What Mac is currently and in the near future the best for music-production for a hobby musician using physical instruments?

Paratriplel

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
53
2
What Mac is currently and to expected in the near future (before or at early summer of 2020) the best Mac suited for music production for a hobby musician that is not using a lot of samples (barely none) and are recording physical instruments (synth, guitar, bass, vocals) with an Apollo x8?

I'm currently using my MacBook Pro 15" (2015) and are just working at home in my music creation space that I've got setup but have previously moved around a bit and had planned to do that again for quite some time working with other producers / songwriters but it seems it's not really happening anytime soon so after I waited for the right MacBook Pro (that has a reliable keyboard, is fairly quiet and that is not throttling) I've started leaning more towards a stationary Mac.
Either a Mac Mini or an iMac but I feel a bit lost about what my computer requirements are. I'm not really pushing my current Macbook Pro but that's mostly due to its fans going crazy after I've just opened Logic and it's been that way all since I got it..
So I feel a bit lost about What I need in computing power.

I'm currently just using my computer as a tape machine and sequencing MIDI, just recording my music and sequencing synths with a fairly low plugin count but I want to use more plugins but I hope to maintain low latency playback and I don't want my computers fans to go all airplane / helicopter.
So I guess that's something to consider even though I don't use as much plugins currently except for Universal Audio Apollo x8's plugins through the UAD system, using the chips in the audio interface.

Any suggestions?

I've got two 27" computer monitors but I believe I'd rather have only one with a little bit bigger (especially the width).

Currently have a MacBook Pro 15" 2015 and it will hold our at least half a year / a year more but I will probably upgrade it in 2020. Thinking about keeping it for my small number of mobile duties but it could of course be sold to fund my future main Mac.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
53
2
I know this area of the forum is quite dead.. But I'm still going to try to get this thread started.

What Mac that is currently out right now or is expected to be out within 8 months or so is right for you and why?

What Mac (our now or is expected in the next 8 months) do you believe would be best suited for me?

As said I'm not a sample user but could of course use a sample or two if I feel it's needed but mostly using instrument ("real" physical instruments) and recording them with an UA Apollo x8, of course using their UAD plugins but not so many native plugins but I want to use more of them and preferable without adding to much latency and staying fairly quiet.
Not a mobile user but don't like the idea of being unable to have a session with another producer at their place but they'll most certainly have their own computer of course and I will probably keep my MacBook Pro 15" from 2015 as long as it feels rather functional. Had some issues with it since start, that Apple confirms are issues but they're not solving it and ever time I contact them about it it's the exact same story.

Mostly just a bit hesitant towards going stationary because the prices (really crazy prices now days but I can't stand Windows at home so I guess I'll have to pay the apple tax) are almost equally or about $200 less, to the latest MacBook Pro 15" base configuration and I can't really see what extra I get for the price. I guess the processor is a bit more powerful but seems to clock similar and have similar core count etc and I'm most probably not really understanding hiw to read it correct.

Would apprichiate any input.
 
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retta283

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2018
1,156
784
Kingman, AZ
Mac mini. Like Fishrrman said get 16gb RAM and a bigger SSD. It's probably the best option for the money, just use it with your 27" monitors and any future one you get.
 

mettavibe

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2019
2
0
australia
I have been in the same search but this T2 chip just stops me at every turn - seems to be a very big issue.
Almost jumped on a mini mac and then dbl checked and they have T2 as well so sitting in a 2013 macbook pro at the moment cause its working
 

Paratriplel

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
53
2
Thank you for your input!

Yeah the T2 ship has also stopped me from digging further into the Mac Mini but I'm hopeful that it's going to be resolved, either in the T2 or in the T3 but really it shouldn't this have have been resolved already?
I haven't read up on it in a while so I guess I better so that. That was what peaked my interest in the iMac, since it don't have the T2 and seemed to be a lot for the money and after reading up on the computers a couple of months back people in a discussion here seemed to feel that the iMac was very price worth since you get a very nice screen for just $200-300 extra or something like that but I'm not entirely sure what models they compared and it could of course have been focused towards visual art and therefore they would have needed a nicer screen than you might need for music production.

I really feel like getting a larger (32" or more) ultra wide screen instead but I'm a bit hesitant since I haven't tried one myself in person, in that case I couls maybe sell my screens to fund a part of it.

I feel a bit excited seeing what Apple has planned for their Mac line nest couple of months. Maybe a redesigned iMac, would love if they went with bigger screens without raising prices and fixed all their throttling issues. Also the Mac Mini could be updated with something during 2020 or just get their prices for ram and SSD adjusted lower... If not I guess I'll try to find a second hand one and if it's not already done upgrade some parts myself.
I'm just a bit tired of this waiting game since it always feels like Apple has missed something but gotten almost everything else right and on top of that they are taking their prices which makes it so hard to pull the last plug...

But if they're serious about Macs again I'm hoping they fix the known issues and do a much better QA and that they're not letting the customer do the QA for them and then trying to make the customer pay for the repair. I get u Tim. You want your ****ing bonus but please man. This is tragic because you're really showing people what a greedy person you are because even before the bonus you're filthy rich and trying to get even more richer on the cost of your customers that in many cases are not as wealthy as you or even close... Oh , and I of course hope that they do a couple market surveys and realizes that they will well a lot more Macbook Pro's and make even more money if they go back to the ~2010-prices.. But I'm guessing apple either don't care or they have already made all the surveys and calculations they want and will still to these.

If people buy less Mac's it's of course not because of the prices or the fact that they need a lot more power and especially more power / $.... No it's of course going to be the emojis, they need so much more of them and more emoji functions etc...

Thanks again for your replies. If you have any info about the T2 chip please share it I myself are going to start looking for some sort of a "confirmation" that it's been solved.

I'm actually using Thunderbolt technology (which is not affected if I'm right? Only usb audio interface, correct?) now but I might switch to a cheaper USB interface since I don't feel I'm taking full potential over the plugin system and but who knows I mig just start doing that and keep it for several years and then I need to know that the computer I've bought will not have any trouble.


16 GB RAM is really a must these days, I know. Still thinking that I need to be able to upgrade it to 32 GB låter if I'm not buying it up front. Sure it's a couple of years to it but I plan on keeping my new computer for at least 3 years and hopefully the double, I guess I could of course put more ram inside if I'm handy (Mac Mini) or if I'm getting an iMac.. I don't even want to think about what Apple charges for 32... That's the second reason why I given up on a MacBook Pro, keyboard being number one but that might be fixed now with the rumors of a 16".
 
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mettavibe

macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2019
2
0
australia
100% to all you have written - I havent read anywhere that T2 chip is resolved
Also agree on the imac......they fully need to listen to customers - i think the iphone is keeping them so busy we are forgotten - fully annoying
Yep its the waiting game for me too
 

Paratriplel

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
53
2
I could of course need a nice modern mixer.
Would probably benefit from a mixer if I had the room for one in the right size etc... Though for Loopback I don't really see the need. I don't see any need of routing audio internally.

But I'm still hoping to figure our what Mac that is right for my needs.
I do really want to start using some more native plugins without wasn't too much latency.

If Mac Mini didn't have the T2-chip or if the audio related issues with the T2-chip was resolved and it either came with slightly better performance and no throttling or if it was a couple of hundreds less expensive than it currently is so that the 2019 or a future iMac wasn't as tempting.

Just have such a hard time justifying paying as much as I have to for a Mac Mini with soldered on SSD storage and a bit of a messy operation to open up to upgrade RAM compared to the 27" iMac.
If I knew I was going for an a Mac Mini and could plan out to do it again the next time they upgrade it (let's hope it's not years in between the updates this time) or sooner if I get a more urgent need for a new Mac, I could have started looking for a new monitor with the right format and dimensions and have it covered soon instead all that cash at once.
But since the Mac Mini based on current configurations will be roughly €1 800 (just for the computer) if I get the minimum storage that I'll need (500 GB) and upgrade the CPU whereas the iMac 27" is roughly about €2 500 and I also get that beautiful screen that I on the one hand will not be able to select format and dimensions for (other than 27" in 5K) but on the other hand it's probably going to be a better screen than anything that I could have bought for the money I saved.

Also need to consider that adding RAM and storage manually will also be a cost but I'm expecting that 16 GB will be less than €100 and 32 GB will be less than €200 and for 1 TB storage I'll have to pay €200.
So €300 more for the iMac and €200 more for the Mac Mini.

So...

Mac Mini is going to be:
€1 800 for cheapest alternative and
€2 000 for a 1 TB SSD instead of 500 GB..
€200 for RAM upgrade when I get it home.
Expect it to be €2 200 in total (without a new screen)

iMac is going to be:
€2 300 for cheapest alternative
€3 000 for the a bit overkill alternative (i9 cpu but still base storage and memory)
€300 for memory and storage
I'm expecting it to either be €2 600 or €3 300 and are not decided because I'm not aware about how much CPU power I need but I'm not expecting i need the most expensive iMac for my duties...

BTW.. I've got more hobbies than music production, such as 3d modeling, a bit of motion graphics and coding... But it's not something I want to pay extra for to be able to do but rather wait some extra time for the computer to finish.

Wow this post is probably very very cluttered but I've at least started looking at the decision differently due to better understanding what the differences are, would be very thankful to anyone thar helps me realize how I should think about coy power..PS. I finished writing this at 3.30 am so I'm sorry for anyone who suffered through this confused post.
 

rangers12

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2009
55
8
I have a Mac Mini i5 using Logic and have been very happy with it. I got a 34 in monitor and it allows me to have multiple windows open while using logic. Have had no issues at all so far.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,603
405
Redondo Beach, California
I could of course need a nice modern mixer.
Would probably benefit from a mixer if I had the room for one in the right size etc... Though for Loopback I don't really see the need.
No, you do not want a mixer. Once mixed you can never un-mix it. Recor each track through an audio interface and then use Logic to do the mixing. You do need either Logic-Remote or a real cotrol surface with a slider per track and of course you need an audio interface with enough inputs.

How much compute-power you need depends on the number of MIDA tracks you are mixing.
 

Paratriplel

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
53
2
No maybe a mixer isn't a good idea though I've been curious about splitting the audio signals maybe through my patchbay and do something with it where all instruments are connected and sounding and sending it "back" to the patchbay or directly to my interface, but this thought is for recording demos (just have a template in logic for 2 channels setup and push record and do whatever I want without the hassle I feel I go through right now) and not serious audio productions because of degradations. Will probably not go though with it anytime soon though because of space and not that eager to spend the money.

Anyway, I've done some reading about the t2 chip and it has frighten me, seems a lot of people are affected and the biggest reason for a mobile computer is to be able to bring it to gigs and such (even though I haven't had lots of those lately) and that would be terrible if it glitches during performance.
So I'm guessing I won't buy a Mac Mini or Macbook Pro until I hear it's fixed or that the t3 chip is released and that it solves these issues. Sadly it feels like it's one of these issues that you won't really hear about getting fixed due to Apple not willing to admit their faults and ordinary people / serious websites not wanting to claim something is fixed without a valid source etc.

Very frustrating... I just wish I could buy a new very nice computer without issues that's well suited for music production, quiet, fast and preferably not pay more than 1 500 - 2 000 dollars for it and for that get something that will last me a few years... It seems like that's so hard to come by these days. Sure I'm willing to spend a couple of houndreds more for it but I want performance that I can notice from it.
Leaning towards an iMac but probably want to see what's around the corner for it and it would be nice if I could buy more storage and have someone professional installing it even if I believe I could install it myself but don't like the idea of opening the screen up myself but there are of course the owc-videos.

About the Mac Mini I kind of feel like I get less for about the same amount of money, not sure if that is true or not since I'm not very good at comparing the processors.