Is the new Macbook Air enough for me? (logic and more)

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Gill Bates, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Gill Bates, Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

    Gill Bates macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2014

    I'm about to jump on the new Macbook Air.
    The only thing that has me hesitant is the CPU..

    I rarely do anything on a computer that needs much cpu power, ram etc.
    With one exception: Recording and editing multitrack music.

    But I'm talking 10-15 tracks max with plugins max. So nothing big.
    Do you think the new Air will have problems running Logic in my case?
    And is 8gb RAM enough?

    Will I generally notice that the cpu is "underpowered" etc. when doing daily things like websurfing (tabs?), webcoding (+ local apache webserver), watching videos, opening apps etc.?

    Someone I know has the 2011 model and a similar use scenario, and he says everything runs fine until he pushes it with tracks/plugins etc.
    So it would seem that the latest model would be fine for me?

  2. candorswim macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2018
    For what it's worth I ran FL Studio on my 2018 Macbook air last night. I loaded an example file (multi-track project with multiple instruments, effects, automation, audio clips, etc.) and it ran and scrolled flawlessly.
  3. Gill Bates thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2014
    Ok, how many tracks/plugins was in that project?
    Do you also record an instrument while monitoring it realtime (requiring low latency)?
    I think that's one thing that could push the cpu and limit the number of tracks/plugins.

    Like recording and monitoring a bass guitar in a project with 10 other tracks and plugins.
    Latency has to be very low on a computer for that to be playable with realtime monitoring.
    And by lowering the audio buffer for that, the cpu will have less headroom for the overall project.
  4. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    I mess around with Garageband a little. Typically I'm using an audio interface to handle three tracks (guitar, and my L+R backing track). This is on a 2015 MBPro which is, from what I understand, slightly lower performance than the new MBA? Or if it's higher, it's not substantially higher. I loop it into Garageband and then back out to monitor through headphones.

    It doesn't even NEARLY break a sweat. When I'm exporting my raw audio to AAC, for example, then yeah that pushes the CPU hard. But doing recording, recording three live tracks, and live monitoring of them back through the same interface, it's a total non-issue.

    I know that's not quite the same as what you're asking, but I can't see you having an issue.

    However, GarageBand will only work with 44.1KHz sample rates. My audio interface will do 192KHz but I don't know how much impact that would have on performance.
  5. Gill Bates, Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

    Gill Bates thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2014
    Alright, thanks.
    Technically, 192khz puts more load on the machine and gives far bigger audio files.
    BUT it also decreases latency a lot compared to 44.1 (faster throughput).
    I guess it's the old balance of finding the optimal fast buffer setting without pushing the machine/interface too much.
    I have an Audient ID14 audio interface. Very good and fast (low buffer possible), highly recommended.

    It looks like I won't have a problem with the new Air.

    Then there's the question about 8gb vs 16gb..
    It's a lot of money to take the 16gb version o_O especially if I don't really need it
  6. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016

    Yeah I'm using 8GB. I don't bother closing my apps when I open GarageBand. I usually have Safari open with maybe 20 - 25 tabs, perhaps Microsoft OneNote, and sometimes Excel and iTunes. macOS is pretty good about memory management. I originally bought the previous MBA several years back and went for the 4GB model. I was cagey about it. I took it home and opened a bunch of apps and it started to swap to the SSD. So back it went and I picked up the Pro with 8GB.

    If I was buying today I'd certainly consider 16GB out of an abundance of caution, but my gut feel is that I'd still go for 8GB. I tend to use Lightroom, Safari, OneNote, GarageBand, and iTunes. I don't recall ever having to worry about closing apps.

    Not trying to talk you out of 16GB of course. If you have to choose between external storage for backups or the 16GB, take the external storage for backups. Being USB-C you may also need to spend money on cables and dongles. The MBA also has 802.11ac, possibly even Wave 2 (to be confirmed), so if you have an aging wifi setup at home it might be worth upgrading that. I wouldn't say "don't get 16GB", but for me it would be lower on the priority list than other things. I use a NAS for external storage so for me the wifi speed has a material impact when I'm moving files around. That's going to provide me more performance relief than 16GB.
  7. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    Audio/Music production doesn't really demand the latest and greatest anymore. I use a MacBook Air exclusively for Logic Pro X, anything else the computer does is just a bonus to me. I have no problems producing my projects. Anything based on samples is going to be fine, or just recording some tracks. It really depends on what plugins you use, but I have made projects with 40+ tracks with no issue. The most demanding stuff I can run, just only a couple of instances of... but this is rarely an issue. And you can always bounce to audio, so nothing should really stop you from doing what you want.

    I'm using a 2015 Air with the i7... which looks to be just slightly weaker than the current 2018 Air.

    Musicians were using iPads from a couple of generations ago to do music productions on it.

    Get as much ssd space as you can though. That's what I wish I had more of.... looking back my money would have been better served upgrading the ssd to 512GB instead of getting the i7. 256GB is enough for a full Logic install, but anything else you install is going to get tight.

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6 November 9, 2018