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ARSCLIST  June 2005

ARSCLIST June 2005

Subject:

Re: AV to DV - PC or Mac?

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 18 Jun 2005 17:15:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (159 lines)

I have two Chevys. I rarely get into Chevy vs. Ford debates.

http://members.cox.net/clyqz/mac.swf is one perspective on Macs. The same (or
worse) could be said about PCs for video editing, I suspect.

But for audio ? ? ?

I don't think there is much to the PC/Mac debate for audio.

I just recorded an MRL Test Tape (in preparation to recording an hour of Polka
music for a client) in 16 tracks of 96/24 on a PC.

It works for me.

I run 10-Windows-based computers here.

In the studio I have a pair of Dell 8300 with 3.0 GHz and 1GB of RAM XP Home for
the studio. One is the audio computer with two RME Multifaces (giving me the 16
tracks). I'm using Samplitude.

I've used Samplitude since 1998 on a Dell Dimension 333Mhz PII with 384M of RAM
and running Win98SE which is no longer used much, but it is my CD duplicator
and my wife's desk machine (she's not much into computers). I have a 1999 Dell
Dimension 450MHz PIII with 512M of RAM in the workshop (also Win98SE) which I
use for remote access to my main mail machine, web browsing, and manual PDF
viewing. (that's four)

I just bought the family two Dell 3000s with XP Home 2.8GHz with 512MB of RAM.
These are lower end Dells (not the bottom) and they're working flawlessly.
One's in the kitchen and one's in the library. I believe with 4th and 5th
graders, you need computing to be a public sport for many years to come.
(that's six)

I have a pair of LaCie Ethernet discs which are 800MHz processors with 112MB of
RAM running XP Embedded. They currently have 2x250GB internal drives and
2x250GB external Firewire drives attached. One is actually still in the box but
will be brought out soon and will go to my neighbor's via a fibre optic link.
Its two 250G firewire drives are still on the first one doing mirroring).

I have my first WinXP Pro machine (from 2003 with 2.4GHz processor and 1GB of
RAM) this is my office and main graphics machine with a 19" CRT running
1600x1200 (the bulk of the rest of the machines are 1280x1024 into flat panels,
2 flat panels for the studio). This runs email and I remote desktop into it
thereby keeping much of the junk out of the other machines. I use the workshop,
laptop, and studio Aux computer to read email on the office machine. This
machine has the flatbed scanner tho I may attach a slide scanner to the aux
studio computer so I can ingest slides and tapes at the same time. Depends on
whether I have an auto feeder on the slide scanner.

Finally, I have a 2GHz 1GB or RAM Dell 5150 laptop running XP Home.

I have ghosted images of all these machines to the NAS boxes so that if there is
a corruption, I can restore the one file that is damaged (this has happened once
on one of the kids' machines).

I run backups from the office and studio machines every night to the first NAS
box and will then run backups from that to the second. I keep four copies of
most things, two on each NAS box.

I use a feature of ViceVersa Pro that lets me copy a file only when it's
missing, not when it's modified for digital pictures so that if the kids trash
their JPEGs it doesn't go to all copies, I still have two copies of the
original digital image.

The exception to four copies are
 -Audio works in process which are done to the studio audio computer and
  backed up once to each NAS box
 -Large Raw camera files (and presumably scanner files) of which I have
  three copies as well, one on the office/graphics machine and one on
  each NAS box (the audio and graphics machines have 250GB D: drives)

All this works very reliably and I'm very happy with the setup. I've done it all
myself (other than the machines coming pre-loaded from Dell).  The two 8300s
were Dell Refurbs, actually.

My biggest problems with IT since we moved here in August has been:
 -Wireless access points seem to lose power over time--just bought my third
 -My ISP and my hosting provider are in a shouting match and I'm the
  flea in the middle, so I'm currently switching hosting companies and adding
  a second ISP. Meanwhile, I'm blacklisted at rfc-ignorant.org. First time
  in a long time I've been called ignorant and it's not even the hosting
  provider's fault, but their software supplier has a default configuration
  that makes me appear ignorant. Grrr. Oh, and that's not PC or Mac, that's L
  a Linux server <sigh>.

Back to migrating files from California to Pennsylvania.

I think most PC problems are support problems and configuration problems. I've
had my share in the past, but now that I have dedicated machines for dedicated
functions, my problems have been greatly reduced. Also, if one machine goes
poof, I'm not out of business.

At NTC where I worked for 21 years before going on my own, we had mostly Dells
in the later years (where I got my liking of Dell), including servers (tho they
were running Novell Netware forever). I think the biggest thing to break in our
PCs was done by people adding unapproved software. The second biggest thing
(especially after moving mostly to laptops) was hard-drive failure, though that
cleared up around 2000-2001.

One other by-the-way. For field photography, I have two image Tank G2s that have
CF card slots on the outside and 40GB hard drives on the inside, giving me two
copies of the images w/o a PC. I also have a 60GB 7200 rpm drive in the laptop
and an external LaCie pocket drive that's USB powered, so if I choose to go
with the PC route, I have two copies of the images that way, too. That gives me
room to store 4000 images in either system, 8000 in both, or 12,000 if I also
bring a 120GB USB mains-powered drive. redundancy is a way of life.

Well, those are some/most of my IT secrets to a happy home...now if only I could
send email directly again, I'd be happier (I hate having to use Webmail)

Cheers,

Richard


From: David Seubert <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] AV to DV - PC or Mac?
To: [log in to unmask]

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

--

Richard L. Hess
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/

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