Recording with iMac and fan noise


New member
I've been thinking about upgrading my recording computer and have been looking at newer iMacs. I probably can't afford anything newer than a 2015, but I want to stay within the tapered edge models(late 2012 and on). Those of you using these, are they dead silent? I have a one-room treated studio that is fairly quiet and am finicky about any external noise when I record.

Mine is a 2017 - large model with upgradable memory and fusion drive. It is totally quiet for audio work but I keep the project files on an external disk array that’s in a closet - I’d suggest SSD these days. The fans come on when it’s rendering video.

I’d you keep the system in a null of the mic pattern the fan noise probably is manageable in a mix, i.e. if it would come on briefly. It would depend on what your recording and mic placement of course.

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I've got one in the other studio space and compared to the PC there too, it's almost silent. If the fan does go into fast mode then you hear that. The only snag seems to be Apple gradually shortening the time software works before hitting a brick wall where your software needs the update you can't have? Mine is I think 2013 maybe? I can't have the latest OS so when my software requires it, I'm stuck.


New member
The late 2015 iMacs will run the newest OS (Monterey). I'm also looking at Mac Minis now too. A 2018 model sells for about the same or less, and I can use long cables and hide it in a closet. Seems like the cpu's in the 2018 Mini models are decent as well. Thanks for the replies.

The latest, released version of Mac OS is Big Sur.

I think my 2010 MacBook Pro topped out at High Sierra. My 2012 Mini is still running Mojave but could go later. HOWEVER, Mojave is the last one with support for 32-bit apps, and I’ve got a few of those I don’t want to (or can’t) upgrade to 64-bit versions, so it will stay on Mojave until it stops working. (And the I’ll try to find something used to clone it to.)

The new Minis are nice machines but like the small iMacs have no upgrade capability. Make sure you know what you need and don’t buy less.
If you haven't seen it already grab Macs Fan Control.
If the fan is audible but temperatures are safe you could manually slow the fanspeed while you're recording then just quit the app when you're not.

If silence is your thing and you're considering a newer mac mini, take a look at the latest M1 model.
It's super fast (seriously), cheap compared to intel IX offerings, and runs very very cool.
I think you'd need to do some hardcore video rendering long term before the fan would even think of turning on.

I have the M1 macbook air which is the same hardware but fanless and have zero issues with temperature.

If you do go down that road just have a google and make sure your software is compatible*. Always a good thing to do.