BecomeSingers is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
Do you perhaps own a Macbook Air and wonder if it’s a powerful enough tool to use with music production? Or maybe you’re considering buying a new one but are unsure if it can support the substantial amount of plugins and software needed to create music. We’re here to give you all the right answers.
The Macbook Air is Apple’s most popular laptop, known for its portability and beautiful, slim design. And with the M2 chip that Apple introduced this year in their new, redesigned Macbook Air that promises a faster CPU and a more powerful GPU than the M1 chip, could it still handle the processing power and the large storage demand that music production requires?
We all know that a music producer needs a powerful laptop that can handle the high CPU power consumed by VSTs, plugins, and audio files.
So let’s see if the Macbook Air has what it takes to turn your demos into radio-ready hits.
Is MacBook Air Good for Music Production?
The answer is yes and no. Even though the Macbook Pro is a better choice for music production due to its availability in higher RAM, bigger storage space, and faster processing, the Macbook Air is still a good choice if you’re a bedroom producer or a musician who likes to make music on the go.
However, there are better choices than the Macbook Air for music production if you own a professional recording studio and frequently work on huge projects and intricate productions that require a lot of CPU power and RAM to function properly. The bigger the project, the more plugins, tracks, audio samples, VSTs, etc., you will end up using. And since the Macbook Air has limited features, you’ll face lagging and audio delay issues, making your production experience a bit frustrating.
The most crucial thing you can do if you’re thinking about purchasing a new Macbook Air is to avoid choosing the base model, which has just 8 GB of memory and 512 GB of SSD storage. Instead, go for the 16 GB memory model with at least 1TB of SSD storage if you want a smoother workflow and space for your audio samples and plugins.
Also Check out the List of Essential Home Recording Studio Equipment
Why use a MacBook Air for Music Production?
If you have your eyes set on a new Macbook Air and planning to use it to create music, it’s still a good option as long as you’re aware of the possible complications you might encounter if you take your projects to a larger scale.
However, suppose you’re an intermediate music producer or a professional producer planning to sketch your ideas before you transfer them to a more advanced computer to mix and master them. In that case, the Macbook Air should be more than enough for you, and let us explain why.
Every music producer, mixing engineer, or anyone who regularly uses their computer for intense creative work knows that there are the minimum recommended requirements to opt for when purchasing a new laptop to ensure that your DAW, VSTs, plugins, samples, etc., work smoothly without causing problems. They include:
- 8-core (or plus) CPU with a 3.0GHz – 4.0GHz processor.
* A powerful CPU (Core Processing Unit) is the brain and the most important element in any computer. It’s what allows you to run programs and perform actions. It also provides the computer with the processing power it needs to operate.
To make this easier to understand, try comparing cores to a carriage pulled by two horses. We can all agree that a heavy carriage drawn by 4 horses is far better and more effective than one drawn by two horses. The additional power also allows them to handle the carriage’s weight much better, which makes it simpler for the carriage to accelerate quickly and with less effort.
This is what cores are to computers. The more cores you have (or horses in this analogy), the faster and smoother your computer will run. And to experience a seamless workflow in a profession like music production, you will need all the power and speed you can muster.
- 16 GB of RAM. (Most will recommend 8 GB, but we believe that is insufficient, especially with how technology is getting more advanced on a daily basis.)
* RAM, or Random Access Memory, determines how many tasks you can simultaneously run without slowing down your computer. It allows you to quickly and seamlessly switch between plugins, apps, tabs, VSTs, etc., so the more RAM you have, the faster your workflow will be.
- A minimum of 1 TB of SSD (Solid State Drive) storage space. HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is ok to use. However, compared to HDDs, SSDs are significantly faster, more durable, and more energy efficient. So they will load up your samples, apps, plugins, and VSTs faster, making your job easier.
Now that we’ve discussed the most crucial specifications for your music production computer let’s find out if the Macbook Air can meet them.
This year’s upgraded Macbook Air has an M2 chip that is faster than the previous M1 chip and is guaranteed to help your laptop deliver quick results, even without a fan. The M2 chip comes with a powerful 8‑core CPU and up to a 10-core GPU to speed up graphics rendering. So, in terms of processing, it’s safe to say that the Macbook air meets the 8-core CPU requirement.
Memory or RAM
The base model of the Macbook air offers 8 GB of RAM. However, Apple does provide an option to modify it and upgrade it to a model with 16 or 24 GB of RAM for better performance.
Apple offers three storage options when buying a new Macbook Air. The base model includes 512GB, and you can upgrade to 1 TB or 2 TB of SSD storage for an additional cost.
When it comes to the minimum computer requirements for music production that we discussed earlier, your new Macbook Air can meet them if you have the money to invest in the upgrades.
The Macbook Air is the cheapest laptop that Apple offers. The earlier model with the M1 chip is still available for less than $1,000. That is, of course, the price you pay for the standard model without the extra upgrades.
If you’re looking at the base model of this year’s redesigned Macbook Air, the upgraded M2 chip will cost you an extra $200 while progressively getting more expensive as you upgrade to larger storage, more RAM, and faster GPU.
The new Macbook Air comes with a four-speaker surround sound system that consists of two woofers and two tweeters, so you can enjoy an ultra-realistic audio experience.
However, the laptop speaker system is definitely not suitable for music producers. They’re adequate for watching movies, listening to music, and answering video calls. But for audio production and mixing, every producer needs a great audio interface to be able to not only connect their controllers and microphones but also to enjoy the high-quality sound provided by the interface on a set of premium studio speakers.
The Macbook Air continues to be Apple’s lightest and thinnest laptop, weighing only 2.7 pounds. This feature is crucial for musicians and producers who like to work outside their studio or home. Many producers search for quiet and peaceful spots that help them find inspiration for new music.
Also, many musicians who travel regularly need an efficient yet lightweight laptop to use while touring. You don’t want to carry a heavy, bulky laptop everywhere you go, which is why the Macbook Air is such a great option for musicians on the road.
Alternative to the Macbook Air
If you believe the Macbook Air won’t be sufficient for your music production projects and might end up lagging and freezing while you work, go for the Macbook Pro. Keep in mind that the standard model costs almost twice as much as a Macbook Air and can almost cost four times as much with additional upgrades.
With the Macbook Pro, you will have the option to upgrade to an M1 Max chip with a 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine, and either a 24-core or a 36-core GPU, compared to the base model that includes the Apple M1 Pro chip with a 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine, and 16-core GPU. You can also have up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD storage.
In contrast to the Macbook Air’s 13 and 13.6-inch options, Apple offers 14-inch and 16-inch screen options for the Macbook Pro, which are fantastic options because, in this case, bigger really is better.
The Macbook Pro is the obvious choice for music production and mixing as it’s more powerful and efficient. However, it does come with a hefty price tag that not everyone can afford. So the decision is ultimately yours to make.
Overall, the Macbook Air is a powerful laptop. Particularly with the M2 chip that Apple has introduced to the more recent models. But it all depends on your skill level as a producer and what you hope to accomplish with this laptop.
If you own or work in a studio where you have access to a more advanced computer system that you use to create and mix/master music, and want a less capable but still good laptop to use for fun outside of your studio to sketch your ideas on, then the Macbook Air is a fantastic option. The Macbook Air is also a great option if you’re a beginner music producer and should be more than sufficient for you if you opt for the upgrades.
However, if your plan is to produce hits using an extensive amount of plugins and VSTs, along with perhaps artists coming to record their vocals with you, then the Macbook Air might not be up for the challenge.
So, in the end, it all comes down to your level of experience as a music producer and where you plan on using your Macbook Air.
Hopefully, we provided enough info for you today to cover all your questions.