My First Mac

Macs, MIDI, and Making Music

Chris Boring - 2001.07.31

In the beginning, there was Atari, and lo, it was good.

A music major in high school, I decided I wanted to join the brand new Computer Music course. I learned to point, click, drag, and drop on an Atari 1040ST, and it made musicmaking simple and fun. When I graduated high school, my love of electronic music grew, but unfortunately, my dreams of an Atari of my own were eclipsed by the high costs of drum machines and synthesizers, and before I could have a computer of my own, the Atari platform died a sad and lonely death.

When I got my first Wintel PC, I thought that it would bring simplicity back to my musicmaking, but drivers, DLLs, and other pesky PC problems got in my way. I gave up on my computer sequencing dream and programmed my trusty Korg on it's tiny monochrome two-line LCD display while I tried vainly to integrate my Pentium II with my synths and samplers, failing more often than not.

All this changed when I met my collaborator, Ed. Ed is a Mac IT tech and a great lead singer as well. After I showed him my studio and the way I controlled my synths with the Korg's onboard sequencer, he asked me about computers. I regaled him with horror stories of half duplex sound cards, unstable MIDI timing, and blue screens of death. He smiled and handed me his PowerBook G3 Wallstreet and said: "Here. Play."

And I did. All the familiar apps were there: Explorer, Office, Photoshop - but they ran so well! The interface (after a few hours of stumbling) was so simple! I could watch DVDs, play games, and, if I wanted to, swap in another hard drive when I ran out of space. I was in love!

Of course, Ed didn't let me keep his G3. No friend is that wonderful. But I had frequent visitations, and we brought the G3 PowerBook 3400into full studio usage more and more. Soon I was a certified Mac nut. Ed then said, "Here. It may not be as fast as my G3, but it's a PowerBook, and it's yours."

I still have the PowerBook 3400c that Ed gave me. It's needed surgery from time to time, but it's a solid machine. I have a small studio running OS 8.6 and a ton of great audio apps! I write all my music with it, and I'll never go back to the PC or the tiny little LCD display again! My 3400 has written songs at 30,000 feet on an airplane, and traveled cross country with me. The only way I could imagine life without it is if a certain shiny titanium box took it's place....

Go to the My First Mac index.