Best MBP for Music Production?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by leland_07, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. leland_07, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018

    leland_07 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2018
    #1
    Windows/Android user for my entire life. Recently purchased a 6s (wanted the built-in aux) and really enjoy it thus far.

    Will begin producing music soon and I understand Macbook Pros to be the gold standard for a happy medium between home production and live shows.

    I have saved the funds to purchase the newest and best laptop from Apple but I'm not sure that's the most financially sound play?

    To bullet point my questions...
    1. Would I be better off purchasing a refurb or used laptop and adding ram/new hd/etc.?
    2. Does that void any refurb warranty? Difficulty? (I've done this many times on pc)
    3. Any particular models/years to avoid? Any ones to prefer?
    4. Any difficulty in connecting to a monitor? I currently have this monitor and will want to connect for a larger workspace: https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-U32H850UMN-Desktop-3840X2160-Warranty/dp/B071Y6SWGT
    5. What else should I be asking?

    P.S. I have two sisters who teach and I believe there's a discount for this?

    UPDATE:
    Late May 2018 I purchased a..
    15" Mid 2015 2.5GHz i7
    16 GB, Iris Pro 1536

    Just wanted to thank you guys for taking the time to provide sincere help for a stranger and help guide me in the right direction. I'm currently enrolled at Berkley for music production and really enjoying my "new" laptop. I keep learning new tricks (or really just basic use) everyday regarding the Mac OS since I've been windows my entire life.

    ie: cmd + right cursor = END ... who knew??? (me)
     
  2. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #2
    1. You won't want to add ram/etc., it just isn't easy to do anymore. Everything uses glue.
    2. It won't, because you won't want to do it.
    3. Not really, there have been complaints about the newest model year's keyboards. That's why I went with a 2014 Macbook Pro last year. I would personally try to get a 2015 model.
    4. Nope, although with the newest ones you will need a miniDP adapter, If you went with the 2015 version, you could just use the miniDP port.
    5. Be patient, there will be bumps in the road. My initial foray into Mac was many years ago, but it was still jarring. I kept making everything too hard. Good luck!
     
  3. prisstratton macrumors 6502a

    prisstratton

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    #3
    I would suggest that you hold off for now as a product refresh is expected this year and most everyone seems to be anticipating a good bump in specs.

    If you have to purchase right now then I would suggest that you go with a 15" 2015 MBP. I have not read of any significant issues with this model and it comes equipped with a good set of external ports. I have seen this model recommended numerous times on these boards.
     
  4. MichaelDT macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    #4
    The higher the expectations, the harder the fall. Also the 2015 is way way overpriced and those ports are never coming back, so you might as well rip off the band aid now.

    Get a 2017 get AppleCare, call it good.
     
  5. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #5
    RAM upgrade is just not possible as it is soldered since the 2012 retina models. Not glued!

    SSD upgrade is possible with some older models. But since 2016 not anymore as also soldered to the logic board

    And OP please change the title to the topic
     
  6. MichaelDT macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    #6
    SSDs are only soldered on touchbar models, the SSD can be swapped in a function key 2016 and 2017.
     
  7. maerz001 macrumors 65816

    maerz001

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #7
    True. But as there's no third party SSD that fits for upgrade I didn't mention.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    1. Refurbs can be a nice way to save money, sadly though, MBPs are locked down to the point where you cannot upgrade ram, or storage.
    2. Any damage incurred in opening up/working on the laptop will void the warranty. While that is only limited to the damaged component, most everything is on the logic board so for all intents and purposes, you will void the entire warranty.
    3. 2016/2017 due to high number of issues with the keyboard failing.
    4. You will need to buy an adapter.


    Yes, Apple has an education discount, however its fairly meager, you may find better deals with B&H Photo or MicroCenter.
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    OP:
    You said you're going to be using whatever you get for music production.
    So, some important questions:
    What kind of connection does your audio equipment use?
    USB?
    Firewire?

    Others will disagree, but I think the preferred MBP to have would be the admittedly-older 2015 design that has USB-a ports and thunderbolt2 (instead of tbolt3/USB-c).

    With tbolt2, if you need to connect to a firewire device, you need one adapter cable (tbolt2 to firewire).
    With tbolt3, you need TWO adapter cables daisy-chained together (tbolt2-to-firewire + tbolt2-to-tbolt3). IF you can get them to work.

    Also, the 2015 design is FAR MORE "rugged" than the 2017 models, which have keyboards that fail at an abnormally-high rate.

    And it has more connection ports so that you can connect more things at once, without paying a visit to "dongle city".

    My opinion only, and I expect others to jump in and say "why buy a design that's now 3 years old?".
    But there remain good reasons for doing so...
     
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #10
    If you find a good 2015 model Retina MacBook Pro (with the old-style keyboard) it would be worth considering. However, even that doesn't allow RAM upgrades so you need to go for a 16GB one (and although the SSD is removable there aren't many upgrade options).

    We're at the time of year where, if you can wait until the 4th of June when Apple have their developer conference, its probably prudent to do so. There's no guarantee that they'll be launching new Macbooks then but its one of the most likely dates for any launch that may be in the pipeline.

    ...just to clarify: do I take it that the 2017 update didn't solve the keyboard reliability problems (ignoring the user preference issues)?

    Do they still offer the "Pro Apps for Education" bundle? It was Logic Pro, Final Cut + MainStage, Compressor, Motion etc. for around the price of just Logic Pro. If you want Logic and Final Cut that's a steal.

    Those ports haven't gone away: there's music stuff stuff being released now with USB-A ports. USB 2.0, even (good enough for MIDI). Lots of Thunderbolt 2, around as well. To be fair, though - with almost everything musical connecting via USB even the two ports on a good old MacBook aren't going to go far so you'll need a hub anyway.

    (Anybody tried the Caldigit TB3+ dock with USB MIDI gear & audio interfaces?) Its about the only option with a sensible number of USB ports)
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    Completely ancedotal as I have zero proof, but I think the 2017 models seem to have less issues, sadly it doesn't appear to be completely resolved.

    No idea, since I have no need for those apps, thus I've never really paid attention to those.
     
  12. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #12
    Ignore any suggestions that people give telling you to buy a 2015 MacBook Pro.

    Also wait until June
     
  13. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #13
    That was extremely informative. Thank you for that list of reasons explaining why we are wrong to suggest such a crazy concept.
     
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #14
    I’ll do it for them, the cpus are 4 years old and lack some modern hardware level media coding abilities for h.265. The gpu is lacking by the standards of the 2016/2017 standards, they are bigger heavier and run hotter and throttle more easily under load. They lack the p3 colour gamut for the screen and the 500 nits peak brightness (only 300 nits on the 2015) when needed . They also do not have thunderbolt 3 this gives the best I/O available in a laptop and makes eGPU’s a far more viable prospect, they also can’t run a 5k external screen. They are also very expensive for old tech unless you buy second hand.
     
  15. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #15
    Thank you. That was at least helpful. Personally, I was able to get 2014 MBP a year ago for $1200 on eBay from a reputable seller that has an i7 quad core 2.8 Ghz, with a discrete video card (750M), 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD. Since I don't use any of that other crap, and I wanted an ACTUAL working keyboard, I am happy with my purchase.

    Actually you can run a 5k screen, you just use both TB2 ports. Also, you can definitely run a 4k screen, as I do this every day. Anyway, thank you for posting some actual reasons that will help the OP.

    I should also point out that I don't do a ton of video editing, and when I do, I definitely don't need h.265. I should also point out that I don't do any gaming on it, I built a Windows 10 PC for that.
     
  16. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #16
    Don’t buy 3+ year old technology for high prices.

    Doesn’t need any additional explanation.
     
  17. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #17
    The iFixit guide for the 2017 models mentioned some below-the-keycap changes to the keyboard which they speculated might have been done by Apple to decrease failure probability, which seems plausible considering there are not many other reasons such a change could have been done for (feels exactly the same to type on from what I've read, has the same height and so on). There are also significantly less threads here on MacRumors and other sites about MBP keyboard failures for the 2017 than for the 2016 model.

    So while any hard evidence is impossible to come by without knowing any Apple-internal repair stats, I'd agree that Apple seemed to bring failure rates noticeably down with the 2017 models. The issue is still there, but when given the choice between the 2016 and 2017 models, I'd advise the 2017 one for that very reason. (Then again the 2018 ones which are right around the corner might hopefully fix it completely, but that's speculation thus far.)
     
  18. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #18
    HAHAHAHA! Right.....................If you want to pay $4k for 2017 MBP you go ahead.
     
  19. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #19
    They don’t cost $4k. But if you want to spend $1,800 for something built before Trump was president be my guest. Idk how this is so devisive for people or why people get so defensive about it.
     
  20. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #20
    Response == defensive? Wanting logical reasons == defensive? Got it.

    The equivalent to mine costs $2800, and I paid $1200 a year ago. It is pretty simple isn't it. I like saving money and still getting good enough performance, and a great keyboard. It's not defensiveness. It's obviousness on how much money I saved.

    Anyway, back to the OP, he, or she, has the info needed to make their own decision. I definitely don't need to justify my opinion on MR. :D
     
  21. jaduff46 macrumors 6502

    jaduff46

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Second star on the right....
  22. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    North America
    #22
    Faulty logic. They’re not equivalent machines or even close. And neither is the machine $4,000.

    It’s fine to make certain trade offs that you feel are worthwhile, but suggesting to somebody to buy the 2015 MacBook Pro over the 2017 is mostly unjustifiable given the price point of the 2015. Especially if it’s new.
     
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #23
    over exaggerate much? I think you're a tad off base.

    True can you configure a MBP to be north of 4,000 but you can do that for almost any computer on the market
    2018-04-23_13-24-58.png 2018-04-23_13-30-11.png
     
  24. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502

    eltoslightfoot

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #24
    HA!!!!!!! Yes, I was speaking to how they used to charge for my 2014 model when it was new. It was north of $4k. And with the fix to the keyboards (when I made my choice last year, the keyboards in the new MBPs were terrible). Anyway, YES, I AGREE. You are correct that the $2,399 one would be the same as the $4k one I was talking about. That is actually a decent deal if the keyboard is better.
     
  25. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #25
    On the other hand, they have a keyboard without a track record of faults (leaving aside the more subjective issue of whether you like ultra-short-travel keys), the GPU, colour gamut and h.265 issues are a non-issue for the original poster's main task of music production. Given that there are 96kHz+ multi-channel audio interfaces that run quite happily over USB 2.0, 40Gbps TB3 is hardly a necessity. Not everybody needs the latest everything - and being able to type is kinda important.

    ...and by definition, a 2015 model is going to be second-hand or refurb - apple discontinued them nearly a year ago. I quite agree that the idea is contingent at finding one at a sensible price, though.
     

Share This Page