The best monitor resolution for typical music production is 1080p.
One of the most common resolutions for DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) is 1080p. which offers a high level of detail and clarity while remaining cost-effective.
Some users might prefer 1440p or 2K resolutions because they have a wider field of view. And 4K resolution has become more popular in recent years. You’ve probably heard the phrase “caught in 4K,” by now.
Most resolution issues occur when running DAW software above 1080p which is the most common screen resolution today. View our picks for the best monitors for music production for our recommended resolution sizes.
Monitor Resolutions for DAWs Compared
Musicians and producers use 1080p. And most monitors support this resolution, making it ideal for professional music production.
1440p, 2K, or 4K resolutions might also work better for you. It all depends on your display area and how much detail you want.
1080p: The Industry Standard?
1080p is the most common resolution for DAWs. It offers a moderate level of detail and clarity while still being cost-effective.
If you’re looking for a reliable monitor that won’t break the bank, we recommend the HP M27ha.
1440p or 2K: The Middle Ground?
1440p resolution is a good choice for those who want a higher detail level while using a typical screen resolution.
1440p offers twice the horizontal and vertical resolution as 1080p. This allows you to fit more information onscreen while still having an up-close view of your work.
But, some users might find that 1440p is insufficient and prefer to opt for 2K resolution. 2K is four times the resolution of 1080p, providing an even sharper and more detailed image.
I recommend the LG 27QN600-B for users seeking a reliable monitor with respectable pixel density and excellent color performance.
The LG 27QN600-B is a 1440p 27-inch monitor offered at an affordable price. This monitor also has a high pixel density of 109 PPI which means you’ll be able to see more detail in your work.
4K: Too Early?
4K is an emerging technology that has become popular in recent years. 4K resolution provides four times 1080p resolution. Resulting in an extraordinarily sharp and detailed image.
This monitor has a high pixel density of 140 PPI and displays 1.07 billion colors.
The LG 32UN650-W is reasonably priced and works well for most music production work.
What is High DPI?
High DPI (Dots Per Inch) is a term used to describe monitors with a high pixel density. Or the number of pixels displayed per inch.
Most modern DAWs and plugins support high DPI in Windows, and most users never need to worry about it.
Reaper is a Windows DAW that works well with 4K monitors and scaling. Independent plugin scaling is an option for plugins that don’t use high DPI features.
How DAWs and VST Plugins Handle High DPI in Windows
Depending on the plugin, scaling options might vary.
Some plugins are designed to support high DPI features and automatically adjust their scaling. In contrast, others will require manual scaling or independent plugin scaling if they do not support high DPI.
DAWs and High DPI Support
Not all DAWs offer high DPI support. However, many do. If you want to use a high DPI monitor with your DAW, check if it supports high DPI displays by referring to the developers documentation or contact support.
Studio One 5
Studio One 5 works well with 4K, and DPI-aware plugins look nice. But DPI-unaware plugins have the standard display issue of being small and difficult to read.
Reason 12 provides high DPI support. DPI-unaware plugins might not display without manual adjustments. An auto-scaling feature is available for many plugins. But some manual adjustments will still be necessary.
Ableton Live 11
Ableton Live 11 supports high DPI. VST3 plugins auto-scale. But you might need to disable the auto-scaling for other plugins to function correctly.
Cubase provides high DPI support for high-resolution monitors. Older plugins, including VST2, might not support high DPI. The “allow windows to be resized” option allows manual adjustment for older plugins.
Bitwig Studio 4.2
Bitwig offers support for high DPI monitors. You might have to disable Bitwig’s auto-scaling feature for some plugins to function. Manually scaling these plugins can make them easier to see on high-resolution displays.
VST plugins generally support high DPI. Most modern plugins will scale automatically. But some older plugins might not be able to scale or display correctly. This issue is especially true for VST2 plugins.
iZotope Neutron, Ozone, Nectar, VocalSynth
High DPI mode does not work well with these iZotope VST plugins. iZotope recommends that you use 100% Windows scaling.
Users report mixed results with Stutter Edit High DPI support. Some users have successfully scaled the plugin, while others could not scale it.
iZotope does not recommend using high DPI mode at this time.
Serum has an adjustable display window, but scaling can result in blurry displays.
Arturia AnalogLab and Pigments
Arturia does not currently support high DPI scaling, but they are working on it.
High DPI support is coming soon to AnalogLab and Pigments.
Reason Rack Plugin
Reason Rack is DPI-unaware, but you can adjust the size manually. The precise controls make this plugin hard to use with a blurry display.
Melodyne 5 supports high DPI scaling. User reviews are mostly positive, and this feature appears to function correctly.
If you’re looking for solutions to how some DAWs and plugins handle high DPI, here are some ideas:
Option #1 - Get a massive 43” 4K monitor and run it at 100% scale
This size monitor should give you plenty of screen space to work with. While allowing for accurate visualization of plugins and waveforms. This size should display text and controls clearly, even at high DPI.
Option #2 - Get a Secondary 1080p Monitor
Having a second monitor can help work with plugins that aren’t high DPI-compatible. You can use the primary monitor to edit your tracks and mix. While using the second monitor as a plugin display and selector.
Option #3 - Run Your DAW in Low DPI Mode
Low DPI mode is available in some DAWs and can be used to make older plugins work correctly. This mode will make everything on your screen appear larger, so it’s not ideal for extended use.
Option #4 - Try a Windows scaling workaround
You can increase Windows scaling to make text and controls appear larger. This scaling can help with some plugins that don’t support high DPI.
You can disable High DPI scaling under Windows display settings.
Option #5 - Buy an ultrawide monitor
An ultrawide monitor offers many benefits of a high-resolution monitor without requiring your DAW to support high DPI scaling.
Option #6 - Use a Mac
You can resolve this issue by switching operating systems. macOS does offer excellent high DPI support, but this is an expensive fix.
1. Check your DAW’s high DPI support
Ensure that your DAW is compatible with high DPI displays. Or look for alternatives to support these displays.
2. Check your plugins and extensions for high DPI support
Check if your plugins and extensions are compatible with high DPI, or look for alternatives.
Questions about monitor resolution for DAWs? We have the answers.
- Studio One 5
- Ableton Live 11
- Reason 12
- Cubase 12
- Bitwig Studio 4.2
- FL Studio
If you already have a 4K monitor, you can try running your DAW in low DPI mode. This mode is available in some DAWs and can be used to make older plugins work correctly.
- Right-click on the desktop and choose Display
- Under the Scale and layout tab, click on Advanced scaling settings
- Toggle the switch to On under Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry