There’s little debate as to whether a PC or a Mac is better for music production. So we’re not going to even get into that one as it’s a non-starter and we’ll save you the research by letting you know that Mac is the number one choice for music producers at all levels. But with such a variety of Macs to choose from it can be difficult deciding on which range of Macs is the best for you.
Logic Pro X is Apple’s premium music production software. Out of the box, every Mac comes with Apple’s free Music production software GarageBand. Whilst GarageBand is definitely a sweet bit of kit and can be used to create impressive work in the right hands, compared to Logic Pro X, GarageBand is simply a children’s toy, whereas Logic Pro X is strictly for the professionals. This means that to run such a powerful piece of software you’re going to need the hardware to match. But just which Mac is the best to create your masterpieces on Logic Pro X? Well, that depends a lot on what your uses are and you as an individual. In this blog, we will take a look at the different options available and let you make an informed decision on which is the best choice for you.
If you’re looking to make music on the go then your only option is the MacBook Pro. With Logic Pro X being so processor-intensive we recommend avoiding the low-end Pro models or 13 inch models and opting for upgraded ranges. If you can, then you would ideally like to get your model with 16GB of memory. When purchasing a MacBook Pro to create music we recommended opting for a MacBook with a dedicated graphics card, this is an optional extra which takes the task of running your graphics away from the CPU to free up performance.
Although the fans can get loud, the lightweight but powerful MacBook Pro is perfect for musicians who are constantly travelling/working with other artists and need to be taking their music from one place to another regularly. An issue with the newer models though is the lack of ports, with only Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3mm port for your earphones, you will need dongles galore if you want to connect any other devices to your MacBook. If you’re not a fan of dongles then we recommend our personal favourite, the 2015 Macbook Pro.
If you’re looking to make music on a budget then the Mac Mini could be the best option for you. This small Mac can be upgraded to be a rather powerful beast for a far cheaper price than some of its more fancy cousins. However, if you do opt to go with the Mac Mini then be aware that you will also need to buy a monitor, keyboard and mouse too. We would avoid purchasing a Mac Mini from 2014 and instead would favour a top spec 2012 system. A high-spec current generation model with the 6 core is also an ideal small desktop for audio, giving you a range of choice between the models depending on your budget and requirements.
When it comes to making music in the studio there really isn’t a better option than the iMac. A powerful iMac has all the capabilities to perform smoothly and quietly to produce the music industry’s finest work, all while presenting on a crisp retina display that now comes in 4k or 5k options. Add to this the multiple ports that make it great for external storage and attaching accessories, the iMac is a fantastic studio option and has everything necessary to effortlessly create real art using Logic Pro X.
In terms of specs, some iMac model’s accept 32GB, a good option depending on your requirements and budget. We favour the 27-inch models as these tend to be spec up higher, with newer models going up to 8 core i9! But whatever iMac you choose, be sure to avoid all Fusion Drive models. With a history of mechanical failures, we suggest the risk of your valued work ending up unreadable is not worth it in the long run.
If you’re shopping without a budget and money is no object then we would recommend the MacPro. Easily the most powerful of all of Apple’s Mac offerings. When configured to its maximum capabilities the sheer power of this beast is every music producer’s dream. The 12 core 5,1 is a good option which can go up to 128GB. The new Mac Pro is a monster and if your budget allows and you want the very best that Apple has to offer then the new Mac Pro would certainly smash any audio work flow. If you’re looking for a 6,1 2013 model then you want the 3.0 GHz 8 Core rather than the 2.7 GHz 12 core as the drop in clock speed hurts performance more than what the extra cores add.
If you’re happy to spend as much as is necessary and want the most powerful device that Apple has to offer, and have no need to travel with your music, then the Mac Pro is the whisper-quiet machine for you. However, the power of the MacPro is really not necessary for music production and we would choose to opt for one of the above devices, but if it’s out-and-out power that you’re looking for then you won’t find an Apple computer more powerful than the MacPro. Whichever device you opt for we always recommend going SSD based and getting as much RAM and CPU power as your budget permits.