New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
Ustun
KVRist
47 posts since 7 Jul, 2008

Post Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:52 am

Hello,

First of all, I'm a bit anxious of starting another Mac vs. PC topic but I really need to choose one on this week.

For the last few years, especially after those portless MacBook Pros, I was quite sure that my next workstation computer will be a Windows system because I'm just frustrated about how Apple develops their hardware and OSX. It's not that much logical anymore to pay that much for Macs nowadays, I was thinking, from my limited experience of Windows 10 systems - I'm on mac for 12 years now - it looks quite stable. So, my idea was having a custom PC as my production computer and a MacBook Pro, which I have, as my live performance computer - since OSX is more stable, could be a manipulation of my subconscious by Apple (: -. Besides my MacBook is not powerful enough for my Live projects and hardly enough for my live Live projects, I want my live performance computer free of daily applications.

And then, the new Mac Mini announced. A lot of ports, great soldered CPU, soldered hard drive ):, etc, you know the deal. And I got confused again, it's still expensive but not that much expensive comparing to a pro level Mac, quite powerful - more power then enough for me.

So my question is, what would you prefer and why? A custom Windows system which means cheaper price, probably more power, upgradeable system, Windows (different platforms with my live computer), etc? A mac mini, more expensive, less power, no upgrades to cpu and hard drive, OSX (same platform with my live computer), better sounding Core Audio drivers (could be an urban legend, not sure), stability?

I work with Ableton Live and Max so my software works on both platforms.

If you can just list your pros and cons about this, I'd be really appreciate that.

Thanks in advance.

Üstün

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:33 am

During the limited time I had been using it OSX wasn't more stable than Windows. Hardware upgrades were difficult, I even recall needing to flash rom to an Nvidia 8800 produced for PC because the official Mac version had a funny price tag.
That was a long time ago. Today things might be different but based on your description it looks worse:Soldered CPU, soldered hard drive and more expensive. There is nothing to be confused here, go and buy a PC:)
~stratum~

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
17529 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:48 pm

I bought the new MBP. It's unbelievably fast. I don't' know why the Core Audio would sound better, but the drivers are probably a lot better than they were a decade ago, in my experience. I only have the anecdotal 'evidence', but when my audio interface [RME Fireface] broke, I experienced the need for drastically higher buffers and latency using the onboard audio of my Mac Pro, early 2009. 4.1. Now, I have really nice performance, better than I ever have by far. But it wasn't that special under the RME anyway. Cubase. Cubase probably has dramatically improved in these years as well.

I shopped and asked questions about the need for an audio interface just to use vi's, not needing any audio input at all. I never came away with a persuasive argument for it, and was advised not to spend money by people who are in the business of selling me the hardware.

Recently someone here told me to believe what I want. I don't have a belief. I don't think I want to throw money at it as though a problem since I'm not seeing it as a problem. YMMV.
I used to have a strong belief in the need to have 'good drivers' which mean 'better performance' per se. The arguments presented in that thread were from GS forum and a thread purely regarding Windows benchmarks. :shrug: I don't know anything.

"There is nothing to be confused..." Sure, the only factors are hardware. You turned a positive into a negative because of updatability. Well, granted it looks like a PITA to get inside a Mac box these days. I've seen that there are videos with instructions but I prefer not. I regret not getting more storage than 1TB.

All the things I see, all the questions I see here - just now, whether or not someone should dare use the current Windows OS in preference to something from several years ago - all of the issues of the registry and run as administrator issues, all of the issues which do not exist on OSX on a Mac simply vanish?
I would never use it. Maybe others don't have that problem.

I had money and a great need in September, and the Mini wasn't out then. The new generation, the i9 (I didn't research it fully just now, but I saw 'latest generation quad core') anyway (I got the 6-core) is really happening. I put 32GB in with the fastest clock and 'turbo' something so I was not trying to buy 2 or more TB.

So I would gauge it vs Windows, if I didn't detest windows, on specs I suppose. Price, I don't know how crucial that is. I was happy to blow it on this system, it's row row row your boat/life is but a dream, mostly.

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:22 am

I prefer big boxes inside which you can install a dozen hard drives. Not that I need that many, for now four suffices, well, because right beside that box there is another which has three hard drives. One of those boxes has two different operating systems, and the other three, if we don't count the ones that are installed in virtual machines. The old Mac pro would fit this usage scenario. Nowadays only ATX PC cases do.
~stratum~

chk071
KVRAF
18865 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:26 am

Stupid question: Do external audio interfaces use CoreAudio or ASIO on Mac OS?

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:54 am

Apparently ASIO isn't in use in MacOS. The sole reason ASIO exists is the fact that Microsoft was never interested in proaudio until very recently and they didn't have anything suitable until WDM drivers. Since they didn't care, somebody else had to solve the problem. This situation was different in MacOS because Steve Jobs was personally interested in proaudio applications since the very early days of MacOS. That's the reason of existence of the myth that Macs are better for proaudio. It was historically true. Nowadays it doesn't really matter.
~stratum~

chk071
KVRAF
18865 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:09 am

Thanks. :tu:

I always thought CoreAudio was merely for the integrated sound chip in Macs, and that audio interfaces used ASIO anyway.

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:16 am

No it's just a properly designed software interface.
~stratum~

Garzita
KVRist
113 posts since 25 Jul, 2005 from Vancouver, Canada

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:46 pm

Hi,
I iust want to share that like you, I was struggling with the prospect of buying a 2018 MacMini and have my usb/firewire interfaces not performing up to standard, or the fact that Apple will.move away from Intel chips and merge OS with iPads, iPhones, etc. thus locking down even more on what you can install.
So, after 5 Macs and being an exclusive pro audio Mac guy since 1998, I switched to Windows last week. I had no excuse, all my plugins are in Windows vst format now, my interfaces would work with no need of adapters/dongles (well, except the firewire, serves me right to jump on a bandwagon only for it to be dropped by its champion) plus the price point. I saved $1,200 dollars, same specs as the top of the line Mac Mini I was thinking of getting.
I researched how to optimize my Win10 system and this machine is not going online at all lol I will use my iPad mini and iMac for online life now.
The future of the Pro Audio community in a Mac environment seems pretty bleak, I went through the PowerPC to Intel transition and I wish Apple had managed it better. So many plugins and audio software were rendered useless, it was the equivalent of the Thanos finger snap... only reason I keep my old eMac in the basement. I don't think I could do it again
But then a strange fear gripped me
and I just couldn't ask....

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
17529 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:02 pm

chk071 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:09 am
I always thought CoreAudio was merely for the integrated sound chip in Macs, and that audio interfaces used ASIO anyway.
If it's a Steinberg deal, the connection is still 'ASIO Driver', connecting to the onboard audio is through that. I used to use RME, which is ASIO drivers. I used it for Logic. :shrug: I'd assume there is like a wrapper.

Digidesign touts Core Audio drivers but I couldn't tell you anything.

bill45
KVRAF
2347 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:33 pm

jancivil wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:02 pm
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:09 am
I always thought CoreAudio was merely for the integrated sound chip in Macs, and that audio interfaces used ASIO anyway.
If it's a Steinberg deal, the connection is still 'ASIO Driver', connecting to the onboard audio is through that. I used to use RME, which is ASIO drivers. I used it for Logic. :shrug: I'd assume there is like a wrapper.

Digidesign touts Core Audio drivers but I couldn't tell you anything.
Jan what is your current audio interface?

ZenEagle
KVRer
6 posts since 16 Mar, 2019

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:57 am

I've recently headed in the opposite direction of several of the commenters here: long term Windows 10 PC user, just now switching to Mac for the first time in my production life.

I received my 2018 Mac Mini just a week ago and it's been nothing but a pleasure to use so far. I'm a long time iPad/iPad Pro music production fan as well, having invested over 1k in iOS apps and plugins over the years, but I just never could get it to integrate nicely with my win10 box, Even with dedicated hardware, (iConnectMidi4++) I'd experience audio dropouts after just a few minutes of streaming.

Unlike on windows, using multiple audio interfaces as an aggregate device is natively supported on Mac -- even iPad is recognized as an audio/midi interface, not a single hiccup so far, which exponentially increases the usefulness of my iPad and iPhone w/ my setup.

Using the same amount of ram as my old box (16gb) , though the CPU I configured (6 core i7 4.6ghz turbo - 8700b) seems like more of a substantial upgrade over my old i7 3770k than benchmarks would have had me believe. CPU hogs like Softube Modular, which once pushed my system to audio dropout territory (70+ % usage on certain presets) now barely top 30-40%, leaving plenty of breathing room on the most intense factory patches.

I honestly couldn't be happier with the Mini .. I feel like I have no more artificial constraints on anything I want to do creatively. There's nothing more frustrating than having constant audio issues, which may have been the result of picking parts that conflicted with others when I built the system. If I were to ever get a windows machine again, I'd definitely go with an already configured box, perhaps from a company that specializes in building pro-audio computers. I hope Apple stays relevant in this scene though, I'm definitely a new fan on the desktop front.

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
17529 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:46 am

bill45 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:33 pm
jancivil wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:02 pm
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:09 am
I always thought CoreAudio was merely for the integrated sound chip in Macs, and that audio interfaces used ASIO anyway.
If it's a Steinberg deal, the connection is still 'ASIO Driver', connecting to the onboard audio is through that. I used to use RME, which is ASIO drivers. I used it for Logic. :shrug: I'd assume there is like a wrapper.

Digidesign touts Core Audio drivers but I couldn't tell you anything.
Jan what is your current audio interface?
Onboard this computer. I'm all inside the box. I tried to buy one but my Sweetwater guy told me it wouldn't change my life for the better much given that. I don't really know what has to happen for Mac, but RME is really geared to windows and Steinberg has little or no interest in Core Audio. The last one I had was Steinberg, its drivers meant absolutely nothing as far as lower latency.

bill45
KVRAF
2347 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:47 am

ZenEagle wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:57 am
I've recently headed in the opposite direction of several of the commenters here: long term Windows 10 PC user, just now switching to Mac for the first time in my production life.

I received my 2018 Mac Mini just a week ago and it's been nothing but a pleasure to use so far. I'm a long time iPad/iPad Pro music production fan as well, having invested over 1k in iOS apps and plugins over the years, but I just never could get it to integrate nicely with my win10 box, Even with dedicated hardware, (iConnectMidi4++) I'd experience audio dropouts after just a few minutes of streaming.

Unlike on windows, using multiple audio interfaces as an aggregate device is natively supported on Mac -- even iPad is recognized as an audio/midi interface, not a single hiccup so far, which exponentially increases the usefulness of my iPad and iPhone w/ my setup.

Using the same amount of ram as my old box (16gb) , though the CPU I configured (6 core i7 4.6ghz turbo - 8700b) seems like more of a substantial upgrade over my old i7 3770k than benchmarks would have had me believe. CPU hogs like Softube Modular, which once pushed my system to audio dropout territory (70+ % usage on certain presets) now barely top 30-40%, leaving plenty of breathing room on the most intense factory patches.

I honestly couldn't be happier with the Mini .. I feel like I have no more artificial constraints on anything I want to do creatively. There's nothing more frustrating than having constant audio issues, which may have been the result of picking parts that conflicted with others when I built the system. If I were to ever get a windows machine again, I'd definitely go with an already configured box, perhaps from a company that specializes in building pro-audio computers. I hope Apple stays relevant in this scene though, I'm definitely a new fan on the desktop front.
Great, keep us posted on how you are doing with this what audio interface are you using?

bill45
KVRAF
2347 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: New Mac Mini - PC, Windows 10, OSX, can't choose..

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:48 am

jancivil wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:46 am
bill45 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:33 pm
jancivil wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:02 pm
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:09 am
I always thought CoreAudio was merely for the integrated sound chip in Macs, and that audio interfaces used ASIO anyway.
If it's a Steinberg deal, the connection is still 'ASIO Driver', connecting to the onboard audio is through that. I used to use RME, which is ASIO drivers. I used it for Logic. :shrug: I'd assume there is like a wrapper.

Digidesign touts Core Audio drivers but I couldn't tell you anything.
Jan what is your current audio interface?
Onboard this computer. I'm all inside the box. I tried to buy one but my Sweetwater guy told me it wouldn't change my life for the better much given that. I don't really know what has to happen for Mac, but RME is really geared to windows and Steinberg has little or no interest in Core Audio. The last one I had was Steinberg, its drivers meant absolutely nothing as far as lower latency.
cool focusrite interfaces are supposed to be good with apple.

Return to “Computer Setup and System Configuration”