As computers have gotten more powerful, they've become the standard tools for recording, editing, and mixing audio. More and more professional studios are using them because of their power and amateurs are using them because they're also relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
With advancements in home audio technology it is now possible to bring the sound of a crystal clear orchestra straight to your own living room. If you don't have the space for a full sized home theater, then a mini stereo is the route to go, don't be fooled by the size of these, all though they look like a bookshelf radio, some higher end models achieve similar results to a full sized home stereo setup.
As with graphics and video, when it comes to the computer you use, newer/bigger/faster is always best. Audio recording and software can be very stressful on processor and ram. Most experts recommend that you run your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with a computer that's not used for anything else.
If you are considering using a laptop, there are some important factors to consider. Laptop hard drives are generally much slower than those in desktop machines, and consequently too slow to do a lot of serious audio work. You will need to look into getting an external Firewire hard drive specifically for music purposes.
The debate about whether Mac or PC is better for music production basically boils down to whether your machine will run the software that you choose.
There are a few basic pieces of equipment that you will need to have to produce audio on your computer. In addition to making sure your computer is well-suited to this type of work, you will also need an audio interface to get sound into your editing environment. A good microphone is very important if you will be recording vocals/voiceovers or live performances on instruments. If you have more than one piece of outboard gear or an array of microphones that you are using simultaneously, a desktop mixer is a wise investment. For listening to your work, you'll need a quality pair of headphones at least, and a good set of small studio monitor speakers if you can afford it. Your local musical gear shop can provide good advice on equipment that will perform well according to your budget.
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