Today, get the best pointers on choosing the best computer for internet radio broadcasting.
Do you also publish podcasts? This advice applies to podcasters.
If you’re in a rush and don’t have loads of time to spend on this post, here is the gist of the article:
Choose a fast computer capable of running your internet broadcasting software and handling resource-intensive programs like a digital audio workstation. The bare system requirements for a decent computer are 8GB RAM, Intel Core 5 or similar, 256 SSD, and 2.5GHz. With these specs, you can even tackle the resource hoggers Google Chrome and Windows 10 :-)
System requirements of popular internet broadcasting programs
Should I get a Dell or an HP? A laptop or PC?
Well, either can do! And we admit that choosing a computer can be a bit difficult. There are so many manufacturers, processor types, and technologies.
So, here is a simple, foolproof trick:
Check out the recommended or minimum system specifications required for your radio automation program or DAW.
Luckily, most of the popular radio automation programs are light-weight and resource-friendly. Shoutout to the developers! So, contrary to common belief, you don’t need a high-end PC running the latest processor and 16GB ram just for your broadcasting needs.
So, what’s required? Here are recommended and minimum specs quotes from popular radio broadcasting software:
|PlayoutONE Radio Automation for individual broadcasters||Windows 10, Intel i5 8th Gen, 8GB RAM, At least 1TB storage.|
|PlayoutONE PRO for Broadcast||Windows 10 Pro, Intel i5 8th Gen, 8GB RAM for Studio PCs. Intel i7 8th Gen, 16GB for Servers with at least 1TB storage|
|SAM Broadcaster Pro||Windows OS, 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM|
|Radio Boss||Windows OS, 2 GHz, 2 cores, 1 GB RAM|
|ProppFrexx ONAIR||Windows 10, 4GB or 8GB RAM, Quad-Core, 2 GHz|
What about specs for large stations? We found some specs from RCS:
|For file servers:||For Workstations|
|Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition and Microsoft SQL 2019 Standard Edition, Intel Xeon 2.6 GHz, 4 Cores, 32 GB RAM||OS: Windows 10, Intel Xeon 2.9 GHz, 4 Cores, 16 GB RAM, SSD storage, Windows 10 Professional|
What about specs for podcasters? We also got you:
|Adobe Audition||Windows 10 (also works on macOS)Ram - 4GBProcessor - Multicore Storage - 4GB of available hard-disk space|
|Audacity||Windows OS, 4GB RAM, 2GHz|
Should you just settle for the minimum or recommended specifications?
Well, no! You’ll often need to run multiple applications in the real world, which may cripple a slow PC.
Decent specs are ideally:
|Processor (CPU)||Intel Core i5 (sixth generation or newer) or equivalent|
|Memory||8 GB RAM|
|Storage:||256 GB preferably SSD|
|Clock Speed||2.5GHz or more|
If you have more doe to spend, well, you may upgrade to a Core i7 system with 500 GB SSD and a 3.0 GHz processor or more.
So, is a Core i3 good for broadcasting? Well, it’s still a dual-core and, from prior testing, has delivered a decent performance with some radio automation software.
What monitor should I get for broadcasting or podcasting?
The bigger, the better! Productivity hackers swear by 21-27’’ monitors.
If you’re an American by Heart and abide by the motto Bigger is better….
… you can get away with using an ultra-wide 32-inch monitor.
Many professional studio setups even favor the two monitor configuration.
Yeah, two may be better than one.
See, the first monitor can host the main view, where you cue tracks and build playlists.
The second monitor can host the cart-wall. If it’s touch-equipped, you may trigger your favorite sound effects with a touch. Or even browse the web on the second screen and find interesting things to say during your breaks!
“I don’t have money for a second monitor.”
If you only have a 14-inch 15-inch laptop screen, it’s perfectly okay and may support 2 windows side-by-side. But a larger screen is well worth the investment, as a 24-inch monitor can support 4 windows side-by-side.
It even gets better…
Modern broadcasting software like SAM Broadcaster, PlayOutONE, and ProppFrexx have skinnable user interfaces with support for multi-monitor configurations.
Do I need a sound card for my broadcasting computer?
Yes and no...let’s explain.
See, the computer’s motherboard is audio-equipped. That’s why you get an audio port for your external headset.
But, computer manufacturers will not select the best sound cards for mass-produced units. The engineers focus attention on the actual performance of the PC.
Laptops particularly have this issue. Nowadays, it’s standard to have laptops with a single 3.5mm audio port for input and output. Quite limiting? Yes.
Aftermarket sound cards guarantee better audio quality and add more inputs and outputs. You get professional features like a very low signal-to-noise ratio for purer sound or 3D surround effect.
But don’t rush and spend money on a $100 audio card. Why? Consider all the options. You can choose between:
● Internal sound cards - Directly plugged into the motherboard through the PCIe slot.
● USB external sound card - They are portable.
Creative Sound Blaster
● Digital audio interfaces - Technically, they are similar to sound cards, but an audio interface has more features.
For instance, the best-selling audio interface, the Focusrite Scarlett, has more useful features for broadcasters and podcasters, such as XLR inputs, phantom power, and preamps.
Should I use a laptop or desktop for radio broadcasting?
The best advice, consider your broadcast needs.
Do you plan on broadcasting 24/7 for many weeks and months on end?
You need a workhouse, and ideally, it will be a PC that has more robust parts than laptops.
A laptop may also run for several days, as long as it doesn’t overheat.
Laptops, on the other hand, offer better portability. For instance, if you’re broadcasting most of the content from a cloud AutoDJ, a laptop may be suitable.
Well, we already know that podcasters love their laptops ;-)
Our cheat sheet for selecting the best computer for broadcasting or podcasting?
Still, confused on which comp to choose? Use these tips:
1) Be on the safe side with higher system specs: A faster system always carries the day. To recap, a decent computer has 8GB RAM, multiple cores, 2.5 GHz + clock speed, and stores data on an SSD.
2) Always choose an SSD even if it’s slightly smaller: Bigger is not always better when it comes to storage. An SSD can be up to 20 times faster than a traditional hard disk, but it’s slightly more expensive.
3) Noise level: Laptop fan noise can be a bother. With PCs, it is much easier to conceal the noise by placing the CPU far from the mic. Although, there are fanless laptops.
4) Operating system: Are macOS computers better for sound recording and editing? Sorry, this is a myth. Both OS types deliver comparable performance for the same system specs. The only distinction is in program availability. Very few radio automation software run on macOS. In fact, we only know of one. On Windows, you get many options for radio broadcasting programs.
5) Internet connectivity: Will you broadcast live from your computer? Consider having good upload speeds. And 2mbs or more should be sufficient for audio streams. Wired connections also provide stable and faster internet than Wi-Fi connections.
6) Hosting live interviews: Live interviews have slowly become the norm. So, if you plan on interviewing guests remotely for your radio or podcast show, consider configuring your computer with an HD webcam and microphone. Internal laptop microphones don’t always guarantee the best sound.
7) Monitor: More than 21 inches will do. An extra tip if you're purchasing a 32-inch monitor is to confirm that it has split-screen capabilities.
Towers & Desktop PC recommendations for broadcasting 2021
1) Acer Aspire TC-885-UA91 Desktop, 9th Gen Intel Core i3-9100, 8GB
2) Dell OptiPlex 7010
3) HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Business Tower Computer PC
4) Acer Aspire TC-895-UA92 Desktop, 10th Gen Intel Core
5) HP Z420 Workstation
Laptops for podcasting & broadcasting
1) Apple MacBook Pro 15 Inch Laptop
2) Acer Aspire E 15
3) Lenovo IdeaPad 3
4) ASUS ZenBook Pro
5) Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 1
6) ASUS VivoBook 15
Monitor recommendations for broadcasting or podcasting
ViewSonic VX3276-MHD 32 Inch
- Sceptre Curved 27"
- Acer SB220Q bi
- HP VH240a 23.8-Inch
- LG 29WN600-W 29
Recommendations & extra tips
Before we forget…
Newer laptops have ditched standard USB, Display, and HDMI ports. They now come with USB-C ports, USB 4, Mini DisplayPorts, and mini HDMI ports.
So, if you still want normal sized ports, have the cables, and don’t want to spend money on adapters, keep this in mind.
We also found some extra helpful resources:
There is no perfect computer!
Choose a system that’s fast and meets the specifications of your main programs.
Although fast systems are better, it’s not always necessary to spend $1300 on a laptop. A $300 computer may do the trick.
And larger screens are better for your productivity.