I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, but AME is always performing terrible.
35-40min render for a pretty basic 1min mp4. Have the latest macbook pro.
Pretty much any free online tool have better performance
When I render directly from AE it takes less then 30s
That is definitely not normal, what are your system specs & which OS are you on?
What is the exact version of AE & AME (please check in the help menu)?
Attach a screenshot of your Export settings window.