Which MacBook should I buy?


#1

Never had one.
I’d like a model suitable for music production but don’t have (and don’t want) to spend an insane amount of money.
The idea is to use it with Maschine.
What’s the best compromise?


#2

questions

why MacBook? there must be a reason…have you used one already? which one?

Any pc should be capable of this. Probably depends more on your DAW choice and how you want to use the maschine

Cant really say for sure w/o knowing…what is “an insane amount of money” to you?


#3

No, I never had one, but I’d like to.
After years with a windows laptop I would like to change,
iPhone & iPad it’s been my first steps into Apple’s hardware and I loved it, so it seem natural to me to pass to a MacBook now that I have to change my almost dead-almost 10 years HP laptop :slightly_smiling_face:
As for money, I’d prefer to not go up to 1000/1200€, but obviously less would be better :wink:


#4

Gotta add that I’m not a DAW user, so I would like to use Maschine software for starting, then I will see.


#5

So, presumably, you are asking about secondhand or refurbished models? The cheapest Macbook they make is about €1300 iirc. The trend at the moment is them getting costlier. All I’ll say is: you don’t buy Apple to save on money.

(FWIW, the sweet spot is probably the last generation of unibody Macbook Pros before they went all USB-C. You get lots of ports, a powerful machine, a nice screen.)


#6

as someone who recently bought the newest macbook, i’d highly recommend not doing that and instead going with the previous generation. i notice no difference in processor speed while working (in ableton or logic), they’re like half the cost now that the new ones are out and they actually have all the ports you could want instead of the (very frustrating) usb-c ports. you can find decent refurbs from apple themselves, but the real deal is best buy floor models if you can find one. they’re dumping their floor stock and all you have to do is replace the battery, a buddy of mine picked one up for $450. insane.


#7

I bought a refurbished Macbook air 13" directly from Apple’s website a couple years ago, and it still works nicely. I paid less than 1000, and I couldn’t find an equally specced pc for that price (I wanted it to have an ssd and a battery that lasted all day). I use Live with some plugins as a tape recorder though, I’m not heavily computer-based these days.


#8

Echoing what’s already been said really.
Get the highest spec 2014 or 2015 Macbook Pro you can find for your budget.
The Apple Refurb store is definitely a good place to look for something suitable.


#9

Yeah, I have an almost fully specced 2014 Macbook Pro. I use it everyday for intensive plugin development. I have had zero issues with it.

I bought it from B&H. They had a huge sale the week of Christmas on the previous year’s models. I think I got it for around $1250 shipped.


#10

+1 for factory refurbished


#11

Well if two USB ports are “lots” then yes… still better than one USB-C of course, and everything else is true in my experience. I still have a 2010 unibody macbook the one where you could still change the RAM yourself. Does work fine still. At one point I added an SSD and some RAM and it’s running pretty decently still. So another suggestion I’d like to give: take the least “soldered on the motherboard” macbook you can find. The further they went with their product development, the more stuff is soldered to the motherboard (what Apple calls logic board, just so it does sound less PC). Initially it was just the battery, then the memory, harddrives… I wonder what they will solder on next…


#12

just be careful and make sure that the motherboard “accepts” how much memory you would like to put in it if you’d like to go the self-upgrade route. Macbooks tend to have (seemingly) arbitrary limits for these type of things, i.e. “mid-2011 generation 15” MBP accepts up to 8GB of ram with 2x4GB sticks". A site like OWC should be able to tell you what these limits are based on the generation/size.


#13

can’t handle the new macbook keyboards. that low action freaks me out.


#14

I’m still hanging on to a high specced 2014 mbp. Every time there is a hiccup I’m like “NO! NOT YET”.


#15

hackintosh is also an option, or at least it used to be. I’ve been a die hard MBP fan for years but had major issues with my current one (late 2013) and an early one with the battery expanding issue. I got really shitty support from Apple, even though I had Applecare. I would like to think I will change next time I need to upgrade, but let’s see :wink:


#16

I’m not sure if you’re actually interested in MBPs vs MacBooks, but here are some pros for new MBPs vs old not mentioned. I’m not particularly biased one way or the other… but if I had a budget and had to pick I would probably go with a refurb. That said:

  • Speakers are way, way better in the new MBPs. It’s really noticeable. I can almost tolerate listening to music on them… almost. Good enough for listening to videos and what not. Most of the time when I hear music on laptops I just want to hit something, so the fact that its almost tolerable is impressive to me.
  • Graphic cards are typically way better. But if you’re not using it for live generative graphics (I do this occasionally) then who cares? Maybe if you’re a big gamer I suppose…
  • Contrary to what other people have said in this thread, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I preferred the new keyboard over the old ones. Everytime I use my old laptop I feel like I’m pressing into sponges. The new keyboard is really loud though.
  • New trackpad is pretty sweet.
  • For all practical purposes I have the touchbar “turned off” (it stays fixed to seven buttons). I’m definitely a debbie downer about the touchbar in general. TouchID is pleasant to have.
  • The up and down arrow keys on the new ones are ridiculous. I can’t say why exactly, as they’re positioned roughly the same as before, but I have lots of trouble hitting them reliably, in particular the up key. Thank goodness I code in Vim (well, except for the whole coding in Vim aspect) but I still wind up getting slowed down by this in certain workflows.

Work bought me the new one… I had to fight them to delay the purchase for a year as the one I was using was not even a couple of years old when I started. Overall, I certainly would have been fine continuing to use the maxed out 2013 MBP I had, but I do consider the new one to be a significant upgrade due to gfx card, keyboard, speakers, and a better power adapter (how many apple power adapters have I replaced over they years… now I can just replace a usb-c cable).

Way too much info probably… I’m avoiding work :slight_smile:


#17

:+1:t2:Thanks for all the answers!
A lot of food for thought.

I’m leaning towards a MacBook Pro 13’’ i5 16GB and 128GB SSD,
it’s 1789€ here in Italy :roll_eyes:

I’m not sure what’s the best combination for me:
i5/i7 8/16GB 128/256GB…?:thinking:


#18

128 GB SSD will be too small IMHO. It doesn’t take long to fill up.

I upgraded from a 2013 11” MacBook Air to a maxed out 2015 MBP and haven’t looked back. 1TB SSD = heaven.


#19

As @declutter says, 128 is too small. Like, I’ve nearly maxed out a 512 (but it’s my only computer: I use it for work, software development, music, etc).

Bear in mind: neither the ram nor disk are user-upgradable on the latest Macbook Pros. You’re stuck with what you get from the factory.


#20

hey, and regular sized Thunderbolt and HDMI sockets!