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In the production studio, the computer plays a fundamental role. It’s the center of everything since we record, use plugins, edit, mix, and everything else. Now, if the computer is a central piece, then the operating system we work with is also central.

That’s why deciding between Windows and Mac is crucial when discussing the music studio’s central computer.

I’ve used both operating systems. I won’t reveal which one I currently use until the end of the article, but it’s clear that both have their pros and cons. In this article, I’ll discuss the essential points to consider when choosing a Mac or a Windows computer for your music production and recording studio.

Windows vs. Mac for Music Production: Main Differences

Audio Integration

If we work with music production, the audio integration factor will be fundamental. In Windows, you require ASIO to use audio in any DAW. Most audio interfaces have their driver created with ASIO.

So far, so good. The problem appears when you want to run multiple audio programs with ASIO, as it’s impossible. I spent a lot of time-fighting against this problem in Windows, which isn’t very pleasant.

On the macOS side, as it’s an operating system designed for multimedia, it comes with an integrated driver called “CoreAudio” that works smoothly with any audio interface and can open multiple audio programs without problems.

This is a critical factor in which macOS has an advantage: integrating audio devices and audio programs.

MIDI Device Support

Both Windows and macOS are compatible with MIDI devices. That’s for sure. In my experience, you need to connect any MIDI device that works in Windows and Mac.

Likewise, both systems can also work with multiple MIDI devices. But there’s a difference: you can’t run two (or more) audio programs with the same MIDI device in Windows.

When you open a second program, it tells you you can’t use the MIDI device because it’s open in another program. This is not a problem on Mac; you can use a MIDI device with multiple audio programs.

Plugin Compatibility

Okay, now.. another critical point: how compatible are they with plugins? Both operating systems are compatible with VST/VST3 plugins; in macOS, there are also AU plugins. The installation procedure is similar: you install the plugin with the installer or drag it directly to the native plugin folder.

Now, there are two factors to mention regarding macOS:

  • Since the macOS version is called Catalina (released in 2019), developers have to notarize (that is, something like “authorize”) their plugins with Apple for them to work. As this came out some time ago, most developers have already updated to this, and almost all work. However, some plugins (usually some free and old ones) are not notarized. Some plugins can be allowed from the security system, and others do not work directly. In my experience, 95% of the plugins work, but the remaining 5% don’t.
  • The new M1 processors (Apple Silicon) in Macs from 2020 or later are too good, but developers must update their plugins to work natively. If they are not updated, you can use Rosetta, and they function equally well.

In Windows, any plugin works without impediments.


I often heard, “I use computers with Windows because Macs are too expensive.” And the point is yes, when Macs first came out on the market (0km), they were too expensive.

So, for new computers, those that come with Windows are generally cheaper. It’s complex to compare here, as there are many models. Also, Windows is not a computer brand but an operating system many brands use.

But, used or refurbished Macs drop a lot in price and are affordable and equally good. If you start checking used prices, you won’t see a difference between used computers of both kinds.

Equally Good factors

There are factors in which both systems are sound, and they should be mentioned:

  • DAW: With both, you can run any DAW without any problem. All DAWs are also notarized for Mac and have native compatibility with M1.
  • Recording instruments/voices: I find no differences when recording instruments or voices in Windows and Mac. In both systems, you can do it without problems.
  • Audio latency: In macOS, there are no latency problems due to the native CoreAudio driver. In Windows, there are also no problems using the ASIO driver that comes with most audio interfaces.
  • Security: It has little to do with production but is worth highlighting. You don’t need any antivirus for macOS because it has an integrated security system. A long time ago, Windows Defender was useless in Windows, but currently, it’s so terrific that you don’t need another antivirus.

Summarizing Mac’s Main Points

  • Native integration with audio, without impediments to run multiple audio programs simultaneously.
  • Native support for MIDI devices with multiple programs at the same time.
  • Compatible with VST/VST3/AU plugins, but with some obstacles in plugins (mostly some free ones) that are not notarized.
  • High prices for new products just launched, but they become cheaper for used products.

Summarizing Windows’ Main Points

  • Difficulty running multiple audio programs at the same time with ASIO.
  • There is no problem with MIDI devices, but you can’t use the same devices in multiple audio programs simultaneously.
  • Complete compatibility with VST/VST3 plugins.
  • Competitive pricing in new and used products, as many brands launch computers with Windows.

Final Conclusions

No operating system is better than the other, but each has pros and cons. I recommend looking at these points and thinking about the use you want to give it. In my experience, I always used Windows as my main computer, but a few months ago, I used Mac as my main computer for the first two points since they are essential for my work.

This does not mean it’s the ideal answer for everyone, but it’s essential to analyze the main points and see how useful they are for your work.


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