Computer Considerations For Songwriting
By Robert Curtis Page Updated 2011 Looking for the best music computers? Here are some things to consider as you look to upgrade or buy computer systems for your music and song writing.
When it comes to computer considerations for your songwriting endeavors there are a lot of factors to consider, but they all boil down to what do you need the computer to help you do?
Specifically you need to address all the issues of your own personal writing approach to determine what kind of computer set-up will best suit you and how capable the hardware and software of your computer should be.
For example, are you a lyrics only writer, or a lyrics and music writer who'd also like to be able to record music into your computer - and will you be wanting to produce fully engineered demos or masters in your home studio too?
Let's break this down by need and discuss the major points to consider relative your computer choices and the popular programs that are often employed for each of these types of tasks.
Please note this discussion will be an overview to cover the bigger issues of writing songs - not so much getting into the nitty gritty technical particulars.
As far as technical specifications simply look into those items depending on the type(s) of software and sound processing hardware you may want. Read more about sound processing hardware on our audio interface page by clicking here. It's a whole other topic but just as important as your computer purchase.
And for more technical software and technical guidance probe around the topics on Songwriting Software Plus and other fine sites on the net and consult with the crews at your local computer and music stores.
For Lyric Writing Only
If you're a lyricist only you'll be well suited pretty much by any contemporary computer, namely Apple's Mac or Windows based PCs (from now on referred to as Macs and PCs in this article respectively).
Granted there are other operating systems such as Linux but most programs are designed for Apple's and Window's operating systems so we'll keep this discussion focussed along those lines.
The two most popular programs that have major lyric writing components, Lyricist and MasterWriter, can work with PCs and Macs.
Your current system may be well suited for these two programs already. You can verify this by checking their respective requirements towards the bottom of their respective pages - click here for Lyricist and here for MasterWriter.
Other lyrical aid programs like the virtual co-writer program ParaMind or the rhyme software Rhymesaurus will typically work just fine in today's standardly equipped off the shelf computers.
For Lyric And Music Writing And Recording
When you cross the line into the need for equipment to suit high end notation capabilities and or recording requirements the minimum configurations needed are upped.
The basic threshold you'll cross here has to do with RAM.
You'll generally benefit by having more RAM and in any event check out the needs of the particular software you intend to employ to see what the specific recommendations are so that you know if you currently have the optimum set up or need to upgrade.
PC or Mac?
If you currently have a computer that you're working with - here are some things to consider to better gage your situation and what you might consider in contemplating changing or upgrading your system or buying your first computer for your song writing endeavors.
In a consultation I had with Peter Brunner of midiguy.com here in Los Angeles about Mac versus PCs he noted that Macs operate in such a way that each program is independent of other programs' operations. In other words programs don't share certain operating files to function as is the case with PCs.
Also Macs are attacked much less often by hackers and don't suffer the same level of barrage of viruses and other types of computer attacks that PCs do.
Since PCs tend to be more prone to glitches from outside attack and other or newly installed programs interfering with other programs there are some things you can do to mitigate these problems.
Along these lines Peter further advised that with PCs, once you get everything set up, leave it that way and only hook up to the Internet for downloading updates to your hardware and software programs and of course have anti-viral and firewall software installed and up to date.
This of course presumes you've got or can afford a second computer for music only or don't otherwise ever go on the internet :-)
I use a PC in my lyric writing and music composition process however the prevailing computer of usage in the music industry particularly the more professional levels you cross is the Apple Mac.
Living in Los Angeles has afforded me the opportunity to come across and work in several studio situations and by and large I've encountered Apple's Macs in most of the studios.
One important thing to consider when your contemplating a new computer purchase, especially if you're going to switch from a PC to a Mac or vice versa, is what programs do you currently use on your computer and are they readily switchable to the other format?
PCs are by far the most prevalent computer type in the general public, practically 90% by some estimates of computers used, so they get a lot of attention as far as software development and hardware innovation. Accordingly being that the competition is higher the hardware and software prices tend to be lower than Mac items.
However, as I noted above, the way that Macs operate allows them more program stability and you're much less likely to have program crashes and other programs interfering with your production process on the Mac. This is quite frankly why a lot of musicians and songwriters prefer Macs. Of course budget considerations are a big item here for many too.
Check out Peter's site, midiguy.com, for more information and especially for trouble shooting any current problems you may be having. He has a lot of free information to get you out of jams or you can even call him for phone consultations and walk-throughs at very reasonable prices - just pay with a credit card. Please tell him I sent you - I use him myself :-)
Also, if you're looking to invest in an Apple computer that is already pre-designed for music writing and recording check out the music configured systems at zZounds.com - Music Computers. Click on the Computer Music tab at the top of their homepage then click on Computers in the left hand menu bar.
For PC systems check out the Creation Stations presented by Sweetwater Music.
The bottom-line is to make sure you match your writing needs with the computer or computer upgrade that will serve your needs best.
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