In the PC world I happen to like Dells myself, Richard. The support has
been excellent and they have been very reliable. I note that you split
up functions and uses in logical ways, always a good thing. I truly
believe everybody, on both Mac's and PC's, need to avoid the trap of
lumping too much on one system. (any system) It only leads to heartache.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 4:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] AV to DV - PC or Mac?

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

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
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

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
  flea in the middle, so I'm currently switching hosting companies and
  a second ISP. Meanwhile, I'm blacklisted at First
  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
  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

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 if only
I could send email directly again, I'd be happier (I hate having to use



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

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


Richard L. Hess