Do you need a new motherboard for your music production? If so, then this article is just what you are looking for. We will explore the best motherboards for music production available on the market today.
The first thing to realize when buying a new motherboard is how much money you are willing to spend. There are several price ranges available and if your budget is limited, then we suggest checking out the options that fall into the $300-400 range as these will be sufficient for most production workflows.
On the other hand, if you have some funds left over after purchasing a high-end computer, feel free to pick up one of our higher recommended motherboards as these might come in handy later on as well.
Table of Contents
Top 7 Motherboards for Music Production To Buy In 2023
1. ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR ATX Content Creation Motherboard
- Specially made for content creators
- Delivers maximum performance
- Intel LGA 1200 Socket
- Ultrafast Connectivity for Seamless Speed
- Powerful Performance for Unstoppable Creativity
The majority of the computers out there are for people who play video games. Occasionally, a rare specimen that is designed for creators, specialists, and producers will come across. The ProArt Z490-CREATOR was designed to cater to professionals like Audio producers.
The sockets in the board are suitable for the newer 10th and 11th Gen Intel Processors. It’s based on the Z490 chipset, which is a professional-grade board. It offers support for higher performance RAM as well as the ability to easily change the processor’s configuration.
This is an excellent choice for top-of-the-line Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processors as it features an excellent phase power design of 12+2 VRMs making it an excellent choice for top-of-the-line. There are 2x Thunderbolt 3.0 ports, which is one of the biggest attractions of the board.
In addition to that, it has enough expansion slots for both M.2 and M.3 expansion cards, which can be used for more high-speed storage in RAID configuration. There is a bundle of applications that you can use for your work as well as a plethora of other attractions.
If you are looking for a high-quality option with a lot of functions for creators, then this is one of the best choices.
2. ASUS Prime Z490-A ATX Motherboard
- Perfect for music producers
- Supports Intel 10th Gen CPU’s
- Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
- Dual M.2 ports
- ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting
This is a highly recommended option for an Intel setup if you have a decent budget for your Audio workstation. This board is a mid-range board with a full ATX form factor and LGA 1200 sockets.
The sockets used by the 10th and 11th Gen Intel Processors are shown here. The high-end components as well as the high-quality construction of this board are what make it so attractive.
The latest high-performance Z490 Chipset can be found on this. High-performance processors from the Intel Core i7 and the Core i9 series are suitable for the motherboards with these chipsets.
The Z series chipsets have an excellent phase power design, which is one of the features of this board. Phase power design of 12+2 is also offered by it. It has a top of line stability, thanks to the fact that it has 12 VRMs for the processor and 2 for the RAM.
The thunderbolt header, which can be used to connect a thunderbolt port, is one of the many features that this board offers. It has the latest ports such as the USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C, as well as a plethora of PCIe connections.
If you are serious about audio production, then this is the best motherboard for you.
3. Gigabyte B550M AORUS PRO-P Micro ATX Motherboard
- Supports AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen CPU’s
- Ultra Durable PCIe 4.0 Ready x16 Slot
- Dual Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4 M.2
- Easy to overclock
- ALC1200 and premium capacitor
The next model on our list is the Gigabyte B550M. It has the latest AM4 motherboards which allow you to take advantage of high-performance Ryzen processors.
We’ll go over some of its features and specs and answer any other questions that may arise in the comments below. The AM4 motherboards with Intel’s 9th Generation Core CPUs support Intel’s 3rd generation Ryzen and 3rd generation Ryzen with Radeon Graphics Processors.
This motherboard has dual-channel ECC/Non-ECC unbuffered DDR4 and 4 DIMMs. It has 10+2 phases digital twin power design with 50A drMOS.
It also comes with an advanced thermal design with enlarged VRM heatsinks and an enhanced VRM controller to increase stability and lower noise.
4. ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus ATX Motherboard
- AMD AM4 Socket
- Military-grade TUF Gaming components
- Precools socket and Digi+ VRM
- Dual PCIe 4. 0 M. 2
- Relate S1200A Codec
If you’re looking for an affordable motherboard to build a cost-effective AMD setup to produce music, the ASUS AM4 TUF X570-PLUS is a great choice.
This ASUS motherboard uses nothing but high-quality components, so you can be sure you’re getting a reliable performance. You’ll need a great audio card if you want to produce and enjoy professional-quality music and gaming, but this motherboard has a high-quality audio chip in the chipset.
The onboard sound is clean and great enough for music production, and Dolby is onboard.
A: If you need a gaming motherboard, this is the one for you. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but it delivers on all fronts.
B: If you want a gaming motherboard, this is the one for you. It’s expensive, but it’s worth every penny.
When it comes to audio, the AM4 TUF X570-Plus has five audio ports, an optical S/PDIF, and Dolby. This motherboard is shielded with a TUF cover, which will keep it protected from external noise.
5. GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H MicroATX Motherboard
- Made for Ryzen Processors
- Dual-channel non-ECC unbuffered DDR4
- Ultra-fast PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2
- High-quality audio capacitors
- Active audio noise guard
This is the same as the one above, however, it is based on the AM4 chip. This is an excellent choice for those who want to install a separate sound card of their own, as it is an ultra-affordable one. The GA-A320M-S2H is a budget version of the GA-A320M.
If you want to build the most economical setup using an AMD system, this is the board you need. The key to realizing this is that this is just a skeleton for you to add premium components to. If you save money on this board, you can use it to buy high end sound cards and sample rates.
This can serve you well if you are a beginner audio producer and you just need a computer to run all the important software. The system should have a smaller footprint due to the fact that it is a micro-ATX board.
It’s more than enough for running any audio software with the 2 x DIMM slot on the board, which is more than enough for it. This is the best board for audio production if you want to keep your budget low and use the money saved on other components.
Overall, this is the best motherboard for music production/producers.
6. MSI Z390-A PRO LGA1151 ATX Gaming Motherboard
- Supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel CPU’s
- Supports dual channel ddr4 memory
- Supports up to 4400(OC) MHz RAM
- 8+4 pin CPU power connector
- Two Way steel armor PCI-e slots
The MSI Z390-A PRO ATX Motherboard is designed to provide gamers and PC enthusiasts with the best possible gaming experience.
The motherboard features a highly durable 12+2 power phase design that delivers clean, stable power to keep your system running efficiently.
It also supports up to 4400MHz DDR4 memory kits and comes equipped with two M.2 slots that support PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs for data storage, as well as Intel Optane Memory technology for a faster system boot-up speeds and responsiveness when using applications or accessing files from your computer’s hard drive.
The motherboard also comes with an EZ Debug LED and Fan Control that lets you monitor system temperatures on a real-time basis and set the fan speed to manual control.
7. GIGABYTE B365M DS3H Micro ATX Motherboard
- Supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel Core processors
- Dual channel non-ECC unbuffered DDR4
- New hybrid digital PWM design
- High quality audio capacitors
- Features active noise guard
If you don’t care much for a high-end setup and just want a functional board for audio production, then this is the board for you. The built-in sound card is a great option for those who want to invest in their own sound card, but don’t want to depend on the built-in sound card.
This is one of the most inexpensive mATX boards for the 8th and 9th generation Intel processors. It’s great if you’re building a budget build.
The built-in sound card on this is not very good. The budget allows you to save enough to purchase a high-end external or internal sound card. One X1 slot, one X16 slot, one X4 slot, and one X16 slot are reasonably expandable.
There is a single M.2 slot for the computer. An mATX form factor is one of the important points to note here. If you want to go for a smaller PC case, you can choose to use the smaller mATX motherboards.
The benefit of the smaller case is that it allows for a smaller build of a PC. If you are looking for a budget option for an Intel-based system, then this is the best system for audio production.
What is a motherboard for music production?
A motherboard is beneath everything in a computer. It’s the main connection between all components in that computer. All of your data will pass through it, so make sure you pay attention when you buy one. We are going to look at what features are important in the perfect motherboard for music production and why these features are useful.
How to find the best motherboard for your needs
The best motherboards for music production usually have fast USB connections, reliable BIOS (basic input/output system), overclockable options to boost performance, room for expansion, and stability under heavy load – especially when mixing several tracks or recording complex compositions with lots of instrument parts.
For this reason, we recommend buying a full ATX-sized board instead of mini ITX models because they provide more opportunities for upgrades which you will want to consider.
Read Also: Best Motherboard for VR Gaming
Things to consider before buying the Best Motherboard for Music Production
Fast USB Ports:
USB ports are often a bottleneck for computer performance, especially if their “Hi-Speed” classification is exaggerated. If they are not capable of getting 5Gb/s speeds, it can affect your DAW experience by causing pops and dropouts as the CPU struggles to keep up with sending/receiving audio from those tracks.
This usually happens when there are too many virtual instruments or effects being used without an external sound card installed. This is why you need at least one USB port on your new motherboard that can handle high-speed transfers without impeding latency.
Keep in mind that some boards come with two Hi-Speed ports while others have several standard ones instead (the case will determine how many ports you need).
The BIOS is how your computer boots up or starts. It’s the first thing that appears on your screen when you start up your pc. All motherboards have a BIOS version but not all are created equally.
While there are no specific specifications to go by, we recommend at least an 80 PLUS certified power supply and getting one with GUI bios for easy navigation (most new boards come with these specifications). Depending on which OS you use, it should be pretty straightforward as long as your hardware meets certain minimum requirements.
This is something we typically don’t consider until we get our hands dirty and actually push our equipment to its limits. For those of you who want to achieve the best performance possible, we recommend overclocking your machine and we’ll show you how later on in this article (if you’re new to PC building, feel free to ask for help below).
Room For Expansion:
If your computer is going to be used as a recording studio, then expect it to last for years – not months. Plan ahead by getting a motherboard with enough connections so that you can keep the same computer and recycle old equipment as needed.
This will save money and headaches in the long run by avoiding compatibility issues between old components and newer parts. We also recommend getting one with several USB ports for hooking up all of those accessories/peripherals…we’ve all been there; maintaining a DAW isn’t always the easiest sometimes.
Stability Under Heavy Load:
You can go out and buy the most expensive motherboard for music production, but it won’t make your tracks sound any better (that’s on you). This is why we recommend getting one with high-quality components that will stand up to heavy use over time.
The last thing you need is lag when recording something with 100 tracks or more – this is especially true if you like using virtual instruments which tend to be CPU intensive.
A good rule of thumb would be to get at least 16GB of DDR3 RAM or even 32GB if possible because it will allow you to handle more virtual instruments without degrading performance speed. Also, check for solid capacitors and MOSFETs which will help reduce the risk of failure while under heavy load.
There’s no way around it – you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean that every expensive motherboard is going to last forever, but it does raise an eyebrow when we see one with bad components for such a high price tag.
On the other hand, there are plenty of affordable brands out there that will do the job just fine so don’t be afraid to shop around. We’d rather save $20 or so and get something decent because having a dead motherboard would cost more in the long run than just buying a new one outright (don’t ask us how we know this).
Our suggestion is to wait until big online retailers like Amazon post weekly deals before buying anything (a quick google search will turn up some good results).
Operating System Compatibility:
If you want to use your pc for music production, then we recommend getting a motherboard that has a compatible chipset. We also believe it’s best to choose one with UEFI instead of traditional bios so that you have more tools at your disposal when configuring the computer.
If you’re going to be using Windows 7 or 8 as your OS, then this won’t matter as much because compatibility issues are few and far between – only get an older board if you plan on using XP or Linux instead.
In conclusion, it’s probably best not to come across as too picky when it comes to choosing your motherboard because you can run into compatibility issues during the installation process.
Compatibility With Your Case:
We used to recommend getting a full sized ATX case, but the majority of modern motherboards are just too big for them. The smaller mATX cases are perfect because they take up less space while providing all of the same features as their bigger brothers.
You should also get one that has decent venting so you don’t have to worry about your machine overheating, especially if this will be in an enclosed area like a studio or bedroom. The last thing you want is failed recordings because something blew out halfway through a track – not good at all.
As always, check reviews before making a purchase because this will give you a better idea of the quality of the case you’re buying.
If possible, get one with integrated WiFi so that you can wirelessly connect your tablet or smartphone to it. This is not only convenient but also extremely useful when trying to share files on social media without being tethered to an Ethernet cable…who needs wires anyways?
They are annoying and will raise the cost of your build if they break (trust us, we know). If the motherboard doesn’t perform well with drivers, then upgrade at your own discretion – most modern boards handle them just fine even though there has been some controversy in recent years about poorly implemented USB 3.0 ports.
This is probably due to poor chipset drivers which is not the motherboard’s fault.
File Transfer Speeds:
If your motherboard doesn’t have an adequate number of SATA ports then it will be nearly impossible to install all of your hard drives at once unless you use a SATA expansion card.
For this reason, we recommend getting a motherboard that has at least 4 or more SATA ports so that you can connect all of your storage devices without needing additional hardware.
Otherwise, you’ll end up having to hook them up one by one which takes forever and isn’t very fun for anybody involved…especially if setup takes hours instead of minutes.
In addition to having enough internal ports, make sure that each port can handle faster transfer speeds like those on solid-state drives. –Otherwise, you’ll have to use a different port which will bottleneck your transfer speeds.
USB 3.0 Ports:
You should be able to plug an external HDD directly into the USB port on your board which will allow for quick file transfers between devices…especially if they use solid-state drives.
This eliminates the need for opening up your computer just to move files around or open them with another device because it’s already attached. Theoretically, USB 2.0 is fast enough to handle most tasks like this, but not all motherboards come equipped with enough of them so consider getting one that has more than the minimum number required by your operating system.
You might also want to invest in a PCIe expansion card that has USB ports on it to provide more connectivity options for your peripherals.
If you plan on buying a lot of RAM sticks in the future, make sure that your motherboard can handle them because some can only hold up to 8GB per slot. Even though 32GB is overkill for most people at this point, anything less than 16GB is not acceptable in our opinion unless you don’t care about being limited by what software you use.
For example, Pro Tools 12 requires a minimum of 6GB or more which means that someone who only wants to use plugins will need much less memory because their system won’t be taxed as heavily when running an active session with lots of tracks and virtual instruments.
But if you intend to run your DAW and plugins on the same machine without a more powerful CPU or video card then you need at least 16GB of RAM to be safe.
Some might not care about this at all, but we recommend getting a motherboard with a dedicated sound card because it makes the entire process of producing music more streamlined and enjoyable for everybody involved.
The stock video card that comes on most motherboards is okay for some people, but it won’t be powerful enough to handle graphically intensive applications like music production software.
This means that you’ll need to upgrade your graphics card anyway (sound cards are not interchangeable), which would end up costing you money unless your motherboard already has one (i.e., high-end boards like Asus Maximus).
If your motherboard doesn’t come with an audio card, buying one separately will end up costing you less than the motherboard itself (just make sure it’s compatible).
Every motherboard has an onboard graphics chip that is capable of running a monitor, but it won’t be powerful enough for anything beyond casual use unless the board supports multiple monitors in which case you’ll need a beefy graphics card as well.
If your primary intention is to use a secondary screen for music production, then it doesn’t matter too much whether or not the motherboard has one because you can always add one later when funds permit.
However, some boards don’t support certain cards so make sure yours is compatible before buying. In addition to that, you can use any type of monitor for music production – even a TV with HDMI.
If your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 port, it has USB 3.0 Type-C or SATA Express if the chipset supports it…which is basically pointless for this application anyway because nobody uses SATA anymore.
If your board does support them, think about getting an SSD with it so that you don’t have to waste time transferring files from one drive to another all of the time. This speeds up workflow tremendously and is worth investing in if it’s compatible.
The good news is that PCIe cards are becoming more popular these days which will allow you to add lots of external drives if needed rather than being restricted to what your motherboard can support.
At last, please check the benchmarks for your favorite motherboard before purchasing. By checking it you can be noticed about its real-life performance. Otherwise, you can go wrong with your bad boy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some Q/A about the Best Motherboard for Music Production:
Does RAM Speed Matter for Music Production?
The short answer is: yes and no.
RAM speed DOES matter to some degree, but it will not make a huge difference in your music production experience, especially if you are new to music production or are on a budget. When mixing, I typically recommend my clients use 8GB of RAM or more because it helps with launching your favorite plugins when building the initial mix.
However, when it comes time for runtime processing power (especially when layering tracks) slower speeds can actually be beneficial. The reason for this is that slow RAM often makes for more efficient overclocking in order to achieve even faster-processing speeds in terms of MHz per pin or GHz in general.
Going from 1333MHz to 2000Mhz is much easier than going from 1600MHz to 2400Mhz. Why? 1333MHz is 667 million cycles per second while 2000MHz is only 500 million, 1600Mhz is 800mhz, and 2400MHz is 1000mhz.
Thus, the latter two options would require more voltage to drive them faster than their slower brethren, which usually results in burning up the motherboard/CPU or completely frying them both.
Is Intel or AMD Better for Music Production?
The ongoing debate over whether Intel is better than AMD for music production has been ongoing since the dawn of time (or plagues, depending on who you ask). To be honest, the distinction is almost purely semantic.
They are both good at what they do and their relative strengths or weaknesses can change based on niche applications or usage models. For this reason, it pays to look at them side-by-side before making a decision for yourself.
Do you need a powerful PC for music production?
Yes, you do need a very powerful PC for music production. I know some purists (particularly on the hardware side of things) would like to believe that you can make high-quality recordings with budget equipment but it just isn’t true.
Do you need a good motherboard for music production?
Yes, a good motherboard is very important in a music production PC. You’ll want to make sure that your board has a lot of the connections you need and they should all be up-to-date. The last thing you want when trying to record is for your board to not have the proper slots or ports which will prevent you from getting the job done.
If you want to use a good audio production rig, you have to study the differences between the two motherboards.
In this article, we looked at some of the important considerations when choosing the best motherboard for music production as well as looked at the motherboards that are highly reviewed for this matter.
The choice of the components, including the motherboard, is entirely dependent on your budget and what you want to accomplish. We would recommend that you keep things simple if you are a beginner. If you are a pro, you can look into some of the more advanced models that come with the more advanced processor.