Best Macs for Music Production in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

  • James Parker
  • January 21, 2022

You don’t have to have the fastest computer in the world in order to produce music. But if you are in the market for a new machine, making sure to get one that will optimize your music production capabilities is a great idea. Alternatively, if you feel like your hardware is really slowing you down, a new computer might be the piece you need to speed up your workflow and turn your ideas into songs. Both Mac and Windows computers are optimized wonderfully for producing music from home these days, but Macs do have a few perks that set them apart in the eyes of many users. If you use Garageband or Logic, for example, you will have to produce on a Mac, barring the hassle of finding a PC workaround. Today, we are going to look at some of the best modern Mac computers for producing your own music, comparing them based on their specifications and features. If you are looking for a new Mac, this review should give you some inspiration. 

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) 1. Apple iMac 2020 27″ 3.3GHZ i5
  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Included keyboard, mouse, camera, speakers
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Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - (2020) - Z12N000G0 2. Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip
  • Affordable
  • Powerful CPU
  • Lots of RAM
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2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray 3. Apple MacBook Pro 13″
  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Lots of memory
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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray 4. Apple MacBook Pro 16″
  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Fast processor
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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray 5. Apple iMac 2020 27″ i7 3.8 GHZ i7
  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Fast processor
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1. Apple iMac 2020 27″ 3.3GHZ i5

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2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

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2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

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2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

Features

  • 5k, 27-inch Retina Display
  • 6 core intel i5
  • 256/512 GB SSD Storage
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mics
  • Mouse and Keyboard

In terms of desktops, the 2020 iMac is perfectly suited for producing music in a number of ways. One of the most striking and noticeable features of this computer is its built-in display. While the vast majority of desktop computers have traditionally required an external monitor as a display, Apple has wrapped the monitor and computer into one in striking fashion. Their famous Retina display is here and capable of displaying in 5k, and the monitor’s ample 27-inch size will allow you to get a lot done on one screen. When it comes to music production, it is important to have enough space to work, and this display is perfect for the job. On the inside, this computer has a 3.1 GHZ intel core i5 processor, which is enough for smooth performance in the vast majority of home production scenarios. It also has SSD storage, which is crucial for production. Solid state drives, or SSDs, are significantly faster than traditional hard drives, allowing you to load software and other information stored on them very quickly. The iMac comes with either 256 or 512 GB of SSD storage. We recommend using this built in storage for your most-used software and files, and a cheaper external hard drive for everything else if you need more storage. 

PROS

  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Included keyboard, mouse, camera, speakers

CONS

  • Not portable
  • Advanced producers may want more RAM
  • Some may need external storage

Especially if you are a relatively new producer, this iMac has everything you could want. Its 8GB of RAM is more than adequate for most projects, and the integrated, all-in-one design of the machine is beautiful and efficient. For ease of use and built-in features, you can’t go wrong here.

2. Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip

Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - (2020) - Z12N000G0

Features

  • 256 GB SSD storage
  • Apple M1 processor 
  • 16 GB of RAM

The Mac Mini has long been an affordable and reliable desktop computer, and this newer model packs a lot of power for its small size. While it has nowhere near as much baked in as the iMac – you will need your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse – this computer is perfect for those who do not need the iMac’s complete package. One of the most exciting features of this machine is the inclusion of Apple’s fairly new M1 chip, which can outperform standard intel chips in many scenarios. Processing power is one of the most important specs in terms of music production, so this computer may be right for you if you work with a lot of very large or intensive projects. It also has 16 GB of RAM, which, while it is more than most home producers need, is useful for demanding projects that involve aspects like video editing. Like the iMac, it has 256 GB of solid state storage. 

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Powerful CPU
  • Lots of RAM

CONS

  • No included display
  • Only 256 GB of storage available
  • No mouse, keyboard, or camera included

Especially if you have your own external equipment such as monitors and keyboards, the Mac Mini is an incredibly cost-effective option for producing your own music. Its specs are excellent and will provide you with enough memory and processing power to make any kind of music you want. It could include more storage, but this is easily remedied with an external HDD.

3. Apple MacBook Pro 13″

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2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

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2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

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2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

Features

  • 13-inch Retina Display
  • 512 GB/1 TB of SSD storage
  • Quad core intel i5 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mic

If you prefer to take the portable route, you probably want a MacBook Pro. Long the gold standard for laptops, these computers continue to get better and better each year. This 2020 Pro comes packaged with a 13-inch retina display and quad-core intel i5 processor. One of the most impressive features here is the option for either 512 GB or 1 TB of SSD storage. SSD storage is both much faster and much more expensive than HDD storage, so having up to a terabyte of it built in is a huge plus. Of course, since this is a laptop, you have a keyboard, mouse, camera, and microphone built in, along with some nice Mac features like the MacBook Pro touchbar controls.

PROS

  • Portable 
  • Lots of storage
  • Lots of memory

CONS

  • Processor could be more updated
  • Relatively small display size
  • Trackpad is not as precise as a mouse

This is a great basic MacBook Pro for people who like to produce music on a laptop. Using a laptop lets you take your work anywhere, which is a great option to have. The storage and RAM on this machine are its main selling points. While the processor could be a bit stronger, you will be more than set in terms of memory and SSD space. 

4. Apple MacBook Pro 16″

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Features

  • 16 inch Retina display
  • 1 TB of SSD storage
  • Intel 8-core i9 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mic

If you still want a laptop but aren’t convinced by the 13 inch MacBook Pro, this 16 inch 2019 model is one to consider. This machine has some impressive features that make it a beast for on-the-go music production. Like the 13 inch version, it has a terabyte of SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM. But it also has an impressive 8-core intel i9 processor, a marked improvement over the smaller laptop. If you are worried about having enough processing power with a quad-core processor, then this laptop has you covered. Along with these specs, it has all the great features you expect from a MacBook Pro: a large Retina display, touchbar, and more.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Fast processor

CONS

  • Expensive
  • A bit bulky
  • Trackpad is not as precise as a mouse

This laptop surely has all the power you need for music production. The main downside here is price – all that power comes at a premium. But if you don’t mind spending a bit of extra cash, this is an excellent laptop that will keep you satisfied for years to come for producing music.

5. Apple iMac 2020 27″ i7 3.8 GHZ i7

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

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2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Features

  • 5k, 27-inch Retina Display
  • 8 core intel i7
  • 256/512 GB SSD Storage
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mics
  • Mouse and Keyboard

Finally, we have another 2020 iMac. Like the model listed previously, this is a nice all-in-one desktop computer that packs a lot of power. Its beautiful 27 inch Retina display is ideal for creating a clean workflow, and its specs are more than enough for producing professional-sounding music at home. The main difference when it comes to this particular version is its upgraded i7 processor. While the 6-core i5 offers enough power for seamless production in most scenarios, some producers may want to go for the i7. Ultra-complex projects may benefit from this more powerful CPU, resulting in fewer instances of lag and other performance issues. But if you are unsure whether you need the i7, then you will be fine saving the extra money and going with the i5. 

PROS

  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Fast processor

CONS

  • More expensive
  • Advanced producers may want more RAM
  • Some may need external storage

If you like the iMac but require a faster processor, this machine is for you. While this upgrade is not strictly necessary for the majority of producers, especially beginners, it is a good option for those who know they need that extra processing power. 

Conclusion

Macs are great for producing music, but the number of choices available can be daunting. Our top pick for an all-around great machine is the 2020 iMac with intel’s 6 core i5 chip. This computer is the perfect balance of power and functionality, and it is great for producers of all levels who want a reliable, no-hassle machine. Pick one up and get producing!