Need advice on what MacBook Pro to buy for making music (Beginner)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ahfu25, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. ahfu25 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    I've been planning on making a home studio and it's a great excuse(Lol) to upgrade my current MBP 13'. Which MBP would you guys recommend for music production? 2 things I def want are 16gb of ram & 1td of storage. Just not sure if I should move to a 15 inch. Thanx!
  2. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    Music just isn’t that taxing. If you want a 15” with 1TB and 16GB go nuts, any model will do. I recorded a one hour multi track last night (practice session) and then converting that one hour multi track to 256Kb/s AAC with my 2015 13” with 8GB took perhaps a minute. I didn’t time it but it’s not long. Audio just isn’t that demanding.

    Not saying don’t get the 15”, but if someone is telling you that you need the 15”/16GB/1TB for recording that’s not true.
  3. ahfu25 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    Thanx for the advice! Screen size, for me, doesn't matter. I've always had a 13' MacBook so really the only 2 things that matter to me is the 16gb minimum for ram and 1tb storage. I just wanted to know if the specs on the 15 would be Overkill for a beginner in music production i.e ddr4 ram cpu 6 core and the GPU. When I'm home I connect it to a monitor, on the road it goes in my bag.
  4. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    Total overkill. But hey, sometimes that's ok.
  5. vemac575, Dec 13, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018

    vemac575 macrumors regular


    Feb 18, 2018
    Not true at all. Music is VERY taxing, especially on the RAM. Of coarse it depends on a lot of factors but since he didn't state what he is doing, you shouldn't generalize like that.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 13, 2018 ---
    I run a mobile setup too. You should be more specific about the music you are planning to compose/write/ whatever.

    Most genres will be fine with a quad core, but these days you will want 16 minimum, but from experience, even in 2010, that was almost not enough in half of my projects. These days, 16gb RAM is almost NOTHING.

    BUT.... I compose scores, mostly.

    For metal and rap creation, 16gb is fine. Recording vocals and all of that is fine too. Where you're also going to need 32gb is complex EDM or other electronic genres.

    So here's one thing you should consider; If 32gb RAM and/or 6 cores is overkill, than so is 1tb of SSD space. Most of that space will be taken up by libraries. If your projects are so small that 16gb RAM is more than enough, then you aren't doing enough to need so many libraries, or space for project file size.

    I'd like to know more along the lines of what you are doing, but I'll conclude with this. If you're not going to be producing 16+ track projects with plugins, stay with the 13" and even save money and keep a 512gb SSD. If you're going to be using plugins and professional libraries, do yourself a favor and go with the 15" 6 core with 1TB SSD and 32gb ram. It also helps having the dedicated GPU for the monitor/s.
  6. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    well... yes and no.

    If you ask things in such a thread then no, its probably not that taxing.

    When you start mixing things properly and your track count goes to 60+, it becomes heavy on the CPU.

    If you don't you probably already know that in 2018, quad-core is pushing it to the limit.
    Ugh. most decent synths (u-he, xfer, ni, D16, arturia) are CPU intensive, not RAM intense. I don't know much EDM/electronic music that uses a lot of orchestral libs (heavy on RAM)

    In my case, using mostly u-he and xfer synths, i had enough RAM (16) but not nearly enough CPU (quad-core).

    Second, if you know at least something about big libs, all Kontakt libs can be configured to use a lot less RAM if you have a fast SSD to stream library directly from it.

    Not to mention swapping to 2700mb/s SSD versus swapping to 60mb/s spinning drive is a big difference.

    If my 2012 QuadCore 15" with 16GB could handle 70+ track projects, then the 2018 13" can too - with less trouble.

    But you do have to know a tiny bit about resource management...

    I bought the Mac Mini i7/32/512.

    You can have an audio project that:
    - will use almost no RAM (8gb is enough) and no space, but will burn out a 6-core CPU (mostly software instruments/processing)
    - will use all of RAM (32gb+) and 300gb of space and will not task even a quad-core CPU (mostly libraries)
    - will use lots of space, but almost no RAM and CPU. (mostly audio)

    so... eh.
  7. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016


    Sure. I just made it all up and my 3 year old 8GB RAM machine is incapable of running music apps, I just wanted to feel popular. Not sure if you read his (or her) post, but the OP explicitly stated that he’s a beginner.

    Obviously music CAN be taxing with heavy multitracking, but I’d argue that’s not typical. Especially for a beginner. But some people like to justify hex-core systems, so go nuts.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    My suggestion will be different:

    KEEP the current MacBook you have, and for music production get either an iMac or a new Mac Mini...
  9. ahfu25 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2009
    I will be making mostly hip-hop music. Rap, some R&B...Just to have a better idea this is the equipment I have so far... Akai mpk 249, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 bundle (Comes with Mic, pop filter and Mic stand) and a pair of Krk Rokit 5 and I'm going to be using Logic pro. Again I'm a beginner but I do my home work. I just can't find too much information as far as a beginner choice specific to 2018 MacBook Pros. Took a music class in school to learn how to read music as well and I'm learning to play piano.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 13, 2018 ---
    Need something mobile that I can also use for school. Thanx for the advice!
  10. kebn macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2018
    Toronto, Canada
    I produce music on my 2014 13" MBP using Ableton, and I find it to work quite well. However I am noticing occasional audio dropouts on the dual core i5/8gb ram when I'm working on larger projects with a lot of effects. Although the new 2018 13" have quad cores and would be absolutely fine, i'm also considering the 15" as my next purchase too, perhaps next year. I agree with previous posts saying that 16gb ram and 512gb SSD should be minumim - HQ audio sample libraries fill up ram & space fast.

    Some pros and cons of the 15":

    + The 15" has quite a bit of additional screen estate, meaning more tracks and information available at the same time and less scrolling. It just feels more like a workstation, and comfortable to use for longer periods.
    + 6 cores would offer more headroom for effects/audio processing, but how much more over the quad core is up for debate.

    o 15" dGPU is good if you intend to do anything graphics-intensive other than making music. I do graphics work and 3D/CAD work as well, which makes it a positive for me personally

    - If you use an external monitor, the screen size difference is a moot point
    - Its slightly bigger and heavier than the 13"
    - It is more expensive than the 13"

    At the end of the day, the 13" would be enough for music production, whether you would want to spend several hundred more for some extra power/screen real estate/less portability depends on your own usage.
  11. Camark08 macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2018
    Get a 13 inch touchbar 2017/2018 with 16gb ram and 512/1tb storage and call it a day. You will be impressed.
  12. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    Difference between 2017 and 2018 is night and day.
    2018 13" touchbar is more powerful than the 2017 15".

    Multicore: About 40-50%... pretty measurable. According to Evan Logic Benchmark: ~200 tracks on the 15" i9. ~110 tracks on the 2012 15" i7.
    I suspect 13" 2018 to pull around 140 tracks. I'll test the i5 when i get it.
    GeekBench actually isn't a bad indicator of it.
    2012 15": 11-12k
    2018 13": 16-17k
    2018 15": 22-24k

    if you don't need portability, dGPU can be easily replaced by an eGPU with much better performance!

    I propose 2018 13" i5; it's as powerful as 2017 15" top CPU.

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