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Mac Thread, Imac vs PC for Music Technology classes in Technical; Hi all we are a secondary school and a music teacher want to have imacs instead of the PC's that ...
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    Disease's Avatar
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    Imac vs PC for Music Technology classes

    Hi all we are a secondary school and a music teacher want to have imacs instead of the PC's that we currently have, which are Quad Core Intels running Cubase at the moment.

    The only info they have given is that they want Mac rather than PC's because:

    • Of the Relevant Software (none specified though)
    • Technology Benefits
    • Music Industry Allegiance
    • To really explore this and be prepared for college and beyond where these technologies are central to music
    • Future Proofing


    So I know I will get called in to discuss this and I am looking for pro's and con answers to these points, I am not against Mac's per se, I want to achieve value for money for the school and not just roll along on what could be an expensive vanity project.

    Many Thanks

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    Hi all we are a secondary school and a music teacher want to have imacs instead of the PC's that we currently have, which are Quad Core Intels running Cubase at the moment.
    Are they head of department? If so, they write the scheme of work and have to teach the subject. I'd bend over backwards to get the money people to agree to buy them Macs.

    The only info they have given is that they want Mac rather than PC's because:
    • Of the Relevant Software (none specified though)
    Garageband predominantly. Possibly Logic Pro as well.

    Teachers have to teach the subject, they need tools they know how to use. Asking them to relearn new software on PC is a false economy. Art, Media and Music departments tend to prefer Mac's for traditional reasons.

    I'd be happy to roll with it if it's the HoD making the request. Besides it gives the pupils exposure to an alternative paltform instead of Windows all the time. If only I could find a department who'd work well will OpenSuSE...

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    Disease's Avatar
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    Regardless of if they are a HoD or not, the school as a public body still has to justify everything it buys under value for money, not just because the teacher does not want to learn new skills.

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    I work for a sixth form college. At the moment our Music department use Windows PCs running Sonar and Sibelius.

    However they have just announced that they would like to switch to Macs next year because they feel that Logic is a better fit for their curriculum than Sonar is. If your Music department want to run Logic then Macs (although not necessarily iMacs) are the only answer as Logic is an Apple product. Whether this will happen or not is unknown at the moment.

    It's probably worth contacting a few of the colleges and universities that you feed your students onto to find out what they use for their music department and see if the "Be prepared for college" argument is actually relevant.

    You need to point out to your school that the cost of the Macs and the software running on them is not going to be the only cost, you also need to manage these things. If you're running Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 or later, there's a module built into that for it but it's basic. There are other third party products out there which can handle software/update deployment and operating system deployment too. Ultimately though, these aren't Windows PCs and the level of integration that you're going to get is not going to be as high.

    There's also the training costs for you,the staff working at your school and your students. You'd be surprised by the amount of people here who go to a Mac and start panicking because it's not Windows and things don't look the same.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Just ensure that any Macs that are purchased come out of the Music budget and not the IT budget. I did this, and they tried to go ahead and make the purchase and claim it on the IT budget, at which point I blocked the purchase from going ahead by speaking with SLT and explaining that it is using funds not allocated to the department. The Music budget was on a par with the IT budget as they did the school productions (with the drama group) and such like. As a result, the HT called myself and the music HoD into a meeting, by the end of the meeting, Music Dept had to drain their budget to buy the Macs, I agreed to service them.

    As for software, I would say personally, yes Logic is better than Sonar, however Sibelius is a great piece of software and may well be worth running bootcamp to keep the Windows software going, just for the added option.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    Regardless of if they are a HoD or not, the school as a public body still has to justify everything it buys under value for money, not just because the teacher does not want to learn new skills.
    As my dear old business manager would not doubt point out - you're ignore the opportune costs.

    How much is each teacher being paid per hour? How meny teachers do you need to train to use the PC software? How many hours training is required? (cost per hour x number of teachers x total hours). Plus the cost of the actual training provider, cover staff while the music dept are out on training.

    Vs. A one of cost for a suite of Mac Mini's.


    To my mind it's about using the right tool for the job. If Garageband and Logic Pro are the right tools then...

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    However Sibelius is a great piece of software and may well be worth running bootcamp to keep the Windows software going, just for the added option.
    There's a Mac version of Sibelius, if our lot do switch over to Apple we'll just use the Mac version. No need to bugger about with Bootcamp then (and deal with the licensing nightmare that is Windows on a Mac either)!

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    I do like Macs for Music software, predominantly because Logic Pro is a great piece of software, and Garageband a good intro - the licensing costs for Logic Pro are low enough to actually affect the affordability of a suite. Sadly we're cursed with Avid software on them as we needed Pro Tools, but if you avoid anything from that accursed company your life will be easier.

    Due to Pro Tools compatibility, our Mac suite is stuck on 10.6 for the foreseeable future, and the students have to faff around with licensing dongles. Hate hate hate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Vs. A one of cost for a suite of Mac Mini's.
    They are after iMacs- If it's just garageband they are using will the new range of Mini's run it adequately?

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I can't see why mac minis wouldn't run it sufficiently, but then it wont look as pretty or shiney as a full imac suite!

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Just posting a link to my recent blog about this.

    Building a Recording and Sequencing lab on a budget (And why you shouldn’t buy Apple) - Blogs - EduGeek.net

    I used to do a lot of recording and Music tech was part of the degree I took at uni. I'd say that unless you're desperate for Logic Pro, then it's hardly worth the cost of a mac these days. You can get far more for your money going down the Windows route. It's not that I don't like macs (I love them) but they're no longer different enough to a windows machine to give you an advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    They are after iMacs- If it's just garageband they are using will the new range of Mini's run it adequately?
    We're running Final Cut Pro on a mix of 2010 Macbook Pros, 2010 iMacs and 2013 Mac Minis. We have had no complaints the performance on any of them, I can't imagine that music sequencing software would be more strenuous.

    I'd get the Mac Minis if I were you.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    They are after iMacs- If it's just garageband they are using will the new range of Mini's run it adequately?
    Ahh, that's a different discussion and I'm with you on the whole cost/benefit thing. Mac Mini's will do fine. Even the lowest priced iMac is bloody expensive these days. Mac Mini, buy your own RAM upgrades if required, cheap non brand 22" TFT, generic USB keyboards and mice. Job done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disease View Post
    Regardless of if they are a HoD or not, the school as a public body still has to justify everything it buys under value for money, not just because the teacher does not want to learn new skills.
    As someone that has used both PC's and MAC's for music (although in a non-professional sense). I find MACs are way more suitable, there is a reason why they are so widely used. The application support even for the MAC inbuilt sound hardware is way ahead of your Windows PC.

    Everywhere that I've worked and they've tried to cut corners by using Windows PC's with completely inadequate sound cards with 3rd party ASIO utilities that can provide low latency when using things like Sibelius have had issues.
    Last edited by Davit2005; 24th April 2014 at 12:50 PM.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    No issues here with our Windows PC's in Music. There have been rumblings about Macs but unless someone can magic up a large amount of cash for 30 machines, server, training, licenses for the relevant software, that's never going to happen. The only issues we have come from software that is unsuitable for network use (Cubase, and an old version at that) and an old version of Sibelius.

    Daft, the audio hardware in Macs is identical to standard intel desktop boards. All about software.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 24th April 2014 at 12:35 PM.



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