MacBook Air M1 on battery

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Martin Gifford
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MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Martin Gifford » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:23 am

Hi all,

I want to get back into music production. I remember with Windows laptops the Ableton interface would fade out or wash out when running on battery. Presumably it was because of the power schemes. But I heard the MacBook Air M1 stays on maximum power even when not connected to a charger. So I'm wondering, does this resolve the washed-out experience? I'm particularly interested in responses from people who have experienced this problem on Windows laptops and have since started using MacBook Air M1. TIA.

[jur]
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by [jur] » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:04 am

Don't forget that Aplle's M1 machines are still not officialy supported by Live.
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properLofi
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by properLofi » Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:53 pm

I’ve no idea how well the M1 Air will cope with Live 11 but there’s no washing out on either of my MacBook Pros running on battery. Live does rinse the battery though so I don’t get much time before needing to plug in.

jestermgee
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by jestermgee » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:01 am

The MacAir line is not really designed with performance in mind as far as I understand, it is the budget range used for web browsing basically. The M1 processors are also designed with "low power efficiency" and in the physical world there has to be some limitations with performance and the power used to obtain it so my guess would be that you would have a somewhat average experience compared to a MacPro which is more aimed at this kind of thing.

cids
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by cids » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:42 am

The MacBook Air M1 performance is comparable to other M1 based Macs (MacBook Pro and Mac mini). When Ableton and the plug-ins you're using will be Apple Silicon native then the MacBook Air will offer great Ableton Live performance! Check out YouTube tests where they use an M1 MBA for Apple Logic... the MBA M1 has a single-core benchmark score of 1700 which is almost the best of any Mac ever made... multicore benchmark score is 7373 which is almost on par with an iMac Pro - Intel Xeon W-2140B @ 3.2 GHz (8 cores)...
Mac mini 6-core and Mac mini M1

Genelec M030; Live 11; macOS 11

UAD Apollo Twin

Ableton Push 2

Martin Gifford
Posts: 430
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Martin Gifford » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:25 pm

Thanks for the replies. It looks like Macbook Air M1 will keep the Ableton GUI clearer than windows laptops when on battery. Another issue:

Has anyone moved from using a Windows mouse to using the Macbook's trackpad for Ableton? If so, do you prefer it or is it equal or is it worse? I'm going through a minimalist kick, so I would love to be mouse-free, but logic suggests that a mouse will be more efficient and more fun. I want a seamless experience, and I heard that Macbook trackpads were awesome. But I tried the Mission Control gesture on a Macbook Air in the shop and could only get it to work 2/3 of the time. (Yes, I was doing it properly.)

Beanstalks
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Beanstalks » Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:13 pm

Hi Friend,

I'm currently using a 2021 M1 MacBook Air on battery with the following plugged in:
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 24" 4K monitor
- Apollo Twin Duo MK2 for audio output
- Push 2
- Komplete Kontrol M32 MIDI keyboard
- Running Live 11.

While playing 5 clips simultaneously my CPU usage bounces between 21 - 30%.
For kicks and giggles I just copied and pasted 40 tracks with clips and played them all at once, the CPU usage bounced between 70 - 80%.
Specs are 1TB SSD - 16GB RAM. As I'm sure you know there's no fan inside this laptop so that stayed silent and remained cool to the touch.

Macs have the best trackpads in my opinion and that's what I'm using at the moment.
I recommend enabling the three finger drag option under Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options > Enable dragging. This allows you to easily drag and drop items, move windows around your screen, or move notes on the piano roll all without tapping or clicking first.

I've used this setup for 3-4 hours at a time and haven't come close to 50% battery yet. 75% screen brightness, usually just have Live and Safari running.

No sign of the washed out screen you were mentioning, everything has been a breeze for this laptop especially for this application. Very happy.

Martin Gifford
Posts: 430
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Martin Gifford » Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:19 am

Thanks again for the replies.
Martin Gifford wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:23 am
With Windows laptops the Ableton interface would fade out or wash out when running on battery. Presumably it was because of the power schemes. But I heard the MacBook Air M1 stays on maximum power even when not connected to a charger.
Incredibly, one day after buying a Macbook Air M1, I thought of a Windows possible solution after years of searching. It's in the Intel Graphics Control Panel. The solution is to Disable "Display Power Saving Technology". It worked. The default must be Enable because all my Windows laptops had this problem. Hopefully, this info will help others.

Regarding the Macbook Air M1: It works well. It also has a clearer screen, which helps this issue. But the claim that people learn MacOS quickly is hard for me to believe, unless they are Einstein. MacOS is fiddly as hell. And if there's a problem, there is no obvious way to sort it out apart from contacting Apple and hoping they know what they are doing. My conclusion:

Windows computers: Easy operating system, bad hardware.

Mac computers: Great hardware, difficult operating system.

YMMV.

cids
Posts: 507
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by cids » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:26 am

"MacOS is fiddly as hell" Maybe you can share some examples so forum members might be able to assist?
Mac mini 6-core and Mac mini M1

Genelec M030; Live 11; macOS 11

UAD Apollo Twin

Ableton Push 2

Martin Gifford
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:48 am

Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Martin Gifford » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:27 am

cids wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:26 am
"MacOS is fiddly as hell" Maybe you can share some examples so forum members might be able to assist?
Thanks for the offer. It's probably fine for Ableton. But if you use your computer for other things, then it severely reduces productivity. The following has nothing to do with Ableton, but it might be useful for Ableton users who use their computers for multiple serious activities, and who have only heard that MacOS good and easy:

• Need to learn a heap of new keyboard shortcuts
• Missing keys like page up/down, home/end, and nothing available like the Windows flag key
• Bad compatibility with Windows (e.g. doesn't work with NTFS file system, so all your backup drives won't work unless you buy another program for that)
• No pinned documents in the dock
• Bad connectivity (only two USB C ports in Macbook Air)
• Missing Editor pane in Word
• Apps Store not updating properly then chewed up 6gb of data to update one app.
• Not pasting the last thing I copied in Word (this can be disastrous if you aren't paying close attention)
• Doesn’t minimise and maximise properly, e.g. when you minimise, CMD+Tab doesn't bring the window back
• Word items not showing up in the ribbon like Navigation Pane and Styles Pane
• Word's Read Aloud sounds annoying
• Word: No dragging and dropping headings in the navigation pane
• Replaces items in the whole Word document rather than just in the highlighted text
• CMD-TAB doesn’t show all open Word docs, so I have to go to Window and scroll down

Many other problems, and of course, many of them are due to Microsoft not doing a proper version of Office for Mac. But if you are mainly using Ableton and internet, then it's fine. The hardware is great. Macbook Air runs silent and doesn't get too hot. Also, has Core Audio. Other hardware benefits too.

cids
Posts: 507
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Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by cids » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:47 am

• Need to learn a heap of new keyboard shortcuts

Most of the major ones are the same if you learn to use Command instead of CTRL

• Missing keys like page up/down, home/end, and nothing available like the Windows flag key

Buy the right external keyboard...

• Bad compatibility with Windows (e.g. doesn't work with NTFS file system, so all your backup drives won't work unless you buy another program for that)

https://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/

• No pinned documents in the dock

Depends on the developer to support this

• Bad connectivity (only two USB C ports in Macbook Air)

So a MacBook Air is an entry level Notebook so for most users limited connectivity is sufficient or they will buy an USB hub

• Missing Editor pane in Word

Tell Microsoft

• Apps Store not updating properly then chewed up 6gb of data to update one app.
• Not pasting the last thing I copied in Word (this can be disastrous if you aren't paying close attention)

Tell Microsoft

• Doesn’t minimise and maximise properly, e.g. when you minimise, CMD+Tab doesn't bring the window back
• Word items not showing up in the ribbon like Navigation Pane and Styles Pane

Tell Microsoft

• Word's Read Aloud sounds annoying

Tell Microsoft

• Word: No dragging and dropping headings in the navigation pane

Tell Microsoft

• Replaces items in the whole Word document rather than just in the highlighted text

Tell Microsoft

• CMD-TAB doesn’t show all open Word docs, so I have to go to Window and scroll down

You can do this in the Dock
Mac mini 6-core and Mac mini M1

Genelec M030; Live 11; macOS 11

UAD Apollo Twin

Ableton Push 2

jonljacobi
Posts: 637
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:36 am

Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by jonljacobi » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:29 pm

Martin Gifford wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:27 am
cids wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:26 am
"MacOS is fiddly as hell" Maybe you can share some examples so forum members might be able to assist?
Thanks for the offer. It's probably fine for Ableton. But if you use your computer for other things, then it severely reduces productivity. The following has nothing to do with Ableton, but it might be useful for Ableton users who use their computers for multiple serious activities, and who have only heard that MacOS good and easy:

• Need to learn a heap of new keyboard shortcuts
• Missing keys like page up/down, home/end, and nothing available like the Windows flag key
• Bad compatibility with Windows (e.g. doesn't work with NTFS file system, so all your backup drives won't work unless you buy another program for that)
• No pinned documents in the dock
• Bad connectivity (only two USB C ports in Macbook Air)
• Missing Editor pane in Word
• Apps Store not updating properly then chewed up 6gb of data to update one app.
• Not pasting the last thing I copied in Word (this can be disastrous if you aren't paying close attention)
• Doesn’t minimise and maximise properly, e.g. when you minimise, CMD+Tab doesn't bring the window back
• Word items not showing up in the ribbon like Navigation Pane and Styles Pane
• Word's Read Aloud sounds annoying
• Word: No dragging and dropping headings in the navigation pane
• Replaces items in the whole Word document rather than just in the highlighted text
• CMD-TAB doesn’t show all open Word docs, so I have to go to Window and scroll down

Many other problems, and of course, many of them are due to Microsoft not doing a proper version of Office for Mac. But if you are mainly using Ableton and internet, then it's fine. The hardware is great. Macbook Air runs silent and doesn't get too hot. Also, has Core Audio. Other hardware benefits too.
Methinks in some of these cases, it's the user being fiddly. Kind of like traveling to a foreign country and expecting everyone to speak your language.

Martin Gifford
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:48 am

Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by Martin Gifford » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:31 am

Methinks in some of these cases, it's the user being fiddly. Kind of like traveling to a foreign country and expecting everyone to speak your language.
No, just counteracting the claim that MacOS is quick and easy to learn.

[jur]
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by [jur] » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:50 am

Learning something new necessarily request a bit of time... why does this even have to be discussed!?
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grrrz
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Re: MacBook Air M1 on battery

Post by grrrz » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:31 am

the trackpad on macbooks is generally very usable for anything; including extensive work sessions in live. It might take a little while to get used to; but it's certainly miles ahead than most windows laptops I've tried.

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