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There are specific requirements of a computer system that you would want to use for music production. The requirements may not be very high if your job is restricted to audio only but if it involves video then it will be a bit different.
Here in this article you will find a list of the specific requirements in a desktop computer for music production. Though this is not absolute, still it will cover most of your job requirements.
- A processor with higher raw processing capacity will produce better outputs so it is best that you do not settle for nothing less than a multi core Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor of the latest generation.
- Since you will need to store a lot of files in your system during music production and also need to access them fast, SSD storage with high capacity is best but it is even better to have a combination of a smaller SSD and a larger HDD. This will offer you the best of both worlds in terms of speed and storage.
- You will not need a high-end GPU or a sound card in your desktop computer for music production. However, any and every card will not do either. Make sure that the audio and video cards produce clear, seamless, and reasonably high-quality outputs.
- You will need a lot of RAM in your system to enhance the processing power of it. Therefore, anything within 16 GB to 32 GB will be good enough. The preferable speed of operation is 2400 MHz.
- And the motherboard of the computer may not be a high-end model since it will not have any direct influence on the performance. But still, you should make sure that it supports the particular CPU you want to use and comes with enough expansion slots.
In This Article
The Best Desktop Configurations for Music Production
For Budget Desktop Configuration for Music Production:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8600K
- Hard Disk: Toshiba P300 1 TB
- SSD: SanDisk SSD Plus 240 GB
- Graphics: Default Graphics or MSI GT 710
- Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster Audigy PCIe 7.1
- RAM: Crucial PC3L 12800
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 UD
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
For Professional Desktop Configuration for Music Production:
- Processor: AMD RYZEN 7 2700x
- Hard Disk: WD Black 2 TB
- SSD: Kingston 960GB A400
- Graphics: ZOTAC Gaming GTX 1660 Ti (Optional)
- Audio Interface: Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32 GB
- Motherboard: MSI Performance B450 Gaming Plus
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
For High-end Desktop Configuration for Music Production:
- Processor: Intel Core i9-9900K
- Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda 4 TB
- SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (Optional)
- Sound Card: ASUS Essence STX II Sound Card
- RAM: G Skill Trident Z 32 GB
- Motherboard: MSI Meg Z390 Godlike
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
The tasks related to music production require a high raw processing capacity from your PC. To make sure your outputs are the best, you have to make sure your system is equipped with the best-suited CPU, or else you wouldn’t be able to work comfortably.
The following are the three best CPUs we have picked for the buyers of different categories, based on requirements and budget.
This is the ultimate processor that rules any and every aspect of premium computing. When installed in your music production PC it can do wonders. The octa-core 16 thread arrangement gives you more than enough power.
It has the highest clock speed of 5.0 GHz and you get enough options for overclocking as well. It also has the Intel Optane memory support for faster operations and a fast 16 MB cache.
Choose the right motherboard and you will be good to go. But the performance does come at a high price and if you are a beginner in this career or are tight on budget, it is not for you.
The RYZEN 7 2700x has been designed to focus mainly on productivity rather than gaming. As such, it is a very capable CPU that most music engineers like to use as it envelopes a large computing capacity in an affordable price tag.
This too is an octa-core processor with the base frequency of 3.7 GHz that can be boosted to a max of 4.3 GHz. It also has a cooling fan from AMD that should save you some money that you may use elsewhere in your build. This is the choice for most professionals today.
Intel processors are well known for their reliability and this 8th gen CPU is also no exception. If you are new in the field of music production or editing, nothing would be better than this since it is much stronger than an i3 but doesn’t cost as much as an i7 CPU.
It has got 6 cores and the highest speed of 4.3 GHz that is sufficient for any sort of media editing and customization. But as you level up, you will have to buy components that are costly and have higher system requirements. Thus, you will have to select the other parts wisely.
Hard Drive Capacity
If you are willing to edit any sort of media, it is of utmost importance that you have enough space to save all your files.
Having only an SSD for this might prove costly, and thus we suggest you keep both types of memory drives so that you never feel short on space. Now, of course, you will have to keep extra bays on your PC for expansions later on.
The Seagate Barracuda is one of the value-for-money hard drives that you will find today. And since you are spending so much on the build already, why not have some extra space?
Therefore the 4 TB variant should be ideal for you if you are looking to use the system for a long time. This 3.5” drive has the usual speed of 5400 rpm and SATA connectivity.
If you are willing to go for something cheaper, we have the WD Black. It is also a reliable hard drive, and with a capacity of 2 TB, you may store anything you want on it including audio files, videos, pictures, etc no matter what amounts.
The best part about it is that it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years. With a decent SSD drive, you wouldn’t have to think twice about your storage.
This is the one you should opt for if you have a lower storage requirement. We don’t suggest you buying hard drives below 1 TB since it wouldn’t be worth it.
This particular device has a rotational speed of 7200 rpm and so makes sure you do not go slow on speed, and also can have a budget-friendly option.
As mentioned already, you should be having dual storage options on your build so that you have both speed and reliability. Below are 3 of the best SSD storage options we have chosen, that should be suitable to meet your demands.
The best among the three would be the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. We prefer the 1 TB variant because with a high capacity hard drive, you would not need so much storage but in case you do, there is also a 2 TB variant available.
Being the best, it also has a high price and unless you don’t have to worry about your budget, this is one of those purchases that will satisfy you.
For mid-range buyers, the most suitable one would be the A400 from Kingston. The brand is well known and so you don’t need to be concerned regarding dependability. There are both M.2 and SATA 3 connectivity options so that you have some flexibility as well.
The most pocket-friendly SSD that we have here is this one from Sandisk. There is no point in buying a 120 GB SSD since you simply wouldn’t have much of the space left after storing the system files of your PC. Unless you are on a very strict budget, we suggest this 240 GB variant for you.
How Much Graphics Do You Need?
This is one of the most asked questions that people have no matter which computer they are building/ buying. Well, music production itself does not crave much graphics and in most cases, the graphics that you have by default should be enough.
For example, modern Intel CPUs have integrated Intel 630 Graphics. But to make sure you can work with a peace of mind, it is always right to have an external GPU so that if in future you need to work with videos you might not need to buy one.
Moreover, having a GPU also allows you some more smoothness while proceeding on a project. But a matter that you must keep in mind is that the fans on your video card should not be much noisy or else your main aim, that is music would be disrupted.
It is often the case that high performing GPUs make noise while operational but that cannot be allowed here. Let’s see which of the GPUs would be right for you.
The Radeon 5700 XT would be simply overkilling if you are only going to create music. But if you have the budget, you may select it to future-proof your system.
This is one of the best GPUs and over the NVIDIA’s RTX video cards, it is also quite cheaper, while having a comparable performance. This one has a triple fan setup and good heat management.
The GTX 1660 Ti is an ideal addition to any mid or high range system. It is not that costly but has enough potential to handle most tasks like video editing that are related to music production.
It has a capacity of 6 GB and all the modern features that you may expect. Check out Best Gaming Desktop Configurations.
The MSI GT 710 is a low budget alternative to your default graphics. As such, you cannot expect it to have a massive impact on the graphical processing strength of your PC, but it is a worthy replacement to the usual graphics capability.
If you want to make sure that the graphics present by default does not hinder your productivity, you may choose this.
Sound Card or an Audio Interface
A sound card and an audio interface are almost similar in working and purposes, but the later has some added functionalities. The main difference between the two is their formats.
The fact is that while a sound card is fitted internally in a CPU, the other one is an external device. Sound cards had a high demand earlier but professionals now are more interested in investing in audio interfaces since they provide more accurate audio and lower audio latency.
Also, they provide symmetry and checked frequencies so that a producer can get the best version of the audio output he had intended to create. Both have their advantages, and so we have kept the options of both in this article.
As an internal sound card, it can’t get much better than the ASUS Essence STX II. It not only provides a clear, high-end audio output but also allows customizations to the user.
It has a signal to noise (SNR) ratio of 124 dB which makes it one of the few devices available that provide such a high margin of clarity. Although, the main drawback here is that it doesn’t work on AM4 sockets and thus you will have to use an Intel processor if you want to use it.
This is an audio interface that you may check out that you have to connect externally. There are several dials at the front along with a whole lot of functionalities it has altogether. It can also add many effects on your audio while providing a premium output.
The last one is the cheapest alternative but is mainly recommended for low-end systems. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. It has a 106 dB SNR rate that is excellent.
You get 7.1 dual-channel audio output and with the use of a good pair of headphones, you will soon realize that it is more than just a usual audio card. Dual mic input and fine-tuning are a few of its advantages.
Anything like music production requires a huge processing power which is not possible until you have adequate RAM in your system. We suggest you keep at least 16 gigs of RAM at all costs.
The most you would need is 32 GB, but if you want you may have 64 GB, but that would simply be too much and most of it would not be used at all. A quick look at the options mentioned below should give you an idea of what to buy.
With an RGB lighting scheme and blazing fast speeds, the G Skill Trident Z is one of the premium RAMs that are available now.
The given link has two 16 GB modules, although you can equip four 8 GB modules as well. You might as well do some overclocking with this since it has a high maximum speed as well.
Next up in the list is the Corsair Vengeance. As you can see it is also of 32 GB capacity in four 8 GB sticks, but it is slightly budget-friendly and thus more affordable.
It may not have any bright lights, but the black finish gives a solid look to it. The high speed 3600 MHz RAM is supported by most systems as well.
This one from Crucial is available within 100$ and so should fit in your budget. We do not seem it fit that you invest in RAMs having lower speeds since it may not be enough.
The PC4 19200 can be easily fit in your motherboard and not only that, it allows you to multitask with ease, which should be very helpful while editing.
Choosing the right motherboard is also one of the most significant parts of your PC build since it stores most of the components responsible for the processing.
The most important matter that you should check is that your motherboard supports the processor you have chosen since Intel and AMD CPUs require different types of motherboards. It should be having enough expansion slots so that you don’t have any trouble in the future.
There are expensive, high-end motherboards available but it will not be right to spend too much on only the motherboard even if you have the money since it doesn’t have a direct effect on your PC’s performance. The three motherboards that we have selected from higher to lower prices are given below.
The most suitable OS for your music production PC would be the Windows 10 Pro. This is because the professional version of the Windows 10 OS adds many useful features.
But it is expensive, and that could be a problem. However, the extra amount you pay makes sure that you get access to something that would last for years to come and you would not need to make any major upgrade in your Operating System rather than updates.
A high capacity power supply is a must for any performance-oriented PC since the native power supply may not be enough. You have to choose one based on the total wattage of your PC, and the more graphics you add, the more the wattage increases.
There are many expensive power supplies available, but since not everyone will be comfortable with buying those, we also have a budget PSU that should be enough for any PC build.
- Budget Option: Thermaltake Smart 700W
- Premium Option: EVGA SuperNova G3
The cooling system is an equally important matter that you will have to take care of. Your productivity is somewhat dependent upon the performance of your PC and if it is sluggish you will not be able to work smoothly.
Thus the CPU has to be kept within working temperatures at all times. This can also be done using thermal pads, liquid or air cooling. Liquid cooling would be a bit too much as it is more applicable for PCs with higher graphical demands.
So the choice is quite clear, and so the fan you decide to buy should be one that fits in your PC. The one that fits in the case suggested by us is the Cooler Master MFY-P2DC-153PC-R1 MasterFan Pro.
The case in you put all of the parts stated above plays a key role in minimizing the sound produced by them. For a music producer or editor, unintended noise would never be welcome if they are looking to create the perfect audio be it at home or a studio. Hence, a good quality case is also important so that the internal parts are safe inside, while the entire system emits as much low noise as possible.
Here, a good case that you may buy is the Thermaltake Core P3.
It depends entirely upon you to choose what sort of monitor arrangement you want for the purpose we have been talking about. The quality and size of the display is your decision since one has different requirements and budget. Most of you would like to have a multi-monitor arrangement, while some may be sated with a single screen. Also, there are those of you who would like to have a wide monitor that is a mix of a bit of both of the former ones. Well, we have tried to take into account all of your needs and so the following are the monitor recommendations.
- Dell Computer Ultrasharp U2415
- Acer R240HY 23.8 inch (for dual monitor setup)
- LG 34UM88-P (Ultra-Wide)
Keyboard and Mouse
A good keyboard and a decent mouse are the final items in your shopping list for any sort of PC build. Unless you already have those, you should buy good quality ones and especially a horizontal scrolling mouse since it is more useful while doing work on projects and other music editing-related software with greater ease.
- Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless
- Keyboard: ROSEWILL Gaming Keyboard