Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Choosing a Computer

8. Which Operating system

Which Version of Windows?

For several years Windows XP provided a good, stable platform for running music software and hardware. Microsoft replaced Windows XP at the beginning of 2007 with its brand new Vista platform. Vista brought in many enhancements, not just in terms of the interface, but also in functionality, stability and reliability – all good news for the computer musician. However, Windows Vista required that manufacturers produce completely new drivers for all their hardware, and most software required updating to take advantage of the enhancements. This process has been slow, and many manufacturers are having a hard time converting their interfaces over to the new operating system. The best advice at time of writing is to check to choose the software and hardware you want first, and then choose a compatible operating system.

32 bit or 64 bit

There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, but this has nothing to do with the quality of audio, or the bit rate at which your music is being recorded; rather it is to do with the computing technology itself. The standard version of Windows XP is 32 bit, and all the normal software and hardware you are likely to use is written in 32 bit code with 32 bit drivers. Microsoft latterly introduced Windows x64, a 64 bit version of XP Professional which allowed manufacturers to take advantage of the increased processing power available in 64 bit systems. However, 64 bit is still considered specialist, and only a handful of applications really benefit from it. The biggest advantage is that it can cope with loads more RAM than a 32 bit system - up to 128GB - which could revolutionise the way we use software samplers. However, the rest of the industry is not quite there yet. Windows Vista 64 is also an option, but very few hardware interfaces have drivers for it, so it’s less attractive than regular Vista at the time of writing. Do ensure that the computer you buy is 64 bit compatible though, so that in future you can upgrade to Vista 64 and make use of the advantages which are certain to come in time, and may have already done so by the time you read this!

Apple Macs

The beauty of Macs is that there’s only one specification of machine made by a single manufacturer, warranty sealed and delivered to you. This means that you’re very unlikely to run into any compatibility issues with software or peripherals (providing of course that they are designed to be Mac compatible in the first place). Macs are typically more expensive than their PC equivalents when compared on a spec for spec basis, a comparison which is much easier to make now that they use essentially the same processors. There are also some applications that only run on the Apple operating system, which can make your choice of computer an easy one, although conversely there are some applications that are Windows only.

Buying an Apple Mac computer is very similar in some ways to buying a PC system from a specialist supplier, in that you get similar design ideals. However, you’ll still generally get the best support, PC or Mac, from a specialist music supplier, and it’s often worth paying the extra for it.

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in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
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Choosing a Computer overview

Yamaha Stagepas 600BT Subpac M2X Adam T5V Roland R-07 black RME ADI-2 DAC Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V Fender Squier Affinity P-Bass PJ ILBK Focal Listen Professional Focal Shape Twin Yamaha Stagepas 400BT Fender SQ Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK 18
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 600BT

Mini-PA System with Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 10-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 600i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6...

to the product
€799
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Subpac M2X

Subpac M2X, Mobile tactile bass system, SubPac adds real depth, connection and enjoyment to whatever you play through it - your music and media comes to life with the added dimension of physical bass. Frequency Response: 1hz-200hz, Wired Input: 3.5mm...

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€385
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Adam T5V

Active Nearfield Monitor Equipped with: 5" woofer and 1.9" U-ART ribbon tweeter, 2x Class-D amplifiers: 50W RMS woofer, 20W RMS tweeter, Frequency range: 45 - 25000 Hz, Crossover frequency: 3 kHz, Maximum input level: 106 dB (1m/pair), Rear bass...

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€169
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Roland R-07 black

Portable MP3 / WAV Recorder with Bluetooth Functionality Stereo recordings up to 24 Bit / 96 kHz in WAV format or up to 396 kbps in MP3 format on microSD / SDHC card, Built-in stereo microphone, Integrated hybrid limiter,...

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€225
(3)
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RME ADI-2 DAC

High-end DA converter & headphone amplifier Sample rates: 44.1 kHz up to 768 kHz, Playback of DSD and Direct DSD, SteadyClock FS, LCD display with AutoDark function for lighting, Desktop Case, Dimensions: 215 x 52 x 150 mm, Weight:...

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€999
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Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite

Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite; 1-Channel Mic-Preamp wit EQ; based on the 1073; hand wound Carnhill Transformers; 3 stage fully discrete class A mic preamp; max. Gain: 80 dB Mic and 50 dB Line; -20 dB Pad; LO-Z switches the...

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€945
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Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V

Electric Guitar Body and neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ebony, Neck profile: Thin C, 22 Jumbo frets, Scale: 628 mm, Pickups: Active EMG 57 (bridge) and EMG 66 (neck) humbucker, Floyd Rose 1000, Grover Rotomatic machine heads, Colour: Black, Incl. Deluxe...

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€925
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Fender Squier Affinity P-Bass PJ ILBK

Electric Bass Affinity series, Body: Alder, Neck: Maple, Fretboard: Indian Laurel, Neck profile: "C", 20 Medium jumbo nut, Scale: Long scale, Nut width: 41.3 mm, Pickups: 1 Jazz and 1 Standard Split Precision single coil, 2 Volume and 1...

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€229
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Focal Listen Professional

Headphones Closed, Circumaural, Conversion technology for acoustic transparency and dynamics, Impedance: 32 ohms, Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz - / 1 Vrms): 122 dB SPL, THD (THD, @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL): 0.3%, Frequency range: 5 Hz to...

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€249
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Focal Shape Twin

Active Near Field Monitor Tweeter with low directivity for flexible listening position, Closed design with two passive membranes for easy installation near the wall, 2.5-Way concept for optimal control of the bass and lower mids, Optimal integration through extensive...

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€849
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Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 400BT

Mini-PA System Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 8-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 400i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6 m...

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€555
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Fender SQ Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK 18

Fender Squier Affinity PJ Bass Pack BK bass guitar set with bass, rumble 15 amp, cable and strapt; bass guitar, poplar body, maple neck, indian laurel fretboard, 20 medium jumbo frets, nut width 41,3mm (1,625"), scale 864mm (34"), pickups 1x...

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€269
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