSB

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