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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