Studio hardware stuff, part 2349872984

My ongoing anxiety regarding recording studio computer stuff has continued. Yesterday while doing day 1 of Novembeat I found that my 2016 MacBook pro is still just like… way too slow to make music on (especially if I stream at the same time). And then I saw that there’s a bunch of deals on 2020 MacBooks happening right now.

I was about to buy a 2020 MacBook Air with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, but then found out that Apple had a deal on refurbished 2020 MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD for only a little bit more, and the refurb price is less than the equivalently-equipped MacBook Air’s price. So that’s what I ended up ordering.

I’m a little concerned that maybe I’ll be a bit too limited in terms of ports; the 2020 MacBook Pro only has two Thunderbolt ports (and nothing else), so I’ll have a lot of stuff running through my Thunderbolt dock, including my monitor. The monitor supports 4K60 and so does the dock, but for some reason I’m only getting 30FPS on the 2016 MacBook, which is really frustrating to use (and also the MacBook supposedly supports 4K60 over Thunderbolt). The other Thunderbolt port is going to be occupied by my external NVMe drive (because even with 1TB of internal storage I still need to put NI Komplete somewhere!) so if I can only get 4K30 on the monitor I’m going to have to spend a lot more on a different Thunderbolt dock. Or I could try the official Apple one (which is only $65) but then I’ll lose my Gigabit ethernet, which is also really important.

Maybe I should have paid a bit more and gotten a 2021 MacBook Pro instead. Or figured out how to stop being stuck with Logic. But I like Logic.

Anyway, the nice thing about the refurb MacBook Pro is that I was also able to order it with two-day free delivery, which isn’t the case with the current MacBooks (which have to come from China and are very delayed due to the supply and shipping delays).

The other thing I worry about is that Native Instruments still doesn’t fully support M1 for a lot of the stuff I use. In particular, the Komplete Kontrol keyboard driver is pretty incomplete, and the control surface stuff doesn’t work quite right, and it doesn’t directly support half-pedaling for some reason (although there’s a workaround for that, if I give up my expression pedal, which I never use anyway). Or maybe that’s been finally fixed? I haven’t had my S88 hooked up to an M1 since I moved back in April, but my M32 lives on the Mini and there’s a lot not working with that right now and NI blames M1 support on the problems.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a better setup.


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