Let's talk about the best computer for music production.
With today's advancements in technology, it has never been more affordable to buy a new computer. So what is the best computer for music production?
Here are 3 guidelines that will help you answer this question for the home music studio. I will also list several additional tips that can also help increase the performance of your setup.
What recording software are you using?
Answering this question can really help to simplify the process of selecting the best computer for music production. Most major players in the digital audio workstation world have great websites with a lot of information on their products. Simply check out the required and recommended specifications to run the recording software you intend to use. Once you know the manufacturer's requirements then you know what type of computer you will need.
What recording interface are you using?
Answering this question can also provide you with some easy answers. To select the best computer for music production you will need to know what connections your recording interface has. If it has a fire-wire out, then your computer must have one also. If your interface is USB then the type and amount of USB ports on your computer matter as well.
Many recording interfaces also come with digital audio workstations (recording software). This can answer both questions in one if you do buy a packaged setup. Again, simply check the manufacturer's required and recommended specs to find out what type of computer you will need.
Also know that a large amount of audio processing is done by the audio interface itself. The better the interface, the more audio can be processed in conjunction with your computer. A slower machine can benefit from a more robust audio interface without a doubt.
How large will your recording projects be?
The more tracks, effects, buses and automation you intend to use, the faster your computer will need to be. The same is true with hard drive space to store larger projects which will result in larger audio files.
If you're recording smaller projects with only a few instruments, you can use a slower computer. If you intend to produce very large projects with many tracks then you will need a much faster computer. Again, the simplest way to determine the exact computer needed, is to look at the recording software recommended specs.
Additional Tips to increase performance
- Make use of 64bit CPU/Operating system by using a 64 bit Digital Audio Workstation. Not every DAW will fully support a 64 bit setup or make use of the greater performance. Finding one that will, can bring a noticeable performance increase in the amount of audio you process (also note that not all plug-ins support 64 bit either).
- Use an external hard drive for audio capture and project files. The idea here is that your OS and DAW run on a separate drive from your audio/project files and cache folders.
- Limit the programs that run at start-up on your computer. The less the better. Keep a close watch on anti-virus and security programs. Often they can be large CPU/RAM hogs which directly affect performance.
- Keep your computer clean and free of dust. Use compressed air to blow out the case and CPU fans often. A cool computer will perform better.
By following these tips I'm confident that you will be able to find the best computer for music production. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please add your input to the section below.
Can I assemble a PC for music production in 600 $
Thanks for the question. I’d say yes. Most any modern computer will get the job done. The key is going to be getting a good audio interface as well. Check out the ToolBox page for some suggestions. https://homemusicstudio1.com/home-recording-studio-equipment/
Lots of Q’s but first up: I’m going to be starting my music production career soon. So buying my first Mac (once I’ve decided which one to buy) but won’t have ext.hard drive to begin with so is this a big issue? Is not being able to split hard drive between OS and project files going to hamper the performance ect?
Hey Jay, good question and thanks for asking. It’s been my experience that with a newer computer, the typical higher CPU speed and RAM make up for the slight loss in performance you might get with only 1 drive. This would be true with anything quad core or more. My laptop (not a Mac but PC) has a single TB hard drive 8 Gig of RAM, quad core 2.6mhz CPUs. I’ve run 54+ (both MIDI and audio) tracks with reaper and tons of VST plugins and still have not maxed out its capacity. This with my Scarlett 2i2 at 24bit/48mHz.
Hope this helps and have a great weekend!
If you go with firewire, research what chipset the software requires. I researched and bought a Lenovo Idea Pad 4 years ago with the intent of using Firewire hardware. The hardware/software required the the firewire port have a Texas Instruments chip set. There was no work around. Ended up having to return it and go with USB.
Good point Adam, thanks for sharing.