New Mac processors (Apple Silicon M1, ARM type)

I am quite disappointed…
I have a war against Apple, a personal one: me against them.
Yesterday I realized I lost that war (obviously).

It all started when someone gave to me as a gift a nice iPod, 18 years ago.
It was a really expensive device then, with 30 gigabytes space.
I fought against that bloody thing one night, the real enemy was Apple iTunes.
I already had at that age part of my CD collection saved on a NAS in FLAC format.
There was no way to copy something on iPod, because Apple Tunes didn’t use FLAC as acceptable file format.
I put that fucking device on my desk, after some months I found a hacked firmware that allowed full transparency (FLAC files visible from an USB connection on my AlfaRomeo car).

After some bad experiences of the same type (some MP3 or FLAC files saved on my Android phone that were not usable by a Mac in a recording studio) I decided my firm resolution: I will never buy an hardware refusing to use widely used file formats or file systems.
I am the one who pays: my hardware must play what I want. No compromises about that.
Until yesterday.

So my personal workstation has been always a Windows notebook with Reaper and a vast collection of VSTs.
I started to play live with VSTs many years ago when I bought first Komplete collection (Vintage Organs, best hammond simulation than any other synthesizer, at that age).
So my live gigs are now driven by Cantabile, and I love it.
As a matter of fact, I found Cantabile on internet as a substitute of Mainstage.

Now everything changed: new M1 processor by Apple is making every new hardware by Cupertino company 10 years ahead any Windows machine.
No competition: Intel chips are now useless, expensive, stupid heat creators.

@brad: I think you should work on an ARM version of your Apple porting of Cantabile.
As soon as possible. Every musician will turn to Apple in few months if I see it in the right way.

You cannot imagine how I am sad…

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Not to be combative, just a difference of opinion…I do not believe “every musician will turn to Apple in a few months”. Apple has plenty of problems, especially dealing with music. No need to go back and make the long list…it is on many music forums. Most musicians I know are struggling to get by, and the last thing they are going to do is purchase an over-priced computer.

My Windows machines are running very fine. I’ve not had a “brand new” computer in ten years. I bought some newer refurbished computers that do an excellent job, so why would I break the bank just to have the newest expensive toy? My Intels are running very cool, are very useful, and are very far beyond “stupid”.

Cantabile is not a substitute for Mainstage. It is far superior. Mainstage is limited, as are other competitors. Brad is constantly improving, based on user input…the others only occasionally update.

Quite honestly, I do not keep up with newest chip advances anymore. Everything changes too quickly. I’d rather spend my time making music, especially on machines that deliver what I need. A new purchase will not change anything over what I already have. Just my 2 cents.

Pace mio fratello :peace_symbol:



Peace and love fratello!

My opinion: this is a quantum leap.
I just bought a new notebook by Msi.
Working to make latency as low as possible.
But this takes time, and knowledge (Brad’s ebook is pure gold).
My old Asus has problems on some drivers and Latency Mon was a disaster.
Every 5 years I usually change my notebook, it was more or less the right time, I thought.

But I am fighting with latency again.
I have time with lockdown. But this does not mean I am happy to work on something that should work immediately.
I hate to admit, but with a Mac this would not happen.
This M1 beast allows incredible performance, you can see first tests on YouTube.
Something like 10 times speed and 5 times less energy.

Stone has been thrown: I am not available to spend money on an Intel chip anymore. Yes, compared with an M1 an i7 is jurassic.

Don’t blame latency on your computer. There are too many other factors involved. A Mac by itself would not “fix” the problem. You have to play with the buffers, and check your settings on your sound card. I have no latency problems on any of my computers, but I had to adjust some things in the beginning. It is somewhat different on every machine, according to what your system has available. Most computer problems are user related…not sayin you…just saying in general.


Again. I agree with you.
Latency on buffers for audio is an issue always. On every computer, due to audio management between ISR. Mac included.
But Mac (again, not happy about that) had less problems on network drivers and other issues which are Windows classical Achilles’s heel.

Funny, after years of wars where I was on windows side, now I play the Apple fanboy role…

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I’m not holding my breath here - don’t believe that Apple can disable the laws of physics :wink:

According to current (continuous performance) benchmarks (Cinebench), single-core performance is roughly in the range of the Intel Tiger Lake architecture i7; multi-core performance is comparable to Intel Comet Lake (i7-10850H) or Ryzen 7 4700U. With this data, I don’t see ARM out-performing Intel by a factor 10 here, and no Jurassic Park :sauropod::t_rex:when comparing to current i7s.

For the moment I’ll stay comfortably in the Wintel space. Especially since my little Live-Cube uses desktop processors with better continuous performance than energy-optimized notebook processors.

A different story is the overall audio architecture of macOS vs. Windows - according to the Mac community (I don’t own one, so can’t compare) it seems to be easier to get low-latency performance out of macOS with its core audio system than with the sometimes convoluted and not real-time-optimized Windows world. Maybe someone with some experience in the Mac world can comment on that - I can’t…





Also like “Wintel” :laughing:

Best laugh I’ve had in a week!

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good - anything that provokes a laugh in these times is nice :wink:

Wasn’t even meant as a joke - just nerd-speak for Windows-/Intel platform. I speak Geek :nerd_face:

But involuntary jokes are the best :grin:


I thought for a moment you were posing as @FredProgGH!


I saw something that reports exactly the opposite.
Again… I am so sorry, you cannot even imagine

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I am an apple fan for my main computer (much more pleasant than Windoze), but cost performance on WINTEL is still better and I still have PC only VSTs that I am reluctant to lose (but not many now). I pay the price premium for my main computer as my last Mac lasted me from 2011 to 2019 and apart from a few glitches in that time. It just worked…

I bought my Toshiba laptop in 2010. It was my main laptop until this year, when I bought some refurbs. BUT, I played my 1st gig since March 13th 2 weeks ago. I used it all night on the gig. It performed perfectly (although I had some controller glitches unrelated to computer). I am typing on it now. I replaced a fan and broken hinges 3 years ago. Very quiet, and reliable. I really believe computers were like cell phones at one time…2 years and it’s over. Doesn’t seem to be that way anymore.

I tend to trust reputable and well established benchmarks like Cinebench and tech review sites more than YouTube videos from authors more specialized on audio mastering - just sayin… Still, the vid is more entertaining than most tech review vids, so thumbs-up on that score :wink:

Overall, the tech sites seem to agree that the M1 is a serious step forward for Mac users (!), compared to previous MacBook Pro and Mac Mini models. Also especially for the mobile space (low energy consumption) a definite step forward.

Re overall performance, it’s not like the M1 is in a class of its own (it “only” beats the old Mac Mini with an i3 by some 50-100% (single vs. multi-core), not a factor of 10):

But it’s definitely a strong new player on the mobile device market.

A current disadvantage is the fact that due to its new architecture, it will only deliver its full strength with applications built for this architecture - everything else will have to run through the Rosetta2 layer, which diminishes performance (see above). The example in the video was run only with “native” M1 plugins (space designer); “real-life” performance will vary depending on your setup.

But hey - competition is good; I don’t think Intel and AMD are fully asleep at the wheel yet, but maybe a bit rusty and comfortable in their duopoly, so if there’s something that drives them to step up their game, I’m all for it!

Let’s see in a couple of months when the hype of “newness” has settled down to a bit of normalcy - don’t think Apple will fully dominate the market by then, but hey - who knows?

I must say that Windows laptops can definitely be fickle beasts sometimes regarding real-time audio performance, especially with some interrupt priorities that can’t even be configured in the BIOS on some models, so there’s definitely a certain charm in getting something that “just works”. That’s why I tend to buy my music laptops from specialist sources like Schenker or Digital AudionetworX - they build their laptops specifically for music applications, so they’re less likely to get distracted by funky power management or wifi driver issues.

Such troubles are not a processor issue, though - more one of BIOS and chipset. There are some Dell laptops I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole for low-latency audio, while ThinkPads have a reputation of being pretty well behaved…

No such issues with my desktop PCs and live cube - they just run like they’re supposed to…



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Some personal thoughts/opinions…

  • Any unmaintained VST plugin won’t probably ever be ported to Apple Silicon
  • Apple hardware: generally great. Apple OSes and software: not a fan.
  • Apple developer documentation is total garbage.
  • Cantabile for macOS - while still on my radar isn’t high on the list and the harder Apple make it the less motivated I am to pursue it. The big question here will be whether .NET core is ported to it (seem like it will).
  • I’ve not been impressed by some of Apple’s more recent behaviour - their strong arming Epic, the issues reported by Hey and other similar stories.

TL;DR: I’m watching this space albeit with some pessimism.


I became a MAC fan when I borrowed an iMAC from a mate to do some compatibility testing of my Java apps on OS X. He used to do it for me, but was very busy one time, so I loaned the computer to do it myself. I had it for two months around 2007. Loved it. At the time I had four VISTA (spit) or XP based PCs in the house and they all had problems on them that I had trouble solving. The iMAC just ran. Started up in ten seconds, shut down in 5, and never crashed once, and to me it was very Amiga like (I ran my Amiga’s for as long as I could after Commodore’s demise until I went to a PC in about 2001). I was really sad to see the Mac go back to my mate, and resolved that when I needed to update my main desktop, it would be a Mac.

Whilst I think Apple have slipped a little of late, I still prefer the Mac in terms of general usability and look and feel, and mostly hassle free use. I am not intending to start an OS war here, opinions like this are very personal. :slight_smile:

The biggest issue I find is switching between the two - when your muscle memory for Ctrl key vs Command key needs to change several times a day it’s maddening.

(actually, OSX use of Cmd+ key is one of the very few things that I prefer on over Windows/Linux Ctrl+ ).

As for Apple usability I really think it’s a bit of a myth. Even after using OSX consistently for a months, switching back to Windows always feels like my productivity lifts - could be because I’m a heavy keyboard user and driving OSX almost requires using a mouse.

Surprisingly, lately I’m starting to feel Linux (particularly latest Ubuntu) is starting to get the edge in usability and things just working.


So when’s the port to Ubuntu coming then, Brad? :rofl::wink:

Funny, I don’t have the problem switching between the two, but I have been doing it for 8 years. Usually anyway. What screws me is if I remote desk top from the Mac for the PC and I hit a problem with the muscle memory then.

Anyway, viva la difference, and so long as Cantabile is available on at least one platform, then I am happy. :slight_smile:

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No promises, but it might happen one day…

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