Desktop or Laptop? Which type of computer is better for music production?
If your a beat maker who travels a lot or has to work from various locations then you might not have any other choice than to use a laptop.
Desktops are far better to use for music production. The first reason is that you get the most bang for your buck. Laptops are more expensive because of the convenience of being portable. They are also more expensive because its components have to be built smaller.
PC or Mac? Which is better for music production?
PC. With a Mac you are overpaying for the cost of the brand name. As you will see, I built a computer with better specs than the iMac Pro for about two thirds of the price. Repairs for iMacs are costly and you can only go to Apple (or a few Apple authorized service providers). With PC’s you can go to a local electronics shop to buy replacement parts, install it yourself and be back up and running the same day.
Best PC Case For Music Production
Phanteks Eclipse P600S
The reason I went with this midtower case is because it brings the best of both worlds, a hybrid between a silent and high-performance chassis. You get both minimum noise (important when mixing and mastering) and maximum airflow to keep you computer parts cool.
It is very modular for optimal configuration. You can remove the top and front panels for more air flow. The internal components are easily accessible with dual side panels. The inside of the panels are also layered with soundproofing material. The case comes with excellent cable management features to help hide cables.
The front panel contains 1x USB 3.1 GEN 2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, Power button, Reset button, Microphone jack and Headphone jack.
The chassis is very spacious with room to install 10x 3.5″ hard drives and 3x SSD drives. The front panel can hold 3 fans (120/140mm) and the top holds 3x 120mm fans or 2x 140mm fans while the rear exhaust holds 1 fan (120/140mm).
Best Motherboard For Music Production
GigaByte X570 Aorus Master
This mother board is PCIe 4.0 ready to support future peripherals upgrades. It has an advanced thermal design and it is loaded with features.
The chipset has an excellent heat sink and quiet fan to dissipate heat.
The board has 3 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 Connectors, 3 PCIe 4.0/3.0 slots (x16, x8, x4) and 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors.
Best Motherboard For Music Production
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
For music production, the most important spec that you want to look for in the processor is single core performance. This is because the way computers process music in real time is linear. At the time, Intel’s CPU’s have the highest single core performance, but they are also alot more expensive.
Lets say you have a synthesizer loaded up. The computer first has to process the oscillator, then it has to process the detune effect, then the stereo effect, then the delay and then the reverb effect. If you have this synthesizer routed to a track on the mixer it will then sequentially process each effect one at a time. Other cores on your processor are not able to take up some of the workload (like in other computer operations) because it has to wait for each task to be completed since everything is being rendered in real time. As you can see, this is what would cause a bottle neck. So the more power the single core has, the faster it can do this work.
Your DAW can however assign different synthesizers to different cores to share the workload across the processor.
This processor I went for has 8-Cores and 16-Threads (think of threads as virtual cores). It also has a good amount of power at 3.6GHz which can be overclocked at 4.4Ghz. What I really like is that even though it is powerful it has an incredibly low heat output with a 65W TDP. The the two main parts that generate the most heat inside your computer are your CPU and Graphics Card.
Best Power Supply for Music Production
Seasonic makes some of the most solid power supplies, backed by a 10 year warranty.
I went with the 750W version to supply just enough power to all the computer components.
It is also 80 PLUS Platinum Certified which means it is 92% efficient at 50% system load, costing you less in electricity bills.
I love how the interior is constructed with almost no cables in the way, allowing the fan to easily move out the hot air. The fan is also very efficient and very quiet even at full loads.
What I like the most is the modular cable design, you only plug in peripherals that your actually using to the power supply, reducing the amount of cables.
Best Graphics Card for Multimedia
GeForce RTX 2060 Super Gaming OC 8G
Okay, graphics cards are not very important when it comes to music production. So you can get away with a really basic card if that’s all you do.
However if you do image editing, video editing or gaming like I do, then you need a good video card.
The feature that I love the most about this graphic card is that it has a total of 3 fans for cooling power. Having more fans means that each can run at a lower speed to cool the card, making your pc quieter.
This card runs at 1815 MHz and comes integrated with 8GB of RAM, which is useful for gaming.
There are 3 display ports and 1 hdmi port. All of which I use to connect a flat screen television mounted on the wall and three side by side monitors. I use the flat screen to display the mixer window and the other monitors to display the main window, playlist window and piano roll.
Best RAM for Music Production
G.SKILL Trident Z Neo Series 32GB
Trident Z Neo Series designed specifically for AMD Ryzen 3000 X570 Series. It is two sticks of 16GB ram each with built in heatsinks to keep them cool. The memory speed runs at 3600MHz wtih CAS Latency 16, Timing 16-19-19-39.
Best CPU Cooler for Music Production
Scythe Ninja 5
This is probably one of the largest CPU air coolers on the market. However because there is more surface area it is better able to dissipate heat away from the processor. It has dual 120mm fans and is very quiet even at high loads.
Best Monitor for Music Production
When it comes to monitors, there are two main categories. Gaming monitors, which are mainly focused on fast refresh rates and Creative monitors which are focused on color accuracy for image/video editing. Honestly, for music production you don’t need either. Any monitor would work.
Since I do both image/video editing and gaming I went for this monitor which I can use for both. I like a lot of real estate space when I am working so I went with a 32 inch display.
Best Storage For Music Production
The type of storage is going to depend on the type of tools you use.
For the operating system I use a Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD for fast startup speed and also faster loading times for FL Studio.
I have a separate Samsung 860 QVO 1TB SSD where I install games, use as the default download location and move windows and browser temp files so they are not written to my main drive.
I use alot of Kontakt libraries and Samplers (like Omnisphere, Nexus3, etc) which are huge libraries. In order to load them faster you need fast hard drives. Which is why I decided to store these on dual Sabrent 2TB ROCKET NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Drives.
For drum kits and sound kits, because they are smaller files you don’t need blazing fast hard drives. I keep these on a WD Black 4TB Performance Hard Drive running at 7200 RPM, SATA 6 Gb/s and 256 MB Cache.
As a backup storage I use a WD Blue 6TB Hard Drive hard drive running at 5400 RPM Class, SATA 6 GB/S and 256 MB Cache, 3.5″
This is the set up that I am currently using. If you add up the cost of all the parts, this pc build is more powerful and a lot less expensive than an iMac Pro. There are parts which are more powerful but a lot more expensive, the parts I choose was in my opinion the best bang for your buck.
You can still reduce the cost of the build by using other parts, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread is a good cheaper alternative to the processor. A less expensive but decent board option would be the ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus. The G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 32GB is also a slightly cheaper alternative for RAM. Based on your needs can also go for cheaper hard drives options. The biggest way to save money is by going with a really basic graphics card and monitor if you don’t do image/video editing or gaming.
Since technology is always improving, feel free to message me with any questions on computer technology.