Music production

M1 Max MacBook Pro ‘an absolute beast’ for music production [Setups]

Here has cult of mac Setups Central, we’ve taken a pretty close look at a few audio-centric workstations used by sound designers, video mavens, and mainstream music fans. The setup shown today, with a bloated 16-inch MacBook M1 Max at its heart, belongs to a Canadian sound engineer named James.

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Sound engineer James aka Redditor AkhlysShallRise touts his killer laptop in an article titled “My M1 Max setup as a full-time sound engineer! Any sound engineer/music producer here?”

M1 Max MacBook Pro for music production

When another Redditor into music production raved about the Liquid Retina XDR displays on MacBook Pro models, James was quick to agree, and more.

“The screen is absolutely phenomenal on my MBP. I also do photography and video, and the fact that the screen supports HDR, a variety of color gamuts and is factory calibrated, is EXTREMELY helpful,” he said.

And that’s only for the visuals. As a sound engineer, James also had a lot to say about computing power.

“On the music production front, the M1 Max is a [absolute] beast. My mixing projects are often gigantic and the computer handles them like a champ, despite most plugins running through Rosetta. Fans never come either,” he said.

James also mentioned that their mixing sessions aren’t RAM hogs. He could get by with 8GB (although his MBP contains a beastly 64GB). The most RAM intensive task would be to use sample libraries.

M1 Max test video

James added that he “actually made a video doing extensive testing of the M1 Max in a music production context.” See below. It’s long and in-depth. If you’re considering using an M1 Max MBP for music production, this should help.

After watching the video, the other Redditor said, “I knew the performance of these chips was good, but I didn’t know they were SO good. Good video!”

To that, James simply said that he “can’t wait for all the plugins to be M1 native. That would be crazy, haha!

He also wrote a Thoughtful article on his move from Windows to Apple Silicon for music production.

BenQ monitor and Adam Audio speakers

In addition to the powerful laptop, James uses a BenQ 2780 series FreeSync IPS monitor. Another reviewer, thinking of getting the same, asked him how he liked it.

“I quite like that!” he said. “Although I wouldn’t use it for color grading because it’s not calibrated; I do all my color grading on my MBP’s screen. I didn’t like the HDR mode either. I thought the colors looked pretty choppy in HDR mode on this monitor. For general use and entertainment, the BenQ monitor is great!

For in-room sound, James relies primarily on the Adam A5X powered studio monitors, an impressively outfitted $500 set.

In this view you can better see the Schecter electric guitar and speakers.

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