Can You Run Ableton Live On A Macbook Air in 2024? (Explained)

Ableton Live is a versatile computer-based music-making software, but not all computer systems are compatible with it. Producers often wonder if their computer will be able to run Ableton Live on a MacBook Air so they can start putting their ideas down.

The latest MacBook air was introduced by Apple back in June 2022. Although it is a powerful system, many producers still wonder if it will run their version of Ableton Live. back in the day, the MacBook Pro was the only system thought to handle music production software such as Ableton Live.

In this article, we’re taking a look at whether you can run Ableton Live on a Macbook Air.

Let’s jump straight into it.

Can You Run Ableton Live On A Macbook Air?

Yes, Ableton will run comfortably on the 2022 Apple Macbook Air with an acceptable number of third-party plugins. The version of Ableton is also important because of the higher requirements of the system.

Unlike the MacBook Pro, the Air has slightly limited capabilities in terms of CPU power and storage space. The Air has an 8-core CPU and features up to 2TB of storage space.

best macbook for ableton

An 8-core CPU is more than enough to run Ableton Live’s version 11, which only requires around 4-cores to be stable. The standard version of Ableton Live needs around 12GB of storage space, which the MacBook Air can comfortably provide.

System requirements for Ableton Live 11.2 on MacBook Air

OSmacOS El Capitan 10.11.6 to Ventura 13
CPUIntel® Core™2 Duo processor. Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster-recommended
RAM4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
Display1280×800 display resolution
AudioCore Audio compliant audio interface recommended
Storage Space50GB

As such, to run Ableton Live, you will need to meet most of these specifications on your system. Older computers with lower specifications can also run Ableton but might run into compatibility issues.

With these specifications, the amount of RAM and CPU are some of the most important components. The computer must be able to handle a lot of threads on the CPU and the third-party plugins need enough RAM to run smoothly.

As for storage space, 50GB of free space will be enough for the initial installation of Ableton Live. if you’ll be using third-party plugins such as Xfer Serum or u-he Diva will also need storage space.

All this power on the MacBook Air allows Ableton to run smoothly in professional studios.

Our Pick
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop


Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop 

Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chipBrand
Apple
Model Name
MacBook Air
Screen Size
15.3 Inches
Color
Midnight
Hard Disk Size
256 GB
CPU Model
Apple M2 Chip
Ram Memory Installed Size
8 GB
Operating System
Mac OS
Special Feature
Apple M2 Chip, Liquid Retina display with True Tone, Solid-state drive storage, Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Unified MemoryApple M2 Chip, Liquid Retina display with True Tone, Solid-state drive storage, Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Unified Memory
Graphics Card Description
Integrated

The MacBook Air also features a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display screen with a resolution of 2560 by 1664 pixels. This is big enough to run the Ableton interface and the different views together with the different plugins’ GUIs.

Does Ableton Work Well On MacBook Air?

The MacBook Air is more than capable of running Ableton Live even with the M1 chips. The system will run Ableton Live Lite and standard versions smoothly.

In most cases where issues arise from a new Ableton installation on a MacBook Air, the settings and preferences are not set correctly. Fortunately, on most systems, the installation is ready to go without any issues.

Another feature of Ableton Live is that it’s quite portable to move around with and make music on the go. The Retina Display is also quite anti-reflective so you can also work in sunlit areas with minimal screen reflection.

With the advent of Apple Silicon, the MacBook Air will run most music programs such as Ableton Live 11.2 will run smoothly as well. It is not only smooth but renders tracks and audio really fast when you’ve learned how to use Ableton Live.

At this point, the performance of a MacBook Air is almost similar when compared to a MacBook Pro in music production. The differences are somewhat negligible between the two systems when it comes to programs like Ableton Live.

It is now common to see the Macbook air in professional studios, which was not the case back in the day. In recent years, Apple made improvements to the Air’s capabilities and hardware upgrades.

Is The Apple M1 Chip Good Enough For Ableton Live?

Apple’s M1 chip is great for music production software such as Ableton Live and other DAWs. The M1 chip has a memory limitation of 16GB of RAM and that can be a problem if you want to upgrade for a better experience.

Apple-M1-chip

The M1 chip is almost equivalent to an 11th-generation Intel core i5 processor. This means it can handle some of the most demanding programs out there.

It is great for music production software such as Ableton Live and with enough memory, you won’t have to worry about your plugins being sluggish.

“It’s important to note that the more plugins you have within a project, the more a toll it will have on the CPU.”

Even though Ableton can smoothly on a minimum of about 4GB of RAM, it is recommended to have at least 16GB of RAM. For system-intensive programs like DAWs, the more RAM you have the better.

Unfortunately, the M1 chip on the MacBook Air can only handle 16GB of RAM at max. This limitation is quite worrying because the more plugins you have in a project the slower the computer will get.

There are some tips and tricks to implement if you’re having problems with Ableton Live being sluggish or audio pops and crackles. Setting and preferences inside Ableton Live are available to make it run smoother on systems with lower RAM and CPU requirements.

Unfortunately, the M1 chip on the MacBook Air cannot be upgraded to a higher RAM memory. Because it is a laptop, there are limitations such as cooling, and hardware upgradeability.

What Is The Best Mac For Ableton?

The MacBook Pro is often considered the best Mac for Ableton. Its powerful processors and large amount of available RAM allow you to run intensive plug-ins and effect chains without experiencing lag or crashes.

I’ve used my 2019 MacBook Pro for years of Ableton production and it still delivers buttery-smooth performance.

But, it’s now 2023 and most producers have their eye on the newest MacBook Pro with M3 chip for their Ableton Projects.

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 chip

Macbook Pro 2023

Consider External Storage

No matter which Mac you choose, I’d recommend budgeting for external storage too. Over time, your Ableton project files and sample libraries can consume a lot of space. An external SSD gives you hundreds of extra gigabytes to store all your creations.

Go For More Memory

It’s easy to get by with 16 GB of RAM now but that amount can fill up fast if you run many plug-ins. I often max out my MacBook Pro’s memory with complex tracks. Splurging on a Mac with 32 GB or more lets you breeze through CPU-heavy tasks.

So What Laptop Is Best For Ableton?

The “best” Mac is the one that fits your budget while meeting Ableton’s requirements. Don’t get too hung up on specs – the most important thing is finding a machine that lets your creativity flow.

While any Mac works, in my experience the MacBook Pro or iMac provides great performance for complex Ableton projects. The speedy M2 or M3 Pro chip and optimization for pro apps make them superb music production machines.

Can You Run u-He Diva VST On Apple M1 Chip?

Diva VST will run quite well on an Apple M1 chip with enough RAM if you open multiple instances of Diva in a DAW. The Apple M1 chip can run up to about 14 instances of the famous Diva VST.

Diva VST interface

Diva is a great-sounding virtual analog synthesizer with many sound capabilities and a clean interface. It is beginner friendly and a go-to third-party plugin for a lot of professional music producers.

On Ableton Live 11, the Diva VST will run smoothly on an M1 chip with about 8GB of RAM on the Apple machine. The advent of the M1 chip on Apple MacBook Airs has also allowed a variety of third-party plugins to be compatible with the system.

As soon as you load too many instances of Diva in your project or your Set on Ableton, the audio will start crackling and popping to show that the system is struggling.

There are common issues with Ableton that can be solved by simply changing around some settings so that Ableton is able to handle the added stress.

Is U-He Diva VST Worth The Money in 2023?

Yes, Diva is one of the best virtual analog synthesizers in the music industry. It comes with a huge library of more than 1,200 factory-made presets to get you started.

Diva now costs $179 for the latest version and you get lifetime updates free of charge.

It got Computer magazine’s Performance and Editor’s Choice awards and rightfully so.

Diva-VST-presets

The only drawback is that Diva is not a standalone plugin and will need to be installed in your favorite DAW’s VST folder.

Even though the U-He company produces other amazing VSTs and effect bundles, Diva remains one of their best-selling plugin and a firm go-to for producers.

Can You Run Xfer Serum Vst On Apple M1 Chip?

Yes, Xfer Serum VST will run comfortably on Apple systems with the M1 chip. Even though Serum is a CPU-intensive plugin, the majority of M1 chips with enough RAM and cores will run it efficiently.

This plugin is a go-to for most electronic music producers and it is no surprise why. This award-winning synth hits all the right notes with its high-quality sound and clean interface.

Serum-VST-on-M1-chip

Dubbed the “dream synthesizer” you can get it to go as soft or as hard as you want. The sound is clean and so is the intuitive and creative workflow in the interface.

You get an unlimited number of possibilities with the plugin’s engine and the factory presets are amazing. This plugin is also one of the most beginner-friendly wavetable synthesizers around.

Because it has such a huge engine to produce those beautiful sounds, it sometimes has trouble with certain M1 chips. On some M1 chips, the plugin can produce some crackling and popping sounds.

Certain presets in the Serum VST use a lot more cores than others with different oscillators, voice polyphony, and a number of wavetables. As soon as you start duplicating a Serum track on a project, the CPU usage will jump up and start crackling.

With Apple M2 chips, the architecture and cores are now way more efficient and will handle multiple instances of Serum quite efficiently.

Xfer Serum VST Requirements

  • Windows: Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • Macintosh: macOS 10.11 or later
  • 64-bit VST2.4, AU, or AAX-compatible host software.

Where Can I Download Xfer Serum Skins?

Along with an endless list of downloadable Serum presets, the new Serum update 1.213 allows installing skins for a new and fresh look.

Serum free skins

Serum skins add more appeal to the interface and a fresh look according to which skin you choose to download. You can download skins from Reddit forums for Serum and a quick Google search will give great results for freely downloadable Serum skins.

Serum free skins

The Massive Serum skin seems to be among the most popular among producers.

Other Popular Serum Skins:

  • Virtual Riot serum skin
  • Promethium Serum skin
  • Ableton Serum skin
  • Minimal Serum skin
  • Anthracite By Aevi Serum skin
  • Massive Serum skin

“Important: Serum skins Reddit forums can offer will be user-made third-party skins that might not be optimized enough. As such, it is best to have a backup of the original serum skin just in case something doesn’t work.”

This then brings us to our next point, price and value!

Is Serum Worth The Money In 2023?

Yes, Serum is still worth the money even in 2023 because of its versatility and the number of presets available to play around with. The plugin is available for both Mac and Windows-based operating systems.

The award-winning Serum VST now costs around $189 and comes with 144 wavetables and more than 450 presets to play around with.

You can try out Serum with a free demo version which will cut off the sound after a few minutes as a limitation. You can get a feel for the interface and workflow and see if it will suit you before upgrading.

Serum free skins

The price is very affordable compared to higher-priced wavetable synths that have half the capability of Serum. There are only a handful of plugins that can hold a candle against Serum and all its great effects.

Speaking of effects, Serum update 1.213 now has a suite of built-in effects that let you mold your sound to your liking. You’ll be able to shape your sound and presets without having to leave the Serum interface.

Conclusion – Run Ableton Live On MacBook Air

With all that said, Ableton is a great DAW with magnificent capabilities, and coupled with Apple’s M1 and M2 chips, it gets the job done and then some.

Can You Run Ableton Live On A Macbook Air

Apple is forever upgrading its hardware and judging from the M2 chip, performance will show significant improvements. This will be a welcome relief for music producers and live performers who use Ableton Live.

The M2 chip will also run plugins such as u-He Diva and Xfer Serum super smoothly even with multiple instances open in a single project.

The future is looking bright for the music production industry!