Time was music production required hiring a studio for the kind of money that would buy you a house. But time and technology moves fast. During the 1980s, there was a revolution in analogue home-recording kit; then the 1990s saw home computers gradually take over. Today, you can do everything from recording pop songs to mastering movie soundtracks on a Mac. But which Mac? That’s the question we’re here to answer!
Mac vs. PC for music production
Whether you choose a Mac or PC for music production is largely down to the platform you prefer and who you’re collaborating with. There’s little inherent advantage to using Macs, beyond familiarity with the system, and the general robustness of the hardware. There is, however, some software — notably Apple’s own Logic Pro X and its consumer cousin GarageBand — that is Mac-only.
GarageBand is essentially a toy, albeit a powerful one in the right hands. It’s fine for the odd bit of recording and play, but pros favour more flexible software. Logic Pro X remains popular for recording work, as do the cross-platform Cubase, Ableton Live and Pro Tools.
RAM and storage for music making on Macs
Music software is notoriously RAM-hungry. A lack of RAM becomes a serious bottleneck in any pro-level project. You’ll be able to run fewer instruments and fewer effects; you’ll spend more time rendering and less time doing things live. With the majority of Macs no longer allowing you to later upgrade RAM, buy what you can afford during purchase. Consider 16 GB your minimum.