MacBooks are great computers for music production, but they’re also famously expensive. So if you want to use a MacBook for music production, but you have a tight budget, you might find it difficult to buy one.
But don’t worry, there are actually a few different options if you’re looking for an affordable MacBook that can do quite well for music production.
So in this article, I’m going to walk you through all of them. And at the end, I’ll help you decide which one will be best for you.
But it’s a lot cheaper than Apple’s other laptops that cost several thousand dollars, and it actually gives you awesome performance.
In fact, it’s so good that I actually included it in the article I wrote recently about the best MacBooks for music production where I compared it with some of Apple’s more expensive laptops.
In that article, I go into more detail about the M1 Macbook Air so you might want to take a look at that if you haven’t already.
But essentially, the M1 MacBook Air is really powerful, reasonably affordable, and has no fans (meaning no fan noise) and great battery life all thanks to Apple’s new M1 Chip which it uses instead of an Intel processor like most MacBooks use.
The only minor issues are that the 13 inch screen can feel a little bit cramped but that’s really no big deal and is really the case with all MacBooks under $2000.
And, because the M1 chip is not like the Intel chips that MacBooks used to use, there is a small chance that some music production apps or plugins could face some compatibility issues, but Apple has a software called Rosetta that can make Intel apps run on the M1 Chip really well so this really isn’t a big deal.
So all things considered, I would say the M1 MacBook Air is hands down the best budget MacBook for music production, and even if you can only afford the base model, you won’t be disappointed.
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So while the M1 MacBook Air is going to be the best budget option, and it’s the cheapest one Apple Makes.
It still has a fairly high price tag, so much so that some would say it’s not even a budget laptop at all.
So if you can’t afford the M1 MacBook Air, your best option is going to be a refurbished MacBook.
You do have to be a bit careful when buying a refurbished computer, but, if you buy one from a program like Amazon Renewed, they will guarantee it has been restored to its original condition and is working perfectly. And if there are any issues, you can easily return it.
This way, you can get a perfectly useable MacBook for around $300 – $500 and still feel confident that it’s going to work.
So let’s take a look at some of the renewed options out there at the moment, unfortunately I’m not entirely sure if the refurbished MacBooks I’m looking at today will still be in stock in a few week’s time.
So, I’m just going to show you a few examples of renewed MacBooks that would be good, and if the exact one I mention isn’t available at the time you’re reading this, you should hopefully be able to find something similar on this page here.
The 2 Core i5 processor is not exactly hugely powerful by today’s standards, but it should be quite capable and powerful enough to handle a regular music production workflow without any hiccups.
Something else about this MacBook that I think is particularly good is that it has a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of a Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
Some of the older refurbished MacBooks available on Amazon use HDDs for storage which is fine, but everything will likely run a bit slower because HDDs are usually quite a bit slower than SSDs.
Quick note: Apple has been putting SSDs in MacBooks since 2008, so if you find a renewed MacBook that has an HDD, it’s clearly a very old computer and I probably wouldn’t recommend buying it.
Unfortunately this particular SSD only has 128GB of space, so you will likely need to use an external storage device or a cloud storage service like Google Drive to store a lot of your files, but it’s not a huge deal considering you’re getting a great computer for such a low price.
So overall, while it is fairly old, if you’re not quite able to afford the new M1 MacBook Air, a renewed MacBook Pro like this will be a great option.
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But, if you’re budget is very low and you need something even cheaper, something like this refurbished MacBook Air is probably going to be your best bet.
It’s very affordable, and it does have an SSD (instead of an HDD) and an Intel Core i5 processor, but it might be a little bit underpowered for music production.
The processor is a 2 core Intel Core i5 which is decently powerful, but it is a fairly old i5 and the base speed is only 1.4GHz so the performance while producing music might be a little bit sluggish.
And it only has 4GB of RAM which should be enough to handle a regular music production workflow, but you’ll probably want to close any other apps that are open in the background to give you as much space as possible.
So overall, while a laptop like this is not exactly ideal for music production and would probably be better suited to lighter tasks like web browsing and email…
It is still a very good computer considering the very low price and it should be able to handle a basic music production workflow without any major hiccups.
Want To Buy The Refurbished MacBook Air?
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So hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea as to the sort of refurbished MacBooks you could get through the Amazon Renewed program that will still be reasonably good for music production.
But, if you really don’t want to get a refurbished laptop and you can’t afford the new M1 MacBook Air, I think your only option left will be to consider a Windows or Chrome OS laptop.
I know this article is meant to be about MacBooks, but if the previous options I mentioned don’t sound any good to you, and you’re willing to consider using a different operating system, I have an article about the best laptops for music production under $500 that has some really good laptops on it.
And that brings us to the end of this article.
Basically, I would highly recommend the new M1 MacBook Air as a reasonably affordable option, but if that’s out of your price range, a refurbished MacBook from Amazon renewed is going to be the way to go.