Choosing a computer for music production in 2024

How to choose a good computer for Music Production

 When we enter the world of music production, one of the most common questions is figuring out what type of computer (PC or Mac) is recommended for optimal work. 

In this article, we will seek to address the most common doubts on this controversial topic, especially for beginners.

PC or Mac?

The first question we need to answer is whether we need an Apple computer, a Windows PC, or perhaps an option for Linux.

Let's clarify regarding Linux first. Linux is undoubtedly an interesting system in many respects, however, in terms of music production, the Linux ecosystem is quite limited compared to a PC or Mac. The primary limitation lies in the available Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) for Linux. While there are some good options like REAPER, Mixbus, or Bitwig Studio, the variety of virtual instruments, plugins, libraries, etc., falls short compared to what other systems offer. Additionally, hardware setup and compatibility tend to be more complex.

For this reason, our first recommendation is to avoid Linux systems for music production, unless you are a programming geek passionate about Linux. It's definitely not a good option for beginners.

Apple Computers

Mac computers are undoubtedly a great choice for both beginner and professional music production. Among the main advantages are:

1. Operating System: MacOS is one of the most stable and secure systems. While it can fail, like any other system, it is highly reliable, clean, and often prevents many issues such as viruses and corrupt files. MacOS is designed to work with audio efficiently, using Core Audio technology, making it an excellent choice for demanding professional applications.

2. Native Hardware: All Apple computers come with good hardware for audio playback and even recording. You can work with your Mac's built-in outputs without needing to buy an audio interface, and the sound quality will be quite good. While you'll eventually need an interface for more demanding tasks, it's not a necessity when you're just starting.

3. Apple Ecosystem: Consider that with a Mac, you enter or expand your Apple ecosystem. If you have an iPhone or iPad, the Mac allows practical and seamless integration with those devices. This can benefit you when producing music, as you can use mobile apps as virtual instruments, MIDI controllers, or extensions of your DAW.

4. Native Software: All Macs come with Garageband, a friendly and comprehensive DAW that allows you to start working without acquiring another program. For users needing something more advanced, Apple offers Logic Pro, one of the most popular and powerful DAWs. If you've learned to use Garageband, transitioning to Logic Pro won't be complicated.

In addition to this, practically all popular DAWs are available for Mac. Apple computers are definitely a great option to start in the world of music production.

Their disadvantages usually revolve around the higher cost compared to Windows PCs. However, with the new generation of Apple Silicon computers (M1, M2, etc.) that Apple has released, costs are much more competitive and powerful, making a Mac worth considering.

Windows PC

Windows PCs are the most popular computers globally. While initially not the best candidates for audio work, they have improved significantly over the years and are also a great option for both beginners and professionals.

Factors that can help us decide if a PC is our best option include:

1. Preferred DAW: While most DAWs run on both Mac and PC, some may only work on PC. This should be the first consideration when choosing a computer.

2. Budget: PCs can be more economical in their basic form. Carefully examine this aspect, as a PC suitable for audio may have a higher cost than a basic PC for school or office use.

3. Operating System: Windows has improved considerably in recent years. If you love Windows or feel comfortable with this system, you can definitely continue using it as a base for your music production software.

Technical Specifications

If you are evaluating a PC's capability to work with audio and music, we recommend the following minimum specifications:

- Windows 10: This is definitely the most stable and recommended version for most programs.

- Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen multi-core processor: This is a crucial part, as the processor handles audio processing operations. A low-capacity processor will make your work too slow and frustrating. While a more advanced processor, such as an i7, is better, these minimum processors will allow you to do general work without issues.

- 8 GB RAM: RAM allows you to run multiple programs and plugins (audio processors or virtual instruments) simultaneously. As your projects become more complex, you may need to increase RAM to 16 GB, 32 GB, or even more, depending on your experience.

- Free Disk Space of 10 - 40 GB: Storage allows you to save more projects on your computer. Additionally, each DAW requires a certain amount of space for installation. It's worth noting that using SSD (Solid State Drive) storage is highly recommended over hard drives. SSD transfer speeds are much faster than any hard drive, ensuring excellent performance for audio programs.

Unlike Apple computers, typical PC audio hardware is not of high quality. Therefore, it is practically mandatory to get an audio interface to work properly from the beginning. Make sure your interface has ASIO drivers for correct functioning and high-quality audio.

As you can see, there are many options to find a good computer and start creating music. Often, it's not necessary to make exorbitant expenses initially. It's better to start with a basic but high-quality setup and increase your computer's capabilities as your level of expertise and needs grow.

If you want to start in the world of music production from scratch, you can check out my online courses, where you'll learn step by step in a comprehensive and clear manner. Click on the following links for more info:

- Audio Engineering Fundamentals.

- Introduction to DAWs with REAPER.

- Principles of Acoustics for the Home Studio.

I'm confident they will greatly help you on your journey as a producer. See you next time!


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