Mbp for music production

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nervosA, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. nervosA macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    so my 2011 mbp finally died and I'm saving up for a new one. I produce music using ableton live 9, Maschine, ni komplete, serum, and some other plug ins. I also use an audio interface and midi controllers.
    I'm looking at the $1,999 15" mbp without touchbar. 16 gb ram, 256 ssd. I'm guessing it's the 2016 model since it doesn't specify that it has the 7th gen i7.

    I still the 7th gen worth the extra couple hundred along with the touch bar?
    How big of a pain is the USB issue going to be. ?(all my peripherals are regular USB) how is the dongle life?
    Also, are there any other models I should consider. Maybe refurb or different years?

    This is a big purchase for me. I'm still saving up. It'll like.y be another month before I have $2000
  2. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    I'd wait for the next MBP and see if Apple comes to their senses. Are you sure you want to pay the premium for a laptop when you're tethered with dongles? If you really need one now, get this one, but BTO with the 2.8GHz i7 Quad Core chip and 512GB or 1TB SSD: https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MJLQ2LL/A&step=config#

    Dongle life would suck if you're on a 2016/2017 because you're going to have to carry around a dock if you can't authorize the license to the internal SSD. If you can resurrect the 2011, I'd try to do so, or at least avoid discarding it until whatever replaces it works at least as well, especially for the price over repair. Start using SSDs for everything: It will change your life. Try not to break a productive workflow.

    Or find a 2012 2.6GHz Mini (Quad Core i7) and put in a couple SSDs and 16GB of RAM.

    Just know that you'll need to keep any laptop cool, or it's throttle-city.

    If you're using a slave machine for sample libraries like VSL, then wait. You can thank me later. Best of luck! Report back!
  3. Uplift, Sep 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

    Uplift macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2011
    As a music producer, you will likely have lots of external devices (midi interfaces, audio interfaces, maschine, whatever..) ... It seems the smart thing to do will be to buy a powered USB hub, then add all devices and leave it alone. When you come to produce connect the one USB to your Macbook and you're good to go.

    I'd be personally be doing this regardless of standard USB or USB-C..... It's a convenience thing, I'd hardly call it dongle life.

    I'd say go for it, Apple isn't going to 'come to their senses'.

    I use a 2016 15" touch bar and it works amazingly well for music production.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The new machines available on the Apple store with all the old ports are the 2015 model still using haswell (5th generation). It’s much more cost effective to buy a refurb or a second hand one of these machines if that is what you want I would not buy one new now they are over 2 years old.

    A good USB c dock for all your peripherals can be had if you would like to go for the 2016/2017 option. within a small package and one cable connection to carry around it will probably end up being easier than plugging everything in and out to separate USB ports to be honest. How about something like this?


    3 x USB 3 ports and a 4K him output with a power input as well all connected by one cable to your new ultra thin and light touch bar mac with brilliant music controls on the touch bar. Good planning means usb c and tb3 ports should make your life easier not more difficult. I know there is endless moaning about not having a plethora of old ports but I just don’t get it £60 can make one of your super fast ports into every port you need, without a dongle in sight.
  5. nervosA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    This **** is stressing me out ! Maybe I should try and replace my logic board in my 2011 mbp and use that so I'll have more time to save while also maybe giving Apple more time to come with a decent "pro" machine. As of now I am computerless and I've saved about $1200.

    Of course I'd love to have the 7th gen i7 but I'd go for a 2015. It seems like that was the best year for mbp's.

    Then I'm also thinking about an iMac. The iMac pro will be prohibitively expensive so that's out of the question but maybe a different one with good specs.
    At this point I am seriously considering going windows. That makes me incredibly sad because I love Mac OS and core audio and everything else about Apple product but they're really ******** on "pro" users these days. It seems like they're only catering to the Facebook crowd.

    I mean c'mon Apple. I don't give a flying **** about a touch bar. And I'd rather have a thicker and heavier computer than sacrifice useful ports and have everything soldered on and non upgradable. !!!!! What is the obsession with thin-ness. It's not like a few millimeters really matters that much to anyone. Does it?
    They are really making this hard for us man.

    I wish they'd throw a kaby lake i7 in an old cheese grater tower and Put Sierra'on it Andrew let me do the rest!!!!!

    I really don't know what I'm gonna do.

    Ian it worth getting my 2011 fixed? Is it possible? If so how , who , where?

    It's still a nice machine. It's a 15 inch i7, 8 gb and I'll put an ssd in there too.
  6. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014

    Man, I totally sympathize. My advice would be to figure a budget and buy keep a solid creative workflow: Avoid chasing tech: You'll never win. The best Pro Tools 12 and Logic machine I had was a "silent-in-the-control-room-silent" 6-core nMP with 32GB RAM. -But it wasn't "$3600 better" than my 2012 Mini because of the way the code is written in Pro Tools. I had an 8-core, but it kept KP-ing. Now I'm wondering if the much-maligned Quad-Core nMP is the best overall because Pro Tools is so "single core" dependent, even though Avid says otherwise. But after going through two cylinders, I've had enough. If Apple builds a cMP-type of machine, I'll buy it.

    So, I've been considering other computer companies and self-builds. My biggest problem is that I'm heavily invested in Thunderbolt stuff and my VSL server must be connected via ethernet.

    So, one of (if not the biggest) problems is iLok and Steinberg-type e-Licensers used to license software. I won't mention any names, but their initials are Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, Slate, VI Labs, VSL, etc. Many of us would love to be able to use our favorite DAW on a laptop for remote sessions, but I don't want to haul a tangle of delicate dongles unless they were inside of a tamper-proof rack with my interface. In this day of the innerwebs, it is intellectually dishonest for any company to insist upon dongle-based -rather than web-based- authentication methods.

    How many channels do you need to record at once? Unless you have a particularly productive workflow, I'd just use Logic X. Find a great used interface like an RME, an Apogee Duet 2, or a UAD -since you'll be swapping that out almost as often as your computer unless you find something that is in the "same gen" as your computer. -Or get an interface that supports more than one type of computer connection. Sort ratings by most critical first. Checkout the forums at GearSlutz.com.

    If you really want Thunderbolt 3 or USB C (different things) wait several months for the new Mac Whatever and the next UAD Apollo hardware that will match your tech. If you're having a hard time getting external drives and you only need one or two, get one of these three: https://www.angelbird.com/category/portable-2/ because they support TRIM outside of the computer. No more spinning drives. They're a waste of money. Even the HGST Ultrastars are garbage now.

    If you get something with Thunderbolt 2, get this: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicmultidock -I use one of these with a Mac Mini and an Apollo 8. It changed my life. I might pickup a spare, it's so awesome. You'll never saturate the TB2 bus with data if your using SSDs. SSDs, Backblaze, and CCC, baby!

    But if I were doing it again, I'd probably junk it all and buy a Steinway.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 22, 2017 ---
    With a caveat: http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/...acBook-Pro-13-1-13-2-13-3-Configuration-Guide
  7. nervosA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    Yeah now I’m just thinking about what the 2018 mbps will Be like. Lol. But you’re right. Chasing tech is a losing game !!!! I guess I’m just gonna save up and get a 2017 mbp 15.
    I would LOVE to get one of these new iMac pros but I don’t have 5k and won’t anytine soon.

    I think I’m also gonna see about getting my logic board repaired on my 2011 MacBook Pro. I need something while I wait.

    I do a lot of production in the box with many instances of cpu intensive synths (serum, diva) And sample libraries. But I do record too!! Usually only a few tracks simultaneously. I’ve gotten used to freezing midi tracks and re sampling everything to audio while I’m working to save cpu. Actually to the point where it’s become big part of my workflow. I do a lot of sample chopping and re sampling now and it’s part of my “sound.” Kinda crazy how that’s one came about.

    My next purchase will likely be a UAd interface to offload some of the processing. Plus they’re just really amazing interfaces.

    I’m the mean time I’m still stressing about all this whilst trying to save money.
  8. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    Somebody in another thread or site wrote that today's machines are plenty fast enough for any DAW, but that a few companies are dragging their feet and won't rewrite 25-year-old code. That's the main reason Logic X smokes a lot of the competition because the code is optimized. –But IMHO, Logic is a PITA for audio editing compared to Pro Tools. But I still use both.

    People throw away/trade-in perfectly great machines and interfaces all the time. Watch for UAD updates, because the USB version is only for Windows. -Use a smaller interface and get a UAD Satellite. -It's a leap. Antelope also makes great stuff, but I'm not sure if they've got their QC under control. There's also MOTU. -I'd use that for portability. UAD is best for the unison preamps and emulation and the master bus. The added latency is brutal. -But you'll never need anything over 24/96KHz.

    If/when you get a UAD, PM me and I can advise you on the better plugins. Same deal with Waves.
    Best of luck to you.
  9. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    I actually like "dongle life."

    It’s actually more so just a usb-c hub, but mine has 4 USB-A ports, which is pretty much enough for me. I just use an external USB-C 1 TB drive with samples, and a midi keyboard or two, and sometimes I’ll connect my iPad to use for drum pads.

    It’s really not a big deal, and it’s actually cleaner and easier to use than prior computers..with all ports being taken up by wires. But even then - I still had to bring a usb hub with me, if I wanted to have a similar setup.

    Honestly, I would much rather have the advantages of USB-C and have to carry a usb c hub (if I want to record on the go) vs not having usbc and needing to carry a usb-a hub anyway.
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Not a music person but I was utterly shocked to find my Macbook Pro ran Mari, Houdini, and Modo flawlessly (3D applications). I absolutely love the touch bar for apps with a timeslider as well (like Motion and Final Cut).

    I had buyers remorse for spending so much but as soon as I opened it up and started using it my buyers remorse went out the window.
  11. JamesPDX Suspended


    Aug 26, 2014
    A very good point.
  12. kissymac7 macrumors newbie


    Sep 24, 2015
    The world
    Hi, ok I am in the creative professional field. Although I do not use my MacBook Pro (2015) for music production, it is used for everything else. Photoshop and Final Cut Pro so it's used daily and intensely. I love tech and live and die for the latest newest apple products but I had to really think about budget and what is needed and useful.

    I have the 2015 rmb 15 inch, 16 go and its beast. I also have an air but i seriously can't handle the low screen resoulution but it has handled my video and phot editing with ease.

    If I were you I would invest in the 2015 rmb because even thought it's not future proof with those USB c it is futured proof for your field.

    The whole USB c will drive u nuts because music producers have a lot to plugin. I just plugin ad cards n external drives n I would get annoyed to always make sure I have dongles for that.

    The 2015 can easily last u 4 yrs

    Now if you are set on bringing life back to ur 2011 you can cheaply on eBay and than YouTube the process. The only thing about the 2011 is its non retina and your eyes deserves to be spoiled.

    If you come this far with your savings and you have no laptop I would sell the 2011 for parts on eBay or maybe even sell it to apple and get a gift card and use that money towards the 2015 rmb. I don think you need the touch bar...actually I don think anyone needs that those laptops are really for those who need a new laptop and don't mind paying for newer technology

    Hope this helps
  13. nervosA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2008
    Yeah that’s true. I am currently saving up $2300 for a 15 inch mbp. The new one. So Ill Ben livin that dongle life.
    It’s taking a bit longer than isn’t like to save this $$ tho
    --- Post Merged, Sep 26, 2017 ---
    That’s good to hear. Can’t wait to get it.

Share This Page

12 September 21, 2017