Anyone does recording and music production at home? (Bedroom studio)

Jazzhead

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I am new to this and have plans in future to setup a little recording and music production station for me at home. I need to buy a laptop soon and want to spec it out to be able to use for my usual work, studies, and travel but also music recording and production. I want to go with a Macbook because of the longevity and consistent performance I have seen from Apple products over PC.
if you are doing recordings and production, what laptop specs do you have and what specs would you recommend for this purpose? Of course I can spend $2-3k on a laptop and get a monster laptop but I just want something that just can handle this, doesn’t need to be the best one out there, maybe the least required specs or something slightly more capable.
Many thanks in advance!
 

Targalx

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Yes. I do a lot of home recording on a reasonably tight budget. I’m primarily running a MacBook Air from 2013, 8GB RAM and 500GB internal SSD. The machine gets pretty stressed out if I run a lot of tracks. I think it’s just because it’s old and worn out from several years of constant use.

I have a newer computer, a MacBook Pro, which I bought in Dec. 2018, that I occasionally use for recording. This one has 16GB of RAM and a 500GB internal SSD. I also opted for the more advanced processor, I can’t remember what that option was right now. I’m running the latest version of Logic Pro X on both laptops.

I also have a few external SSDs that I use specifically for recording purposes.

My interfaces are either a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, if I’m doing things like vocals, guitar, or bass. My drum interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20.
 

Jazzhead

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Yes. I do a lot of home recording on a reasonably tight budget. I’m primarily running a MacBook Air from 2013, 8GB RAM and 500GB internal SSD. The machine gets pretty stressed out if I run a lot of tracks. I think it’s just because it’s old and worn out from several years of constant use.

I have a newer computer, a MacBook Pro, which I bought in Dec. 2018, that I occasionally use for recording. This one has 16GB of RAM and a 500GB internal SSD. I also opted for the more advanced processor, I can’t remember what that option was right now. I’m running the latest version of Logic Pro X on both laptops.

I also have a few external SSDs that I use specifically for recording purposes.

My interfaces are either a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, if I’m doing things like vocals, guitar, or bass. My drum interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20.
Great info, thanks. So do you think a Macbook pro or Macbook air with the latest quad core i5/8GB RAM/512GB SSD will get the job done? 256GB is cheaper too but I may need external hard drive eventually.
 

Tornado

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I do collaborative work on what I would call "Modern Worship Arena Rock" tracks. You know what I'm talking about, you probably either hate it or you hate it, lol. It's fun to play nonetheless.

I'm running a 2017 Macbook Pro with 8GB RAM. It's enough to run Logic Pro X comfortably. I use external SSD drives to store audio files so that I can move them around to another Mac easily. Interface is a UA Apollo x8p, for tracking. UA Apollo gear is pretty nice. In my mixing location, I have an older iMac that isn't as powerful as the laptop, but still enough. My monitors are fed by a Scarlett 2i2.

You really just need a reasonably recent laptop to do most of this stuff. The more memory the better. I couldn't imagine life without SSDs.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I'm on PC so it's not going to be exactly the same, but I just upgraded from an old Athlon II to an Intel i5-8400 with 16GB DDR4 RAM. I have a 240GB SSD for running Windows and my DAW, and a 4TB hard drive for all the audio files. For my interface I'm using a Zoom R16 that I can bring to gigs to record as well. Just got a pair of Kali LP-6 monitors (per recommendation here) and a Mackie Big Knob to switch back and forth with my regular PC speakers.

So far it's been snappy. 30+ tracks with plugins and there haven't been any hiccups or buffering issues. I would think most modern Macbooks would handle anything you could throw at it.
 

snappy

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I am new to this and have plans in future to setup a little recording and music production station for me at home. I need to buy a laptop soon and want to spec it out to be able to use for my usual work, studies, and travel but also music recording and production. I want to go with a Macbook because of the longevity and consistent performance I have seen from Apple products over PC.
if you are doing recordings and production, what laptop specs do you have and what specs would you recommend for this purpose? Of course I can spend $2-3k on a laptop and get a monster laptop but I just want something that just can handle this, doesn’t need to be the best one out there, maybe the least required specs or something slightly more capable.
Many thanks in advance!
Something to consider
Tascam Dp32sd
$499.99
 

Targalx

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Great info, thanks. So do you think a Macbook pro or Macbook air with the latest quad core i5/8GB RAM/512GB SSD will get the job done? 256GB is cheaper too but I may need external hard drive eventually.
I would probably spend the extra money to get more RAM installed, definitely for the MBAir. I don't believe you can upgrade MBAir RAM after the fact as the RAM is soldered to the board directly — only the MBPro is post-built upgradable, if I am not mistaken.

As new OSs and newer versions of recording software are rolled out, they seem to become more RAM intensive. It's inexpensive insurance for the future, in my opinion.

My MBPro (Late 2018 model) has a 2.7ghz Quad-Core i7 with 16GB RAM and 512SSD. Logic seems to be very happy with this config.
 

Jazzhead

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I would probably spend the extra money to get more RAM installed, definitely for the MBAir. I don't believe you can upgrade MBAir RAM after the fact as the RAM is soldered to the board directly — only the MBPro is post-built upgradable, if I am not mistaken.

As new OSs and newer versions of recording software are rolled out, they seem to become more RAM intensive. It's inexpensive insurance for the future, in my opinion.

My MBPro (Late 2018 model) has a 2.7ghz Quad-Core i7 with 16GB RAM and 512SSD. Logic seems to be very happy with this config.
i agree 16GB will do better, the thing is that I don’t want that touch bar, really don’t like it but if I go with a MBpro then I have no choice.
 

Targalx

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i agree 16GB will do better, the thing is that I don’t want that touch bar, really don’t like it but if I go with a MBpro then I have no choice.
Yeah, I totally understand that one. I NEVER use the touch bar.
 

dcrigger

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Jazzhead - I've been doing recording and music production from home for about (OMG) 40 years... currently don't really use my laptop for that work except when traveling, not that most recent laptops from Apple aren't capable of doing a reasonable amount of work. I just really like using a large monitor, a real keyboard with a numeric keyboard and an actual mouse. Though of course you can use all of that stuff with a decent laptop - which I did for a number of years (having my main machine being also my travel machine). But now that I'm not traveling as much - I've been using a Mac mini until recently when I decided to build my self a Hackintosh (which is going great).

So really depends on what you are doing - number of simultaneous audio tracks, number of software/virtual instruments being used. And then how demanding your plugin use is while mixing. If those needs are modest, than a lesser machine will be no different than top of the line. That said - as other have mentioned - beyond processor speed - drive speed and amount of RAM is a big deal for doing this stuff. So nothing slower than a 7200 rpm drive for system or project files (obviously SSD's are ideal - but frankly I still run many projects off a regular drive with no problems.

So of course, better is better... but then again, there's always stuff to spending money on. So thinking in terms of a balanced system approach usually makes sense. A lesser mac that's fast enough sounds exactly the same as a top of the line Mac Pro - and yet a bit better mic setup or a little bit better audio interface or better sample library is sonically tangible... they simply sound better.

Beyond that it's kinda hard to get more specific without a bit more insight into what you see "music recording and production" meaning to you. What do see yourself doing? That kind of thing.

Anyway let thing... as you're going Mac (which I don't disagree with - for a myriad of reasons including the ones you listed), then I would wholeheartedly recommend using Logic Pro Audio. Many would suggest just starting with Garageband - which is a fine path as well. My problem with ti though - is the amount of sort of re-learning the wheel that goes along with that path. There's not tons to it - but the fact is - the "real tool" isn't all that unapproachable right from square one. And then you're starting with a tool that can take you about as far as you dream of going.

And it is a tremendous value - beyond the full feature DAW, there's also this humongous virtual instrument library and loop library - and it's all pretty stunning stuff. Quite usable professional. Of course, there are 3rd party libraries that exceed - but they cost plenty. And the Apply library just comes with Logic... free.

Overall IMO the program is a tremendous product - possibly about the best bang for your buck that $200 can buy you in the music making marketplace.

Anyway - good luck with all of that - it'll be quite the adventure!
 

lrod1707

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I am new to this and have plans in future to setup a little recording and music production station for me at home. I need to buy a laptop soon and want to spec it out to be able to use for my usual work, studies, and travel but also music recording and production. I want to go with a Macbook because of the longevity and consistent performance I have seen from Apple products over PC.
if you are doing recordings and production, what laptop specs do you have and what specs would you recommend for this purpose? Of course I can spend $2-3k on a laptop and get a monster laptop but I just want something that just can handle this, doesn’t need to be the best one out there, maybe the least required specs or something slightly more capable.
Many thanks in advance!
I am a newbie at recording and I'm just starting to get my feet wet. I looked at the "computer" route and decided to kind of bypass it. I just want to make good quality recordings without any hassle or a huge learning curve. I bought a Tascam DP-24SD portastudio and returned it in one day because of limitations. (read on and you'll understand the limitations) So I ended up getting a Tascam Model 12 mixer/recorder/audio interface/DAW controller. I chose this because I can record on it, mix the tracks and done. But it doesn't limit me in maybe doing the computer DAW stuff later on because it's also and audio interface/DAW controller with 8 inputs/12 tracks. I already have a powerful desktop at home that can handle the DAW so the computer wasn't my necessity. Now you can also get a portastudio like the Tascam DP series to totally bypass the computer route if you choose. Zoom makes some of these mixers (Livetrak series) similar to my Model 12 as well. I'm just throwing in another idea for you without the immediate need of a computer. I ended up buying everything, the model 12, studio monitors, mics, stands etc..
I'm just getting started and I'm sure it will be months to learn this craft but it's fun!
LRod
 

Pounder

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I have done recording in the past and am also pondering a newer machine. You can still do recordings with older devices just check the software/hardware limits. That being said for Apple Logic Pro X is amazing and it is a commonly used platform amongst pros out there in the filmscoring and even hiphop genres, so it's a great product.

I was just going to add that the MBP is preferable (to me) over the MBA(air) because of the connectivity.

Additionally, the initial outlay will be more for a new system because older devices such as the old Presonus FP10 is a firewire device and I don't know if they're supported or even good device to use amongst the newer, more expensive (better specs?) devices out there.

You might consider how many simultaneous recording tracks you want or need, etc.. Good luck, timely topic, thanks for posting.
 

DanRH

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I use an old MacBook Pro (2012) upgraded with 16 gb and a 1T SSD. Running Mojave and either Audacity or Logic. Have a Presonus 1824c USB interface.
 

bpaluzzi

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I've been recording from home for ~15 years now.
Buy the best computer you can afford. It makes a huge diference, and allows the rest of your gear to grow without needing to upgrade your computer. I started with a 2i2, upgraded to an 18i20, and now am running an Apollo x4 with the 18i20 serving as an ADAT expander, and everything runs without any problem on my current rig.

If you're going Apple (which I recommend) go with either a Macbook Pro, an iMac, or a Mac Mini (or a Mac Pro if you have big-time bucks). Airs are built to prioritize weight and portability, and aren't really meant for this type of work.

Max out the RAM. You can't upgrade RAM on any current Apple laptops, so spec them out at buying. Mac Minis are technically possible, but it voids your warranty. It's up to you whether or not you want to risk that. The iMac and Mac Pro have user-upgradeable RAM, so you can save quite a bit by getting it aftermarket. Just make sure you're getting the exact correct type / spec of RAM.

Processor is less important, although things like render time / freezing can be improved with a better processor. In general though, the stock processors on all of the above should be fine for what you need, unless you're planning on running a lot of CPU-intensive plugins.

Upgrade to an SSD, even if it's just for the OS / applications themselves. Stay away from spinning disks of any kind, including the "fusion drive"
 

Jazzhead

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I have no idea what I want to do exactly and I don’t know how to record things, I just know the softwares are out there and this will be a quite an experiment and Journey. I guess I will just get the best Macbook I can afford and hope it will be sufficient for what I want to do in future. I just hate that I have to get the Pro with the touch bar. By the way, I have to go through the computer route because I need this laptop for other purposes as well, recording is just one of them that I am considering.
Thanks for everyone’s input.
 

Browny

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I started getting into tracking some stuff at home to remotely collaborate with the band, maybe even get a few demos down.

Ive got a really basic setup. Two mics, an AKG 212 LDC and a Sennheiser e602 kick mic, running into a cheap 2-channel interface (ART USB Dual Pre? I think) and at this stage I’m just using Audacity on a little HP laptop. For what I’m doing it seems to be enough, at least for now.

I’m slowly getting better at all the little factors that contribute to a good sound: mic placement, tuning for the room and the mics, internally mixing and balancing my playing etc.

One benefit of spending these last few months regularly recording and listening back/analysing myset is I think my playing has dramatically improved. My time is waaay more solid, my feel has improved and I’m certainly more accurate and consistent with my playing.
 

musiqman

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I just build one, and got a as new Mac Pro (aka “The Bin”) after over a 1,5 decade with MacBook Pro’s.

A3404C6D-B593-4364-95C3-78E3071DEFD1.jpeg


If needed I can take it on the road too with the Luna Display that turns the iPad into a display.

17AE7629-E007-483E-8E6D-0C0C07629FD5.jpeg


I needed something more powerful and with enough in and outputs.

I was lucky that the old Presonus Firestudio Tube interface got an update so it even works with Mojave (I don’t use Catalina for several reasons).

It is a killer interface and still unprecedented with 10! Xlr (and very clean) pre-amps. And because its older it can be bought for very low prices now used.

8F714AD1-C7C1-421D-A9D9-A18C8555AB50.jpeg
 

Neal Pert

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There are very strong indications that Apple is going to be releasing new MacBooks and iMacs some time before the end of the year that'll be using their new processors. They'll be supporting the Intel chips for a long while, I assume, but I'm going to try to hold out until the next generation and then buy the fastest one I can afford with at least 16 GB of RAM.

It's worth looking at the iMacs if portability isn't all that important to you. Lots of bang for the buck, at least relative to other Apple products.
 

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