I intend to produce music with Ableton Live 9 suite in a 2015 MacBook with 1.3 Ghz (turbo boost up to 2.7Ghz) with 8GB RAM, and 512GB storage.
Is this likely to experience lag - if so, how can I avoid that?
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PC guy here, but you could run it though an external sound card, like Komplete 6.
Or you could load better music drivers; on a PC for example, we have to download a particular ASIO driver to reduce latency.
Either way, go to Preferences --> Audio and start tweaking there until you get a comfy latency.
Your processor and RAM are not going to be the bottleneck here. Your audio interface will be the critical path, as this is where latency will make itself known.
As Todd commented, you'll want to use an audio interface connected by Thunderbolt (as it has the lowest latency)
A good audio interface will also have the benefit of providing input impedance matching, a low noise floor and possibly eq and gain controls.
I use Ableton Live on a MacBook Pro with the following specs and it generally works fine and without noticeable lag:
MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
I don't use an external audio interface to do this (although I can optionally run a mic in via an audio interface and that works fine too). I set the buffer size at 128 samples and the sample rate at 48000 and my output latency shows as 7.38 ms. In fact, I use it to directly trigger samples, which is arguably a scenario when you would feel/hear the latency the most.
Additionally, I am using a bit of software synths and effects processing chains.
As long as you're not trying to do a ton of other stuff on the system at the same time, I think it's fine and won't produce pops or glitches.
Do you already have the MacBook? If so, you can always try the Ableton demo before you buy it...
I'm thinking this lag you're talking about might be audio latency?
From wiki article link:
Professional digital audio equipment has latency associated with two general processes: conversion from one format to another, and digital signal processing (DSP) tasks such as equalization, compression and routing. Analog audio equipment has no appreciable latency.
I'd do some reading up on audio latency and see if it's a problem with your set up, or maybe the latency is normal. It's hard to tell without seeing/hearing it myself.
You shouldn't have any problem running Ableton on a 2015 macbook pro. Most of the latency that you'll deal with has to do with keeping the buffer size as small as possible without overloading the cpu. Ableton has a handy dandy guide to this, available here:
Sorry for reviving the old thread, but the recommendations of some users might mislead some readers to buy the wrong interface for that laptop. Some here didn’t realize that your computer has no Thunderbolt connection, only USB-C.
Get a nice USB-C to USB-A 3.1 hub (if you plan on connecting more devices) with PD (Power Delivery). Avoid Aukey hubs, since they produce glitches. Then find a good Interface with USB3 connection and you won’t have any troubles running Live on that laptop.