Computers Consumer Electronics

Best Computer for Recording Music – 2018 Edition

Best computer for recording music
Carl Evans
Written by Carl Evans

On the hunt for the best computer for recording music?

We’ve got you.

In this age of digital music production, the computer you use will be a defining factor when it comes to your final product.

There are so many options out there in the wild.

You can either get a PC or go with a laptop. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

But to make a decision with these many options is pretty confusing. That’s why we’ve tried out best to make your choice easier.

We have done thorough research and have handpicked a few models that should cater best to your music production needs.

Let’s dive right in.


Best Overall Choice (PC and Mac)

We have discussed so many models that could be your potential music maker for years to come.

But we know not all of you have the time to read all of it.

So here’s our best overall computer choice for recording music (one for Mac and one for PC)

Best Desktop for Music Production

Dell XPS 7760

The new Dell XPS7760 is our choice as the best desktop for music production.

The XPS7760 model is an all-in-one desktop computer that comes with all the hardware you need.

It boasts a 27-inch screen that has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. For a music producer, this screen gives a lot of room to play.

It is also a touchscreen so you can interact more if you DAW allows you to.

You get a 7th gen i7 processor and 16 gigs of RAM for memory. This desktop computer has all the power you need to make all the music you want.

One exciting feature of this desktop is the front-facing speaker setup. The speakers are very impressive and should make an excellent addition to your primary music production device.

You can run DAWs like FL Studio, Pro Tools, and also Ableton Live.

If you are a Windows user who is on the hunt for a serious music production device, then the Dell XPS7760 is a clear winner.

Pros

  • With top-notch specs, easily the best Windows computer for recording music
  • Supports multiple DAWs giving the user flexibility
  • 27-inch screen is a great inclusion

Cons

  • Expensive and so not an option for every aspiring music producer

Best Mac for Recording Music

Apple 27" iMac

There are many amazing products in the Mac lineup.

But when it comes to music production, our choice is the 27-inch iMac from Apple.

Yes, the iMac Pro is a much more powerful option. If you have the budget to afford, you probably should go with it.

But we have to admit that the iMac Pro is a little too expensive for budding music producers.

The 27-inch iMac, on the other hand, is less expensive and comes with a lot of muscle.

The display alone makes it worth it. It gives you all the space you need to work without feeling cramped.

It has excellent hardware and is perfect for running Mac-only programs like Logic Pro X and Garageband.

If you love the polished user interface that Apple provides, then you should get the 27-inch iMac.

Pros

  • Easily the best option for people who prefer Macs
  • Makes use of optimzed software so user can expect better software experience
  • Display is probably the best out there

Cons

  • Price is on the expensive side, but still a lot cheaper than Apple’s latest iMac Pro

Best Desktop for Music Production

With a multitude of desktops that are great for recording music, we went on and picked up three great computers (apart from our best overall choice) that will be a great fit for anyone who loves producing music.

Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop

Dell XPS 8930

If you are looking for a balanced desktop computer with respect to both price and budget, then the Dell XPS 8930 is a good option to consider.

The model comes with an 8th generation i7 processor with six cores.

This processor is a powerful one and will handle your music production without any problems.

The processor gets good support from the 16GB DDR4 type memory. This is ample memory and should be more than enough for most music producers out there.

The 2TB 7200 RPM hard drive is spacious. It should provide you with a lot of space for your music library. We do recommend an upgrade to a hybrid drive as it would improve the overall speed of the device.

You also get a dedicated graphics card in the form of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti. If you like to game a bit, this one will cater to your needs.

You are required to purchase a monitor separately as this desktop comes as a standalone one (like other desktops in this list).

With the cost under $1100, you can’t get this balance of power and price in other desktops out there.

Pros

  • Packed desktop with all-around specs
  • Not very expensive so an options for those who can’t affored expensive machines
  • Has a dedicated GPU which can be handy

Cons

  • You will have to purchase the monitor separately and this adds to the total cost of the desktop

Dell Inspiron All-in-one Desktop

Dell Inspiron All in one desktop

This Dell Inspiron model is slightly expensive in comparison to the first one, but it comes with a monitor which is nice.

The model is powered by a 7th gen i7 chip from Intel. This i7 7700T is a quad-core processor and comes with a clock speed of 2.9GHz.

The memory department is made up of 12 gigs of DDR3L memory which is adequate.

You get a 256GB solid state drive which is super fast when compared with other traditional hard drives.

A pleasant inclusion in the model is the 23.8-inch full HD display.

The widescreen display comes with good accuracy and should be helpful in a musician’s workflow.

It is also a touchscreen which means you will get the complete Windows experience.

Overall, this is a very good all-in-one desktop computer that is perfect for making music, especially for amateurs.

Pros

  • Being an all-in-one desktop, this model also comes with the display and saves you some money
  • Specs are impressive for the price
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse remove the clutter created by wires

Cons

  • If you have a large library of audio files, you might need a external hard drive as the SSD has only 256GB of storage

Acer Aspire Desktop (Perfect for People on a Budget)

Acer Aspire TC 780 ACK15

With a price tag of under $500, this Acer Aspire model is an excellent desktop computer for music producers on a budget.

If you are in school or college and can’t shell thousands of dollars for the state of the art desktop, this Acer desktop will be your companion in your musical journey.

With a 7th generation i5 processor at its helm, this computer comes with enough vigor to power through your music.

There are 12 gigs of DDR4 type RAM. Though we suggested 16 gigs of memory, for a budget device this is a decent compromise.

You have a 2TB SATA hard drive with an RPM of 7200. This is not the fastest storage device out there. We would recommend you to upgrade to, at least, a hybrid drive for improved speed.

The only con here is that you will have to spend some money on a monitor which adds to your already tight budget.

Overall, a neat option for people on a budget.

Pros

  • Excellent budget option for peoplewho can’t afford high-end computers
  • Processor and memory combination offer a smooth user experience

Cons

  • Not monitor included as this is a standalone desktop

Best Laptop for Recording Music

Laptops are usually seen as an instrument for portability. But how good are they for making music?

Well, we would say very good.

Here are our three best laptops (including one budget option) for making music.

Apple 15″ MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro

The 15″ MacBook Pro is a very good laptop, and that is a well-known fact.

The laptop is also a perfect choice for making music.

Being an Apple product, you also get access to exclusives like Logic Pro X and Garageband.

The laptop is pretty powerful with a quad-core i7 processor that is clocked at 2.9GHz.

It comes with LPDDR3 memory which should be enough to handle your musical needs.

The place where you’ll see the most difference is the storage. Here, we have a 512GB solid-state drive.

This SSD is super fast and can read and write data at very high speeds (upwards of 1GBPS).

If you need more speed, then you must invest in external hard drives which will add to your total cost.

The display here is only 15″. In comparison with a desktop, it may not be that big. But if you are keen on getting a laptop, then this display is as good as it gets.

If you are a Mac user or if you want a sophisticated laptop with excellent specs as your primary music machine, then the Apple MacBook Pro is an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Best laptop for recording music for those who prefer Macs over Windows machines
  • Excellent all-round machine with superior build quality
  • Comes with an excellent speaker which could come in handy (we’d still perefer headphones for professional music production)

Cons

  • Price tag makes it not accessible for those on a tight budget

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Surface Book is one of the most beautiful offerings from Microsoft, and it excels in every department it can.

This Surface Book model is our Windows laptop of choice for making music.

Like the MacBook Pro, this model also comes with a 15″ display which is fantastic. It is one of the most vibrant displays on the market.

It is also a touchscreen so you can interact with your laptop without anything holding you back.

The Surface Book comes with an i7 Intel processor from the 8th generation. The processor will provide you with enough for your music recording needs.

The memory here is made up of 16 gigs of DDR4 type. There is also a 512GB solid-state drive which super fast.

The graphics card here is a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. This GPU is a capable one and will also allow you to game a lot.

One advantage with the Surface Book model is that you can detach the display and use it as a tablet. This option gives you flexibility in how you can use this device which is a nice thing to have.

Overall, the Surface Book 2 is the best Windows laptop out there for making music.

Pros

  • One of the best 15″ displays on the market which is also a touchscreen
  • 8th generation i7 processor and 16GB memory offer enough power
  • Probably the best Windows laptop for music production

Cons

  • Being a premium laptop, the price is on the higher side

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (Budget Option)

Dell inspiron 15 5000

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is a well-rounded laptop that comes at a price much lesser than the two laptops previously discussed.

This Inspiron model is also a hybrid laptop which means you can fold it and use it as a tablet if and when needed.

The device is powered by a quad-core i5 processor from the 8th generation. It has a clock speed of 2.5GHz which can be pushed to a maximum of 3.4GHz.

The memory here is 16GB that is of DDR4 type. This is the maximum memory the laptop supports so you won’t be able to increase it in the future.

The display here is a full HD touchscreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It comes with excellent color accuracy and is perfect for media consumption as well.

One shortcoming of this laptop is that it only has a traditional hard drive. The 1TB hard drive is great for storage but is not that fast. But being a budget laptop option, we can let that one go.

When it comes to music production, it is vital that the laptop can support the software you want to use. This Dell Inspiron model has all it takes to make good music.

For just under $700, you will not find a better option that is excellent for music production.

Pros

  • Excellent budget laptop without many compromises
  • Being a hybrid device, you can work on the go without any problems

Cons

  • For the price, you really can’t complain here

What to Look For in a Computer For Recording Music?

There are a few factors that decide which device will become your primary computer for music production.

1. Hardware Specs

Music production may not be as taxing as video production, but you still need to have top-notch hardware specs if you want your computer to keep up for a few years.

You shouldn’t compromise when it comes to the hardware of your computer.

Processor:

The CPU is the heart of your computing device.

You might want to go with a recent Intel or AMD chip with a clock speed of at least 2.7GHz.

The clock speed is crucial when it comes to selecting the processor and make sure it doesn’t go below this number.

Also, you want your processor to have at least four cores and a minimum of 3MB cache.

Having four cores will allow you to do more without putting unnecessary stress on the processor.

If you are choosing a computer with a recent processor, you should be fine.

Memory:

Having a good memory in your computer is equally important.

Gone are the days you can do a lot with a 4GB or an 8GB memory stick.

Now, it is in your good interest to have 16GB memory in your computer for fluid work experience.

You can also go for 32GB or more, but we feel that it is not a must for all the people out there.

You do recommend the memory to be of the DDR4 type, but DDR3 is perfectly fine as well.

If you are on a tight budget, you can manage with eight gigs of RAM. But be informed that your workflow may not be the best with 8GB memory.

Storage:

The storage capacity of your computer will vary according to your individual needs.

If you plan to have a massive library of audio files, then you will need a lot of space.

As a thumb rule, you must have a minimum of 500GB of hard drive space if you ask us.

But if you are in music production professionally, then having a 2TB or 5TB hard drive is justified. You won’t need it right away.

If you can afford, you should invest in solid state drives rather than traditional hard drives.

SSDs are super fast and can completely change the way you work.

You will be able to open applications in a jiffy, and there won’t be any lag whatsoever.

If you can’t afford whole SSDs, you should go for hybrid drives which are part SSD and part hard drives. They are a lot cheaper and can improve performance considerably.

Display:

The display is one of the underrated features in a music production device.

If you are a laptop person, then having a 15″ screen and above is a must.

If you are going to use a desktop, then the bigger the screen, the better.

The more screen real estate you have, the easier it is for you to make arrangements.

Laptop users can also get a secondary display even you want a bigger screen for work.

2. Preferred Software

Your digital audio workstation (DAW) is going to play a key role in how you make music.

Each person has their preference and they should.

If you are a Logic Pro X user, then you need a mac as it is mac only.

If you are keen to use FL Studio, Ableton Live, or Pro Tools, you can get away with both Windows and Mac machines as they are available for both the platforms.

So before making your final decision make sure you know which DAW is right for you as choosing the right DAW is a make or break decision.

3. Budget

How much can you spend on your main music production computer?

If you have a big budget, then you don’t have to worry about the quality of the machine.

But if you are tied to a smaller budget, then you will have to cut corners.

You may have to compromise on the memory of the device, the processing power, or even the go for a complete budget device.

Now, music production is not for the rich.

Anyone can make music at the comfort of your home. But with a budget device, you will face some shortcomings.

What to Choose – Desktop or Laptop?

It is more of a preference, to be honest.

People used to say that laptops can’t be as powerful as a desktop computer.

But those days are gone.

Nowadays, you can find powerful laptops that can handle the same workload as a desktop personal computer.

So if you are comfortable with a laptop, there is no need to switch to a desktop and vice versa.


Best Computer for Recording Music – Conclusion

That brings this long post to its end.

We hope you found your best computer for recording music.

Right now, our choice of computer for music production is the iMac (for Mac users) and the Dell XPS7760 (for Windows users).

This post will be updated often to reflect the introduction of newer models and also the discontinuation of older models.

Let us know if this article was helpful in making your decision.

We would love to know your opinions. Comment them using the comment section below.

About the author

Carl Evans

Carl Evans

Carl Evans is a gadget enthusiast ever since his teens. He is the founder of TechieKnows.com and has been contributing tech content for various publications over the years. Carl loves reading books and learning more about new tech.

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