Written by 6:44 am Digital

PCs, PC Audio Software, and Me

Steven Stone explains why he uses Apple’s Macs for computer audio…



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Last week a reader contacted me regarding some PC playback
software that he claimed was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was
better than any Mac playback software he’d used (although he did not elaborate
on what Mac software he’d used in the past.) I considered his missive for about
an hour before writing him back that I was a Mac user and had little to NO
interest in trying PC software.

Naturally, this got the letter writer upset. He wondered how
I could be a serious audiophile or computer audio specialist if I wasn’t
willing to try this particular piece of software. He also complained (to my
editor) about my curt manner. With 20-20 hindsight, I should have given him a
less honest but more socially acceptable “maybe” along the lines of “Thank you
for your letter, I’ll certainly look into it…” The end of the sentence that
would have been left off, would have read, “in 2019…”

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Why am I so against using a PC for computer-based audio? Because, I can’t do a review of a piece
of PC audio software and expect it to have a similar level of
relevance for my readers as reviews of Mac-compatible software. Why? Because, all the parts in a computer audio system affect the final sound quality – hardware,
software, interfaces, settings, and environment. And since they all play a part
in the final sonic presentation, if I use a Dell PC how much relevance would my
findings have for someone using an HP or Sony? If I use Windows 7 what
relevance will my findings have for someone still using Vista or Windows XP? I suspect, very
little.

And that is the problem. To do a useful review of a piece of
PC audio software would require multiple PCs – one from each major
manufacturer with capabilities to run all the PC OS. While nothing is
impossible with enough time, money, and staff hours, the amount of time and work
needed to comprehensively review even a single piece of PC playback software and
arrive at a robust assessment would require far more time and effort than reviewing Mac software. Using PCs would require so much
time that for a single reviewer it’s not practical – most of the software under review would be obsolete by the time the review was completed.

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The reason I use Apple Macs exclusively for my computer
audio system and computer audio reviews is so that my reviews might have greater consistency for my readers. By using a Mac I can
limit the number of variables so that my readers stand a far better chance of
being able to duplicate my set-up and results, so they can hear the same things
that I hear. Instead of sonic conclusions that can only be relevant within the
narrow range of a specifically-configured PCs, with the Mac I can begin to arrive at more universal
assessments that have a greater degree of relevance and value for my
readers.

And that’s why I don’t review computer audio for the PC…

 

 

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