Best Mac For Studio Recording LINK
For more on using external displays for music production, you can read our guide to the best monitors for the MacBook Pro, best displays for the Mac Studio and best monitors for the Mac Mini.
Best Mac For Studio Recording
Apple has obviously already updated its own music production software Logic Pro X to work with the M1 chip and the M1 MacBook Pro is the best Mac for Logic Pro X on the market.
The MacBook Air is only available with the M1 and M2 chip however so while GarageBand and Logic Pro X will be able to perform amazingly fast on it, you may not experience the best results with non native Apple Silicon M1/M2 chip music production software.
If you are studio based you may think that you need an iMac so that you can take advantage of the large display, but you can plug in an external display to any Mac, so even if you had a laptop Mac you could happily use it with a 30in screen when you are at your desk.
Those looking to create professional-level music in the home or studio will definitely want to look at the new Mac Studio. Aimed at the Pro market, but still affordable, this beefed up Mac mini boasts the M1 Max SoC, with a 10-Core CPU and 24-Core GPU, or the M1 Ultra for 20-core CPU and up to 64-core GPU. Both options deliver enviable levels of performance.
For simple projects, 8GB is usually enough RAM for music production. This is fine for casual use and for things like podcast recordings. Once you start to build up longer, more complicated songs, you may find your Mac starts to struggle.
But which Mac should you choose? In this roundup, we only consider current Mac models, but we consider all of them. Without compromising on performance, the models that give you the best bang for the buck are currently the iMac 27-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch.
While I believe this Mac offers the best experience to those wanting a more portable computer for audio editing, there are other options: The MacBook Air offers a more affordable alternative, though with a smaller screen and less powerful processor; The MacBook Pro 13-inch offers a more portable option; These days an iPad Pro offers a genuine portable alternative, though without the same range of powerful software options.
The smaller screen may leave you feeling a little cramped, but some will find the added portability makes the trade-off worthwhile. If you use the same machine in your studio, consider an external monitor.
Many work out of a home studio while others use world-class studios with gear that costs millions. Some work on the go, preferring a minimalistic setup, quality headphones, and a small laptop. But despite these differences, there are some common needs that all music producers have.
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Studio Display also includes a studio-quality, three-microphone array with an especially low noise floor for crystal-clear calls and voice recordings. It also features a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system, the best ever created for Mac, delivering an unbelievable listening experience. Four force-cancelling woofers minimize distortion and produce bold, articulate bass, and two high-performance tweeters create accurate mids and crisp highs. The speakers also support spatial audio for music and video with Dolby Atmos, creating a truly cinematic viewing experience. Altogether, Studio Display has the best combination of camera and audio ever in a desktop display.
The best laptops for music production need to be powerful with a multi-core processor and plenty of RAM. This is because, as with most creative pursuits, the necessary software for music recording and production can be very demanding - especially for multi-track songs.
If money is no object, Mac is hands-down the way to go for producers - that's why MacBooks occupy both the first and second spots in our guide. Compared to Windows, Mac hardware is much better, MacBooks are optimised for audio production, and the out-of-the-box software is vastly superior. \n\nHowever, this comes at a cost - Windows laptops are generally far cheaper than MacBooks. If you're on a budget, the best course of action is to think about your hardware needs, do your research on audio optimisation and hunker down with one of the Windows models we've listed above.
Having one of the best laptops for music production can make a big difference to your creative process, no matter what genre you work with. Gone are the days when music production was exclusive to big studios with banks of mixers, as laptops and powerful software are capable of handling every stage of music production now.
If money is no object, Mac is hands-down the way to go for producers - that's why MacBooks occupy both the first and second spots in our guide. Compared to Windows, Mac hardware is much better, MacBooks are optimised for audio production, and the out-of-the-box software is vastly superior. However, this comes at a cost - Windows laptops are generally far cheaper than MacBooks. If you're on a budget, the best course of action is to think about your hardware needs, do your research on audio optimisation and hunker down with one of the Windows models we've listed above.
The choice between a Mac or PC for a music studio depends on several factors, including your budget, your specific needs, and the software you plan to use. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
Macs are known for their reliability and stability, which is important for music production where the last thing you want is a crash during a recording session or a mix. Macs also have a user-friendly interface that makes it easier for musicians to work efficiently and get their work done quickly.
For years now, Apple has produced some of the best laptops for music production. As the only portable platform for Logic Pro X, the MacBook Pro is synonymous with the craft of music-making. By comparison, those of us using a PC have traditionally been chained to the desktop format, but that has changed considerably in recent years. Dell, Microsoft, Razer, Lenovo and others big tech brands are all muscling in to give Apple a serious run for its money, and some of them have proper music-making clout too.
Regardless of which platform you opt for - Apple or Windows - there are some considerations which remain consistent. When it comes to choosing the best music production laptop for your home studio, you'll want to pay close attention to the power and memory specs of the machine you're eyeing up. While the basic requirements for most DAWs is a multi-core processor, around 4GB of RAM and a few gigabytes of storage, this won't be enough for real-world applications.
We would also recommend considering the 2-in-1 laptop tablet route, as these machines offer some benefits of touch operation (Bitwig's Studio DAW is particularly well designed for this) or standard laptop use - you decide. Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 is still one of the best for combining power, a great design and mobility, although it does cost.
The M2 MacBook Air is beautiful, powerful and just about the best silent laptop you can buy for music production. One final footnote is that several sites have reported that the base model Air M2 (with a 256GB drive) is one to avoid as it suffers from the same speed problem as the M2 MacBook Pro 256GB (because of its chip configuration), so make sure you spec yours up to at least 512GB. Otherwise, we can safely say that, after making music on laptops for more than 20 years, the Air M2 is the music production laptop we've been waiting for.
Think of a gaming laptop, and you probably imagine garish colours, RGB lights all over the shop and enough power under the hood to light up a continent. With the Razer Blade 15 Studio, however, we have a monstrously powerful laptop with its origins in the gaming world, but with its sights very much set on creative pursuits. There are some nice visual touches, from the customisable RGB backlighting on the keys, but otherwise this is a strong, slick studio beast which demands attention.
At the higher end of the gaming PC spectrum - not a bad place for music producers to look when sheer power is required - there are some serious studio contenders. The Asus Rog Strix Scar is evidence of this; with an Intel i7 processor and a base spec of 16 GB of RAM, you know this machine can chew through any audio production task you throw at it.
MSI is one of the more respected names in gaming PCs, so it figures that their flagship mid-range offer features some decent internals. The MSI GF63 is the ideal blend of performance and aesthetics, and would make a superb laptop for anyone using their laptop for live performance or as a portable studio on account of its thin form factor and cooling features.
Performance-wise, it's packing a 2.4 GHz i5 processor, so solid enough to cope with most tasks. We liked the potential for upgrading though; it ships with 8GB of DDR4 RAM installed, but with space to house up to 64GB so the potential for future-proofing your rig is clear. As your live sets or studio sessions grow in size, so too can your laptop.
Asus has struck gold with its new refresh of its ZenBook Flip S 2-in-1 laptop, with the Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370 impressing us so much it's made it's way into our list of the 10 best laptops for music production you can buy right now.
With a new Kaby Lake R 8th-generation processor powering the device, plenty of RAM and a super-fast PCIe SSD in certain models, this is an absolutely stunning addition to our rundown of the best laptops for music production.