Looking for a new Mac for music production... advice needed

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Shadow Puppets, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Shadow Puppets macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Hi there,

    First post on the forum, so bear with me.

    I am a regular Mac user, and I'm looking to buy a new machine specifically for music production/home recording purposes. I will be using Logic Pro X and also the Native Instruments Komplete 11 Ultimate package (which is about 400GB of virtual instruments and effects). Max number of tracks I will be recording at any one time is 2 (a stereo synth / keyboard), but projects could easily go up to 20+ tracks with many virtual instruments in total.

    So I'm looking for a new machine. Was initially attracted by the new Macbook Pro (and buying a monitor for when I use it at home), but the seemingly overwhelming list of problems with them is very concerning I must admit.

    So then I have been looking at the iMac 5K 27". Obviously I can spec this higher but lose the ability to sit on the sofa while making tweaks to tracks (i.e. lose the portability), and I must say it does irk me to spend so much money on a machine that will likely be replaced in Apple's line up in the not too distant future.

    Firstly, what specs do you think I will need to run Logic Pro X + Komplete 11 well, without bottlenecks? Is RAM most important? The processor? The SSD? All of the above?

    Secondly, the problems with the new Macbook Pro (graphical glitches / battery life / overheating etc)... are these problems that Apple tends to iron out quickly via software updates? If I wait a few weeks to get a machine do you think that will improve my chances of not getting a dud. I know it's a fairly small sample set, but it is alarming just how many people are reporting issues on here.

    I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading :)
  2. barbu macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2013
    I can't speak to the bottlenecks of running Logic and Komplete as i have only dabbled with pro apps like that, but i wonder if you shouldn't consider the previous generation MBP... It is a very fast and thin machine (relatively) and is a very mature product (i.e. the glitches have been ironed out). You will save quite a bit of cash as well, while still getting the full warranty. I would look at the refurb section on apple.com and see it there is a decently priced i7 available.
  3. Shadow Puppets thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Ideally I don't want a refurb machine. Bought a refurb iMac a few years ago and it was a disaster. Several issues. I know that that is probably just bad luck but it's not something I plan on going through again.
  4. barbu macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2013
    A shame. i bought a 2007 iMac refurb and it is still going strong today. Anyway, you can still order the last gen MBP.
  5. thejoshhoward macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    I haven't run Komplete, but I can confidently say the new MacBook Pro will handle whatever you throw at it as far as Logic and literally any other plug in goes. The bottlenecks used to be all hard drive based, but the new SSDs are so fast that in an audio workflow like yours it's extremely improbable that you'll have any bottlenecks. I have personally run projects with upwards of 30 tracks, most of which were software instruments, on a MBP from 2012 and it didn't skip a beat. If you can afford the 1TB SSD on the nMBP, that's your best bet because you'll be able to leave your entire Komplete library on the local hard drive.

    Hope that's helpful. For an audio production guy, the nMBP could last you a good five years. And that touch bar, I hear, is pretty sweet with Logic.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    My vote goes to:

    27" iMac with at least a 2tb fusion drive or SSD inside.
    DON'T buy the 1tb fusion drive, as the SSD portion is only 24gb in size. The 2tb model comes with a 128gb SSD portion and a 2tb HDD.

    Note: you could "split" the fusion drive into separate SSD and HDD, and then keep the OS and apps "lean and clean" on the SSD, and put your virtual instrument libraries onto the HDD.

    Graphics are less important than the CPU.

    For music production, a large, wide screen makes a BIG difference.
    More important than "sitting on the couch".
    My opinion only.
  7. zaaach48 macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2016
    I can confirm...do NOT get the 1Tb Fusion Drive, it's slow as all hell. I've actually connected an external SSD and run my Adobe Apps and music apps off the SSD because it was freezing up so much running off the internal drive. Really wish I had just gotten a dedicated SSD in my iMac 5k
  8. kingjames1970 macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2008
    Hampshire, UK
    Not saying I'm a pro at Logic so might not push it as hard as you but I'm running it just fine on my 2016 15" MBP with 1TB SSD. Going to get an Ultrafine 5K (or two) when they come out so that will give you the desktop space. I wouldn't recommend anybody go backwards in spec. I just bought a bunch of USB-C connectors and leave them on the leads. 2 for just over £5. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01EL4PVFE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
  9. theatremusician macrumors member


    Dec 17, 2013
    I'd say either buy the new MacBook Pro 15" or wait to see what the new iMac brings (might be worth waiting for the newest processor, Kaby Lake, and the ability to get 32GB of RAM).

    You'll want to get the largest internal SSD you can afford in order to run the apps and plug-ins off of the internal SSD and write your files to fast, external SSD's.
  10. melendezest Suspended

    Jan 28, 2010
    Aside from all the valid points here, do not overlook the obvious option:

    A Windows PC.

    Much more flexible hardware/software choices, if you're not committed 100% to the Mac ecosystem.

    Check out Sweetwater; I buy all my music tools from them and their customer service is top notch:


    Happy hunting!
  11. Reznor macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2016
    I am definitely avoiding the 2016 MBP and going with 2015. You absolutely do not want to deal with lag and nonsense with port connectors/adaptors.
  12. Stella Martin Suspended

    Nov 5, 2014
    Irvine, CA
    You may go with new MacBook Pro 15". Others are correct here. It is good for music production.

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