MacBook takes the top spot as best laptop for music production, performing, & recording. At the minimum, get a Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. I’ve reviewed the top selection of MacBooks you can use in the studio or while traveling.
Summary: If you need a quick question, I recommend a good laptop like MacBook Pro Retina 2015 or MacBook Pro 13-inch as your 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.
Reviews: 7 Best Mac for Music Production in 2019 Reviewed
Apple Macs are still a favorite with music-makers & DJs. Definitely, Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina is loved (in music production) for being it’s 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 – thus has 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 – that is great for live performance or producing music on the move. 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 – with superior 16GB RAM and processing power (quad-core Intel Core i7). But remember, MacBook Pro has some noise fans that could disrupt your recordings – if you’re doing this in the same space.
In addition, Apple 15″ MacBook Pro uses SSD storage (256GB) and thus you can easily store the large sized files without slowing the machine. Its base model has an 8GB RAM and a 3.6 GHz processor (dual-core), which implies that you’ll get adequate power.
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.
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 that will make a large difference in your daily work.
But with the highly portable 13-inch MacBook Pro (thin and light), I can now work at coffee shops, trains, or planes. With the amazing analog modeled plugins, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and awesome mixing headphones, it’s even possible to edit my tune vocals and drums while in the waiting lobby of the airport.
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.
In my beginner days as a music producer, I would spend days without an end in the basement studio with limited air or lighting. 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 that will work great for your music making tasks.
Therefore, with the True Tone technology, your display will change the panel of Mac’s white balance to match the color temperature for your surrounding 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.
It has 128GB SSD storage to allow power efficient and high-speed memory, which will mean 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 longer power supply for the laptop.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with fast processors that will readily handle your recording or handling various audio work (either professional or beginner levels). For the 2018 MacBook Pro, you’ll get additional Ram and a 2TB SSD.
The MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air for Music Production debate came up lately on an apple discussion. The lovely MacBook Air has Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Retina display, new trackpad and keyboard, and a modern Intel processor – but with a tapered edge. Apple has maintained (and achieved a 1 hour’s improvement) the 12 hours battery life – which will be great for music production while you’re traveling or away from your studio.
Compared to the old MacBook Air, this laptop has achieved a 30% upgrade on its Graphics performance. Further, Apple included a 128GB SSD storage that allows about 1 GB/sec and 2 GB/sec in write and read speeds respectively – which is blazing fast for a laptop its size.
Its Retina display comes with a 2560×1600 resolution (with DCI-P3 color gamut) – which 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.
It has a new butterfly-switch keyboard with a silicone membrane for a quieter typing experiencing (due to 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.
iMac 5K is a great machine for your studio music-making. Interestingly, in addition to the large (17 inches) display, you’ll get a powerful iMac that will allow you to record and produce effectively using complicated music editing DAWs.
Its Radeon Pro 500 graphics are great for music and video editing in your music making activities. Also, our current iMac 5 version has a 2TB Fusion Drive, 8GB RAM, and Intel Core i5 (3.8GHz Quad Core) processor.
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 that you can upgrade to 32GB (plus a 1TB hard) – but its i5 chip is great for handling music production – multitasking, editing and selecting multiple music tracks.