Mac as a Home Studio Platform

Wogg studio falls into a significant and growing segment of the studio market, those that are build for personal use, not for profit, and generally done on a tight budget.  This market is led by performance for your dollar and at the center of the studio is the computer you choose to run your software on.

While high end Mac Pro systems attached to dedicated Pro Tools hardware may rule the high end studio setups for the foreseeable future, the average Joe isn’t in the market for a $10,000 + setup and has to step it back a bit.  This is where the Apple route starts to hit some heavy competition on the Windows side.


Take a quick look at the latest Apple earnings and the material being published by Apple.  Their focus these days is squarely on gadgets with the Mac’s and OSX getting almost a secondary treatment.  From a business perspective this makes perfect sense.  Apple is making money hand over fist with iOS, its gadgets, and related iTunes app purchases.  So naturally a business designed to make money is going to focus where the money is.  At this time, it’s not their computers.

Hardware Refreshes

The focus on where the money is manifests itself in slow updates to the core components in the Mac lineup.  Intel’s latest Core processors have been available for a few years now in the i7, then the i5 and i3.  It was just this past March when they finally appeared in the Macbook Pro lineup, a full 6 months after they appeared in PC laptops.  But take a look at the non-pro versions, the air, iMac, and mini lineups… all of which are still carrying the now antique Core 2 processors, and typically for the same price you can find a much more powerful Core i3/i5 system on the dark side.  That leaves an awful large gap in their lineup, handily filled by PC vendors on the Windows side.

To be fair, the high end lineup of Mac’s are still well designed machines with decent values compared to the PC world.  The Mac Pro is uber powerful, and decently priced for the machine you get.  Likewise, the Macbook Pro line is very well designed and reasonably cost competitive to similar PC models (even if they do get hot enough to cook an egg in your lap)  Of course to get decent parity on value, you’re going to have to step above that $1,000 price point (or way above for a Mac Pro).

The Old Arguments are New Again

I written about this, and so have others.  Windows has it’s problems, as does Macintosh. In reality the differences are still small, and ultimately both are just tools to get the job done.  So as I’ve said before, much of this decision comes down to simple preference.


So based on these points:

  • Apple is increasingly focused on iOS gadgets over Mac computers
  • The low to middle budget categories ($1,000 and under) are not covered by Apple’s Mac lineup

Here’s a quick makeshift decision matrix for which route to go:

Go with a Mac

  • I currently use a Mac based recording software package
  • I currently have peripherals like my audio interface that work best on Mac
  • I have a budget of well over $1,000 for a computer, hate to fuss with them, and like good industrial design
  • I simply hate PC’s and won’t change

Get a Windows PC

  • I currently use a Windows based recording software package
  • I currently have peripherals like my audio interface that work fine on Windows
  • I want the cheapest setup I can get without sacrificing too much speed
  • I want to use the latest and greatest components as soon as the come off the manufacturing line
  • Not only am I not afraid of  computer parts, I enjoy the smell of a freshly cracked open ESD bag