Have you been looking for the best computer for recording music at home? These days, a musician has plenty of options to choose from. Recording your own music is more affordable now than ever before, and a person can find something that’s right for them no matter what their budget is.
In fact, there are so many options that it could get a little confusing. There are a lot of things to consider. Should you buy a Mac or a PC? How much memory will you require? How much money should you spend? These are all questions you need to answer when shopping for the best computer for recording music at home.
Facts About the Best Computer for Recording Music
Here are some need to know facts about the best computer for recording music at home.
What will you require?
Recording music is going to require quite a bit of speed and memory. As such, the best computer for recording music at home should have a few things right off the bat. You’re going to want at 500 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. You should also have an i5 processor at the very least. Furthermore, you’ll want a nice, big screen to work with. Ideally, you should have a monitor with at least 15 inches.
Should you get a desktop or a laptop?
The answer to this question will largely depend on how you plan to use your computer. A laptop has one very obvious advantage. It’s mobile. That can make it much easier to work with friends and bandmates. A laptop is also great for live performances or making music on the go in general.
However, if you predict your home studio will mostly stay in one place, then the best computer for recording music at home will be a desktop. They tend to be faster, and they allow for greater customization. That allows you to add more RAM or extra hard drives as needed. That said, modern-day laptops are very powerful in their own right and are still a legitimate choice for home recording artists.
Mac or PC?
As you probably already know, the Mac vs. PC debate is a hugely controversial topic that will continue for a very long time. In truth, both have their advantages and disadvantages. The fact that this is such a hotly debated topic shows they’re both legitimate choices for recording music. The decision will largely come down to personal preference.
The main thing to consider is which DAW, or digital workstation you’ll be using. That's the software you’ll use to record your music. Some DAWs are more compatible with Mac than PC and vice versa. For example, Garageband and Logic X are both compatible with Mac only. Most DAWs are cross-compatible these days, but this is still something you should check before making a decision.
How Much Will a Home Recording Computer Cost?
Image via Pixabay
As you might expect, the best computer for recording music at home won’t be cheap. After all, this is a big investment that you want to last for a long time. Still, it might not be as expensive as you think. A good home recording computer can cost as little as $500 or as much as $2,500. Macs tend to be more expensive than PCs, and desktops are usually more expensive than laptops.
Also, keep in mind that a good home recording studio will require other gear as well. That includes software, microphones, speakers, etc. These things also need to be taken into account when deciding your budget.
How We Reviewed
For the most part, we used Amazon to find the basic features and specs for the following computers. Additionally, we put great emphasis on customer reviews from Amazon. When making this list, we tried to include a good balance of laptops, desktops, Macs, and PCs to account for different preferences. That will help you decide on the best computer for music at home.
The Best Home Recording Computers
Now that you have an idea of what to look for, let’s take a look at what’s on the market. All of these are worthy contenders for the best computer for recording music at home.
The Apple iMac is often considered the best computer for recording music at home. This desktop looks great and has a lot going for it. It features seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. It also has a Fusion Drive which makes it super fast and gives it plenty of memory. This computer comes with Radeon Pro 500 graphics which makes everything easier to see and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. It’s five-millimeter screen also creates plenty of space for your home studio.
Most customers have enjoyed this computer. They liked that it was easy to use and set up, and they also appreciated that you could upgrade the memory. Recording artists, in particular, liked that it’s compatible with DAWs such as Pro Tools and Logic. Most complaints have been relatively minor. A few customers complained about it being a bit slow, and the mouse needs occasional charging.
The cost of an Apple iMac can vary considerably depending on the screen size and the specific model you choose. Overall, this is likely the computer you’ll choose if you want an Apple desktop. It’s compatible with all the best DAWs and has everything a home recording artist needs. Customers on Amazon gave it 4.2 out of 5 stars.
- 21. 5-Inch (diagonal) 1920-by-1080 resolution display
- Stunning 5-mm-thin design
- Dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 Processor
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
- Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
The first PC desktop on our list is the Acer Aspire. This computer features an Intel Core i5-8400 processor. That gives it the storage and speed you need for recording music. It also uses 802.11ac wireless technology. Having this will help you keep your workspace clean, which in turn improves efficiency. Furthermore, Acer has an excellent community that can help you get up and running if you have any trouble getting started. This computer has 8 GB of RAM.
Many customers described this as a good entry-level computer. It’s very easy to set up, and while it’s stats aren’t exactly mindblowing, they get the job done. On the downside, many people described its mouse and keyboard as rather cheap and generic. Also, you have limited ability to upgrade this computer.
That makes it one of the most affordable computers on this list. It’s a good computer that will do everything you need if you’re on a budget. However, its limited ability to upgrade could eventually become problematic. If you can, you might want to save your money and invest in something with a little more power. Amazon gives it 4.1 out of 5 stars.
- 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400 Processor (Up to 4.0GHz)
- 12GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 2TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive & 8X DVD-Writer Double-Layer Drive (DVD-RW)
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet LAN & Bluetooth 5.0
- 1 - USB 3.1 Type C Gen 2 port (up to 10 Gbps), 1 - USB 3.1 Gen 2 Port, 2 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports, 4 - USB 2.0 Ports & 2 - HDMI Ports & 1 - VGA Port
- Windows 10 Home. Wireless LAN Standard - IEEE 802.11ac
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E470
The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E470 is the first laptop on our list and an excellent choice if you’re shopping for the best computer for recording music at home. It comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor. It also has 8GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD. Additionally, it has a 14-inch screen and a fingerprint reader. All of its stats can be configured and upgraded at a later time if needed.
Most customers have been very happy with this laptop. They said it’s durable, lightweight, and performs well. All of these qualities are extremely useful for a musician on the go. However, a few people have complained about the viewing angles not being great. That could be a problem since you’ll be staring at the screen for long periods when you’re recording. Also, some customers had trouble upgrading to Windows 10. That could be an issue if that’s your preferred OS.
That's fairly reasonable for a home recording laptop. Overall, it has a lot of good things going for it. It’s a great choice if you like PCs and want something portable and reliable. Amazon gives it 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Apple MacBook Pro
If you’d prefer a Mac laptop, you might consider the Apple MacBook Pro instead. It uses a 2.3 GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and has up to 32GB of memory. Depending on the model you get, it also has up to a 2TB or 4TB SSD. There are also four ports, which is useful for connecting devices such as audio interfaces. Like the Apple iMac, it uses Radeon Pro graphics. The Apple MacBook Pro is available in 13-inch and 15-inch models.
Customers have loved just how powerful this little laptop is. It’s very fast, has lots of memory, and has an impressive battery life. That makes it a very good computer for long recording sessions. On top of that, it’s also incredibly light. The most common complaint was about the keyboard. Many people described it as unintuitive and more strenuous than it needs to be. Luckily, this isn’t too much of an issue for musicians.
Like most Apple computers, the price can vary dramatically depending on the model you choose. If you’re looking for a Mac laptop, then this is the computer for you. It has all of the power and portability you could ask for. Unfortunately, you’ll have to question whether or not you can afford it. Amazon gave it 4.0 out of 5 stars.
- 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
- Brilliant Retina Display
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
- Ultrafast SSD
- Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
The Dell Inspiron is a great PC desktop from the long-running Dell brand. While Dell hasn’t always been a viable music-making option, this model has the stats to give you what you need. This computer has a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700 processor. It also has 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. All of these stats are upgradable as needed. Of course, Dell also has a useful support community if you need help getting started.
Most customers have been very happy with this computer. They said it was very fast and could easily run multiple programs at one time. That's potentially very helpful for home recording artists. It’s also very easy to set up. Unfortunately, a few customers have questioned its quality. Many had technical issues after using it for a short period of time.
It’s a good computer with a lot of power, and it won’t hurt your wallet too much. It’s a great choice if you’re shopping on a budget. However, you have to question how long it will last. You definitely don’t want any technical problems when you’re in the middle of a big project. This computer has 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
- 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700 processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz)
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz
- 128GB SSD+1TB GB 7.2k HDD
- NVIDIA(R) GeForce(TM) GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
- Windows 10 Pro (64bit) English
Apple Mac Mini
The Apple Mac Mini is a unique product that’s gaining popularity among musicians. It’s technically a desktop, but it’s small enough to be portable like a laptop. It consists of a 7.7 x 7.7-inch block of aluminum that’s only 2.7 pounds. Depending on the model, this computer has either a 2.6 or 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. It also has a 1TB Fusion drive. This computer uses Intel Iris graphics.
Most customers appreciated the fact that this is one of the most affordable Apple computers. That makes it a great option if you’re looking for a Mac that won’t cost a ton of money. They also felt it was easy to set up, and its small size makes it easy to customize your work area. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit slower than most of the computers on this list. Also, the fact that you can’t upgrade its memory could eventually become a problem.
Again, it’s much more affordable than most Apple computers. It’s small size also makes it the best of both worlds when it comes to laptops and desktops. However, you might want to invest something else if you have the money. The best computer for recording music at home needs plenty of speed and power, and the Apple Mac Mini can only go so far in those categories. Amazon gives it 4.2 out of 5 stars.
- Renewed products look and work like new. These pre-owned products have been inspected and tested by Amazon-qualified suppliers, which typically perform a full diagnostic test, replacement of any defective parts, and a thorough cleaning process. Packaging and accessories may be generic. All products on Amazon Renewed come with a minimum 90-day supplier-backed warranty.
- Carved from a Solid block of aluminum, Mac mini has a seamless, unique look that is unmistakably Mac.
- macOS Sierra brings lots of useful enhancements to your Mac.
- Every new Mac comes with photos, iMovie, garageband, pages, numbers, and keynote.
- 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Which Computer Should You Choose?
At the end of the day, your decision will depend on a number of factors, First and foremost, what’s your budget? Second, what do you plan to do? Do you plan to build your own studio, or do you need the ability to make music wherever you go?
If you’re a Mac person, you’ll most likely choose the Apple iMac or Apple MacBook Pro. If you prefer PC, you might go with the Lenovo ThinkPad or Dell Inspiron. The Acer Aspire is also a good alternative if you’re on a budget. Keeping these things in mind will help you find the best computer for recording music at home.