If you create or produce music, you are probably thrilled with the advancements in processing technology and the availability of affordable equipment capable of music production. Apple computers have always been popular among music producers, and that has not changed.
When it comes to MacBooks, you have a couple of choices. Because of its size and portability, many look to the MacBook Air, but is it good enough for music production? The quick answer is, yes, it is good enough, but with a few caveats.
Hi, I’m Eric, and as an engineer, technology enthusiast, and music lover, I have been curious as to the music production capabilities of the MacBook Air, especially the newer M2 models. I looked at the specs and consulted with a few of my audio engineer friends, and I am ready to let you know what I found out.
Read below if you want more details on whether or not the MacBook Air is suitable for music production and why.
The Evolution of Music Production
As mentioned above, the technology for music production has evolved. You no longer need a giant studio full of expensive equipment to create quality music. In fact, most of today’s average laptops have the processing power to do this.
Along with processing power, they can connect to the needed input/output devices, and there are various applications to choose from to create and edit multi-track audio. The great thing about this is that the ability to produce music is available to almost anyone who knows or wants to learn how to do it.
That said, better equipment can make life easier and help produce better-quality music. Using a 10-year-old laptop or the cheapest model you can find might work, but it may not produce the best results, will take much more time, and is very frustrating.
If you are looking at serious music production, consider the equipment you use, especially your computer, and choose the best you can afford. It will make a difference in the long run.
Limitations of the MacBook Air
As mentioned above, the MacBook Air can be used for music production. Older MacBook Airs with Intel chips may have difficulties, but newer M1 and M2 versions have much more processing power and will do much better.
Although the M1 and M2 perform much better and will work very well for basic music production, you may still have issues if you are working with many tracks, complicated effects, and some plug-ins that require intense processing.
Music production requires multiple processors that can run intense mathematical operations. To run them efficiently, they also often need to be run in parallel, meaning at the same time. Without parallel operation and quick calculations, you might be doing a lot of waiting around, or your apps may even crash.
The M1 and M2 chips are pretty well equipped for this type of processing, but the MacBook Air’s other components may create a bottleneck which can also slow things down. Working along with the system’s processors, you need to have a large amount of memory and disk space.
If you don’t have that high memory and disk space capacity, you will see the bottlenecks I mentioned above. The MacBook Air tends to be on the lower end when it comes to both, but the new M2 has made significant leaps forward and can have up to 24 GB of memory and 2 TB of disk space, which should be pretty adequate for many situations.
One of the most significant limitations of the MacBook Air is that once you buy it, you are stuck with what you have. There is no easy way to upgrade the processor, memory, or SSD.
So if you are going to purchase a new MacBook Air for your Music production, I would definitely suggest getting the latest model with the most CPUs, memory, and drive space.
If you are considering a MacBook Air for music production, it can bring up many questions. Below are some that are frequently asked.
Who should use the MacBook Air for Music Production?
Anyone can use the MacBook Air for Music Production, but I recommend it for beginning to intermediate levels. If you’re an advanced professional producer, you probably want a higher-end system such as a MacBook Pro. Even if you are a beginner and plan to grow your production capabilities, you’ll want to consider a system that can grow with you.
Who should not use the MacBook Air for Music Production?
Suppose you are an advanced professional producer and produce music with complicated effects and many tracks. In that case, you may want a more powerful system so that you can be efficient in your work. That said, having a MacBook Air as a secondary system that can travel with you is not a bad idea, and since the MacBook Air is so portable, it may be a great benefit.
Are there better options?
Yes, there are because you can find computers that are more powerful than the MacBook Air. If you want to stick with Apple, the MacBook Pro, especially the high-end ones, is a great option. You will still have the issue of not being able to upgrade your system when needed. If you want something more easily upgraded, consider looking at Windows PCs as another option.
The MacBook Air is suitable for music production but is not the greatest choice. The M1 and M2 MacBook Airs can run music production software, but you’ll want to ensure you have the top-of-the-line MacBook Air with the most memory and disk space possible.
You may see some slowdowns while producing music with the MacBook Air if you create large multi-track audio with many effects. If you want professional music production, consider getting the MacBook Pro which will give you more power.
I hope the information above can help you to determine if the MacBook Air is suitable for you. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.