Digital Audio: Build a DAW for Under $750
I was asked by a musician friend the other day what kind laptop and software he should buy to record his digital audio. He figured that it would be expensive by the time he bought a Mac laptop and software such as ProTools. Indeed, it can be. Yet deals can be had if your willing to use used or refurbished equipment.
I was happy to inform him than last few years it has actually become much easier to record on a budget. Here are the options I came up with for him:
Used MacBook setup under $750:
- Apple Macbook Pro 15″ Mid-2010 A1286 Core i7 2.66GHz 4GB RAM 500GB HD $600 (used/refurb on ebay)
- Pro Tools First (FREE) http://apps.avid.com/protoolsfirst/ or Reaper $60 (Free trial) http://www.reaper.fm/
- Lexicon USB Recording Interface $49 at http://amzn.to/1OINHTk or any of these options at http://amzn.to/1OINMGI (Focusrite is good option).
If you’re looking to get a brand-new system you may as well go for a really beefy Mac Pro expect to pay around $2000 give or take a few hundred. But you can still save by using ProTools First, Reaper or orCubase LE, which comes with the lexicon Alpha USB interface as well.
You will probably want a good pair of monitors speakers or headphones. Depending what your recording of course you’ll need a decent mic and your instrument of choice. If you really want to go low-budget, a Windows-based laptop could be had for under $500 that would handle the above software.
Some of the best deals I find are on New Egg, Amazon, and eBay. Be careful on eBay when buying a computer. I always look at how many sales the seller has and make sure they have a Rating of 99% on lots of auctions.
Pro Tools | First System Requirements
System Requirements and Compatibility with Pro Tools|First Software
For optimal performance and reliability, be sure that your computer or laptop meets the following minimum system requirements.