Music Composition and Technology

Students entering the Music Composition and Technology program are required to purchase a laptop computer and software fundamental to the curriculum.

The following hardware and software is strongly recommended:

  • Apple Macbook Pro Computer (any new model compatible with the items below)
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Cycling 74 Max/MSP
  • Sibelius

It is suggested that students inquire about academic pricing when purchasing software.

All three Northeastern University recording studio facilities are ProTools-based and are compatible with the system listed above.

Music Industry

Students entering the Music Industry concentration may consider purchasing a laptop computer and software fundamental to the curriculum.

The following hardware and software are recommended:

  • A laptop computer of your own preference with wireless capability.
    • While we have seen a marked increase in Apple laptop computers, the Department does not specify a brand or operating system.
    • Please consider that the RAM and hard drive on your computer is sufficient for all of your applications, operating system, and future needs.
    • Students may consider an external hard drive or other hardware to back-up their work. (There are many possibilities including “cloud” type scenarios)
    • Those who would consider the Recording Minor should consult the very specific computer/ software requirements for that program.
  • A dependable and stable program suite such as Microsoft Office (either Mac or PC) or Apple’s iWork. Office includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage  (Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iWork users). We have found that these applications allow student work to be easily transferred.
  • While not a requirement, students may consider a musical notation program such as Finale, or Sibelius

Music Recording Minor

Students entering the Sound Recording minor are required to purchase a laptop computer and software fundamental to the curriculum. While the program does provide students with access to various studios, these spaces are in high demand and students will not get enough time in them to complete projects and assignments for their courses. Our three recording venues and the new Digital Commons located in Snell Library are Avid ProTools facilities equipped with Macintosh computers. Currently configured to run ProTools 10 within Apple OS 10.8. The Music Department is fastidious in keeping the computers and related software up-to-date and fully functional. ProTools does run within the Windows OS environment.

The following hardware and software is required:

  •  Apple Macbook Pro with 4 gigs of RAM (8 gigs is better, more is better!) computer (any new model compatible with the items below. The Macbook Pro had a Firewire 800 port, now replaced with a Thunderbolt port). A PC laptop computer may be acquired as an alternative, with similar specifications.
  • Avid Pro Tools 10* (software only) or  ProTools+ Mbox Mini or any other Avid ProTools interface or compatible third party interface. (ProTools can open and run without an Avid interface, one can use a number of third party interfaces, or no interface at all. ProTools works with ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME, and multi-client drivers). * Avid has stated that ProTools 11 will be introduced soon, and ProTools 10 will be upgradable to ProTools 11 when introduced later this year.
  • iLok USB Smart Key is required (included with ProTools + Avid interface system such as ProTools+ Mbox Mini). ProTools software is often delivered with an iLok key. iLok Smart Keys are widely used to “authorize” software. The “key” must be physically installed in a USB port went opening an application and its related plug-ins.
  • An External Hard Drive that meets the required specifications posted by Avid Technologies for use with ProTools (7200 rpm). Hard drives from Glyph Technology have worked extremely well in this application.
  • A pair of high quality headphones for personal monitoring when working away from the studios is a requirement. Students must consider that they will need headphones for monitoring that are accurate and predictable. It would be worthwhile to consider units manufactured by AKG, audio-technica, Beyer, Sennheiser, and Sony, there certainly are others. Accuracy of frequency response and comfort are important considerations.
  • McDSP Project Studio RTAS plug-ins suite - or – Waves Native Powerpack plug-in suite. The NU studios have both sets. ProTools includes a number of Avid plug ins.

Students should always inquire about Academic Pricing when purchasing software. Since the introduction of ProTools 10 Avid’s standard plug-in format is AAX (Avid Audio extension). We have access to special pricing for McDSP plug ins, please ask for the forms to apply for the plug in suite. Once again, all Northeastern University Recording Studio facilities are ProTools-based and are compatible with the system listed above.