Build a PC for Music Production

Want to build a PC for Music Production in 2020? 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 2020, 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.

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 2020

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.

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 DVD’s 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. Stick to our recommendations in the table below. Follow the table below for budget, mid-range and high-end music production PC build options. Each column holds a list of components for each build; this is to guide you properly. All links point to Amazon US.

Please note that qualifying purchases earn us a small commission. 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

build a PC for music production in 2020

PART BRAND
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 1300X Desktop Processor

Other Processor Options
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

GPU XFX Radeon RX 560, 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

Other Graphics Card Options
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 Seagate Barracuda 3TB

Alternative
Seagate Barracuda 1TB

SSD Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB

Alternatives
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 Thermaltake Smart 500W

Alternatives
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 (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Motherboard GIGABYTE B450 AORUS Elite Motherboard

Other Options
GIGABYTE B450M
MSI ProSeries AMD A320
ASRock AM4 MicroATX
Asus Prime B450M-A

Keyboard/Mouse (Optional) Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case Phanteks Eclipse Steel ATX Mid Tower Case

Other 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 (Optional) Acer 21.5″ Full HD IPS Ultra-Thin Zero Frame Monitor

Alternatives
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 Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1 Sound Card

MID-RANGE AMD MUSIC PC BUILD

build a PC for music production in 2020

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

Alternatives
Ryzen 7 1700X
Ryzen 7 2700X
Ryzen
 7 2700
Ryzen 7 2700X
Ryzen 7 1800X

GPU Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 8GB GDDR5

Graphics Card Alternatives
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 10
70
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070

HDD Seagate Barracuda 6TB

Alternative
Seagate Barracuda 3TB

SSD Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB

Alternatives
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 Corsair CX Series 650 Watt Modular Power Supply

Alternatives
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 MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD Ryzen AM4 ATX Motherboard

Alternatives
Gigabyte B450 AORUS Elite
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F

Keyboard/Mouse (Optional) Logitech MK360 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo
 
Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case NZXT H510i Compact ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case

Case Alternatives
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 (Optional) Dell 23.8″ IPS Full HD Monitor

Alternatives
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

HIGH-END AMD MUSIC PC BUILD

build a PC for music production in 2020

PART BRAND
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU

Alternatives
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

GPU Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 8GB GDDR5

Alternatives
GeForce GTX 1650 Super
GeForce GTX 1660
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
AMD Radeon RX 5500XT

HDD Seagate BarraCuda 8TB Internal Hard Drive

Alternatives
Seagate BarraCuda 6TB
WD Blue 6TB
WD Black 6TB

SSD Samsung 970 EVO 1TB – NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB

Alternatives
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB
G.SKILL 32GB Ripjaws V Series
HyperX Fury 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Crucial Ballistix DDR4 32GB

CPU Cooler Bundled
PSU Corsair TX750M, 750 Watt PSU

Alternatives
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 MSI Arsenal Gaming AMD Ryzen AM4 ATX Motherboard

Alternative
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F

Keyboard/Mouse (Optional) Logitech MX900 Premium Backlit Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-Omega RGB Mid-Tower Gaming Case

Alternatives
ASUS TUF Gaming Mid-Tower
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
MSI Premium Mid-Tower Case

Display (Optional) Dell UltraSharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″ Black

Alternatives
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
LG 27″ 5K IPS LED Monitor

Sound Card EVGA Nu Audio Card

INTEL BUILDS

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

BUDGET INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

build a PC for music production in 2020

PART BRAND
CPU Intel Core i3-9100 Desktop Processor

Alternatives
Intel Core i3-9100F Desktop Processor
Intel Core i3-8100
Intel Core i5-8400
Intel Core i5-9400
Intel Core i5-9600K

GPU Integrated

Other Graphics Card 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
GeForce GT 710

HDD Seagate Barracuda 3TB

Alternative
Seagate Barracuda 1TB

SSD Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB

Alternatives
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 Thermaltake Smart 500W

Alternatives
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 (Optional) Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive
Motherboard ASUS Prime Z370-P II LGA1151 Motherboard

Alternatives
Asus Prime H310M
Asus PRIME B360M-A
Gigabyte B365M
Prime H310M-E R2.0
MSI ProSeries Intel B365 LGA 1151 Micro-ATX

Keyboard/Mouse (Optional) Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case Phanteks Eclipse Steel ATX Mid Tower Case

Other 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 (Optional) Acer 21.5″ Full HD IPS Ultra-Thin Zero Frame Monitor

Alternatives
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 Creative Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX 7.1 Sound Card

MID-RANGE INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

build a PC for music production in 2020

PART BRAND
CPU Intel Core i5-9600K Processor 6 Cores

Alternatives
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 Integrated

Graphics Card Alternatives
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 10
70
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070

HDD Seagate Barracuda 6TB

Alternative
Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Seagate BarraCuda 8TB 

SSD Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB

Alternatives
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 Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler
PSU Corsair CX Series 650 Watt Modular Power Supply

Alternatives
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 Gigabyte Z390 UD 1151 Motherboard

Alternatives
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 (Optional) Logitech Wireless Combo MK360 Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case NZXT H510i Compact ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case

Case Alternatives
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 (Optional) Dell SE2419Hx 23.8″ IPS Full HD Monitor

Alternatives
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

HIGH-END INTEL MUSIC PC BUILD

build a PC for music production in 2020

PART BRAND
CPU Intel Core i7-9700K Processor 8 Cores

Alternatives
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 Integrated

Alternatives
Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 590 8GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 1650 Super
GeForce GTX 1660
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
AMD Radeon RX 5500XT

HDD Seagate BarraCuda 8TB Internal Hard Drive HDD

Alternatives
Seagate Barracuda 6TB
WD Blue 6TB
WD Black 6TB

SSD Samsung 970 EVO 1TB – NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

Alternatives
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 Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB

Alternatives
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB
G.SKILL 32GB Ripjaws V Series
HyperX Fury 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Crucial Ballistix DDR4 32GB

CPU Cooler Cooler Master RGB CPU Air Cooler
PSU Corsair TX750M, 750 Watt PSU

Alternatives
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 ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard

Alternatives
EVGA Z390 Dark, LGA 1151
Asus MAXIMUS VIII EXTREME
MSI Performance Gaming Intel Z170A LGA 1151
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero

Keyboard/Mouse (Optional) Logitech MX900 Premium Backlit Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Alternatives
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Best Budget Alternative
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-Omega RGB Mid-Tower Gaming Case

Alternatives
ASUS TUF Gaming Mid-Tower
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
MSI Premium Mid-Tower Case

Display (Optional) Dell UltraSharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″ Black

Alternatives
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
LG 27″ 5K IPS LED Monitor

Sound Card EVGA Nu Audio Card

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 2020.

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

Douk Audio Q3
This is an affordable yet powerful DAC for the budget music producer. Don’t be fooled though by its diminutive size and cheap price; the Q3 is loaded with features any decent producer would appreciate. It can connect to just about any device, from smartphones to TVs.

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
The Modi Multibit DAC delivers outstanding features in a little package. It features Schiit’s unique digital filter which delivers an “analog-sounding” audio. It has good dynamics, a wide range, bass with some “length” and resonance, clean, sparkly highs, plus a well-defined midrange.

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 DAC

The Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus gives you world-class digital-to-analog conversion, without a hefty price tag. It is powered by Twin Wolfson 24-Bit DACs for superior audio processing.

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 USB Audio Interface
Just about anybody wanting to record audio on a PC can easily get a USB mic. But if you’re a serious music producer, it’s best to settle for something more. The Behringer U-Phoria is a nice budget option. It comes in 4 variants, 1-channel, 2-channel, 4-channel, and 8-channel.

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 Scarlet 8i6 USB Audio Interface
The 8i6 has superb sample rates and frequency response. It comes in 3 variants and has a quick start tool to get you up and running in no time. An add-on you might appreciate is the bundled Pro Tools suite of software.

High-End USB Audio Interface

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

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

Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Mic

Budget Mic

Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

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’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

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.

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 2020 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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