New Apple Studio Computers & Cubase 12

I’m likely going to purchase one of the new Mac Studio desktops and I’m wondering if anyone has any thoughts regarding running Cubase 12 on them? Specifically, do you think that the extra processing power in the Ultra would be worth double the cost of the Max in terms of audio recording and mixing (as opposed to, say, video editing). And even more specifically, in terms of running orchestral (and other large) libraries? We’re talking $4000 vs. $2000 for the base machines. Thanks!

Seems like using large libraries is mostly a RAM thing. And that you need some fast external drives.

But CPU? Realize that despite all this amazing power… that Apple has now doubled in the Max Ultra… the single-thread score of these chips is still limited, and not double. So, you’ll still have CPU issues if you use a lot of heavy plugins on a single track and your master bus.

You don’t need double the graphics cores that the Max Ultra provides. That’s for graphics folks.

But maybe you do need double the CPU threads to run hundreds of tracks side-by-side.

I’d wait to see some benchmarks on these devices, watch some YT vids, then be able to make a more educated guess.

Or heck, just buy one. You’ll probably be able to sell it at a decent price.

Thanks for actually addressing my questions (the entertainment value of the other responses notwithstanding). Yeah, the single-thread question is a good one, and worth pursuing. I do, in fact, run a lot of heavy plugins, and am leaning toward the Max version, but increasing the SSD to 1TB (only my applications and system will live there) and the memory to 64GB. All audio, sample libraries, etc., will be on external SSDs connected via Thunderbolt or USB. That should do the trick. Cheers!


quite honestly ,i fail to see what is the benefit of getting a M1 for professional audio .I did checked the new macs ,nothing that makes me say “wow ,I need this !!!”
And I mean that exactly.You want to run heavy plugins in the feature? with 32gb ram ?really large track count? In the age of systems with 64 or 128gb of ram ,without breaking the bank ,they start with 32gb for 2000 USD !!!
My Windows system has 32gb of RAM.And while it handles everything I do great ,I just can not conceive of me not being able to upgrade memory.Then is the compatibility vs native plugins.I dont have to choose on Windows !!!

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It’s better to think of it like a long-term investment. At this point, I have so much time invested in my life in these screens that I’m looking at, I’m far less concerned about cost. A thousand dollars for a phone? Come on man. When would I ever have done that before? (of course the only reason I did that a few years ago was because Google was offering travel credits in the exact amount of the phone!)

I also use a PC. But there is extra time spent building them, researching them, and definitely more than a little bit more time spent troubleshooting them, in my experience… though I have lost at least a couple of days on a Mac. But Macs generally do tend to work better, it seems. Though that could just be good luck on my part…

You can expect a lifetime of 9-10 years before you won’t be able to upgrade the OS any more, in my experience.

In terms of performance, it depends on what you will need the machine for of course, but also on how software develops over the next 10 years.

In the past 5 years or so, some sample libraries have appeared that take a huge amount of cpu, and I’m sure that trend will continue. This will test the single-threaded performance primarily, and I don’t expect much difference between max and ultra here.

If you run lots of tracks with heavy loads, then I’d go for for ultra, the extra 10 cores would be very helpful.

I have the MacBook Pro M1 Max with 64 gig of RAM. It’s been more than enough power for my needs.

I compose mainly orchestral music with very large sample libraries and I’ve found it handles Cubase 12 easily, even in Rosetta mode.

So I guess although it would be nice to get the Ultra, I doubt very much you’ll actually need it. Even the M1 Pro has more than enough power. So you should be good with any of the chips - it depends more on how much RAM you want to run the projects.

I host all my samples on external SSD’s using a black magic dock. So I went for the 1TB hard disk.

Do you have personal experiences of running orchestral libraries on the new line of Macs like the OP asked?

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I use an MBP M1Max with 64GB and a 4TB SSD. with a nice 3rd party monitor and have tried up to 51 instances of BBCSO with single instruments with all articulations activated and it runs without clicks or other hiccups. The activity monitor shows no stress either.

The only clicks I sometimes get is with VSL Synchron player. I tried full Woodwinds (2F, 2O, 2C, 2 B, picolo etc. ) and 5 Elite Strings instances. No overload issues either but it clicks when an instrument kicks in for the first time. I think that has nothing to do with the processor or RAM however. The internal SSDs are extremely fast so I chose a large one for mobility on the MBP. For a desktop you might be better off with 1-2 TB SSDs with Thunderbold connection.

So not sure if you need more power than an M1Max.


As someone who has an m1pro MacBook I can say the 10 core cpu is just fine for now, if you want to future proof it then you could double up but why not just upgrade in 5-6 years time instead.
Personally with the studio I would look at using external nvme drives to work off as I don’t think the Apple storage is really quite what they say it is.
Sure things load up quick but we’re supposed to be seeing PS5 like load times.
I was running libraries off a usb 3 ssd on my iMac and that was running ok, the internal Apple storage is better, noticeably better but I would feel really ok about nvme external drives via thunderbolt/usb c on a desktop machine.

Typical storage today have about 3000 write cycles per cell. (Or byte if that make more sense). So if you have 1 TB ssd you can write 3000TB. Fast disks can do about 5 GB/s
And the drives get slower and slower due to worn out. Normal users on mac books consume about 1% of the disk life time per month.

The last few responses have been super helpful. Thanks, everyone!

I purchased the Mac studio M1 MAX to replace my old Mac Pro 2010 6 core you don’t need anything more than that I wouldn’t think


I think it is like shoes.

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okay ,I also own a macbook pro 2012 ,for long time.While it’s okay I still fail to see any real benefit using macosx.Once upon a time macs was more stable ,but now Windows are excellent.It’s not that hard to configure a system and keep it for at least 5 years.An AMD Ryzen Threadripper costs 1450 USD atm @B&H.that allows for a full system to be build around 2500$ ,and 3960x has 24 cores.
What I am trying to tell you here is that if someone is willing to pay and build a strong pc system ,for the same amount of money the new mac studio costs ,he will be getting a much faster system ,especially for audio use.I don’t care that much for 8k streams or apple pro res,Also I have paid for lots of third party plugins, and I’m not willing to wait to ported on M1 .rosetta of course is a joke for professional audio.

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I can at least say this, Rosetta is not a joke. It works really well, for some reason. Most plugins just work. It’s been no headache at all. And the performance is good.

I agree with you about the PC vs Mac. Both are good, but PC is more value for the money. I just think if I were starting out again, and money weren’t an object, I might just go with the latest greatest Mac due to the simplicity. But I probably went with the PC because I like to tweak, and that leads to more than my fair share of troubleshooting. So that’s probably the cause of whatever headaches I’ve had. But again, I have certainly had headaches in Mac OS. But MacOS is simpler. And the trackpad on their laptops is second to none. (But I looked at some PC laptops today and they’re catching up, or have already.) So I guess my next purchase is a nice USB trackpad for my PC… Yeah, that’s it.

Somewhat tangential, but which monitor?

Sorry did not see your question, my alert setting is somehow not working. I use an LG 34WK95U- W