Mac mini for audio mixing

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by moondogstuff, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. moondogstuff macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2013
    Thanks for reading this first of all, I'm new here!

    I'm a musician looking to get a mac to record and mix/edit music. I would like to be able to easily record and mix 20 tracks. I am a pc user currently, So I am unfamiliar with Mac specs and lingo... sorry! I do not have any software for it, as in the past I used Session's software. I would consider myself a serious hobbyist, so I would like to get something that will handle my needs, yet isn't budget heavy.

    Would a Mac Mini i7 do the job well? I do not need to be portable. I have monitors, but am unsure if they work with a mac since they are pc monitors? Or would it just be lackluster in performance, so I should just save up for a Imac?

    Any help is appreciated. I want to pull the trigger on something, but I really am lost in mac world :(
  2. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    New here too!

    The following article was featured a week ago:

    Check out the link to the app store for a full description and min system requirements (min 4GB RAM recommended so an upgrade is surely in order). As for monitor, the mini does have HDMI output and adapters are available for DVI or VGA.

  3. moondogstuff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2013
    thanks for the info, i'll check it out. It seems so daunting! The whole...pc to mac change...
  4. RCAFBrat, Jul 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013

    RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    My son and I played with Final Cut Pro X (very capable video editing program) on a base model 21.5" iMac in the Apple store - it was fantastic compared to his old HP laptop but we upgraded to the i7 and 16GB RAM when we ordered it (not shipped yet) since the extra threads will provide for much faster rendering times and the iMac is really tough to upgrade on your own. He is taking video production courses in school so I figure the upgrades are worth it in the long run.

    With respect to audio mixing, I have no idea if the i7 will make a difference. If you are on a budget (like my son), you may want to prioritize upgrades such as the extra RAM or a Fusion drive over the CPU if the i5 will do.

    I suggest moving this thread to the Buying Tips forum - maybe you can get more feedback there. It is now in the iMac forum which is clearly not the right place.

    Also, make sure to check out the Back to School pricing at the Apple store or online - its really not difficult to qualify.

  5. moondogstuff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2013
    thanks, I will check out that section! Still feeling my way around your place here ;)
  6. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    FYI if you go with the mini you can use your existing monitors. They all connect with the same type of connections with the right adapters.
  7. mr.steevo macrumors 65816


    Jul 21, 2004

    The recording studio at the local college uses Mac Pros while an engineer I know still uses his Power Mac G5 from 2006 in his home studio that has been custom built in his basement with sound isolation rooms.. The current mini is much faster processor wise than the old G5 but his still does the job.

    Personally, if I was buying a computer solely for the use of recording/mixing I wouldn't buy a Mac. Unless you intend to use specific software written only for OS X it makes better financial sense to buy a decent PC box with a few fast hdds and a load of RAM. The mini is quiet compared to some PC's but other than that I don't see the reason to consider it. My mantra is to spend the money on the mics then room treatments then the audio interface and lastly the computer. Mics and room treatment lasts decades whereas computers get thrown in the landfill after 3-5 years.

  8. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    i think this really boils down to software you use or you intend to you use. Logic Pro X might be great app but make sure it meets your demands. the best way would be to try it out somewhere with your equipment, maybe borrow friend's macbook or something.

    other people might chime in, im no audio expert but ive heard that not all plugins/VSTs are compatible in OS X.

    but it still think you should go for it if you want to have some nice computer. it looks good, when fitted with SSD and 8+ GB RAM its very fast and stable performer. if you dont want to tinker inside the computer you should opt for fusion drive , dont ever buy RAM from Apple (unless its soldered on) - buy your own, its much cheaper.
    as for i5 vs i7 - the first is dual, the other quad - you would have to research if the apps you want to use are hyperthreaded, then i7 would be good choice (if you want to use Logic Pro X I strongly suspect Apple heavily optimizes the software for their computers so it should be better on i7).
    if youre on tight budget getting base i5 and adding at least 8GB RAM is a good starting point. you can add unto 16 gigs of your own memory and add another drive (maybe faster SSD) later.

    if you dont like mac software you can always install windows on the mac mini and use something that you like more (macs allow dual booting to both OS X and windows).

    dont worry, macs work with all the standard peripherals nowadays - displays, keyboards, mouse, audio interfaces, printers etc.
  9. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    I am a part-time musician that does large orchestral compositions with a Mac Pro and an extensive library of sample libraries.

    If you are talking about recording one or two tracks at a time and mixing 20 tracks using a reasonable number of software effects (dynamics processing, EQ, reverb, delay), then an i7 MBP or Mini will do fine as long as you get an external USB3 or TB 7200 RPM drive for the audio. 5400 RPM laptop drives will not keep up.

    If you are talking about 20 tracks of processor-intensive virtual instruments (VI's) along with state of the art effects processing, the Mini would probably still work, but disk I/O and RAM would be more critical.

    An i7 Mini with Logic X ($199 from the App store) would probably be all you need to get started besides an audio interface. Of course if you are recording live players, you need microphones, preamps, etc.

    Logic is a great deal that comes with a tom of VI's, effects and loops.

    It is also possible that Garageband, which comes free with a Mac, might be all you need to start with (think of it as Logic Lite - very lite).

    As a comparison I routinely run templates of 50-75 tracks, all loaded with RAM/CPU intensive sample based instruments on my Mac Pro.

    A more detailed description of the the type of music and what you were using on your PC would help.

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