Best Motherboard for Music Production

Best Motherboard for Music Production

Components like the CPU have a major influence on the process of producing music, meaning that the more capable it is, the more efficient the process of music production becomes. 

However, without a motherboard that features a high-quality sound card and that can house the right components for your needs, your attempt to put together the ideal PC for music production is bound to be compromised.

In this article, we’ll shed light on some of the top motherboards for music production you can find on the market today.

7 Best Motherboards for Music Production (Our Review)

1. GIGABYTE Z390 Designare

GIGABYTE Z390 Designare

The Gigabyte Z390 Designare is an ATX motherboard that can literally do it all, from high-quality audio production to competitive gaming. This motherboard flaunts vast compatibility with all 8th and 9th-Gen Intel CPUs, including Pentium, Celeron, i3, i5, i7, and i9, courtesy of the LGA 1151 CPU socket. RAM-wise, this motherboard can accommodate up to 64GB of DDR4 SDRAM. 

One of the strongest selling points of this motherboard is its support for Thunderbolt 3.0. This is no longer a feature that’s exclusive to Mac devices. Us, PC enthusiasts, get to enjoy it as well with a motherboard like the Z390 Designare.

Thunderbolt 3.0 is not to be confused with USB-C ports, though, as they’re not the same thing. This brilliant piece of electronic genius offers 2x Thunderbolt 3.0, 4x Gen-1 USB 3.1, 2x Gen-2 USB 3.1, and 2x USB 2.0 ports. With such vast connectivity options at your disposal, you can connect as many music-related peripherals as possible for efficient music production. 

Please keep in mind that this motherboard cannot support 10th-Gen processing units. However, you don’t need a 10th-Gen CPU to ensure smooth music production. An 8th or 9th-Gen CPU is more than capable. If you want a more-accommodating motherboard, though, you want to pay close attention to the next product on our list. 

Back to the Z390 Designare, this motherboard features a 12+1 Power Phase VRM solution with DrMOS. Further, it’s equipped with an advanced thermal design that incorporates a direct-touch heat pipe to keep the temperature at bay. Last but surely not least, the board features Bluetooth 5.0 technology, allowing you to connect even more peripherals wirelessly.

Features:

  • LGA 1151 CPU socket
  • 12+1 VRM solution
  • Bluetooth 5.0 technology
  • Thunderbolt 3.0 ports
  • Dual-channel DDR4
Pros:Cons:
Listed at a cost-effective price tag
Has full-spec Thunderbolt 3 ports
Extremely versatile rear I/O panel 
DisplayPort 1.4 for 8K passthrough
Efficient VRM thermal performance
Overclocking performance is below average
Doesn’t feature a multi-gig Ethernet

2. ASUS Prime Z490-A

ASUS Prime Z490-A

The ASUS Prime Z490-A is another popular motherboard amongst music producers because of its relatively affordable price tag as well as its superb capabilities. For starters, this board flaunts an ATX form factor that can fit into most cases and an LGA 1200 socket that can accommodate the latest 10th-Gen CPUs without any problems.

What makes this motherboard suitable for music production is that it has 5 different audio ports and a single optical out port. This enables you to send 5.1/7.1 audio between different devices with no need for audio compression. Moreover, this motherboard features the S1220A codec, giving you 113dB SNR for your line-in and 120dB SNR for your stereo.

Audio aside, this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing motherboards on the list. It flaunts a sturdy construction with superb protection against overheating, humidity, and other factors that might degrade a motherboard’s performance. There’s nothing but high-end components inside this board. 

To ensure safe and stable power delivery to its components, the Prime Z490-A features a PCB that consists of 6 layers as well as durable capacitors, alloy chokes, and ProCool sockets. And if you’re into RGB lightning, the board features the Aura Sync RGB lighting solution for aesthetic value being in the contest for one of the top RGB motherboards.  

The ASUS Prime Z490-A features a 12+2 phase power design, meaning you have 2 VRMs for the RAM and 12 VRMs for the CPU. Besides, it features a Thunderbolt header that enables you to integrate a Thunderbolt port easily. You also get USB 3.2 Type-C connectivity as well as PCI connectors. All of that for a price tag that’s under $250; talk about value for the price. 

Features:

  • LGA 1200 CPU socket
  • 12+2 VRM solution
  • OptiMem II technology
  • Thunderbolt header
  • Aura Sync RGB lighting
Pros:Cons:
Power delivery is highly stable
Extremely durable construction
Comprehensive cooling system
High-speed multi-gig Ethernet
Has the Realtek S1200A codec
Lacks built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
No SLI (Scalable Link Interface) 

3. ASUS AM4 TUF X570-Plus

ASUS AM4 TUF X570-Plus

Looking for a cost-effective motherboard with which you can build the ultimate AMD setup for producing music? The ASUS AM4 TUF X570-Plug is a midrange ATX motherboard that’s ideal for your needs. Like the previous ASUS motherboard, this unit utilizes nothing but high-quality components for its construction, so you’re guaranteed a long-lasting and reliable performance. 

The AM4 TUF X570-Plus makes use of a unique audio codec that’s a result of a collaboration between Realtek and ASUS, and that’s the Realtek S1200A codec. The signal-to-noise ratio for the line-in is 103dB, and it’s 108dB for the stereo line-out. The sound quality is perfect for both music production and gaming purposes. 

It’s also worth noting that this motherboard features dedicated DTS custom onboard audio. It’s not as premium as dedicated sound cards, but it’s pristine enough for efficient music production. The AM4 TUF X570-Plus also features an audio controller that’s shielded with a TUF cover so that it’s not affected by outside noise. 

Like the Prime Z490-A, this motherboard has 5 audio ports and supports 5.1 surround-sound. Additionally, there’s an optical S/PDIF that you’ll find very convenient with Dolby. 

There are also dual PCIe 4.0 M.2 connectors that support up to Type 22110. They also provide support for NVMe SSD RAID to ensure smoother performance. 

One of the aspects that set ASUS motherboards apart from those of other top motherboards brand is their pretty comprehensive cooling systems that usually consist of a VRM heatsink, active PCH heatsink, hybrid fan headers with Fan Xpert 4 technology, and M.2 heatsinks. This is the exact setup that the AM4 TUF X570-Plus features, in addition to a 6-layer PCB with military-grade chokes. 

Additional features include USB 3.2 Gen-2 Type A and C connectivity, onboard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and MU-MIMO support. All in all, this unit certainly delivers the goods in terms of value for the price. 

If you’re interested into X series motherboards, check other top X570 motherboards as well as the top X470 motherboards.

Features:

  • AMD AM4 CPU socket
  • 12+2 VRM solution
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Realtek S1200A codec
  • Aura Sync RGB lighting
Pros:Cons:
Has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Exclusive, highly effective codec
Audio controller is TUF-covered
Extremely durable construction
Listed at an affordable price tag
Doesn’t have a USB 3.1 Gen-2 port
Could definitely use a PCIe x1 port

4. MSI B450 Tomahawk Max

MSI B450 Tomahawk Max

The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max is another one of those motherboards that can do it all. We’ve already discussed how this is one of the top server motherboards, but it’s also suitable for music production and gaming. What’s so awesome about this versatile motherboard is that it’s one of the most affordable units on the list, making it perfect for novice music producers. 

The B450 Tomahawk Max offers support for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-Gen AMD Ryzen processors. It also features Radeon Vega Graphics. RAM-wise, it supports DDR4 memory with a maximum capacity of 64GB. The board features robust components that ensure its durability as well as its reliability when it comes to tackling resource-hungry tasks. 

Unlike some of the motherboards on this list, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max is quite subtle in terms of aesthetics. The above-mentioned units are accentuated with various shades of blue, silver, and other prominent colors, whereas the Tomahawk Max’s aesthetics are based purely on shades of black, which some people find very appealing. 

The board might seem dull compared to other alternatives, but it packs a pretty serious punch. It features turbo M.2 and turbo USB connectivity to ensure fast and efficient operation. Further, it’s equipped with an extended heatsink design that ensures heat efficiency even when housing the most powerful CPUs. 

One of the reasons why this motherboard is ideal for music production is that it features audio boost capabilities that will enhance your listening experience significantly, whether you’re doing music production or engaging in competitive gaming. 

The board also features a dedicated sound card and amplifier, in addition to high-quality audio capacitors. All these audio-related components are physically isolated from the circuitry so that the signal isn’t tainted in any way. 

The board has 4+2 phase power design that does an excellent job of smoothly delivering power to the CPU and RAM. It’s also equipped with a host of radiators that ensure effective cooling so that all of the components continue to work efficiently. An excellent budget motherboard, overall. 

Check out other top B450 motherboards or even top B350 motherboards to find the best motherboard.

Features:

  • AMD AM4 CPU socket
  • 4+2 VRM solution
  • AMD B450 chipset
  • Audio Boost technology
  • Type-C USB port
Pros:Cons:
Superior performance for the priceB450 chip for up to 3rd-Gen RyzenTurbo M.2 and USB connectivity
Equipped with 6 different fan headers
Comprehensive cooling system
No independent control for RGB lights
Could use a secondary M.2 connector

5. GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H

GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H

This is yet another reliable motherboard that features the AMD AM4 chipset, which enables it to house AMD Ryzen 3rd-Gen processors with ease. The GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H motherboard is super affordable, making it the perfect choice for novice music producers and anyone who’s looking for a wallet-friendly board.

Since you’ll be saving a considerable amount of money when you invest in this motherboard, you’ll be able to use this money to buy high-end components that will help ensure a smoother production process. We highly recommend using any spare cash to invest in a sound card that features a high sample rate and DNR. 

Unlike most of the motherboards on our list, the Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H features a micro ATX form factor, meaning it’s relatively smaller than its competitors. This enables you to use a smaller chassis with a smaller footprint for space efficiency. 

Since this is a micro ATX motherboard, it’s equipped with comparatively minimal specs such as a couple of DIMM slots that can accommodate up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Further, it features 3 different audio ports that are capable of supporting 2.1 stereo. As you can tell, it’s not as comprehensive as the rest of the list, but it gets the job done.

Features:

  • AMD AM4 CPU socket
  • 4x M.2 connectors
  • Ultra-fast Gen-3 PCIe 
  • Quality audio capacitors
  • cFosSpeed accelerator
Pros:Cons:
Most affordable option on the list
Fast onboard storage with NVMe
Flaunts the Smart Fan 5 system
Space-efficient micro ATX design
Features hybrid fan pin headers
No overclocking capabilities at all
Only one system fan connection 

6. GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master

GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master

If you’re a professional producer who’s looking for a high-end motherboard that can maximize the efficiency of your production process, it doesn’t get better than the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master. With this unit, you won’t have to invest in a dedicated sound card or a digital-to-analog converter, as it features the SABRE 9118 chipset, which is one of the best audio chipsets you can have. 

Moreover, the motherboard features Realtek’s premium codec, the ALC1220-VB, which delivers an SNR of 125dB. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a motherboard with better audio quality than this one. Even boards that are way beyond this unit’s price point fail to match its audio prowess. 

Featuring the X570 chipset, you’re able to implement a high-end AMD Ryzen CPU without any problems. The board also flaunts the latest PCIe 4.0 protocol as well as USB 3.2 Gen-2 Type-C ports. 

You also have a 14 phase power design and 3x PCIe X16 slots that allow for up to 3 GPUs since this is one of the top gaming motherboards at the core. The X570 Aorus Master delivers a ton of connectivity options via PCIe, USB, and SATA ports. To add, you get 3x M.2 connectors for up to 3 NVMe SSD drives. 

Obviously, this motherboard is considerably more expensive than all of the other options on our list, so we wouldn’t recommend it for beginner music producers or even intermediates. It’s ideal for professional music producers. 

Find a cheaper X series motherboard among the top X399 motherboards and among the X370 motherboards.

Features:

  • AMD AM4 CPU socket
  • 3x M.2 connectors
  • Realtek ALC1220-VB
  • SABRE 9118 chipset
  • PCIe 4.0 protocol 
Pros:Cons:
An unrivaled audio performance
Efficient 14 direct phase VRM
Has a full-spec PCIe 4.0 design
High-speed networking capabilities
Can house up to 3 graphics cards
Not the most budget-friendly option
BIOS navigation could be smoother

7. GIGABYTE B450M DS3H

GIGABYTE B450M DS3H

The final product on our list is another reliable budget option from GIGABYTE. The B450M-DS3H might be listed under $100, but it has all of the necessary features to help you start your music production career. 

The unit features the by-now popular AM4 socket with the B450M chipset, so you’re able to integrate any of the 1st or 2nd-Gen Ryzen processors. Further, it features the Ryzen Radeon Vega GPU and dual-channel DDR4 RAM support with 4 DIMMs. 

The board flaunts multiple connectivity options, including 6x USB 3.0 ports and 8x USB 2.0 ports. It houses high-quality audio capacitors that ensure an enjoyable audio experience that isn’t tainted by noise, thanks to the use of noise guards. 

The board features the Smart Fan 5 cooling system that helps keep the temperature at bay so that it doesn’t render any of its components useless. It also features 7x RGB LEDs for optional colorful aesthetics. Lastly, you get to enjoy advanced connectivity via PCIe Gen-3 M.2 NVMe. 

Features:

  • AMD AM4 CPU socket
  • Dual-channel DDR4
  • 8x USB 2.0 ports
  • 6x USB 3.0 ports
  • Smart Fan 5 cooling
Pros:Cons:
Excellent value for the price
Reliable fan cooling system
High-quality audio capacitors
PCIe Gen-3 M.2 NVMe
Features audio noise guards
CPU support is limited to 2nd-Gen
Has a single CPU fan header only

Music Production Motherboard (FAQ)

Is Intel or AMD Better for Music Production?

According to many music production enthusiasts and professionals, AMD processors are better than Intel processors in terms of pricing and corresponding performance. Music production is all about raw processing power, and AMD processors are capable of delivering just that.

How Many GHz Is Ideal for Music Production?

To ensure smooth music production, you need a quad-core processor with a clocking speed of 2.4 to 4.2 GHz. Obviously, the more cores and the higher the clocking speed, the more efficient the performance will be, especially if you use VI players like Kontakt. 

Does RAM Speed Matter for Music Production?

RAM speed is less significant than CPU speed when it comes to music production, so instead of equipping your rig with faster RAM, invest that extra money in a powerful processor. 

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