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Re: Mac-osx to win7-64 bit migration

@Jalcide - I hear you, and I have some friends that took Apple's actions (or non-actions) as hard as you did following the Final Cut fiasco. But I respectfully disagree with you about the magnitude of the "betrayal" in this case.

I used to to be a Mac user -- something I don't discuss regularly on this or other forums since it's been such a long time -- and at that long-lost time of yet another Apple "betrayal" I said "never again" to Apple. Well, here I am, back on Macs and totally enjoying them... The problem is not that Apple stopped supporting "pro" users. They didn't. The weren't about to. The problem was that they were so secretive about their plans that they created a PR problem, that many people interpreted as a sign of waning support for pros.

Now, I won't disagree that their support on the surface for pros has became ambiguous, but let's take a look at a few facts:

1) The Mac Pro line of 2009-2012 was and still is pretty dang powerful. If you picked up an 8-core during that time, your music and audio production needs are still being met for almost any type of project requirements, starting with Nehalem CPUs, which initiated the current generations of CPU awesomeness. Those machines run Mavericks beautifully, and run Cubase, Pro Tools, etc., just great. Unless you need to create massive orchestral templates, they will *still* be fine, in which case, you're already looking at VEPro anyway. I've personally benchmarked my Mac Pro 8-core against my much more recent Windows 6-core machine, and it is roughly comparable performance (within about 20%) on average latencies. On low latencies, the Windows 6-core machine will of course smoke the Mac 8-core, but for my types of projects, the 8 core Mac is more than adequate and does surprisingly well at low latencies too with RME hardware/drivers. And I own a business, so I am particular about getting my money's worth. Yes, true that bang for the buck = Windows. However, there's plenty of bang still in the aging Mac Pro platform for most music/audio guys for extremely large projects, no problem, as long as you went 8-core or higher. And again... there's VE Pro when more is needed. And BTW, there's no need to buy the *new* 2013 Mac Pros, at least for now. I expect in an iteration or two, the prices will come down, and things will change yet again. There is plenty of life left in other Macs (older Mac Pros, or current Macbook Pros, high-end iMacs, etc.) for music production to have to go and drop $3000-$9000 on a new 2013 Mac Pro that is more aligned with the video production pros than audio pros at this point. Although, time will tell...

2) Apple was never going to abandon the "Pro" market, although the definition of what "pro" actually means is becoming irrelevant, or at least very blurry with many users. In any case, they were not about to lose their elite cache. They just didn't handle the PR well as they publicly moved heavily into the consumer market. Many people overreacted, including many of my friends, swearing "never again" and here most of them are, still using Macs. You and a few of my friends decided to stick with Windows, and I absolutely understand that reasoning... having done so myself several years ago... before I started switching back after a long absence. :)

3) Intel CPUs made a huge shift in 2009, and the iterations after that were mainly about power/performance ratio as opposed to just purely performance. So what we saw with CPU iterations was that a quad core of today could be slapped in a powerful laptop that competes with Xeon Mac Pros and Windows workstations of yesteryear. That also applies to iMacs and Mac Minis. The gap that emerged with the aging Mac Pro platform was indeed filled with top-of-the-line iMacs. As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I hate the word "iMac," some of my friends started buying these beautiful 27" iMacs and top-of-the-line Macbook Pros with nice current Core-i7 quad cores and could largely do what I could do on my custom Windows workstations. The CPU performance war has basically ended, in my view! There just isn't a need for *most* composers/producers to get something more powerful than a current-gen quad core i7, a bucketload of RAM and a big SSD. The shift is almost complete, and most pro audio users can easily go that route and get all the power they need. For the fringe cases of people who actually do need more CPU power, there is VE Pro, which is already part of the workflow of many pros. Yes, the pendulum may shift once again for ever-more-greedy CPU-eating plugins, but for now, the CPU war is not that important, as long as you run a recent Core-i7. For those who want to get very technical, they can easily build a much more powerful Windows machine for less money. But we're not talking a vast difference for business owners who look at 2-3year price structures and longer-term hardware investments.

So Apple's slow response on the Mac Pro line really had several things impacting it... Apple's insane secretiveness, poor PR to "pro" users, Intel's shift of focus to power/performance CPU design, the fact that CPUs had basically caught up with pro audio needs somewhere in 2009-2010, and ultimately, a shift in the paradigm of computing anyway.

So in my view "betrayal" is too harsh a word. But I do understand the "sting" of it after so much time and money has been invested and people were left wondering what Apple's real strategy was. This "betrayal" is really a communication problem intersecting with the crossroads of technology trends. Not nearly as dire, at least in retrospect, as many people proclaimed. And keep in mind such levels of "horror" stories can be told over and over again for Avid/Pro Tools users. Talk about platform, strategy, pricing and abandonment issues! :) Trust me, I run Pro Tools here too, and rely on it for business. No one, not even Apple, can come close to the drama with Avid, in my view.

In any case, I definitely do agree with you on some points -- the most important being that I also no longer buy products that are on one platform only! That's a great strategy. All the main apps and plugins I use now are cross-platform. That covers that platform base.

But more importantly, I have finally decided that the term "never again" really can't apply to the technology industries today. This industry -- and the the sub-industry of pro audio companies -- has so many pressures on it, so many changes that sweep through, so many unpredictable variables, that I'll "never again" say "never again." Apple has its share of problems, but so do the other players, and what matters most to me, personally, is just having the right tools to get the job done *today*. If I could, I'd run my whole studio on Linux and be done with Microsoft AND Apple. However, I tried that many times, and I keep fairly current on Linux developments, as well as run a couple of Linux servers, but it just doesn't cut it for pro audio work when all the best plugins, DAW apps, etc., only run on Windows and Macs. What little does run well on Linux is just, frankly, not what my clients want... so I'm stuck with Windows or Macs. :( Practicality and working with clients has trumped my higher ideals. :)

Anyway, I appreciate your point of view. You need the right tools for your projects and peace of mind, and your current configuration works best for you. Best of luck with that, and may our paths cross again! Here's to making great music with all these amazing tools! :)
by uarte
Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:19 pm
 
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Re: Mac-osx to win7-64 bit migration

Hi Papi,

I've decided to jump back into this thread in a genuine bid to try to understand your point(s) and share my point(s) as simply and clearly as possible. This attempt may go nowhere, but I truly hope I can get to the bottom of what you're trying to say, without any personal criticisms. Just your point(s) on their merits alone and my point(s) on their merits alone.

I'll leave my source material for your comments just to this thread. Please feel free to clarify on your point(s).

1) You say that "no serious soundtrack composer would use a laptop as his master machine"

My response: That's your opinion. I disagree. There are plenty of "serious" soundtrack composers who would or could use a laptop as their master machine if they wanted to. But more to the point and in a larger context, a modern high-end laptop -- for example, a high-end DAW laptop from the likes of ADK (I own one and can vouch for them) and a high end laptop from Apple (I also own one) are both more than capable of being a primary front-end for a "serious" soundtrack composer, not to mention for many other pro audio purposes, such as post production, sound design, mixing, mastering, composing in general, and any number of other pro audio applications. And I should add that not everyone in this forum or who uses Cubase in general is interested in being a soundtrack composer -- there are plenty of people here that are pros or have pro aspirations who do plenty of professional work on laptops and on computers far less powerful than current-gen high-end laptops.

2) You say, "Logic Pro is the only valid reason to use a mac, for anyone who just starts."

My response: This is simply incorrect. Logic Pro is of course not the "only valid reason" to use a mac, not to mention macs are not just "for anyone who just starts." Not sure where to begin on that one. But I'll simply start with this fact: a major "valid" reason why people choose one platform or another is simply personal preference. Some people simply prefer to use a Mac, some people simply prefer to use Windows, and there is nothing wrong with that either way. That is one of my main points of prior posts in this and other threads.

Additionally, a recent-gen Mac with a quad-core CPU or better is perfectly capable of running professional audio applications and generating professional results. It's suited for many levels of music production task, from beginner to seasoned pro, in any genre and professional submarket of the music and audio industry. Likewise, you can easily find Windows computers that are also suited for the same tasks. Either platform is capable of any number of pro audio, amateur audio, and beginner audio tasks.

Beyond personal preference and capacity to handle most any type of pro audio task, there are many other "valid" reasons why one person might choose one platform or the other:

a) easier compatibility with friends, collaborators or clients
b) TCO - total cost of ownership (this can be complex calculation that goes far beyond a single computer)
c) business requirements
d) contractual reasons
e) support contracts
f) familiarity of specific hardware/software
g) requirement to use a specific piece of hardware or software
h) client preferences or even client requirements
i) availability
j) pre-existing software/hardware infrastructure investment
k) project workflow
l) performance of a specific application or plugin
m) etc....

3) You say that a "macbook is a consumer-grade machine that would never ever pass military standard testing, like most business laptops do."

My response: Assuming you are referring to a MacBook Pro, not an old MacBook, your point is irrelevant. Military testing is not required, and in fact "most" business laptops are in fact NOT military tested. Some are, but definitely not "most." In any case, a current-gen MacBook Pro is more than capable of producing professional results, and, speaking from experience of owning many business laptops, the current MacBook Pros are built very well, and perfectly capable of handling the rigors of day-in day-out professional use. "Military standard testing" is of course not required. There are also plenty of Windows machines that do not have "military standard testing" that are also perfectly well suited for professional music production. I can personally vouch for ADK computers, for example, which are NOT military tested the last time I checked, and they are some of the best pro audio Windows laptops in the industry. And I can also personally verify that while very well built, the ADK laptops are not as well built or as well designed as my MacBook Pro. However, in either case, I'd be happy to use either machine for professional audio work.

4) You say that "There's nothing you can do to improve a mac....You cannot tweak a mac because Apple won't let you."

My response: That is incorrect. There are plenty of things you can do to both improve and tweak a mac, and also customize and configure them in many ways, besides the obvious hardware and software additions. Of course, you can tweak and customize Windows computers far more than Macs, since you have easy access to the BIOS of PC motherboards, but your statement is very misleading. OSX is a modern POSIX-compliant operating system built on Unix, as I'm sure you know, and there are numerous under-the-hood tweaks you can make to services and features running on Macs that are not that different than changes you can make to Windows machines. In fact, if you have a strong Unix/Linux background, there are plenty of things you can do on OSX under the hood that are very fascinating indeed. But even on a simple level, there are several minor tweaks I use on my Macs that are helpful for DAW use, from disabling Spotlight, disabling FileVault, changing the power profile, hiding alternate boot volumes with fstab, etc. Those types of tweaks are actually similar in principle to simple tweaks I also do to my Windows machines. But beyond that, there is a whole community of Mac Pro users who have been using different EFI firmware on their Mac Pros, for example, so they can upgrade their CPUs to a newer generation of CPUs, etc. I've personally tested this, and was able to increase memory speed and CPU support. There is a community of users who have modified graphics firmware, motherboard firmware, tweaked drivers extensively, not to mention an entire community of people who support Hackintoshes so you can run OSX on an even wider variety of custom hardware if you want to. And on top of all that, Macs run Windows very well via Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop, etc. The number of things you can actually do to a Mac and with OSX in general is pretty impressive. Multi-booting on a Mac with Windows, OSX and Linux is quite easy to do, which opens up other interesting doors as well.

5) You say, "plugin count isn't everything (granted, it depends on how you work...)"

My response: agreed. :)

6) You say, speaking of James Horner, Trevor Rabin and James Newton Howard using Macs, that "They use mac because they're old and not very tech-savvy and they can't get accustomed to another OS."

My response: I can't speak for James Horner, Trevor Rabin and James Newton Howard, but I think you can't speak for them either. Maybe they are old. Maybe they are not very tech-savvy. Maybe they can't get accustomed to another OS. Maybe not. Maybe they just like using Macs? In any case, they are professionals using Macs and doing fine, which simply supports the fact that there are plenty of pros of a high order that use Macs for this specific class of work... not to mention there are many other pro audio tasks done on both Macs and Windows that have nothing to do with film scoring. The post production industry in the US is dominated by Pro Tools, mostly running on Macs, in my experience, as I am sure you know. We could talk for hours about various sub segments of various entertainment industry professionals that use Macs in large majority to Windows. In any case, the platform is irrelevant to the level of work produced. Users of both platforms are limited only by their own skills and talents.

My general position is that the platform wars are over. It's no longer relevant what platform you are running on, other than mainly workflow and personal/business preferences. Whatever works best for you and your unique situation. Performance is of course better on Windows -- as I have stated before, you will of course get more bang for the buck on Windows. I have never argued otherwise. But the delta between Windows and Mac performance is smaller than ever, based on tests I have run myself, having been a heavy Windows user and follower of TAFKAT's excellent DAW Bench work. While there is no doubt a Windows machine of the same price as an Apple machine will give you more plugins and better lower latency performance, the difference in price, amortized over the total cost of ownership in a business lifecycle is not that much, so it is not the headline issue it once was. There is no need to battle it out with Mac vs Windows, in my view. The two platforms can and do co-exist perfectly happily in the same studios where professional work is being done and paid for. And thank heavens for VE Pro, which makes working with both platforms better than ever.
by uarte
Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:51 pm
 
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