In this post, I’ve reviewed the best Mac for music production in the studio or while traveling. At the minimum, get a Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.
MacBook takes the top spot as the best laptop for music production, performing, & recording. So, let’s get down to the Macs.
I recommend MacBook Pro Retina 2015 as the Best Mac for Music Production.
Thus your DAWs, API or sub-systems (CoreAudio) will be highly responsive. If you’re a traveling producer, get a sleek, light and compact Mac.
Reviewed: 7 Best Mac for Music Production 2019
1. Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2015 Core i7 2.2GHz – Our Top Pick
Macs are still a favorite with music-makers & DJs. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina is robust, has many USB ports, MagSafe present, and no noisy butterfly keys. Further, It’s compatible with many DAWs that are optimized to work with the Mac OS. Therefore, there are fewer performance issues or crashes.
But, why didn’t I include the MacBook Pro 2016? Well, MacBook Pro 2016 has a decorative touchpad – whose application is not fully utilized for music production. But get some hard-drives for great studio work.
Also, the 2016 model lacks the MagSafe connector, Firewire sockets, and USB ports. MacBook Pro 2016’s Touch-Pad may allow faster access to the tempo, record, stop and play controls on the Ableton Live.
Apple 15″ MacBook Pro will comfortably run sessions with many plugins and tracks running actively. This is because it has superior 16GB RAM and processing power (quad-core Intel Core i7). But this Mac has some noise fans that could disrupt your recordings – if you’re doing this in the same space.
SSD storage (256GB) for large sized files: In addition, Apple 15″ MacBook Pro uses SSD storage (256GB) and thus you can easily store the large sized files without slowing the machine. The base model has 8GB RAM and 3.6 GHz processor (dual-core) that’s making.
Here’s how different music producers use their Macs. (1) Traditional production – Record music tracks via mics & instruments and finally mix. (2) DJs and performing musicians will use their Mac in recording and producing tracks and finally in performing. (3) Lastly, hip-hop artists and EDMs use DAW with Best Laptops For FL Studio MIDI-keyboard controllers, & sequencers. Check a review video.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Core i5 (mid-2018) – Runner-Up
First, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch is almost similar (with its Touch Bar to improve music making productivity) to the Apple 15″ MacBook Pro but with a smaller sized display and some trade-offs in features. New features include the True Tone display, an improved keyboard, and Hey Siri.
But with the highly portable 13-inch MacBook Pro (thin and light), I can now work at coffee shops, trains, or planes. This mac has analog modeled plugins and great mixing headphones to allow fast editing tune vocals and drums while traveling.
The MacBook Pro has a silicone layer below every key and thus you won’t experience stuck keys. With its 2560 * 1600 pixels’ True Tone display is colorful, bright and sharp in resolution. It has Intel Iris 655 Plus graphics which are awesomely helpful for video and photo editing.
While editing my band’s drums and tracks, I would suffer from the ruthless fluorescent lights. This made me seek increased portability of my music making machines and devices. Its Thunderbolt 3 will support 2 – 5K displays and a 40GB/s data transfer for music making.
With the True Tone technology, your display will change the panel of Mac’s white balance to match the color temperature. Therefore, you’ll have better viewing when making music for an extended period of time. With the new T2 chip to allow full disk encryption for secure booting and for storing data in the SSD. Further, the Hey Siri will allow you to use your voice to change settings while producing music. It has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and the 720p HD camera (Face-time) to allow better video calling.
Large SSD Storage
It has 128GB SSD storage to allow power efficient and high-speed memory. Therefore, you can start multiple apps or import huge files very fast. The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with 2 speakers that’ll offer you balanced and rich audio. Further, it has a 58 watt-hour battery that will guarantee a longer power supply for the laptop.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with fast processors for recording or handling various audio work. For the 2018 MacBook Pro, you’ll get additional Ram and a 2TB SSD. Review the review video below.
The MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air for Music Production debate came up lately on an apple discussion. It has Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Retina display, new trackpad and keyboard, and a modern Intel processor. Apple has maintained the 12 hours battery life, which is great for music production while traveling.
Compared to the old MacBook Air, this laptop has achieved a 30% upgrade on its Graphics performance. It has a 128GB SSD storage to take 1 GB/sec and 2 GB/sec in write and read speeds respectively. This is blazing fast for a laptop its size.
MacBook Air Retina display comes with a 2560×1600 resolution (with DCI-P3 color gamut). This is 4 times better compared to the older MacBook Air. It has black bezels, lighter (2.75 pounds), and thinner – just about the size of the MacBook Pro. It has Touch ID which provides the real ESC key and Function keys. The T2 processor allows audio processing, disk encryption, secure booting.
MacBook Air has a new butterfly-switch keyboard with a silicone membrane for a quieter typing experience. This is because MacBook Air has low travel and prevents dust. Further, it has louder speakers with bass response. It also comes with the modern Force Touch trackpad that is easy to click and is larger.
Apple has done away with the MagSafe connector, SD card reader, USB-A ports. Instead, MacBook Air adopted USB-C charging and has two Thunderbolt 3 connectors (40 Gbps). Due to lack of USB-A connectors, you’ll need to purchase a dongle.
This MacBook MLHC2EA is also lightweight (just 2 pounds) and is thin in build. You’ll find it very portable for your on-the-go music production, in addition to offering high performance.
With a native resolution of 2304 x 1440, LED backlights, and uni-body design that makes it highly compact. It has one USB-C port for both connectivity and power needs – thus you might need a dongle.
The iMac 5K. In addition to the large (17 inches) display, you’ll get a powerful iMac to record and produce with most DAWs.
Its Radeon Pro 500 graphics are great for music and video editing in your music making activities. Our iMac 5 has a 2TB Fusion Drive, 8GB RAM, and Intel Core i5 (3.8GHz Quad-Core).
This iMac 5K has higher-bandwidth connectivity and advanced graphics technologies that will enhance your music production on this desktop computer.
The base model of Apple’s 5K iMac has a 3.2 GHz 8GB VRAM. But you can upgrade the VRAM to 32GB (plus a 1TB hard). However, its i5 chip is great for handling music production. This includes multitasking, editing and selecting multiple music tracks as shown in this video.