7 Best Mac for Music Production in 2020


If you’re looking for the best mac for music production – get a Mac with minimum Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. Macs are among the best music-making laptops

Best Mac for Music Production

Pro TipAs a beginner or pro music producer, you’ll love the above iMac Pro 27-inch for complex video or mus productions. Its Retina 5K display is thin (5mm), in-built CPU, and built-in speakers. 

If you’re a traveling producer, get a sleek, light, and compact Mac. MacBook Pro 13-inch is great for on-the-go music production (when you’re traveling). Read Also: Good camera for music videos

Reviews: 7 Best Mac for Music Production in 2020

1. iMac Pro 27-inch – Best Studio Mac for Audio Production

iMac Pro 27-inch is great for large video or audio editing projects including 4K & 8K plus for VR simulations and 3D rendering. You’ll get a powerful iMac to record and produce with most DAWs. 

Apple iMac Pro (27" Retina 5K display, 8-core , 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) Current Price On Amazon

For your home studio, I recommend this iMac Pro 27-inch as it has many USB and USB-C ports plus adequate power to easily run your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software. 

Sneak Peek:

  • Processor: 8-Core Xeon w
  • Storage: 1TB storage (SSD) 
  • Memory: 32GB RAM upgradable to 64GB / 128GB
  • Screen size: 27-inch display (diagonal) + its Retina 5K 
  • Design: 5-mm-thin 
  • Ports: 4 USB 3, 4 Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 
  • Headphone Jack: 3.5 mm, 4 mics, Stereo speakers 

The Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics (with 8GB HBM2 memory) are great for music and video editing. The 5-mm thin screen and built-in CPU won’t take much space and will display huge information compared to the 21.5-inch model. 

You’ll get an SDXC slot and the headphone mini-jack that’ll allow the production of great sound from your internal stereo speakers. In addition to the Mac Pro features, this iMac Pro has a 5K retina that’s simple to set up. 

After giving an update to the Logic Pro X, this iMac Pro is even better for production. Logic Pro X now supports eighteen processor cores (named 36 threads). It can now run many plugins plus tracks and sample libraries. 

The iMac Pro will easily handle 12 times more plugins in real-time DAW working compared to the previous iMac model. The machine will export multi-track sessions about 5 times faster. 

Further, Sculpture & Amp Designer are better in this iMac Pro and will thus give about 12 times more performance. Further, you may connect 2 additional 5K monitors to your iMac Pro. 

The iMac Pro is a multi-purpose Mac like for music production, video editing, VR, 3D, or 2D design work. In addition to having SB 3 ports, this Mac has 4 USB-C – maybe connect an external SSD drive.

This iMac Pro has higher-bandwidth connectivity and advanced graphics technologies that will enhance your music production on this desktop computer. 

For sound designers, film engineers, voiceovers, podcasters, and music producers, here’re the consideration to make while selecting your Apple’s iMac Pro. 

However, the many peripheral ports are positioned at the rear end of the iMac Pro, which will be difficult to access regularly. So, get a USB hub for iMac the easy to access at the bottom of the display. 

iMac Pro’s 8-Core Xeon w chip is great for handling music production. This includes multitasking, editing, and selecting multiple music tracks as shown in the video below. 

2. MacBook Pro 16-inch – Best Mac Laptop for Music – #2 Pick

This portable MacBook Pro 16-inch comes is a beast for audio engineers and musicians. Has improved speakers plus high-quality display – you can upgrade to 8TB of storage plus 64GB  Ram. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch - Best Mac Laptop for Music Current Price On Amazon

MacBook Pro 16-inch comes with a 16GB RAMp plus a 6‑core i7 processor. This gives a pro performance since very limited monitoring and recording projects could choke it. 

Sneak Peek:

  • Processor: 8-core i9 processor
  • Storage: 1TB storage (SSD) 
  • Memory: 16GB RAM allows smooth multitasking 
  • Screen size: 16-inch display Retina 
  • Design: 0.61 inches thick
  • Ports: USB 3.1 Gen 2; 4 Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) for DisplayPort and Charging; and 40 Gbps Thunderbolt
  • Headphone Jack: 3.5 mm 

In addition to high portability, this MacBook Pro has a large screen and will also effectively run the DAW software plus plugins with limited latency – great video editing laptop

I tested this MacBook Pro’s low-latency performance using Ableton Live in Pro Tools and stand-alone with great results. It has pro ports – (4) 40Gb Thunderbolt 3 that also act as USB‑C connections. 

Despite that, the 16-inch screen can’t compare to the 27-inch in iMac Pro, MacBook Pro is significantly better than most Macs when it comes to less software clustering for music production. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch has a Touch Bar that’ll work great with Logic Pro X. You can use its 6 operation modes and you can use it as a MIDI controller (with a plugin) or easily move through the tracks. 

However, this MacBook Pro has limited USB ports besides the 4 USB-C ports. Therefore, you’ll require a different cable or dongle to connect any USB-A peripherals. 

MacBook Pro also has a 6-speaker system that will overshadow your headphones plus studio monitors- plus it as the “Force Cancelling” woofers – check these affordable noise-canceling headphones

With an 8-core i9 processor, 1TB SSD, and 16 GB RAM, this MacBook Pro is great for music production. Its studio-quality mics plus 6-speaker surround – sharp treble, crisp and pronounced bass. 

On graphics, the MacBook Pro 16-inch comes with its onboard Intel chipset (plus man AMD chip) that’ll become functional when during low demand for visual performance. 

On microphones, this Mac has 3 mics and thus your calls will be much clear – including on iPhone with better sound fidelity and improved noise reduction. 

3. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Space Gray 

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch is similar (with Touch Bar to improve music making productivity) to Apple 15″ MacBook Pro but with a smaller sized display and some trade-offs in features. 

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Space Gray  Current Price On Amazon

The machine has an Intel Core i5 (2.4GHz) style quad-core processor. Further, the SSD (Solid-state drive) type of storage you can easily (and quickly) navigate various music or audio files. 

New features include the True Tone display, Hey Siri, and an improved Magic keyboard – just like in MacBook Air with the physical Escape key and key travel being 1mm. 

Sneak Peek:

  • Processor: 8th-Gen (quad-core) Core i5
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Screen size: 13-Inch (Brilliant Retina)
  • Design: 14.9mm thick
  • Ports: 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) 
  • Headphone Jack: 3.5 mm 

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.

Increased portability – 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 an additional Ram and a 2TB SSD.

MacBook Pro is the top music production laptop, performing & recording. Your DAWs, API, or sub-systems (CoreAudio) must be super responsive.

4. Apple MacBook Air (13-inch Retina display – Latest Model)

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, a 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. 

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch Retina display - Latest Model) Current Price On Amazon

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 a lack of USB-A connectors, you’ll need to purchase a dongle.

5. Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2015 Core i7 2.2GHz

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. 

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2015 Core i7 2.2GHz Current Price On Amazon

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 a 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.

6. Apple MacBook MLHC2EA 12-Inch Laptop with Retina Display

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. 

Apple MacBook MLHC2EA 12-Inch Laptop with Retina Display Current Price On Amazon

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. 

So, for your recording studio work, you’ll need to know the considerations to make for the MacBook MLHC2EA that’ll capture your creative sounds and audio. 

Further, there is a wide selection of plugins and software available for Macs for recording music. Also, with MacBook MLHC2EA, you’ll get adequate storage space and peripherals for studio work. 

Innovative and smart people (including music producers) love working with Macs. Well, Macs are workhorses, beautiful, trendy, and dependable – also try these best keyboard workstation

Considerations in Best Mac for Music Production?

1. Hardware Support Ports 

Finally, get a Mac that has appropriate ports to work excellently with your hardware in the additional gear you’ll connect to the computer. 

For example, the Mac must have a USB-A port for connecting your MIDI controller keyboard plus a USB-C for connecting musical instruments and audio interface.

Further, you’ll require some MIDI interface, good production headphones, and studio monitors. Further, get large-screen MAC like the 27-inch iMacs for better working space. 

Sound professionals will use “out of the box” audio through virtual instruments and sampled sounds while creating sounds. Other professionals will record the sound with acoustic instruments and voices while using microphones with their audio interfaces

2. Mac with Audio Software 

The Mac you choose must work seamlessly with your digital audio workstation (DAW). So, get a machine has above average compute specifications.

For example, the minimum MAC requirements for Ableton Live 10 are 4 GB RAM and Intel Core i5. Also, for Logic Pro X get a mac with a minimum of 63 GB storage space and 4 GB RAM. 

For your MAC, check these Ableton’s guidelines on MAC specifications for producing music. But most DAWs won’t need unique graphics cards

Get multiple SSD internal storage, an Intel i7 or i5 multi-core processor, and 16+ GB of RAM. Check requirements for Audio plugins like the OmniSphere synthesizer – require 2.4 GHz+ RAM. 

3. Macs are Reliabile and Stabile? 

Considerably, Mac will be more reliable and stable than windows computers. For music production, you want a computer with adequate RAM and CPU that won’t max out. 

So, I confirm that Macs will offer a reliable and stable recording environment. However, secure a dedicated production Mac to avoid useless processes running in the program’s background. 

For example, you might need to disconnect your internet and uninstall programs like Whatsapp or Facebook from the MAC. Also, have the audio software loading from a separate partition. 

Further, to reduce possible compatibility problems, avoid upgrading to a new macOS version too soon. This must also be the case with updates with other plugins and production software. 

On reliability, ensure that the battery life will be excellent to work great when unplugged in coffee shops and portable gigs. 

4. Creative Space Support

The computer must give you adequate space to display and utilize your creativity. So, the Mac computer must have limited frustration and friction while you’re producing the music. 

For example, some windows computers tend to delay starting up before they’ve fully installed many software updates – this can’t happen with Macs. 

Further, you might require to work simultaneously with many plugins, a mixer window, and tracks. Get a Retina display that’s large enough to show the required extensive details. 

Finally, the production room must be soundproof to avoid noise pollution while also isolation space from external noise – and hence such sound won’t be picked by the studio mics for vocals

Conclusion

On storage, you’ll require a Mac with enough internal disk space for your current projects. But you’ll need to transfer other files to an external SSD storage  – about 500 GB. 

Also, ensure that the room’s surfaces and shape are appropriate so that they won’t negatively affect the sound’s EQ during the recording sessions. I recommend iMac Pro 27-inch as the Best Mac for Music Production. 

Arthur

I am a 36-year-old trained audio engineer, music producer, and Guitar player; passionate about all things music.I can track bass, guitars, keyboards, and drums and can also program drums. I mix and master with high-end plugins such as Waves, Audiority, Blue Cat, HOFA, etc

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