MacBook specs needed for home recording

Hi all, I’ve been looking to start dabbling in home recording. I’m just after some advice on what specs would be needed in a MacBook. I’ve been looking at refurbished MacBooks as I’m constricted in budget. It would only be used for recording. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Lee.

if your on a budget you can get a normal laptop way cheaper than a mac


I’m using a Mac mini, M1 chip, 8 GB RAM. Digital audio interface is a MOTU M2. Application: GarageBand. In addition, using a guitar amp sim: Scuffham S-Gear. I originally had a Hackintosh with a pretty nice Intel CPU, but the M chips are significantly better.

It has more than enough CPU/RAM to handle home recording. Therefore, you can easily get by with the smallest M chip machine you can afford.

1 Like

Thanks for the replies. I’m looking at a MacBook Air (refurbished 2020) with 8gb ram, 256gb storage with the M1 chip. I appreciate I could go cheaper if it go different to an apple, but I’m kinda used to apple products. Just thinking they might last longer than an earlier version, I’m a bit of a Luddite so looking for a little guidance. Thanks, Lee.

1 Like

Apple M1 chips are good. 8GB RAM is the minimum system requirements for some DAWs, so if you can go for 16GB.

Make sure you have sufficient USB ports for an audio interface to connect (eg Focusrite 2i2). It should be directly connected to the Mac and not via a USB hub.


I suppose if you use GarageBand (which you should absolutely do), which comes free with your mac, it should work fine.

It will depend, of course, on how complicated your song projects are. If you work with dozens of tracks for a single song, etc., you might find you need more power.

There’s a lot on info on this subject available out there, a little googling will probably answer your detailed questions.

1 Like

Thanks again all, for the advice. I’ve been Googling away last night/this morning and it seems I won’t need anything too extravagant. It would be fairly simple projects, nothing that would need more than say 6-10 tracks on any one song. It would be GarageBand I’d be using. I think I’ve got it narrowed down to a certain spec and price point, will do some more research today then take the plunge. Thanks, Lee.

Just out of curiosity, why is that exactly? I have my AI connected via one of those small usb adapters that you plug into the standard usb-C ports. Is it because the adapter/hub might add latency? I haven’t noticed any disadvantages so far.

An adapter is different than a hub, hubs have multiple ports.

You want as little latency and no microstutters between your AI and computer, the best way to make sure that is the case is connect directly.

Connecting via an external hub might work fine, or there might be odd issues. Hubs are notoriously cheap and bad. Best way to make sure is direct connection.

I wasn’t using the correct terminology, because this would be referred to as a hub then? In my case it works ok.


Some AI, like the Scarlett Solo, come with a USB-C to USB-A cable, so that’s why I used the hub back then. The better option would be to buy an extra USB-C to USB-C cable then and connect the AI directly to the MacBook?

I use a MacAir with 8gig ram with Garageband and a high value Behringer AI. No latency or other issues to speak of. Also comes with iMovie for video editing. Super simple and nice for airdropping files from my iPhone. I also use a plugin hub as pictured above.

1 Like

Really appreciate all the info, as a newbie to all this it can be a bit daunting but I think I’ve finally got it narrowed down to what I need at the price point I can afford (with your help and hours of googling lol). No more dilly dallying, just gonna jump in this week and learn by doing (and watching some YouTube vids​:joy:) Thanks :v:

No need to change what is working. Sometimes if you plug an extra device into the hub (particularly old devices) it might introduce issues. My point was if picking a new computer, make sure it has enough ports to plug the AI in directly if you can.

1 Like

After much googling/researching I ended up ordering a refurbished MacBookAir with these specs

MacBook Air Retina 13.3-inch (2019) - Core i5 1.6 GHz - 8GB SSD 256 QWERTY - English

It should have plenty enough guts to meet my needs, looking forward to getting started :v:


I don’t have any Mac experience, but I’ve had extremely good results with used/refurbished iPhones. (I mean for general use…I don’t do DAW type work on my phone).

Old Apple devices are extremely functional and usually work reliably for several years, so you should be fine.

1 Like