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Mac or PC for Game Audio?


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#1 Kerfuffle   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 04:48 PM

Hi there, I'm looking at investing in a sort of small (and cheap) home studio. And with that, a desktop computer to replace my fairly cheap Windows laptop.

 

What I'm looking to know is are there any specific benefits to game audio for either Mac or PC? I would assume that PC's might have an advantage due to game developers tending to use PC's as well, but looking at Logic also tempts me towards a Mac. 

 

What are your thoughts / experiences with this? (And please say PC so I don't have to pay out for a Mac tongue.png)

 

Thanks for reading smile.png

 

 



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#2 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 437

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 06:32 PM

I use a Mac for everything audio and everyone I know does this. I don't use Logic tho, I use Pro tools which for some reason bug like crazy on my windows 8 but works perfectly fine on my iMac.

 

But I don't think the difference is that big at the end of the day. That's like Pro Tools and Cubase it's pretty much the same but Pro Tools is more used.



#3 xCatalyst   Members   -  Reputation: 244

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:30 PM

Whichever you're most comfortable with. At the end of the day, it's all about how well you can use your tools in an environment that you're comfortable with. Whatever 'feels' best to you, and will ultimately boost your productivity go for it!



#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4318

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

Hi there, I'm looking at investing in a sort of small (and cheap) home studio. And with that, a desktop computer to replace my fairly cheap Windows laptop.

 

If you're looking for cheap, then PC or an old(er) Mac is the way to go.

 

 

 

What I'm looking to know is are there any specific benefits to game audio for either Mac or PC? I would assume that PC's might have an advantage due to game developers tending to use PC's as well, but looking at Logic also tempts me towards a Mac.

 

Mac's OS handles memory, as it relates to audio processing, better than PCs do. PCs can get the job done, for sure, but when I was running two studios, one at home and one at work, I found my PC didn't perform as well as the Mac computers. Both systems were about the same specs and age so it was a somewhat even comparison.

 

What are your thoughts / experiences with this? (And please say PC so I don't have to pay out for a Mac tongue.png)

 

I'd get a Mac if you're making home audio a business. If you have a proven track record of getting clients and (most importantly) getting paid. Otherwise if this is just a hobby or the start of a possible business, then I'd work with what you have or what you can more easily afford. When I started my audio business, I went with what I had then slowly added or replace gear over the years. It took a while but now I've gone into zero business debt and have built a pretty respectable studio.


Edited by nsmadsen, 02 February 2014 - 10:23 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 Kerfuffle   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:49 AM

Great, thanks for all the advice!

 

It looks like I'm just going to build myself a PC as I'm still just a hobbyist. Hopefully I'll start making some money from it, then I'll probably upgrade to a Mac. 

 

Thanks again



#6 SamGarnerStudios   Members   -  Reputation: 278

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:43 PM

I enjoy using Mac's, but in this day and age it's becoming less and less of a big deal. The grass is always greener, just get what you know and move on.



#7 BeatscribeMusic   Members   -  Reputation: 178

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:26 AM

I've been fine with Mac, although some orchestral tools get a bit clunky in Logic Pro 9. I assume its something that's been addressed in Logic X (but haven't upgraded myself). So far i've been able to get by though, just have to bounce heavy sample instruments sometimes to take the strain off the system.



#8 SamGarnerStudios   Members   -  Reputation: 278

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:14 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by clunky, I'm a logic user myself.



#9 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4318

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:02 AM

Sounds more like an issue with your system specs and less with Logic. Even with Logic 9, I could create full, highly complex arrangements. What I hated about Logic 9, more than anything else, was having a 32-bit and 64-bit version with different feature sets. Thankfully, Logic Pro X fixes that.


Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#10 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7811

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

Honestly, if the end goal is to get a mac, and this machine doesn't have to pull double-duty as, say, a gaming PC, then just get a cheapish mac-mini and max out the RAM using a third-party source (Such as OWC). A reasonably configured Mac Mini is going to be not much more expensive than a reasonable spec BYO PC, and you don't have to deal with the headache of potential parts incompatibility or DOA parts having to be RMA'd before you have a working machine. Granted, such things are rare occurrence, but it can really take the wind out of your sails when it happens.

 

Then, consider that you might have to re-buy or re-license your software when you switch platforms, in addition to learning a new working environment and its associated workflows -- I suggest you'll be better off just starting with a Mac if that's the end goal.

 

If you live in/near an urban center, your local craigslist probably has a number of mac minis for around $500 (I see these all the time near Seattle) that are upgraded beyond the current least-expensive retail spec. The only minor caveat I have, is that if you do buy a new retail unit, its suspected that a haswell-based refresh should be happening before the end of this month, so you may want to hold off until then. I also see plenty of Xeon Mac Pros of various vintage sometimes for sub-$500.


Edited by Ravyne, 05 February 2014 - 01:29 PM.


#11 Kerfuffle   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:57 AM

Thanks Ravyne, that's actually a really good point, there's not much use paying out for a PC now if I plan to replace it soon.

 

I've actually done some looking into Mac Mini's - and by the time I've bought a monitor and expanded the RAM it comes pretty close in price to an iMac, and not as highly specced. I think prices may be steeper here in the UK sad.png

 

I think I may just hold out and buy an iMac (possibly refurbished)



#12 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7811

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 01:02 PM

So, like I said, the Mac Mini is actually overdue for an update based on past trends. The rumor mill has been swirling strongly for the past 3 months that an update was forthcoming, and just last week a UK retailer's site leaked a page for the updated mini, with a sales date towards the end of the month, but without updated images or specs. This still very much amounts to a rumor, but its the kind of thing that precedes an actual product update more often than not. The iMac has had it's scheduled update and so you're right to say that its specs are quite a bit ahead right now. The Mini's update is likely to bring a Haswell CPU, Iris graphics, flash-based storage, and 8GB ram as standard, so it will be much more inline with the iMac, which has already received those upgrades.

 

Personally, I don't much like the all-in-one designs like the iMac, but its a personal preference and to be honest, no current mac is all that much more upgrade friendly than the others anyway. I mostly just dislike that I may end up with a broken screen tied to a working computer, or vice-versa. YMMV.

 

Anyhow, if you don't need to get one today (and it sounds like you don't), keep an ear to the ground about the Mac Mini refresh, and then compare it with the iMac before you settle on one or the other, and get the best value-package you can.

 

And keep in mind that for audio work, what you mostly need is a good amount of RAM (16GB+), fast storage (local flash), and more speed/cores (audio work can be computed in parallel pretty well). Bulk storage isn't so much an issue, and you probably want to farm it out to an external RAID array anyhow.



#13 Kerfuffle   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:02 PM

I'll definitely look out for the update, thanks for the heads up



#14 Furexus   Members   -  Reputation: 144

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:29 AM

If you're doing a lot of orchestral stuff you should consider Cubase/Win, because of the possibility to set up VST Expression Maps. I'm personally a Cubase (6.5 atm) guy and I don't think I could go with something else; but like everybody says, it's personal preference. But then again, if you're going for a cheaper setup, I would recommend going the win route.

 

Regards,

Sebastian


Join the dark side! - Professional and affordable compositions
Epic Hollywoodesque Orchestral · Ambient · Jazz · 8bit & much more!
http://www.sebastianbreitenbach.de


#15 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5249

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:30 AM

The hard ware doesn't matter.  Don't get hung up on it, it's all good enough these days.

 

The important thing is really the software you work with best.  I've been using Cubase since 1.0 on the Atari ST (I still have the disks and dongle, and the ST, in the garage) and I have problems with the workflow on pretty much anything else I've tried.  I have friends who swear by Logic.

 

In the end it's the software that matters.  All your decisions should be based on that.


Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#16 xCatalyst   Members   -  Reputation: 244

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:41 AM

The hard ware doesn't matter.  Don't get hung up on it, it's all good enough these days.

 

 

You know, I actually disagree with this. You need something with a lot of RAM for the actual software & instruments. For my compositions, I'll often use anywhere from 40% to 60% of memory (It can go even more). I wouldn't get anything less than 6gb of RAM, preferably 12gb.

 

I have 16gb of RAM and a six-core processor. 


Edited by xCatalyst, 07 February 2014 - 08:42 AM.


#17 BeatscribeMusic   Members   -  Reputation: 178

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:48 AM

Sounds more like an issue with your system specs and less with Logic. Even with Logic 9, I could create full, highly complex arrangements. What I hated about Logic 9, more than anything else, was having a 32-bit and 64-bit version with different feature sets. Thankfully, Logic Pro X fixes that.

 

You never had problems with some of the large samples? I know there is a 2gig limit on what can be loaded. Unless they had patched it. My machine is only about a year old, top of the line Mac. It's never been a huge problem, but some of the really big patches have caused problems. 



#18 wchrapcynski   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:59 PM

I personally don't feel that it matters. It's the end product that makes the difference. Tools are tools. It's all about how you use them.


William Chrapcynski

http://www.pureshift.com


#19 JackMusic   Members   -  Reputation: 315

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:12 PM

Do you care about the way things look, and does that mean you love the idea of having Apple hardware in your studio? If so, go Mac. If not, go PC. They are more affordable, more customisable, and the only advantage Mac has is Logic, which is great, but then so are Cubase and Reaper, both of which are cross-platform.

 

Some people sneer at those that like the good looks of Apple hardware but I think the appearance of your equipment can make a massive difference to your frame of mind. My setup looks remarkably easy to tinker around with, and guess what, I spend hours of my life tinkering and customising and it doesn't help my music making in the least. But I'm a geek and I enjoy it.

 

Going off on a tangent so I'll stop there!



#20 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4318

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:31 PM


Do you care about the way things look, and does that mean you love the idea of having Apple hardware in your studio? If so, go Mac. If not, go PC. They are more affordable, more customisable, and the only advantage Mac has is Logic, which is great, but then so are Cubase and Reaper, both of which are cross-platform.

 

Well.... I think the differences between Windows and Mac go much deeper than just the looks of the computers. As noted above, I worked on both types of set ups for years when I had a day job in a studio using Macs on top of moonlighting out of my own studio which had a PC. Both machines were fairly equal in stats but the Macs blew away the PCs I had.

 


Some people sneer at those that like the good looks of Apple hardware but I think the appearance of your equipment can make a massive difference to your frame of mind. My setup looks remarkably easy to tinker around with, and guess what, I spend hours of my life tinkering and customising and it doesn't help my music making in the least. But I'm a geek and I enjoy it.

 

Your work space is, indeed, very influencial in how you work. I'd say it's less about which type of computer you have and more about how you set up your studio and space. Some people flourish in dark or messy spaces while others shine in light(er) or clean studios. To each their own!


Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios




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