I am fairly new to the whole computerized world of music - meaning all the different software available for a musician for helping in all sorts of music related tasks.
I am talking about all of the following:
- Learning to read sheet music
- Learning music theory in general
- Tuning an instrument
- Converting music files to different formats
- Playing along with a music file, including:
- Slowing it down
- Separate track muting
- Interactive tablature / sheet music
- Converting music files to chords / sheet music, and vice versa.
- Online music news feeds
- And lots of other stuff I haven't even thought of yet...
So my question is, what does a computer station (preferably a PC, because that's what I'm used to) needs to have in its specifications to be able to support all of these software smoothly? I don't want to spend too much on an overkill computer, but I do want it to be able to handle most software in this category, and last for (as long as possible, but) at least a few years. Also, please address the differences (pros vs cons) between a desktop and a laptop computer meant for this purpose.
Further still, how would you recommend to go about the process of choosing the right software for my workstation? Obviously some of the qualities I look for in any software are
- An easy to understand UI
- Integration with other software (mostly the use of industry standards in file formats)
- And if it's free or very cheap - that's a bonus
Are there any industry standards in this field? Any recommended magazines that cover software reviews and comparisons between competing products?