Ah, the age-old question of Mac versus PC, or in this case, MacBook versus PC Laptop. This is a debate that’s been going on for years and not just in the music business. The truth is, most DJs prefer a MacBook. Does that mean you can’s DJ with a PC laptop? Of course not, with the right setup, it will do, but in my option, and in the opinion of a lot of DJs, a MacBook is far superior.
So, why do DJs use MacBooks? Reliability. Because Apple makes both the MacBook and iOS, everything runs smoothly and problems that do arise are easier to identify and fix. They’re less likely to crash or get a virus and iCloud and the App Store help you share seamlessly from a MacBook to an iPad or iPhone.
In my opinion, MacBooks are just a better machine. First, let’s look at the basics of why I prefer a MacBook in general.
What Does a MacBook Have that a PC Laptop Doesn’t?
Mac versus PC has been an ongoing debate for a long time now and the arguments can be made for MacBooks versus PC laptops. Let’s be honest, MacBooks are more expensive which is part of the reason people might be reluctant to buy one. That said, there are so many reasons why a MacBook is worth the investment.
Before we get into the specifics of why a MacBook is a top choice for DJs, let’s look at some of the reasons why they’re better in general.
- MacBooks hold their value. If you want to upgrade in a few years, your old MacBook will still get you a decent amount of money if you sell it or trade it in. In the long run, this might even make a MacBook cheaper if you apply the resale value to the cost of subsequent MacBooks.
- MacBooks are straightforward to shop for. There’s only one MacBook so, other than deciding what model you want, there’s not a whole lot to consider. MacBooks come with a lot of great software included and the app store gives you immediate access to even more. With PC laptops, there are so many brands, warranties, and extras available, comparing them can be tedious and you’re never quite sure you’re getting the best fit.
- MacBooks have better security. While it’s not impossible, a MacBook is much less likely to get a virus than a PC laptop.
- MacBooks integrate seamlessly with iPhones and iPads. Thanks to iCloud, everything you do on one Apple device is accessible on another. Imagine being away from your MacBook when inspiration strikes and using your iPad or iPhone to jot it down or lay down a simple recording then being able to easily access it directly on your MacBook later.
- MacBooks and iOS are both made by Apple. Think about a PC laptop. Microsoft makes the software and operating system but any number of manufacturers make the actual laptop. That means it’s not always easy to figure out the source of any problems that come up. If you have a problem with your MacBook, it’s all on Apple. You can just take it to an Apple store where their Geniuses are trained to figure out and fix the problem.
- Updates and upgrades are easy. Your MacBook will not let you forget when there’s an update available. If you ignore it, it notifies you daily and will even let you choose a time for it to perform the update automatically.
- MacBooks are practically automatic. Sure, if you’re a tech person you might prefer a system that allows you to do more tinkering and essentially build your own laptop, you might prefer a PC. But if you want a system with an easy to use interface that is ready to go without any fuss, MacBooks are where it’s at.
- Look, I’m not going to lie. There’s something about seeing that glowing Apple on a sleek silver MacBook that makes you feel like you’re working with something special. They look and feel like a high-end piece of equipment and that goes a long way when you’re trying to build a reputation.
Why Is a MacBook the Better Choice for a DJ?
Now that I’ve covered the reasons why a MacBook is a great choice in general, let’s talk about why it’s so popular with DJs.
One of the big things is the soundcard. MacBooks use universal audio that doesn’t require any extra drivers for compatibility. It’s simple and, like most things Apple, it just seems effortless.
Reliability is huge. There is a much lower chance that a MacBook will crash when compared to a PC laptop. If you’re in the middle of performing, the last thing you want to worry about it your laptop crashing. It will not only ruin the performance, but it could also really impact your reputation as a DJ.
On the off chance you do have a problem with your MacBook and need to reboot, it’s usually a much faster process. You’ll be up and running again much sooner.
Finally, there are just so many DJing apps available in the App Store. You have so much to choose from and they’re all really easy to install and use. Plus, you can use the same apps on your iPad and, to some extent, your iPhone. In fact, if for some reason you’re having problems with your MacBook, you can even DJ using an iPad with the right app.
Can I DJ with a PC Laptop?
I know a MacBook is a huge upfront investment, one that you may not be able to make when you’re first starting out. If you’re holding off getting started because you really want a MacBook and can’t afford one, there are ways to make a PC Laptop work.
It is possible to DJ with a PC laptop, but it’s essential to use the right DJing software and top-of-the-line model, or the best you can afford. You need fast processors and a lot of RAM and should dedicate it only to music. That is to say, don’t use your everyday laptop that you play computer games on or where you keep all your document files saved for your DJing business. The fewer programs you have on it, the better because it’s more likely to run glitch free.
Another thing is don’t surf the web with a PC Laptop that you use for DJing. The more times you access the internet, the more likely you are to get a virus. Viruses are a lot more likely to infect a PC Laptop than a MacBook so you should be as cautious as possible.
Some would say that a MacBook or a PC Laptop are just tools and that it is you, the DJ, that makes the difference. In some respects, this is true. But the tools you use are important. If you choose to go with a PC, make sure you do it the right way.
What’s the best MacBook for DJing? I would say the MacBook Pro. It has a fast processor and 32GB of RAM so you can load it up with files and be confident that it won’t slow down.
Do I need an iPad or iPhone, too? No, it’s not necessary, though it can come in really handy. A MacBook can definitely hold its own when it comes to DJing, but the ability to integrate everything onto all of your devices is an added bonus that you’ll really come to appreciate. Using your MacBook with an iPad or iPhone is just the icing on the cake.
Is my MacBook ready to go or are there things I should do to optimize it? There are some things you can do to make your MacBook DJ ready. Back everything up and make sure everything is working properly before a gig. Organize everything in iTunes playlists so that you’ll always have access to your music. Close all your other apps before a performance. You might have things running in the background that you don’t even know about and you don’t want anything eating up any of your processing power. Turn off your screensaver so you don’t have to keep entering your password to get back into your MacBook. Turn off energy-saving mode, too, because it can lock your MacBook or even turn it off if you don’t touch the trackpad and you’re not plugged into an outlet. And here’s a big one, don’t install updates right before a gig. If everything is running fine, leave it alone until you get home so you don’t meet with any surprises in the middle of a set.