Macs are the perfect computers for music-making. But, which is the best mac for music production that fits your needs? Read this guide to find out.
If you belong to the creative field, you probably own a Mac or have one on your wishlist. Whether you want to get creative with audio, record them, or embed them into visuals, Macs are a great choice.
Believe it or not, they are a must-have in most music production studios. That’s because they can accommodate a wide range of audio software and plugins. Similarly, their core system is robust and reliable, making it trustworthy enough for your creative work.
However, even if you have already decided to get a Mac for music production, that’s not the end of your ordeal. From the vast range of models available, which one is the best Mac for music production?
To figure that out, you’ll have to consider plenty of aspects, including actual screen state, compatibility with peripherals, suitable ports, and of course, the price range. This discourse will walk you through the multiple options available, along with a detailed buying guide for further insight into the topic.
So let’s dive in.
Best Mac for Music Production
Remember, the best laptop for music production isn’t the one with the most attractive specs or the highest price tag. Instead, choosing a Mac or a PC for music production dramatically depends on the music platforms you prefer to work with.
Another important factor is your working style. For example, not everyone likes sitting around in a studio all day. Similarly, some people need to carry their gear around for gigs. So you’ll need your device to be portable, slim, and lightweight in such cases.
Mainly, the ideal choice for you is the one that fits your needs perfectly. Luckily, if you want the ease and reliability that comes with Macs, you have a wide range of models to choose from.
So, is your ideal Mac the Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, or Macbook Air? Go through this list below with detailed features for each option to make the ultimate choice.
The MacBook Pro 13″ is a go-to choice for most Mac lovers. It delivers high performance with convenience and ease, making it ideal for professionals.
However, the MacBook Pro 13″ wouldn’t initially make it to the list for the best Mac for music production. Attributing to its screen and keyboard size and tricky configurations, the laptop wasn’t the ideal pick for this purpose.
Nevertheless, the 2020 upgrade repurchased the model in the race for the best Mac for music production. This version comes with double the storage of its previous version, along with a Magic Keyboard.
Similarly, devoted users can place orders to get their MacBook Pro integrated with a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, a 32 GB RAM with 3TB storage.
Besides the basic configurations, many other features make the MacBook Pro great for music performances. First of all, it’s smaller and lighter than other Macs. Meaning you can take it along for live performances and woo your audience without any hassle or take it along while traveling to create when inspiration strikes.
Another plus point is its cheap price range compared to MacBook Pro 16″ and other Mac models. So if you’re a musician looking for the best Mac for music performances on a budget, this is the right pick for you.
- Flawless Retina XDR display
- High specifications
- Ample storage options
- Best for mobile music production
- Ideal for DJs and other performers
- Its M1 chip works well with software like Logic Pro X and Garageband
- It cannot be upgraded after purchase
- The screen size is small
- The price range is the same as the iMac, better for music production.
- Other advanced production software won’t work without third-party compatibility.
When it comes to running advanced software, desktops are the ideal choice for most users. However, if you want portability without compromising performance, the MacBook Pro 16″ is the right laptop for music production.
As a music producer, you won’t be sitting around in your room all day. However, for those who want to move around for inspiration or take their computer along for performances, this laptop has a reliable battery life of up to 11 hours.
Additionally, this model has the giant screen Apply offers in its laptop range. While it can’t be compared to the iMac’s 27-inch display, it is a better option if you don’t want your laptop to be bulky.
The impressive clear visuals of the Retina display make up for the small screen size. Another great feature is its six-speaker sound system. Integrated with force-canceling woofers, you wouldn’t need to carry professional headphones with this laptop at all.
Furthermore, its Touch Bar is an excellent tool for music producers. If you use Logic Pro X to create music, the Touch Bar can quickly help you access six modes of operation and navigate your tracks. Moreover, the laptop is compatible and works well with other DAWs.
Most importantly, its 16 GB RAM, massive SSD, and eight-core i9 processor are the ideal configuration for music producers. Of course, you can also go for the cheaper i7 option, but there’s not much of a price difference between the two.
- Ample of storage
- high compatibility with DAWs
- Long battery life
- Sharp Retina display
- Robust speaker system
- It has four USB-C ports, meaning you’ll need an additional dongle to run USB-A peripherals.
- High price range
- Small screen compared to the 27-inch iMac
If you’re passionate about creating professional music but don’t have the funds to invest in a high-end machine, the Mac Mini is the ideal Mac for music production. The portable computer integrated with a silent-operating system offers excellent features required for music production.
It has incredible connectivity options along with an audio-in port, perfect for editing your tracks. Similarly, the Mac Mini is available in two versions; one with a 256GB SSD and another with 512 GB. Although the two have a slight price difference, you can choose whichever fits your budget according to your needs.
On the downside, if you’re using any other software apart from the Logic Pro X, you’ll need to buy an additional display, keyboard, and mouse for professional editing. So, if you choose the Mac Mini for the low price range, make sure to consider the cost of additional audio-related peripherals needed for music production.
However, there’s a silver lining to this cloud as well. While you might have to buy an additional screen with other Macs that already have a monitor, in this one, you can choose the best one you like. This way, you won’t be spending on an additional screen along with an existing one that you paid for.
- Low price
- You can upgrade its RAM at an Apple Store after purchase
- A robust intel core i5 processor which can be upgraded to an Intel Core i7
- Lightweight and portable
- Plenty of audio ports
- MIDI controllers included
- No monitor included
- You’ll need to purchase many additional peripherals
- To improve the SSD, you’ll have to use an external one as the existing one cannot be replaced.
The MacBook Air 13-inch is the best Mac for music production for those who like to compose their songs. However, if you’re an amateur entering the field with no more than the basic knowledge of music production, you should consider the MacBook Air as a starting device.
The main reason beginners select the MacBook Air is the low price range. It is cheaper than the MacBook Pro but provides almost similar productivity and functionality.
It is integrated with an 8-core CPU, and an Apply M1 chip, ideal for running music production software. In comparison to the Intel Core i5 processor, the chip helps run these programs and software faster so you can work effortlessly without any hassle.
Besides that, this laptop is suitable for outdoor use as well. Whether you’re performing at a live event or making music on the go, it has enough battery life to last you for 11-12 hours. Meaning you can easily cover an event or a trip without plugging it in.
Additionally, it is convenient and lightweight, so you can easily carry it around anywhere you go.
Although it does not have the six-speaker integration like the MacBook Pro, it does provide adequate audio for music production.
However, you’ll have to ensure you get the maximum RAM available for the model to make it reliable enough for your music projects. But, if you intend to work on large-scale projects, you should consider other options.
Also, it comes with only two Thunderbolt 3 USB ports. This means you’ll have to invest in a USB hub or adapter for USB-A peripherals.
- Affordable price range
- Plenty of storage
- M1 chip makes for easy software integration
- Long battery life
- No USB-A ports
- Basic speaker settings
- Not suitable for large-scale projects
The MacBook Air Retina is a slightly upgraded version of the MacBook Air mentioned above. Although it runs on an Intel Core i5 processor without an M1 chip, it has other features that make it a good contender for the best Mac for music production list.
You can choose from a 128GB or 256GB hard drive while purchasing the laptop, on top of its 8GB RAM storage. This makes the computer ideal for running most music production apps like Logic Pro X and Garageband.
Additionally, the laptop sports some pretty robust speakers, but you may have to invest in some high-quality headphones to edit your tracks as a music producer.
The best part about this model is its 13.5-inch screen. The giant Retina display screen is available in the Apple range for this price.
As a person who targets perfection, you’ll have to spend hours in front of your screen to edit a perfect soundtrack. That’s why a large screen makes all the difference when you’re aiming for perfection.
Moreover, if you’re mixing your audio with music videos, this laptop screen with a sharp Retina display will work wonders for you. Also, it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 USB ports so you can connect any audio input device of your choice.
- Razor-sharp Retina display
- Large 13.5″ screen
- Robust processor
- Touch ID system secures your work
- Plenty of RAM
- Affordable price range
- You’ll need additional USB hubs for USB-A peripherals.
- Speakers are not efficient enough for large-scale audio production.
If you don’t usually need to check the price tag while purchasing your devices, you should go for the iMac Pro. It is the ultimate choice for high-scale music producers who need high-output computing power combined with robust audio and visual features.
An all-in-one package of graphics, high-end processing power, storage, and memory, the iMac Pro can help you produce professional-grade background scores and music videos.
The best part is you can use any music production app apart from the basic Garageband and Logic Pro X. Meaning; that you can get as creative as you want without your device hanging upon you for hours.
It boasts a razor-sharp 5k Retina display along with plenty of ports to work with. You’ll get a card slot, four USB-A ports, and a headphone jack for professional sound gear. Also, there’s an ethernet port, which professionals might need for post-production workings.
The iMac Pro is a beast caged in a standard iMac enclosure, but only with power and processing that is more competent than ever. On the outside, you may not notice a lot happening. It also sports the same Retina 5k display as the regular iMac.
When it comes to graphics, this model has AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics to help you create breathtaking visuals. Besides that, the CPU has an 18-core 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon W processor to help you run multiple applications at once.
Most importantly, the iMac is known for its silent performance and thermal architecture so that you can work without any disturbance. However, if you want the convenience and portability of a laptop, this model is not for you.
- CPU with an 18-core 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon W processor
- Seamlessly runs all music production apps
- Works silently
- all-in-one package for music producers
- It will burn a large hole in your pocket
- It won’t allow you to work outside your studio setup
- Not portable enough to be carried to live performances
Best Mac for Music Production – Buying Guide
Now that you’ve read through our list of best Macs for music production, you’ve probably decided which one you want to go for. However, if you are still confused about making a purchase, here’s a detailed buying guide to give you further insight into the subject.
Your Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is essential for your music creation journey. One of the most common reasons music producers use Mac is because it facilitates Apple’s Logic Pro X and Garageband.
While both of these systems work flawlessly on any Mac you choose, you should ideally pick one that accommodates other software as well. These include Cubase, Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live.
Now, Apple is slowly moving its Macs from Core Intel to ARM-based processors. Meaning most music software won’t work on new Macs like the iMac Pro without converting them to be understood by the M1 chip.
Music production software can eat up a lot of memory on your RAM. If you lack RAM on the Mac you choose, you’ll face severe obstacles while working on large-scale projects.
Mainly, less RAM means fewer special effects and instruments and more time rendering stuff to your needs. To avoid this hassle, make sure the Mac you choose has at least 16GB of RAM.
However, RAMs on Macs with M1 cannot be upgraded further than 16GB. So, if you require more memory, you should go for MacBook Pro with a maximum of 128GB RAM.
All Macs work with SSDs as a primary means of storage. This enables them to work quietly and efficiently compared to hard drives.
But remember, SSDs will burn a giant hole in your pocket more than hard drives per GB. Also, you’ll need a minimum of 512GB SSD if you’re planning to use it for music production.
As a musician who travels the world with his work or frequently conducts live performances, you will need plenty of storage.
If you can’t afford the models with this amount of storage, you can use external drives or even cloud storage. That’s why check if the Mac you purchase has Thunderbolt 3 USB ports to accommodate these peripherals.
Remember to check the other music production gadgets you have to see if your Mac can accommodate them easily. For example, while some Macs might efficiently work without other peripherals, you might need screens and audio devices for others.
The ideal model, in this case, is the MacBook Air which sports two USB-C ports for external hardware. However, you can choose a suitable model according to your needs.
Music-making requires serious processing power to add additional plugins and different effects. So if you want a reliable CPU and processor, you’ll have to steer clear of Apple’s budget-friendly lineup.
In this case, Macs with M1 chips are the best options. However, it does not support most music-making software, so make sure to check these aspects before making your purchase.
If you’re thinking of making music videos, you will also need a proper GPU on your computer. Besides that, some audio software is also accelerated by GPUs.
Apple’s M1 range offers seven and 8-core GPUs ideal for Intel integrated graphics. In this case, the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro are the best choices for you.
In a nutshell, the best Mac for music production is the one that fits your needs and budget. If you’re comfortable with working at your studio to create impressive tracks and music videos, the iMac Pro is the go-to product for you.
On the other hand, musicians who like to perform live or travel while working might prefer productive laptops like the MacBook Pro. Whichever you choose, make sure to check the RAM and storage configurations before confirming your purchase. That’s because most Macs can’t be upgraded after purchase.
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