Recently, my wonderful wife of 29 years gifted me a new Macbook Pro M1 and a UAD Twin X Quad Interface. After many years, my faithful Windows machine was starting to show its age, and was struggling with larger mix projects (100 + tracks).
Having researched the transitional nature of the new Mac Silicon architecture, and knowing I have 15+ years of software history on my current machine, I was prepared for some pain in the changeover. I had heard a lot of horror stories. As a backup strategy, I had even purchased a copy of Logic Pro X, and was prepared to start anew, should the transition prove impossible.
Was the plugin thing a pain? Yes, but really no more than setting up a new Windows machine (which I have done before). I’m in the middle of an album project, so I need to make sure the mixes open on the new machine. It’s fiddly and time consuming, but it is gradually happening… I’ve become very patient in my middle age!
The UA interface is not officially supported for Apple Silicon, but I got it to work without too much difficulty. It is pretty awesome, especially the real-time recording console…
Oh, and BTW, Reaper works fantastically with it, and if I can install the plugin on the Mac, it works with Reaper… so there’s that.
…But here’s the thing, the M1 is absolutely blazingly powerful machine. For example:
…I had set up Reaper to request a buffer size of 32 samples to play some guitar through plugin amp emulations. I forgot I had done that, and opened a project that had 103 tracks and probably 250+ plugins on it, many of them very cpu hungry. Not surprisingly when it played, it was distorted and glitchy. I duly facepalmed myself and set the buffer size back to 256, and it played fine… and then I thought “I wonder…will this play at an even lower buffer rate?”… so I cranked the buffer size down to 64 samples… and… like magic, it played beautifully, cleanly without a gitch!
…Now keep in mind, this same project will only play at a buffer size of 2048 samples on my windows machine, and even then, sometimes it glitches!.. and that machine was no slouch by Windows standards… it is an i7 with 16Gb of Ram.
I think that illustrates just how powerful the new machine is! I’m really looking forward to being able to have full projects going, and adding a last minute overdub without having to jump through hoops to account for the high latency playback necessary on my old machine.