The beauty of music production as an industry is how accessible it’s become over the past decade or so. No longer do you need access to a multi million dollar studio facility to create great music, you can do it from the comfort of your own home using some really affordable gear and software.
But there is another thing to consider. With the power that portable computers now hold, you can make music on the go. On a plane, on a train, in a coffee shop. Wherever the inspiration strikes, you can power up your laptop and get creative. This is especially relevant if you’re an electronic music producer who also uses their computer to perform live or DJ. You have to consider which is the best option for you when making your music.
If you’re someone who produces music at home in your home studio and doesn’t tour or DJ, then perhaps an iMac is the best option for you. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to deciding which Mac is best for Logic Pro in 2022, but let’s dive into it and see if we can’t figure it out!
M1 vs Intel Processors
As you’re no doubt aware, Apple now has their own Apple Silicon M1 chips, with their newest range of Macs containing these powerful new processors. While previous models were equipped with Intel chips, Apple seems to have wanted to boost processing power as well as begin making their own processors.
The long story short is; Apple M1 chips are much faster than Intel. If it’s financially viable for you to get a Mac with an M1 chip, do it!
Having said that, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. If you can’t afford one, don’t worry. Older Mac models with Intel processors have anything from Intel Core i5 to i9, which are all well suited to Music Production.
Also, it’s worth noting that some DAWs haven’t introduced an M1 compatible version yet. Ableton Live, Cubase and Adobe Audition are all yet to update to M1 compatible versions. While this doesn’t mean you can’t use them on M1 Macs, you may encounter problems from time to time compared to software that is fully compatible with the M1 chip.
Luckily, Logic Pro is fully compatible, and that’s what we’re going to focus on here.
The Technical Bit
So the first thing to consider is what are the technical specs of Logic Pro?
In terms of Operating System, you’re going to need macOS 11 or later.
You’ll also need 6GB of storage space for the minimum installation, or 72GB of storage space for the full Sound Library installation. So if you’re happy leaving out some of the Apple Loops and samples, this isn’t a huge consideration, but if you’re wanting to take full advantage of all Logic has to offer, you need lots of storage.
You also need to consider the RAM requirements of Logic Pro. Music production software can be very taxing on your computer, and the RAM is one of the first places where these bottlenecks can appear, so it’s crucial to ensure you have lots of RAM available and a solid processor. 16GB is recommended, with 8GB being satisfactory for a hobbyist or beginner.
So, let’s get to comparing some Mac models.
Battle of the MacBooks
Personally, I use a 2015 MacBook Pro. It’s getting on in age, sure, but it still runs great, and most importantly, it has USB ports.
One of the things that Apple are notorious for is arguably alienating their biggest consumer base with their insistence on making everything Apple specific. What do I mean by this?
So I own 2 MacBooks. A 2012 model and a 2015 model. I was annoyed at the time that the 2015 model removed the CD drive, and the line-in port. I used to be able to use things like the smaller Korg synths and plug them straight into the MacBook, recording directly into Logic. And sure, while CDs are largely a thing of the past, the amount of free samples you used to get on CDs with Music Production magazines all of a sudden became obsolete.
Another thing that is annoying, is the removal of USB ports in the newer MacBooks. For a while now, Apple has been reducing the amount of ports in their MacBooks in favour of thunderbolt ports. Which means you’re stuck with using Apple Specific products. Buying dongles galore to plug in all your gear.
So this is something to consider when you’re looking for a MacBook to use for production. If you’re a purely ‘in the box’ producer, meaning if you don’t rely so much on external hardware, then a new M1 MacBook Pro is a good option.
However, if you’re used to using external MIDI gear, or a soundcard to record things, you may want to look at older models, which would be more ergonomic than getting an M1 MacBook and then plugging everything in using dongles.
Another thing to consider is the Pro vs Air question. Can a MacBook Air run Logic Pro?
Technically yes, the minimum spec MacBook Air can run Logic Pro, but with their smaller hard drives they’d fill up quickly. So you can run Logic on a MacBook Air, but should you?
Unless you have to, not really. You’d be much better going for a MacBook Pro.
So, the Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro is by far the best Mac for music production, if you’re concerned about producing on the go. With the powerful M1 chip, and customisable storage (up to 8TB!) you can’t go wrong with this option. The 14 and 16 inch models can even upgrade to the M1 Pro or M1 Max chips for even faster performance.
The 13 inch model only contains two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports however, with the 16 inch model having four. So if external gear is part of your set up, you might want the bigger screen option. Speaking of screen, these MacBooks have incredible Liquid Retina XDR displays, which are fantastic in terms of clarity and resolution.
There are 3 models with different price points.
13 inch - from £1,299
14 inch - from £1,899
16 inch - from £2,399
- Powerful machine with Apple’s M1 processor.
- Upgradeable to M1 Pro or Max on bigger models
- Portable, so perfect for DJs or performers.
- Very high specs
- Up to 8TB of storage
- Liquid Retina XDR display
- Once you’ve purchased it, you can’t upgrade it.
- Similar price point to the more powerful iMac.
So as you can see, the M1 MacBook Pro is a powerhouse of Music Production potential. But let’s look at Apple’s other offerings to consider more options.
Studio Based Option
If portability isn’t too much of a concern for you, then you might want to look at one of Apple’s desktop computers. There are a few options here, so it’s important to do your research.
On the surface here we have these options;
- Mac Mini
So, first on the list is the Mac Mini. This is a great option if you’re on a budget, as it’s the cheapest Mac, with models starting at just £699. It also has an audio in port, which MacBooks lack, so you can plug instruments straight in without an interface.
Another good point about the Mac Mini is that you can upgrade the RAM, easily getting up to 32GB with storage of up to 2TB.
However, the downside to this is you’re only getting the Mac Mini. This means no monitor, no keyboard or mouse. You can use any of these though, so they don’t have to be Apple.
- Budget friendly
- Choose your own display, mouse and keyboard
- Not as powerful as MacBooks or iMacs
- No other hardware
Now let’s look at the iMac. This is easily the best option if you’re running a home studio and you don’t need to be taking your music production gear out with you. Using the M1 chip, the iMacs available now are the most powerful they’ve ever been.
There are two sizes, 24 inch and 27 inch. The 24inch starts at £1,249 while the 27inch starts at £1,799. The 24inch has a brilliant 4.5K display, while the 27inch is up to 5k. It’s worth noting that the M1 chip is only available on the 24inch model. As with all the new Macs, you also have a silent SSD which is super fast and reliable, and this is upgradeable up to 8TB on the 27 inch and 1TB on the 24.
These are a truly powerful pair of computers, and either model is ideal for a home studio.
- Powerful and perfect for home studio
- Amazing displays (4.5K or 5K)
- High specs for professional level production
- Not portable
Apple’s newest line of computers are veritable powerhouses of production potential. The M1 chips make everything smoother, faster and more reliable, and the upgradeable storage means you’ll never run out of space for your projects.
When it comes down to it, there are two categories here. The best option for a portable workstation, and the best option for a static one.
In terms of portability, the M1 MacBook Pro is by far the winner.
If you’re a homebody and your studio doesn’t need to move, the 24 inch iMac with M1 chip is a sure winner.
One last thing to bear in mind; these are only our recommendations here at Logicxx.com. If you really want to geek out of the specs, Apple’s site has a neat feature where you can compare Mac models side by side to see the specs at a glance. It’s important that you do your research to find out which model is best for you.
But we hope this guide helped, and be sure to let us know in the comments which model you’re using for your Logic Pro music production!