Thanks guys. I do have an old laptop, but when I tried recording with some free software I downloaded (it wasn’t Audacity, it was something else), it said my soundcard lacked a MIDI IN port. So I guess I’m going to have to buy a new laptop with a better soundcard. Damn.
So should I get a Mac or PC? I looked it up online and came across this pretty funny article at Tweakheads:
[quote]Go to any computer gear-head forum, including studio-central, and simply ask this troubling question. Suddenly the air changes around you. For a moment, you sense a cold scrutiny from everyone around you, the same kind of vibe the significant other gave you last year when you forgot valentines day (again!). Senior members, moderators, and administrators rush out of the dugout to say “You didn’t really mean to ask that question, right?” “We’re not going there, Sorry!” But its usually too late. You already stuck your finger directly in the crusty wounds left by a two decades long platform war.
Experienced forum users know that nothing starts a major brawl as quickly as a PC vs. Mac debate. Its kind of like being in my least favored neighborhood tavern on the south side of Chicago. As soon as some idiot shouts out, “I used a Mac for music AND IT SUCKED!” (substitute “PC” if you are already offended). It is as if someone just smashed a beer bottle on the bar! Mayhem ensues. Somebody fuels the jukebox with 30 plays of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. The internet traffic on the forum dramatically rises and people around the world login just to watch the impending bloodbath. In this corner, we have the Mac wine-cooler sniffers, noses high in the air, holding up placards of Steve Jobs, the messiah of Macdom. In that corner, we have the Microsoft quarter-beer slammers, brandishing the banner of Bill Gates, with the evil subculture of code hacks already behind the scenes concocting a virus to slip into their own team’s beer. You have the guys that would rather fight than switch, the ex-hippie peacemakers who try to break it up and make us love each other, the guys that don’t care what side they are on as long as they get to kick some A… and “Big Al” type bouncers that start kicking people off the board and into the alley. Why? Every person feels they have the intelligence to spew the magic utterance that can end the war for eternity. The next person retorts with an insult, and both end up on the floor, rolling in the spilt beer and broken glass. Mac or PC? If you are lucky, a few cogent arguments might make it through the din that actually makes sense.[/quote]
Later on it gives some good info:
[quote]There are some technical differences in the way Macs and PC set up audio and MIDI devices. Clearly, the Mac provides better access to your MIDI and Audio systems in its Audio/MIDI Utility, compared to the Windows Control Panel “Sounds” directory. You can define more details on the Mac. However, this is not a feature you can’t live without as in practice, on a Mac or a PC, one rarely goes there. There’s also a difference in where plugins are stored. On a PC you can create a VSTPlugins folder anywhere you want, whereas on a Mac, they will reside in either your system’s or user library under Audio.
Since Tiger (OSX 10.4) came out on the Mac you can now run multiple audio interfaces. Before this upgrade Windows had a clear advantage.
Macs do not “sound better”. Nor do PCs. That is another myth. The computer never touches the sound anyway, your audio interface’s converters do. Get a RME Fireface for either platform and you have the same, great sound. The math that the CPU uses to execute audio transformations is a function of the application, not the CPU. The plugins and software instruments that affect the sound have nothing to do with platform. Since both machines can use the same hard drives, you won’t find a smoking gun in storage either. Some people claim they can hear the difference between summing algorithms in their mixing applications. But again, its not that its Mac or PC making the difference, its the ways numbers are crunched.
You can evaluate software packages in terms of sound. Today recording software comes with (or lets you add on) sound generators–soft synths, samplers, effects. These “plugins” are not created equal. Apple again is changing the game here. It used to be you’d get a sequencer and it would have some tiny, crappy, half baked software instruments. Logic, before Apple took it over, worked like that. You had to buy all these add-ons. But then Apple decided to put them all in LogicPro and raised the price from around $600 to a cool grand. That shook things up. So the other sequencer makers start adding soft synths and upping the price. Then the surprise! Apple drops the price to $500. Logic Pro is easily the best deal going in sequencers. Am I biased. Oh you bet! One of the better reasons to go Mac is not the superior hardware, its that Apple owns LogicPro, or and the suite of applications in Logic Studio.[/quote]
This guy gives a pretty balanced account in the general article, but it seems like Logic Studio is the best software. However, I looked at the Apple homepage and Logic Studio is not listed in the standard software for a MacBook. Listed are:
[quote]Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger (includes Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat AV, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD Player, Xcode Developer Tools)
iLife ’08 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, iWeb, GarageBand), Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, iWork ’08 (30-day trial)
Front Row [/quote]
I take it this means I would have to download software regardless of whether I buy Mac or PC. Preferably I would like a good reliable system that won’t require too many additional purchases.
For you people who record music, which do you prefer, Mac or PC, and why?