V For Pro Audio!

As a former-professional, and current advanced-amateur audio engineer it pains me that most (non-Apple) hardware manufacturers have little-to-no regard for / understanding of the requirements of the Professional Audio trades; I refer to real-time music production in particular.

Real-time audio production—unlike video production and graphic design; the other two legs of digital media—requires a host system optimized for the lowest possible audio latency under load.

The key idea here is OPTIMIZATION. While raw CPU power, memory capacity, bus speeds, etc. are all important, real-time nirvana is achieved only when hardware, firmware, drivers, OS, software and all relevant subsystems work in harmony.

Speak with any Windows-based audio engineer and you’ll hear stories of hair-pulling, white-knuckled anguish as high-spec’ed, megabuck systems with all the bells and whistles glitch and stutter under the most trifling of loads. Sometimes one lucks out and builds or buys a machine that works with minimal issues, but I’d say that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Indeed, professional DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) builders scrutinize each and every hardware component and agonize over revisions in firmware, BIOS, drivers and so forth until they happen upon a suitably performant and reliable combination. Over the years I’ve build many such machines for myself and others, and I remember the hours spent researching specific motherboard revisions (v1.01 and not v1.01a!), memory chips on DIMMs and this BIOS and not the other. It’s really quite tedious.

I have long dreamt of the day a system integrator took these issues to heart and developed a machine optimized for real-time audio from the get-go. It might not be easy… but it might just be worth the effort!

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