Surveying sage sonicists at our Sound, Studio, and Stage forum (, we asked POINT BLANK: Which Operating System Do You Use for Music?

Analysis: Those answering the poll could check up to three options, as many use more than one OS. That’s why the percentages add up to more than 100% — not because the machines tabulating the poll were located in Palm Beach County, Florida.

For the Mac, most people are at OS X 10.3.x or higher; on the Windows side, XP is the overwhelming favorite, with the XP/SP2 combination dominating. It’s also worth noting that the Mac has a larger market share among musicians than the general population. The poll has a ±4% margin of error. (Actually, we just made up that margin of error thing.)


“My Mac system drive is partitioned for Panther and OS 9, though I go over to the OS 9 side less and less. I mainly keep it there because of Adobe FrameMaker; they never did an OS X version. The Windows laptop runs WinXP Pro/SP1. It has been incredibly stable with Cubase, Forte, and lotsa different soft synths.” —Steven Fortner

“Win XP Home and Pro (on different machines) with SP1, but my softsynth/Giga machine is still running Win ME. I have three Ataris in storage — two 1040s and a Mega ST/e. Good machines back in the day, especially the Mega running Notator. Hmmm . . . an editable MIDI notation display circa 1988 . . . and here we are in 2005, with no such capability in Pro Tools. I sure miss that.” —Phil O’Keefe

“Win XP/SP1 on my audio PC. I also have a laptop and a spare PC converted to a bedroom PC, both running Windows Media Center Edition 2005. MCE 2005 is very cool — XP Pro with added bells and whistles for movies, DVDs, music, and pics. I believe you can buy this OEM for less than XP Pro if you also purchase some sort of hardware along with it. (I bought mine from NewEgg for $132 + $19 for an MCE-certified remote control.)” —Frankie P

“My main studio box is OS X 10.38 running Logic Pro 7.1. Got a copy of Tiger sitting on the shelf — as soon as UAD-1 drivers are ready, I’ll make the jump. I keep a Windows ME box in the studio as well, just for running a Korg Oasys PCI card. And my laptop, running Logic Platinum 5.5.1, is WinXP/SP1.” —EoS

“OS X is a beauty. Sometimes I still need to work on OS 9, and cannot believe how foreign it looks even though I worked there for four years.” —Ernest Buckley