The Best Computer for Music Production – Updated 2019
MAC or WIN, Laptop or Desktop? There are many options for the best computer for music production. And here we will see the top of the best and how to choose yours.
I guess that most of you already own at least one PC in your household. But what stands out on the best computer for music production?
If your computer is powerful enough to overcome the requirements of your DAW (digital audio workstation), then you save big bucks since a pro PC is the most expensive outlet of your new home recording studio. It’s essential to keep your computer exclusively for music relatively projects. For example, after 10 years of electronic music production, I have used more than 1.8TB hard disc capacity. Softwares, music libraries, audio samples, demos, promos, video tutorials are just some of the many. The most powerful computer I could afford will not be enough if I decide to use it for everything.
Two big questions need to be answered when you choose a computer for your recording studio
- Desktop or Laptop
- MAC or Windows
1. The desktop has started to lose popularity and slowly becoming a thing of the past. Although desktops are still winning in a couple of features, compare to laptops. At first, desktops offer better characteristics for the same amount of money compared to laptops. Secondly, they include more inputs-outputs which are very useful when you will upgrade your studio equipment. Last, with a desktop you have the opportunity for upgrades, add RAM, hard-disc, CPU is a much easier task compared to laptops.
On the other hand now, by choosing a laptop, you have extreme portability. If you travel and perform live, your laptop with a software and a few tools can be your studio on the road. A note here is that with a small display you will probably need a bigger monitor to work efficiently in a studio.
2. MAC or WIN, there is no right or wrong choice here. Either you are an Apple addict or prefer Windows OS, there is only one real issue to consider. Is it compatible with the DAW of your preference? If you have not decided on your DAW yet, then there is mostly an option depending on the money you are willing to spend. There are recording studios as well as professional musicians who use both systems. I believe a debate about which one is better is not necessary. I personally use Mac tools, and I’m extremely satisfied. Just try to include minimum specs of the recommendations below, and you are good to go.
Not to forget we have for you the best music production software (DAW) in the market to choose according to your needs.
Minimum computer features for a home recording studio
- CPU: Processor is a very important issue. Along with the RAM, they are responsible for the speed and accuracy that you can work your projects. I recommend minimum 2.8GHz dual-core processor to run your DAW’s, plug-ins and DJ softwares without problems.
- RAM: If you combine the above with a RAM over 8GB you will have great results.
- Hard disc: With the probability for an external hard drive a 500GB and above will cover your needs, to begin with. Going for an SSD card for faster transfer is essential.
- Screen Display: As bigger as better you will view your projects. Anything above 13″ will be enough to display your software’s correctly. If not you always have the choice to add an extra monitor.
Another thing to consider when you are buying your next computer is connectivity. All PCs offer USB ports to connect your audio interface, such as The Best Cheap Audio Interface under $200 in 2019. There are, however, some premium audio interfaces that feature FIREWIRE, THUNDERBOLT or PCIe connection. So keep that in mind. Otherwise, you will have to do additional research for cables and adaptors to connect your computer with your audio interface finally.
If you are looking for a complete guide to start music production, check how to build your home recording studio with under $600.
As we commonly say, the word “best” is subjective, and you can not perfectly compare any equipment with another. Our choices have An according to features, budget, personal experience, user ratings and reviews fount on forums and online stores.
5 BEST DESKTOP FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION
1. Apple iMac 27″ Retina 5K display, 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM
The best and most popular option in the market for studio producers. From amateur to professionals is an excellent choice worth investing. Mac is exclusively compatible with Logic Pro and Pro Tools, two very popular and professional music production softwares to start composing in your studio.
Depends on your available budget, you select the best possible characteristics, but even the low-range model with an i5 3.4GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard disc and a 27-inch (diagonal) retina 5k display, will work perfectly in your studio for the next 5-8 years.
The new seventh generation processor in every new iMac model is all you need in your studio to run fast and smooth all your softwares. Plus, with the 5K – 27″ display you will be able to view your DAW on a massive scale. Sometimes you will have to open different plug-in effects or instruments, and with the 27″ display you will have the place to view all simultaneously.
A stand out feature of this iMac is the two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports that deliver up to 40Gb/s data transfer. In music and especially when recording, timing is essential, so connect your audio interface in one of Thunderbolt 3 USB port and produce carefree.
With Retina display and unreal size and weight, this iMac will fit anywhere. The price range is not so high as you might think as it starts from $1600, and if you add premium characteristics and design, this is the machine you need. It definitely worth the first place of the best computers for music production.
2. Apple Mac mini, 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB
For those who want Mac computer but cannot afford one, there is a cheaper option with which you don’t lose any of the pro features of iMac.
Do not frighten form the product name, “mini” because it applies only to its size. It includes the same characteristics as you would find in any other pro model and is also very affordable for a Mac product as it is available for around $1000.
The 8th generation 3.0Ghz 6-core processor with the 8GB 2666Mhz DDR4 RAM will guarantee excellent and fast performance, even when running multiple softwares.
It has HDMI port so that you will be able to add a Mac Monitor, TV, projector or any other display you want. The 4 thunderbolts 3 USB ports that can transfer up to 40Gbp/s (4 times faster than USB 3.0 and 40 times faster than USB 2.0) is everything you will ever need in your home recording studio.
There is also a Quad-core i3 Intel Core Processor with 128 GB hard drive version if you want a more affordable and lighter option.
3. Apple Mac Pro desktop 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5, 256GB Flash
The beast of Apple can handle situations you cannot imagine that you will need in your studio. If budget is not an issue for you, this is the best computer for music production.
With a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5, 12MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz; you will never have to worry about slow performance when you produce music. 2GB storage space and the reliability of Apple make it a desirable piece of equipment for every producer.
It includes four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, Dual Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and of course an HDMI 1.4 port to connect the monitor of your desire.
This MAC pro may be an unreachable dream for a beginner. Some may say that you can build a windows PC with half the money. Just, you cannot add build quality, design, and usability in your cart. If you can afford, go for it.
4. Dell XPS 8930-7764BLK-PUS Tower Desktop
DELL XPS 8930 is a very powerful desktop, and since you can build it however you wish by choosing the processor, RAM, and hard drive, you adjust it entirely to your needs and budget.
The processor is 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz with an 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory. The 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive that will store your music for the next years, and a DVD-RW Drive (Reads and writes to DVD/CD) to burn your music on CDs.
XPS 8930 tower desktop offers a total of 11 USB ports, including two USB Type-C ports – one in front – plus an additional three front-facing USB-A ports.
A worth mention feature of the XPS Tower is the GRAMMY Award-winning Waves MaxxAudio technology with MaxxSense. It adapts to the environment, making external speakers sound fuller, louder and more precise. It is exactly what you want if you do not have an audio interface in your studio just yet.
With a very affordable price tag, you get an excellent piece of equipment with superb features to cover your need in your home recording studio.
5. HP Envy 795-0039C – Intel Core i7 – 3.20GHz, 16GB RAM
For Windows users, the HP ENVY 795 is probably the best value for money choice in the market. It is a very affordable purchase for beginners and with an Apple-like design.
ENVY 795 offers the 8th generation Intel Core i7-8700 6-Core processor 3.2 GHz with 16 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM Memory which is also upgradable to 64GB. A really powerful machine to handle your softwares and applications.
It is included a 2TB HDD and 128GB SSD hard drive to transfer files safe and fast. The same with the above DELL desktop, it offers a total of 11 USB ports, including one USB Type-C port in the front. As well, an HDMI and display port to connect up to 3 monitors to expand your viewing space. Excellent characteristics for this price range.
If you have already chosen your next music production computer, take a look at our post with 20 sound recording and music production tips to increase your productivity.
5 BEST LAPTOP FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION
1. Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina, Touch Bar, 2.2GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM
MacBook Pro is probably the best laptop for music production and recording. The most used laptop from professional musicians and with a price range less than you might think is without a doubt the great choice.
The options are many, so you can pick the model that fits perfectly with your needs. The first choice is between the 13.3-inch or 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology. For processor the 2.2GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz or the 2.6GHz 6-core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz. The 16 GB RAM and a 256 or 512GB SSD hard drive (fastest storage unit) will cover your needs in whatever you do.
Plenty of connectivity in this small laptop with four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for Charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gbps).
Another big plus of this laptop is its battery life, which can go on for up to 10 hours, allowing you to complete live sets without the need for a power source. Apple products are incredibly reliable and robust, and if you are serious about music production and want a portable machine (weights 3 pounds), then this is the one for you.
2.ACER ASPIRE V15
Aspire V15 NITRO has all the features a music producer needs in his/her studio. If you prefer “Windows” operation system, then this is an excellent option with great reviews and ratings.
A superb processor Inter Core i7-6700HQ 2.3GHz (up to 3.5GHz) and an 8GB DDR4 Memory are in this laptop. The full HD IPS 15.6″ screen to have a nearly perfect image without reflections is excellent to start with. The 1TB hard disc that will cover your requirements for music and software storage.
The laptop offers 1 thunderbolt3.0, 2 USB3.0 and 1 USB2.0 ports, as well as an HDMI to connect to a bigger monitor. It’s price tag is at a reasonable level in ratio to features and in a case you want a bigger screen, you can go for the ASPIRE V17 with a 17″ display and upgraded characteristics from V15.
3.ASUS ROG GL552
The first ASUS in our list is powerful with sturdy construction and with fantastic reviews by users. With characteristics that cover pro needs and a price tag that many can afford, the ASUS ROG GL552 is a hotshot.
A 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz (up to 3.5GHz) processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB 7200RPM Storage is a superb body. However, the hard drive won’t run as fast as an SSD disc.
The 15.6 inches Matte IPS FHD display will create a great experience. ROG GL552 features 2xUSB3.1, 1xUSB2.0 and the latest USB3.1 Type-C port for more convenient connectivity. As well. an HDMI port to connect a big monitor for your studio.
It is Amazon’s choice and has nearly thousand of excellent user reviews. The ASUS ROG GL552 is an excellent alternative if you cannot afford a Macbook Pro or prefer WIN OS.
4.ASUS ZENBOOK PRO UX501VW
ZENBOOK PRO UX501 is a powerful PC with a beautiful design, look and an impressive display.
The machine from ASUS wears the same processor as the above, the Intel Core i7-6700HQ up to 3.5GHz and along with a 16GB DDR4 RAM, is precisely what you need to run your DAWs efficiently. Is lacking at one thing tho, the SSD hard drive has a limit at 512GB. Therefore an external hard disc will be necessary for the near future.
ASUS ZENBOOK PRO has 1 Thunderbolt 3.0, 1 Gen.2 USB 3.1, 3 USB 3.0 and of course 1 HDMI port for extra monitor connection. The impressive part here is the Ultra HD 4K display with nearly perfect image. It is not cheap machine at all but is a good purchase with great reviews on web.
5.DELL XPS 15
One of the smallest laptops on the market offers powerful performance and great design. DELL XPS 15 is ideal for closing our list for the best laptops for music production.
The 6th generation i7 6700HQ and 8GB DDR4 RAM guarantees great performance and multi-tasking. The fast 256GB SSD hard drive is considered a bit small. If you can go for the XPS 15-9550 model with the double capacity, it’s slightly better.
The DELL XPS 15 offers a Thunderbolt 3 port and USB 3.1 Gen.2 ports. With this price range, the MacBook Pro might be a better choice. However is still a powerful PC with unique design and extreme portability.
Those are our choices for the best computer for music production. You can find hundreds of PCs and Laptops that will work sufficiently in your studio, but those models above stand out of the rest.
All our picks below for the best laptop for music production will also work ideally for your DJ sets. If you want to learn more, check our list with the best laptop for DJing.
Feel free to post your thoughts, comments or questions…