9 Best Macs and MacBooks For Music Production in 2024

By Dave Johnson - Executive Editor
12 Min Read

These are the best Macs and MacBooks for music production according to our testing.

As a music producer, you know that the choice of equipment can make or break your music creation experience. When it comes to computers, Macs and MacBooks have set a high standard in the music production industry due to their superior processing power, seamless software integration, and remarkable stability. But which Macs and MacBooks are the best for music production in 2023?

We’ve tested every single computer from Apple, and we’re just the experts to help you find the best Mac or MacBook for music production. And, these MacBook and Macs below are our top picks.

For years now, Apple has produced some of the best laptops for music production. One thing to note is that with the launch of the new models, Apple has stopped selling the 2021 models of the 14-inch and the 16-inch. However, since other retailers may still have them in stock and could even offer MacBook deals on the older models, we’ve kept some of them on the list.

What Makes a Mac or MacBook for Music Production special?

An Apple computer great for music production has a few areas that need to be a focus that might not matter as much for a computer designed for journalism or business students, for example.

Music production computers must operate high-powered music creating applications in many windows. This could be a Logic Pro window, Ableton Live, and Pro Tools all open and running at the same time.

Because of this, the demand for high-end graphics cards, powerful processors, and increased RAM are higher than in the average computer. Where most Apple computers focus on a lightweight frame, long battery life or other specifications, these machines need to be able to perform advanced operations with ease even if it means that they don’t have all day battery life.

How did we choose the best Macs and MacBooks for Music Production?

To choose among the best Macs and MacBooks for music production, our team of expert musicians and producers started with extensive personal experience: All the computers here have been road-tested and reviewed in some way. Then, we added in-depth research by cross-referencing third-party reviews with specs sheets, first-party benchmarks and user experiences. Rest assured, we know the ins and outs of all these machines, so you can choose the perfect one for you.

The best MacBook and Macs for music production in 2023

Whether you want to make the switch to the macOS environment or are upgrading from your aging one, here are the best MacBook and Macs for music production on the market.

1. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)

Front view of 16 Inch open MacBook Pro in Space Gray.  

The best MacBook for music producers who want a lot of power


CPU: Apple M2 Pro (12-core) – Apple M2 Max (12-core)Graphics: Integrated 19-core – 38-core GPURAM: Up to 96GBScreen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR displayStorage: Up to 8TB


  • Gorgeous 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Spectacular performance
  • Epic battery life
  • Generous port selection


  • Steep asking price
  • Nominal upgrade from 2021 model

Why it’s the best MacBook for music production

Starting with the top-end model, the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) sets the standard for music production. Regardless of what music production tasks you want to perform, the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) can handle it. Thanks to Apple’s impressive in-house M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) is more than capable of handling any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), virtual instrument, or plugin suite you throw at it. Plus, with a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system, you can monitor your mixes with unparalleled clarity.

Upgraded from the M1 Pro and M1 Max from 2021, the 2023 model provides even more performance, while also boasting an incredible battery life of over 20 hours. We found during our testing that this beast of a laptop pumps out impressive performance without draining the battery and doesn’t throttle its performance when on battery power.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro also comes with an incredible display, as well as plenty of ports including next-gen Thunderbolt 4 ports and a MagSafe charging port. All that performance does come at a price, as even the base model costs a lot. But, considering how powerful this laptop is, it’s worth the price of entry.

2. MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

Side profiles of MacBook Air opened up in silver, starlight, space gray, and midnight.  

The best MacBook for music production overall


CPU: Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPUGraphics: Integrated 9-core – 10-core GPURAM: 8GB – 24GB unified memoryScreen: 13.6-inch (diagonal) 2560-by-1664 LED-backlit display with IPS technologyStorage: up to 2TB


  • Gorgeous new design
  • Very good performance
  • Long battery life


  • More expensive than the previous model
  • New colors are a bit tame

Why it’s the best MacBook for music production

It used to be that if you were a serious music producer, anything under Apple’s MacBook Pro line simply wouldn’t cut it for the processor and RAM intensive tasks put upon it by audio production. With the M2 chip inside the 2022 Apple MacBook Air however, we were convinced that this argument could largely be put to bed, at least for the majority of home producers. We found its performance to be exceptional during testing, tackling 4K video editing and music production workflows fast and in silence (thanks to its fanless design). In some benchmark tests, its single-core performance is even on par with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022).

It isn’t just its specs that saw an upgrade over its predecessor. Its battery life got a 5-hour uptick, giving it 16 hours of use on a single charge, while its screen is bigger and its design is better

3. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The M1-powered MacBook Air in rose gold.

The best budget MacBook for music production


CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPUGraphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPURAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memoryScreen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina displayStorage: 256GB – 2TB SSD


  • Fast and responsive
  • Great battery life
  • Silent in use


  • Fanless design could impact performance

Why is the best MacBook for music production

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is the first thinnest and lightest laptop, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops for music production of recent years. During testing, it felt fast and capable. It was able to handle quite a few music production apps running all at once, keeping up brilliantly and with ease when we swapped between power hungry music production apps.

The fan-less design makes it remarkably quiet, which can be a significant advantage in a recording environment. We didn’t notice any major incidents of throttling, despite the fact that it has a fanless design and is therefore more susceptible to overheating.

With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. This MacBook is an excellent choice for most music producers.

4. Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023)

Front view of 14 Inch open MacBook Pro in Space Gray.  

The best MacBook Pro for most music producers


CPU: Apple M2 Pro (10-core) – Apple M2 Max (12-core)Graphics: Integrated 16-core GPU – 38‑core GPURAM: 16GB – 96GB unified memoryStorage: 512GB – 8TB SSDDimensions (W x D x H): 0.61 x 12.31 x 8.71 inches (1.55 x 31.26 x 22.12 cm)


  • Blistering performance
  • Vibrant mini-LED display
  • Superb battery life
  • Good port selection includes HDMI and SD Card
  • Faster Wi-Fi 6E


  • Expensive
  • Notch is distracting
  • No Face ID support
  • Price rise for UK and Australia

Why is the best MacBook for music production

If you’re a professional music producer and want the best performance that Apple has to offer, the MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2023) is the laptop for you. The M2 Pro and M2 Max chip delivering incredible speed, especially when it comes to video editing. You also get a stellar mini-LED display, plenty of ports and over 14 hours of battery life. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s capable of handling the most demanding music production tasks with ease.

It seems that every year, Apple is making the MacBook Pro 14-inch a lot more power than you’d expect. Its 2021 predecessor may have been an almost perfect laptop for music production, but this one blows it out of the water in terms of power, cementing the line’s status as a mobile workstation that’s reserved for music producers who can maximize its sheer performance.

The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) handled every music production task we threw at it during testing, whether we were editing videos in 8K, recording numerous instruments at the same time, or editing multi-track audio projects in Albeton Live 11. The active cooling system allows for sustained performance during long production sessions. And, its Liquid Retina XDR and mini-LED technology display with ProMotion adaptive refresh rates of up to 120Hz delivered vibrant colors and rich, deep contrast, making our creative experience incredibly immersive.

It keeps the same design as the 2021 model, but that’s no bad thing given the brilliant screen and solid build quality. It is, as with many creative mobile workstations, eye-watering expensive, however. That’s especially for UK and Australian consumers. So only invest if you can justify the price with your demands.

5. iMac (24-inch, 2021)

6 different colors of iMac  

The best all-in-one Mac for most music producers


CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display Storage: up to 2TB


  • Gorgeous display

  • Striking new design

  • Fantastic 1080p webcam

  • Speakers deliver rich, vibrant audio

  • M1 chip offers speedy performance


  • Lack of ports remains
  • Entry-level model lacks features for some

Why is the best Mac for music production

Apple’s new M1-equipped 24-inch iMac is a slender-yet-speedy machine packing great speakers, an excellent webcam, a Magic Keyboard, and a beautiful screen, providing the experience needed in a professional music production setup.

If you think that the new iMacs couldn’t possibly be as good as they look, you’d be wrong. They are not just an improvement over their 21.5-inch predecessor externally, touting a fresh new face that comes in several different colors.

They also come with fresh new specs, rocking Apple’s new M1 chip that makes it much more powerful than the previous Intel iMacs. Loading up Final Cut Pro to do some editing on an 8K video, it performed very well during testing, smoothly scrubbing through 8K content. If you’re a serious music maker, you may be best served by a more powerful Mac, but this one should more than suffice for most music producers.

There are six speakers built into the bottom of the new 24-inch iMac: 2 pairs of low-frequency woofers and one pair of high-frequency tweeters, with support for spatial audio via Dolby Atmos. What that means, in my experience, is that things sound real good coming out of the new iMac.

You’ll also be happy to know that you’re getting great value here, as you’re getting the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse included – in matching colors, we might add. And, while the port selection could be better, the upgraded 1080p FaceTime camera delivers better low-light performance and amazing image quality. In my experience, this 24-inch all-in-one is more than capable of handling whichever DAW or plug-in you might throw at it.

6. MacBook Air 15-inch (2023)

2023 15-inch MacBook Air, open, thin bezel, FaceTime HD camera, raised feet, curved edges, Midnight  

The best 15-inch MacBook for music production


CPU: Apple M2 chip with 8-core CPUGraphics: Integrated 10-core GPURAM: From 8GB unified memoryScreen: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True ToneStorage: From 256GB SSD


  • Bright and vivid 15-inch display
  • Sleek, elegant design
  • Extremely portable
  • Blazing-fast performance
  • Better speakers than 13-inch


  • Skimpy port selection
  • Supports just one external monitor
  • Less portable than 13-inch model

Why it’s the best MacBook for music production

The new MacBook Air 15-inch M2 is a super-sized version of the 13-inch model, featuring stellar performance, epic battery life and a gorgeous display in a sleek, elegant chassis. It’s arguably the best 15-inch laptop for music production.

In its own right, the Apple MacBook Air 15-inch (2023) is a fantastic laptop with its impressively thin and light design, fantastic performance, and brilliant screen that gives you about two extra inches than the regular Air. Music producers hoping for a screen real estate upgrade in their notebook will be overjoyed, especially if you’ve got a slightly aging MacBook Air 13-inch (2021) or older.

This laptop performed really well on test, with macOS Ventura feeling fast and responsive, and it was able to handle multiple music applications simultaneously. And it does live up to Apple’s promise of up to 18 hours of video playback, scoring 18 hours and 52 minutes in our looped 1080p video battery benchmark. It’s truly one of the best 15-inch laptops for music production you’ll find in 2023.

And honestly, this would have ranked higher on this list, had it not been for the fact that this is essentially a 13-inch Air M2 with a bigger screen – complete with the same specs and everything. In fact, our benchmark results show that it offers the same level of performance as the 13-inch, which means that if you’ve got that, there’s really no reason to spend a whole lot of money on this. Just invest in a monitor if you need the extra screen real estate.

7. MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

MacBook Pro is shown with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

Older but still great for professional music producers, especially those on a budget


CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-coreGraphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPURAM: Up to 64GBScreen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR displayStorage: Up to 8TB


  • Blisteringly-fast performance
  • Gorgeous mini-LED display
  • Epic battery life
  • HDMI, SD memory and MagSafe return
  • Comfy Magic Keyboard
  • 1080p webcam


  • No USB-A port
  • No update to $1,299 model

Why it’s the best MacBook for music production

The MacBook Pro is now its truest self with the launch of the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and its 16-inch counterpart. Armed with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max, MacBook impresses with breathtaking power and equally breathtaking battery life – just what every music maker needs and deserves.

Our review model worked exceptionally well during testing, allowing us to create and edit complex 3D scenes in Cinema 4D quickly and smoothy as well as edit 8K video on Final Cut Pro impressively seamless. Its unified memory also helps it handle demanding music production workloads beautifully.

Apple then rounds it all out with its XDR display with 1600 nits of peak brightness and a wide color gamut. There’s also an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports (all of which can stay available thanks to MagSafe charging being back.) It’s among the most expensive MacBook Pros ever launched, but it’s also certainly among the best Apple laptops for music production.

8. Mac Studio

Front view of Mac Studio  

A compact Mac for professional music producers


CPU: Apple 10-core M1 Max or 20-core M1 UltraGraphics: Integrated 24-core – 32-core (M1 Max) or 48-core – 64-core (M1 Ultra) GPURAM: 32GB – 128GB unified memoryStorage: 512GB – 8TB SSDDimensions (H x W x D): 9.5 x 19.7 x 19.7 cm


  • Blazing-fast performance from M1 Ultra
  • Great design
  • Plenty of ports
  • Whisper-quiet


  • Expensive for what you get, especially at the high end

Why is the best Mac for music production

Apple’s Mac Studio can deliver more power than almost any other computer on the market, and it packs it all into a quiet, well-designed chassis that looks good on a desk. It’s an excellent desktop for music producers.

The Mac Studio is like a super-charged Mac mini for music makers. Apple’s newest Mac, this is an impressively compact computer that comes packing some serious power. Thanks to a choice of the M1 Max chip, or the brand-new uber-powerful M1 Ultra, the Mac Studio is well-equipped for demanding music production tasks.

The Mac Studio is a formidable machine when it comes to video editing, coding and 3D modeling, in particular. It proved during testing that it the graphical grunt to handle 18 streams of 8K footage on the fly, allowing us to view, edit and add effects on Premiere Pro easily. We also saw it load up an incredibly detailed 3D scene that took up more memory than most discrete professional PC GPUs come with.

The level of performance on offer here will be overkill for many music producers, but if you’re looking for a workstation PC for heavy creative workloads, such as editing 8K footage or rendering complex 3D scenes and animations, then the Mac Studio will be a great choice. It’s expensive, but worth the investment.

9. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)

Top-down view of an open 13-inch MacBook Pro in Space Gray.  

Apple’s most affordable MacBook Pro for music production with powerful internals


CPU: Apple M2 with 8-core CPUGraphics: Integrated 10-core GPURAM: 8GB – 24GBScreen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 display with P3 and True Tone technologyStorage: 256GB – 2TB SSDDimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm


  • Blazing-fast performance
  • Amazing battery life
  • Sharp, vibrant display
  • Comfortable keyboard


  • Same old design
  • 720p webcam
  • Limited ports

Why it’s the best MacBook for music production

The Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch (2022) delivers mind-blowing performance thanks to its M2 processor along with class-leading battery life. It might not come with a new design update, which makes it look and feel a bit redundant, especially because the M1 version is pretty impressive in its own right. However, while there’s nothing exciting about its outside, Apple’s brand-new M2 chip certainly makes up for it in a massive way.

If you already have the M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch, this might not be worth an upgrade – unless, of course, you need a bit more power. In our tests, this 2022 model achieved better performance in both single and multi-core CPU tests. That means a noticeable boost in its multitasking capabilities, allowing music producers to open and utilize various applications open at once. It also scored around twice as much as the Intel Core i7-1185G7-powered Surface Laptop 4, and lasted almost two hours longer than the M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch in our battery life test. That’s while keeping the same price tag as before.

How We Test The Best Music Production Laptops

To find the best Apple laptop for music production, we run each through our gauntlet of benchmarks and real-world tests, and then use them as our main computer for as well. Only then are we comfortable recommending them (or not) for your purchase.

We use a Klein K-10A colorimeter to test each Mac’s screen to find its average brightness and color quality (so we don’t just assume Apple’s ratings are correct). When it comes to general performance, we use the Geekbench 5 (CPU performance) benchmark, and time how long the Macs will take to transcode a 4K video to 1080p.

We also run the BlackMagic storage speeds test to see how fast these Macs’ SSDs are (spoiler alert: they’re all pretty fast). Then, we run our custom battery test to see how long each MacBook (at 150 nits of brightness) can last browsing the web over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

We’ve also tested various computer games on MacBooks, with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm being one of our current favorites to run because it runs well on both macOS and Windows, giving us a good point of comparison.

No matter which Apple MacBook you buy, be sure to check out these MacBook Ventura tips and tricks to make the most of your Apple laptop.

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By Dave Johnson Executive Editor
Dave Johnson is the editor-in-chief at GeeksChalk where he oversees all of site’s evergreen content to ensure it’s up to date with the latest information. Hailing from New Jersey in the US, he has over seven years of experience in the tech journalism space and holds a degree in English Literature. In his spare time, Dave can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.
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