M1 Max MacBook Pro 'an absolute beast' for music production [Setups] | Cult of Mac

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

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The audio engineer who uses this setup calls their 16-inch M1 Max MacBook
The audio engineer who uses this setup calls their 16-inch M1 Max MacBook "an absolute beast" on the music production front.
Photo: AkhlysShallRise@Reddit.com

Here at Cult of Mac Setups Central, we’ve looked fairly closely at quite a few audio-centric workstations used by the likes of sound designers, video mavens and plain ol’ music fans. Today’s featured setup, with a souped-up 16-inch M1 Max MacBook at its core, belongs to an out-and-out audio engineer from Canada named James.

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Audio engineer James, aka Redditor AkhlysShallRise, touts his killer laptop in a post entitled, “My M1 Max setup as a full-time audio engineer! Any audio engineer/music producer here?”

M1 Max MacBook Pro for music production

When another Redditor who dabbles in music production raved about MacBook Pro models’ Liquid Retina XDR displays, James was quick to agree, and then some.

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

And that just concerns the visuals. As an audio engineer, James had a lot to say about the computing power, too.

“On the music production front, the M1 Max is an [absolute] beast. My mixing projects are often ginormous, and the computer handles them like a champ, despite most of the plugins running via Rosetta. The fans never come on, too,” he said.

James also mentioned that their mixing sessions are not RAM hogs. He could get by on 8GB (though his MBP packs a beastly 64GB). The more RAM-intensive task would be using sample libraries.

Video of M1 Max tests

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

Having watched the video, the other Redditor said, “I knew the performance on these chips were good, but I didn’t know they were THAT good. Great video!”

To that, James simply said he “can’t wait till all the plugins are M1 native. It would be bonkers, haha!”

He also wrote a thoughtful post about his switch from Windows to Apple Silicon for music production.

BenQ monitor and Adam Audio speakers

Along with the powerful laptop, James runs a BenQ 2780-series FreeSync IPS monitor. Another commenter, thinking about getting the same one, asked him how he liked it.

“I quite like it!” he said. “Though I wouldn’t use it for color grading as it isn’t calibrated; I do all my color grading on my MBP’s display. I didn’t like the HDR mode either. I thought the colors look quite wonky in HDR mode on that monitor. For general and entertainment usage, the BenQ display is awesome!”

For in-room sound, James relies mainly on Adam A5X Powered Studio Monitors, an impressively equipped $500 set.

In this view you can see the Schecter electric guitar and the speakers.
In this view you can see the Schecter electric guitar and the speakers better.
Photo: AkhlysShallRise@Reddit.com

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.