Getting your hardware right is as important as getting your software right when it comes to music production.
This is a point not emphasized enough. So if you’re a beginner just starting your music production journey, this post will be helpful to you because one of the most frequently asked questions online is:
“Is Music Production CPU Intensive?”
Therefore, you need to properly understand hardware in order for you to make the right call when it’s time to buy gear.
With that said, let’s get into it…
So, Is music production CPU intensive?
Music production relies heavily on the quality and performance of your CPU, so yes it is definitely CPU intensive. Production software requires a lot of processing power to properly execute complex processes involved in music production. This is why you should focus on getting a good computer with the right processor, good size hard drive and enough RAM to process everything that requires enough memory to properly run.
Music Production Processes
The very first step in music production begins with the actual recording itself. This is where equipment like microphones, audio interfaces, mixing consoles are used.
Your CPU acts as the go between for the process of recording. To ensure good quality recordings as well as less trouble when recording. A good CPU will be handy.
You’ll record into your preferred Digital Audio Workstation which also requires a lot of CPU juice to properly capture an audio signal without running into issues like latency that arise as a result of a limited CPU and other counterparts like RAM.
Recording is one of the reasons why you need a good CPU because it will make your work easier and I’ve found that working with a good CPU greatly improves the entire workflow and overall quality of work.
The second step that comes after recording is usually editing which involves lining up audio, selecting final takes dealing with any recording inconsistencies, noise reduction etc.
Then comes the actual process of mixing which involves the use of various digital tools like plugins.
Plugins are an essential part of music production and without them making music the right way becomes impossible.
When it comes to CPU; most high quality digital plugins will require heavy processing power combined with good RAM.
This is another reason why music production is CPU intensive.
Secondly, the use of digital instrument plugins during processes like beat making also require good processing power.
The last process in the music production chain is called mastering.
Mastering is essentially perfecting the mix to have it ready for distribution to the end consumer.
Mastering also uses digital plugins like compressors, limiters, saturators, EQ and other necessary plugins to the process.
You’ll find that, in mastering you’ll basically use most of the plugins that were used in your mixing which means a great deal of processing power.
Therefore to properly produce music without running into problems you need a good dedicated processor that is of high performance and of high quality.
Good CPU Options
Intel Core i9-9900K
This is a great CPU that will easily change your entire working ability as a music producer.
It is fairly expensive but its top-of-the-line specs are every music producers dream.
The i9-9900k has a max turbo frequency of around 5.0GHz on single but slightly falls to around 4.6GHz on multiple cores.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about overheating issues that you’ll most likely encounter with lower performance CPUs because this CPU has an integrated heat spreader which ensures proper heat dissipation.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
The AMD Ryzen is another great choice for anyone looking for a good CPU to carry out effective music production. It comes equipped with excellent clock speed allowing you to easily multi task and carry out several other functions.
With this processor you’ll also get enhanced load times aswell as good boot times necessary for music production work.
Intel Core i7-7700K
This is one CPU that is fairly priced but still packs a punch!
The Intel Core i7 features a core base frequency of 4.2GHz but you can also boost this frequency to get even more out of this processor… it has an inbuilt boost technology that will allow you to up the performance to 4.5Ghz.
Plus, this is an unlocked processor which means you can easily configure it and push it to even higher performance.
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
If your music production is heavily digital audio Workstation based the AMD Ryzen 9 3950x should be one of the CPUs that you greatly consider.
This CPU is built architecture that will allow you to run applications and plugins easily without headaches.
The only catch is that this CPU is pretty selective with RAM. Other than that, this is definitely a good system.