Best Motherboard for Music Production - Buyer’s Guide
Building a custom PC for audio production is about more than just the CPU. The right motherboard will complement your system well and make it function at its best, so take the time to research this vital component before you commit. There are affordable motherboards up to premium models that suit different budgets and levels of expertise in sound engineering.
When you’re looking for a motherboard, there are many considerations. You’ll want to choose one that will handle your CPU and what level of performance you need from it as well. We have three main categories: mid-range PCs; high-performance PCs (these come with the priciest motherboards); workstation builds, which can do anything but can cost much, and it is not affordable if you are on a budget. Let’s take some time to go through these different types to know just what each type can do before making our choice.
At A Glance:
Best Motherboards for Music Production
Best Overall Motherboard for Music Production
Best Mid-Tier Budget Motherboard for Music Production
We’ve done the research and compiled a list of the following motherboards that are highly suitable for audio production. If you’re on a budget, check out our Intel board selections and if you have more wiggle room in your budgets, take a look at some of AMD’s premium offerings too.
Gigabyte B450M DS3H has a hoard of attractive features at an affordable price that is hard to beat. It may be because it’s ruling the roost and giving stiff competition to others. Gigabyte B450M DS3H supports Ryzen (1st & 2nd generations) and AMD Radeon Vega graphics processors so that you can use this board with any processor in your system. This dual-channel motherboard also comes equipped with 4 DIMMS for DDR4 memory support, meaning whether you need more storage or not, there’ll always be room on here without sacrificing performance.
Gigabyte B450M DS3H has high-quality sound capacitors and noise guards for extreme comfort. It also offers 8 USB 2.0 ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports with RGB fusion lighting that lights up an incredible seven strips of light in an array of colors. Its smart fan makes sure the performance is high while the motherboard’s performance is at its top level.
- Has 16 PCIe slots
- Supports RAM and CPU overclocking
Only 1 CPU fan header
Does not support 3rd generation AMD Ryzen
The MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX II is a well-rounded, sleek motherboard perfect for gamers and those looking to install an AM4 Ryzen CPU. It can accommodate anything from the Ryzen 7 2700x up to heavy-duty graphics cards like the RTX 2080 ti. And with 16 PCIe Gen 3 lanes available, you’ll be able to enjoy high-performance gaming without any hiccups.
MSI brings you a motherboard that is perfect for your AMD Ryzen computer. It supports DDR4 memory, and it’s compatible with the 1st to 3rd generation of their CPU. The MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX II can take up to 64 GB, but no more than that.
MSI promises to give you a fast and pleasant experience with their new motherboard. The MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX II comes equipped with an M.2 slot, USB 3.1 ports, digital power design that lets your system use more cores without sacrificing performance or quality of sound.
BIOS is easy to use
Good mystic light
The integrated sound card may not be the best.
The ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus motherboard is a go-to option for many customers who want the best quality when building an AMD rig. This board has everything you need and more, from its six layers robust PCB construction to certified military-grade chokes. The high-quality components will make your system run smoothly with less chance it could break or cause system errors as well. It also comes with ample slots so you can build an impressive audio system while still having room left over in your case.
The ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus is an excellent motherboard for AMD PCs. Not only does it come with the latest PCIe v4.0 bandwidth, but it also has plenty of expansion slots and ports to accommodate all your devices – especially if you are an avid gamer. It features 4 DDR 4 slots and an M.2 slot.
The ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus offers more than just a practical advantage. For instance, it can support the newest Gen 4 NVMe SSD that can reach speeds of up 6.5 GB/s compared to older gen 3 with typical transfer speed at only 3.5GB/s which may not be as fast in some instances of the data streaming and file transfers when you need an effective device for audio production because this motherboard features Realtek S1200A codec with 108 dB SNR allowing 5.1 surrounds sound playback via its five ports while also providing optical S/PDIF connectivity for protocols like Dolby so if you are looking for a high performing yet mid-priced option then your best choice would be this one.
- Multiple AMD generation processor support.
- Comprehensive cooling features.
- Great power regulations.
- Multiple connectivity options
Pristine audio production.
- Fast internet transfer capability.
- RGB lighting syncing.
- No mountable screws.
Gigabyte has created a motherboard that is both ultra-affordable and great for those looking to build their high-performance system. Gigabyte’s GA-A320M S2H Motherboard can be used as the foundation of any AMD Ryzen PC, which allows you to add all your preferred components on top with ease (like upgrading from an Intel CPU or adding in more RAM). This board will save time and money by cutting out excess purchases like separate sound cards, so there’s no need to worry about compatibility.
The Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H motherboard not only saves you money but also has a ton of benefits. You can use the saved money on other things like sound cards with high DNR and sample rates for your productions. If you’re just getting into audio production or if the size is an issue, to begin with, then this might be perfect. It’s small enough so that space isn’t much of a problem.
The Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H, while lacking in features for the gamer and video editor alike, is perfect for audio production. You can use the motherboard with up to 32 GB of memory (max), allowing you to run any software without a hitch. Furthermore, this board only offers three ports capable of running 2.1 stereo speakers – but if that’s all you are looking for, then it’ll suit you just fine.
- High quality audio capacitors and audio noise guard
- Supports AMD ryzen 7th generation A series/athlon processors
- Makes minimum noise
- Overall performance is average
- Compatibility issues
If you’re looking for a durable, high-quality motherboard that’s affordable and small enough to fit in most cases, this Gigabyte B365M DS3H is perfect. This board comes with all of the ports needed by those on a budget or have their sound cards already installed. Plus, it can take 8th and 9th gen Intel processors, which are usually more cost-effective and great for a budget.
The Gigabyte B365M DS3H has everything you need to get started with a new build. The motherboard’s built-in sound card may not be enough for the most discerning audiophile, but this is offset by one of its other features: expandability. One X16 PCIe slot allows you to save up your funds and purchase either an external or internal standalone sound card when budgeting permits. There are also ample SATA ports so that multiple hard disks can be connected; additionally, there’s even a single M2 SSD port available should storage space prove too tight on the mainboard as well as any additional expansion cards.
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a motherboard is the size. The Gigabyte B365M DS3H offers an mATX form factor, making it smaller than your typical ATX board and allowing you to use a case that’s more compact in its design (saving money on both). All this together means less noise from fans and other components since they have better airflow.
The Gigabyte B365M DS3H has a lot of ports available to improve your PC’s sound quality. You can plug in up to three separate audio devices, such as speakers for surround sound or an external microphone. The motherboard uses the inferior Realtek ALC887 codec and is not comparable with its predecessor model with 2 RCA outputs instead of 3 TOSLINKs.
- Supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel Core processors
- Has high quality audio capacitors and audio noise guard
- Offers 64 Gb memory storage capacity that stores all important files/documents
- Not compatible with Windows 7
ASUS continues to create excellent motherboards that make you want more. One example is the ROG Crosshair VIII Hero Motherboard, which works best with 2nd and 3rd generation AMD Ryzen CPUs.
Gaming is a demanding activity, but the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero has it all solved. From cooling to overclocking and everything in between – this board can do it all. With two heatsinks for your processor alone, you’ll be able to handle any heating problem that comes up with its 5-way optimization system providing cooling profiles along with the entire motherboard’s tuning capability.
This gaming rig won’t have anything slowing down performance thanks to its high-quality components: USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps connectivity speeds on both front panel ports and rear I/O port; SupremeFX audio technology delivering exceptional sound fidelity of 120dB signal.
The ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero is the ultimate DIY motherboard, with a pre-mounted I/O shield and BIOS flashback. Its integrated ethernet (Gigabit and 2.5 Gaps), as well as its RAM technology, make it a perfect choice for your next project. The 4 DIMM slots allow you to easily upgrade your board’s RAM in the future without having to purchase an entirely new one.
6 chassis fan connectors
- Not Affordable.
If you are looking to build a middle-of-the-road machine for home usage, Gigabyte B550M Aorus Pro is the perfect option. This board offers more than enough features and functionality at an excellent price point that will fit your budget without compromising performance. The essential quality of this product is its PCIe v4.0 CPU lanes which conform with newer, higher bandwidth specifications.
The Gigabyte B550M is a sleek, dainty motherboard that will fit perfectly on your desk or in the corner of an entertainment center. It supports all AM4 Ryzen processors and features USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports for fast data transfer rates as well as plenty of connectivity options to keep everything running smoothly from one device to another when you’re sitting at home watching movies with friends over Wi-Fi rather than cable internet services like Comcast Xfinity Business Internet Plans. The mATX form factor means fewer PCIe slots, but this should not be too much trouble since many audio production builds don’t require lots of expandability anyways.
AMD has always been the go-to company for gamers with its high-speed RAM support and overclocking features. But now, they’ve got something that Intel can’t offer: a mid-range chipset series capable of both. Suppose you’re looking for an AMD B series motherboard but want more than just gaming capabilities from your device. In that case, this is perfect because it offers excellent performance and affordable pricing, which won’t break the bank either.
One of our favorite things about AMD’s new B Series motherboards is how much bang it gives us without breaking the budget – or taking up too much space in your case like other options might do.
The ASUS Prime Z490-A motherboard is an excellent choice for people with high-end, expensive tastes. The design and construction of this board are impeccable, as well as the components that fill it. This mid-range ATX form factor board features an LGA 1200 socket which supports Intel’s newest 10th and 11th Generation Processors, making them perfect if you have some cash to burn on your Audio workstation or other PC build needs.
Asus Prime Z490-A is an excellent choice for those looking to use Intel’s latest Core i9 and Core I7 processors. It features an ideal phase power design, which makes it suitable for high-performance chipsets in general. This board also has 12 VRMs (providing stability).
This motherboard from ASUS offers many features, such as the thunderbolt header that lets you connect your computer to other devices. This board is easy and convenient for users who want faster speeds with external storage or graphics cards. The USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port also makes sharing files more accessible than ever before without needing any cables at all. For those looking for an upgrade in performance when producing audio content, then this might be the perfect fit – especially if you are serious about workstations like I am.
- Well-rounded feature set
- Flawless setup and install process in our test build
- Easy-to-use BIOS
- Slightly high pricing for the feature set
ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II has an impeccable design alongside its outstanding features. This motherboard is a part of the Intel Core X-Series, and it comes with numerous features that set it apart from other boards on the market. The board itself offers five-way optimization, complete with auto-tuning, automatic overclocking, dynamic cooling system, etc., making this one powerful machine capable of handling any task you throw at it.
The motherboard has many patented features that will make it an excellent gaming machine for years. The Safe Slot technology ensures a strong metal frame, and the PCIe slot can handle heavy-weight GPUs, with ASUS exclusive AURA Sync to light up your rig in style.
With its pre-mounted IO shield, the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II is an easy-to-install motherboard. With a maximum RAM size of 128 GB and DDR4 as your RAM technology option, you can’t go wrong with this board.
- Excellent UEFI BIOS design
- RGB LED lighting with case lighting control
- Well thought-out features and utilities
- A bit on the expensive side/Not Affordable.
ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR is a motherboard that promises to give you the best gaming experience for your creations. This motherboard makes it easier than ever before. With its Intel LGA1200 socket suitable for newer 10th and 11th Gen Intel processors and is based on the premium chipset of Z490, there’s no better time or place to get started with this board.
The ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR is an excellent motherboard for top-of-the-line CPUs, including Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processors. It features 12+2 VRMS and 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports, making it a perfect choice if you can take advantage of overclocking your CPU.
This motherboard is an excellent choice for music producers who want to get their hands on the best sound quality available. The ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR has five audio ports with one optical out and features Realtek S1220A codecs with 120 dB SNR so that you can create your five-way masterpiece without sacrificing any clarity or detail in the process.
- AI Overclocking
- Good bundled Software
- HYPER 10G LAN card and onboard 2.5G Intel LAN
- Nice Audio
- Two M.2 storage ports
- Two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports
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Do You Plan to Use the Built-in Motherboard Sound Card or Have an Audio Interface?
If you can’t afford a good sound card or audio interface, you can get started with the built-in motherboard sound card. Many professionals find that the built-in motherboard sound card is prone to noise generation, and hence they resort to a separate standalone audio interface. If that weren’t enough, sound cards, be they built-in or dedicated ones installed on the PCIe slots, have minimal I/O ports for a typical recording studio.
How To Build The Best Computer For Music Production?
Making a computer for music production is more than just building a speedy, cool-looking desktop. You need to build your computer with certain essentials for enhancing the music creation experience. I know how overwhelming it can be to build a new computer. I will walk you through the entire process, from start to finish. I’ll help you step by step in building a PC for audio production that will work great with your music DAW and be upgradeable so that you won’t have to replace it after just a couple of years of use.
Is Intel or AMD Better for Music Production?
Music producers know that the processor in their machine is the heart of their studio. While Intel is a great and reputable company, AMD offers more processing power for your buck. With the recent surge in demand for live music, the need for processing power has increased exponentially. And with AMD processors, you can get more of what you need for an affordable price.
How Many GHz Is Ideal for Music Production?
A powerful PC with at least 8 GB of RAM is recommended for smooth performance. It’s also worth considering a quad-core processor and a clocking speed of 2.4 GHz-4.2 GHz for efficient data transfer between the hard drive and the processor (for instance, less hard disk thrashing).
Does RAM Speed Matter for Music Production?
The extra speed is excellent, but it’s not going to make or break your music-making experience. Instead of spending more money on faster RAM, invest that money in a more powerful CPU instead. A faster processor can help with pitch shifting and time stretching, which are essential for musicians.
What To Look For in the Right Motherboard for Audio Producers?
When choosing the right audio production motherboard, the most important consideration is your budget, what your level of expertise is, and how complex the projects you work on could get. The processor is the brain of your computer. If you’re mixing multiple tracks, effects and seriously putting the PC in a position where it can stress out, then you would need to invest in a CPU that’s better and newer, for starters.
Do you need a good motherboard for music production?
If you are looking for a model with a good sound card, look for an ASUS gaming motherboard. Their sound cards have an excellent sound quality, and the models have unique features for music production.
Are 6 cores enough for music production?
For a powerful computer, a processor is essential, but don’t underestimate the importance of being future-proof. The more cores your CPU has now, the greater the flexibility to upgrade in the future.
Do I need GPU for music production?
You are right. Without a graphics card, there is no way to connect your monitor with your computer. The graphics card is the part in your computer that processes images for you to see.
Is Mac or PC Better for music production?
Any experienced audio engineer will tell you that a PC is the best way to produce, mix, and edit music online. With the vast range of choices for software, recording equipment, plugins, and presets, PCs are more convenient for musicians than Macs.
Which PC motherboard manufacturer has the best onboard sound card?
MSI motherboards offer unmatched sound quality. Plus, they have an audio control panel that allows you to amplify your bass and treble levels and even add reverb and echo effects with just a few clicks.
Do you still need to use a sound card, or is onboard audio good enough?
Onboard audio is generally quite good on modern Computers. 15 or 20 years ago, Onboard Audio was mediocre, but Integrated Circuits (operating chips) have gotten better, so most Computer manufacturers have put in better Onboard Sound Cards.
Is HDMI sound output better than an onboard sound card?
As for audio/video sync (apart maybe from analog out). As for the digital out, if you have a surround sound receiver, it will likely be better to get the sound out to it in digital form with an HDMI cable rather than get the analog signal from a cheap sound card it amplified.
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Steve is MoboNinja’s Editor in chief. He was raised with a quest for the gaming craze. That’s why he describes himself as a dedicated programmer and gamer.