Oh yes they are, and here’s why
For years, a lot of Mac users have been facing one compromise or another when it came time to upgrade computers for a Synth and Software studio. That probably changed with the new machines Apple announced today.
Maybe the price was too high (how’s $51,800 for a fully-configured Intel Mac Pro with less power than the Mac Studio models?). The machines didn’t support enough RAM. An iMac wouldn’t work for your ergonomic setup, or you didn’t want to use the built-in monitor. Laptops that did support enough RAM were too slow, too expensive, you just didn’t need to pay for a laptop’s built-in screen and keyboard.
Or knowing that Apple is making a transition to new processors (the M1), you balked at investing in a machine with the old Intel processors.
Whatever. The Mac Studio machines would seem to answer every objection a musician would want for a studio computer – and then some.
In addition to having a silly amount of power, the $2K base machine has 32GB of memory – enough RAM for to run most large sample libraries. If you run a large orchestral template, bumping that up to 64GB is another $400.
That’s the base model Mac Studio, which uses the M1 Max processor from their high-end laptops. Machines with the more macho M1 Ultra processor ($4K base) start with 64GB, or you can go up to 128GB.
Those prices are in line with what we musicians have been accustomed to spending on studio computers since the dawn of the digital era.
Now, it’s still going to take some time before every last instrument or processing plug-in you use gets updated to the new Apple M1 processors. But at least if you use Logic Pro, each plug-in runs in its own process. That means Logic Pro and updated plug-ins run natively on Apple Silicon, while others run under Rosetta (Apple’s translator for backward compatibility).
And there’s plenty of power to run all the softsynths you can eat.