I was thinking of buying an Intel based Mac for Thanksgiving then I saw this offering at a local retailer. Prices in USD.
The prices appear lower than the Intel based macs and the processors seem to be more powerful.
Does anyone have any experience using the new Apple processors for music production?
Pretty curious about this myself, though I’d probably pass on at least the first generation. There are some obvious problems:
- Although live code translation has come a long way, it will likely never match optimized native code, and it’s probably going to take a while until there are native versions of DAWs and plugins for these machines.
- While the singlethreaded benchmark results are massively impressive, multithreaded performance is worryingly far behind - and multithreaded performance is REALLY important for virtual orchestration and the like.
- We’re still (AFAIK) talking about synthetic benchmarks, and we won’t know for sure how these machines perform with actual applications until we can actually benchmark those.
There are also some potentially critical issues I’d definitely research before considering these machines:
- Is it possible to mix native and translated hosts and libraries/plugins? If not possible, you’ll have to resort to running al x86 hosts and plugins, until everything you need is available for ARM.
- Will your DAW(s) and plugins work reliably with the new OS?
Basically, switching to a different architecture is, in some ways, a bigger change than switching to an entirely different OS, so there are a lot of things that can go wrong, and to make matters worse, DAWs are extremely sensitive to performance aspects that aren’t even visible in the vast majority of software.
I definitely wouldn’t use the new line-up for anything audio related for quite some time whilst they work out many of the things David has mentioned.
There is also a limitation of the M1 chips that only allows a maximum of 16GB of RAM to be accessed. Just to compare, on the older Intel Mac Mini you can have 64GB.
All great reasons to be hesitant. I’ve seen one so far which may be an issue too. The new chip only works up to 16gb RAM at the moment… so I’m not sure this next batch will be up to spec for music creation.
I think for most people 16GB is more than enough to make modern music – but not orchestral. (But it really depends on the case…) Although I have to say that for many years as a student I have worked with 8GBs only, and I still put bigger productions out there. But it was a lot of printing, going back and forth. Not a lot of fun. If you have more room to play with, you enjoy the time much more.
I don’t think that many professionals will switch to new machines in the near future. I think just having a Mac that’s the new solution (students, blogs, etc.), but for professionals, especially studio-type of work it’s not what you actually want now.
Then there is always the compatibility issue with all the DAW & software that all of us hate if it doesn’t work as it should. I would say that from now on it’s maybe 3-5 years where some of us could really think about those new machines.
One of my friends said that he doesn’t support that Apple is doing its own chips due to “monopoly” etc. But I guess that for the customers it will always be better if you have a device that was built “intern”, and not put together by 3 other companies. And as prices show, Apple could even get a little cheaper which a lot of people are still discussing that Apple is too expensive compared to other companies.
I have 16gb for orchestral stuff. It works for me that’s not a pro. But I have to start rendering tracks when I get above about 50.
I’m in the position of having 8… if I had more cores it wouldn’t be much of a problem… but before I can even print the computer often starts lagging. It’s a nightmare.
Which mac do you or anyone here recommend if I prefer not to rely on external hard drives too much since this will be a portable set up for me. I was told this one is good for me and enough for an orchestral load of music?
- 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
- Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
Time is money the going back and forth can delay projects maybe or stress you out at least for me
I seen a video today that tried the new Mac mini with Logic. They did a bench test using 150 instances of ESX piano with 5 plugins on each, and all tracks were playing the same 3 voice homophonic voiced chord,
To my shock, it maxed out (first overload came) at 130 tracks. This is to me incredible for a base model…
Something to consider in the light of the last week though is nothing is working outside of the IOS matrix at the moment… so we are most definitely in a beta phase right now. I think when the iMac version with the M1 comes out it might be the one that all composers go for… especially if it has a minimum of 32gb of RAM as the scaling on that model would be far more, and plenty for even composers using intensive sample libraries. I am going to presume that with the current stats anything over that could actually turn out to be headroom.
Im actually thinking as I type right now but it’s notable to add that this type of power will have a sceling though… and I expect that this sceling will be seen in the thunderbolt inputs as they’ll be sharing bandwidth… this means that for external storage Apple will need to think about making each thunderbolt insert independent, possibly allocating two ram ports to sustain this as our file sizes get bigger. This will definitely reach a ceiling in video formats before Audio, but it’s definitely something to consider as this will most definitely be an investment purchase.
At this moment, my biggest bottle neck on my current iMac is 32Gb of RAM which I maxed out (can’t upgrade more). So having 16Gb max is a big NO NO for me.
I would want a minimum of 64Gb. Unless Kontakt and other sample library engines updates with some incredible disc streaming abilities (not loading the samples in to RAM).
After seeing benchmarks and a few different performance videos I am very confident that for this next release of macs, RAM isn’t going to be the bottleneck that we have to look to. I expect it will be external memory… so you may. Not be looking off RAM if it continues to get better… you could be just looking for more cores and a bigger SSD.
But right now, all sample libraries at least in Kontakt loads into RAM. So one high end string library might take 1Gb RAM per instrument in some cases!
I mean, I heard people needing around 128GB RAM to load a full project template. That is what I want!
Yeah of course it it’s not going to matter because these macs are optimising the CPU and the RAM SPEED. So you’ll have more cores processing multiple threads faster than ever. So as o say, this won’t be the problem you think.
What do you mean, will libraries no longer load all samples into RAM like they do now?
EDIT: Would not that require all devs to update their software for apple silicon optimization first? Native Instrument and all others.
Oh yes they’ll still need RAM, essentially RAM doesnt load the actual sample, if loads a code of 1s and 0s. This compresses the information and recalls what it needs from the file via the ram, and the RAM is the consulate. The more efficient the CPU is the less the RAM has to work, in this instance anyways.
I hope you are right on this, but I still think the devs need to optimize their plugins and sample engines
If this is true, I guess I don’t need a massive 128GB of RAM which would save me a lot of money too!
But I hoping for a new iMac with new design and more cores.
Pf course they need to update pluggins, they don’t work at all with the M1 chip yet
I think that’s the way it’s going bud it just depends when this beast is released. If I have to wait I’ll be buying a 2018 iMac 27”with 10 cores and 8gb of ram. And a separate RAM upgrade of 128gb from Amazon for £450 as it’s so much cheaper to do it that way. This is the best option for us composers right now for the money.