Can You Use An iMac For Music Production?
With the dawn of home-based producers, or what some people call “bedroom producers”, many aspiring composers and DJs are looking for ways to set up their own music hive.
Most of them start with laptops or desktop PCs and work their way up to upgrade from mouse and keyboard sequencing to using MIDI keyboards, mixers and so forth.
A big question that comes up amongst music producers is if you can us an iMac, which is regarded as a consumer product, for heavy audio production.
In this article, we are going to break down the iMac’s specifications and if it qualifies as a reliable computer for music production.
Are iMacs powerful enough for music production?
Generally speaking, all iMacs come with 8 gig of RAM, which should be enough for any producer to get their hands on.
The number of tracks, audio files and effects that can be produced in a song, especially if you are working with a lot of automations and you need to fully-master every bit of sound in your song, can also define how much CPU you need, and how big of a screen you need to check everything in place.
This is why some producers have already resorted to getting an iMac for their music production not just because of the big screen, but also the heavy processing power that can cater big DAWs.
Running low on hard drive space can also take its toll on your production power and make you run low on CPU, so most producers get an external hard drive that includes all audio files of their projects, or divide the hard drive into partitions.
For music production, SSD, or solid state drives, are ideal. They make your computer boot in a fraction of the time that it would normally take. It also makes your programs load faster. The only downside to SSD hard drives is that they are more expensive.
Which iMac should you go with?
There are various iMac models to choose from that have screen sizes from 21.5 inches to 27 inches.
The Mac you choose depends on your preference(your DAW’s CPU needs), budget and most importantly your working space. Apple products are usually expensive so you should take your time deciding which Mac is best suited for you.
I’d recommend getting an iMac with quad-core or higher. The entry-level iMac is dual-core with 1.4GHz of processing power. For a little bit more, you can get an iMac with twice the hard drive space and almost twice the processing power.
iMac vs. Mac Mini (for music production)
When buying a Mac, most people either go with a Mac Mini or an iMac.
If you want to save cash, you can go for the Mac Mini. The Mac Mini just tends to be less upgradable. Then again, if you already have a previous desktop computer or even an HDTV at home or on your working space, getting a Mac Mini will save you a couple hundred bucks. Much like desktop PCs, you can upgrade their RAM as you wish depending on your production needs and how much your budget can afford.
Despite the big cash that you’ll need for the iMac, some producers would stick to their guns because they know they can’t run their DAWs and audio plugins as smoothly as in a Mac Mini, but hey, it’s up to the producer, right?
Not everyone uses high-quality and heavy VSTs and might be more into recording from real instruments instead. If you run a lightweight production set up, it won’t be necessary spending an extra $1000+ on a more powerful Mac.
An iMac is a great choice because it provides you with great CPU power, specifications and an extremely high build quality. However, not everyone can afford an iMac and if you are a “bedroom producer”, getting might be enough to serve your purposes.
Nonetheless, both computers are excellent choices when it comes to music production. The Macs of today are more powerful than they have ever been.
So, do you still think an iMac is nothing but a product built for average consumers?
The entry-level iMac comes jam packed with 8GB of ram. Memory is easily upgradable on a Mac and can dramatically improve your computer’s speed.
An iMac is a perfect choice for music production!