REAPER on Apple Silicon

November 24, 2020

Over the past week, I’ve been continually impressed by the sheer power of this new Mac mini. Today, I noticed the fine folks over at Cockos Incorporated posted a new release of REAPER, including a new beta build of REAPER supporting the processor architecture.

I wanted to see how much faster the export feature would be when running natively, but I quickly noticed that the usual MP3 output option was missing. I quickly realised that this probably had something to do with the new architecture and decided to see if I could get Homebrew to compile the required file.

I know that dylibs are a thing, and that they also need to match the architecture of the application for them to work, and since there were no public builds of libmp3lame.dylib available, I assume that the folks at Cockos figured it wasn’t necessary to include said library with this early release of the app.

So, I set out to build the library myself (knowing full well that perhaps the folks at Cockos omitted the library due to issues) and after going through a procedure with Homebrew, I was able to find and copy the dylib file, and successfully export my project.

I’ve charted my export speeds here (relative to realtime):

Rosetta 2 Native Difference i7 8700K
MP3 8.8x 22.5x 2.5x 16.2x
FLAC 9.0x 105.2x 11.6x 59.0x

In my testing, the M1 was able to comfortably beat my Windows desktop machine equipped with an i7 8700K1, rendering the file in a little over 4 minutes. Via Rosetta, this render took 10 minutes (a valiant effort).

  1. You have to remember that the i7 8700K, which is beaten by this new machine, cost 350 EUR in 2018 when I originally bought it. The new machine costs 800 EUR in total (or 699 dollars), and this is the level of performance you can expect. That’s bananas! 

Tagged as: Tech