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Mac Mini - good enough for music production? Audio Interfaces
Old 19th June 2015
  #1
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Mac Mini - good enough for music production?

Thread title tells it all.
I am using my macbook way too much for internet and other things, I think I need a music-only non-mobile computer.

So, is the mac mini good enough for music production?
Old 19th June 2015
  #2
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tehlord's Avatar
 

The older quad core ones were more than up to the task, but now they've ditched quad cores and only offer dual cores you might struggle a little.

Should be fine for audio with not too many plugins, but once the plugin count starts rising (especially newer plugins) it really hammers the CPU
Old 19th June 2015
  #3
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Kristal Cross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tehlord View Post
The older quad core ones were more than up to the task, but now they've ditched quad cores and only offer dual cores you might struggle a little.

Should be fine for audio with not too many plugins, but once the plugin count starts rising (especially newer plugins) it really hammers the CPU
+1

I've learnt it the hard way...
Old 19th June 2015
  #4
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I would get a solid state drive with it. I had the last gen and it had a 5200rpm drive stock.
Old 20th June 2015
  #5
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Try and buy the older model S/H - they were the most cost effective and capable music machine until Apple effectively castrated them in the new line up.

Edit - there's a very long thread on here from the launch of the new models.
Old 20th June 2015
  #6
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Absolutely. I have a 2012. I installed a second hard drive internally myself with an OWC kit. Best purchase I've ever made computer wise. I run PT & logic in a professional environment with it. I can tote it around easily. It's really nothing more than a MBP without the screen.
Old 20th June 2015
  #7
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Drumsound's Avatar
My 2012 does pretty well. For some reason Waves plugs give it a hard time when first opened.
Old 22nd June 2015
  #8
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I use two quad core Minis in a mobile studio setup and I am quite happy with them. The beat the pants of my first rack setup over 20 years ago consisting of an Atari 1040ST in a custom case. Those where the days!
Old 22nd June 2015
  #9
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i have the 2012 quad core i7 and its really great. I was also forced to buy a 2014 dual core i7 when i needed a second mac mini for concurrent use. the 2014 i expected to not be up for the task but i was rather surprised when it was able to do a 3 hour 64 channel 96 24 session with out a problem. if you can find one i would recommend the 2012 quad over the 2014 dual it is a better computer and is user upgradable unlike the newer units.
Old 22nd June 2015
  #10
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Hmm so what you say is, the current models aren't good enough?
Old 26th July 2015
  #11
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killedaway's Avatar
 

Hopefully you folks don't mind me grabbing a ride on this thread, for a similar question:

I'm looking to reduce my physical studio footprint in as many ways as possible. I currently do not own a computer suitable for music production so I'd like whatever I buy to be as small and efficient as possible. The Mac Mini looks like a good choice in that regard. I also love the portability of it, being able to drop it in my bag and set it up elsewhere with just a few connections.

I have several hardware synthesizers I'd like to record (mostly desktop units, including Elektrons, and a few others of a similar nature). I don't plan on using the computer for much more than recording and mixing; I don't have any desire to use VST plugins (strongly prefer doing all that OTB, for better or worse), other than perhaps the occasional mastering effect. Ballpark for an average tune would be in the neighborhood of 10-20 tracks, the upper end of that figure being extremely generous.

That said, would a 2012 Mac Mini i5/4GB/500 be suitable? The used price on these seems reasonable, if it will fit the bill specs-wise. Upgrading the RAM and HD down the road is absolutely a possibility, but I'd love it if the base memory configuration would suffice for what I'm trying to do. I imagine a DIY PC in the same price range would be at least as good, but it's been ages since I've put together a PC myself (last one was in 2007) and I really don't have the time these days. Also, any DIY machine is likely going to be louder (fan-wise, anyway), and have a much larger footprint -- two things I'm trying to avoid.
Old 27th July 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
Hmm so what you say is, the current models aren't good enough?
For about the same money the previous top of the line Mini with the quad i7 was nearly twice as powerful as the current top end Mini.

The previous model also had FW800, and room for a second drive.

The previous models are now hard to come by, and now go for a premium on eBay.

Old 27th July 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killedaway View Post
Ballpark for an average tune would be in the neighborhood of 10-20 tracks, the upper end of that figure being extremely generous.

That said, would a 2012 Mac Mini i5/4GB/500 be suitable?
I have that same model of Mac Mini at home. 10-20 tracks of audio ( say 44.1/24bit ) would barely scratch the surface. If that's really all your hoping to achieve, it would be fair to say it's overpowered !
Old 27th July 2015
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allstar View Post
I have that same model of Mac Mini at home. 10-20 tracks of audio ( say 44.1/24bit ) would barely scratch the surface. If that's really all your hoping to achieve, it would be fair to say it's overpowered !
Thanks very much for the reply, allstar!

Yep, that's about it, reasonably minimal stuff, in terms of layers. I'm very pleased to hear that it'll be more than enough. Thanks again!
Old 27th July 2015
  #15
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Something to be aware is that those older Mac Minis dont support 4k displays with higher refresh rates.
Old 27th July 2015
  #16
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killedaway's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leevi View Post
Something to be aware is that those older Mac Minis dont support 4k displays with higher refresh rates.
Thanks for that. I plan on running mine on a ten year old Viewsonic that doesn't even hit 1080p, haha! But it's definitely something to keep in mind for the eventual display upgrade.
Old 27th July 2015
  #17
Gear Head
Absolutely. I bought the last quadcore version and maxed the Ram. Running Cubase 8, Komplete Ultimate, and waves plugins no problem.
It is a little beast IMO.
Old 28th July 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leevi View Post
Something to be aware is that those older Mac Minis dont support 4k displays with higher refresh rates.
I would recommend getting a used Apple 30" Cinema Display for around $400. A Dual-link adapter runs them at max resolution 2560x1600. The biggest pre 4k displays made by Apple with a large anti-glare viewing angle.
Old 28th July 2015
  #19
Gear Addict
 

I don't know JACK about computers so I would definitely take other's advice on this, but I just wanted to give you my own personal experience...

I've been using the one in my sig with the programs and gear in my sig since 2008 or so and I couldn't be happier, even though I've been in a SERIOUS creative and musical block for quite a long time, I never had any problems with using an insane amount of devices and tracks in Reason 4.0 OR using a ton of tracks and softies and plug-ins in Logic Pro 9, OR ReWiring Reason into Logic. Nor did I ever have any problems recording several vanity projects with tons of tracks of recording real live audio via a mic and/or directly plugging in an electric guitar or bass into a Presonus Inspire 1394 or a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and using tons of plugs and softies with that.

Again, that's just my own personal experience, I personally never had a problem and was always able to use all the devices and tracks in Reason 4.0 that I ever wanted to as well as always being able to use as many tracks of either just softies or just live recordings via a mic or direct input of an electric guitar or bass or a combination thereof with all the plug-ins I wanted, however, I'm sure there is a limit to how many tracks and plugs you could use in one project simultaneously especially in Logic, it's just that I never got to that point, but I'm sure someone somewhere out there has.
Old 29th July 2015
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chevybusa View Post
I don't know JACK about computers so I would definitely take other's advice on this, but I just wanted to give you my own personal experience...

I've been using the one in my sig with the programs and gear in my sig since 2008 or so and I couldn't be happier, even though I've been in a SERIOUS creative and musical block for quite a long time, I never had any problems with using an insane amount of devices and tracks in Reason 4.0 OR using a ton of tracks and softies and plug-ins in Logic Pro 9, OR ReWiring Reason into Logic. Nor did I ever have any problems recording several vanity projects with tons of tracks of recording real live audio via a mic and/or directly plugging in an electric guitar or bass into a Presonus Inspire 1394 or a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and using tons of plugs and softies with that.

Again, that's just my own personal experience, I personally never had a problem and was always able to use all the devices and tracks in Reason 4.0 that I ever wanted to as well as always being able to use as many tracks of either just softies or just live recordings via a mic or direct input of an electric guitar or bass or a combination thereof with all the plug-ins I wanted, however, I'm sure there is a limit to how many tracks and plugs you could use in one project simultaneously especially in Logic, it's just that I never got to that point, but I'm sure someone somewhere out there has.
Thanks very much for sharing this info. That sort of first-hand experience is exactly what I'm looking for and it's a huge help!

I just need to snag one for the right price. I'm eager to get the thing, set it up, and begin recording. I have a feeling it's gonna have way more power than I need, even with just the dual core chip.
Old 29th July 2015
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by killedaway View Post
Thanks very much for sharing this info. That sort of first-hand experience is exactly what I'm looking for and it's a huge help!

I just need to snag one for the right price. I'm eager to get the thing, set it up, and begin recording. I have a feeling it's gonna have way more power than I need, even with just the dual core chip.
No doubt man glad it helps!!!! Like I said I really don't know jack about computers but don't hesitate to PM me or reply here if you have any other questions about my own personal experience.
Old 5th August 2015
  #22
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I thought I'd come back and give you folks an update. I ended up going for a Mid-2011 i7 quad core/8GB RAM/1TB. I just got done setting up a fresh install of OSX and hope to be recording this weekend. I decided to go for the older model since it was only a fuzz more than the 2012 i5 I was originally after, and with the quad core processor, a decent bit of RAM and storage already inside, I figure it's worth the sacrifice of USB 3.0. It still has the thunderbolt port and FW800 so I don't think I'm missing out on much. If I get along with it very well and decide I must have USB 3.0 in the future, I'll probably just buy another and move this one to HTPC duties.

When I have a little time to put the Mini through its paces, I'll come back and share some more. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread!
Old 10th June 2018
  #23
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I started two years ago with a 2014 4gb mac mini, using garageband. It was ok. However, as soon as I got more into it, adding hardware and software, it has gotten so slow and cumbersome, crashing at terrible times, I'm moving on. Plus, although it has a nice number of connections, including one thunderbolt, it has a hard time handling the numerous midi controllers and mics that need connecting. More than two midi controllers? Forget it. Plus, I''ve got THREE external drive connected because of lack of storage. I think for recording, the two true essentials on which we should not skimp are our computer and our interface. If you are just starting, you are either going to quit pretty soon, or get so into it you'll want more. My humble yet experienced advice is to get as much computer as you can possibly afford.
Old 11th June 2018
  #24
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If you're looking for a Mini that will handle a lot, check out the 8th generation intel NUK.

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...c-vr,5536.html
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