The BEST Computers for Recording Music

best computers for music productionShopping for a computer?  But not sure which one to buy?

It’s a problem everyone struggles with early on…

You want the best computer for your money, but you’re scared to death of choosing the wrong one.

Need some help?

Well in this post, I reveal my top 4 computer recommendations to anyone starting a home recording studio.

First off, you’re probably wondering…

What features should you be looking for?

A good recording computer requires the following 4 features, in order of importance:

  1. Affordable Price - If you can’t afford it, nothing else matters.
  2. Fast Processing - Today’s computers are fast, but recording software often demands really fast.
  3. Screen Space - Once you start mixing, and your small monitor is crammed full of tracks and plugins, you realize the importance of having lots of screen space (both size and resolution).
  4. Customization - Once you start upgrading your studio with gear such as Pro Tools HD, customization becomes a necessity.
  5. Portability - It’s not important to everyone, but some guys like to keep their studios mobile ready.

Next, let’s narrow down your purchase options by settling an age-old debate…

Which is Better: Mac or PC?

Ask this question to enough “recording guys” and the vast majority will tell you: Get a Mac.

I agree.  And here’s why:

Back in 2006, I needed a good computer for my first studio.  After researching online for several weeks, I found that not only were the big studios using Macs…home studio guys seemed to prefer them as well.

But it was still a tough call.  Back then, Apple wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.  Not one other person I knew had a Mac.  Everyone had a Dell.   Still, I trusted the research, and chose a Macbook Pro.

The result?….

It was the best computer I ever had.  And Apple remains the industry standard in music recording, even today.  So go with a Mac…you won’t be sorry.

Now, assuming you trust my advice, the next question is:

Which Mac?

The four current Mac models I recommend are:

  1. the Mac Mini
  2. the Macbook Pro
  3. the iMac
  4. the Mac Pro

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of each model.

First off…

1. The Mac Mini

Apple Mac Mini best home recording studio computer

For the average guy starting his first studio, the Mac Mini is the ideal option.

Why?  Because it’s cheap.

It may not be as fast as the other Macs.  And it doesn’t include a monitor.  But early on, it’s more than sufficient.

You get all the benefits of working with the Mac OSX, for an insanely modest price tag.

Couple it with the Mbox Mini, and you’ve got yourself a very respectable first studio.

However, budget permitting, a better option might be…

2. The Macbook Pro

macbookCompared to the Mac Mini, the Macbook Pro offers two major improvements:

  1. It’s faster
  2. It’s more portable
  3. It features the high resolution Retina Display

My best guess is…the Macbook Pro ranks as the single most popular computer for home recording.

If you want to keep your studio light and mobile, it’s the obvious choice.

Now…

If portability isn’t a priority…here’s an even better option:

3. The iMac

Apple iMac best home recording studio computer

Compared to the Macbook Pro, the iMac offers 3 added benefits:

  • It’s faster than the Macbook Pro.
  • It looks awesome at the center of any recording desk.
  • It has a much larger screen.

If you can afford the extra couple hundred bucks, and you don’t require the portability of a laptop, the iMac is your perfect option.

In fact, the only computer that I recommend more is:

4. The Mac Pro

mac proPeek your head into any pro studio…odds are you’ll find a Mac Pro.

That’s because for music recording, there’s nothing better.  Here’s why:

  1. Blazing speed - This allows you to record with lots of tracks and plugins.
  2. Huge storage capacity - This allows you to store a virtually unlimited number of recording sessions on your hard drive.
  3. Customization options - These allows you to add more RAM, more storage, and more processing cards as you upgrade your studio.
  4. Multiple video output - This allows you to have multiple monitors at various locations in your studio.
  5. Tons of inputs/outputs - This gives you lots of flexibility when connecting auxiliary devices.

Perhaps the most notable benefit of the Mac Pro, is that once you upgrade to Pro Tools HD, it’s essentially your only option.

Stick with recording long enough, and I promise you will be using a Mac Pro eventually.

Now there’s just one more thing…

Once you’ve chosen which of these 4 computers best fits the vision of your future recording studio, the next step is adding a few important accessories.

So here’s another article explaining what you need, and why….

Recording Studio Computers