I’ll admit it- I’m a Mac guy. Yeah, look at my picture and I look more like the PC guy in the commercial, but trust me, if you are doing music technology- there are so many reasons to use a mac. In our alternative music class we have begun our next project which involves doing a cover of a song or composing one of your own (it’s much deeper than that, but for the purposes of this post I’ll leave it at that) I have the Korg PadKontrol plugged into a HP dual-core laptop and running SampleTankXL 2.1. You can see a video of my students using the PadKontrol in the video widget in the right sidebar.
They were really going along fine, then they ran into a frustration- the loops that they were triggering were “hiccuping” intermittently. They spent about 30min. troubleshooting before they came and got me. I had my cell phone handy, so I asked another student to video. I worked on it for another 30min. and came to the conclusion that it was the sound card! How did I find that out? I decided to run the same project on my PowerBook G4 and what do you know, it worked flawlessly!
That was one whole hour of time wasted that those students could have been creating and working, but for a cheap sound card- stopped them dead in their tracks! I won’t even get into how much more difficult it was to install drivers for the PadKontrol on the PC (Windows XP)! The moral of the story is that you get what you pay for. The HP computer they are working on in the video is just fine for internet and other basic tasks. It also does fairly well with video and is a reasonably fast machine (processor) but the sound card is CHEAP, therefore NOISY and very unpleasant to work with. My older Mac however has a very fine sound output, and while it is slower than the XP machine (quite a bit actually) it is still my machine of choice (until I can get a new MacBook Pro like they have been promising me!)
Beware- just because your school tech person says that it is a fine machine that should do what you want it to, and the district loves it because it is such a “value”- do your research!! What might seem like a bargain at first could end up to be a headache.