What parts do I need for a home recording studio PC?

Martin Miller November 13, 2014

I saw it fit to build my own PC but I need some advice.

The purpose of this machine will be for running my home recording studio. I know I’m going to need approximately 6GB or RAM. I guess 4-6 USB 2 & 3 compatible ports, a fast processor and maybe Bluetooth & WiFi compatible.

I’ve been searching online for types of motherboards, but I see a whole bunch of information on motherboards, some of it kind of confusing.

But please can you assist me? What type of motherboard and processor do you recommend?

  1. Bruce E
    November 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    You should look at the audio interfaces you want to use before making hard decisions on the ports you need. Some of these devices only work with FireWire, not USB. I know that the PreSonus products are primarily USB 2.0, but they also have FireWire devices that have twice the sampling rate of the USB interfaces. So, if you will be going with FireWire interfaces, it doesn't make a lot of sense to get a motherboard that has a dozen USB ports.

    If you want to run a Windows system, most require a minimum of a Core Duo or Athlon X2 processor, but you should really consider a Core 2 Duo or Athlon X4 for your low end. A minimum of 4 GB of RAM. If you are going to use a 64-bit OS and DAW package, go for a 8 GB as your minimum.

    You should also put this in a full tower case so you have plenty of room for your hard drives as you will want one small hard drive for the OS and program files and a RAID 0 or RAID 10 array for your data, so your motherboard should contain enough SATA ports to support all of the required drives. If you are going with RAID 0 in the system, make sure you have plenty of external drives to use to backup all of your work-in-progress as a single drive failure will cause the loss of ALL data in the RAID array. With RAID 10, you can have multiple drive failures in the array without data loss as long as at least one drive from each pair is still operational and you are still getting the benefits of the write speeds of RAID 0.

    You will need a monitor and video card that support a minimum of 1280x768 resolution with a minimal amount of electrical noise.

    Unless the motherboard has an awesome audio chipset, you will likely want to add a discrete sound card to the system if you are planning on using MIDI devices, though it can always be added later if the need does arise.

  2. Col. Panek
    November 15, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Audio is not fussy. It is well within the capabilities of cheap PCs these days. If you run Linux, for instance Ubuntu Studio, you can get away with even less because it runs with less resources than Windows and no antivirus needed. Ubuntu Studio will have most of the apps you need included, and it's easier than Windows to install. You can get LMMS, Audacity (or Ocen Audio, pretty cool but I find it buggy), MuseScore, all for free.

    Spend your money on audio hardware rather than computer. It's going to depend on how much money you want to spend, how many tracks you want to record at once, and what audio quality you need. Not sure why you need Bluetooth; be careful of potential sources of RF interference like wifi and cheap video cards.