A technical support community for Apple Logic Pro users.

 
soyuz
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Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:54 am

Hello everyone,

As this is my first ever topic on this forum, I'll briefly introduce myself: I am a French amateur musician currently working abroad, and I've been thinking about getting a Macbook Pro for a while so I can use Logic Pro X. I tried a bunch of DAWs before (FL Studio, Ableton Live, ProTools, Cakewalk, GarageBand for iPhone), and after using Logic Pro X 10.5 on my girlfriend's 2012 Macbook Air, I figured it was what suited me best.

Problem is, I never owned an Apple computer before, so I don't know which one is the best for my musical needs. Portability is very much an issue, since I move around quite a bit because of work. And from what I read on most forums and seen from my girlfriend's outdated Macbook Air, Logic Pro X works way better on a Macbook Pro. So I plan on buying a secondhand/refurbished MBP, mainly because of environmental reasons, but also because of the price. As I live in the EU, Apple devices are usually 20% more expensive than in the US, so the most recent MBPs with 32 GB RAM are way over my budget.

I mostly plan to use Logic Pro to record voices and instruments (keyboards, guitar, bass, flute...) through a sound interface, but I don't exclude using MIDI controllers with the sound library. I don't plan on using lots of heavy plugins for now, as I still have a lot to learn about Logic. So far, the sound library (including effects and virtual instruments) mostly cover my needs. I already worked with my girlfriend on pop/neo soul compositions and covers with around 15 different parts (mostly voices), and I would like to record a few jazz fusion songs using my own instruments as well as Logic synths and drums. I am not going to compose a 2-hour movie soundtrack anytime soon, nor wil I try (and fail) to become the new Jacob Collier.

What do you think would be a decent MBP in my case? What would be the recommended RAM and CPU specs? Thanks to triplets' very useful replies on many topics, I already have a general idea on where to look, but I am still lost given my inexperience with Apple computers. I've had an eye on mid-2015 15" MBPs so far, especially an i7 2.8 with a 256 GB SSD, but I still can't decide which is best. Thank you in advance for your help!
 
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triplets
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:06 pm

Hello soyuz!

Have you looked at the new M1 Macbook Air? All the tests so far say it's amazingly powerful, considering it has no fan!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmMOJTs7Pu8

Go to 13:50 on the video to see how Logic fares.

Besides that, what is your budget? That will help decide your best option.
Logic Pro 9 Master Pro and X certified
ProTools 10 & 11 Certified Operator
2 x 3.06 Intel Six-Core 24 GB RAM, Logic 10.5.1, 10.14.6., UA Apollo
2012 i7 MBP 8 GB Logic 10.6.1, 10.15.7
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soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:23 pm

Hi triplets!

I hadn't considered it, but it looks amazing! Even the 8 Core GPU could tightly fit in my budget, at €1,399 (around USD1,668 currently). Do you think 13" is good enough for Logic Pro?

Meanwhile, if you have other models in mind, I would like to stay under this price point since I have another big musical investment coming in a few months (looking at you, Nord Stage 3), but then again, I am mostly looking at refurb MBP.

To give you a better idea of the offer for my budget, here is what a search on a French refurb website looks like with my criteria (you have to scroll down a bit until you reach "Tous les produits") : https://www.backmarket.fr/macbook-pro-r ... 016%2C9%22
 
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triplets
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:57 pm

That's the dilemma right now.
Anything that has an Intel chip that costs 1400 Euro, cannot keep up with the new M1 laptops.
Even the Macbook Air is very powerful.

Other things to consider: how many peripherals connected to the laptop are you gonna be using?
Because the new laptops have only 2 USB 4/Thunderbolt 3 ports, you have to get a Dock to connect all the things you want to use at the same time.

Also, do you need a laptop? Or can you go Mac Mini with a monitor of your choice?
Logic Pro 9 Master Pro and X certified
ProTools 10 & 11 Certified Operator
2 x 3.06 Intel Six-Core 24 GB RAM, Logic 10.5.1, 10.14.6., UA Apollo
2012 i7 MBP 8 GB Logic 10.6.1, 10.15.7
Contact me for Logic help (Teamviewer, Zoom, Skype)
http://www.ultimatestudiosinc.com
 
soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 12:48 am

Good news: I can maybe consider getting a M1 Macbook Pro if I buy it in France. Since I live abroad, I can apply for a VAT refund, which would lower the 512 GB version from €1,699 to around €1,350. It would nicely fit my budget! But I gather it only comes with 2 USB4/Thunderbolt 3 ports too.

I'll have my USB audio interface (a Scarlett 2i2) + one USB MIDI controller (a Roland stage keyboard) at the same time. Mayyyybe I'll need a third port for connecting my iPhone from time to time, but I don't really need a lot of peripherals connected at the same time. If I can save up on VAT, maybe I can get a decent dock if I ever need it in the future. But for now, I don't plan on getting lots of new hardware.

I do need a laptop, since I still have to move around a lot for a few years because of work. Plus, I would have to get a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse, which would not be very convenient in my situation.
 
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Ploki
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:15 am

+1 what triplets said

btw it has two ports and one is already used for charging - so connecting two things is a no-no without a hub.
for what you use, any odd 40€ dock would work tho, no need to buy expensive Thunderbolt dock. and most have charge-through ports.

i.e. something like this:
https://satechi.net/products/slim-alumi ... 4200812632

or a no-name clone of it.
<desktop pending> | 13" M1 Pro | Big Sur 11.1 | Logic 10.6.1
RME FireFace 800 / UFX+ | ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 | ROLI Blocks | nOb Control | StreamDeck
 
soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:30 am

Then I think I might either go with the M1 MBP or MBA, and throw in a dock! I don't mind using one at all, especially if I make music from home.

Besides the small number of ports, are there any issues I should be aware of as a musician/future Logic Pro user and in general?
 
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David Nahmani
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:42 am

I do a lot of my work on a 13" MacBook Air, it's surprisingly a good machine and you learn to handle a 13" screen. The surprising bit is that I always dreamt about using a larger screen and yet when I use the 27" iMac I find myself moving my head/eyes around a lot more whereas I have now become used to having everything right in front of me in a small package. It gets a bit annoying when you have to start opening multiple plug-ins, or assign Smart Controls, tasks like that, but everyday editing/arranging/mixing tasks the 13" screen does a good job.

I would definitely recommend one of the new M1 machines. Incredible bang for the buck.
David Nahmani
• My Logic Pro X 10.5 book (Apple Pro Training Series)
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Ploki
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:47 am

I use a 21.5" display in the studio (like iMac 21") with an additional 9.7" display on top (like iPad display)

I generally get lost on larger screens, or the two large screen combos.
The 9.7" i used with my laptop before the fixed studio setup (gen 1 of this: https://www.packedpixels.com )

the 2nd one is just for the odd meter/plugin window, stuff like that. :) sometimes mixer.

i don't think there's any real drawbacks to the M1 machine, aside some odd thing that might not work yet
<desktop pending> | 13" M1 Pro | Big Sur 11.1 | Logic 10.6.1
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Musician-X1
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:18 am

triplets wrote:
That's the dilemma right now.
Anything that has an Intel chip that costs 1400 Euro, cannot keep up with the new M1 laptops.
Even the Macbook Air is very powerful.

Other things to consider: how many peripherals connected to the laptop are you gonna be using?
Because the new laptops have only 2 USB 4/Thunderbolt 3 ports, you have to get a Dock to connect all the things you want to use at the same time.

Also, do you need a laptop? Or can you go Mac Mini with a monitor of your choice?



Two ports are seriously frustrating. That’s enough for me not to upgrade to any M1 model but hopefully we’ll see four in a year or so from now.
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
Processor 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
32GB Ram
Persons studio 1810c audio interface
 
soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 9:20 am

Musician-X1 wrote:
Two ports are seriously frustrating. That’s enough for me not to upgrade to any M1 model but hopefully we’ll see four in a year or so from now.


How many ports do you usually need, and what for? What would be the main drawbacks of using a dock?
 
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Ploki
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:09 am

me:
port 1 - dock CalDigit TS3+ (with through port - on the through port thunderbolt audio interface)
port 2 - thunderbolt 3 drive
port 3 - usb-c display (won't work via usb-c ports on the dock)
port 4 - usb-c > mini DP adapter for 2nd display (won't work via display port on the dock)

so i need at least 3 unless i completely reconfigure screen setup, and 4 if i want to keep current screen setup.
<desktop pending> | 13" M1 Pro | Big Sur 11.1 | Logic 10.6.1
RME FireFace 800 / UFX+ | ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 | ROLI Blocks | nOb Control | StreamDeck
 
Musician-X1
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:20 am

How many ports do you usually need, and what for? What would be the main drawbacks of using a dock?


For me I typically use a midi keyboard. External ssd, audio interface and the last is used for an external monitor. The MBP 16 seems to have problems with external displays so I use the last port for charging, when I don’t need to charge it’s occupied by some sort of drum pad controller. I purchased a dock from owc which was great but it seems as it doesn’t supply enough power.
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
Processor 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
32GB Ram
Persons studio 1810c audio interface
 
soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:59 am

Thank you all for your answers! I think I will still go with the M1 MBP or MBA and get a decent dock. I just have one more question: should I get 8 or 16GB considering my needs?

Edit: also, if I have to choose between a M1 MBP with 8GB and a M1 MBA with 16GB, which one would be best?
 
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Ashermusic
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:43 am

First thing I find that people do not ask themselves that they should is “do I really need the portability a laptop gives me?” Instead they buy a laptop because their friends have laptops.

You are going to pay more for less power and/or screen real estate. That’s a fact. For those who absolutely need the portability ( I don’t, because I have an iPad and an iPhone for most portable tasks and I am not composing music on the road) then go for it.
Mac mini 3.2 Six Core i7 w/ OSX 10.14

Composer, Logic Pro X Certified Trainer
Author of "Jumpstart Logic Pro X 10.5", "Going Pro with Logic Pro 9" & "Scoring with Logic Pro"
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soyuz
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:45 am

Ashermusic wrote:
First thing I find that people do not ask themselves that they should is “do I really need the portability a laptop gives me?” Instead they buy a laptop because their friends have laptops.

You are going to pay more for less power and/or screen real estate. That’s a fact. For those who absolutely need the portability ( I don’t, because I have an iPad and an iPhone for most portable tasks and I am not composing music on the road) then go for it.


I would need portability for at least a year. As I mentioned earlier, I still move around a lot because of work.

I could get a Mac mini, but I would still have to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Transportation options are not so good where I work, so there's good chance the monitor would get absolutely smashed on the flight back to France...

But let's say I can get a Mac mini. Which one would be best? Are there noticeable differences with the M1 Macbooks in terms of performance? They seem to have similar Geekbench scores : https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-compa ... niIntel030
 
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David Nahmani
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:55 am

I see Jay's point, however I personally enjoy my MacBook even though I use it mostly as a desktop machine and don't travel anymore (who does nowadays). I do enjoy that I can take it to any room in the house, in the kitchen to read a recipe, in the bedroom to watch a movie, give it to the kids so they can watch a movie in their bedroom etc.

But in any case what you do with your computer is rather personal so think of how you're going to use it.
David Nahmani
• My Logic Pro X 10.5 book (Apple Pro Training Series)
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iMac 3.2 GHz Quad Core i5 — MacOS X 10.15.4 — 8 GB RAM
 
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Ashermusic
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:50 am

David Nahmani wrote:
I see Jay's point, however I personally enjoy my MacBook even though I use it mostly as a desktop machine and don't travel anymore (who does nowadays). I do enjoy that I can take it to any room in the house, in the kitchen to read a recipe, in the bedroom to watch a movie, give it to the kids so they can watch a movie in their bedroom etc.

But in any case what you do with your computer is rather personal so think of how you're going to use it.


I prefer to have a desktop ”work computer “ and then use a laptop or iPad for that stuff but I am not the computer police.
Mac mini 3.2 Six Core i7 w/ OSX 10.14

Composer, Logic Pro X Certified Trainer
Author of "Jumpstart Logic Pro X 10.5", "Going Pro with Logic Pro 9" & "Scoring with Logic Pro"
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David Nahmani
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:29 am

Ashermusic wrote:
I prefer to have a desktop ”work computer “ and then use a laptop or iPad for that stuff but I am not the computer police.

Honestly that is, indeed, the best of both worlds, if you can afford it. Lately I've been living on only one laptop, and a desktop iMac that I use when I have to. But ideally and if I had to travel as much as I used to, then I would have both an iMac in the studio, plus a laptop to move around.
David Nahmani
• My Logic Pro X 10.5 book (Apple Pro Training Series)
Contact me for Private Lessons
Logic Pro X 10.6.1
MacBook Air 1.3 GHz i5 — MacOS X 11.0.1 — 4 GB RAM
iMac 3.2 GHz Quad Core i5 — MacOS X 10.15.4 — 8 GB RAM
 
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kingminotaur
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Re: Unsure about choosing my first MBP for Logic Pro X

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:23 pm

I benchmarked an hex core i7-8770K 3.7 with video benchmarks ( not sure if exactly parallel) and it's only about 25% faster than the cheap new m1 MBP. If you can wait for the next larger MBP release it might be quite bit faster and have more resale value in 3-5 years .