My music computer just died. What should I replace it with?

Hard drive is fine, motherboard/psu/something has died enough to be boring. What should I get next? I'm completely open to suggestions: Mac/PC/laptop/desktop. My only critera: 1) It should be surprisingly cheap. 2) If it works with an Emu 1820m interface, that means I don't have to buy a new one. 3) It doesn't need to be ultra quiet or ultra powerful, it just has to work. I'm not running 50 convolution reverbs.
And yes, I need to clean the lens on my camera. Tip: Don't let a 2 year-old eating churros take photos.

Mac mini. Also get Logic Studio 8. You will be happy. (I command it.)
f you gig live, macbook. may not seem cheap at first, but ask yourself that 4 years later. and get the extra ram not from apple.
Sweetwater sells some interesting dedicated music computers. Never tried one, but hey - if it can be rack mounted it must be cool, right?
Get your daughter one of these and maybe she'll leave your camera alone :)
either go for a mac mini/macbook or build yourself a pc. suprisingly easy, especially if you're used to plugging things into other things. google's full of guides. 2-3 hours spent researching/sourcing parts and you could have a lovely pc, just how you want it, for about £300. plus you always know exactly how and what to upgrade later (keeping it cheap again).
Definitely a macbook if you plan on being at all mobile. The only problem here is that it is not compatible with the emu. I dont think any mac on the cheap has pci ports, so you may not want to keep that if your going in that direction (which i have a feeling most people will suggest).

I bought my macbook with my student discount (basically $100 off) and then picked up a presonus firebox. it plugged and played no problem w/ ableton live.

what kind of software are you used to? that may have an impact on your decision.
Get an iMac and you will live in a constant state of bliss. I have a slightly older one at work, and I swear to god I am going to steal it when I leave. Hell, get the older one used. I'm tired of my PC and can't wait to switch.

I'm going to get my ski mask now...
Dell XT tablet PC....why? Will support multi touch when windows 7 drops. Has an active digitizer AND multi finger touch modes. Pretty compact, daylight visible screen....

I am mac all the way but unless on June 9th Apple intros a tablet computer with multi touch it will be at least until after windows releases multitouch until they make one.

I have a touch screen tablet and am starting to build my own max msp interfaces for it, ala LEMUR!

Other than that I say go for a macbook or an older imac. I had a mac mini and it was cool but I am all about the one piece solutiuon via integrated monitor. So laptop or imac all the way.
I just performed a surprisingly affordable upgrade by replacing my motherboard, CPU, video card and memory. I've got E-mu and Creamware cards, so I needed PCI slots.

My advice is to get an Intel-based machine running one of the lower priced Core 2 Duo processors. They can easily be overclocked to around 3 GHz. I'm guessing that your old machine runs Win XP - you can transfer the license to your new machine.

Heck, there are a number of great Mobo/video card combinations for building a low cost Hackintosh, too. Far cheaper than replacing all your software and worshiping at the Altar of Steve.

24" LCD + core 2 quad. $700
hackintosh dude, best of both worlds.
I'm liking beavers idea too, i wonder if it can run osx?

i was an avid mac fan, but now they're using intel it kinda seems dumb to pay more for less grunt.

i still love the os, but it gets easier all the time to put it on whatever you want.
oh and macbooks break.
and when they break, they cost more to fix than a non-mac.
and they make it very hard to get inside to fix yourself.
im pretty sure the XT tablet would run OSX. I got my Sahara Slate Tablet PC running it. I'm not sure bout the touch screen drivers though, probably not too easy to get going.
PC laptop, XP (not vista). The guy above is right, Mac Books break and then they cost a lot to fix. It's also a lot harder to put in extra RAM etc.

If you want a tower the mac's a bit expensive if you ask me. If you don't want to build your own PC I've just bought a music configured PC tower from Digital Village and was impressed by the value for money - it worked out cheaper than the equivalent Dell. Customer service seems very good as well.
It isn't any harder to put ram in a macbook than it is to put it into a dell or any other PC laptop. If you spring an extra hundred for the applecare, you've got 3 years of basically full coverage. I get it for all my machines, but I've never had to use it.

Consider the performance hit you take with a cheaper PC laptop - even if you find a cheaper one with better specs, you're still limited to bloated windows XP or Vista, unless you want to get into Linux audio (which is... interesting). Also consider that the macs run windows better than most PCs :)
Get a mac - whatever is in your price range. I've been a mac guy since '85 - but when I started getting into recording music and playing with sound is when I really grew to appreciate macs.

All of the USB/Firewire audio devices and hard drives I have ever plugged into my Macbook Pro have worked instantly without installing anything. My E-MU xboard has worked with every program I have asked it to instantaneously... I have had two different audio interfaces that send 16 channels of XLR in and a stereo feed out and they both worked with logic pro from the instant I plugged them in.

It asks "do you want to use this audio interface?" and you say "Yes." and then you use it.

Also - it runs windows just in case there is any windows-only program you can't live without.
Anything not made by apple.
Another vote for a Mac I use a g4cube running at a paltry 450 Mhz that runs Reaktor 5, Tassman and a whole bunch of plugins far more smoothly than my old 1.3ghz xp pc (now happily running ubuntustudio faster than XP ever ran).

A Mac Mini would be good if you have the monitor/keyboard etc. if not the iMac doesn't work out much more expensive, especially as the specs are higher.

OSX 10.5 doesn't seem to be particularly stable from a mmusic computer point of view, but then again Vista hasn't had glowing reviews from computer musicians. I guess the choice is really what OS you prefer using.
One more vote for a Mac. The more intelligent thing i did in 2007 was to switch.
I have a MacBook which is quite cheap, but maybe you can find a second hand one, quite recent, with Leopard at a good price.

There are too many reasons to leave Windows to be listed here, anyway you can find them everywhere on the internet.

You must have "faith" to switch. At first glance, it may seem not that different from Windows. After a month or so, you'll think they are really VERY different and won't go back to Windows.

fukmac....get another pc

mac is for brainless babies
First take on Mac vs PC prices in the UK.

20inch, 1680 x 1050
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 6mb cache
+ Logic Studio= £319
+ Motu 828 mk 2 = £250
Total: £1,268

Dell Inspiron
2.6ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 6mb cache
24 inch widescreen 1920 x 1200
£569 (a bit more if I choose a crapware-free business version)
+ Reaper
+ My Emu soundcard
- Maybe having to downgrade to XP
= Total £569

I could buy two PCs for the cost of buying one Mac.

As my mate just said "But you'd have a Dell!" Which is a good point. And obviously Reaper ≠ Logic Studio, iMovie is probably more fun than Windows movie maker. And I hope the Mac version of iTunes works better than the PC version.

I'd like a Mac Mini - but they haven't been 'refreshed' for a while.
i've got mac mini (2ghz core2 duo, 2gb ram), logic express 8, 500gb external lacie drive, echo audiofire12, 19" tft ... it's fantastic, the next best thing to hardware, i can't believe i ever struggled with windows .. honestly no bull, switch over and see for yourself ... altho yeah you'd have to ditch the emu card
This comment has been removed by the author.
"buy a pc, because mac's are for people who suck iCock"

"no dude, buy a mac because pc's are for people who kill cows and punch girls"

"woah! that's bull crap! pc's are real computers and mac's are just toys made for left handed children!"

"no way! pc are evil and represent a dystopian future, while macs are a vision of Californian perfection that even Stanley Kubrick would have approved of!"

"hell dude, you're stupid because you spent twice as much on a computer than me and my computer has a bigger processor, so i don't care what you say about Stanley Kubrick."

"yeah, well at least my computer won't break down every blink..."

(i can't believe so many people are still hung up on arguing about mac vs pc...)
Did any of you noticed that he wants to keep its PCI 1820M which has no Mac drivers?
Hence tower PC, unless you wanna toy with Bootcamp on a tower Mac.
Now is a soft spot for buying those famed E8400 Intels on a new Mobo for around 200£...
Just get one of these
I can see where you are coming from with your pricing, however you do add £300-odd for logic, why not get the free Ardour? (I have a feeling Reaper is about to be ported to OSX anyway.
Forget the computer completely. Get one of those mixer+HDR boxes, and a couple of analogue sequesncers (hang in there for the chrysalis one, it looks wild). Let go of the conveniences of computer grid quantisation, and work creatively with the slight randomness of live playing and the pain of having to sync up with the hardware sequencer. Spend any remaining budget on odd synths and pedals, or live instruments or studio time with friendly vocalists.
All that said, I'm VERY happy with my macbook & live 7. It's driven me to detest the XP boxes we use at work. Sure, it's not perfect. I've recently been over-filling the RAM and it thrashes/hangs a lot on the project i've been working on... but IT RECOVERS PROPERLY, AND MY DATA IS SAFE where I simply don't trust a thrashing Windows machine to be that robust.
" Did any of you noticed that he wants to keep its PCI 1820M which has no Mac drivers?"

I'm not particularly wedded to it, but replacing it would be an extra cost.

"You do add £300-odd for logic, why not get the free Ardour? "

True enough, and I'm sure I could manage with Logic Express.
There's no way around the fact that OS X is way better for making music on than XP. If you argue otherwise, you've probably not used OS X, it's just that nice.

If you're adventurous, there's always the hackintosh route, which isn't as hard to start down as you might think. Start with the Kalyway iso on the bay, and then hit .

I did this, and I can say, it's an incredible hassle, and it's hard to make everything work right, and software update will become the bane of your existence.

However, you can build a machine that's 90% of a $3k mac pro for about half that, and once you've gone through the hell of getting it all to work right, if you don't fuck with it, it will continue working indefinitely.

Actually, it's probably worth the $$ to get real apple hardware, unless you just LIKE poking around with your computer. I wish Apple would offer a model between the iMac and the Mac Pro ... if I could have bought this machine legitimately, I would have.
A preview version of reaper for OS X was released yesterday:

So knock that off your price. :)

Still more, and you'd have to get a new interface but a) you could probably sell your current one and recoup some costs b) you'll be happy you did. Yes, macs are more expensive for similarly specced machines, but they're a joy to use.


Seriously I just switched to Logic on a Mac laptop with firewire audio, nothing compares. Although I am kinda missing Jeskola Buzz...
Mac Mini / Macbook w/ Logic 8.

You'll never look back.
Get a MacBook Pro. terrible name, great machine.
Macbook if you need portability. It'll be my next computer for sure. If not, do what alex said and build a Windows machine--it's really cheap nowadays to build something fast.
Tom. I "made do" with Logic Express over Logic Studio and I'm more than happy with it. I also invested the measly sum of 50 bucks in MacProVideo's Core Logic 8 video tutorials (406 minutes worth!) which I'm steadily working my way through. They're a great help, I know more about Logic now than I ever did about Cubase already! Each vid is only a couple of minutes long. I work from home and like to watch a couple while I'm taking a break! You could also go the iMac route, they have excellent integrated screens and are more powerful than a mini. I own a MacBook too and I would say that the screen whilst excellent is too weeny for any serious music so bear that in mind. Of course there is no perfect "music making machine" but I can honestly say that since going to the darkside I've never had to think about the computer itself once (tho dont' forget you are bringing a 3rd party into the equation, your soundcard, so do a good google on it wrt macs)
PCs are getting a lot better in the reliability stakes of late.

You can build a Q6600 Quad Core with 4gig of ram for about £500, depending on what you want, what you can salvage etc.

We'd all love a top of the range Mac, but they're expensive pound for pound.

The only question I'd ask is Vista or XP?
without getting into the mac v. windows pissing match (many of the pluses and minuses have been hashed over ad nauseum, so if you don't know the perks and punches of either platform, you probably wouldn't be writing this blog), i would like to warn against the imac/mac mini route for one big reason: i am hardcore adamant deadset against any computer that you can't crack open yourself to replace hard drives, power supplies, and RAM (the three things inside a computer likely to go kersplode).
there is no compelling reason to get anything but a Mac... to me, a PC is overpriced even if it's free; every pc i've ever used required me to spend most of my time fixing the freakin' thing.
I can't remember the last time I needed to have a Mac opened for repairs. I do remember the infamous power cord issue with the G3 Macbook (I think they've fixed that socket by now). I can remember several instances where I've needed to open up my PC with Windows XP with plenty of RAM and HD space for the apps and soundcard I use.

Don't forget - Microsoft is offering free DOWNGRADES from Vista to XP. Windows is a beached whale.

That said, I still do have all my music apps on a PC, and I have had no issues in a long time (the last was frequent stalling when opening any files). Therefore, I suggest determining what software you will use, how much oomph it needs or that you would ever see yourself needing, then pick the computer.
Learn to play first, then buy a computer for music.
A computer won't give you skill or talent.

And ALL Macs can be opened if you know how.
I'd suggest: Macbook. Powerful, portable, won't beak the bank and (as I found out) they do, in fact, Just Work.

I prefer to spend my time making music rather than fighting the machine I'm using to make it.
Granted you're in the UK but with stuff like this available

eBay # 130222352179

Why bother building a pc? This thing is a freaking beast (we've bought a couple from these guys). And an equivalent mac of this power will set you back 4 times as much. Literally. (go spec it out at their site). I just don't see how it's worth it....sorry cult of mac.

Load XP and strip it for use with computer music...gets rid of the bloatware aspects of XP which is solid otherwise. Screw Vista of course.

And have it be a dedicated music PC. Do NoT connect it to the web. Very simple solution to the whole "PCs get Viruses" argument. Doesnt hold much water when you don't go online.

You'll be able run everything but Logic on it. Not a huge loss imho.

As a follow-up I will assume that what people love is the Mac OS and not the Mac itself....which is somewhat reasonable.

XP is only great for music when it is stripped a la

As long as you're not the type who's self worth is wrapped up in his computer I would also suggest that at that $600 price point, you could just load Leopard on a second cheap and powerful PC if you have to have Logic, etc. And Intel is and Intel chip is an Intel chip after all.

You'd be $1200 in the hole and have a screamin PC and a "Mac" (hackintosh).

And as we all know 90% of Mac users (in the music world) also have a PC to run other apps.

So why spend $2000 plus to run a "better" OS and another $500 plus to run more apps?
It's worth checking whether your PSU has blown - they only cost twenty quid or so. I'd check that before i did anything else. it's a shame to write off the computer for the sake of a twenty quid part.
the pc-mac argument is getting tired but... in my opinion the pc and mac both have the same problem/solution when it comes to stability.

if you go to any professional studio you'll see a mac running pro-tools. you'll probably also see that it is not used for anything else, some studios don't even connect the macs to the internets, unless they have to update something (even then, as in when my friend updated his os x protools mac) thing can go very wrong.

there is a reason why the studios are so anal about these things and all of the above applies equally to the PC/winders. if you do anything else than run program x (and maybe z), you'll have problems. simple.

my recommendation - get a cheap a$$ pc and tweak it into a bloat-free pure music making machine, or get yourself a musicxpc or whatever they're called + follow the above advice.

btw been wondering about that 1812M for a while - good stuff? drivers and that?
Whatever it is just make sure you set a user and a good non dictionary password for it. You won't have to worry about the internets infecting with their checkout viruses and spam male blog spots.

I can't like my MacBook non Pro anymore.
We also have a Mini with a 24in. Dell monitor.

Oh yea don't ever get PCI interfaces again. If anything they are a hard resell. And always try to use a student discount. If you aren't a student, find one.
I have a Mac Mini w a Presonus Firebox running Cubase LE (comes free with the Firebox) - it works great! I used to have a Mac 9600 behemoth with
a monstrous Protools interface - aside from the lack of inputs, this blows my '90s rig away!
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