mac or pc for djing

Mac or PC for DJing? – A Pro DJ explains + poll results!

Generally speaking, both platforms can do the same thing.
You won’t be limited by either one or the other when it comes to functionality.

Mac OS operating system is generally speaking easier to operate for the technologically challenged.
Simply because there are less knobs and switches to operate (you can be more in control with Windows).

Audio

When you are performing a song live with Studio One or Ableton Live etc., CPU performance and sound-card latency can become in issue.

Generally audio on Macs just works.
On Windows you need so called ASIO drivers to reduce latency, which not every soundcard supports yada, yada, yada….

When you are spinning with DJ software (Rekordbox, Traktor, Serato etc), latency is less of an issue.

Also for some sound cards you don’t need to install drivers on a Mac, it just works.
That is generally not the case for Windows.

Upgrades and repair-ability

But there obvious downsides that the Windows side doesn’t have.
Expand-ability is the most obvious one.
When you are short on computer memory for example, you can’t buy extra on a Mac.

The other thing is repair-ability.
Macs are notoriously hard to repair (if you can even repair them at all).

SSD

SSD storage for example needs to be replaced sooner or later in a computer’s history.
With Apple, you can’t replace the SSD because it is soldered to the motherboard.
Computer stores now have graveyards of Macs that are perfectly fine, but the SSD is dead, so the whole computer is regarded dead.

Cleaning

Dust and crap builds up in a laptop over time (in keyboards, fans etc).
Every once in a while you need to clean it, otherwise the device might overheat and break.
Especially Apple computers are prone to overheat.
But you can’t open up an Apple computer to blow it out with a compressor.

Battery

I recently had to replace the battery in my Windows laptop after 3 years.
That is also normal wear and tear for a laptop.
40 euro and 1 day later I had a new battery which was installed by opening and closing 3 latches.
It took in 30 seconds!

In many Apple devices you can’t change your battery.
If you can change the battery at all, you can’t do it yourself, you need the Apple store to do it for you.
The Apple store will charge you more than a new device!

Imagine: the exhaust pipe or the tail light of your car is broken.
This is normal wear and tear for a car, and easily fixable.

The car shop tells you that you you need to buy a new car, because they welded it permanently to your car.
Would you accept that?
Apple users have to!

Also, all too often I hear Apple users say they need a new laptop because their storage is full or they choose too little memory when buying the computer.

Cooling

Cooling is a pretty “hot” topic (yes, pun intended) for DJs.

If you use your laptop on a DJ gig it needs to be properly cooled.
Clubs are often warm an damp places.
This means that your CPU is prone to overheat.

Especially Apple (MacBook Air, iPad) has the tendency to make passively cooled laptops.
Even actively cooled laptops often under perform, due bad thermal design and bad fan configuration (kick in too late or at a too low speed).
Which results in warped and sometimes fried motherboards (see Google).

The reason to do this is, to have less fan noise.
But it comes at the expense of longevity.

Some Windows laptops have equally bad thermal design as Apple.
But Apple is notoriously bad at it.

Reliability

In terms is reliability the two can be a tie.
There are badly-built PCs and badly-built Macbooks (the butterfly-key fiasco comes to mind).

On the pc side of things, some brands don’t take quality as seriously.
Therefore, go for brands like Asus, HP or Microsoft, some will outperform Apple in this regard.

I will go in more detail in my article on: Computer for DJing buying guide.

My experience

I’ve been a PC user for most of my life, but far from a Microsoft Windows fan.
My most hated feature is probably the windows registry.

So in 2010 I switched to Apple:
I bought 3 iPhones
A 13″ MacBook Pro
A 27″ Mac Pro
and 2 iPads.

But the longer I started using Apple products, I noticed the poor quality.

27″ Mac Pro

My Mac Pro was broken out of the box:

  • A smudge on the left side of the screen was “part of the computer” according to the Apple store.
  • Also the Hard Drive was obnoxiously loud. They tried to charge me for a repair under warranty (according to their own words).
  • The USB drive was broken and never functioned properly. I couldn’t connect hard drives or sound cards. According to the Apple store it was “fine”
  • The bluetooth constantly kept disconnecting my devices, including my Apple keyboard and mouse.
  • The WIFI kept disconnecting, I had to use an UTP cable
  • The computer kept complaining I needed to update the software, and when updating I got an error message.
  • The computer also refused to boot at the end. But when I disconnected it from the internet, it spontaneously worked.

The computer refused to reinstall after a couple of years (not in the beginning).
Because I was using “illegal components”.
That was a flat-out lie, it was all Apple original.
I suspect the Apple store screwed up, because they changed the hard drive.

My iPhones

My iPhone experience wasn’t any better.
I updated my iPhone 3 which became unusable slow.
So I bought an iPhone 4. Great phone, I updated it … and it became unusable slow.

So I bought an iPhone 6, (you would think I had learned at this point)
But that was an even bigger disaster:

  • The earbuds where broken out of the box, Apple refused to fix it.
  • The charger was defective (it was fixed).
  • The microphone spontaneously stopped working (“conveniently” just a month out of warranty).
  • The batterylife was abysmal, and the phone got slower and slower

My iPads

My first iPad I updated a became unusable slow.
I had to throw it away.

So I bought a iPad Mini.
After a while I reset the iPad and I couldn’t install any apps.
Again, it became unusable.

My 13″ Macbook Pro:

  • Lost it’s feet
  • Keys on the keyboard stopped working
  • Was incredibly slow
  • Refused to reinstall because of non-Apple part (again, a lie, it was 100% original Apple)
  • The adapter cable broke

The rest

I never got Airdrop or screenshare to work on ANY of my Apple Devices

You are not Apple’s friend when you pay them a hefty sum each year.
Apple’s planned obsolescence via software infuriates me, especially when their marketing claims for them to be “green”.
The arrogant, anti consumer behavior is what further killed my Apple enthusiasm.

In 2020 I switched back to Windows and Android, which was a great relief.
Windows and Android are far from perfect, but at least it works!

Apple iMacs

Mac Pros

  • Operating system is easier
  • Sound drivers are less of a hassle (only important when performing live)

Mac Cons

  • Expandability of components of Macs is bad.
  • Macs cost up to twice as much as their PC equivalent
  • Apple’s closed ecosystem
  • Repairability
  • Overheating can be an issue on passively cooled MacBooks, like the MacBook Air.
  • Anti consumer behavior

Windows PC’s

PC Pros

  • Easier to repair
  • Upgrade-able
  • Can be cheaper with the same or better quality

PC Cons

  • Audio drivers can be a bit of a hassle

Do DJ’s use Mac or PC?

On my YouTube channel I did a poll, here are the results:

Conclusion

I came from Windows, switched to Mac and running back screaming to Windows.
I can’t recommend Apple with a straight face.

The lack of flexibility, lack of quality and the absurd prices should be an absolute dealbreaker for you.

And no, Windows is not great either.
Pick your poison.

Buying guide: Computer for DJing – from a computer store employee