Want to build a PC for Music Production in 2021? We show you how…

Music production is a specialized aspect of digital media processing. To set up a home studio for music production, you need a comprehensive guide on how to build a PC for Music production in 2021, the audio hardware components you must get, and also software options.

Music producers including DJs, studio engineers, and recording professionals all need specific PCs that will handle the audio processing satisfactorily. This requires knowledge of the right PC hardware for the best results. This guide gets you up and running in no time if you follow it faithfully. So let’s dig in.

Budget for a Music Production PC

One of the major factors that will influence the type of configuration you will go for is your budget. Even if you desire the best configuration available, your budget must come into play. That’s why we’ve made provision for every category of builders – the budget builder, mid-range and high-end.

The budget category is those who are cash-strapped and want something basic. They lay much emphasis on getting the most basic hardware that will still get the job done, without having to pay a premium price. In this category are students, newbies in music production, and casual music hobbyists. The cost range is up to $700.

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The mid-range category is those that have extra cash to spare. This group includes those that have some experience in the business, students, and enthusiasts. They are not enthusiastic about the latest hardware, but will rather buy previous generation components because of lower prices. They want the best performance but don’t want to buy the highest rated components. Budgets in this range stand at 700-$1500. For the high-end category, money isn’t an issue. They want the best rated and best-performing hardware and are prepared to pay for it. Budgets in this category are from 1500 and above.

For the purpose of this article, we actually recommend AMD processors over Intel because AMD processors offer the best in terms of performance and price. This is not to say that Intel processors aren’t good enough, but when you look at the price-to-performance ratio, you’d realize AMD is your best bet. We are going to be providing our recommendations for both platforms. It is left for you to make your choice of hardware for your music PC build. After all, there’s such a thing as fandom.

build a PC for music production in 2020
Audio processing requires a respectable chunk of CPU processing power for optimal performance and output. IMAGE COURTESY OF pro-tools-expert.com

The most important components you need to build a PC for Music production in 2021

Processor

Audio processing is CPU intensive, just like similar processing workloads like video editing. Here are some guidelines you need to know about the processor when you need to build a pc for music production. Modern CPU’s are more powerful and provide better performance in apps. Since you want to build a PC for music production, you must be aware that the CPU is the most important component. It must be at least a 4-core chip. However, 8-cores or more is even better.

This is because modern music software and synthesizers are programmed to take advantage of the extra cores available to speed up your projects. Therefore, depending on the complexity of your projects, the more cores you can lay your hands on, the better. Modern music synthesizer software such as Fruity LoopsCakewalk SonarReasonPro ToolsAcid, and Cubase all benefit immensely from a multi-core CPU for processing the audio beats and mixing.

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RAM

The 2nd most important piece of hardware is RAM. This is because the responsiveness of your PC is dependent on how fast your RAM is. Also, you can load multiple projects simultaneously if you have loads of RAM. You need as much RAM as your motherboard can accommodate. This is true whether you want to build a PC for music production, or for other media-related stuff. On the budget category, at least 8GB of RAM is enough for most tasks. High-end builds will take as much as 64GB of RAM for maximum multitasking and processing speed.

As much as your RAM capacity matters, your RAM speed is also an important factor. Music processing and heavy multitasking need loads of fast RAM, at least in the 3000MHz speed range. Just be sure that your motherboard can support the speed specification of your choice RAM.

Optical Drive

Even though optical drives are going out of fashion, thanks to a preponderance of online media streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, good old DVDs and Blu-ray discs are still an invaluable method of data storage and archiving for music production professionals.

This is especially important given the long shelf life of optical discs. However, you can still use optical discs to deliver projects to your clients. So we included optical drives for each of our recommended builds.

Storage

You have basically 2 options.

  • Primary storage

In this category, there are SATA SSDs and NVMe SSD drives. SATA SSDs are limited in speed to a maximum of 550MB/s. However, NVMe drives can achieve speeds as high as 3,500MB/s. It’s quite clear that NVMe drives are the way to go for super-fast storage, though they are more expensive than SATA SSDs.

For your boot drive, obviously, an SSD is more than adequate for fast processing and file handling. You can use a SATA SSD or an NVMe SSD for your boot drive. You can also use any of these for your cache drive (this is a special drive you can use for application caching).

  • Secondary storage

The good old traditional mechanical hard drive is the only option in this area. You don’t need the fastest hard disks for this purpose, so a spinning hard drive is quite adequate. Your secondary storage is the drive where you store your user files, which include ongoing project files and completed project files. You need lots of storage space to store your beats, as WAV files can eat up a lot of storage space. You also need a large traditional hard drive for storing your processed music files.

Some users might want to use RAID configuration because of its better data protection advantage, in which case traditional spinning hard drives are pretty much handy for this purpose.

Motherboard

Most motherboards have good audio sub-systems built-in. This is not adequate for most users. A dedicated sound card is preferred in most cases. The motherboard must also support plenty of SATA ports and USB ports to enable maximum connectivity options. Avoid anything other than full ATX boards, because you may be restricted as per connectivity options.

Graphics Card

The graphics card doesn’t play any role in music production, because it is mainly designed to handle pixel processing, and then relay the same information to the monitor for output. In most of our recommended builds, we stick with integrated graphics.

However, if there is no option for integrated graphics, we recommend a low-end graphics card that is just adequate for normal Windows operations, nothing fancy. Unless you want to use your PC for other things such as gaming, apart from music mixing and beat synthesis, then you can go ahead and get a graphics card of your choice.

Sound Card

You obviously need a sound card. There are various options available, for different budgets. I’d suggest that you stick to our recommendations in the tables below. We will look at builds for the two platforms, Intel and AMD for budget, mid-range, and high-end music production PC builds.

This page contains affiliate links. Please note that qualifying purchases made through links on this page may earn us a small commission, with no extra cost to you. This is to support the work we are doing.

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AMD BUILDS

Take your pick from 3 options – Budget, Mid-range and High-end builds

BUDGET AMD MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the Processor.

Alternative Budget Hardware – AMD Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
GPU Options XFX Radeon RX 560, 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 1660 Super
AMD Radeon RX 580
GeForce GTX 1650
AMD Radeon RX 570
AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB
AMD Radeon RX 560
Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
GeForce GT 1030
GeForce GTX 1060
Storage Drive Options Seagate Barracuda 1TB
Seagate Barracuda 6TB
SSD Options Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA
Kingston 240GB A400
Silicon Power 256GB SSD 3D NAND
PNY CS900 240GB SATA III
Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
Kingston 480GB A400 SATA 3
RAM Options Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
Patriot Memory Viper 4 Series 3000MHz 8GB
Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 8GB
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3000MHz DDR4 8GB
HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB 8GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
CPU Cooler Bundled with Processor
Power Supply Options ROSEWILL Modular Power Supply, 80 Plus Gold 500w 
Cooler Master MWE 500 Bronze, 80+ 
Corsair CX Series 500 Watt 80 Plus Bronze 
Corsair CX Series 550 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
Cougar VTX450 Power Supply 80+ Bronze Certified 450W
Apevia Astro 500W ATX Power Supply
Optical Disc Drive (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Samsung Internal 24X DVD Writer
External CD Drive Type C USB 3.0 Portable CD DVD +/-RW
Motherboard Options GIGABYTE B450 AORUS Elite Motherboard
GIGABYTE B450M
MSI ProSeries AMD A320
ASRock AM4 MicroATX
Asus Prime B450M-A
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options NZXT H210 Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case
Enermax LL30 RGB Mid Tower
CORSAIR 110Q Mid-Tower Quiet ATX
darkFlash Micro ATX
Cooler Master MasterBox MB511
Zalman T7 ATX Mid Tower
Cooler Master MCB ATX
Display Options Philips 24″ Frameless monitor, Full HD IPS
HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch Full HD
Samsung Business 22″ 1920×1080, IPS Panel
BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor | 1080P
Sound Card Options ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX

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MID-RANGE AMD MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the Processor.

Alternative Mid-Range Hardware – AMD Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-core

Ryzen 7 1700X 4 core

Ryzen 7 2700 4 core

Ryzen 7 2700X 4 core

Ryzen 7 3800X 8 core

GPU Options
(Get this if you are gaming with this build)
Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 8GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980
AMD Radeon R9 390
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1070
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070
GeForce RTX 2070 Super 
HDD Option Seagate Barracuda 3TB
SSD Option Silicon Power 1TB NVMe M.2
Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe M.2 Extreme
Samsung 970 EVO SSD 500GB M.2 NVMe
Sabrent 512GB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 512GB M.2 NVMe
RAM Options Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
HyperX Fury 16GB 2666MHz DDR4
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
CPU Cooler Bundled
PSU Options Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
ODD (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Motherboard Options MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD Ryzen AM4 ATX Motherboard
Gigabyte B450 AORUS Elite
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options DarkFlash Darwin Black ATX Mid-Tower
MSI Premium Mid-Tower PC Case
Cooler Master MasterCase ATX Mid-Tower
MSI MPG 500P Full Tower
Thermaltake Commander C36
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500
Display Options LG 27-Inch UHD IPS Monitor
Sceptre 35 Inch Curved UltraWide LED Creative Monitor QHD
LG 29″ UltraWide 21:9 WFHD
AOC 27″ 4K UHD Frameless Monitor
Sound Card Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z

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HIGH-END AMD MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alternative High-End Hardware – AMD Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
GPU Options
(Get this if you plan on gaming with this rig)
Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 8GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 1650 Super
GeForce GTX 1660
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
AMD Radeon RX 5500XT
HDD Options Seagate BarraCuda 6TB
WD Blue 6TB
WD Black 6TB
SSD Options Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2
Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB – M.2 NVMe
XPG Pro 2TB 3D NAND NVMe
WD Blue 1TB NVMe
RAM Options Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB
G.SKILL 32GB Ripjaws V Series
HyperX Fury 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Crucial Ballistix DDR4 32GB
CPU Cooler Option be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
PSU Options Corsair TX750M, 750 Watt PSU
Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
GAMEMAX Rainbow 850W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2, 80+ PLATINUM 850W
Rosewill Gaming 80 Plus Bronze 1000W PSU
ODD Option LG Electronics 24X SATA Super-Multi DVD Internal Rewriter
Motherboard Options MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD Ryzen AM4 ATX Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix B550-F
MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi Gaming Motherboard
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-Omega RGB Mid-Tower Gaming Case
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
MSI Premium Mid-Tower Case
Display Options Dell UltraSharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″ Black
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
Sound Card Options EVGA Nu Audio Card
Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Hi-Res Internal PCIe Sound Card

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INTEL BUILDS

Take your pick from 3 options – Budget, Mid-range and High-end builds

BUDGET INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the Processor. Processor comes with integrated graphics

Alternative Budget Hardware – Intel Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards)
Intel Core i3-9100
Intel Core i3-9100F 
Intel Core i3-8100
Intel Core i5-8400
Intel Core i5-9400
Intel Core i5-9600K
GPU Options
(Get this if you are going to be gaming on this rig)
XFX Radeon RX 560, 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 1660 Super
AMD Radeon RX 580
GeForce GTX 1650
AMD Radeon RX 570
AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB
AMD Radeon RX 560
Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
GeForce GT 1030
GeForce GTX 1060
GeForce GT 710
HDD Options Seagate Barracuda 1TB
Seagate Barracuda 6TB
SSD Options Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA
Kingston 240GB A400
Silicon Power 256GB SSD 3D NAND
PNY CS900 240GB SATA III
Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
Kingston 480GB A400 SATA 3
RAM Options Patriot Memory Viper 4 Series 3000MHz 8GB
Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 8GB
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3000MHz DDR4 8GB
HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB 8GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
CPU Cooler Bundled
PSU Options ROSEWILL Modular Power Supply, 80 Plus Gold 500w 
Cooler Master MWE 500 Bronze, 80+ 
Corsair CX Series 500 Watt 80 Plus Bronze 
Corsair CX Series 550 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
Cougar VTX450 Power Supply 80+ Bronze Certified 450W
Apevia Astro 500W ATX Power Supply
ODD Options Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Samsung Internal 24X DVD Writer
External CD Drive Type C USB 3.0 Portable CD DVD +/-RW
Motherboard Options ASUS Prime Z370-P II LGA1151 Motherboard
Asus Prime H310M
Asus PRIME B360M-A
Gigabyte B365M
Prime H310M-E R2.0
MSI ProSeries Intel B365 LGA 1151 Micro-ATX
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options NZXT H210 Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case
Enermax LL30 RGB Mid Tower
CORSAIR 110Q Mid-Tower Quiet ATX
darkFlash Micro ATX
Cooler Master MasterBox MB511
Zalman T7 ATX Mid Tower
Cooler Master MCB ATX
Display Options Philips 24″ Frameless monitor, Full HD IPS
HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch Full HD
Samsung Business 22″ 1920×1080, IPS Panel
BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor | 1080P
Sound Card Options ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX

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MID-RANGE INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the Processor. The CPU has integrated graphics.

Alternative Mid-Range Hardware – Intel Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards)
Intel Core i5-9600K
Intel Core i7-9700F
Intel Core i5-9500
Intel Core i5-9600KF
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5 6600K
Core i7 6700K
Intel Core i7-8700
Intel Core i7-9700K
GPU Options
(Get this if you are going to be gaming on this rig)
AMD RX 590 8GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980
AMD Radeon RX 590
AMD Radeon R9 390
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1070
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070
GeForce RTX 2070 Super 
HDD Options Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Seagate BarraCuda 8TB 
SSD Options Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
Silicon Power 1TB NVMe M.2
Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe M.2 Extreme
Samsung 970 EVO SSD 500GB M.2 NVMe
Sabrent 512GB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 512GB M.2 NVMe
RAM Options Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
HyperX Fury 16GB 2666MHz DDR4
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
CPU Cooler Bundled
PSU Options Corsair CX Series 650 Watt Modular Power Supply
Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
ODD (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Motherboard Options Gigabyte Z390 UD 1151 Motherboard
MSI Z390-A PRO LGA1151 ATX Motherboard
MSI MEG Z390 ACE LGA1151 
Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard
MSI MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon LGA1151
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options darkFlash Darwin Black ATX Mid-Tower
MSI Premium Mid-Tower PC Case
Cooler Master MasterCase ATX Mid-Tower
MSI MPG 500P Full Tower
Thermaltake Commander C36
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500
Display Options Dell SE2419Hx 23.8″ IPS Full HD Monitor
LG 27-Inch UHD IPS Monitor
Sceptre 35 Inch Curved UltraWide LED Creative Monitor QHD
LG 29″ UltraWide 21:9 WFHD
AOC 27″ 4K UHD Frameless Monitor
Sound Card Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z

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build a PC for music production in 2021

HIGH-END INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the processor. The GPU is integrated with the processor.

Alternative High-End Hardware – Intel Music Production PC Build

PART BRAND
CPU Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards)
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i9-9900
Intel Core i7-9700F
Intel Core i7-9700
Intel Core i9-9900KF
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i7 6700K
Intel Core i7-8700K
GPU Options
(Get this if you are going to be gaming on this rig)
AMD Radeon Nitro+ RX 590
GeForce GTX 1650 Super
GeForce GTX 1660
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
AMD Radeon RX 5500XT
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070
GeForce RTX 2070 Super 
HDD Options Seagate Barracuda 6TB
WD Blue 6TB
WD Black 6TB
SSD Options Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2
Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB – M.2 NVMe
XPG Pro 2TB 3D NAND NVMe
WD Blue 1TB NVMe
RAM Options Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB
G.SKILL 32GB Ripjaws V Series
HyperX Fury 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Crucial Ballistix DDR4 32GB
CPU Cooler Bundled
PSU Options Corsair TX750M, 750 Watt PSU
Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
GAMEMAX Rainbow 850W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2, 80+ PLATINUM 850W
Rosewill Gaming 80 Plus Bronze 1000W PSU
ODD (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Motherboard Options ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard
EVGA Z390 Dark, LGA 1151
Asus MAXIMUS VIII EXTREME
MSI Performance Gaming Intel Z170A LGA 1151
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-Omega RGB Mid-Tower Gaming Case
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
MSI Premium Mid-Tower Case
Display Options Dell UltraSharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
LG 27″ 5K IPS LED Monitor
Sound Card Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

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Other Important Audio Equipment you may need

External Digital Audio Converters & Amplifiers

Your PC sound card is quite adequate for audio processing, depending on the features and specifications. However, you might want to install external digital audio converters because of the simple fact that your internal sound card is subject to interference. These pieces of equipment are indispensable if you want to build a PC for music production in 2021.

We’ve selected a range of the best DACs for this purpose and here they are.

Budget DAC

Douk Audio Q3 DAC Digital to Analog Converter

DAC Digital to Analog Converter Decoder USB Coaxial Optical...
11 Reviews
DAC Digital to Analog Converter Decoder USB Coaxial Optical...
  • Q3 is a digital to analog converter with PC-USB/Optical/Coaxial input and RCA/3.5mm headphone output, which can used with laptop, desktop computer, mobile phone(with OTG function), TV, Apple TV, DVD/Blu-Ray player or CD player and so on, meeting different requirements of home stereo audio system.
  • PC-USB is plug-and-play, no need for any driver, it can process digital audio at any bit depth up to 24 bits and any sample rate to 96 KHz with high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion. High-performance headphone output is designed for a wide range of headphones.
  • Not only with volume control knob that can adjust both the headphones and RCA output, but with treble and bass control which is specially designed for audiophile to enjoy much delicate and smooth HiFi sound.
  • Adopting high-end chip combination SA9023 USB chip+CS8412 DAC chip+97220 headphone amp chip to achieve better sound quality, and NE5532 op amp which uses analog circuit design to greatly improve treble and bass sound effects.
  • Mini size with exquisite appearance, black aluminum case looks more popular and attractive, very suitable for home and desktop audio system use.

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In addition, it can process up to 24-bits and 96KHz with a high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion. It is also USB powered with a low power footprint.

Mid-Range DAC

Schiit Modi Multibit DAC – D/A Converter

Schiit Modi Multibit DAC - D/A Converter
63 Reviews
Schiit Modi Multibit DAC - D/A Converter
  • Featuring Schiit’s unique digital filter, and using the AD5547 multibit DAC, Modi Multibit smashes the high-price barrier in multibit DACs.
  • Modi Multibit is the most affordable multibit DAC with a modern architecture—from any manufacturer, from any country in the world.
  • Select different inputs using the pushbutton with LED indication conveniently located on the front.
  • On the back, you'll find Coaxial SPDIF, Optical SPDIF, and USB inputs, and single-ended RCA output.
  • Product is supplied with a 110–120V US power supply suitable for use in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This power supply will not work in 220 – 240V countries. Magni 3+B is built in Texas, USA.

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Its connectivity options include Coaxial SPDIF, Optical SPDIF, and USB inputs, and single-ended RCA output.

High-End DAC

Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus Digital to Analogue...
200 Reviews
Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic Plus Digital to Analogue...
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Twin Wolfson 24-Bit DACs
  • AFT2 Upsampling
  • Asychronous USB Input
  • Doubles as a hard-working digital preamplifier

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s built to work with any kind of rig. Besides, it’s got both coaxial and optical digital inputs, so you can take the digital output of your interface, or you can hook it right up to your computer via USB and take the feed straight from your DAW.

The controls come quite handy for just about any type of fine-tuning you want, from the big volume adjustment knob to the power button and input switching button. In addition, it can connect wirelessly to your PC.

USB Audio Interface

You are going to need this piece of equipment if you are going to be recording your own audio on your PC before editing it. Here’s our pick.

Budget USB Audio Interface

BEHRINGER USB Audio Interface

BEHRINGER Audio Interface, 1x XLR/TRS 1x 1/4' 2X RCA USB,...
7,411 Reviews
BEHRINGER Audio Interface, 1x XLR/TRS 1x 1/4" 2X RCA USB,...
  • 2x2 USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments
  • Audiophile 48 kHz resolution for professional audio quality. Maximum sampling rate: 48 kHz
  • Compatible with popular recording software, including Avid pro tools, Ableton live, Steinberg Cubase, etc.
  • Streams 2 inputs / 2 outputs with ultra-low latency to your computer, supporting Mac OS X and Windows XP or higher
  • State-of-the-art, +48 V-powered Xenyx Mic Preamp comparable to stand-alone boutique preamps

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It features 24-Bit/192 kHz resolution and output that gives the more expensive brands a run for their money.

Mid-Range USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools

Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with...
1,562 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with...
  • Two of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable Air mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound. Two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass. Six balanced line inputs for connecting synthesizers, drum machines, and other line-level sources. Four balanced outputs for clean monitoring and sending audio out to effects pedals or other outboard gear.
  • High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
  • Quick start tool to get up and running easier than ever.
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 3-month Splice subscription, and your choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: One year of completely FREE distribution of your next single with TuneCore!

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

High-End USB Audio Interface

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo (APLTWDII)
269 Reviews
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo (APLTWDII)
  • Desktop 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac and Windows with world-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion, uncompromising analog design, superior components, and premium build quality
  • Real-time UAD processing for tracking through vintage compressor, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero (sub-2ms) latency*
  • 2 premium mic/line preamps; 2 line outputs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and headphone output, 2 digitally controlled analog monitor outputs, 8 channels of digital input via Optical connection. Apollo Thunderbolt System Requirements MAC- Apple Mac computer with available Thunderbolt port.macOS 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra, 10.13 High Sierra, or 10.14 Mojave. WINDOWS- PC computer with built-in Thunderbolt 3 port. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (64-Bit Edition). Qualified Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter (sold separately)
  • Real-time analog Classics UAD- plug-in bundle: Legacy versions of the LA-2A, 1176LN, Pultec EQP-1A, plus Softube Amp Room Essentials, Raw Distortion, 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ, and more
  • Console 2.0 software features channel strip presets, drag & drop functionality, dynamically resizable Windows, Runs UAD powered plug-ins via VST, RTAS, & AAX 64 in all major DAWs

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Apollo is pricey, we know, but the price tag is justifiable.

It’s loaded with a host of features you’d need to make premium audio recordings on your PC. Besides, it can work on both Windows and Mac, thanks to its Thunderbolt interface. It also comes with 14 UAD plugins and other features that enable you to produce classic analog sound.

If you want the best, go for it. You won’t regret it.

Microphones

Budget Mic

Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

Shure PG ALTA PGA48 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone for...
3,718 Reviews
Shure PG ALTA PGA48 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone for...
  • Tailored microphone cartridge design specifically for clarity in the standard frequency range of speech
  • Cardioid polar pattern picks up audio from the source while rejecting unwanted noise
  • Updated industrial design with black metallic finish and grille featuring classic silver ball grille
  • Three available options: (1) with 15-foot XLR-XLR cable, (2) with 15-foot XLR-QTR cable, and (3) without cable
  • On/Off switch for discrete control of microphone operation
  • Stand adapter for mounting to a microphone stand
  • Zipper pouch included for additional protection during storage or transport
  • Legendary Shure quality design and construction for exceptional performance in rigorous environments

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For beginners and those on a tight budget, this is a great choice that can compete with more expensive models in terms of performance.


Mid-Range Mic

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR...
10,452 Reviews
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR...
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
  • Custom engineered low mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response
  • Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source. Output connector: integral 3 pin XLRM type
  • Black speckles on the mic are part of the design. Audio-Technica case style: R7

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Audio Technica’s AT2020 is a nice mid-range option, at just a hundred bucks. It delivers better audio fidelity and also has better sensitivity, thanks to the fact that it is a condenser mic.


High-End Mic

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Sale
Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
3,730 Reviews
Shure SM7B Vocal Microphone
  • ONE MICROPHONE FOR EVERYTHING - Studio Recording, Home Recording, Podcasting and Streaming. The SM7B Is Trusted By The Worlds Leading Vocalists, Podcasters and Streamers.
  • STUDIO VOCAL RECORDING - The SM7B’s Dynamic Cartridge With Smooth, Flat, Wide-range Frequency Response Produces Exceptionally Clean and Natural Reproduction Of Both Music and Speech.
  • PODCAST and BROADCAST - Found In The Top Podcasting Studios Around The World, The SM7B Air Suspension Shock Isolation and Pop Filter Eliminate Both Mechanical Noise And Breathiness. So Words Get Through And The Rest Stays Out Of The Mix.
  • STREAMING CONTENT - Professional Live Streaming Starts With A Microphone Capable Of Capturing Exceptionally Clean And Natural Reproduction Of Both Music And Speech. The SM7B Has Been A Pioneer In Such Abilities For Decades.
  • PROFESSIONAL XLR CONNECTION - The XLR Connection Along With An Audio Interface Allows You More Control Over The Sound — Thus A Better Overall Sound Quality. At least 60dB of gain is recommended to get that iconic warm and balanced tone most commonly associated with the SM7B.
  • CLASSIC CARDIOID PATTERN WITH UNIFORM CAPTURE - The SM7B Cardioid Pattern Is Designed To Reject Off-axis Audio, So You Can Sing Or Speak At A Comfortable Angle And It Captures The Sound, Just As You Want It, With Minimum Coloration.
  • SHIELD YOUR SOUND - We Added Advanced Electromagnetic Shielding To Defeat Hum From Computer Monitors And Other Studio Equipment.
  • CLOSE-MIKING STUDIO APPLICATIONS - The SM7B Shines When Used For Close-miking Instruments and ASMR Audio Where Warm And Smooth Full-frequencies Are A Must.
  • QUALITY IN THE DETAILS - Rugged Construction For Securing The Microphone Cartridge. Detachable Close-talk Windscreen And Switch Cover Plate Included. Bass Rolloff And Mid-range Emphasis (Presence Boost) Control With Graphic Display Of Response Setting.
  • WHAT’S IN THE BOX - Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone With One A7WS Detachable Windscreen And One RPM602 Switch Cover Plate. Free 2-year Warranty Included.

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This top-of-the-line mic is a solid performer any day. It continues to be the preferred choice of serious studios at under 500 USD. It delivers legendary sound and unmatched performance, albeit at a hefty price tag.

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What about Software?

We compile a list of the paid and free software you will likely need to set up a music studio. Here’s the breakdown.

Avid Pro Tools (Paid)

Adobe Audition (Paid)

Ableton Live (Paid)
Ableton Live

Cubase 10 Pro (Paid)
Cubase 10 Pro

FL Studio (Paid)
FL Studio

Reason (Paid)
Reason

Audacity (Free)

Cakewalk (Free)

Conclusion

At this point, you pretty much have all you need to build a PC for music production in 2021 and set up your studio. You’ve assembled the components and purchased additional hardware as we recommended above. So what next?

The next thing to do is to plug them all in together to get your music production PC up and running. You can follow this link for a step by step guide on building your own PC. Other build guides worth checking out include Photo Editing PC build, Graphic Design PC build, Gaming PC build, and Video Editing PC build. You can also try our PC Build Calculator

Any thoughts or input?
Please use the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you.

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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.

I’m also a copywriter, designer, video editor, and writer. I also do some 3D with 3DS Max. Do you want to reach me? Use the Social Media buttons, or shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to hear from you!

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