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My MacBookPro is 5 years old and I am starting the process of choosing a replacement. Primary use will be Ableton Live, Reason + and Lightroom/Photoshop. Will also have Roland Cloud and will sometimes connect a UA Apollo Twin. Now for the problem. I really like the new M1 options and may drop down to 13 inch. These come with 256 GB drives. $200 to upgrade to 512. $400 to move up to 1TB. I would love 2TB but I refuse to spend $800. So I am thinking of going external. 2TB external drive are around $200 depending on quality and write speed. One option I am considering is getting a nice 2TB external SSD and using Velcro tape to attach it to the back of the monitor. Sort of a permanent expansion. I also considered attaching a hub and two drives to the bottom of the notebook but worry that they may cause heat build up. Thus, it bay be better to find an external case to hold two drives and the hub, or to find a notebook cooling pad with built in fan that will hold drives. Do they make such a thing? I'm going to have to come up with something. My current 1TB MacBookPro has 56 GB free. Not good.

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on managing drive space or using external SSD's with an Apple? If using external drives what is the minimum drive space you recommend for a musician/photographer?


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I came to some similar conclusions when ordering my latest hardware. I went with 512GB internally, partly because a near-full SSD slows down and exaggerates wear. I used a 2TB external SSD for samples and other large data storage that I need routine, portable access to. The one refinement is that I have another tier to my storage hierarchy: for long-term storage and reliable backup I use a much larger network attached storage device that offers both physical redundancy and filesystem "snapshots" to allow me to recover anything I accidentally delete (mine is a FreeNAS device from iXsystems, since replaced by their TrueNAS line - but unless you have some IT background it might be a little obtuse for your taste.) Otherwise, losing up to 2TB of data with a single unit failure seems far too risky for my taste.

I haven't been focused on portability of everything the way you have, so I can't offer much insight other than to concur that heat is your enemy. Close physical proximity between the dock, laptop, and SSD isn't ideal.


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Wry similar to what I do with my stage rig.

My 2018 Mac Mini has the built in 512gb ssd, then my external is a 2 tb

That’s where all my data files for a Keyscape, PianoTeq, Kontakt, etc reside.
Now for me, I have the Rackmac Mini, with the Mini in one bay and the external ssd Velcro’d in the second bay.

In my situation, this Mac is used only for music, either stage or recording.

I bought a refurb 2016 MacBook Pro that I use for everything else.


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I'm also thinking 512 this time. Just ordered a 1TB Samsung T7. Going to try using it to take some pressure off of my current MBP and try connecting it to my new iPad Pro. After watching a few YouTube videos it looks like they have made it much easier to move programs to external drives. When my drive comes in I will see if it is now easier to move data to external drives. I remember having issues with some programs that always wanted to install data to the C drive.


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I can't add much, other than I currently have two externals hooked up. One big one (that needs to be replaced, it's getting on in years) for general stuff, and one 500GB ssd that I use mainly for any big instrument libraries--putting my main piano on an ssd was a huge improvement with loading times, from minutes down to a few seconds. I'm interested to see what people post here; I certainly don't know best practices on where to put audio files in Logic Pro for example.

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I have a 2014 512K Mac Book Pro. I picked up a 2tb Thunderbolt 2 drive (HDD, not SSD), initialized it and installed a bootable system, then it will ask if you want to copy your applications and other files.
I did that too. It's a LaCie portable drive, small and light.

When I record I plug the dedicated external drive in and boot from it. I have another 4tb drive for immediate backup. I plan on adding backup strategies, a redundant system is a reliable system.

My 512k drive on the MBP is nearly full, now I can toss a bunch of stuff and leave some space. I never stored recording sessions on there, just not big enough.


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M1 MacBook Air here, went for the 16GB model, but only a 256 SSD. I recently bought an entry-level Synology NAS and a single 4TB drive for storage (I can easily add another 4TB at a later date).


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Slightly off topic, but if you're discussing new M1 Macs and SSDs, this info might be good to know: if its internal SSD dies the computer is probably bricked. It will not boot from an external with a dead internal.

Details are here - a lot of this page is above my pay grade but the relevant paragraph is about 1/4 of the way down:

https://eclecticlight.co/2021/01/14/m1-macs-radically-change-boot-and-recovery/

BTW from everything I've read, an M1 running hot enough to require a cooling pad would be a rare thing. Most of the u-tubes that show the new MBP running a stressful benchmark test remark how the fan rarely comes on, and when it does it's barely audible. The new Air has no fan at all, it just throttles itself down when the going gets a little rough.

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I'm wondering how the M1 Air does with music programs like Logic, Reason and Live.


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I’ve been using an M1 Mac mini since they were released. Working with Logic, Sibelius, FinalCut, an X32 and a couple of iConnectivity things.

Rather than paying the silly amount to upgrade the internal storage, all of my projects and libraries are on two Sandisk thunderbolt drives. Working really well. It was bought as a replacement for a 2012 MBP, which, actually, is still pretty good - runs very hot with demanding stuff.

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Not exactly your situation, but I have come across these two articles about using SSDs with Macs in the last couple of days, and they might be helpful.

https://tidbits.com/2021/04/09/an-external-ssd-gave-my-imac-a-new-lease-on-life/

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/te...ps-for-buying-a-backup-disk-16086208.php


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Just received a Samsung 1TB T7 and connected it to my current MBP as a test run. First obstacle that I could not easily solve is how to move Reason+ and all libraries to the external drive. Have read a few things online but they have just confused the issue. I will say that things have improved over the years and Apple is much more supportive of using external drives. But Reason+ seems to throw a lot of stuff into the applications folder. Even some of the refills.


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Originally Posted by RABid
Just received a Samsung 1TB T7 and connected it to my current MBP as a test run. First obstacle that I could not easily solve is how to move Reason+ and all libraries to the external drive. Have read a few things online but they have just confused the issue. I will say that things have improved over the years and Apple is much more supportive of using external drives. But Reason+ seems to throw a lot of stuff into the applications folder. Even some of the refills.

What should work for you is to use symbolic links. Like an alias but better. As you've seen, Reason (and other apps) looks for and expects to find certain files in specific places and may not work if they don't see them there. Using a symbolic link you can move the actual file/folder to an external, create a symbolic link and place that link back on your internal drive where the original file was. The only thing is, you have to ensure the external is hooked up when you run the program that needs that file!

Creating a symbolic link usually involves going into Terminal, however I found this MacOS service that makes it very easy. I used it on a folder with a few gigs of samples that a seldom-used program wanted to put inside my User/Library folder – now it's on an external. I did the same with the large folder iTunes creates when it backs up my iPhone - that folder now lives on an external, since I rarely do a computer backup for the phone. Here 'tis:

https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/10433/symboliclinker

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Finally made my choice and my order. Had to come to the realization that this will be an entertainment, composition computer and not a finalizing DAW. At that point it got easier and I almost went with minimal specs. I went with 16 GB memory in case I want to use it as a sound module. Also went with 512 GB HD. 256 is just too small for my needs. I would always feel like I am in the danger zone, plus larger drives tend to be faster and last longer as memory read writes are spread across more space. I will be attaching a 2TB Samsung SSD and installing most programs there. I really like the idea of using velcro tape to attach the SSD to the back of the monitor. I will leave it permanently plugged in.


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One interesting thing I ran into while researching M1 Macs, install the legacy version of Logic rather than the M1 compiled version. Reason? Most vsti's are legacy. People who have been testing the M1's most often run into problems with Logic when they mix the M1 version of Logic with legacy vsti's. By installing the legacy version of Logic they have been avoiding most problem with no noticeable loss of speed.


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There's actually only one "universal" Logic app that combines both the Intel and Apple Silicon code in a single package. You can choose whether to launch it in Rosetta mode or natively. I'm quite content running the native version, as my primary plug-ins are Pianoteq (M1 native since 7.1), a selection of FabFilter's products (M1 native very early on), Spitfire Audio's BBC Symphony Orchestra, Abbey Road One, and Eric Whitacre (running their M1 betas) and U-he's RePro and Zebra (the former with a native beta, and the latter expected in the next couple of weeks.)

Running the Rosetta translations of plug-ins can expose latent bugs, but it's far from guaranteed to do so. Most other things I've tried work just fine, though there are a few exceptions. You definitely pay a performance penalty with the translated code, so you might want to try running natively and switch to Rosetta only if you experience problems.


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Thanks for the tips Lady Gaia. My most used vsti's are from NI,U-He and the Roland Cloud. I actually use Reason much more than Logic, followed by Live. I decided not to bother attaching my UA Apollo. What I do need to find is a good, dependable hub that will power the MacBookAir and give me USB and SSD. I've seen reports that the wrong hub can fry your mac, not being totally compatible with the port.


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Originally Posted by RABid
One interesting thing I ran into while researching M1 Macs, install the legacy version of Logic rather than the M1 compiled version. Reason? Most vsti's are legacy. People who have been testing the M1's most often run into problems with Logic when they mix the M1 version of Logic with legacy vsti's. By installing the legacy version of Logic they have been avoiding most problem with no noticeable loss of speed.


There is a reason they call it living on the "bleeding edge" of technology. You're going to bleed as world slowly transitions support for the new tech.

I was doing multi-platform support for a company the specialized in Mac products. Apple had announced the new version of MacOS can't remember if it was 6 or 7 was making MAJOR changes and would break a lot of existing software. Apple had started warning developers something new was come almost two year before it was to be released. Then like a year before Apple had developer info, then development kits, and long alpha and beta test programs. So when the final OS came out some developer and companies were like it was just a announced a month before and scrambling to update their software. I was working for a Windows developer tools company and went through same mess when Windows 3 came out it was a major change in Windows. The messist was when Windows changed from being 16-bit to 32-bit that really threw a lot of developers because it was a big change in memory management.

It's going to take a long time for Apple silicon and 3rd party code to let the dust settle. Look at Apple history major tech changes have taken about two years to settle in.

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So Rosetta-translated plugs can't work inside M1-native Logic? I thought I saw a youtube where that was happening. As I remember, some work, some work with bugs, some don't work at all.

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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
So Rosetta-translated plugs can't work inside M1-native Logic? ...

No, more like 98 percent work fine, others can sometimes cause problems. I just read that the latest OS update that is supposed to address the problem of some chargers bricking new M1's also fixes a lot of the issues with the new M1 native Logic. At the same times, it has broken the Rosetta version of Logic for many people.


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Originally Posted by RABid
What I do need to find is a good, dependable hub that will power the MacBookAir and give me USB and SSD.

I've been using the Brydge Stone Pro Thunderbolt dock without issues on an M1 MacBook Pro, for what that's worth. I also have a CalDigit TS3+ that I keep meaning to try out, as it offers a few more USB ports and I'm running low. I've heard good things from others using the newest OWC Thunderbolt Dock with M1 Macs as well, which is the first one I'm aware of to offer multiple downstream Thunderbolt ports. I would have been tempted if it had also offered a legacy video port (DisplayPort or HDMI rather than just USB-C video.)


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