What's the best Mac deal for DAW?

Kapo_Polenton

Well-known member
I was looking at the Mac mini and noticed it checks off quite a few boxes. Looks also like the older ones would do more than I would ever need. ( in terms of concurrent plugins and load) Has anyone gone used/refurbished 2014 or 2011 and been happy or had issues? My wife has a new imac but I can't see her letting me set up monitors around it and studio gear so it got me thinking about the Mac mini or older versions. Discuss! I'm on a gaming laptop right now with external drive.
 

itsgoodnow

Well-known member
My advice is if you get an older one, pop it open and max out the ram. It is cheap to do and will help with running concurrent instances of plugins and tracks to reduce bottle necking. It also depends on what plug-ins and vsts you are running. If you want to run a lot of virtual instruments I would buy a new M1 mac. If you are just tracking and using some plugins (and not using external satellites with dsp to power them), just grab the newest you can and max the ram.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Geo

Kapo_Polenton

Well-known member
Yeah, re-reading my post I don't think I'd go any older than 2014 but the deals can be had on these units when you don't go latest generation. I am thinking of over sampling a few plugins and ha e one virtual instrument or two ( drums and keys) but even that, I am splitting drums out to individual audio and then treating each track separately.
 

trey85stang

Active member
I just retired a 2011 Mac mini server it just couldn’t hang anymore cpu wise with modern plugins. I went M1 imac hoping to get 10 years out of this one. I personally would not go with a 2011 or 2014 model Mac mini unless you are just running a bare minimum daw without any major plugins
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
You should bear in mind that Apple won't provide official OS support for your Mac once it's 7 years old. It may, but that's the timeframe it has guaranteed AFAIK.

So, unless you want to futz around with overcoming incompatibilities or tricking your old hardware to work on any of the newer OS's, I'd suggest going as new as you can.

IMHO it makes sense to go for any of the Apple Silicon models from this point on. The leap from the previous gen in performance and battery longevity is the greatest Apple has ever taken AFAIK.
 

Kapo_Polenton

Well-known member
You should bear in mind that Apple won't provide official OS support for your Mac once it's 7 years old. It may, but that's the timeframe it has guaranteed AFAIK.

So, unless you want to futz around with overcoming incompatibilities or tricking your old hardware to work on any of the newer OS's, I'd suggest going as new as you can.

IMHO it makes sense to go for any of the Apple Silicon models from this point on. The leap from the previous gen in performance and battery longevity is the greatest Apple has ever taken AFAIK.

That's a good point. Had forgotten that part and what my wife went through when she was trying to keep her apple lap top alive and it was over 10 years. My only question is, do you guys work between Mac and pc much? I'd love to be able to track drums through vst on my ekit on my windows machine and then dump the file to Mac. However, you have to set up external storage to be compatible with one or the other so what is the workaround? Midi file to the cloud and then download it? I suppose that isn't that big of a deal.
 

Greazygeo

Well-known member
You can run Windows on a Mac...Im running a 09 Mac Pro with Logic Pro X. If I upgrade, will probably get a Macmini...currently having an email crashing issue and Support has been helping me, they need alittle prodding though.
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
The simplest solution IMHO would be to save the drum tracks as a MIDI file, format a USB stick to FAT32 and use that to transfer between the two 'puters.

Running a Windows partition just for this would be overkill IMHO.
 

reilly

Member
I just retired my 2012 MacBook Pro and replaced it with the New 16in M1 Max MacBook Pro, and it is pretty amazing, I know the new one coasts a lot of money but the performance is unreal. you could max out a M1 Mac mini and it will probable work for most users. Personally I would stick with the new M1 option , I haven't run into much issues with my plugins and so far things seem to be working smooth. I think we will see an updated iMac and Mac Pro (rumors of a mini Mac pro) early 2022
 

skoora

Well-known member
A few years ago I got a used MBP from one of the refurb sellers on ebay and it’s been great. Was able to order it with the size SSD’s and RAM I wanted and getting one that still had a DVD drive allowed me to put a second SSD in it’s place so I can have my audio files right there in the same machine. Only bummer is, thanks to Apples forced obsolescence, I can’t update Logic anymore due to OS upgrade limitations. But for how hobbyist my recording has become it’s not a big deal.
 

Spaceboy

Well-known member
Mac Mini M1 with even the basic 8GB RAM blows the performance of older Intel Macs with maxed RAM out of the water. The base level M1 is like 800 or something.
 

PBGas

Well-known member
At this point in time, I'd get one of the new M1 versions. I have a 2018 mac mini with 32meg and 6 core i7. It runs great and no issues but I tried my wife's new macbook pro with the M1 and it runs much more efficient with my DAW setup. For all round general use , it runs so much better with the newer OS, which would be obvious. No rush to make the change yet though.
 

mooncobra

Well-known member
Strange, was thinking people were going back to PC/win.


I actually did that because of the speed and power you can get for so much less.

I also know a guy that builds insane Hackintosh’s for a fraction of the price of a real Mac. My friend spec’d out a Mac and it came to about 9k. This guy built him one for $1500 that is the fastest most powerful computer I have ever seen. I might go that route next time around.
 

Luca79

Active member
I actually did that because of the speed and power you can get for so much less.

I also know a guy that builds insane Hackintosh’s for a fraction of the price of a real Mac. My friend spec’d out a Mac and it came to about 9k. This guy built him one for $1500 that is the fastest most powerful computer I have ever seen. I might go that route next time around.

Hackintosh aren't easy to maintain if want get updates. Otherwise is not so difficult to install OSX on other machines.

But isn't easy to use Win10? People prefer Mac for Logic?
 

nigelpkay

Active member
I’m in the same boat, I currently use a 2014 16” MacBook Pro (actually traded a Charvel I wasn’t bonding with for it here in this forum :LOL:) and it’s been my main everyday and recording device this whole time. While it’s still running strong, I’m way behind on software updates because I don’t want to break any plugins until I finish an album I’ve been working on for the last few years.

Almost bought the last 16” Intel MacBook Pro update a few years ago but glad I held off. When I’m done my project, I’m going to get a 14” M1 MacBook Pro. I’ve been using an Apogee Duet 2 interface which has been great, but I will probably upgrade to the Duet 3 at the same time.
 

VESmedic

Well-known member
Just bought a new iMac with the M1, 16gb. Phenomenal machine. It’s ridiculous how quick it is and never gets bogged down. I can record any amount of tracks I want at 96k ( if I feel the need) with a buffer set at 32, and it never even hiccups, no matter how many tracks or plugins ( Atleast with what I’ve used). Really great, super happy with it. I think it was about 2k out the door? Which, yes, the Mac mini is much cheaper for the same processing power, but to get a screen similar to what comes in the iMacs would cost you bare minimum 5-700 dollars. I’ve never had a killer computer until this thing, and the screen and resolution is worth the price alone to me, so that’s why I went with it.
 

LPMojoGL

Well-known member
Timely thread.
I'm using a 2010 MBPro that I bought new. It's starting to show it's age. I'll be looking at a new option soon.
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
I've been sitting on my 2012 Mac Pro and 2011 MBP for 9 and 10 years respectively.

Obviously I fell behind on OS updates years ago.

Been saving and waiting for a replacement for the tower since about 2016. When the 2019 tower came out I was shocked by the price (who wasn't) - $10 000 AU for the baseline model and that was before you even added any RAM or upgraded the 8-core Intel chip.

Now, touch wood, having had the "opportunity" to continue on the savings path and with the new machine, (Q2 next year I'm bettin'), being uber-powerful and at a reasonable price (at the very least not in the realm of the 2019 Intel model), I should be able to replace both the lappy and the tower in one hit.

That was always the goal 'cause my home stereo is the lappy running iTunes and transfer between the two machines has to be seamless, which of course it wouldn't be if the tower was Apple Silicon (Music app) and the lappy an 11-year-old (by then) Intel (iTunes app). Sure, Music will read iTunes libraries, but not the other way around, and migration for me is generally from the tower to the lappy.

Anyone who needs a tower / desktop unit, I implore you to hold out if possible for the AS model/s, which if Apple remains on-target with the prediction made in (May?) 2020, should start to drop during Q2 2022. I predict that they'll not only be by far the most-powerful computers Apple's ever made, but that peeps are going to be blown away by them, and not just Apple geeks.
 
Top