Do you have a gaming computer and are wondering whether you can use it for producing music? In this article, we will discuss the cons and pros of using a gaming computer for producing audio and what computers you should consider using.
Are gaming computers good for music production? Gaming computers can be used for producing music due to their powerful hardware specs. However, gaming computers can make a lot of noise. If you turn down the fan speeds and managed the sound levels, a gaming computer could be a great machine for producing music.
A gaming computer is good for music production because everything it has is crucial for making good music. The only thing you don’t need from a gaming computer is the graphics card.
Using a Gaming Computer For Music Production
Gaming computers are GPU-oriented. However, they have a bigger RAM and massive horsepower. The only feature that a gaming computer has that makes it not ideal for music production is that it makes a lot of noise. Gaming computers have fans that exert a lot of pressure into the workstation, and this could compromise audio quality when you are recording with open microphones. However, if you are into electronic music, this may not be an alarming issue.
Electronic music doesn’t typically need a microphone to produce music, therefore external factors such as the noise of the room or computer fan noises aren’t a problem. However, if you’re recording vocals, making sure your room and computer are quiet is something you should take seriously as it can interfere with your recordings.
If you’re a vocalist then you’re going to need a studio microphone to record your vocals. I’ve written an in depth guide to the best microphones on the market and which microphone you can use to help yield the best sound quality. These are the microphones I’ve used in the past and were able to achieve great results with them.
So, which is the best laptop for music production, what are some of the features to look for in a computer machine, what makes a good machine? All these questions are answered in the details below.
Laptop or Desktop For Music Production?
Typically, laptops are less powerful than desktop computers that are sold within the same price range. Moreover, it’s much harder to upgrade or expand a laptop. While you can still use a laptop for music production, you should be specific with what you need to be mobile with your music production; otherwise, you should opt for a PC.
If I want to use a laptop, which one should I buy for music production?
When it comes to laptops, there are many options to consider. But, before you make any decisions, there are numerous technical features that you must consider. This guide discusses the top three best laptops for music production.
You have probably seen Macbook pros in most studios. This is enough proof that it is the best laptop for producing music. In fact, it is one of the most reliable workstations for music production and video editing. Moreover, many DAWs are designed for the Mac operating system. Hence, it is very difficult to experience performance issues or crashes.
These specifications may of been updated with the newer models but as the time of writing this article, the base models feature 8GB of RAM and the new M1 processor. Advanced models have 16GB of RAM. Hard drives storage range between 128GB and 2TB. The MacBook Pro comes in two screen variants: the 13 inch and 16-inch variants. If you will connect your laptop to a monitor, the 13 inches would be ideal, plus it is cheaper. The 15-inch variant is ideal if you will be using it as the main production platform.
The Lenovo Y700 has various functionalities. The market price for the machine ranges between $749.99 and $1,099.99. It features a 15-inch display, 512GB of SSD, and 1TB of HDD storage. There is a bigger version of the model that comes with a 17-inch screen, 128GB of storage, and 1TB of HDD. Both models have 16GB of RAM, a quad-core 2.8GHz Intel i7 processor, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card.
The only downside with this laptop is that it has a weak processor. However, the 16GB of RAM should be enough to handle music production. The Lenovo Ideapad Y700 is an affordable and perfect machine for music producers.
The Asus Rog Strix GL553 monster has a lot to offer. First and foremost, the laptop boasts of a quad-core 3.8GHz Intel i7 processor, internal storage of 1TB, and 16GB of RAM. The GL55E is a high breed model that features an additional 256 GB of internal storage. It had a 15-inch screen display plus a powerful NVIDIA GTX1050 graphics card.
The machine also comes with two 3.0 USB ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, and a USB-C port. There is also a port for Ethernet connection. These connections are very important to a music producer. That’s not all; the laptop’s gaming keyboard is made to feel like a mechanical keyboard. It has a longer key travel that measures 2.55mm. With this machine, typing is not an issue. This will lead to a smoother music production experience.
What Makes The Best Laptop For Music Production?
When choosing a laptop for music production, there are three primary factors to consider:
The CPU is the first thing to take into account when shopping for a music production computer. The term CPU means Central Processing Unit. The processor is important because if it is weak, your computer will develop issues when recording.
Measure the strength of your CPU by its frequency by checking the GHz unit. The higher the number of processors a CPU has, the stronger the laptop. For example, a 4.0GHz processor is twice as powerful as a 2.0GHz processor. Also, consider the number of cores in a CPU. The more cores the CPU has, the better it will be at running many programs at one time. Therefore, get a computer that has at least quad core with 2.5GHz to ensure your music software works efficiently.
Another important factor to consider is the RAM. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. The RAM acts as a short-term memory for your computer, but it is different from the hard drive. The hard drive stores and archives 99% of its files on the computer. The computer RAM determines the speed of your computer in running programs and tasks because it temporarily stores codes needed to run programs. For smooth music creation, get a RAM that is powerful enough to run multiple tasks at the same time. RAM is measured in Gigabytes. For smooth work, get a computer with at least 8GB of RAM.
Music production involves the creation of different types of files such as samples, project files, software, and so forth. As a producer, you need a lot of space to store your files, otherwise, it would become an issue. Opt for a bigger storage capacity like 1TB. A bigger storage capacity means you will never run out of space.
Most brand new companies these days will come with a SSD. A solid state drive is a flash memory drive that is much faster than older hard drives. It is something you want to make sure your new computer has, as it’s much faster. It will ensure your computer can boot up insanely quick and open up programs much faster.
Although older hard drives are much slower, they are great for backing up files due to how cheap they are.
You can buy a 4TB hard drive for backing up your music files for less than $100! A 4tb SSD would be much more expensive.
I’ve written an article on the top gadgets for music studios that features a 1 or 2TB hard drive, it’s a great read if you’re interested in other equipment you can use for your home music studio.
The type of laptop you choose depends on the software you want to use, as well as your budget. Many professional studios use Macbook laptops and Mac towers. So, if you are planning to partner with professional studios or want to hire an expert to mix and master your projects, a Mac machine would be an ideal choice. You can also transfer audio files from Windows OS to Mac OS.
However, Windows computers usually have better graphic cards compared to mac. So if you’re going to be doing a lot of graphic work, you may want to opt for a windows laptop with a powerful graphic cards.
You can never go wrong with the two options. PCs and Macs continue to advance every year. If you want to use your computer solely for music production, get a Mac computer, you will find the built-in features useful.
On the other hand, if you are planning to use your computer to do other tasks other than music making music, purchase a PC and upgrade its features. The war between PC and Mac continues to rage, and at the end of it all, the users benefit from the competition.
How do I optimize my computer for music production?
Multithreading lets you distribute digital signal processor load (DSP) using DAW when you set multiple audio channels for recording. If you are not going to record live instruments, switch the setting to play back to help preserve the processing power that would otherwise be used on instruments.
During a music recording session, the sound card usually takes time to process data from the DAW into the computer. The amount of time it takes to process this data is what is called the buffer size. When recording audio, you must reduce the buffer size to prevent latency from occurring. But if you are only making beats and mixing with the DAW, you should increase your buffer size to make sure the best performance. This is highly recommended if you have multiple tracks running on different channels.
If you don’t know what a DAW stands for, i’ve written a guide explaining what digital audio workstations do as well as their purpose and features.
Many producers use the same reverb effect on every channel. Instead, you should send each audio track to a reverb effect via a bus. This will ease your CPU’s work. When you create effects for each audio track, you will not be able to customize more effects. So, if you want to use reverb effect on your audio tracks, consider using a bus. The same is true for sidechain compression. You should group your tracks and send all of them as groups to separate AUX tracks. For example, percussion should have its own AUX track and synth another.
An interesting feature with modern OS is that they regularly and automatically save data into the cloud or hard drive. But you don’t want your computer to do a major backup while you are in the middle of a recording session as this will interfere with your work. You should instead schedule manual backups. Alternatively, you can use software that schedules these backups, so that it only backups data when you are not using your computer.
Does optimizing the I/O have any effect on my computer’s speed?
Things have changed over time, but still, sending data in and out of your computer utilizes resources and a lot of processing power. Indeed, optimizing the I/O increases your computer’s efficiency considerably. To optimize the I/O, disconnect cables and equipment you are not using, such as webcams, scanners, and printers. For external drives, use eSATA, Thunderbolt, or USB3. For a faster internet connection use Ethernet. If you have Wi-Fi, consider a router that is compatible with 5GHz and 802.11 networks. These tiny adjustments will help reduce data tailback.
Should I avoid buying window computers for music production? You should not avoid buying window computers for music production because you will always get a quality computer at an affordable cost. In addition, window computers are compatible with millions of software and games. Plus they support, printers, scanners, and other peripherals.
Which music production software is good for Mac computers? The best music production software for Mac is Logic Pro and Ableton Live. Logic Pro and Garage have a lot of similarities, but the former is more advanced. All the latest Mac computers come with GarageBand music production software. However, you can use other music production software these.
Do you begin by figuring out which DAW platform software best suits your present and future game plan needs for your home studio and then choose your computer based on that? It is advisable to choose DAW software before getting a computer. The DAW platform is the centre of your production and recording system. The platform you choose depends on your needs and preferences. Keep in mind different software programs have different requirements.
Why is a MacBook Pro good for music production? The MacBook Pro laptops have sound card it that doesn’t cause latency problems when creating music from an interface. This is the reason Mac computers are highly preferred for music production.