Its here … arrived yesterday…
Spec : Mac Mini M1 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
I know quite a few of us here are mac users, so thought I’d share my experiences, and plans…
You’ve likely seen review videos etc already, so you won’t be surprised to hear its fast.
But what I want to know is it useable today… or do we need to wait for things to settle down a bit, for developers to ‘make the transition’.
I think generally, most are wise to wait a bit… this is going to end up being the ‘base model’ we can expect faster/more powerful mac book pros and iMac, mac pro next year. Though I still thing this mac mini format is very attractive considering price etc.
that said, I desparately needed a new mac for both development and music.
I plan to make some videos on the M1 and how usable it is… but thought id blog some details here, also if you have any questions of things you wnat me to try - ask away.
my basic plan is:
step 1) set it up as a computer for music
step 2) set up dev environement to build both arm and intel builds
step 3) looking at migrating various software to arm
step 1 - music computer
installed Logic, Final Cut Pro (for youtube videos) , Bitwig Studio , Ableton Live 11 (beta)
all worked fine including the Push 2 for Live and Bitwig !
and indeed, as per reviews, it all feels very snappy regardless of using Rosetta or not.
I then tested midi connectivity , using my mioXM … for both midi input (keyboard) and clock sync - again 100% ok !
then tested audio interfaces … I use a Percussa SSP and Zoomo H5 - again fine !
then on to some software…
U-he, Madrona Labs , Vahalla plugs … boring, they work too
UVI Falcon… hah, this uses iLok bound to fail - nope works
(k, this was software iLok, I need to check the hardware dongle for cubase, but Im still on cubase 7, not sure if I want to install!)
VCVRack, seems fine… looking forward to trying some ‘heavy patches’ on it.
one amazing thing… I installed Loopback, which they have a public beta for the M1, this also worked a treat. (its great for routing audio around apps)
iOS apps - ok these are a bit disappointing, as many iOS developers have withdrawn the right to use on macOS … perhaps they want to test etc.
but for the ones I could get… I could get midi integration, audio integration (via loopback) and ableton link sync.
this could be a really interesting feature in the future
e.g. imagine building a track on the go on your ipad, then coming back to the studio, running the same app on your mac… but sync’ing it to your daw, and feeding its audio/midi into your daw to develop the track… in concept I did this yesterday !
so, I was very impressed by this point - I had expected niggles, some oddities, but it did just seem to work.
at this point, I moved onto areas I expected problems…low level hardware integration.
Madrona Labs Soundplane.
my first fail, basically its application crashes.
ok, this is not a big deal, and I kind of expected it… and I know Randy will look into it.
also, its open source, so I can dig in to …
step 2 - development
so the soundplane ‘issue’ started to lead me into step 2, setting up a dev environment.
so I got xcode and clion up n’ runniing. worked out how to get homebrew working, so that I could install cmake.
with this started to take my first steps into both compiling for ARM and Intel on the M1.
(got my first app of each type built )
this is kind of where Im at, Ive still a bit to figure out on the development environment, but its looking promising. Then I need to start looking at specific projects of mine.
The general idea is I first want to ensure that I can build and run my projects under Rosetta (so Intel).
Then start looking at native (arm) builds
short term plans
- test MEC under Rosetta
- test/setup EigenD under Rosetta
- build thing like MEC under Rosetta
- get soundplane working?
- youtube videos
- look to build project as native arm
- building ssp plugins under rosetta
- getting a linux vm running
- look at EigenD, work out how this moves forward.
so that’s kind of where Im at
Eigenharp info only from here …
Ive a feeling this is going to be a big change.
python 2.7 , surprisingly is installed on bigsur/m1… though gives a big warning when you start it.
so not sure how long it has left, before Apple kill it?!
time to think/test again a move to python 3… and decide what this means exactly.
(e.g. ditch python for UI, or entirely)
changing python etc, also means revisiting packaging - arghhh.
I think Scons really is showing its age, I think the build system needs to move to cmake.
I really like cmake, but more importantly Juce 6 now supports cmake, so that will help to tidy things up on that front. (Ive been using cmake/juce for plugins, so pretty familar/happy with it)
I would need to see how all the python stuff works on cmake, but given cmakes popularity, Im pretty certain that’ll be a ‘done deal’ already
also I hope that cmake would help us build univeral packages for intel/arm
note: Im expecting the above will mean no more 32 bit support … unless someone else wants to take this on as a ‘side project’
of course the above is quite a bit of change,
so at the same time, really need to review that this is the ‘best approach’.
Im concerned that there is only one ‘fast’ thread in EigenD. we seem to be moving to an age where multicore is very important… and one fast thread does not line up well with this!
… can it change, or is it better to be inspired by EigenD and move on?