Photo via jeanmarc77

I consider myself operating system atheistic: I refuse to believe in an operating system unless solid, empirical data is presented proving it exists works. Okay, actually … I spend a considerable amount of time doing production on both Mac and Windows, and even some time working with Linux (not to mention administering Linux servers).

But we’d like to know more about what you use in your music. Our site analytics don’t tell us a whole lot: they tend to sample random users, not regulars, and if you use a work PC to browse, we may not know what you use at home for music.

For that reason, we’d love to have you tell us more about how you work. This isn’t a race, so no need to stuff the ballot box for the OS you like. (And we already know you use some obscure OSes — and some of you even browse CDM from your iPhone, Nintendo Wii, Sun Solaris workstation, Amiga, and PSP, based on our server stats). Anyway, an OS is just as interesting if few of you are using it as if many are. No, the idea is to get an honest metric of what you’re using. We’ll happily share the results.

The survey is now closed. Thanks for your help! We’ll have results up soon.

  • Art

    + Nintendo DS 🙂

  • nobody

    + PSP;


  • Having grown up with CoolEdit, I have been using Adobe Audition more than anything. It just seems so easy to manipulate the waveform in ways that are almost hopelessly tedious in any other app.

    Eventually, with Adobe's push towards web apps, my platform could move away from Windows.

  • Okay, I think mobile / game platforms will have to have their own follow-up survey. 🙂

  • nobody

    apropos of Vista, I still can't get rid of that stupid

  • PS, I don't think you'll see Audition for Web ANY time soon. Adobe's Web push is clearly not going to replace their whole suites of tools in the forseeable future, because of the development obstacles in the way.

  • nobody

    driver problem

  • Mac OS, when Logic ran on windows it was windows 😉

  • ON

    Yeah, I agree with Peter Kirn, but maybe you could have a survey including some of the vintage computers aswell, like Commodore 64, Amiga, Spectrum, etc…

  • Atari TOS and MacOS 7 here too (as well as WinXP and Linux).

  • Mac OS, since 1985.

  • I use windows 98SE and logic 4.7. Can you believe it? I love logic that much and see no need to get in the upgrade game. I'm thinking of jumping to Sonar on Vista soon, but I'll miss that logic environment page.

  • Javier Z

    I use Windows XP for audio and a second PC running Sequencer Plus on D.O.S. for sequencing my hardware synths as it has the best possible midi timming.

  • Adrian Anders

    Ya know me… and my reasons for it. I'll keep rocking XP until there is hardly any new mainstream music software or hardware for it, then based on what the next best option at the time is I'll make the jump to my next OS platform.

    Props Peter for the BeOS reference. If only they didn't get bought out then subsequently buried by Palm… that might have been an OS alternative that I could live with.

  • I have been using Macs, Windows boxes as well as Linux/BSD boxes for a variety of tasks and professions over the past couple of decades but when I decided to get serious about music (again) I made a conscious decision to go OS X only.

    The decision wasn't a religious one but more practical… If your music system will eventually get distilled to a laptop for gigging then you really have to pick an OS so the gear becomes like an old sweater where you aren't thinking about the technology but rather using it.

    When you are in the web world or doing sysadmin stuff, jumping around from OS to OS isn't such a big deal. The technology is always in your face — you have the time to pause and figure things out but if you want to gig live with your electronic tools, they have to be invisible. OS X offers that ability. Linux doesn't, Windows kinda does but there is often the spector of things blowing up in a huge way.

    I know people will disagree with me but I have lived professionally in a lot of OS's: Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, several variants of Windows and Mac OS. Right now OS X offers the best environment for "userland" experience. For server/programming stuff it's a different ballgame.

    If it was 2 years ago, the situation would have been different as the computing power of Mac based systems could barely keep up (if they could) with the practical requirements of music based software.

  • dead_red_eyes

    I mainly use a Mac, and my PC (Windows XP) for ReCycle.

  • eric

    I've been seeing some amazing stuff happening with running vst/asio over wine. It's looking like most audio software can run faster in linux emulation than it does in windows, if you use a low-latency kernel. I'm going to install Ubuntu Studio in my backup laptop this week, and see what it can do! I hope I can just do an end-run around vista. I was just thinking about moving to mac and getting logic, when they discontinued java support, which is what moved me to PC in the first place.

    Good grief!

    Anyway, to address 'blowing up in a big way', I have been running 7 soft-synths live on an XP rig for the last year, and 4 synths for 2 years before that, with the only issues being traceable to hardware problems with usb and power issues with connected gear.

    My setup:

    Plogue Bidule (for Routing and mapping)

    Reaktor 5 (for virtual mixer GUI and effects)

    Reaktor 5 running customized steampipe

    Kontakt 2 (2 instances, 80 instruments each)

    B4, Mr. Ray, Pro53, Absynth3

    Sony VAIO VGN-A270, 1.5 gb ram

    Hammerfall Multi-face

    M-Audio Axiom Controller

    Casio Digital Piano (Controller)

    15" Touch-screen

    Yamaha MCS2 MIDI control box


  • windows xp all the way……can't run fl studio on mac. i love my fl studio / cubase sx / mpc setup……

    plus windows has all the crazy independent vst developers. you can't beat it.

  • i switched from windows.

    plugin/compatibility issues vs old music projects aside, i've never been happier with my os/environment.

  • I'm using a Mac for almost a year now, before that I used Windows XP. Altough I love Mac OS X and the MacBook I'd like to share some thoughts regarding the bad reputation of Windows systems for audio.

    If you buy a Mac, you get a well-built and tested computer, where every component is compatible with the others. Result: audio on Mac OS X runs fine.

    If people buy or build a PC, it's often made of shitty/incompatible components, or components which are simply not optimized for audio (e.g. FW controllers). Result: audio sometimes sucks on Windows.

    There are purpose-built DAW PCs available from a couple of companies and they are much more reliable than your average home-brewn system. Of course, expertise comes at a price… If you live in a region (like me in Hungary) where these companies don't have service shops, your two options are: research for months and try to build a good system (which might still have unforeseeable issues) or buy a Mac.

  • wimpie

    i dont care on wich OS i work

    the differences are hardly notable between Microsoft Mac

  • samu

    OSX now, could go back to XP in a flash. Looking at VJ software now to integrate into things, and if I settle on one which is Windows-only, then going back to XP might be just what I'll do – on a MacBook Pro, LOL! Give me Ableton or give me death, but OS… really just not an issue for me.

  • not to be a contrarian, but I actually do make 90% of my music in littlepiggytracker/lsdj/bhajis

    And then i add other shit if ness. in a pc running protools

    Yea i suck.

  • samu

    Oh… I say OS is not an issue for me. CHOICE of OS is an issue. Which means Mac or Hackintosh, and I'm not sure I'm willing to trust the latter at this point.

  • MacOS X. (Oh, and 'Real Life'. Using this weird analogue controller called a guitar…)

  • Kris

    I use OSX 10.5 Panther with Logic Pro on one "Space," A virtual machine running windows XP on another "Space" so that I can switch to FruityLoops at the press of a button, make samples, and then easily bring them into Logic.

  • jp

    i run Analog Box 2 on Windows 98 and XP. it's all i really need!

  • For a while I was rocking it old school and producing most of my music on an abacus, but I've recently updated. Now Im running an antikythera mechanism and its mad fat yo!

  • at work (graphic design) i use a PC because they're fast, moving a bunch of files is easier than in the finder and photoshop just blasts.

    but when it comes to music, id prefer my old G4, because i got nearly NO plugin troubles and i just runs. good for being creative…

    sure, pcs are cheaper, but a low-end used mac still does the job pretty well (G4, G5) and is dirt cheap.

    and osx sure crashes a lot less than any winxp maschine especially when u use a lot of plugs. if you only work in one program with no plugs, a pc is still cool.

    i love my PBG4. on the road i use a PSP. audio is superb on that thing!

  • add: i used macs before for design tasks, but its a bit to smooth to keep up with my workspeed. 🙂

    linux was fine for everyday tasks, but theres no ableton live for it 🙂

  • JJ os on an AKAI MPC 1000

  • Ha!

    Okay, for the record *everyone*, the point here was to try to collect data on computer OSes. Obviously, we know computers are only a part of the picture. But the more questions we ask, the fewer responses / less accuracy we introduce. So I'll have to return to those other issues later (I am interested in the breakdown, myself.) If you have specific questions like that you'd like us to ask, let us know and we'll do more polls. 🙂

    Personally, I find the data from these polls a lot of fun … think you may agree, hence will be sharing what we learn soon.

    I can say this: the Mac surged early in the first question, to be tailed more closely by Windows later. Linux figures much more strongly than I imagined, particularly as people look to the future. The Mac wins by a landslide in terms of which OS people would consider for the future. The specifics are interesting; I'll give this another day or two then post final data.

  • corporation

    I'm thinking i might move a bit into linux with the intro of the Asus EEE PC. a great little portable computer i would love to take to gigs…

  • radian

    + Nintendo DS

  • i worked with winxp for 7 yrs, everyday there was a problem to solve specially when i had to perform live, still i loved working on a pc, y? coz u get all the cracked softwares and plugings for it, very easily, so for a long time i thought may be because i use pirated software my pc is unstable, then 1 fine day i bought my self ableton live, and installed it. that night i had a show to perform at, when i was playing my 5th song my sound card for some wierd reason lost the link with the pc and it crashed.

    well, very next day i bought my self a macbook and its been 6 months now… i am in love with the fact that the mac os x is the most stable os made till date.

  • by the way i still hav a pc and i still use it,

    i think more that what software u use or what hardware u use, more important is what is goin on in ur head creatively.

  • robin parry

    been pro,makin money,30 years used notator and a atariin the 0's, i have never in any of the top flight studio's or my fellow composers,'so-called home studio's and never seen a windows box, except for the secretary on the door.i dont have a position on the old old old debate. windows dosn't cut it when theres MONEY on the line, eg disney's 3d digital animation logo, etc

    thanls for the rant

    i'm a musician whoose played D&B with the best at miami but i'm fed up with upgradeitus and to compose, i use my ears and a mc 909, like an mpc better feel, more knobbage more vibe!!!

  • ponk

    Most boring survey ever.

    Here are the early results:

    surprisingly high number of mac users, lots of mysterious "other", linux not doing so well but lots of people interested in it in the future.

    You could actually come up with this by just looking at the way the website is designed, even if it were in a foreign language, and you wouldn't know its about audio. The survey looks like it was set up to prevent anything interesting to evolve.

  • ponk

    Now that I read the comments, I see this was redundant, and also would like to apologize for the rude tone of my last post, I actually like this site. I'm still right though;)

    But for future polls, don't be afraid to ask more/specific things, only that can result in something interesting. I never knew about the Analog Box for example.

  • Freddy

    Mac OS and nothing else since 1995 for audio…wait a minute… for everything else too.

    Expensive? yes.

    Reliable? sure! and only this matters to me.

  • samu

    I'm hesitant to mention this, but I've noticed no substantial difference in reliability between XP and OSX. A lot depends on the hardware with Windows, though, of course.

  • Ben

    I would definately agree with samu on a lot depending on hardware in a windows system. I have hand built every PC I have every owned, and very rarely ever see any problems, even when running my usual setup (Cubase 3SX, Live rewired into Cubase, two instances of Kontakt 2 full of samples, and about 6-8 soft synths simultanously on a dual core AMD).

    However I have noticed many, many issues with windows on my friends computers which are also used soley for audio production.


  • llamastorm

    I'm entirely a Mac user at home, though am a Linux enthusiast and developer. I'd use a Linux box full time if I weren't wired to Ableton and Adobe Lightroom (for camera editing). Urg, the curses of shiny commercial software.

    As I'm starting to move to more hardware based stuff (Moog!) — as Linux audio apps improve I could see myself switching at some point, provided things like audio interface drivers are well supported. But honestly I really don't want to fight that to get it all working.

    The Linux realtime kernel stuff has a lot of potential and should be making some waves shortly in audio space though.

    In other news, I wish folks would stop saying "PC" for Windows boxes. PCs get a choice as to what they want to run 🙂

  • William G

    I use Windows XP for everything.

    I too was (am?) a BeOS fan. I eagerly await the release of the open source BeOS successor Haiku:

  • windows for the very fact that i cant afford a mac and that ableton live cant be run on linux -.-

    when its out in beta, im switching to ReactOS until i can afford a mac. or two.

  • @Kris: 10.5 is Leopard…

    Mac user. Currently 10.4.11 on my dualG5, 10.5.1 on my Macbook Pro.

  • Ericdano

    Mac OS X running Digital Performer, Logic Studio, and some great M-Audio gear I won in an SOS competition (Project Mix I/O, Protools M-Powered).

    Awesome stuff. Now I just need a new MacPro and I'll be set!

  • Jagja

    I use a PC from my first days of cyber life but because i begin to learn Max Msp Jitter, I think very soon i will leave pc for a mac.

    Max Msp was made for mac and i think it was just adapted for pc. A lot of external are written for mac and apple max community is bigger than pc max community.

    I still prefer pc for surfing on net. I work on net and pc make my life easier.

    I hope i will buy very soon a mac book pro and i will use both xp/os