Best MacBook for DJing [2020]

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In this modern world, we are using technology more for business.
As a DJ, performing to a room full of guests, we need to have the best equipment available for both performance and reliability.
More often than not, DJs are using Apple MacBooks. But what is the best MacBook for DJing? Find out below…

Why do DJs prefer MacBooks?

Whenever you go to a club or bar, you are likely to see the bright glow of the Apple logo emitting from their laptop. Sure, there are some great Windows/PC laptops, but there is a reason DJs tend to prefer MacBooks.
MacBooks, particularly MacBook Pros are designed for multimedia: Photography, Video and Music. They are more reliable, have better performance and are much less prone to crashes.

Read: Where do DJs get their music?

Apple has a proven track record to design and produce high-spec laptops, optimised for managing intensive software and hardware applications. They are renowned for their displays, graphics and processors.
DJs rely on storing, managing and accessing their music libraries; running DJ software, playing two or more tracks at a time, and; mixing with plugged in DJ controllers and other equipment.

Do you need a MacBook for DJing?

If you look at the most popular DJ software apps, such as Serato, Traktor and Virtual DJ, you will find that they are compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. So you don’t have to buy a MacBook, but they are certainly the popular choice.

Read: How to DJ with a Laptop

One of my favourite websites is Equipboard – you can look up some famous artists and find out what equipment they use. I looked up a few DJs and found that of the ones that had their laptops listed all use MacBook Pros. Have a look for yourself;
Calvin Harris
Diplo
DJ Jazzy Jeff
Fatboy Slim
Kygo

DJ using MacBook

What Specs does your MacBook need for DJ software?

Whatever laptop you decide to purchase for DJing, you will need to keep in mind the minimum specification requirements. Each DJ software company’s website displays the requirements.

For example, Serato DJ Pro needs the following as a minimum:
– Operating System: macOS High Sierra 10.13/Windows 10
– Processor: i3: 1.07GHz
– Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720
– Memory: 4 GB (RAM)
– USB: Available USB 2.0 port
– Free HDD Space: 5 GB
Note: 64-bit only (32-bit operating systems not supported).

As a general rule, try to keep at least 70-80% of your hard drive clear for optimum performance.

Best MacBook for DJing in 2020

What are the advantages of using MacBooks?

Build Quality – MacBooks are well built. They are cased in aluminium, giving them a strong, durable shell. This helps withstand knocks and drops.
Screen Quality – Apple has always produced screens that are bright and sharp. The more recent MacBooks have what Apple call Retina Displays, meaning a much crisper display than on other laptops. They are easier to see in bright and low-light environments.
Battery Life – MacBooks offer at least 10 hours of battery in normal conditions, most newer models offering more. This will be slightly decreased in heavy usage like DJing, but you should comfortably manage a 4-5-hour gig even if you have left the charger behind.

So, what are the best MacBooks for DJing? Here’s the list. I have selected the base models of each, but you can choose better specs if required:

Best MacBook For DJing in 2020

1. MacBook Pro, 16-inch (2019)

Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 Processor | Storage: 512GB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M | Battery: 11 Hours | Weight: 4.3 pounds/2.0 kg

As Apple have now discontinued the popular 15-inch MacBook Pros, they have been replaced with the slighter larger, 16-inch retina screen.

Newer MacBook Pros now come with a Touch Bar – the colorful strip across the top of the keyboard that lets you select various commands and changes depending on what you’re doing at the time.

DJs will love the larger screen size, ideal for viewing the decks, waveform and music library all in one, bright screen.

It comes with 16GB RAM, 512GB Solid-State Drive (SSD), 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor, and around 11-hours’ battery life.

Main Features:

  • Display: 16-inch LED Backlit Retina Display
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Memory: 16GB RAM
  • Processor: 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours
  • Weight: 4.3 pounds/2.0 kg
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Ports

2. MacBook Pro, 13-inch (2020)

Processor: 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor | Storage: 256GB SSD | Memory: 8GB RAM | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | Battery: 10 Hours | Weight: 3.02 pounds/1.37 kg

If you want a MacBook Pro, but have a smaller budget, the 13-inch version is more than suitable. You still get the Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar and Touch ID, but with this version you are restricted to just 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and only two Thunderbolt 3 ports, unless you upgrade. The battery is still a healthy 10 hours.

Main Features:

  • Display: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Processor: 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Weight: 3.02 pounds/1.37 kg
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Ports

3. MacBook Air, 13-inch (2020)

Processor: 1.1GHz Dual-Core Core i3 Processor | Storage: 256GB SSD | Memory: 8GB RAM | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | Battery: 11 Hours | Weight: 2.8 pounds/1.29 kg

The newest MacBook Air is quite a machine for the price, but for longevity and power, I would suggest going for a dearer model, or saving up for a MacBook Pro.

The Air comes with a less speedy 1.1GHz i3 processor, but other than that the specs are similar to the 13-inch Pro. There is no Touch Bar or Touch ID on the Air.

Main Features:

  • Display: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Processor: 1.1GHz Dual-Core Core i3 Processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds/1.29 kg
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Ports

4. MacBook Pro, 13-inch (2018) (Refurbished)

Processor: 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 Processor | Storage: 512GB SSD | Memory: 8GB RAM | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | Battery: 10 Hours | Weight: 3.0 pounds/1.36 kg

If you are not fussy about buying brand new, I would highly recommend buying a refurbished MacBook Pro. You will get more for your money – better specs – and get a MacBook that is as good as new, especially if you buy from Apple’s own Refurb site.

For example, this 2018 model gives you a 2.3GHz i5 processor, 512GB of SSD storage, and it’s still new enough that it has the Touch Bar and Touch ID.

Main Features:

  • Display: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Processor: 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Weight: 3.0 pounds/1.36 kg
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Ports

MacBook Comparison Table

Name Processor Storage Memory Graphics Battery Price
2.6GHz Intel Core i7 Processor
512GB SSD
16GB RAM
AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
11 Hours
1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
256GB SSD
8GB RAM
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
10 Hours
1.1GHz Dual-Core Core i3 Processor
256GB SSD
8GB RAM
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
11 Hours
2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 Processor
512GB SSD
8GB RAM
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
10 Hours

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

MacBook Pro, 16-inch (2019)

The most recent MacBook Pro, 16 inch is by far the best available for DJing. It has a large, bright screen, great specs and features, such as Touch Bar and Touch ID.

The MacBook Air is a great laptop for DJing. With a 13 inch screen, 1.1GHz Dual-Core Core i3 Processor, 256GB SSD and 8GB, it meets the requirements for popular DJ software. Although I would spend a little extra and get a larger storage drive and 16 GB RAM.

MacBooks are designed and optimised for media: Photography, Video and Music. They are solid, have great specs and are less prone to crashing in comparison to Windows laptops.

Most DJs, whether club or mobile, use MacBook Pros. They offer great specs for DJing and are compatible with all popular Dj software.

4GB

Most DJ software has a minimum requirement of 4 GB RAM. While this is sufficient, I would go for 8 or preferably 16 GB of RAM.

Summary

The MacBook Pro is undoubtedly the DJ’s laptop of choice. It will come as no surprise that the latest version available will be the best option if you have the budget. If you can afford it, go for the highest specs you can.

As a cheaper alternative, you could buy an earlier model, a year or two older. You can head to Apple’s Refurbished website or other stores that offer them – just check the condition and warranty offered.

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