MBP for Music Production

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by trojanwr21, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. trojanwr21 macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Ok, just a quick background. My wife's younger sister is into music (she's in a band) and wants a MBP to do her recording etc. I have no experience with Macs in general but from what I understand, music would be more processor intensive.

    We are debating whether to get her a 13" MBP (non retina) or a MBA. It doesn't seem that she'll be using any graphics intensive programs. She's in college right now so the most she'll probably use it for is for internet, word processing, excel, etc. in addition to her music stuff.

    I guess my question would be (for you music people out there), what would be the better route to take. Due to budget concerns, we are ruling out the 15" MBP. Does the 13" make sense or should we just save up for the 15" and have her wait a little longer?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    For most music projects, especially beginners, any current Mac will suffice. If she is in a band even more so as you will rely less on software instruments and more just 'recording' and playing back audio with some plugins on the tracks for effect (compressor, EQ, phase, etc.) Disk I/O may be more important so an Air with SSD makes more sense than the standard HDD in the 13" Pro. Unless you buy the pro and upgrade the HDD yourself to SSD. That is another option. HDD is 80-120MB/s, SSD is 250-500MB/s.

    Processor Geekbench Scores.
    MBA: 6100-7000 (1.8GHz i5 - 2.0GHz i7)
    MBP 13": 6600-7900 (2.5GHz i5 - 2.9GHz i7)
    Not much difference.

    Get at least the 256GB SSD though on any of the models. 128GB is too little for samples and things.
  3. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    I do professional music production on my 4y old c2d 2.53ghz which scores around 3000 on geekbench.:)
  4. noiseordinance macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2012
    I haven't kept up on the SATA issue for Macbooks with an optical bay, but assuming you can get solid SATA speeds, I would go for a two drive configuration: SSD for the main drive with DAW software, and a second drive (hybrid maybe?) to store music and samples and such. Single drive configuration for music production is not ideal.
  5. trojanwr21 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Thanks guys!!! I appreciate your insight. I think a SSD will make sense but the route I think we will take is for us to buy her the computer then she can do whatever she wants to it after. I'll mention the SSD.
  6. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    I have a twodrive solution. Although I have to admit with new MBPs, single drive + thunderbolt/usb3.0 setup should work just as well.
    I have dual Scorpio Black Raid0 system...

  7. rboy505 macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2012
    There are many different angles to music production. If she's not the type to go wild putting multiple plugins on every track (compressors, equalizers, reverbs) a 13" MBP can do plenty and then some. She will have no trouble recording her band multitracked with one. This does get into the area of needing an inexpensive recording interface with enough inputs to do this (the MBP's input alone won't do for a band) but that's another detail. You don't really need an SSD. It's something a more seasoned recordist would take advantage of. She should have an inexpensive external anyway, not just for recording onto but as one of several places to keep her files backed up.

    She may eventually up her game in recording and find she could use a RAM upgrade, etc, but a stock 13" MBP will definitely allow her to get started. Decent suitable recording interfaces start around $150 for two inputs and around twice that for six. She might be able to get these from the rental "cage" at school at the music dept.

    I would say it would be much better to get whichever you can spring for now so that she can get started. A 15" is actually more than she'd need for the rest of the school stuff anyway.
  8. trojanwr21 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    Thanks rboy505, the approach I'm taking is exactly how you laid it out. I'm just going to get her the base model and as she progresses, she can do the upgrades herself as she feels she needs the capability (RAM, SSD, etc). I definitely do agree that the 15" is more than what she needs. She pitched the idea of the 15" but I I think it is out of the realm of my finances at this point and logically it doesn't make sense as you laid out, it's more than what she needs.

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