Best Computer For Music Production: Which One To Pick?
Oh hey guys, how’s it going? I’ve heard you are looking to buy a computer for music production? Easy!
This guide should clear a few things up!
I am going to make it as in-depth yet straightforward as possible.
So it’s pretty clear we want to get the best computer for recording music, but…
Let’s go over a few points first:
1) How much can you spend? What’s your budget?
Look, you might be looking for a pc for recording music. Or you may be more interested in a laptop because you perform life more.
For most of us, the price is the breaking point.
We all want the best computers with the most powerful processor and the finest graphics and sound. However, not everyone can afford one.
Moreover, it will very likely be a waste of money if you don’t know how to utilize all the components.
For example, you don’t need a good graphics card to make music. You need it to edit your music videos, but if you won’t be doing that, why spend another $500+ on a high-performing graphics card?
You see where I am going with this? If you spend $2000+ and get the top performing PC or laptop and don’t use it for anything but music, maybe then it’s not worth it?
You’d rather invest in high-quality equipment to record and produce, a few sample packs and plugins. Just my 2 cents.
For this list, I am going to include both budget and pro options.
2) Apple or Windows computers (Mac or PC)?
I would say any opinion would be somewhat subjective. Even when having similar specs, you may think one is faster/more flexible/more efficient than other.
You can see a big studio using only Macs or MacBooks. Then you look around and see a music studio next door only has Windows PCs. And they can argue for hours, but not come up with an answer.
Macs are known to be great at two things: photo/video editing (Photoshop and Abobe Premier) and music (Logic/Pro Tools/Other DAWs). They also make you look rich.
Most recent versions have an SSD (solid state drive) and nice specs.
The only limit is the size of your wallet.
Some people also don’t like the fact that you can’t customize your Mac, but it’s mostly just the tech geeks. I was never crazy about customization myself.
Even the most budget models cost over $1000.
That’s why a lot of people pick Windows PCs/laptops instead. The problem here is there are too many options.
You get 10+ big computer companies building devices for every price point and every task. It can get overwhelming quickly.
However, if you look around and dig deeper, you can find exactly what you were looking for at a fraction of Mac’s price.
And yeah, you get to customize it. It’s not very important when you buy it, but as a couple of years go by, you may want to add more CPU or memory on your drive.
Really up to you!
Anyways, we’ll dive into this deeper later. Let’s move on for now.
3) Which Digital Audio Software (DAW) are you using?
It’s not an issue if you are starting out and going to learn how to use one from the beginning anyways.
If you’ve been playing with FL Studio for a while, it wouldn’t be a problem either, as it’s compatible with both MacOs and Windows.
It’s only Logic and Garage Band that are only available for Apple Users. If I am not mistaking, other DAWs work perfectly fine on both. I would still double check because all it takes is a quick 10-second google search.
4) Should you get a desktop or a laptop for music production?
Well, this is relatively simple to answer. If you are looking into performing live more, go for a laptop. It will cost more for the same specs, but you are now a lot more flexible and on-the-go.
Desktops tend to have better processing power, RAM, and computer specifications in general. You can buy a bigger monitor or add an extra drive. It’s a lot easier to customize them!
For your money, you can get a way better deal if you go for a desktop. Then you are stuck to your desk. If you do more than just music production, such as blogging, might as well get a laptop to do both!
You feel me? It all depends on what you need and what you want to do. This is a desktop computer list so that I won’t include any laptops.
This should be everything I wanted to mention before going to the list itself. Let’s start on this list already!
1) Apple iMac
As I said before, people use different PCs and laptops for music production. However, these Macs take up the biggest or at least one of the biggest shares of the music production market.
They have a quick processor and a solid state drive, last a while, and tend to be quite sturdy. I would say it’s generally accepted that an iMacs are the industry standards.
There are a lot more laptops and PCs out there that technically can do a better job, such as Audio Labs. They make computers specifically for music production.
However, Apple has been out there for a very long time and have built an excellent reputation among its customers, employees, and shareholders. And that’s not an easy thing to do, let me tell you.
Therefore, you can say they’ve earned this title, at least for now.
*More about Apple iMac
Speaking of Audio Labs…
2) PC Audio Labs Rok Box
If you haven’t been making music for a while, you probably haven’t heard of these guys. I mean, they are pricey as hell.
When you think of an expensive PC, you probably imagine an Alienware gaming computer. And it makes sense – you need a fast processor, good graphics, etc.
Why would you want to spend $2000+ on a PC to make music? It’s actually an excellent question. You see, when you are just starting out, you only need so much.
As you progress, you are likely to use more and more plugins. And not just generators, but effects also. So this will take up a big part of your CPU and RAM.
Then mixing and mastering come, and that’s when you need even more power.
So yeah, a powerful PC can be a great asset. And a cool thing PC Audio Labs offer is building your own add-ons on the top of the base version.
You can go up as high as Inter Core I9 Extreme and 128 GB of RAM. I honestly don’t think you’ll ever need such specs, but hey, I could be wrong.
It has all the right inputs for all music studio equipment imaginable, so that’s a sweet add-on.
Overall, I wouldn’t consider PC Audio Labs if I were on a budget and not very serious about music production in general.
*More about PC Audio Labs
3) Acer Aspire
If you are looking for a budget PC for music production, Acer Aspire might be the one. They come with different specs but don’t go much above the $500 mark.
I mean you can still purchase a few add-ons such as more RAM or an SSD (some versions come with a built-in SSD, some just come with 1 TB HDD).
Honestly, if you get one with an i5 Intel Core (preferably the last generation) and 12 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD, you are good to make music.
If you start running into challenges later as your PC gets slower because of all the junk you installed on it besides the music production essentials, you can always upgrade.
Adding an SSD to my laptop was the best upgrade I’ve done. I’ve never thought this would make a big difference. And the high price tag also kept me contemplating for a while.
One day I decided to give it a shot, and the results were astonishing. It used to take my laptop a minute or two to restart, and after I got an SSD the time decreased to literally 6 or so seconds.
It’s 10+ times faster! One of the best investments you can make!
Anyways, speaking of Acer Aspire.
For the price, it’s probably the best desktop computer for music production you can get.
You will see a Dell and an HP down the list, but you either pay more or get worse specs for the price.
*More about Acer Aspire
4) Dell Inspiron
You can get a nice bang for the buck if you purchase Dell Inspiron. Although nothing mind-blowing, it’s a reputable PC company that has been around for ages.
I remember it had a bunch of bad reviews alongside HP a few years back.
They fixed a lot of issues this line of PCs had recently, so look into buying the most recent version.
I don’t know if they have a lot of pre-built versions, but the most common one comes with two drives: 126 GB SSD so your Windows runs faster and 1 TB HDD to store your files.
You get 8 GB of RAM, but you can add more (it has two slots).
The base build comes with a 7th Gen i3 processor, so it’s a little weaker than the rest of the PCs and laptops on the list.
I can’t think of anything else to say about this particular desktop computer. For the price, it’s great.
It’s also customizable, so if you ever feel like it’s getting slower, you can always add RAM or disk space.
*More about Dell Inspiron
5) HP Pavilion
If you ever go window shopping to Best Buy or Future Shop and stop by the desktop computers’ section, there is 99% chance you will see one of these HP Pavilions.
I don’t know why they are this popular, but there must a reason, right?
They used to be a thing in the gaming PCs world a while back. Now with all these gaming computers and laptops emerging, HP Pavilions have become more of pre-build all-in-one PCs.
Some of them have AMDs, and some have Intel inside. If you are looking more into making beats and recording, I would suggest going for Intel.
A lot of PC geeks tell me how AMD is a lot better and that Intel is like Apple of processor chips. I still go with Intel every time, unless I need my PC to focus more on graphics (e.g., video editing).
Not a big deal at the end of the day.
You can get a nice 7th Gen Intel i5 with 12 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD for just over $600. Not a bad deal in my opinion.
*More about HP Pavilion
Conclusion: Best Computer For Music Production
The 5 Desktop computers above would be my personal choices. As you could’ve noticed, they have different operating systems, processors, hard drives, RAMs, sizes, and a whole lot more.
They start at just over $500 and can go up to $3000+.
Therefore, pick what’s the best for you.
If you have some money to spare and you are serious about music production, I would go for Audio Labs or an iMac.
The last three offer a better bang for the buck, so they can be great for the beginners who are just learning the basics.
And as I always say, you can spend all the time you want picking the best equipment, but if you are not putting in work, you won’t get far.
One wise man said that you could read books and watch YouTube tutorials as much as you want, but this doesn’t count as work. Listening to the snippet you’ve made for two hours is not work.
You won’t make a hit from your first try, don’t even try. Practice makes perfect, remember that!