When it comes to creating music, you need the proper tools.
Slash doesn’t rock out a guitar solo on a $50 guitar does he?
When you start to get serious about creating music, you need a good computer.
I promise you will not regret it.
I bit the bullet a few years ago and finally bought a quality computer, and it really changed my life.
That might sound a bit extreme, but It honestly made EVERYTHING more efficient and high quality.
So you’re obviously wondering:
Top 4 Computers for Making Music
Unfortunately there isn't one specific recommendation.
It definitely depends on a few factors, but I've basically addressed them all here:
- How much can you spend?
- Is portability important?
- What specs will you need?
Two Topics That Cause So Much Pain
The two main topics I want to help you get past are:
- PC vs. Mac
- Desktop vs. Laptop
These will always be an issue when deciding on which computer to get.
Every month there seems to be dozens of videos and articles in favour of each of these options.
Here's 4 shortcuts to consider:
- If you have always used a PC, stick with a PC.
- If you're comfortable with Mac, stick with a Mac.
- If you need portability, get a laptop.
- If you're on a tight budget, a Windows computer is recommended.
For making music, and as a starting framework, any combination will work.
The thing worth mentioning right now is that if you plan on using the computer for other things, and the portability of a laptop is important, then strongly consider that.
If you can also use this computer for work, school, or want to travel with it, get a laptop.
Are you a touring DJ?
Obviously get a laptop.
But if you're a on a serious budget and will only produce music from your home, that's when a desktop might be a better option.
But based on music production requirements, it honestly does not matter if you get a PC or Mac, desktop or laptop.
The PC vs. Mac Debate
I can't really cover this whole topic here, nor do I have enough knowledge on every single technicality.
But when it comes to choosing a computer for making music, again it doesn't matter if it's a PC or a Mac.
I personally use a Mac. Therefore if I was going to buy a new computer, it would be a Mac.
If you currently use and like working with a PC, then choose that. It doesn't matter if you need something tailored specifically for music production, because both options work.
In General: If You Don't Know What You're Doing...
If you don't know much about computers, and you want something very reliable, get a Mac.
You will have to pay more, but what comes in the box is reliable, and well built.
But here's the deal:
If you know how to build computers and what to look for, you can save money on a PC.
So if you're on a tight budget, but you know enough about building computers, then a PC could be a better option.
Again, I'm starting to sound like a broken record: You can produce music on a Mac and a PC.
Don't Get Lost! Let's Do a Quick Review
- If you're going to need to travel with your new computer, get a laptop.
- If you're 100% going to be producing music only at one location, consider a desktop if you want to save money.
- If you're a PC user, stick with a PC.
- If you're a Mac user, stick with a Mac.
- If you have a tight budget, consider a PC.
- If you don't know much about computers, consider a Mac if you have the budget.
A General Pricing Guideline:
In general, this is what you can expect in terms of pricing:
PC Windows: $400 - $1200
What You Need to Pay Attention To
RAM: Random Access Memory
As a strong recommendation for producing music, get 16 gigs of ram. 8 gigs would be the minimum.
Here's the deal:
16 gigs is not necessary, as many people can produce music on 8 gigs of ram.
However if you're going to be doing some heavy production, and you have the budget, upgrade to 16 gigs.
For a Windows PC, the minimum should be an i5 processor, however an i7 is highly recommended.
If you're creating a ton of music samples, you will need a good amount of storage.
What's great is that you can always use external hard drives if you run out of room.
So this is not a huge concern.
Laptop Recommendations for Creating a Killer Personal Studio
If you have the cash, this is your best option.
Yes you're paying a premium price, but you're getting an excellent product.
If you plan to DJ any live shows, this is ideal as it's extremely reliable.
It's been said over and over:
Macs are very reliable.
These are also very simple to use, which is great for beginners.
Mac laptops are great for DJs because they're reliable and work with top music software.
The downfall is that they are expensive when compared to Windows laptops.
Asus Rog Laptops
The Asus Rog laptops are really well built, and are much less expensive than a Mac.
If you're comfortable working with Windows, then these are a good option for music production.
These are labelled as "gaming laptops" and will have enough RAM and processing power for creating music on the go.
This is a great option for PC users.
If You Don't Need a Laptop, Save Some Money Here:
The Mac Mini is a less expensive way to use the Apple operating system.
If you really want a Mac, you can spend less than $1000 for a Mac Mini. Keep in mind you will need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
You will save money if you go with a desktop computer.
If you stick with these specs, you will still be able to create all the music you need:
- 16 gigs of RAM
- Intel Core i7
Those are the two most important factors.
Keep in mind some really cheap desktop computers may not be very reliable.
You might want to ask someone who really knows their stuff to build you a computer with these specs.
You can find a list of really well priced computers with this criteria here:
Again, aim for 16 gigs of RAM and an i7 processor.