Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

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Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by h4ndcrafted » Sun May 17, 2020 1:30 am

Wow what a box of crap this has turned out to be. Apart from it having srs Bluetooth issues due to inadequate shielding of the Bluetooth controller, my 2011 iMac has more CPU.

In Ableton I think it is to do with the Mac having intergrated graphics. But I’m idling at 20%

I wish I had known about the issues with the Mini Mac. Just a heads up if anybody’s thinking about getting one.

I’m using the i5 6 core version. The Bluetooth shielding issue means you can’t use anything that wants power in the usb 3.1 ports.

Oh and of course, even though Apple advertise it as the 2020 , it’s a 2018, even says so in the system info :mad:
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by seta666 » Sun May 17, 2020 1:46 am

Well, the procesdor seems to be a 6core i5 8500b, which should not fare bad. Cpubenchmark changed the way they review cpus, according to them is more poerwfull than the i7 3770k I still own...but for how long? In small systems termal throttling is an issue. My computer is 7 years old but the i7 is OC an running at 4.4Ghz 24/7, never had an issue.

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/11 ... -mini/amp/

For music production, specially when using high cup demanding plugins, you need a powerful CPU that can keep that power for long periods and that can only be attained with big boxes and custom cpu coolers. Nothing expenssive, but those are ver bulky.

This 20€ cpu cooler is the one I use, my matx case has a big front 180mm fan, never had a problem and as I say it is running 24/7 at 4.4Ghz

The integrated graphics should not be a problem, in fact they tend to work better that discrete gpus the gpu in my i7 only uses 8% or so with push 2, but I added a gt1030...

And Ableton when shows 40% cup means one core is already at 40% but you may still be able to add more stuff.

To see the real cpu use get a proper cpu monitor, I guess OSX has its own one.

If you could return the Mac mini you could build a matx hackintosh with propper thermal solutions...it would probably end up being cheaper too

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by Kent » Sun May 17, 2020 4:06 am

Please don't create duplicate threads across sub-fora. Thanks. The other was deleted as it contained less content.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by bobbylandry » Sun May 17, 2020 8:52 am

My Mac Mini is working great with Ableton (and Logic and Renoise and Numerology and lots of other stuff all running at the same time) so there's that. I upgraded from a 2011 iMac as well which you also mentioned. I haven't run into the bluetooth issue, I'm using a Bluetooth keyboard and have an SSD plugged into the USB port and they both work fine. What specifically is the problem?

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by donato » Sun May 17, 2020 9:44 am

What a whiney thread. Most people are doing just fine with Ableton and a Mac Mini. In fact, this is the first time I've seen something like this. Yes, there is a bluetooth issue of it losing connection periodically. Maybe get a keyboard or mouse that has a cable. If this situation bothers you so much, sell it and move on.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by 3hands » Sun May 17, 2020 2:31 pm

donato wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 9:44 am
What a whiney thread. Most people are doing just fine with Ableton and a Mac Mini. In fact, this is the first time I've seen something like this. Yes, there is a bluetooth issue of it losing connection periodically. Maybe get a keyboard or mouse that has a cable. If this situation bothers you so much, sell it and move on.
How is this whiney? He’s making us aware of his problem with his computer. This isn’t Gearslutz, so keep the negative comments to yourself.
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by h4ndcrafted » Sun May 17, 2020 7:49 pm

Yes , sorry about that Kent, noted.

The Bluetooth issue is well documented , as I understand it, it’s been an issue for a while.

Plug in two powered devices into your 3.1 ports and see how your track pad jitters. I can just about get away with plugging in a mouse and an ssd to make the magic pad work, but it won’t connect to my Bose speaker 3 meters away. If I place my hand over the top left corner of the Mac Mini Bluetooth stops completely. It’s just a very weak signal. If I u plug any powered device from there , my Bluetooth immediately starts working. There are even third party shield kits to fix the issue.

As for the CPU, there are threads about it being graphics related on some Mac forums , so I did what was advised to test. I reduced the size of my Ableton window , and the issue was gone.

Some things are ok , may be it’s two problems, because I get pops and clicks mainly with The native wavetable synth in live.

Anyway there is some debate here if anybody is interested. I can use the Mac Mini , but I haven’t had any performance boost from upgrading , and my iMac 2011 still gets things done faster.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ma ... s.2157086/

People seem to have the same issues here

https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?t=233038
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by h4ndcrafted » Tue May 19, 2020 4:11 am

Well I’ve been doing some more research , looks as if the new T2 security chip could be the issue

https://tidbits.com/2019/04/05/what-doe ... mac-usage/

If you are thinking about buying a Mac with a T2, at least educate yourself about the possible problems you could face.

As for me, this is likely being sent back , and after 14 years of Mac I’m going to be pulling my hair out with windows configuring a stable system. At least I have a chance of configuring one I suppose.
Will miss all the great things about macs though. I’m not willing to jump to logic , not that would solve much if it is the T2 chip.
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by h4ndcrafted » Tue May 19, 2020 7:47 am

Resizing the window clears the issue up, so maybe it is a graphics issue after all.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton! (Solution added)

Post by h4ndcrafted » Sat May 23, 2020 4:46 am

Ok well I’m all fixed , but in hindsight , I’d probably build a windows system if I didn’t have so many Apple products.

So I fixed the issue with buying an external egpu. In total this comes to about £400 cheaper than the iMac I would of needed to buy to have similar performance. This way however I’m modular so my eggs aren’t all in one basket so to speak. This was about £400 more expense than I had planned, with just the Mac Mini. Seems it is Ableton Mac issue , Reaper seems to be fine without the egpu.

So I purchased a Razor Core case with a Sapphire rx570 8gb card. Keeps the Mini Mac fan from going off , but the psu of the Razor core has a louder fan. IMacs are normally silent in my experience, so there is that.
Thing to note is not all programs can use the egpu , such as handbrake. So remember to check if you go this way. In info you can set programs to use the egpu exclusively, but that doesn’t mean they can.
Thankfully Ableton seems to and my cpu is acting normally with no pops or clicks at 32 samples with out much load. I’ll probably leave it at 128 though for extra cpu.

I’d go this route over the current iMacs , but if you find yourself where
I am and can cope with going back to windows and the driver and update hassles , then I’d personally recommend doing that , you’ll probably end up with a much more powerful machine these days, even with macs clever optimisations in their O.S.

This is quite a niche situation , but I hope this helps somebody decide what to do if they find themselves here.
0C896DE5-96EE-445C-A6EA-ACCCC91E0B3E.jpeg
1B299070-349B-42D6-AC61-D8AF5B33DE89.jpeg
I’ll just add the sapphire itself is extremely quite, rarely spins up unless there is my screensaver going off or I am playing a game. With Ableton I haven’t seen it spin at all, it’s only the psu fan I can hear. About as load as an idle Windows machine. You can mod the psu fan though , you can probably even replace the psu yourself for a quieter one.
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton! (Solution added)

Post by bobbylandry » Sat May 23, 2020 8:28 am

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:46 am
Ok well I’m all fixed , but in hindsight , I’d probably build a windows system if I didn’t have so many Apple products.

So I fixed the issue with buying an external egpu. In total this comes to about £400 cheaper than the iMac I would of needed to buy to have similar performance. This way however I’m modular so my eggs aren’t all in one basket so to speak. This was about £400 more expense than I had planned, with just the Mac Mini. Seems it is Ableton Mac issue , Reaper seems to be fine without the egpu.

So I purchased a Razor Core case with a Sapphire rx570 8gb card. Keeps the Mini Mac fan from going off , but the psu of the Razor core has a louder fan. IMacs are normally silent in my experience, so there is that.
Thing to note is not all programs can use the egpu , such as handbrake. So remember to check if you go this way. In info you can set programs to use the egpu exclusively, but that doesn’t mean they can.
Thankfully Ableton seems to and my cpu is acting normally with no pops or clicks at 32 samples with out much load. I’ll probably leave it at 128 though for extra cpu.

I’d go this route over the current iMacs , but if you find yourself where
I am and can cope with going back to windows and the driver and update hassles , then I’d personally recommend doing that , you’ll probably end up with a much more powerful machine these days, even with macs clever optimisations in their O.S.

This is quite a niche situation , but I hope this helps somebody decide what to do if they find themselves here.
0C896DE5-96EE-445C-A6EA-ACCCC91E0B3E.jpeg
1B299070-349B-42D6-AC61-D8AF5B33DE89.jpeg

I’ll just add the sapphire itself is extremely quite, rarely spins up unless there is my screensaver going off or I am playing a game. With Ableton I haven’t seen it spin at all, it’s only the psu fan I can hear. About as load as an idle Windows machine. You can mod the psu fan though , you can probably even replace the psu yourself for a quieter one.
I got an eGPU for my Mac Mini as well but it has a dumb problem where if I let the Mac Mini sleep the GPU fan (a Radeon VII in a Razer Core) spins up to full. My research says it's a problem with the Radeon VII and will never be fixed as it will never be officially supported by Apple. I just set the computer to never sleep though and instead shut off the monitor which works fine for me but is still annoying.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by h4ndcrafted » Sun May 24, 2020 8:57 pm

Is there a reason you need to use that video card ? I know there are a few that have issues on the supported list.
I’d cut yr loses and maybe buy a card that works , because that would annoy me.
The only start up issue I have is the screen only comes on at password screen , you don’t see boot logo. Not that it really matters. Also if I change something in my I/o ports , I have boot a second time before the screen comes on regularly. I.e. force quit then on rebooting it registers.
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton! (Solution added)

Post by PatrickW » Mon May 25, 2020 3:30 am

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:46 am
I’d go this route over the current iMacs , but if you find yourself where
I am and can cope with going back to windows and the driver and update hassles , then I’d personally recommend doing that , you’ll probably end up with a much more powerful machine these days, even with macs clever optimisations in their O.S.
As a long time MacOS user, I also assumed that there were a lot of "clever MacOS optimisations" towards Apple hardware.
Tests show something different though.
Linux, Windows 10 and MacOS on the same Macbook Pro : Linux wins, Windows 10 follows and MacOS is last.
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... ntu&num=10

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by bobbylandry » Mon May 25, 2020 7:27 am

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:57 pm
Is there a reason you need to use that video card ? I know there are a few that have issues on the supported list.
I’d cut yr loses and maybe buy a card that works , because that would annoy me.
The only start up issue I have is the screen only comes on at password screen , you don’t see boot logo. Not that it really matters. Also if I change something in my I/o ports , I have boot a second time before the screen comes on regularly. I.e. force quit then on rebooting it registers.
I'm using this card cause it's good, no losses to cut and it doesn't annoy me much. If there was a better card available I might have been more annoyed but there wasn't so I'll live.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton! (Solution added)

Post by h4ndcrafted » Tue May 26, 2020 7:16 am

PatrickW wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:30 am
h4ndcrafted wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:46 am
I’d go this route over the current iMacs , but if you find yourself where
I am and can cope with going back to windows and the driver and update hassles , then I’d personally recommend doing that , you’ll probably end up with a much more powerful machine these days, even with macs clever optimisations in their O.S.
As a long time MacOS user, I also assumed that there were a lot of "clever MacOS optimisations" towards Apple hardware.
Tests show something different though.
Linux, Windows 10 and MacOS on the same Macbook Pro : Linux wins, Windows 10 follows and MacOS is last.
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page= ... ntu&num=10
I wonder what it would show a few years down the road? Granted I haven't used windows for many years, but my memory of it is having to re format every year or so to keep things nippy.

Regardless I can see myself emigrating over to windows again for music. It's really Time Machine, easy audition of audio (although you could buy a dedicated sample librarian I suppose) and obviously the Audio and Midi app makes things a lot more user friendly.
Although I could be wrong about that, it's been a while.

My last iMac lasted me 10 years, I hope this can stretch to that, even if I don't end up using it for music for long, we shall see.
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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton! (Solution added)

Post by tehyar » Tue May 26, 2020 11:15 am

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 7:16 am
I wonder what it would show a few years down the road? Granted I haven't used windows for many years, but my memory of it is having to re format every year or so to keep things nippy.
Oof I remember doing that all the time too. Your comment got me to thinking: when was the last time I did a refresh like that? I used to be super diligent about it. I think it’s been about 10 years at this point. I typically have several machines in use, too.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by Estes » Tue May 26, 2020 2:42 pm

I built a customized pc for all my music productions needs after ten years mac. Feels good man, saved a lot of money and windows 10 is not so bad after all. Lot of things even work better on windows like obs for streaming.

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by Shledge » Tue May 26, 2020 3:18 pm

I have a custom PC for music/3D rendering purposes, pretty confident it would put most macs to shame in sheer CPU grunt. Based around the Ryzen 3900x - 12 core/24 thread beast. :cool:

For example, my iMac at work would take about 15 minutes per 3D render, while my PC can do it in less than 2 minutes despite costing less. This is despite the iMac being pretty recent!

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Re: Avoid Mac Mini 2018/20 if using Ableton!

Post by JayEm » Tue May 26, 2020 6:42 pm

I won't dive into the Mac vs PC debate, but dude, you bought another computer to run a graphics card for your computer.
Just return it all and get the iMac you want.
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