Student Computer Recommendation

Students who have a personal computer have significantly more freedom and opportunity in their learning and we recommend that all students come to school with a laptop. In our program computers are provided as part of the program infrastructure so students are not required to have their own computer but it still makes a large difference in their education if they have their own.

  • Provided Equipment:
    • Students in the Michigan Tech sound programs are provided with several pieces of exceptionally useful equipment to insure they are always able to get work done.
    • Zoom H5
      • This is a small handled recorder capable of recording 4 tracks of high quality audio. It can also be used as an audio interface for your computer.
      • Students will also receive the accessories kit which includes wind protection for the H5 recorder. And they will receive the shotgun microphone attachment.
    • Headphones
    • Speakers
      • Each student will build their own high quality mini-monitor loudspeaker.
    • Stands & Cables
      • Each student will receive a mic stand and various cables to make all of their equipment work.
  • Recommended Equipment:
    • Portable Drive:
    • Back-up plan:
      • Google drive provides students with lots of storage space for back-ups but does require more hands on planning to use reliably and can lead to students not backing-up critical information. However, it is provided by the University at no extra cost.
      • More reliable, and highly recommended, at a modest cost is Back Blaze which will automatically back-up the students computer AND external drives when they are active on the network. We cannot stress enough how important back-ups are.
    • Hearing Protection:
      • Healthy ears are the most important equipment for students in this major. Anytime they are in an environment louder than 80dB SPL they should consider wearing hearing protection. And they should always carry hearing protection with them. Custom molded musician earplugs from an audiologist are recommended but simple foam earplugs from any pharmacy work great, and are much cheaper. Buy a small pouch so that you can always have a clean pair in your pocket.
  • Recommended Computer:
    • We recommend a Macintosh Laptop, especially for those students interested in the artistic side of the business. We use some cross platform software, a lot of Mac OS only software, and some Windows only software. Students can use a windows computer and depending on their focus this may be easier or harder.
    • Specifications:
      • Students should get an M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is more powerful and expandable.
      • Processor:
        • We recommend that you do not buy an intel based Mac.
        • This the least important specification. While faster processors will provide more power they differences are pretty small compared to the benefits of more storage space or more RAM or a new laptop design in a few years.
        • The new M1 computers are incredibly powerful and absolutely silent, which is a great benefit. As they are cheaper and generally much more powerful than the intel based computers this is what we recommend. And as a bonus the battery life is amazing.
      • Storage:
        • This is probably the most important aspect of a computer for our work. An SSD boot drive makes an enormous difference in performance. The internal drive needs to be at least 512GB in size and getting a 2TB drive is justified.
        • In addition to internal storage students are encouraged to purchase an external drive as detailed above.
      • Memory (RAM):
        • This must be at least 8GB. It is recommended to get 16 to 32GB of RAM since this isn’t upgradable and can make a big difference to the lifespan of a computer.
        • The new M1 processors are much more memory efficient and thus the 16GB RAM limitation of the current entry level M1 models isn’t an issue.
      • Graphics
        • This doesn’t make much difference to sound work. If students are interested in video editing or video game work they should get a computer with a dedicated video card rather than the Intel on board graphics.
      • Adaptors:
        • The Wirecutter has some good recommendations. We recommend an affordable USB-c hub with USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, and SD card ports.

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