Can You Produce Music on a MacBook Air? Let’s Find Out


Thanks to today’s technology, making well-produced music in the comfort of your home is now possible. Anyone can create a smash hit with just a laptop, and Apple has a line of products designed for creatives—including music producers. The MacBook Air is more on the affordable side of Apple’s pricing schemes, but is it suitable enough for producing full-blown tracks? 

The Macbook Air is a decent laptop for music production, especially the most recent version equipped with Apple’s M1 Chip. The base model has 8GBs of RAM, which is the bare minimum for running software like GarageBand and rendering high-quality songs with 20+ tracks at most. 

Is the MacBook Air the Best Laptop for Music Production?

Is it the best option? Probably, no. However, suppose you are a beginner music producer looking for a suitable and affordable laptop for beginning your journey into music production—then yes. In that case, the Apple MacBook Air is pretty decent.

You can even start producing a song with a MacBook Air right out the box, thanks to the pre-installed software inclusion of GarageBand. It might not be the best software, but it is a fantastic option for learning. It has the essential functions for song creation. And it is very user-friendly and intuitive—making GarageBand perfect for beginners!

If you can produce songs on an iPhone or iPad, you can also do it on a MacBook Air. Depending on your MacBook Air’s specs, you can create, arrange, mix, and master your tracks to be radio-ready. Plus, take note of the fact that there are MacBook Air variants with better specs. 

MacBook Air Specs

If your old MacBook Air has GarageBand on it, then chances are, you can use it for making music. But suppose you are buying a brand-new MacBook Air. In that case, the specs will be slightly better, and it is 100% suitable for music creation—even without maxing out the possible specs. 

MacBook Air Intel Version

The base model MacBook Air Intel version runs on a Dual-Core Intel i3 processor, which is good enough for light music production. However, you can upgrade it to a quad-core i5 or i7. It comes with 8GB to 16GB of memory and an upgradeable 256GB SSD. All of these specs, including the True Tone Retina Display, make a pretty decent laptop for making music. 

MacBook Air M1 Chip

The most recent M1 Chip version of the MacBook Air is an entirely different story. With the significantly enhanced specs, this laptop is somewhat similar to a 2019 base model MacBook Pro, a fantastic laptop for music production.

The MacBook Air M1 version runs on an 8-core processor, and it is equipped with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It does not get any better for an Apple laptop at this price range. Of course, that is only the base model, and you can upgrade the memory up to 16GB and the storage up to 2TB. 

The fully loaded M1 Chip version is the best MacBook Air to date for full-blown music production applications. The other versions will work as well, but if you have a choice, make sure you go for the M1. 

Older MacBook Air Versions

Older MacBook Air versions are still suitable for music production. They are pretty decent enough for beginners, but professional music producers can still use them and produce fully-mastered Spotify or SoundCloud-ready tracks. However, any option older than 2012 will probably not work, so steer clear of the ancient ones if you don’t want to frustrate yourself. 

What Makes a Good Laptop for Music Production?

Just like HD photo and video editing, producing music requires higher specifications such as a powerful processor, suitable memory, and a fast hard drive. If your laptop runs on these specs, you can produce music more efficiently without experiencing software crashes and long rendering and loading times. 

The display might not be a significant factor in music production, except for factors like eye strain because of many hours of staring at the screen. If you are looking for a good laptop for creating music at home, you need to consider these 3 factors:

Memory or RAM

Without getting too technical, the RAM works as your laptop’s short-term memory. It is responsible for recalling recent functions to enable it to run smoothly. With higher memory, it can run complex and data-heavy music production software faster without freezing, crashing, or restarting. 

Having at least 8GB of RAM is suitable for light music production. However, if you want to go all-out on plugins, multiple tracks, and effects, you should probably go with 16GB or higher. 

Hard Drive

Storage space is also something you need to consider since recording and producing tracks will take a ton of storage space. You can always expand your memory with external hard drives. Still, internal storage for your software and files can also affect your computer’s speed and performance. 

When choosing a laptop, make sure it comes with an SSD instead of an HDD hard drive. SSDs are so much faster, which allows your computer to access files instantly for shorter loading times. 

Processor

The processor is like your laptop’s brain, making it the most vital component for overall performance. Let’s say your computer features a 16GB LPDDRX4 RAM and 2TB SSD Storage. It would mean nothing if it is running on a single-core processor. 

When looking for a suitable laptop for music production, the most suitable specs would be a quad-core i7 Intel Processor. Apple recently released their own 8-core processor, which is probably one of the fastest options for music production and other data-heavy applications. 

Pros and Cons of Producing Music on a MacBook Air

Pros:

  • It is a thin and portable laptop you can take anywhere
  • It comes with beginner music production software
  • You can integrate it with other Apple products and instantly render and share your songs
  • It is relatively affordable compared to the Pro Series of Apple MacBook options
  • It runs fast and smooth
  • It is equipped with faster SSD storage

Cons:

  • There is a limit to the number of plugins and tracks
  • The fans can get really loud when you have several plugins working at the same time
  • It has minimal USB ports

Related Questions:

What is the best music production software for the MacBook Air?

If you are new to music production, Apple computers come with GarageBand, which is an excellent choice for beginners. However, the best music production software for pros and beginners alike is Logic Pro X. It is a user-friendly professional software exclusive only for macOS users. 

You can also try other options, such as Pro Tools, FL Studio, and Ableton Live—which all work with the MacBook Air. 

Can you produce high-quality music on a MacBook Air?

For the most part, yes. You can produce high-quality music using a MacBook Air. The only difference with computers with higher specs is the number of tracks you can render per song. Professional producers can go as elaborate as making 100+ for just one song, and that is quite an impossible feat to do on a MacBook Air. However, you can still produce and master at least 20+ tracks on it without having too many problems.

Final Words

The MacBook Air, especially the new M1 Chip version, is more than a decent laptop for music production. Apple may have some flaws in their products, but they never disappoint when it comes to functionality, especially for creative software. So, if you have a MacBook Air, you should probably get started on your next big hit!

Mori B

I'm a music producer, a dj and a blogger.

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