Tell me about the new Mac M1 processor

Delmont

Member
Just watched a few videos about Mac Airs and Mac Pros with the new M1 processor. Apparently the M1 processor is a lot more efficient than the Intel processor it's replacing. But I'm still not sure what it all means for me.

I'm thinking of getting the Focusrite Claret 8Pre for live recording and would use no more than a couple of plug-ins when mixing.

So what would I need to record up to eight tracks at once — and mix them with few or no plug-ins?:

- Mac Air 8 gig
- Mac Air 16 gig
- Mac Pro 8 gig
- Mac Pro 16 gig

Thanks!

Del
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
According to Focusrite, the Clarett 8Pre series is not currently compatible with the M1 processor running Big Sur. There is a driver issue with the Thunderbolt version, and an issue with Focusrite Control software for the USB version. It seems there may be some issues with OS versions >10.13. Information is listed on the Focusrite website.

Focusrite Compatibility

A standard Mac Pro with an I7 chip should be more than adequate for 8 channel recording. More memory is usually better to have. If I was going down that road, I would wait a while before going for the M1 system until the software has been written for native M1 support rather than using the x86 translation layer.

For now, I'll stick with my old Intel I5 based PC/ Tascam setup. It will record 8 channels at once.
 
Hi,
Whether M1 makes sense for you, right now, depends on a fair few things.
I upgraded from a Mac Pro 5,1 12 core to a MacBook Air M1.
That's a huge upgrade in single core performance, multicore performance, memory speeds, hard drive speeds, external bus speeds, and power consumption, and it's portable...and there's something like 20 hours battery life!?
It was also getting to the point where an upgrade was really needed as relying on 10 year old hardware doesn't feel good.
Get the re-sale value while it still has it.
That was a total no-brainer upgrade, for me.

However, if you're coming from, say, a 2015 or later mac that's perfectly capable and takes the latest OS..Does M1 make that much sense?
Probably not. The performance and power consumption are really hard to believe but if you're already on a capable system do you really need/want to buy into the 1st gen base-model run of Apple Silicon? As impressive as it is, it is the 'mk1', so to speak.

As Talisman points out compatibility is likely to cause problems for quite some time.
Apple implemented a Rosetta 2 layer which basically means any intel apps you had should still run just fine (and it's pretty incredible) but that doesn't account for kernel extensions (drivers) which would need to be compiled for Apple Silicon.
That means unless your interface is 100% class compliant or the manufacturer is explicitly stating that they've made and released M1 compatible drivers, it's not going to work.
The same is true for any software which requires the loading of .kexts/drivers. Virtual bus software, some interface control suites, etc.

I should say, there's no Apple Silicon "Mac Pro" yet.
It's Mac Mini, Macbook Pro, and MacBook Air - They all have the same hardware but the air has no fan.
It still runs nice and cool for regular work but it's not ideal for long term stressful work, like daily video renders for example.
I've been using it for 2 months for audio duties and it's flawless.

Anyway - Come back with more info or questions if you have them.
In short I'd go M1 over intel if you're coming up from very dated hardware and really need to move, and a portable or mini works for you.
If there's no pressure to upgrade, I'd just wait a year and see what happens.
Second gen is almost certainly just around the corner and most likely going to be seen in larger Macbook Pros and iMacs.
 
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Folkcafe

Active member
I have a Mac Mini M1 maxed out. Using it for 4k video editing. It's not the same performance as something with high end video cards for rendering but what it does in the price range is pretty amazing. There is some stuff that doesn't work yet such as some plug in's. I've got a couple of Slate ones that don't but the rest does. There is a list online that is ever growing of what does and doesn't for audio production. You should search for it.

I'm trying demos of just about everything with it because I've not decided on what software. I am running Final Cut and the Adobe creative suite, all without issue. Haven't had any hiccups at all. Still waiting on a new thunderbolt interface but mostly because I am deciding between the Presonus 4848 or 2626. Also figure I'd wait till official M1 support for any hardware I'll order.

So dollar/performance ratio is really good even with the base model. I'd go with the 8 performance/8video core with 16 gig memory version CPU at a minimum and use thunderbolt SSD drives to expand storage. I went 1TB and still use portable drives and the throughput is plenty even for 4k video.
 

TAE

All you have is now
I just watched a video the other day from a guy who does a lot of video...and he is saying the $700 entry level Mac mini with the M1 blows his $3000 macbook pro away...led me down the rabbit hole of looking at these... For audio right now my 2012 iMac with 16 gigs of ram and and i5 processor is way more than I need but I don't use a shit ton of plugs just reaper and and a few effects. I'm just going to plod along for now and in a year we can pick up the used m1 versions for at least 30% maybe more than new... If you watch your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
I just watched a video the other day from a guy who does a lot of video...and he is saying the $700 entry level Mac mini with the M1 blows his $3000 macbook pro away...led me down the rabbit hole of looking at these... For audio right now my 2012 iMac with 16 gigs of ram and and i5 processor is way more than I need but I don't use a shit ton of plugs just reaper and and a few effects. I'm just going to plod along for now and in a year we can pick up the used m1 versions for at least 30% maybe more than new... If you watch your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves.
I'm just returning back to the Apple platform after many years of working in the Windows world. I used to build audio and video workstations as part of my studio day job back when Apple was all nubus. Don't know if anyone remembers the comparisons when Apple went Intel and of how many native plugins you could run but it was enough of a cost savings and performance bump to make me change.

For the last few years, I was considering getting back into video but the cost of building a decent Windows workstation was out of my budget seeing as I needed all new cameras too. Started seeing all those M1 videos too. Had mine for a couple months and other than the usual adjustments to OS, it is going great.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I haven't really run anything Apple since playing the old SSI wargames on an Apple ][+ or ][e. My son uses a Mac laptop, but that's just for work, so I have no idea how I would like it for anything I do.

The only thing that I am really awaiting on the Windows/PC platform is widespread adoption of Tbolt3/USB4. Properly done, it should be a step up in overall latency and reliability IF it is properly done.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
I haven't really run anything Apple since playing the old SSI wargames on an Apple ][+ or ][e. My son uses a Mac laptop, but that's just for work, so I have no idea how I would like it for anything I do.

The only thing that I am really awaiting on the Windows/PC platform is widespread adoption of Tbolt3/USB4. Properly done, it should be a step up in overall latency and reliability IF it is properly done.
I ran my first business off a IIc. Funny to think about it now. 128K of memory, 200 baud modem and the dot matrix printer. Wife worked for a computer company and I replaced it with a bunch of 286's all networked together token ring.

One thing I am really impressed with that you kind of forget about is how easily the Mac handles things like media formats and I/O, where the PC is always a struggle it seems. Here the control Apple has is a benefit and I say that as a big PC user. Key to your statement is "properly done". Been a lot of years, I'm done waiting on Microsoft to make it less painful.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I was speaking more about writing the drivers than OS support and hardware support. Thunderbolt wasn't going to get widespread usage as long as Intel wanted licensing fees. Now that they have relaxed that position for TB3 and USB4, I think you'll see it on more machines. Plus USB4 is SUPPOSED to be compatible with Thunderbolt. What I haven't seen is whether it will fully support things like H/W interrupts, PIO and DMA support. Some of the spec, like PCIe tunneling is optional.

As for the old systems, I remember buying a bunch of 10base2 Intel network cards, a couple hundred feet of cable and lots of connectors at the Dayton HamFest. 25 years ago, my friends and I had a pretty sweet network gaming setup for Saturday nights. Anybody need a copy of DRDOS6, or OS/2? Maybe some Novell Netware? I can make you such a deal!

I still have a 110 baud acoustic coupler somewhere in the basement for my old TI 44/4A system with TWO floppy drives, UCSD Pascal card, memory and serial/parallel cards. It was a $1000 system back then.

After learning on that, running Windows on a $500 laptop is a piece of cake.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well - my four year old MacBook Pro with 8gb and a smallish SSD and 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 can manage perfectly well to record 24 tracks from my M32 Midas/x32 Behringer mixers into cubase. Plug it in - set the routing 1:1 and hit record. It works fine. The M1 should do it better. This is at 48K/24 if it helps.
 

pipelineaudio

Well-known member
Just watched a few videos about Mac Airs and Mac Pros with the new M1 processor. Apparently the M1 processor is a lot more efficient than the Intel processor it's replacing. But I'm still not sure what it all means for me.

I'm thinking of getting the Focusrite Claret 8Pre for live recording and would use no more than a couple of plug-ins when mixing.

So what would I need to record up to eight tracks at once — and mix them with few or no plug-ins?:

- Mac Air 8 gig
- Mac Air 16 gig
- Mac Pro 8 gig
- Mac Pro 16 gig

Thanks!

Del
The worst i3 you could buy today would run circles around the type of computers we used to record and mix at low latencies with piles of plugins not so long ago.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Only issue for me was that used Macs still hold their value and so the Mini made sense both price and technology wise, as I already have 32 inch 4k monitors.
 
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