New MacBook Pro (M1 Max & Pro)

Apple had their announcement event today, including new MacBook Pro laptops, but no new Mac Minis. The big wins for sample-based musicians is that we get the possibility of more than 16GB of RAM, as well as more processing in a cool, quiet package. It’s pricey though, as the graphics power and display are overkill for musicians.

I’ve sorted through some possibilities, and these would be “reasonable” choices for sample-heavy music. Note that I assume that we want to store our samples on-board, so I chose at least 1TB of storage with 2TB for 64 GB users.

  • 14-inch M1 Pro with 32 GB RAM + 1TB SSD: $2,599.
  • 14-Inch M1 Max with 64 GB RAM + 2TB SSD: $3,899.
  • 16-inch M1 Max with 64 GB RAM + 2TB SSD: $4,299.


I note that the base M1 Mac Mini costs $600 less than the base 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro. I’ll guess an $800 differential with the 14-inch laptop. That would set a 32 GB 1TB Mini at $1,799 and 64 GB 2TB at $3,099. Alas, these were not announced, so we will see…

The bottom line is that these are expensive solutions, but the processing power and cool, quiet operation are exceptional. Winning the lottery could help.:wink:

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I just ran through the shop: too much options :face_with_monocle: for the 14“

I think all M1 pro are a dream and fantastic for audio. M1 Max is not needed (yet :innocent:)

Now comes the fine tuning: how many cores, what mem size for GP and Logic…


My feeling is that the M1 (16 GB) is enough for guitarists and those who focus on processing. The M1 Pro, basic version with 32 GB is good for live keyboards who use samples. The basic M1 Max is right for film scoring and those who want large libraries at their fingertips. With audio, I doubt that we would need the additional cores.

1 TB is probably adequate for live sample players. Ideally, we don’t need to tote and connect an external drive. Where things can get tricky is when plug in providers require their library to be on the main drive, due to their security model. Still, if you run out of space, an external drive is a reasonable option.

I’m thinking of getting the 14-inch, 32 GB, 1 TB base version. Before the event, I was hoping to get 64 GB and 2 TB for $2,700. Instead, it would be 32 GB and 1 TB for $2,600, but with faster processing and a better HDR screen than I expected.

My bottom line is that my 2016 MacBook Pro with 16 GB and 0.5 TB is pushed to its limit. It hot, loud, and my current Gigs leave little headroom. It would be more than enough for guitar -or- my basic keyboards, but I’m doing more of a full MIDI band in a box, including drums, bass, keys, plus audio chains for guitar and vocals. There are times that I’d like to add another EQ or compressor, or double up things for smoother transitions, but I’m compromising to keep from pushing my laptop over the edge.

To buy, or not to buy. That is the question.


To buy. Arrives Nov. 5-10.


I knew you couldn’t help it! :crazy_face:


For me 2022… it’s around the corner :wink:


One advantage of the new MacBook Pro that I hadn’t considered: the SD slot. Yeah, I knew it would be nice for importing video and photos, but for live music, we could add a large SD card to store more samples and audio - without the need for an external box and cable. Or you could copy your live recording to it as a backup or to give to band mate.

It’s not a huge feature by any means, but recent MacBooks haven’t had an SD slot. It’s a nice convenience feature that doesn’t have a cable to misplace or break.


I would just be worried about losing that on the road…same concern with a dongle.

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Agreed. But if additional storage extends its life, that’s a win. Maybe the trick would be to never remove it. Seal it in with helicopter tape. :wink:

I currently own an M1 MacBookPro with 16 giga RAM and 2 Tera SSD.
I like so much the architecture… Coming from windows notebooks I saw a tremendous increase of power and audio quality: no driver setup, no glitching, no issues.
I am strongly attracted by a new 14" model.
I would choose 32 giga RAM and again 2 Tera SSD.
Big advantage: with 3 thunderbolt, I will use 2 midi controllers and one audio board without any hub.
Less hardware to carry on stage. Less cabling.
It’s expensive, no doubt.
But I will sell my current one and it will be a dream machine.
Currently I never had a reason to mention that 16 giga are not enough.
And my piano and brass rackspaces are kontakt driven…


Well, I canceled my order - and ordered the 32 GB RAM + 2 TB SSD version instead. It pushes my delivery time back a week and costs another $400, but I’ll sleep easier.

I kept having thoughts about 1 TB being enough… but what if…? At 2 TB, I simply don’t have to worry. The whole goal of this computer is to create and perform without having to worry about headroom - and to have it last for a good many years.

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First rumours about the M1Max Performance:

Looks like the new chips have the same single core performance as the initial M1 (see: apple M1 - Geekbench 5 CPU Search - Geekbench Browser ). Therefore the advantage with GP will be the 32 or 64 GB ram - as long as you not run many GP instances in parallel.

Question to the owner M1 user (as I need to replace my 6 year old MacBook):

Is the single core performance sufficient for a keyboard set-up eg with IK B3 and Diva ?

I am using a lot Diva and B3X in my rackspaces and I am playing with a MacBookPro M1, 16 giga and 2 Tera.
The real question is another: new Macs will arrive with Monterey. Will GigP and all our plugins work well with new OS?
Currently I am running everything in Rosetta mode, because most of plugins aren’t M1 native yet.
IK multimedia, Arturia and Native for example.
Currently I have no issues, but with another OS?
Some plugins still don’t work after one year of BigSur, but very few. Iris2 from iZotope for example.

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Good question. I would expect that the chip would be a bigger challenge than the OS, but we will have to wait to find out.

Why is nearly everybody trying to max out RAM?

From my point of view 16GB is absolutely sufficient, even if you are working with tons of samples: with these super fast SSDs and memory interfaces on the M1 pro, predicive loading you should not experience any difference when switching patches/rackspaces?

OK, when working with a DAW like Logic Pro or Cubase this might be a different story when arranging and use all instruments in realtime, but for GigPerformer / live usage?

Just to compare: current workstations like Kurzweil use 8GB or 16GB memory for all patches, and you don’t need thema all at once?

What are your experiences/considerations here?

Yes I am wondering this also.
I’m going to buy a new MacBook Pro and I’m wondering if the M1 with 16Gb Isn’t a better, well, cheaper alternative. Their price is going to fall a bit and with that cheap these 16gb could be enough ?
The fact is that I use GP + Live + at least 3 keyboards + novation launchpad, + other things so maybe going crazy without thinking about the wallet (it’s so expensive…) might be safer.
Win the lottery would Indeed be the easiest solution…or make such a good band that you pay for it quick :yum:

I think for Mac you are right, I have the same experience (MacBookPro late 2013).

But in Windows I have a lot of glitches (with the same GigFile), so I have to max out RAM to 48GB, now it works.

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I will definitly go 14" as there’s a bigger screen area. Also I like not to get a touchbar, but all for me relevcant interfaces (MagSafe!, 3x USB, HDMI + SD-Card) :slight_smile:
However I’m struggling with my performance demands (How many cores, RAM…).


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My MacBookPro M1 with 16 giga RAM never had an issue with GigP and complex setups.
But I love to avoid hubs live (new model has 3 thunderbolt plus magsafe for power).
With 2 midi controllers and one audio board I am perfectly OK

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RAM requirements vary. If you mainly use processing effects and software synths, your RAM needs would be low. Add sampled drums, bass, and keyboards (played by the MIDI player) and it’s moderate. Add complex strings, orchestral instruments, ethnic percussion, etc., and things go up fast.

Yes, you can bounce to audio when your performance is complete, but when developing songs, it’s much more efficient to stay in MIDI and have everything at your fingertips.

I did film composing for a decade. If I get back into it, I’ll kick myself for not getting the 64 GB version.

Right now, I’m developing a set of backing tracks with drums, bass, and keys. I’ll play some keys live, plus guitar, and voice. My machine shows 13.08 GB used. Gig Performer is using 12.21 GB. This will only go up.

My workflow is to compose MIDI in Logic, using GP as the host. When each song is completed, I export the MIDI file and load it into GP. Now I can rehearse, using only GP. Of course, the backing tracks are never perfect. It’s nice to change the mix and processing in GP and to tweak the instruments. It’s nice to not need to rerender audio every time.

So, yes, RAM needs vary. I use a RAM heavy workflow. If I get back into film scoring, 32 GB will be constraining. For most guitarists 16 GB is more than enough.

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