PC Gear Lab

6 Best CPU for Audio Production in 2020 – Processors Reviewed

A good processor is an integral part of any PC and it becomes all the more important when you are dealing with workstation built for professional work like Audio Production.

Generally, audio production is seen as a CPU intensive task. The more instruments you have, the more tracks you have, and the more effects you put, the more powerful a processor you need.

There is a bear minimum that we can recommended here if you are serious about your work, however, the more complicated your work gets, the more powerful a CPU you will need.

Here we look at the best CPU for Audio production from different budgets and for different work level.

Comparison of Best Processors for Audio Production

ProductClock
Speed
CoresThreadsSocketCheck
Price
AMD Ryzen
5 3600XT
4.5
GHz
612AM4
Buy at
Amazon.com 
AMD Ryzen
7 3800X
4.5
GHz
816AM4
Buy at
Amazon.com
Intel Core
i5-10400
4.3
GHz
612LGA
1200
Buy at
Amazon.com
AMD Ryzen
3 3100
3.9
GHz
48AM4
Buy at
Amazon.com 
AMD Ryzen
9 3900X
4.6
GHz
1224AM4
Buy at
Amazon.com
Intel Core
i7-9700K
4.9
GHz
88LGA
1151
Buy at
Amazon.com

List of Best CPU for Audio Production

The following are some of the most popular desktop processors for audio production.

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT – Mainstream Recommended Processor for Audio Production
  2. AMD Ryzen 7 3800X – Recommended High Performance Processor
  3. Intel Core i5-10400 – Affordable Mainstream CPU for Audio Production
  4. AMD Ryzen 3 3100 – For Newbies on Budget
  5. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – Workstation Grade CPU for High-End Desktops
  6. Intel Core i7-9700K – Affordable High Performance CPU

What Kind of Processor You Need for Audio Production

best cpu for audio production
Processor requirements for FL Studio. The more powerful, the better. Source: Image-line.com

When it comes to audio production, the rule of thumb is simple, the more powerful processor you have, the more complex work you can produce.

Music production is heavily reliant on multi-core processing. The more cores you have the more simultaneous tracks, multiple sampled instruments and effects you can mix at a time.

If you are newbie, a simple quad core processor (preferably with multi-threading enabled) would do just fine. However, the more complicated your projects grow, the more powerful a processor you will need.

FL Studio, for instance, has this to say:

FL Studio can use as many cores as your CPU has.– image-line.com

Logic Pro X 10.5 is also heavily reliant on CPU and high core count.

Logic Pro X 10.5 supports the new Mac Pro and up to 56 processor threads;- pcmag.com

Similarly, most of the well renowned and industry grade audio production software benefit from a high performance CPU.

1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT – Mainstream Recommended Processor for Audio Production

AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT

A popular mainstream processor for mid range audio production builds.

First up, we have one of the most recommended mainstream processor for Audio Production.

If you are looking for a processor that combines value as well as performance, then this may pique your interest.

This is basically a mainstream or a mid range processor featuring 6 cores with 12 threads and a maximum single core performance of 4.5 GHz.

AMD processors are generally well regarded for their multi tasking performance since they tend to have a higher core count as compared to Intel. However, with this processor, they have even outdone themselves with a single core performance as well.

Therefore, whether it is multiple tracks you want to mix or use a single intensive plugin, this processor should handle it well.

Of course, this processor is NOT a replacement for high performance or workstation grade CPUs.

However, if you are looking for a decently priced option with a great performance, then this is the best CPU for audio production in our opinion.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 519
  • Multi Core: 3855

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2. AMD Ryzen 7 3800X – Recommended High Performance Processor

AMD Ryzen 7 3800X

A performance based processor for high end audio production rigs.

Next up we have a high performance processor. This is generally great for those who have a decent money to spare for their audio production rig.

What separates this from the processor above is that it features a higher core and thread count. This processor offers 8 cores with 16 threads and has a clock speed of 4.5 GHz.

While the single core performance of this processor is almost the same as the single core performance of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT above, it is the multi-core performance that can win this deal for you.

Since audio production benefits a lot from a good multi-core performance, the benefit you see with this processor with your work would be quite significant compared to a mid range processor like the Ryzen 5 3600XT.

All in all, if you are an enthusiast or a budding professional, then this is the best processor for audio production in our opinion.

AMD Ryzen 7 3800X Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 509
  • Multi Core: 4960

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3. Intel Core i5-10400 – Affordable Mainstream CPU for Audio Production

Intel Core i5-10400

An affordable mid range processor.

This is yet another mid range processor from Intel. We have selected this processor because of its great affordability despite being a mid level CPU.

With 6 Core, 12 threads and 4.3 GHz clock speed, this may not be as good with single core or multi core performance compared to the two processors above, however its affordability and performance/dollar value makes this a great purchase in our opinion.

Of course, if you have the budget to spare we would always recommend you stick with a processor with a good multi-core performance, but if you are tight on budget, then you can look into this.

Intel Core i5-10400 Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 450
  • Multi Core: 3197

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4. AMD Ryzen 3 3100 – For Newbies on Budget

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

For those on a budget. Excellent for newbies.

If you are absolutely short on budget, or perhaps if you are a newbie learning the ropes of audio production, then this is the bear minimum CPU that we can recommend.

AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is basically an entry level Ryzen processor. While it is not as low performing as the AMD Athlon or the Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, in relation to professional software, this is considered an entry level processor.

It meets the minimum requirements of having 4 cores and 8 threads. It has a decent 3.9 GHz single core clock speeds. But of course the actual reason we have selected this is because of its cheap price tag.

If you are short on budget, then this is best CPU for audio production in our opinion given the current generation trends.

AMD Ryzen 3 3100 Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 437
  • Multi Core: 2351

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5. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – Workstation Grade CPU for High-End Desktops

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

For top of the line, workstation-grade builds. For audio production on professional and industrial level.

In stark contrast to the previously mentioned processor, here have an extreme grade processor. This is a processor for those who want to make a serious workstation grade audio production rig.

For starters, this is an expensive processor. However, if you make a living out of your work, then this processor presents a pretty fair investment.

The processor features 12 cores with 24 threads and a clock speed of 4.6 GHz. As such while it excels in single core performance compared to the processors mentioned above, it is the huge improvement in the multicore performance factor that should matter here.

With a Cinebench R20 Multi Core score of 7178, this CPU can give you a significant boost on your complex audio projects.

Hence, if you have the budget and the intention to work on large projects, then this is one of the best CPU for audio production.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 521
  • Multi Core: 7178

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6. Intel Core i7-9700K – Affordable High Performance CPU

Sale
Intel Core i7-9700K

A reasonably priced high performance processor.

Here we have a Core i7 processor form the 9th gen Intel processors. This processor has been selected for this list because of its very affordable price point for a high performance CPU.

The head-to-head rival for Intel Core i7 processors from AMD are the Ryzen 7 processors. While the single core performance or the multicore performance of this CPU is weaker than the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X above, its significantly cheaper price tag makes it a worth it consideration.

The processor features 8 cores but no hyperthreading so it only has 8 threads to accompany the cores. It does, however, has a very high single core speed of 4.9 GHz.

Intel Core i7-9700K Cinebench R20 Scores

  • Single Core: 481
  • Multi Core: 3656

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FAQ

How Many Cores Do I Need for Audio Production

As we have been mentioning it quite often above, the more cores you have the more complex projects you will be able to create.

At a the bear minimum we recommend that you do not settle for anything lower than 4 cores. Hence a Quad-Core processor Ryzen and Intel is what we recommend at the minimum.

As far as the maximum amount goes, then that depends upon your work. If you have mix a lot of tracks and effects, we recommend going for hexa or octa core processors.

If audio production is your job and you are looking for a workhorse to cater to the high demands of your customers and the production quality, then you cannot settle for anything less than a workstation grade processor like the AMD Threadripper or an Intel Core i9.

Also Read: What is an Octa Core Processor?

Single Core vs Mutli Core performance

We have already established that audio production software are quite good with using a multi core processor and hence they can genuinely benefit from a processor with high core count.

However, along with a high cores, the single core speed performance, in other words the clock speed of a single core also matter. The higher the clock speeds, the better particularly if you use intensive plugins which generally are reliant on a single core.

Also Read: Best Processors for AutoCAD

FL Studio Multi-core Stress Test

Final Words

In this article we looked at some of the best processors for audio production from different price ranges and also talked about factors that matter when choosing one.

The point to note here is that you need to gauge your expertise and your requirements well. If you just do audio production for fun, your requirements and the budget for the processor would be very different as compared to someone doing it for a living.

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