Best Mac For Music Production And Recording
Why invest in studios when you can have one at the comfort of your home? Well, this is the question you would have been asking yourselves in the era of working from home. When you have shifted from the office, and started to work from your room's cozy bed, why not shift to a home music studio? You must be thinking about how this is possible. Then here we are to help you out of this obstacle. Purchase any of the best Mac for music production and you’re done.
People have shifted from opting for costly studio-recording methods to choosing self-recorded high-quality contents at home instead, which eventually saves your pocket in every way. Youtubers, Instagrammers and bloggers usually use this method to record high-quality content like podcasts, voice-overs, etc., at home.
Using a Mac, you can do everything from recording pop songs to mastering movie soundtracks. But to choose the right Mac also depends on you're requirements and budget.
BEST MAC FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION REVIEW
1. APPLE MACBOOK PRO 16" - BEST MAC LAPTOP FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION
I recently purchased this Apple MacBook Pro (16"), and it cost me the same price as my previous MacBook Pro 15-inch(2019 model). With this apple laptop for music production, You can enjoy double storage, a larger screen, seamless playback and many other new features for the same price as the old notebooks. So why invest in older ones when you can have a better version for the same price?
Furthermore, with 16GB of RAM and up to 8TB of SSD storage, you can simply store your audio works effortlessly without freezing or slow processing and without depending upon any external storage devices.
I'm in love with this Mac book's battery life. It is great and powerful that lasts up to 11 hours. So I can play videos or indulge in web browsing without worrying about charging the Notebook repeatedly in the middle of my recording.
All I need is a pro-level recording at the end of the day, and this MacBook pro doesn't disappoint me with that. I say this because the dual force-canceling woofers vanish vibration from sound to produce clear music. Adding to it, the studio-quality three mic array allows me to create the best quality music recordings, podcasts, voice-overs at the comfort of my home, which indeed saves my time and money.
Now coming to a feature of the 7nm AMD Radeon Pro 5000M: This is a blessing for pals who not only work in music production but also indulge in graphics-related projects, developing high-end games, video editing, designing, etc.
I prefer this 16" Mac Pro to my previous one because it has a larger screen than its usual earlier models. As you know, a CPU with fast single-core performance is critical for quick process effects. To ensure this, there is a 2.3GHz 8-core Intel i9 processor in-built in the Notebook.
Overall, this is the best Mac for music production, which I recommend for professionals. You just have to shoot the video part of your music artist's performance and transfer the footage by connecting your camera to MAC. After that, this MAC will work on enhancing the video quality even better.
With that said, if you are not ready for a big investment, then check out our following product.
2. APPLE IMAC 21.5" - BEST DESKTOP MAC FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION
Want to create more space on your desk with a sleek desktop Mac? Then, go for this iMac( 21.5 inches), which is the best Mac for music production if you think of upgrading from Windows.
I found this iMac 21.5" slightly similar to that of its elder brother iMac (27 inches) in terms of the number of USB ports available. However you get only limited configurations when compared to the 27 inch model.
Apart from that, the screen size also is less as the name suggests. And it comes only with a 8GB RAM which could be upgraded in the 27 inch model but cannot be done in the 21.5” model.
Now let me take you through the features I liked the most with this Mac model
Firstly, this Mac monitor offers a full HD 4K display with sharp visuals rich in colors with detailed images. You will be startled by the astonishing colorful visuals and of every small detail that the Mac monitor projects on the screen.
AMD Radeon Pro 560 eliminates visual artifacts so if your project requires the best visual representation, then this Apple computer is the best fit for your work desk.
Secondly, With the 256GB SSD plus 1 TB hard disk, you get ample storage space for saving all your music projects without worrying about freeing up space frequently. However, if you want to improve the storage space, you can very well do that as the iMac supports a maximum of 256 GB SSD.
At the back of the desktop monitor, you get adequate slots for connecting your I/O components. This includes ports such as 4x USB 3(Type-A), 3 (USB-C), SDXC card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Kensington lock slot. All these come at the back of the monitor, giving an absolutely clean look without the wires being seen.
The in-built Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to go wireless and connect with other devices such as an external wireless speaker, phone, tab, etc.
Though not equipped with a huge performance CPU as that of the Mac Book Pro, it remains a great choice for most desktop users for its Quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor.
Overall, if you feel you want to own a desktop Mac instead of a portable one, I highly recommend buying the iMac series as they are the best fit for your home studios. Go through the product details given below for more technical specs regarding the same.
3. APPLE MACBOOK AIR 13"
Looking for a budget pick? Then the Macbook Air is the perfect choice for you.
This 13" MacBook Air has great picture quality with graphics-related features and stuff. However, as my main motive is to speak of how this is the best Mac for music production, I'll be speaking only about its storage capacity, processing speed and microphones because these are the main features that concern our topic.
With the built-in 3 microphone array, you can create your own music recording studio at home and record your albums, podcasts, voice-overs, video blogs, etc. However, for professional recording purposes, use an app(DAW) and a USB microphone.
Next, you get a storage capacity of 256 GB SSD with 8 GB RAM. I know 16GB is required for best audio works, but if your audio requirements are minimal, say you work on audio with fewer tracks. A ram of 8GB is more than enough.
I was eager to know if the storage space is upgradeable, and luckily it does have this provision. Purchase an external SSD, and you're done.
Now coming to processing speed: I was happy that it has an Apple-designed M1 chip . As th8-core CPU is 3.5 x faster than usual MacBooks.
The battery life of the M1 is another powerful feature of this MacBook. It offers up to 18 hours of working battery life. Yes, you read it right! It's absolutely unbelievable.
If you are on a work vacation, this Mac AIR is the best companion you can have. You can go on for a whole day working while you travel without continuously charging your laptop. This Apple laptop allows you to use iPhone and iPad apps directly on Mac OS.
One-touch is enough to lock or unlock MacBook Air; use your fingertips to access secured files; you can use your touch as an ID that will automatically fill up information on your screen without having to type.
For a natural viewing experience, The Macbook Air automatically adjusts the brightness and the white point of the screen to your background color, which will also save your eyes from bright light if working in dim lights.
Overall, I wouldn't claim MacBook Air to be the best, but for the price point, it does meet the minimum requirements of audio software such as Garage Band, Logic Pro X, Adobe Audition etc.
4. APPLE MAC MINI
The fourth and last pick in my list of best Mac for music production is the Apple Mini which officially made its entry in 2018 but still a tough competitor in the digital market.
If you work on projects that require studio-based professional, clear quality voice-overs, then I would say mini Mac is a perfect choice for you as the in-built microphones record clear-quality voice ignoring any other outer disturbance or noise.
I found the Apple mini similar to a Macbook Air in terms of storage capacity: this includes 8GB RAM and upto 1TB SSD. Don't worry about the small memory of RAM as you can upgrade it at an Apple store.
The 8 core CPU delivers up to 3 times faster processing than the previous models.
For all art lovers and creators who enjoy singing or creating digital art, this Mac is a blessing because it's lightweight, so you can carry it easily and create or record your work at your favorite spot.
If you have been working in the field of music by this time, you must be well aware that I/O compatibility is an important criterion for choosing the right device. To your surprise, The Mac mini comes with plenty of ports for your audio interface, MIDI controllers and other peripherals. I loved this versatility!
The powerful MI chip allows you to create great digital art creations. It is the most recommended product if you work on music recording and visual representations like video editing, picture editing, graphic designing etc.
Last but not least, SECURITY. You can keep your system and data protected with advanced security and privacy features that come with the Mac mini. If you don't want your kids to disturb your documents, just put a lock on your folder, and no one except you will be able to open those files.
WHY USE MAC FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION?
Professional artists prefer Mac because of their high-quality music production. One can effortlessly start making music on a Mac laptop than on a PC.
Latest Mac computers and Laptops are coming with advanced technology and stunning quality microphones that record your voice by ignoring all other background noises and delivering the best quality product.
Though laptops provide the platform for music production, most music enthusiasts prefer Macs because they are reliable, stable and provide various software platforms(DAW) such as Logic Pro, Garage band etc., to create professional podcasts.
As music software generally consumes more storage space, using a minimum of 16 GB RAM is desirable. Most Macs, except few entry-level models, do have this large memory and are in-built with latest Intel processors such as i5 / i7.
Purchasing a Mac might initially cost you more money. I agree with it. But note that you need to invest only once, and you're sorted.
BUYING GUIDE FOR THE BEST MAC FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION
I will cover some of the main aspects and features you should look for in the best Mac for music production.
The processor is the heart of the computer. The more powerful a processor, the more information it will process and execute. It is essential for music production to have a more powerful processor than a conventional computer because the software used is often resource-intensive. And for a good reason, by increasing the number of calculations to be made, reverberation or compression places considerable strain on the processor.
Macs with M1 chips are quite formidable and comes with processors ranging from i5 to i9. For music production, we recommend you go for an i5 processor clocked at 2.6 GHz, which is the minimum requirement to be comfortable. Those who want a high-end processor can opt for the i7 or i9 range processor.
In addition, if you also use your computer for more complex tasks such as processing video files, working on the web, or designing, then directly favor a much more efficient i9 model.
2. Graphics Card
Admittedly, this element is not considered essential for a musical setup, but if you need a dual display simultaneously on two different screens, a sufficiently robust graphics card will be necessary. Video cards or graphics cards are important, not only for visual related projects but also for audio software. If you want to attach a visual story with your album, that will help you create some of the most amazing displays with high-quality + rich colors + breathtaking pixels.
Thus, you can work on a sequence on the first screen, while the second monitor will be used to permanently display your mixer or the list of your active plug-ins. By choosing a graphics card with the right configuration, you will reduce repetitive operations, including opening, closing, and minimizing windows. Obviously, you will gain in productivity in this case.
Apple's Macs offer 7 or 8-core GPUS and thus have already proven themselves superior to Intel's integrated graphics. If the graphic card is an essential factor for your work, choosing the 27in iMac or 16in MacBook Pro will be the best choice.
With the evolution of technology, you will likely have to import or export video files that are not necessarily related to music. More and more software dedicated to music integrates video functions; hence GPU is an important factor to consider.
3. RAM & Storage
Starting from video games or opening a web page, or running any program on your system - all those actions require RAM. Music software will consume more memory. A lack of sufficient RAM will delay your project, limit the instruments and effects options, and ultimately takes more time for rendering and less time doing things live.
Obviously, for your computer dedicated to music production, its characteristics must be equivalent to the power of the processor and the requirements of your operating system.
MacBook Pro and iMac can be installed with a maximum of 64GB and 128GB RAM. Music software often requires RAM, but much less than a person playing resource-intensive video games. For your music projects' smooth and fast running, your Mac should possess no less than a 2.2 GHz core-processor, which means you will also need huge internal storage space, at least from 16 GB RAM and 512GB SSD; otherwise, your speed will drop. And trust me, you won't want that to happen during your recording sessions.
The advanced 27-inch screen allows you to create content like a pro also, it has many USB ports as well, so in case you have to attach other audio-interfaces that proves to be helpful in the given situation. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that the small screen notebook is not capable of music production.
The somewhat around 16-inch screen notebook is small in size but not in performance! you can rely on this if you are a traveler + music producer. Mac notebooks have some in-built apps / Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) which allow you to play instrumental sounds without even learning to play the actual one. Amazing isn't it? If you have an idea but not a team of background artists, you can go solo with these apps' help.
However, MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch and 16-inch models, whereas iMac offers 21.5-inch and 27-inch options. However, if you worry about the precision and quality of your work, it is recommended to opt for the largest screen you can afford.
5. PORTS & CONNECTIVITY
Ports and connectivity are yet another feature you need to consider. If you do all your music production only with Mac, you don't need to worry about this feature. But if you've got a stack of external audio interfaces like headsets, monitors, instruments, and other vital hardware, then make sure to get MacBook or MacBook Air with a USB-C type port.
As for ports, the iMac 2021 packs two Thunderbolt ports, while the 8-core configuration comes with two additional USB-C ports and a 1 Gbps Ethernet port power adapter. With MacBook Pro, you'll get four Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Now that I’ve given a basic idea on the internal features, let me move towards the display and general aspects of a Mac laptop or Notebook you should consider while purchasing one
iMac VS MacBook Pro - WHICH IS BEST?
Comparing iMac vs. MacBook Pro is quite a tough choice, as each model has its pros and cons. Moreover, both models are equally powerful enough to go through your project. Hence it is recommended to choose Mac-based your work requirement.
The main difference between MacBook Pro and iMac is their design. iMac is an all-in-one desktop PC, while the MacBook is a laptop with more portability.
The iMac is available in 7 and 8-core GPU configurations, with 8 GB of memory and a choice of 256 GB or 512 GB of storage.
The MacBook Pro is powered by Intel processors and comes with 6-core Intel Core i7 or 8-core Intel Core i9. It offers 16GB of memory and a choice of 512GB or 1TB of storage.
The iMac 2021 features a 24-inch (4480 x 2520) 4.5K Retina display with a slim bezel on three sides. Whereas, MacBook Pro has a smaller 16-inch LED-backlit display with a narrow bezels screen border. Both iMac and MacBook Pro display can reach 500 nits of peak brightness and, like the iMac, has a wide P3 color gamut.
We can't comment on the performance comparison of these two devices. If you prefer portability, consider getting MacBook Pro or setting up a workstation, then iMac seems like a great option.
BEST MUSIC PRODUCtion SOFTWARE FOR MAC
If you don't know which DAW to choose, I recommend that you start by testing the music production software that we mention below. This is often a good starting point, and it will help you better determine what you need. they don't suit you.
GarageBand is a music production software developed by Apple in 2004. The application allows you to create record, mix and share your creations easily. It is even more accessible since it is available on iOS, for example, you can directly play the piano on your iPad or iPhone and synchronize the audio on your Mac.
The software is complete, free, and offers you to mix up to 32 audio tracks thanks to the integrated professional effects. However, Apple may add "smart" to all its virtual instruments, but the sound quality may disappoint some. By downloading other packs of instruments, sounds, and loops made available free of charge by Apple, it remains possible to find happiness.
System Requirements: A Mac processor is a G3 600MHz or faster, and to use the software instruments, you must have a G4 chip or later chip. Mac OS X 10.3 or so is ideal. Display with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels and 2 GB of disk space.
- GarageBand '09 has a simple interface to navigate
- Tracks can easily be copied, deleted, looped, divided, dragged, and inserted into different tracks
- GarageBand '09 is only available on purchasing iLife '09
- It can only be used on a Mac.
Whether you want to mix, edit, write songs or create rhythms, Apple Logic Pro is one of the best DAW software for MAC. It offers a user-friendly modern interface to get quick results and deliver more power when needed. Logic Pro provides a comprehensive toolbox for creating incredible musical sounds with a wide range of effects, samples, instruments, and loops.
System requirements: 6 GB of hard disk space for a minimal installation or up to 63 GB of hard disk space for the complete installation of the sound library. 4 GB of RAM. OpenCL or Intel HD Graphics 3000 compatible graphics card or later. 256MB of VRAM.
- Create and switch between different playlists.
- Over 10,000 Apple Loops in a Wide Range of Genres
- Need plug-ins compatible with third-party Audio Units to expand your library of instruments and effects.
- Purchase the app to use it on your phone.
OTHER GEAR YOU MAY NEED TO START YOUR MUSIC PRODUCTION
Setting up your home studio can not be done with a computer, even overpowered. There are a whole bunch of other things to get, especially on the accessories side. To complete your home studio computer, you should also choose a few additional accessories very carefully.
There it is a big chunk, but unfortunately, it is difficult to escape it. Speakers are generally quite expensive but are essential for any self-respecting home studio. Although the range of PA or multimedia speakers is very wide, always favor real monitoring speakers, which deliver a much more neutral and more balanced sound, essential for a successful mix.
There are three types of loudspeakers: proximity loudspeakers, mid-range loudspeakers, and main monitors. Here everything will depend on your use, but overall you must pay attention to the audible frequencies. From 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz, the loudspeaker must manage the entire frequency spectrum. If not, go your way.
In this case, opt for active proximity speakers that provide integrated amplification modules. Regarding size, monitor speakers should be chosen according to your home studio setup. 5 or 6-inch models will be sufficient if you are working in a small room.
midi controller keyboard
It has the appearance of a small piano and allows you to control the sound that will come out of your equipment. It is not a musical instrument that produces sound but rather a control instrument that will trigger external modules.
There are endless varieties of master keyboards, and you will eventually find your own over time, but a 25-key keyboard is sufficient for a start. If you are comfortable with pianos or harpsichord, 49 keys or even 88 keys can be considered.
Size matters, and using a small keyboard can be a good option when moving around. Think about it before having to carry all your paraphernalia in plague to go to a fellow musician.
audio & midi interface
To best meet the demands of your musical tasks, your music production system should also have a good audio interface and configuration. Unfortunately, in most cases, the basic sound cards built into Mac computers might not always have optimal quality and do not perform well enough to meet the expectations on audio files.
It is therefore essential to choose an audio interface that can offer an excellent quality of analog to digital conversion by translating, among other things, the electrical signal of a microphone or any type of musical instrument into digital data.
The microphone is essential for a home studio computer, especially for musicians who cannot connect their acoustic instruments directly to the audio interface.
Today, the choice is very wide. If you are new to the field, a versatile model is more than enough. Commonly used on stage, the static condenser model is mainly used for recording high sound volumes.
It is also essential to define in advance the use of your microphone to determine the type of directivity, that is to say, the pickup field of the adapted microphone. Cardioid or super-cardioid polar pattern will be necessary when the microphone will focus only on the source to be recorded.
Frequently asked questions
1. Which is best for music production Mac or PC?
When it comes to performance, I would recommend Mac for music production. Comparatively, the Mac computer offers more stability, better productivity, and a longer lifespan than Windows PC. This is the main reason why many major studios around the world use the Mac Pro. If you chose to get a Mac and want some serious performance for a music production studio, then the new Mac Pro or iMac Pro may be the way to go.
Whereas Windows computers allow access to free software and are often cost-efficient. Adding to it, they offer systems with all kinds of different specifications. If you want to save some dollars and want to seriously customize your studio, then a Windows computer may be the right choice.
2. Which is important for music production RAM or CPU?
CPU is far more important than RAM in music production. If your music needs to grow, you can easily upgrade your RAM. Upgrading the CPU is almost impossible; even adding a new processor is rarely possible. The general thumb rule is to look at the system to make the right choice by evaluating RAM and CPU.
3. Is MacBook pro good for professional music production?
Personally, I like Macs. And not just for the recording, for everything else as well. And nowadays, most of the recording industry around the world uses Mac. For studio recording, this is probably the best choice.
Recording at home is a new trend and a thing which is quite necessary in times like these to avoid gatherings to be safe. We guess you must be having answers to your question after going through our article.
We have scouted over the internet and listed some of the best Mac for music production which will help you create high-quality audio from the comfort of your home because we understand if this is your first time to record your own song and you are a bit afraid to sing it directly in front of people.
So don't be afraid and sing for yourself facing the best critic that is you. Just take a step.