College Of Humanities and Fine Arts

Recording Arts Computer Bundle FAQs

What's Required?*

  • Apple Macbook Pro Laptop
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, DT 880 or DT990 Studio Headphones
  • Portable bus-powered 2.5” SSD Professional Hard Drive
  • Avid Pro Tools Software
  • iLok USB Software Authorization Device
  • Apple Pro Apps Bundle for Education (Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X)
  • Nektar Impact LX25+ 25-key MIDI Controller Keyboard (not needed until second semester) 

Purchasing Guidelines

Where should I purchase these items?

The Apple Pro Apps Bundle can be purchased directly from Apple.

All other required items can be purchased at a retailer of your choice. Always be sure to request an educational discount.

Can I buy any of these items used?

It is not recommended. As with anything in life, when you purchase a used product you are taking a risk. It is each students’ responsibility to be in class and prepared with the necessary working hardware and software. 

Is there anything else I should purchase?

While it is not required it is recommended that each student have a headphone amplifier and/or audio interface. There are lots of factors to consider when purchasing an audio interface, too many to discuss here in fact. Contact your Recording Arts advisor for specific questions.

We recommend any device made by Apogee or Universal Audio.

Is Financial Aid available for bundle purchase?

In some cases. The computer bundle is a required purchase for course study. Contact or visit the Financial Aid office for options that are available and specific to you. While there's currently no program specific financial aid available, you can apply for a scholarship(opens in new window)!

Visit the Financial Aid & Scholarships office for more information. 

Apple Macbook Pro Laptop

Which Macbook Pro should I buy?

  • Recommended configuration:
    • 14” or 16" MacBook Pro
    • M2 Pro
    • 1 TB SSD storage
    • 16GB Memory
  • Minimum configuration:
    • Macbook Pro manufactured within the past 2.5 years.
    • Must be Thunderbolt or USB-3 equipped
    • 16 GB RAM

Where to Buy?

Apple provides an educational discount to all enrolled students. To receive this discount simply order from Apple (on-line or in-store) or any business that offers EDU pricing on Apple products.

The Chico State Wildcat Store also provides educational discounts on Apple products. 

Should I purchase Apple Care?

Yes! It is highly recommended that you purchase Apple Care with your computer. All portable electronic devices are prone to faults and failures. Apple Care protects you from a possible expensive repair if something might happen to your computer.

How much RAM should I order?

A generous amount of RAM is necessary for the well function of a computer in the digital audio environment. Current Apple laptops do not have the ability for RAM upgrades after purchase. As such, one should purchase as much RAM as you can afford when ordering a new laptop.

Will a Macbook or Macbook Air be sufficient?

It's still unknown at this time whether these devices have the computing power to handle the workload in our digital audio environment.

Will an old 13” Macbook Pro work?

The 13” laptops are designed for light-duty work and will quickly slow down with intensive audio DSP loads.

I bought a Macbook Pro 3 years ago, will this work?

It depends. There are many variables when configuring a computer. A low end computer purchased over three years ago will not be sufficient. A top-of-the-line, maxed-out configuration may have enough horsepower to successfully run current software. If you have any questions about whether your computer will work or not, email one of your Recording Arts instructors.

I already own an iMac, do I have to purchase a laptop?

Yes. You will need a laptop for in-class work.

Can I use a PC?

We are a Mac-based program.

Beyerdynamic Studio Headphones

What’s special about these headphones?

Beyerdyanmic is an industry leader in providing excellent studio headphones. The BD are especially suited to provide an audio student with an “un-hyped” display of any sound source.

I already have a pair of “brand X” headphones. Do I need to purchase this model?

Headphones vary greatly in their ability to accurately reproduce sound. As a Recording Arts student, your greatest asset is your ability to listen and discern details in audio. As such, a pair of quality headphones is one of your most important investments.

Does the Impedance matter? 

Yes, and as a Recording Arts student, you will find out why. There are different DT models, with different ohm ratings. It is recommended that you purchase the 80 ohm version as they are easier to drive. If you already own the 250 or 32 ohm version, you do not need to purchase the 80 ohm version.

Where to Buy?

These headphones can be purchased from a retailer of your choice. Look online at places such as Amazon to find the best deal.

Will my earbuds work?

Earbuds are a consumer playback devices not designed for critical listening.

Portable bus-powered 2.5 SSD Professional Hard Drive

I already have a “brand-X” drive. Do I need to purchase another drive?

Maybe. There are many factors to consider when evaluating a hard drive. In the consumer realm, price is often the determining factor. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. An audio student and professional put considerable stress on hard drives and require performance most people don’t need. As such the Recording Arts program has the following requirements for portable hard drives: USB3  interface, SSD drive.


An SSD drive will always outperform a standard spindle-based HDD. If you choose to buy an HDD, it’s rotational speed must be 7200rpm. Anything slower will not perform well with multi-track audio projects. 

Where to purchase?

An SSD drive can be purchased from a retailer of your choice. Look online at places such as Amazon to find the best deal. 

Avid Pro Tools

Which version of Pro Tools do I need (Artist, Studio, or Flex)?

For Recording Arts classes, Pro Tools Artist will be sufficient. You are more than welcome to upgade if you need more advanced workflows for your personal work. NOTE: the educational price of PT STUDIO is the same cost as PT Artist!

Do I have to upgrade to PT version "X" if I already own a previous version?

Yes. You can purchase and upgrade directly from Avid

Does Avid offer educational pricing?

Yes! When purchasing Pro Tools be sure to order the EDU product. Enrollment verification may be necessary. 

Where should I purchase Pro Tools?

Pro Tools can be purchased directly from Avid or from a reseller of your choice as the prices are the same everywhere. Wherever you choose to shop, be sure to purchase the EDU version.

iLok USB Software Authorization Device

What is an iLok and why do I need it?

iLok is a device that holds authorization keys (licenses) and connects via the USB port to your computer. It is necessary to open and run the Pro Tools software. An accompanied account is necessary for software authorizations.

Where should I purchase an iLok?

An iLok should be purchased in conjunction with the Pro Tools software. In some cases, when purchasing a boxed Perpetual license, an iLok will be provided.

Apple Pro Apps Bundle for Education

What is this bundle?

The Pro Apps Bundle is a collection of five industry-leading apps from Apple that deliver powerful creative tools for video editors and musicians including Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X, Motion, Compressor, and Mainstage.

Where do I purchase?

You will need to purchase directly from Apple

Do I need to purchase this bundle if I already own Logic Pro X?


Nektar Impact LX25 25-key MIDI Controller Keyboard

Why this MIDI keyboard?

Understanding and programming MIDI is integral to the skill-set of a electronic composer and engineer. This keyboard was chosen by the Recording Arts faculty for its light weight, portability, and performance. 

I already own a MIDI controller keyboard, do I have to purchase this one as well?

It depends. Please contact your Electronic Music faculty Prof. David Dvorin(opens in new window) to find out whether your current controller will work.

Where should I purchase this keyboard?

This keyboard can be purchased from a retailer of your choice. Look online at retailers such as or Amazon.