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#1234821 - 07/21/09 01:45 PM Mac Revisited
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1081
Loc: California


After having my 2nd Dell laptop crash and burn, I'm throwing up my hands and getting ready to shop for a Mac. I've managed to eventually fix both Dells (despite their tech support), but it takes hours, reinstalling windows and everything else etc....

On some older threads it says that Yamaha doesn't support Mac OS. Is that still true?

It looks like setting up a network and wireless is much easier on Mac and it comes with Garage Band. Everything on a PC is such a hassle.

Anyway, I'm checking in for recommendations. I currently don't have a desktop, I have a 15" Dell Inspiron and a 17" Dell Studio (warning: don't buy).

I'm going to post a list of questions here on another post. I'd appreciate any input.

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#1234825 - 07/21/09 01:48 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1081
Loc: California
1. Are there any problems with Mac and any of the digital pianos re compatability?

2. Is there any Mac model that would be particularly well suited for musical application...(I do use an online jazz piano course, so having a laptop I could set up close would be nice, but not critical)

3. What types of specs would be needed/best to do musical applications?

4. What type of equipment would be needed or recommended for musical applications such as recording, mixing, publishing?

Is there/are there threads here that address basic computer/tech applications for music for the novice? Most of them are a bit over my head.

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#1234836 - 07/21/09 02:05 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
A trick to keeping any pc healthy is to open it up.
The electronics in a pc generate tremendous heat, which
is dissipated by barely adequate vents and fans.
And all that heat-generating stuff is encased tightly
in metal box, which is the worst thing for cooling.
If you have a desktop, remove the metal cover, which
is just of decoration anyway, and then everything
will be open to the air and will cool easily.

I've never owned a laptop, but I see even a greater
problem with those, because everything is bundled up
in a compact case for ease in carrying, and the cooling
must be barely adequate. You might be able to remove the
bottom panel, or drill holes swiss cheese-like in
the case to help with cooling.

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#1234842 - 07/21/09 02:18 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Nikalette,

I am not a DP person, but I am a Mac user. I can't help you on compatibility, but I recommend getting at least 4 GB of RAM. I'm going to upgrade my MacBook Pro from 2 to 4 GB sometime. The newest MacBook Pros (15" and 17") can be had with up to 8 GB of RAM which is about ideal, so you have 4 GB per core. In fact, IIRC, you can't even get a MB Pro with less than 4 GB now.

I have had zero problems with my Mac. smile
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1234847 - 07/21/09 02:20 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gyro]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Gyro
A trick to keeping any pc healthy is to open it up.
The electronics in a pc generate tremendous heat, which
is dissipated by barely adequate vents and fans.
And all that heat-generating stuff is encased tightly
in metal box, which is the worst thing for cooling.
If you have a desktop, remove the metal cover, which
is just of decoration anyway, and then everything
will be open to the air and will cool easily.

I've never owned a laptop, but I see even a greater
problem with those, because everything is bundled up
in a compact case for ease in carrying, and the cooling
must be barely adequate. You might be able to remove the
bottom panel, or drill holes swiss cheese-like in
the case to help with cooling.


That's absurd and everyone knows it.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1234855 - 07/21/09 02:30 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Horowitzian]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Horowitzian, you're not any kind of piano person.
Get a piano and learn how to play.

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#1234863 - 07/21/09 02:52 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gyro]
buck2202 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 216
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Laptops are, for the most part, specifically designed to handle the heat that they generate with ventilation and built in fans. The only time that you should have a heat problem with a laptop (aside from the rare design flaw, which shouldn't be happening in this day and age) is if your ventilation ports are clogged with dust.

With desktop PCs, it can be a little trickier, and in some cases, Gyro can be right. A desktop that's designed and constructed by an OEM like Apple or Dell will be designed just like a laptop is...with fans and ventilation designed to handle the heat that it generates. If you're dealing with something self-built, you may not have adequately provided for proper airflow to allow the cooling that the machine needs. Aside from that and (again) dust build up, you shouldn't have heat problems with desktop PCs either.

In my experience, though, there have been a few instances where opening the case improved my desktop's stability, but it was never a problem that a can of compressed air didn't fix.


As for Yamaha's software, all that I can tell you for sure is that the accessory CD that came with my CLP370 (for downloading and sending songs to/from the piano) is windows only. But what exactly do you want to use your computer to do? For most tasks (especially recording), you'll get better results by attaching external hardware to your computer than you would with anything that a manufacturer gives you off the shelf. And almost all of that hardware will work for windows or mac.

I feel your pain with regard to Dell...I recently bought a new laptop and tried my best to go with another manufacturer (I didn't consider Apple though...their prices are a bit too high, and I can't use their operating system for my work anyway). But, I ended up going with a refurbished Dell Latitude because the price was so good. No problems so far, but I did switch from Windows to Linux as my primary operating system.

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#1234864 - 07/21/09 02:54 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gyro]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Gyro
Horowitzian, you're not any kind of piano person.
Get a piano and learn how to play.

Neither are you.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1234888 - 07/21/09 03:31 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Horowitzian]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13802
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I have a Motif Rack ES and hook it up to my MacBook all the time.

As for their digital pianos, I'm not sure, but even if a direct USB connection isn't possible, a fairly inexpensive MIDI interface could provide the same connection.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1235030 - 07/21/09 07:27 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gyro]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1081
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Gyro
A trick to keeping any pc healthy is to open it up.
The electronics in a pc generate tremendous heat, which
is dissipated by barely adequate vents and fans.
And all that heat-generating stuff is encased tightly
in metal box, which is the worst thing for cooling.
If you have a desktop, remove the metal cover, which
is just of decoration anyway, and then everything
will be open to the air and will cool easily.

I've never owned a laptop, but I see even a greater
problem with those, because everything is bundled up
in a compact case for ease in carrying, and the cooling
must be barely adequate. You might be able to remove the
bottom panel, or drill holes swiss cheese-like in
the case to help with cooling.


It's true that the laptops get very hot. I purchased a cooling pad for my Dell. Its got 2 fans right on the top and the laptop stays much cooler sitting on it.

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#1235039 - 07/21/09 07:48 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Kreisler]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9364
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Nikalette, assuming you are shopping for a new computer (not second hand), I would suggest that purchasing even the most basic Mac would be absolutely fine for the kind of tasks that you hope to achieve.

The built-in audio is perfectly adequate for playing back audio, however if you wish to record the sound produced by your digital piano onto the Mac, it may be necessary to buy additional hardware (most laptops only have a microphone input, not a line level input).

As for compatibility, the Mac operating system, OS X, is extremely popular among casual users, designers, video producers, and musicians. I therefore fully expect all of the major digital piano manufacturers to offer support for both Windows and Mac systems.

Originally Posted By: Gyro
I've never owned a laptop...
...You might be able to remove the
bottom panel, or drill holes swiss cheese-like in
the case to help with cooling.


Well, I do own a laptop, yet I would never advise anyone to do something as absurd as drilling holes in the bottom of the machine.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1235118 - 07/21/09 11:04 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Horowitzian]
Chopin Liszt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/02/09
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Gyro
Horowitzian,
You're not any kind of piano person ??????????
Get a piano and learn how to play ?????????
Gyro, you've really outdone yourself this time! grin grin grin

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#1235126 - 07/21/09 11:37 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Chopin Liszt]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21669
Loc: Oakland
I think my current MacBook Pro is the coolest-running laptop I have ever owned.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1235173 - 07/22/09 01:55 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: BDB]
SoCalCC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/14/09
Posts: 6
Loc: United States
Nikalette...I have a Macbook Pro that is about 7 months old and I have to say that my satisfaction with this laptop is about 1000% higher than any PC I have owned.

Everything is simply much more intuitive. Setting up your wireless network, producing movies with iMovie, saving them to iTunes, and running them on your iPod is overly simple.

I have not had a lot of experience with GarageBand at this point but folks I know who have used it seem to enjoy it and talk about the ease of use allowing them to easily compose music, save it to their ipod / iphone, and listen to it on the go. I also don't have experience with any of the DP software in regards to their compatibility with Mac.

I have an IBM laptop for work and it is a drag to work on this everyday after becoming acquainted with the Mac. Do some more research regarding your specific requirements, but in regards to overall ease of use, compatibility with other devices such as wireless routers, wireless printers, iphone / ipod, Apple TV, etc. I would vote for the Mac. Hope this helps.

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#1235176 - 07/22/09 02:16 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: SoCalCC]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9364
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Yes, I installed OS X on my Dell Mini 9 and have been extremely impressed at how effortless most tasks are - the 'it just works' nature of Mac OS is most refreshing after several years of Windows.

Pianoteq runs surprisingly well on this little system too!

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1235184 - 07/22/09 02:42 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Kawai James]
marimorimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 429
Loc: Kingdom of Nodame
I must say, as a longtime laptop/computer enthusiast, the Windows installation may have contributed less to the problem than the Dell laptops themselves. I never buy Dell because the quality is poor, IMO. I've used a couple of Dell laptops at home and at work, and they do run HOT, especially on the keyboard area which is the worst because it makes your hands ache after a while. Even elevating the bottom to increase airflow didn't help much. So it wasn't a surprise when the laptop's motherboard and hard drive conked out from all that heat. I had a Sony VAIO and presently a Compaq that don't generate the even half the heat those Dells did. Aside from that, our work PCs are all Dells, and our computer technician says they frequently break down.

So Gyro's comment actually made some sense, though I shudder at the thought of boring holes on a laptop!

Macs are sleek and stylish, but command too high of a premium for my tastes and budget. My only real issue with Windows is security, so if I need that I use Linux instead - a lot of things work suprisingly well out of the box, it's free, and relatively secure smile
_________________________
Alfred's AOI Course Bk 2
Frances Clark Contemporary Piano Literature, Bk 1
The Festival Collection Bk 3
30th Week Playing Piano
--------------------------------------------
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +
--------------------------------------------

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#1235207 - 07/22/09 05:07 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1081
Loc: California
I finally finished fixing my Dell. It's so bizarre. It's as if I have to trick it to reinstall drivers and such. Run utilities, start, restart, get it to take one program, restart on and on until I tear my hair out.

I have spent at least 8 hours in the past 3 days fixing it and getting it to run, I'm just so grateful I was able to trick it enough before I reloaded VISTA, so that it would back up the hard drive, although I can't put the programs back on. I refuse to talk to their tech support anymore.

Dell used to be so highly rated, they really are horrible, and the customer service is terrible...outsourced to India of course. The tech guy was quite pleasant though, although of no use whatsoever. He basically encouraged me to get a MacBook Pro and we discussed Apple's superior qualities for several minutes.

Anyway, I'm going to start shopping over the next few months and I'm looking forward to switching to Mac.

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#1235212 - 07/22/09 05:51 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
marimorimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 429
Loc: Kingdom of Nodame
Originally Posted By: Nikalette
The tech guy was quite pleasant though, although of no use whatsoever. He basically encouraged me to get a MacBook Pro and we discussed Apple's superior qualities for several minutes.


Wait a minute...the tech guy...from Dell itself telling you to get a Mac??? grin Not too surprising, though. I know Dell scrapped their in-house customer service staff and outsourced it to a large call center company...so the CSRs don't actually work for Dell.
_________________________
Alfred's AOI Course Bk 2
Frances Clark Contemporary Piano Literature, Bk 1
The Festival Collection Bk 3
30th Week Playing Piano
--------------------------------------------
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +
--------------------------------------------

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#1235281 - 07/22/09 09:54 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: marimorimo]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Nikalette, all those problems are caused by heat. When
the electronics get hot, they no longer function properly.
Try opening up the case somehow. I've never owned
a laptop, so I'm not sure how the best way to do this
would be. If you can't remove the bottom panel, then
you might have to drill holes in it swiss cheese-like,
and then when using it, put it on two thin strips of
wood so the bottom is off the table and the internal
fans can blow the heat out of the holes.

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#1235302 - 07/22/09 10:30 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: marimorimo]
Gordy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/09
Posts: 2
Loc: UK
Nikalette,

I'll try and answer your questions as best I can.

1. While I can't test this myself (as I have a Roland piano), a Mac should work fine with your Yamaha piano. If it supports midi over USB then you can download the drivers from Yamaha's website. If not then you can pick up USB to midi interfaces for not a lot these days.

2. Any Mac laptop would be fine, but I would agree with Horowitzian that a Macbook Pro is the route to go down if you want a laptop. It is worth having a look at the refurbished section on Apple's website store as you can make some good savings and still get the same warranty. I've bought my iMac from there and you wouldn't know it wasn't brand new. If you do look to go down this route I'd suggest making sure it has a firewire port as this gives you a bit more room for expansion (some of Apple's Macbooks and the Macbook Air only have USB).

3. Specs wise it really depends on what you want to do. I know a Logic Pro user who complains his 8 core Mac Pro isn't fast enough while another is quite happy with his Macbook. As Horowitzian says though I'd go with 4Gb. If you want more than it comes with then look at third party companies like Crucial and Kingston as they will charge a lot less than Apple.

4. In terms of equipment it really does depend on what you want to do. At the simplest level you can use GarageBand to record your music. There are some tutorials on the Apple website which should give you an idea of what it can do. If you are looking to record your piano live then, as James has already said, you will probably need an external input, such as a mic pre-amp. The next step up is probably some sort of sequencing software, such as Logic or Cubase, which will allow you to put together multiple tracks and add effects (digital delay, reverb and compression). After that the limit is your budget

Finally I would say if you live near an Apple store pop in and have a play to see if you like the feel of it. If you down go for a Mac I'm sure you will like it as I have never regretted switching.

Gordon

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#1235363 - 07/22/09 12:08 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gordy]
buck2202 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 216
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Just to be clear, since Gyro decided to re-paste part of his message...I'm not saying that laptops won't get uncomfortably warm in your lap. Just that they're designed to function with the amount of heat that they generate, and that drilling holes is unnecessary for stable operation.

As far as finding one that runs comfortably cool, notebookreview.com does some fairly detailed tests on a lot of models, including temperature readings of various areas of the unit under heavy load.

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#1235374 - 07/22/09 12:28 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Gordy]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1081
Loc: California
Gordy, thank you so much for the details...that's really very helpful. I think I'll just be doing home recording for now. If that changes, I'll also need a more portable keyboard, but not for now.


Gyro, the issue that game up with the laptop running hot was that it just shut off. That stopped once I bought the cooling pad, the 2 fans keep it very cool.

I appreciate all the input on Macs from satisfied users. I will check out the refurbished store, but first I'll watch the tutorials on the web site and spend some time in the Mac store...maybe I'll get lucky and find a tech who's into music.

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#1235377 - 07/22/09 12:34 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Lycanthrope Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 8
Drilling holes in a laptop, or indeed in a well-designed desktop, will probably lead to overheating. Bear in mind, as said above, that these machines are designed to get hot and that they have very specific ventilation routes through the vents and casings. Disrupt that and you'll cause all sorts of problems.

The basic issue you have here is called 'Dell', they're just rubbish basically, I don't know why people get duped into buying them.

I was a long-time Windows sufferer before changing to Apple Mac's 4 years or so ago and my only complaint is that I didn't do it sooner. My computer time has shifted from constant maintenance and problem solving to using and pleasure.

And entry-level MacBook would be totally suitable - they are very expensive and it will be good for years.

If you must continue with PC's then be prepared to pay for a well designed machine that will cost about the same as the Macs anyway - you don't get something for nothing in this game...

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#1235378 - 07/22/09 12:35 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
One "heat" thing I forgot to mention about MacBook Pros that have dual Nvidia graphics cards (all the unibody models AFAIK) Is that the computer runs a good bit hotter on the faster discrete graphics card than it does on the slower graphics card that's on the motherboard( or "logic board" as Apple calls it). It gets too hot on the faster card to put on your lap, but the performance increase for programs like Finale 2009 that eat up graphics capacity is well worth it. i might consider one of those cooling pads for when I have it hooked up to my 24" LED Cinema Display (the BEST display I have ever used!) on my desk. BTW, the displays on MB Pros are great too.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1235447 - 07/22/09 03:05 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Horowitzian]
7even Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 151
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
One "heat" thing I forgot to mention about MacBook Pros that have dual Nvidia graphics cards (all the unibody models AFAIK) Is that the computer runs a good bit hotter on the faster discrete graphics card than it does on the slower graphics card that's on the motherboard( or "logic board" as Apple calls it). It gets too hot on the faster card to put on your lap, but the performance increase for programs like Finale 2009 that eat up graphics capacity is well worth it. i might consider one of those cooling pads for when I have it hooked up to my 24" LED Cinema Display (the BEST display I have ever used!) on my desk. BTW, the displays on MB Pros are great too.


To be honest the Macbook Pro runs kinda hot on the integrated graphics as well. I got this program called smcfancontrol and most of the time I keep the fans boosted to about 3300 rpm (stock = 2000 rpm). The computer is a bit louder but it's a lot more lap-holdable. Still gets really warm, but nothing too uncomfortable.

Even with the heat and a couple other problems (will go to the Apple store soon), I'd recommend getting one if you're even considering it. I like it better than any of the Windows laptops I've owned and used - which include higher-end Thinkpads, Dells, and Sonys. It worked with my Yamaha DP great until recently, but I suspect the DP is at fault since it is the only USB device I'm having issues with.
_________________________
Now: RD-700NX
Someday: Steinway concert grand :|

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#1235497 - 07/22/09 05:19 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 854
Loc: Lakewood, CA
Nikalette:
Regarding the Mac and digital pianos, not all of them support drivers for Mac OS (in your case, I think Yamaha makes a Mac driver for the YPG 635). Also, there isn't as much software that will run on a Mac. In general, expect to pay more for Mac software vs PC, (expect to pay more for a Mac computer). Now having said all this, unless you are planning on hooking up your DP to record into your Mac via sequencing software like Pro Tools, there isn't anything to be concerned about. But just understand that if you do wind up composing, arranging or using your 635 to record MIDI files then the software thing comes into play and there is much more available for Windows than there is Mac and cost of software will also become a factor.

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#1235576 - 07/22/09 07:29 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: galaxy4t]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: galaxy4t
Nikalette:
Regarding the Mac and digital pianos, not all of them support drivers for Mac OS (in your case, I think Yamaha makes a Mac driver for the YPG 635). Also, there isn't as much software that will run on a Mac. In general, expect to pay more for Mac software vs PC, (expect to pay more for a Mac computer). Now having said all this, unless you are planning on hooking up your DP to record into your Mac via sequencing software like Pro Tools, there isn't anything to be concerned about. But just understand that if you do wind up composing, arranging or using your 635 to record MIDI files then the software thing comes into play and there is much more available for Windows than there is Mac and cost of software will also become a factor.

Since the switch to Intel processors there is a lot more available for Mac OS X, and I imagine more still will become available in the future.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1235741 - 07/23/09 03:01 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Horowitzian]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21669
Loc: Oakland
Not only does all Mac software run on Intel Macs, so does Windows and a lot of Unix software.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1235860 - 07/23/09 11:04 AM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: BDB]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Good point, BDB. In fact a lot of people who put Windows on their Macs say that Macs are the fastest Windows machines you can get. You do need to be careful of security, though, because Windows on a Mac is still Windows.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1236009 - 07/23/09 03:03 PM Re: Mac Revisited [Re: Nikalette]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 854
Loc: Lakewood, CA
If you are going to dual boot your Mac, what's the point of owning it in the first place? Most people who buy Macs, buy them for the advantages of the Mac OS. Dual Booting just makes them expensive PC clones with Apple logos on them. Doesn't seem worth spending the extra $$$ Macs command.

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