MBA for Audio based work?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by WillFisher, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. WillFisher macrumors 6502

    WillFisher

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #1
    Hi there,

    I recently sold my 2010 13" C2D because it was slowly falling apart. Dying battery, few pixels gone, Optical drive failing etc. So I thought I'd get along fine with just an iPad!
    I'm going into my third year of university where I'm mainly using Logic, Reason, Max MSP and a bit of Pro Tools.
    I already have a Mac Mini which is getting a hybrid/ssd drive very soon, but I miss having the portability of a laptop more than I'd thought! an iPad just doesn't have the same experience as a Laptop.

    So basically, I've been reading up a lot on this, but I'd like a few little nitbits answered...

    1. As far as I'm aware all DAW's will run fine on the standard i5, and the i7 gets hotter and has less battery?

    2. Whats the screen actually like compared to a pro? I've never used one in person for more than about 2 minutes.

    3. Aside battery, whats the real life performance difference between 2013 and 2012 models?

    Lastly, I've found Curry's are doing a refurb 13" rMBP for 1179 with £100 cashback, making it the same sort of price as a MBA. Whats the verdict?

    Sorry about the long post, thanks for any and all help!
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68030

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    I used a 2011 13" i5/4gb/256gb MBA for the past two years and loved it. Logic ran just fine on that machine - recording to the SSD was great. Also ran my old version of Final Cut Pro fine. I even ran both Logic and FCP at the same time with no issues.

    About two weeks ago I upgraded to a 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA and it's even better. I was seeing about 13ms round trip latency with my 4 channel USB interface on the 2011 i5 MBA and it dropped to about 9ms on the 2013 i7 machine. Not sure if this is the result of USB3, the i7, the faster SSD, or maybe a little bit of each?

    My previous computer was a 2008 15" 2.4ghz c2d MacBook Pro. I found the 2011 i5 MBA CPU was about twice as fast and the SSD was maybe 5x faster. The 2013 i7 MBA is significantly faster. Geekbench gave the 2008 MBP a score of about 3300, the 2011 MBA 5800 and the 2013 i7 MBA 8100. They show scores of about 7500 for the 2012 i7 MBA and 6600 for the 2012 i5 MBA.

    I thought the 13" screen was fine - same resolution as my 2008 15" MBP. But I like my new 11" machine for its portability. For any serious audio or video work, I use a 23" external monitor so the laptop screen isn't that big a deal for me.
     
  3. WillFisher thread starter macrumors 6502

    WillFisher

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #3
    These are the kinds of things I like hearing, knowing that someone has chosen and found it works perfectly. I think I'm gonna go for a 13" i5/8GB/256GB, have a nice change of portability!
    Thanks a lot!
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68030

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
  5. Thraun macrumors regular

    Thraun

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Abbotsford, BC
    #5
    For audio work, I'd suggest custom ordering an Air with the max RAM, as that isn't upgradeable after the fact. Other than that, it should be a great machine for audio.
     
  6. mayuka macrumors 6502a

    mayuka

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #6
    Pure audio does not have high hardware demands like in the old days anymore. I'm using the 11" model for this kind of work (Logic, Soundtrack Pro (I really miss a recent version of STP), Ableton Live, Traktor) and I love it. (Although some applications such as Traktor still utilize only one processor.) However, I strongly recommend the 13" version if you're doing lots of live music. The resolution on the 11" is rather high and as a reason text appears to be small, which is rather hard to read from the distance. The main reason why most musicians choose the 13" Macbook Pro over the MBA is mainly because of its size and robustness. Personally, I do not like the black bezel and the glossy display on the 13" MBP. If you have ever worked outside in the daytime, you know what I mean. I strongly suggest you choose the 8 GB version, because possible swapping during a live session isn't the best.
     

Share This Page