When you’re just starting out sorting your own home-recording setup, it’s easy to think that you need a computing behemoth in order to handle extensive tracks and plugins. Here is some good news for you; you don’t… always. With a little bit of altering and a few upgrades, your current machine will (probably) cope surprisingly well.
Computers for home recording don’t necessarily have to be the bee's knees. Sure, it helps. But why would you want to spend a tonne of money on a massive media machine when what really matters are DAWs, plugins and the tracks you lay down. So long as your machine can sufficiently run these things then you’re on to a win in our books.
In this article we’re going to lay down some simple tips for optimising your computer for home recording. But first, a word of warning...
Be wary of the “easy” option
Spend a little bit of time on Google and you are likely to find some pre-packaged computers for home-recording. While on the face of it, these might seem like a cheap and easy beginner’s option, get under the bonnet and they aren’t always what they seem. It’s probably a good idea to steer clear here. Besides, it’s always a much better option to tailor your own setup for exactly what you need it for.
If you only have a small budget our advice would be, if possible, to upgrade your current system to cope with modern DAWs. This is a much better choice than blowing it all on a sub-standard computer or setup that you will likely want to replace in the short-to-mid-term.
Now that that nasty business is behind us, here is how to set up your computer for a more powerful recording experience…
Replace hard drives with SSDs
Solid State Drives are much much faster than traditional Hard Drives. They tend to be a little more expensive for less GB, but the experience is far better. They have no moving parts, make no noise at all and can open apps and programs much faster than their older counterparts. An SSD will give you a much better recording experience by boosting the speed and power of your computer.
Boost your RAM
If you want your DAW to run like Sonic then max out the RAM on your computer. Unlike their older counterparts where RAM wasn’t all that much of an issue, modern DAWs will eat as much RAM as is made available to them. The more RAM, the more power, the quicker the response in the mix. Simple.
Consider using an external drive
One sure-fire way to speed up your recording and mixing process is to hook up a Firewire/USB/Thunderbolt external drive that is devoted to recording to and mixing from. This way your system can focus on running the software, plugins and operating system. Another way this can be done is with two internal hard drives if you have them.