Reason on M1 MacBook Air

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stp2015
Posts: 311
Joined: 02 Feb 2016

Post 20 Jan 2021

I received my M1 MacBook Air today, and of course the first thing I did was install Reason.

My point of reference is the most recent pre-M1 Mac mini. Specifically, the six-core i5 (8500B cpu).

I ran a simple test with Zero by Blamsoft. How many instances of Zero, playing two notes each, can I run at the same time?

6 core Mac Mini did 30, M1 MacBook Air did 22.

This is Reason 10 running in Rosetta emulation, so if Props make Reason M1 compatible, it should be more than 22. For a fanless 899 dollar computer, I am impressed. Apple M1 is clearly quite powerful for what it is.

Also some word on graphics performance. Reason is known to have very bad scrolling in the Rack on Apple computers unless you run it in "low-resolution" mode. This is less of a problem on the M1. You don't get smooth scrolling like you do on an iPad or iPhone, but it is noticeably better than on the Mac mini.

Hopefully these observations are helpful for some here.

User avatar
tronam
Posts: 375
Joined: 04 Mar 2015

Post 22 Jan 2021

Yes, the rack scrolling frame rate is considerably smoother on M1 despite running under Rosetta emulation. It must have something to do with the unified memory architecture. Performance has been plenty acceptable enough for any of my past Reason projects, but it will certainly improve once it's properly optimized since I believe Rosetta is currently limited to only 4 of the 8 CPU cores. One of my favorite aspects is the silent operation. The only time I've ever managed to get the fans to turn on at all is playing World of Warcraft for more than 20 minutes on high settings.

A funny thing I noticed is that at some point I had unchecked "Use multi-core audio rendering" and forgot to recheck it. So, while I was testing out my pre-10.5/VST Reason projects they were all running on just a single (passively cooled) M1 CPU core and even then the utilization was maybe 20-30%. It really helped put into perspective how far we've come over the past 20 years.

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