Garageband is easily one of my favorite aspects of using macOS and iOS. Paired with a MIDI keyboard (and PianoForAll so you know what you’re doing on the keyboard), it’s a great tool for music production, and certainly an excellent introduction to the world of producing.
For free software, it’s one of the best, for sure. In conjunction with Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro, and iMovie, I think that Apple is one of the best in terms of solid programs to use.
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Before we explore this topic in detail, I’m just going to say that I’m not a computer expert. However, I can offer my experiences and my thoughts on what I’ve been using thus far.
The best laptop for Garageband users is the 15″ MacBook Pro with 512 GB of storage, 16GB of RAM, Solid State Harddrive, and the Intel UHD Graphics 630 Card.
This is the one that I use (unfortunately, the cheaper 13″ version without as much power and memory), and thus far, there haven’t been any issues with the way that Garageband runs on it, however, we will explore some of the problems with the computer that aren’t Garageband-related.
With that said, if you choose the option that I mentioned, the one with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of Storage with the 8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor, the Intel UHD Graphics 630 Card, and the SSD, you should be able to avoid the problems that I’ve had.
For years, I used a 13″ MacBook Pro from 2010, which worked for a long time.
In fact, the laptop still functions perfectly, however, it started to slow down and become a little more clunky, including one instance where it crashed and I lost everything on the computer temporarily while I was on vacation.
Thankfully, I was able to pull the information off the computer and then wipe it clean, so I didn’t lose anything, and now I have a backup laptop sitting in my drawer.
Regardless, I have a MacBook Pro from 2017 right now that’s also a 13″ laptop, and thus far, it works with Garageband without much issue.
However, there are certainly some drawbacks.
Similar to how Bluetooth headphones aren’t the best for music production as I’ve argued before, a laptop is not actually the best computer to get when it comes to music production. Truthfully, you’re better off to have someone actually build a computer for you from scratch with the following specifications:
- 16 GB of RAM
- 3 GHz Processor Speed
- 4 Cores
- Solid State Harddrive.
- Graphics Card 2GB
The specifications that I listed above are what musician/producer/YouTuber Rick Beato has recommended for building your own computer, but if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to take the time to actually figure it out or find someone that can do this for you.
Regardless, if you’re truly looking for the absolute best computer for music production, you should probably have someone build one for you with the specs that I mentioned above.
But, assuming that you’re not going to do that, I would simply opt for a 15″ MacBook Pro with the highest amount of memory, processing speed, and RAM. While I don’t personally own the best version of the Macbook Pro, I can tell what I’ve loved about mine thus far.
Pros of Using the MacBook Pro
1) The Sleek, Lightweight, Compact Design
Frankly, I really like the small and sleek design of my new computer. It’s very lightweight and is literally a fraction of what my old computer used to weigh. I think it’s literally half the size of my old one.
You can check out the image below to compare the size.
This makes carrying my computer around with me incredibly easy. It’s not a big deal at all anymore.
I work on my computer around 10 hours a day due to my job writing entertainment news for a living and also for this website part-time.
Which brings me to why I like the keyboard on this computer so much.
2) The Keyboard is Great
When I was watching the Joe Rogan podcast the other day, he was saying how much he disliked Apple’s new keyboards, but frankly, I love mine.
I like how the keys are actually much closer to the rest of the laptop so I don’t have to push down them quite as hard as I used too. Moreover, they’re not overly loud either. It’s quieter and more inconspicuous.
Additionally, I find the structure of them to be more suited to writing thousands of words a day which I often do. To give you an idea of how much I write, I typically write 5,500 words 3 days a week and 3,500 words per day 3 days per week.
This amounts to 27,000 words, which is like writing a small book once per week. I find the keyboard on this thing is great for just that.
3) Compatibility with the iPhone
I imagine that PCs have the same compatibility with Android phones, but I really like the way Apple has made it so simple for all of the devices to be interconnected and easy to sync, although, they have made some irritating changes to iTunes in the last few years.
I can AirDrop pretty much any file that I want to directly from my computer, which makes editing photos and transferring videos back and forth extremely easy.
This especially comes in handy for the articles that I write on this blog. For instance, if I want to take a picture of my guitar, I can just do it with my phone and quickly transfer it over without having to connect anything.
Assuming that you’ve synced your computer with your iPhone (by the way, this is the one I recommend from Amazon), all of your iTunes will be in your Garageband library, so that means that if you want to quickly use a sample from your iTunes, you can just drag and drop it easily from your iTunes into Garageband.
I wrote about that more here in my article on how to sample using iOS.
Furthermore, when it came time to get a new iPhone, transferring the data and SIM card was literally a ten-minute process that required me only to set my old phone near my new one which essentially air-dropped everything, including the apps and all my data.
4) Doesn’t Crash When Running Garageband
From what I’ve noticed thus far, Garageband almost never crashes while I’m running it unless I’m using another energy-intensive software at the same time, for instance, Screenflow and Google Chrome all at once, however, if you are having this issue, I do have a guide.
However, if you get a MacBook Pro with upgraded specifications, like the one I linked to above, you will likely be able to avoid this issue.
From what I understand, Apple actually can build computers for you with custom specifications, so if you really wanted too, you could have a far superior computer.
I haven’t had any problems with a lot of plug-ins either. If you know anything about music production, plug-ins can actually use quite a bit of memory and processing power. However, I haven’t had any issues.
Drawbacks of the 13″ MacBook Pro 2017
From what I know, some of these drawbacks are seen across the board in the modern industry of computers.
1) Not Enough Disk Space
For instance, my MacBook Pro, because I didn’t understand their recent changes at the time of purchase, doesn’t have as much space or RAM as my laptop from 2010.
Truthfully, I just assumed that the computer would be even better than the old one because I was buying a fresh Apple computer. My experience with my first one was so good that I figured it would be a good choice regardless.
However, the one that I have right now only has 120 GB of space on it, which means I often run into problems, such as not having enough space to store my music on it, the videos that I make for YouTube video tutorials, as well as my Garageband files.
For that reason, I’ve purchased an external hard drive which I store all of my files on.
I use the Seagate 1TB external hard drive (from Amazon). Frankly, I have no complaints about this thing. It works great and it does what it’s supposed to do.
Moreover, I also begrudgingly have an iCloud subscription that holds around 500GB of additional space, which took me a long time to finally give into because I was so mad when I found out that my new computer didn’t have as much space on it as my old computer.
Yeah, it was dumb of me to purchase a computer without actually looking at the specs of it, but as I said above, my experience with my 2010 MacBook Pro was so positive that I just thought, “It’s Apple, so it’s obviously going to be good.”
I think it’s worth mentioning that the reason why Apple has removed so much space from their computers is that they’re trying to make them as sleek and as sexy as possible, in conjunction with pushing everybody over to an iCloud account so they can charge you a monthly subscription in perpetuity.
It kind of gives you a bad taste in your mouth.
2) Eliminating All The Ports
From what I understand about the computer industry, pretty much all laptops are moving toward fewer ports, due to the sleekness of the design, (but also so they can charge $50-$100 for a new adaptor).
My MacBook Pro 2017 has only two USB-C ports on it, so I bought a multi-port adaptor that has pretty much everything you would ever need on it.
It was $100, but it’s extensive in terms of what it allows you to do.
With that said, I would be lying if I was thrilled about the elimination of the ports, because to me, it just seems like they’re taking away what they used to give for free, so now we’re paying additional money for things that simply used to be an expected part of using a computer.
Anyway, moving on from that. I would definitely recommend getting a multiport adaptor for when you purchase a new MacBook Pro.
3) Not Able To Run More Than 2 Programs At Once
As I mentioned, this thing doesn’t have as much RAM and processing speed as my old one, so it’s not able to do a number of complicated tasks at once.
For instance, if I have Garageband running in the background as well as ScreenFlow, there’s a good chance that the computer won’t be able to handle it well.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to do what I mentioned above and get the best MacBook Pro you can get your hands-on with the most space, processing speed, and RAM.
The one I linked to at the beginning of the article should suffice.
4) The Price
Yeah, the price of Apple products these days have really been crazy. The newest phones are a great example of this, with many of them going beyond $1000.
I paid around $1400 for my MacBook Pro, so it was quite a lot.
Ultimately, I would say that if you have the time to invest in getting the perfect computer, you’re much better off to have someone build one for you with the specs listed above.
However, assuming that you don’t want to go through that process, just grab a new MacBook Pro with the most storage, processing speed, and RAM on it as you can muster.
Don’t cheap out on it. Save up for your money and drop the additional $500 for upgraded specs, because ultimately, if you don’t, you’ll end up with a computer that won’t be able to handle all of the plug-ins and additional software.