What’s The Best OS For Doing Music & Audio Production? (Poll)


MusicTech magazine recently published a guide to tuning your computer for audio.  It covers topics like the performance benefits of hard drives, CPUs, additional RAM, SSDs and decluttering your hard drive.

One thing that’s striking about the article, though, is that it’s mostly stuff that OS X users never think about. As the article notes:

Mac will provide a better all-round solution for many users, thanks to the excellent build quality and the stability of Mac OS X.

If on the other hand you prefer much wider customization options or perhaps use a Windows-only DAW, a PC can offer more bang for your buck.

When it comes to Synthtopia readers, Windows is the most common platform used by people visiting the site, followed closely by Mac and iOS……

Top 5 Browsing Platforms Used By Synthtopia Readers:

  • Windows 34.36%
  • Macintosh 30.20%
  • iOS 25.83%
  • Android 7.50%
  • Linux 1.35%

These numbers really reflects what readers use for browsing, though, not what they prefer for music production.

So, our latest reader poll asks just that question: What’s the best OS for music production? Weigh in below!

After you’ve weighed in, leave a comment and let us know what you use for audio/music production and what makes it the best platform for what you do. Please keep the comments constructive – comments that attack the users of an operating system (ie ‘fanboys’, ‘windoze users’, etc), rather than discuss the merits of OS’s for music will be deleted.

146 thoughts on “What’s The Best OS For Doing Music & Audio Production? (Poll)

  1. Not to state the obvious, but if 30% of visitors to a site dedicated to electronic music production are using macs, when macs account for less than 10% of all computer users, that tells you everything you need to know. Let the flame wars commence.

  2. From a personal standpoint I’ve used Macs since 1994. I tried switching to XP at point and just had too many weird problems. I briefly ran Live on Windows 8 and it seemed fine but the older Macs I had around at the time were capable of more performance, with less processor load. All that said, the best full-band record I ever worked on was recorded to 2″ and edited and mixed in Cubase on a Windows ME box. I did all my tracking with hardware synths, pianos and organs, and an old Mac laptop with Reason on it, but the record was mixed on Windows ME. Go figure.

  3. I voted Mac, but only because that is the heavyweight lifting machine.

    I use a pretty decent collection of hardware too.

    However, if I was forced to choose, I could fairly easily live with just iOS:

    The sheer variety of sound creation apps is breathtaking, as is the extremely high quality of a lot of them, not to mention the affordability after the initial iPad purchase.

    The glass, while not to everyones taste (thank goodness) has been a revolutionary pleasure for me, I thoroughly enjoy creating music on glass. I can’t imagine how good it will be when we get pressure sensitive screens.

    While it might be a little more leg work, I can’t really imagine anything I can do with the desktop or hardware that I couldn’t recreate, or get very close to recreating on iOS.

    Anyway, I’m interested to hear what customisation options there are on Windows that aren’t available on Mac?

  4. synthopia, could you display amount of votes underneath the percentages? i am just curious, how many people the poll consists. thanks

  5. merging pyramix 9
    magix samplitude/sequoia v13
    rm labs sawstudio 5.1
    prism sound Sadie 6

    I think
    These are the best level DAW software
    Why works with only windows ?

  6. What’s amazing to me is that things like iPads actually have the power to do serious audio and music work!

    10 years ago, running 8 tracks of audio + MIDI could push the limits of a decent home studio computer. Now, an iMac is powerful enough to handle about anything that you could throw at it.

    What would you have to be doing to need one of the new Mac Pros?

  7. The OS doesn’t matter so much as the equipment and software that is available for it. Apple have got lots of options but Windows is hardly a desert of choice.

    I used to use Mac’s but to be honest I couldn’t afford to replace the equipment when it wore out and I wasn’t too happy about the forced obsolescence that Apple seemed to force on me sometimes. So I built my own PC, silent, very, very low latency, fraction of the cost of a Mac and I haven’t looked back. I partnered that with a focusrite scarlett 18i20 and Ableton, so I’m hardly slumming it. But I couldn’t have afforded them so easily if I’d gone Apple.

    Do I hate Macs? Well, I’ve had 7 Apple machines (laptops and desktops). So if I do, I’m covering it well:-)

  8. I’ve run the same processing-heavy Ableton 9 projects on the same Hackintosh machine running Win7 and running OS X. OS X took a little more RAM, but used WAY less CPU. That’s why I chose Mac. Also I have way less problems with plugins and drivers in general using OS X than Windows or Linux.

  9. PC user. Started with the Atari ST, then on to multiple Macs for many years. Went back to PC and never looked back. Macs are great. I just like my PC for upgrade cost and as long as my favorite tools are still running smooth. Yes my iPad is pretty sweet as an idea pad. If I go mobile again Surface Pro 4 or 5 will be the ultimate perfect solution for me.


  10. In the 90’s and mid 00’s Macs were the only serious stable and straightforward platfform to work with a DAW. In 2014, macs are just overpriced made in china computers with cool looking design.Nowadays, Im afraid that using the apple logo is more a question of brand loyalty and status over substance. My two cents of course.

  11. The tools available within OS X like CoreMIDI and the ability to create chained virtual audio interfaces won me over a few years back. I still like Windows, but I do all my audio stuff in Mavericks. It’s just more flexible than Windows.

  12. I’m on Windoze since ever, and PC has the most apps, and has had the most free synths.
    BUT Mac was and is the best platform, since it’s easy to configure for low-latency realtime and has lots of apps (including ProTools which is what I’d use if I was serious about mixing).

    In this day, it’s still hard to get below 1024 sample latency on PC. It’s really quite pathetic.

    1. Well, thanks for the attention, if not info.
      What is hard with the phrase “easy to configure”?

      On a Mac Air from work, I can enter Reason settings and set 64 samples buffer.

      On my Win8 machine at home (the former WinXP machine), there is a built-in audio card on the motherboard, which sucks, so I use my not-that-old ESI U64 USB thingy, which at least has a plug for my guitar.
      After installing Asio4All (a separate download) and reading the tip pages that explain why a USB device must always be installed in the same physical USB port, otherwise the driver won’t find the device, I still can’t get lower than 1024 samples.

      Now this is surely a moral and intellectual failing on my part, but the fact remains that one computer can do 64 samples on factory settings, and the other cannot, until I buy a more expensive separate hardware device.

      1. … please note that I’m not at all disparaging Asio4All, I’ve gratefully used it for… is that 10 years now? with 3 different soundcards, since it’s the way to get stable ASIO on windows.

        Thanks a lot to the developer!

        (- and how off-topic can *you* get?)

      2. TBH It doesn’t sound as if you are comparing like for like. But I don’t think you’ll be convinced, no matter what anyone says. That’s up to you. At the end of the day we’re all entitled to our opinions.

        From the comments on this thread it shows that there are a lot of people using Windows without any real problems. I’ve had problems with PCs and I’ve had problems with Macs. It’s part of life when you work with computers.

        I also don’t really go with the ‘straight out the box’ argument because sooner or later you will want to add something, whether you are using a PC or a Mac, and when you do this you will need to do some kind of configuration. The first time I install ASIO4ALL I looked up how to configure it properly. Equally, I remember having to search through forums to get an external audio adapter working on a Mac Book with Traktor because it kept losing it’s settings.

        No OS or hardware manufacturer can guarantee a hassle free life.

        1. As a user of both Macs and PCs for music, I find it kind of humorous how defensive fellow Windows users are about their platform of choice.

          “It’s easy to configure – all you have to do is install a high-quality sound card, download a third-party drive from a site that looks kind of skeezy, test it to see what the lowest sample rate you can get is…..”

          The benefits of Windows are cheap hardware and lots of customization options, but the bottom line is that there’s a hidden cost that goes with using Windows – your time.

          I’m much more comfortable on stage with a Mac laptop, because I know that I can open it up, in a new environment, and not have to worry about anything.

          On the other hand, I use a couple of PCs in the studio to run virtual instruments, because if you know what you’re doing and don’t need to reconfigure your system very often, you can set up a powerful virtual instrument PC fairly cheaply.

  13. I use to say that osx is the way to go when you want to work because there’s so much things built in the system that enhance the life of the “modern musician”
    But if you can be productive on another system. So be it.
    The important thing is to work in an environnement you like.
    Personnaly I wouldn’t trade os x for anything.

  14. I use windows to produce and master with. The reasons why I use Windows are.
    I like to build and replace my own stuff.
    2 I like a lot if the freeware that is out there, it’s pretty good, and a lot of it is Windows exclusive.

    But I would like to use Linux, because it is faster. But I can’t afford bitwig at the moment. So I guess I’ll have to try and get ableton to work on it.

    I have no problems with Mac, I just wish they where easier and cheaper to change parts.

  15. I started with a PC clone and Win95 (madness!), which partially explains why I took up Macs. After a poor start with another DAW, I went “D’OH!” and sensibly took on Logic. The high-level of integration with the OS makes it all but transparent to just boot up and GO. I see merits in other DAWs, but the overall stability is what keeps me on a Mac. Besides, Logic is essentially self-contained, with numerous solid instruments, an MP3 converter onboard and score-printing ability. I can see why some people would need a PC they could turbo, but as brittle as many things are, my Mac is a little oasis.

  16. Interesting how people read this poll, and where they draw “the line”. For most it’s mac/windows. For me, I have my personal preference but can easily get work done on either. I see linux/android as the polite inclusions to this poll, not because of any inherent performance issues but because they simply don’t have enough audio/music apps (nor surrounding ecosystems) to take them seriously for anything other than the occasional specific installation.

    1. Christopher,

      You’re not saying anything that I wasn’t saying even 12 months ago when one of my less-than-technical mates was asking about mobile platforms.

      I wanted Android to be good but it’s not – not yet – but it’ll get there.
      As much as I detest Apple’s gouging on prices, closed system, continual pay-as-you-go environments – not to mention the all-to-frequent port obsolescence – iOS on the other hand is a whole different ball-game.

      You need to take a look AND listen at what’s around 😉
      Go and have a look at Sonic State’s Sonic Touch series of videos.

      If you look at the numbers now, “polite inclusions” is hardly the term you can use – over two thousand members on one Facebook group alone may not be significant in terms of global population, but in terms of music production on an underpowered system which by all accounts shouldn’t do what it does do, it’s not something that you should be eager to discount 😉

      1. Yeah, I specifically avoided saying anything about iOS because it’s so polarizing that many people would disregard my other comments. I personally love what ‘s available on iOS and take it very seriously.

        As for Android, I don’t believe “it will get there” until there is some platform standardization (which is a huge conversation in itself). The engineering, deployment and support hurdles are too high vs economic return, and the tipping point was reached long ago on iOS. So that is a far less fertile garden than we could hope.

        And as for Linux? It’s great when you need a server or render farm, or maybe a custom scientific application, but for the average user it’s a no-go, and has been since the start. It’s completely functional, but there just isn’t enough software and usability options to ever be relevant, and there is zero reason to develop for it. Sure, you can run Bitwig on it (for now!), but not much else, including tons of plug ins you probably want. Even basic things like peripheral support is shaky. We would all like to tell “the man” at Apple and Microsoft to go screw himself so we could ride off into the sunset on a fine Linux war steed, but it’s just never going to happen.

  17. I’ve used Atari, Mac, Windows PCs and iPads over the years and I recently bought the new MacBook PRO Retina for use as my main music workstation. I must admit it lets me focus on music production and spend less time with technical issues. I also have a high end HP workstation (with similar specs as the MacBook) running Windows 8.1. It is more flexible (more applications, etc) but it won’t let me run more than one soundcard/interface at a time which is one of my requirememts. On the Mac I can record multi channel audio from a TR-8 into Live 9 and hear the output through my Focusrite soundcard. This did not work on the PC, sadly. I think I will keep both machines, but the MacBook will see more action for sure.

  18. I’ve been a pc builder and Windows programmer for over 20 years, and recording audio on them for over 15 years, so I’ve always gotten far more stable power out of a pc. It can be immensely powerful and completely stable if you know how. But it’s not exactly the push power and go solution, so I understand why many people wouldn’t want to have to screw with it.

    I also use iOS, but that’s all about the device. I do use OSX as well for music, but not as my primary DAW host.

    1. “I’ve been a pc builder and Windows programmer for over 20 years, and recording audio on them for over 15 years, so I’ve always gotten far more stable power out of a pc. It can be immensely powerful and completely stable if you know how. But it’s not exactly the push power and go solution, so I understand why many people wouldn’t want to have to screw with it.”


      I think the musicians that end up hating Windows are the people that buy a $400 laptop and expect it to be a reliable music powerhouse.

      You do get what you pay for, and if you want that ‘it just works’ experience that Mac users always talk about, you need to get a good Lenovo or a Dell and expect to pay about same as you would for a Mac.

      If you want to get a dirt-cheap rig that performs well, you’ll need to do some research, know your stuff and realize that you’re going to have to spend some time configuring it.

  19. I voted for Mac because that is what I have known and used for 24 years. At this present time, I’m sure other platforms have caught up in most respects.

    And each platform offers a number of resilient, work-horse DAWs, VI’s and other software. But there seem to be a huge number of very high quality software items for Mac. Has Windows completely caught up on that front? Might be. I’m just not in that world very much. The example of MOTU’s somewhat rocky port of DP to windows is probably not a good example. Even if Windows was better in some ways, I’m so invested (in terms of software purchases) that it would be very impractical to change platforms anyway.

    Another poll could inquire about DAW’s, OS’s and crash rates (1 crash per X hours),

  20. I use Vienna Ensemble Pro to link several Macs together with ethernet into an efficient orchestral rig. Two serve samples from SSDs while one Mac runs the DAW. All 64 bit, total 48 gb RAM and 16 virtual cores, most assignable to specific tasks. I’m thinking of adding an additional PC to more efficiently serve Kontakt more samples.

  21. Windows’s inherent lag for audio and MIDI w/o special drivers (ASIO) to override the OS limitations (that don’t seem to exist in other OSes) is what makes me avoid Windows for audio production. Microsoft has been aware of that for many years and just doesn’t care. My old Atari ST has less lag than a new Windows PC!

    1. Can you even buy an audio interface anymore that does NOT support ASIO???
      And if you could, that’s what ASIO4ALL was made for.

      What bizarre reasoning…

        1. At least mine was based in the real world. I’ve been using stable low latency audio interfaces with Windows for like two decades now. As have millions of other people.

  22. I’ve used Mac since 1993. I know the way it works so when I come across operating glitches, I can be up and running in very little time. I also offer support to friend on a PC and I am always amazed at the number of drivers needed for every peripheral and how there is so much room for conflict between them. I’m forced to shrug my shoulders and say….. I’m sorry I just don’t know what to suggest to get Sonar to recognise that hardware…. If it was a Mac it would automatically load and work.

  23. So, whatever wins this poll, what exactly does it mean? I go and sell my PC? What is the point of all this?
    Just like the DAW polls, so, if your DAW is not the top one, you must sell it?

    1. The goal isn’t to pick a winner, but to have a better understanding of what other readers are using and to understand why different OS’s may work better for different people.

      1. I would have to disagree. This is not the way to go about on understanding why different OS’s may work better for different people. These polls are for one thing, to make others feel victorious and others to feel defeated. Music is supposed to bring the people together. These polls divide them.

        1. I have to disagree. My platform is coming out on top, but my DAW usually ranks around #10. I’m not defensive. I’m reading these great comments and learning stuff. I really hope users of the lower ranking platforms don’t feel bad. I’m curious about the strengths of platforms I don’t have access to.

        2. how else would you gain insight into this topic? you going to have to ask what one uses, and why they use it.

          if your setup isn’t ‘optimal’ for your work, then this is a place to say why, and find solutions/alternatives. if your very happy with your config, and see others having issues, heres a place to offer some insight.

          any feeling of defeat on your part is self induced.

        3. Another aspect of the poll I find interesting is how the mobile platforms are doing.

          More than a quarter of our readers are using iOS devices, but very few consider it their platform for making music.

          So, it looks like, for a lot of readers, iOS is becoming very popular as a secondary platform.

    2. The winner of the poll gets to piss on your shoe for not embracing what they think is best. That’s the World Wide Wanker pattern, innit? I’m not exactly sure when the American eagle turned into a sociopath, but there you go. I sometimes flinch a bit when someone takes on what to ME seems like a clunky approach, but Bill Nelson made a post-Be-Bop-Deluxe career out of early Casios as a central sound. Check out “After The Satellite Sings” and be amazed. Its not the tools, its the user.

  24. For me it’s OSX, for a reason: it’s the only OS that will allow me to run the two tools that earn my bread and butter, Logic Pro and MainStage. I’ve been a Windows boy and used other DAWs but I’d rather not think of having to live in a world without those two.

    Also (and I’ll admit to not being an authority here, having owned precious few laptops) my MacBook is a real soldier. It’s on all day and never have I had an onstage crash or any serious issue, and I don’t know if all other laptops are this rugged. A friend told me a REAL horror story the other day; his Windows laptop decided to download software updates just as he was walking onstage for an gig at Hard Rock Café, a gig that unfortunately went keyboardless.

    1. Ummm…it wasn’t the laptop that made that decision, it was your friend allowing it to be automatic. In other words, a pretty basic user error.

  25. long time windows XP (tinyXP) user. I’ve had windows 8 since spring..it’s been pretty ok. I was happy enough. two days ago i spent a few hours really tweaking the operating system lowering the DPC latency and now it runs stupedously well.

    I’m running many MANY instances of U-He’s DIva in Divine mode without any hickups at 2.8ms latency on my laptop. pretty effin impressed.



  26. In the end this is all purely subjective.

    If you think one OS can’t do something you can do on yours, you just don’t know how.

    Stick with what works for you – that’s what’s “best”.

    I will say that if you aren’t willing to put some extra time into tweaking Windows for audio, you should avoid it like fire.

  27. OSX, with ableton 9 logic pro x and reaper are my main DAWS, some reason and Berna 1&@2 for modular sound design , i switched to osx in 2010 after using PCs for music since 95-96 my first music computer was a Pentium one with sound scape elite sound-card than moved to a better system on 2000s with aardvark, in my opinion i wasted more time becoming a pc tech head than making music but what i miss is the freebees all over the net for windows but again with fewer vsts i believe i am more focused now, OSX for now and in the distant future until somebody comes up with the idea of music only platform i wouldn’t mind in fact i ve few ideas if somebody is listening LOL

  28. i was a windows/XP user until 2010. it was time for a new computer and the natural progression was to a system with Windows 7. Three days & 1000 headaches later i was over trying to migrate the old stuff & install some of the new software i had just purchased. returned it for credit on a macbook & i was honestly shocked at how easy it was to set up. i had joked about the “just works” slogan & was now eating my words. same macbook 4 years later & still running strong. it’s older & has it’s limitations but it’s still so solid i don’t see myself upgrading anytime soon.

  29. I’m a mac guy (have had around 20 of them over the years for different reasons), but no PC hater, and honestly, as mentioned above, I have seen a lot more convergence in the last 10 years…(which is inevitable thanks to them using similar chips etc)… Macs can get orphaned on OS updates, but I have been running the same 4,1 mac pro tower for 5 years now, and I am not even considering getting a new machine. I got it from the refurb store beck then for like 1800$, and it has been a damn workhorse… put a 1tb ssd in it, finally upgraded ram to 32gb’s, and it ticks along just fine….
    Even as a guy who generally knows his way around computers, the simple plug and play of it is a real time saver. I’m sure I could make an awesome specced out windows machine for a fraction of the cost, but I keep hearing nightmares about drivers and ASIO etc…

    and have you ever bought a piece of software and looked at the manual for installation? It’s one paragraph for mac…or one sentence, it reads like “put in drive, or double click .pkg, and install….” whereas the windows install can be 4-8 pages with links for driver downloads and system specific stuff etc… seems like a pita… But I totally get why people use them, as they are more affordable, easily upgradable, and have come a LONG way in music since the 90’s that’s for sure !

  30. I’m exclusively iOS and even have MacBooks, laptops and all that, plus a few bits and pieces of hardware.

    Nothing beats the feel of “real ” drum pads, keys, faders, dials ( hate to call them knobs lol), and it is a lot easier to have everything right there at once unlike most iOS synths.

    But! I just now prefer a touchscreen and having all my tools in one convinient touch screen device these days.

    Having said that, my position is ultimatly that it don’t matter what you have or use, and that there is no “best” OS or method or tools. It’s what you do with what you have . The feeling behind it, the sincerity and joy of creativity.

    The so called result wether it be releasing on labels, airplay, live gigs, soundcloud action or even if u r a teenager who has an iPad who is just starting out but ( key point follows)) is truly grateful for the opportunity to own a few synths, daws or what have you, for the price of a few iTunes gift cards, is also inconsequential

    Result, or lack thereof is not as important as the act of creativity itself.

    This is the one undisputed way that iOS IS superior to any other platform, it’s a creative way that can be accessed by an unprecedented amount of people anywhere really:)

  31. Even I admit that for music production, OS X is the best. But for music hacking, Linux is the good choice. When you want to use your self designed and assembled music hardware, add features to an open source music software, or you simply don’t feel comfortable when your system has strict boundaries, then OS X or Windows simply can’t be an option.

  32. One persons bad experience and lack of knowledge can change their opinion of a product for 20 years. There isn’t a better OS for music production. They all have their advantages.
    My opinion –
    Mac for portable production (MacBooks)
    Windows for desktop power studios.
    There isn’t anything you can’t do on either

  33. I’ve had a Mac. It was forced into obsolescence within 2 years after purchasing it. EVERYTHING about it was expensive and unnecessary. I built custom PCs and have gone with windows since. It took over 12 years of custom builds (4 computers) to reach the cost of that first Mac. ALL of those machines still work. and can be useful. I gave the Mac away because it was a glorified paperweight.
    All the talk about drivers and latency is just laziness IMO. Clean your PC. Stop filling it with crap and make sure you have more than enough RAM. I have no problems.
    I can not see a reason to ever use an Apple product, except for if I have too much money and feel like wasting it.

    1. Huh..?

      I’ve had 5 macs, all of them are sill going strong. Yes they;re running older operating systems and versions of software but so what.

      I have absolutely no idea which macs are ever obsolescent after 2 years. In the UK you would be entitled to a flu refund as the product is not fit for purpose.

    2. my macbook is 8 years old, never forced into anything – especially obsolescence.
      it was $1,200 us – so you have four ~$300 pc’s? powerbangers i imagine.
      with the cost of ram now a days (GOOD ram, not the cheapest avail) i can’t imagine the components you got in there…

      sounds like kit cars, hell i got a $7000 ferrari! its a shame it has same specs as a mazda miata…

  34. A Windows PC is best for me because it’s cheaper/less intrusive/more flexible and most of my chosen audio (and video) software is PC-only: Sonar, Sound Forge, Acid, Vegas, etc. I’m still using a Q6600 with 4 gigs of RAM, built in 2008 for under $400, and it zooms along without a hiccup for MIDI and audio with dozens of tracks. I used 32-bit XP until April 2014, then upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit because the newest Vegas versions run best on 7. WD Black hard drives give me the best IO performance. I briefly used WD Greens but that was a bad decision. They’re “green” so they have low RPMs and they park a lot, making them slow.

    The prices of Mac hardware, forced Mac OS updates that unapologetically break legacy software, and the unavailability of my fave software for the Mac platform makes PCs the only real choice for me.

    I’m not bashing Macs. They work great, and they can be less confusing than PCs for people who tend to have trouble with computers. But WOW are they expensive and difficult to customize & upgrade.

  35. I currently use Win Laptop, not much in it – but I voted Mac OSX; thunderbolt, firewire (try find a laptop with firewire these days) , solid tested pipeline for software and hardware.

  36. The only reason to use a Mac these days is that Pro Tools still works better on Mac than it does on Win. This however is not a matter of the platform but of bad software design.
    For any other audio software – DAW or otherwise – I would say that both platforms are pretty equal as far as performance goes. When it comes to price though the PC is far superior to the Mac, and the same is true for the availability of different audio production products. There just is more stuff out for Windows computers in pretty much any area.
    I’ve used both, but when it’s my choice I use PC.

  37. Started with an atari st, moved over to pc and now mainly on mac with an ipad. I like the choice of software on windows and being able to build a box to my liking. With mac I mainly use logic, what I like about osx is things like wifi midi, using multiple soundcards to create an aggregate device, being built in.

    I’m just starting to move all my software and sample libraries onto windows 8 using parallels on my mbp, I like the idea of running both windows and osx as the both have their advantages, but I prefer osx, due to how flexible it is out the box.

  38. I use my Mac for work and day to day browsing. I bootcamp into windows to use Ableton because I slave Ableton to my hardware midi clock during my mainly hardware live sets and Ableton while not super amazing as a slave in windows truly sucks in OS X. I have no idea why, but, that’s the way it is. I use motu io so really I could use either OS X or windows. If it wasn’t for ableton’s super mushy syncing in OS X I probably would stay with OS X.

  39. OS doesn’t matter.. It’s a matter of personal opinion and comfort…
    Hate windows? Use Mac.. Hate Both? Use Amiga.. fat boy slim made his best stuff using Amiga.
    Hate Techno?
    Use a 4track and a bongo drum..Some of the best music was made without computers
    Michael Jackson had a synclavier
    Beatles recorded to Tape
    Delia Derbyshire used tape loops and table lamps
    use it all
    For the record I love my Mac 🙂 and iPad is great because of apps like Korg Gadget!! Making amazing shit sitting on a couch like a lazy bastard!

  40. The thing with PCs is that there are great PCs, and you can build a great PC if you know your stuff, but there are also tons of cheap-ass PCs that are never going to work well for audio.

    They really aren’t any low-end macs, so OS X users aren’t going to run into machines that have high latency, really bad performance or other types of problems like that.

  41. i like microxp under virtual box on osx. i like dos for ad-lib tracker. 🙂 i like microsoft basic on atari. 🙂 crossover for cool edit and sound forge. 🙂

    three finger drag built into osx i find makes trackpads + keyboard a great interface. i don’t think apple laptops are a bad value if you buy at the right time, usually the 1st update after apple updates due to new intel tech. core midi is great. i use apples free audio units built into the os. swift is going to be great for whipping up midi apps.

    if i had more money i’d get an actual windows machine too, but since i can only afford 1 i find apple’s machine is more easily flexible and has a lot of value added audio/midi features that save me time/$.

    back in the days of os9 + nt/98 i think you could make a case for one or the other a lot more strongly, but now especially since you can run windows on apple’s hardware, i think it’s pretty meaningless. i find osx slightly more transparent than windows, but windows 10 looks to have some really nice window management features and i’m looking forward to running that in a virtual machine on a big monitor hooked up to my laptop! 🙂

  42. I chose MacOS in the poll because it’s the most stable platform with the easiest integration route and solid hardware. I run one studio setup using MacOS and it’s by far the most rounded studio setup I manage.

    However I also do a lot of work these days on iOS as a music production platform (end-to-end – from scoring to synths to FX to DAWs to mastering – all in iPad) as well as integrating iPads into my MacOS studio rig with a couple of iConnectMIDI devices. iOS has opened up a new path of mobile creativity for me – as another commenter also described, not only because of the touch interface but also because of the immediacy and availability of the setup. Is it more limited? Yes – in some ways – for example, the DAWs are not yet as powerful. However Cubasis is very functional and my normal go-to DAW for MIDI and audio and Auria is superb for audio alone (MIDI is coming at some point) and has excellent FX plugins (esp. e.g. the FabFilter ones) at a fraction of the cost of desktop equivalents.

    Further, the cost of applications on iOS that mirror or replace desktop equivalents (such as the Arturia apps, Thor, Z3TA+, Alchemy and so on) is also a fraction of the cost of those same desktop apps. I and others have performed independent sound tests of some of those vs. both hardware and desktop VST equivalents and find few functional and acoustic differences that matter when incorporated in a mix. Additionally, there are applications designed specifically for iOS for which there are no desktop equivalents. Some of those allow an expressivity via the touch interface that is not available in any desktop apps. Good examples would be Animoog and Thumbjam – but there are plenty of others.

    I also run a studio setup using Windoze 7. I maintain it because a.) it also works for what I need it for b.) I have VSTs that are simply not available for MacOS that I use. However, I cannot integrate disparate hardware in that studio setup as easily. Non-starter. I have 7 different devices from 6 different manufacturers integrated via an aggregate in MacOS. Simply not possible even with ASIO4ALL on Windoze *and* be able to preserve all channels on all devices. That’s not altogether Windoze’ fault – it also lies at the door of the devices drivers from the hardware manufacturers. Nevertheless – it means I do not use Windoze for that deeper hardware integration.

    I’ve toyed with Linux for music production over the years, but the support is not there for the variety of soft synths, sound libraries and FX that I use on both MacOS and Windoze. I am a die-hard Linux lover in other areas though – have used it since ’93. I do use MuseScore on Linux however.

    I tried with Android – I really did. But whereas I have over 500 Audiobus compatible apps available to me on iOS, I have a handful on Android. I *do* use Android in a studio environment, – as a controller via TouchDAW – which is excellent.

    I work with acoustic instruments, analog synths, virtual analog synths and other sound sources as well. I incorporate what works where it works best. 🙂 Sometimes I mix ’em all up together 😀

  43. I use iOS exclusively. The portability and the exponentially lower cost of apps and hardware make it the best possible solution for me. In addition, with the handful of apps that take advantage of all of a device’s sensors (TC-Data for example), there are things you can do on iOS that simply aren’t feasible on any other OS.

    Of course, I’m a little biased since I run Apptronica 😉

  44. iOS for me primarily due to the ease & speed of getting down demo-quality tracks and without a steep learning curve or the technology getting in the way of inspiration. I like using GarageBand on my iPad 3 with various apps via Audiobus…the perfect platform for my needs which is creating original instrumentals that are posted to social media music sharing sites.

    1. Couldn’t say it better! Hate the player not the game, and if you’re searching for something because you just can’t get it right, it’s in you…not in some piece of gear or software! so save your money and time!

  45. I use windows 8.1 Embedded Industry Professional becuase it is by far the most efficient operating system avaliable and has automatic optimization that simply isn’t found in other operating systems. The memory and CPU management maximizes efficiency while not compromising performance. I suggest eveyone try it with their favorite DAW and see what its like to get the most out of your computer.

    1. So how is ASIO easier than not ASIO, same goes with JACK. Being an OSX, iOS, and Ubuntu user (Windows never for audio), Core Audio may be the best thing Apple has ever made. Configuration what?! That’s what PureData is for.

  46. OSX primarily but other os’s (if thats a word) have very powerful applications that are indispensable. For instance I use Ableton Live & Protools on the mac, while using Smithson Martin Emulator/NI Traktor on the PC (+ touchscreen) & love the Animoog on the i-phone. Use what ever u have, it matters not what produces the results.
    “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol

  47. I use Windows since it was the first OS i ever user at school. For now no Mac cause for same cash have more powerful machine. On the other hand if You use Windows You have to know a little customizations and have a problem solving attitude. This makes Windows more Open but also more difficult to manage for my point of view.

  48. Despite having capability to do music on any/all the mentioned platforms I have found the portability of mobile devices along with the amazing quality of iOS music apps has made me use iOS pretty much exclusively for music production.

    Apart from a few niggles for iOS 8 (which I for now have chosen not to update to) it is amazing how easy it is to send both sound and midi between apps as well as control it all with external hardware (keyboards etc).

    That is obviously true of win/osx too, but there the software cost at least 10 times as much as on iOS, and more often than not, 20 – 100 times as much.

    Just my $0.02.

  49. My main workhorse is a MacBook Pro late 2008 version running Logic Pro 9. Works very well even now and the only think I upgraded to it was the RAM from the original 2 to 8 (not officially supported but the Snow Leopard 6.8 version allowed for such an upgrade and works without a hitch). In contrast before that I had a ACER 17″ laptop whose motherboard died after one and a half years. So for stability’s sake I went for the MacBook Pro.
    That being said I have a PC desktop (which I got from work earlier this year because they were upgrading and were throwing the old ones anyway) on which I try all the free synths and music programs exclusive to Windows (and to play old PC games for the sake of nostalgia). And if I’m on the run I’d use the iPhone to sketch melodies and experiment with the synths. Basically I wouldn’t shun a platform if I have the means and possibility to get it and offers me something the others don’t.

  50. I use Apple Mac 13″ 2010 MacBook Pro and OSX 10.7.5. Logic 9. 2x iPads. The past several years, at times, I’ve run up against the audio processing limits of my four year old laptop. I will upgrade to an iMac next year.

    I was much more an Apple fanboy ten years ago. Nowadays, whatever gets the job done, and, whatever rewards the often substantial investment.

    Apple has really made their hardware/software combination more aggravating over the past five years, (and I’ve been using Apple since 1984.) I would put it this way: by making it simpler in their eyes, they’ve made it more kludgy in my use. Yet, one adapts to the quirks no matter what is their favored system.

    Love the touch paradigm on iPad/IOS. Will surely pick-up an iPad Pro next year.

  51. I’ve created music using everything from reel-2-reels, Commodore 64’s, porta-studios both digital and analogue. Samplers, PC’s, cheap vs expensive equipment.

    I’ve even DIY’ed electronic traditional spring reverbs, monophonic synthesizers etc etc.

    Going over to a iOS powered portable studio solution I have discovered music in a way that makes it feel like I’m starting all over again. And it is freakin fun!

    I’m experiencing wonders, and inspiring moments of creativity every single time I open an app.

    The diverse selection of new tools makes it hard for me not being creative, and new wonderful affordable apps are continuously being added to the platform.

    Thanks to apps like Audiobus, AudioCopy and AudioShare and Dropbox integration, iOS musicians never have to touch a computer to transfers files using USB connection, adding to a “everything-you-need-in-the-box” feeling.

    I now produce my music using iOS devices and apps solely. I love traditional, but I’m never ever going back to it. Making music like this is way more fun!

    Just check this out:

    Jakob Haq
    iOS musician

    Stockholm, Sweden

      1. Nothing beats adjusting the size of assembly language loops for a DEC PDP-10 mainframe, using the electromagnetic interference of branch instructions to generate tones on a nearby AM radio. Also, punch cards sound so much better than programs loaded off of tape. You floppy using newbies have no taste at all, what with your hipster haircuts and rotating magnetic media.

        1. Never did PDP-10, so you win. But I did have to write one (Fortran) program on punch cards. And I did write some DEC VAX assembly. Also, once flew out to (somewhere near Boston) to do a contract for Novell in a HUGE old DEC building. Apparently that area is littered with old DEC buildings the way the Bay Area is littered with old Yahoo! Buildings.

    1. Our national Wang managers tried to start a servicing campaign. The slogan they chose without checking was : “Wang Cares”.

      True story!

      I used to program HP85 calculators for fun. You could get the 40-column thermal printer to sing if you hand-cut the delay loops on the paper advance, with the tape transport providing the beat.

      Mmm, sequential media. Mmmm…

  52. These days I try to avoid making music with Daws, but sure Windows serves me way better, I’ve never liked working with macs and mac software, I love working on iOs though, it’s really nice and definitely more inspiring. That’s for recording, when it comes to fine tuning things I use sonar.

  53. I use Macs, primarily because I began on a Mac Plus when I started working for Mort Subotnick in 1986. By the time Windows became a viable alternative, it was too much of an expense and hassle to consider moving to another system. Ditto for Linux and IOS.

  54. Personally I find the hands-on ease of use. low price and quality of IOS synth apps really compelling, but I haven’t found a DAW that I really like on the platform, so have to revert to a laptop for that – the only exception being KORG’s gadget, but I can’t use external synths with that.

  55. I have recorded on multiple Apple products , Their laptops &desktops, which includes home studios to a professional recording studio, as a keyboardist i always get pissed off by latency issues while running a synth vsti. IT IS A MYTH THAT MAC DOESNT HAVE LATENCY/DOESNT HANG !!! If you excuse the processors, then windows do an equally good job. I dont just teach singing and play in bands but i also teach Keyboards Exclusively at my institutes &as a free-lancer, The softwares that allow me to write good sheet music work at exact same efficiency on both windows and mac, though lack of simple Keys on keyboard makes me use the Mouse again and again on mac (i know about command vs window’s control, look at the keyboard before you preach). The most common reason for macx was Logic pro but again programming or writing sheets as “desired” when its too technical and polyrhythmic is way backwards than many other softwares which run equally good on other os like windows and linux which makes a mac for me as a strict no aince it also makes many of my other softwares non-compatibles. i Pad on the other hand is better than any other tablet, but you can not do strict disciplined controlled and heavy composition or recording in tablets as on a desktop. So Windows.

  56. Although I’m not a fan of Apple’s business model, I would in the past have chosen OSX. Unfortunately some pieces of essential hardware for my MRes are now no longer compatible for no apparent reason so I don’t even have the choice about switching :/

  57. can we all agree that virtualization and multiple operating systems are wonderful? 🙂

    i think my biggest complaint with operating systems today is that they are too similar. it’s kinda like coming up with ideas, sometimes it happens while working hard, sometimes it happens while day dreaming or walking around or driving or a million other things. i want more types of experiences with tools, not one best.

  58. I thought iOS was cheap until i figured out that i had to wait for 14 months for most apps to get decent midi and then Apple dropped support for my iPad One just a matter of months after my system started to be able to work. It all turned out to be much more expensive than my MPC with a computer i built.

  59. My first computer was an Atari 400 back in 1979. (I was 10.) My first experience with MIDI sequencing was a Commodore 64 with Dr. T’s KCS in 1984. I then graduated to an Amiga 500. Then for a long time, I was just using hardware sequencers. (Alesis MMT-8, Roland W-30.) Then, a PC with Cakewalk in 1995, and then I discovered Logic in 2000. Then Apple acquired Emagic in 2001 and dropped PC support but I stuck with the final version (5.1) for 7 more years until I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally made the jump to a Mac in 2008. I actually went Mac just so I could have a current version of Logic. Now, 6 years later, I can’t even tolerate using a PC. OS X is ideal for me.

  60. Personal experience, rather than speculation, is what truly matters. Miraculously, most musicians here have some humility, and aren’t trolling each other about their ideals.
    My experience with music production started on Linux, then Windows, then Mac OS X. I moved to Windows to have access to the software available in the commercial market. I moved to Mac OS X to take advantage of the Unix speed and reliability.
    The moment of truth for me happened while performing a show using a Windows machine, and having the USB MIDI devices have an issue. I tuned everything to not allow USB power saving to disconnect the devices… but no matter what, eventually USB devices would disconnect from my DAW.
    A friend showed me how Mac OS X and DAWs running on it allow USB devices to disconnect and reconnect without restarting the DAW.
    That’s absolutely priceless to a digital performing artist.
    I’ve used iOS for performing and producing, and the peripheral hardware compatibility isn’t quite solid yet. Connecting to external audio interfaces via the 30 pin or Lightning connector has it’s issues. Also, with only 1GB of RAM, at most, apps commonly crash.

  61. My music Production starts with musical instruments, then a Mac. Ok….. right now it’s just logic, Pro Tools and my Mac. If I had extra time I would record my instruments and start making music. My iPad would be for performing.

  62. For me ios platform is just magical to work with 🙂 with quneo this is really powerfull and my fav music tool 🙂 i used windows from xp to 7 gamer edition( best for music ) last years and i really cant say a bad thing about it 🙂 of course i had many issues and problems to set up windows for my studio purposes as it is now, but finally i will move to osx for new exploring experimens 🙂 keeping my duty win 7

  63. I switched to mac (for making music) when Intel macs came out. The reason was simple – I wanted to start using LogicPro. When I had something to do on Windows, even though I mostly have good memories about it, there’s always something wrong. Drivers don’t work correctly or any other weird problems. Perhaps because I run Windows on a Mac, but why should it matter? The fact that everything is easier to configure on a PC doesn’t make sense to me, you never know which hardware works out best, which video cards won’t start causing problems with IRQ etc. I like the way I almost never have to think about the system but instead I could focus on making the stuff I do.

    1. THIS.

      A few weeks ago I started trying to configure a WIndows 8 laptop for someone to use as an Ableton host onstage while they use a midi keyboard to control all their synths. It was just NOT dependable enough.

      First, always having to restart Ableton when I plug in the keyboard is a hassle.

      Second, the audio driver in Windows 8 is complete shit, or at least how it was on the new laptop given to me for that reason. I installed Ableton and it worked perfectly fine while I was setting it up. I show up to rehearsal, turn on the laptop and all of a sudden the audio driver is gone and the speakers in the laptop are somehow “not connected”. No audio.
      I looked up the proper audio driver for the laptop, uninstalled the version on the laptop and tried updating to the newest compatible driver until the driver installer quit out and says it is not possible to install.

      2 days later that laptop is now doing nothing and we have switched over to a couple year old Macbook Pro. Within 2 hours we had Ableton and VSTs installed, keyboard mapped, and ready to use.


  64. IOS for choice and cost-effectiveness. The simplicity of many apps takes me back to before a time where I’m told I have to have a very expensive studio to be creative. I’m not talking about the difference between a track summed in Auria and one done on an expensive console, I mean having fun, interacting with virtual instruments to make sounds and finishing arrangements/mixes that I’m satisfied with.

    I will add these caveats, though – and this is probably as much a reflection of the way I do things as the limitation of the medium… file management on IOS could be easier, and I definitely want to see a lot more processing headroom on the new devices – it doesn’t take long for my iPad mini to choke up. I am hoping the latter invites more users in and we can see the audio/MIDI peripherals available improve in range and quality. Of course, I am open to recommendations…

  65. it depends by the hardware. Today it’s impossible to find in the Windows world a laptop with the same Mac Book Pro retina features.
    I would like to buy a similar PC product but it doesn’t exist.
    Also I own an UAD Apollo with Thunderbolt. Also I connected to the Mac Pro via thunderbolt a 4K monitor. I can’t have this setup on a Windows laptop.


  66. I use Mac since I’m also a graphic designer and used to it. Nevertheless I think that both Mac and Windows platforms provide comparable DAWs and performance. It’s just what you’re familiar with. Since the passing-by of Steve Jobs I see an increasing decay of Apples individuality and – more problematic – of it’s useability. Looking at the new OS X Yosemite, I fear the day when you can buy the all new Mac OS X “Bill Gates”. Back to Music: I think a Mac is still the better option unless you’re a crack in configuring all your hardware components for a good PC setup. And last but not least, I don’t want to miss Logic for my way of music production. IMHO it’s a great piece of DAW which comes at a price-value-ratio. It’s stable, versatile and very powerful. Yo, it’s still a Mac.

  67. I use Win 7 64 bit on desktop, Mac OSX on laptop and ios on ipad for soft synths. They are all equally good for their purposes. Windows has more home brew synths and plugins for fresh inspiration while composing, my MacBook Pro is more sturdily built than any comparable PC laptop for touring, iOS has great sound making toys for playing. Choosing a ‘best’ is a totally sterile question and entirely irrelevant to the process of creating music. You can get great results from any of them if you put in the effort to learn your software’s abilities. What is definitely not true is that Mac OSX is still in any meaningful sense ‘better’. It was, back when the competition was Win98, and in those days I used OS9 and early versions of OSX for music production, but nowadays there’s absolutely no difference.

  68. I use Windows, OSX and iOS. Windows at work, where I run Reaper. I make radio promos. I’ve been using reaper for the last 5 years mostly on XP and recently Win7. it has been brilliant. Super stable. At home I run reaper and reason on Mac, and on the bus it’s iOS. All are great, but if I had to choose one, it would be Mac. There seems to be a lot less fuss on a Mac. Things just work. That’s not to say I haven’t had problems. I have, but in general I think it’s a more user friendly system. That’s my experience anyway.

  69. MacOS for many years, adding iOS for the last two. Very happy, very stable. Many of the iOS apps are fun and exciting and often surprising, and help shake up my composition process.

  70. No love for linux 🙂
    I think it is a tradeoff between much you’re willing to spend and how much you’re willing to tweak before you actually get music out. Even my “normal” friends can amke something decent with garageband. Windows, my choice, maybe in between the money/effort tradeoff. Linux is free, but I hated it because of the time wasted just configuring the programs to output sound (wtf?!) plus the fact that the os is obsolete and incompatible with the latest audio software in a years time. Plugging a midi device to an ipad is just mindblowing! And I don’t think there would be (standardized) midi io in android anytime soon.

  71. I use :
    – MacOS on a Mac mini (quadcore i7, 16Go Ram) for Ableton Live and Logic Pro, and on a MacBook Pro (processor i5) for Serato DJ ;
    – IOS on an iPad 1 for TouchAble and Lemur (Ableton controllers) and on an iPad 3 for AniMoog (which almost plays on all my tracks).
    I switched to Apple OS five years ago for music and I really don’t regret : configurations easier and more stability.

  72. I use :
    MacOS on a Mac mini (quadcore i7, 16Go Ram) for Ableton Live and Logic Pro, and on a MacBook Pro (processor i5) for Serato DJ ;
    IOS on an iPad 1 for TouchAble and Lemur (Ableton controllers) and on an iPad 3 for AniMoog (which almost plays on all my tracks).
    I switched to Apple OS five years ago for music and I really don’t regret : configurations easier and more stability.

  73. first i’m not a pro musician. i barely earn some money with my music.
    so windows here yes. and i love it
    tons of free synths, free software. easely you can find a workflow that fits in your needs. theres synthedit, synthmaker that i love
    15 years producing and never got some fatal error that insanely could make me lose money. mybase because i have some background knowledge on IT. thats my main job.
    tried hard iOS but i never will try again. cant produce on the bus, park or lunch time. this such mobility didnt work for me. Also workflow is really boring for my needs . Something i do with few clicks on win it take me ages to do on iOS.

  74. I didn’t vote because imho the choice of OS is too closely related to what hardware you use (and I mean both computer hardware and audio hardware as in interface/mixer/etc) and what your trying to acomplish. A one man acoustic band of voice and one instrument has different needs then a pro engineer that needs to do live recording of a symphonic orchestra. Likewise many people will choose the software based on whats available for their current platform.

  75. Win7 X32-64, mainly because it is WAY more affordable than Mac in every respect, both software AND hardware….never had a problem using a PC.

    Now Linux IS coming up in the audio world, but it’s lack of a solid Midi platform that supports VSTi’s is a deal breaker for a lot of us. AV Linux has carried Linux farther into the Audio World as a usable platform, but it still lacks a lot…

  76. I’ve been making music since around, hmmm? 1985 I reckon. I’ve made music almost every way possible, from making tape loops and cut mixes on an old tape to tape Toshiba, to hooking up my friend’s father’s Technics hifi, an old Yamaha drum machine, a Realistic reverb box to a cheap Hama mixer via all sorts of leads and jacks, all tangled up in a Heath-Robinson affair, just so I could create SOMETHING on an almost zero budget.

    I remember buying a big chunky cardboard boxed piece of software called Music X, which I ran on my old Amiga. I used to get audio into the Amiga via some clunky little add-on audio interface which plugged into on of the pinned ports on the back. It was so frustrating, because inside my head, bursting to be let out was a wealth of ideas and creativity. If you’d have left me alone in Sarm West Studios at the age of 10 in 1985, with a Fairlight, I know I would’ve been able to make my musical ideas come to life just as good as the pioneers of the day, but as most of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s will relate, the equipment, especially if you were an unknown little boy with only enough money to buy a can of Coke and some sweets, was hard to get your hands on.

    I’ve used all sorts of gear over the years, mainly hardware synths and workstations, Korg Triton, Casio samplers, MicroKorg, Yamaha synths. Up until recently I’ve always used Windows PC’s running Cubase and every soft synth under the sun, and they’re really amazing these days. I’m posting this comment on a MacBook Pro, which I’m slowly filling up with software, and I’ve also got an iMac sitting next to my old and on-it’s-last-legs Windows PC in my home studio. I’m about to buy Native Instruments Komplete 10 Ultimate, and am considering the Komplete Control keyboard, or maybe an Arturia Micro/MiniBrute or similar. I’ve also been considering treating myself to a Moog Voyager synth, but keep convincing myself it’s too much money when the Arturia virtual Moog is so damn close to the real one.

    To answer (I do like to talk, sorry) I believe you should use whatever you feel good using. If you find a set up and a combination of hardware/software, whatever the quality, if it gives you pleasure and freedom in creating the sounds and ideas in your head, that’s all that matters.

    Happy music making x

  77. Have you tried Ubuntu Studio? If you can imagine getting Windows or Mac OS with all the audio, video and art production software you can want for free, it would be worth checking it out. It runs from a DVD in your current computer if you want to test it or remain portable (try that with Windows or Mac) or you can cut out just a small partition and lay it in there as a dual boot. Not saying it’s better or worse but it is powerful, highly refined over years, and available for the time it takes to download.

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