Recording Arts Department

Computer Recommendations


Any current Macbook Air or Macbook Pro running OS 10.7 or OS 10.8, a minimum of 4 GB RAM, 250 GB or greater boot drive. Check the Avid support website for the latest information.


Any current laptop computer should work, Check the Avid support website for compatibility details and laptop recommendations. Windows 7 operating system, a minimum of 4 GB RAM, and an 250 GB boot drive. 


Avid Pro Tools 10 is required. If purchasing new, make sure you get the student version, available for $295. You must provid proof of student status when purchasing, usually you will be required to fax or email a picture of your student ID. If you already own Pro Tools, you may purchase a student upgrade at a reduced cost. You may buy from any vendor such as Sweetwater, Full Compass, or Musician's Friend. Please be aware that sessions created on Pro Tools 10 are not backwards compatible with 9 and earlier and must be converted. See here for details.


No interface is necessary to run Pro Tools 10, you may use your computer's internal sound card. Most third party USB and Firewire interfaces will work with Pro Tools, check Avid's support website for more information.

System configuration

Check the following links for information on configuring & troubleshooting your system

MAC and PC system optimizations (from Avid)
MAC and PC system optimization
 (from Sweetwater)
Pro Tools troubleshooting (From Sweetwater) 

Hard Drive

There are 2 components to a hard drive: the enclosure and the drive. Below are the specifications for each component. We recommend purchasing two hard drives, one for production and the second for backup.


We recommend buying an enclosure that supports both USB and Firewire. The Firewire drive must use the Oxford 911, 912, 924, or 934 chipset. Please note that Avid does not recommend using Firewire drives with Windows 7, see the Avid support website for details. Granite Digital, Avastore, and OWC enclosures have proven to be reliable. Some older enclosures may use ATA drives however we do not recommend buying this kind of enclosure since ATA drives are now obsolete. Many new enclosures offer eSATA connectivity but presently none of our studio computers support this interface.


Minimum of 500 GB SATA 300, 7200rpm, with 8 MB cache. Other than that we have no specific recommendations. It is best to use drives from a reputable manufacturer such as Seagate or Western Digital. CDW offers a discount to IU students.

You may choose to purchase the enclosure and hard drive together as one unit. This is acceptable, though the cost is generally slightly higher than purchasing the items separately.

Data Backup

Each student is responsible for backing up their data. Data loss will not be accepted as an excuse for a late or unsubmitted assignment. For this reason we recommend that students have two data hard drives, one for production and a second for backup. Students should also regurlarly backup the boot drive of their laptop. Backup stratagies and methodology will be discussed in class.


PC users: Pro Tools supports playback and recording on a Mac formatted hard drive. The reverse is not possible, so make sure that your hard drive is HFS+ formatted (turn journaling off).