It’s not just electronic music that requires a powerful laptop that can offer efficient and reliable music production. Nowadays, any type of music depends on the technology, but just in different ways. It might be hard to choose the best laptops for producing music because of many factors, however not here.
In this post, we will help you to choose the most suitable laptop for your music production needs, no matter the type of music or your skills.
We’ve reviewed and ranked the laptops by performance, but also the needs music-making requires on a regular basis.
Recommendation for September 2020
Best Laptops For Music Production In 2020
Apple MacBook Pro – Retina Display
When you are looking for the best of the best, MacBook is the number one laptop in the music industry. Needless to say, it’s almost everywhere you go. It might be a pricey investment, but it’s definitely the best tool you can get to have a reliable solution for your needs.
No matter which software you use, Apple MacBook Pro can handle it with its 9th generation Intel i7 processor that comes with a Turbo Boost feature.
For the speed, 16GB of memory, and at least 256GB SSD (solid-state drive) storage space will open, save, render, and play music through any software. You won’t even have to pay attention to the number of plugins and effects you’ll be using.
While the graphics card might not be very important for music creation or audio production, users still get the best experience with the combination of the Retina display and the latest Radeon graphics card. If you’re DJ-ing at nightclubs, you’ll never have a screen visibility problem ever again.
Working on your music whenever you get inspired is very much possible. The battery can handle up to 10 hours of work no matter where you’re at.
Users love the ability to precisely adjust the tracks according to the software with just a tap of their finger. It’s definitely the best laptop for DJ-ing you could get.
Recommended configuration for Apple MacBook Pro
CPU: Intel Core i7-9th Gen | Graphics: Radeon Pro 555x Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15. 4″ 2880×1800 Full HD Retina Display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: macOS | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 7.05 pounds
Microsoft Surface Pro – Best Laptop For Music Production Under $500
If you decide to additionally purchase the Surface pen, you’ll have a very fast, reliable, and precise laptop which costs just under $500.
When you’re looking for the most portable laptop for making music and audio production, yet don’t want to break your bank, it is a great choice.
It’s a laptop that can power through any music production task you have, yet it’s the lightest laptop you could ever use for this.
Some people like to think of Surface Pro as a tablet, yet it’s actually a laptop that is powered with one of the best configurations out there. You can choose between Intel Core M or i5 processor and between 4GB or 16GB of RAM.
The same applies to the storage space. If 128GB of SSD (solid-state drive) storage isn’t enough, 512GB will be the next best option to store your software, music tracks, and much more.
It can handle any music-making software effortlessly, and what we really like about it is portability is the multi-position kickstand. You can basically put it anywhere in any of the desired positions.
However, you should remember that the keyboard and a pen are sold separately. It’s not something we support, but we still find the Surface pen to be very useful when it comes to making edits on the music tracks. When you need the most of the precision, you’ll get it either through the Surface pen or a PixelSense display.
Also, the battery can last only up to 9 hours of use. When we consider the ultra-light and portable design, we think that the battery could have been improved.
Recommended configuration for Microsoft Surface Pro
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12. 3″ 2736×1824 Full HD Touch Display| Storage: 128GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 2 pounds
HP 15.6” – Cheap Touch Screen Option
If Apple and Mac OS aren’t your things, HP 15.6” might even be a better option for music producers. It’s equipped with the latest 10th gen of Intel i5 quad-core processor, and a Win 10.
For the speed, 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD (solid-state drive) is pretty much standard when it comes to the music industry. It’ll be more than enough to provide the necessary speed for even the most difficult tasks.
HP 15.6” weighs only under 4 lbs but is definitely not fragile. It’s got a durable body that makes traveling worry-free.
Along with the speed, the 1366 x 768 resolution offers precision. The touch display offers even more features and makes things easier since users don’t have to rely solely on the keyboard and trackpad.
On a single charge, you’ll get the chance to get a day of work on average, while the battery can last up to 7 hours during the heaviest usage. Some light use will give you a battery life of up to 10 hours.
The trackpad is very responsive and precise. It might not be as good as in MacBook Pro, but it’s definitely suitable for music editing.
Recommended configuration for HP 15.6”
CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G1 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15. 6″ 1366×768 10-Finger Multi-Touch Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 7 hours | Weight: 3.8 pounds
Acer Chromebook Spin – Best Laptop For Music Production Under $300
When you’re hunting for the best budget solution for the music tasks, you will have to sacrifice a few things, but you’ll still be able to find a solid laptop for making music under $300, just like the Acer Spin.
Acer Spin might not be the most ideal laptop, but it still has the fast responsiveness thanks to the latest generation of Intel processing.
For the price tag, you definitely won’t be able to get the i5 or i7 processor, but Intel Celeron N3350 will do a decent job. It’s a dual-core processor that has one of the famous Turbo Boost features which allows the users to boost the processor up to 2.48GHz.
Luckily, for the price, you won’t have to sacrifice the budget. Yet you will have to deal with only 32GB of a solid-state drive and will have to add another SSD (solid-state drive) or HDD (hard drive) after a while. Acer Spin comes with basic 4GB of RAM, but it’s upgradeable to 6GB which is pretty useful.
The screen is a basic HD LED-backlit 15.6″ display which still offers a pretty decent resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.
Its body is thin and light, which is pretty nice to see along with plenty of available ports.
Recommended configuration for Acer Chromebook Spin
CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15. 6″ 1366×768 HD Display| Storage: 32GB SSD| Operating System: Chrome OS | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 2.76 pounds
HP Spectre x360 – Best Laptop For Music Production
HP Spectre is very similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro, yet it has the differences that make it unique, and very suitable for music production, audio production, especially recording.
It handles the music and audio production with ease thanks to the quad-core Intel i7 processor in combination with the 16GB of RAM.
HP Spectre x360 offers a lot of space on the 512GB SSD (solid-state drive) drive which makes sure that multi-tasking and working in different software at the same time isn’t slowing you down at all. However, what we don’t like about this laptop is that it has only one USB port.
Performance-wise, it’s perfect for music recording, and even its portability and functionality is amazing. However, HP just didn’t do well with the ports. For some people who are just producing music, it might not be a big problem, but if you’re planning to connect a few other devices, it’s definitely going to be a bit of trouble.
When you’re looking to get the easiest and the most effortless for music producers, HP Spectre x360 is a perfect choice. It has everything necessary to keep you up and running even when you’re on a go.
Needless to say, this is the best laptop for audio production and recording.
Recommended configuration for HP Spectre x360
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15. 6″ 3840×2160 4K HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 17.5 hours | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Samsung Notebook 9 Pro – Bang For The Buck
It’s a unique design flourish we really haven’t seen on any other laptops and it makes this notebook look like an actual book when closed. Along these fashionable edges, you’ll also find a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB Type-C connector, and a microSD slot.
The new design of the Notebook 9 is decidedly edgier. The radii of the corners turn at a sharper angle and the top of the bottom of the notebook is also now totally flat. It’s a design we think looks better than the last iteration as it excludes the duck bill-shaped gap seen on its predecessor whenever turned into tablet mode.
As we have a tendency to already comprehend that the Notebook 9 can be flipped into tablet mode if you ever need a change-of-pace while you’re working, while also coming with an intuitive “S Pen” that enhances the touchscreen features.
This could be also advantageous if you plan to hold a live performance and want some different workflow abilities. The storage capacity is a very solid 256GB SSD (solid-state drive), that ought to be adequate unless you plan on saving larger files such as movies.
In that case, you’d probably need to buy additional storage. Overall, the Samsung Notebook 9 is a relatively good laptop for song-making, and it offers some flexibility that others during this guide don’t.
Recommended configuration for Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13. 3″ 1920×1080 WLED-backlit Touchscreen HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 14 hours | Weight: 2.84 pounds
Dell XPS 15 – Ultra Portable Powerful Laptop
The XPS 15 series is another Dell laptop that has a really slim design, packed with a high-performance processor and memory that make it efficient enough to be one of the best music laptops in the market today.
It also has the ‘gaming’ laptop ownership around it, but we will include the title since we know performance demands for gaming and music production are similar, with games even more so.
In terms of its memory, the low-end model in the series sports a 7200RPM hard drive which would be good enough for producing music, but if you’re afraid it won’t be enough, the higher-end models come with SSD (solid state drive) of up to 512GB.
Each laptop in the series comes with the 15.6” “InfinityEdge” display, stereo speakers, hi-def audio, and multiple ports including a Thunderbolt 3 – choose which model fits your budget and style best. The Dell XPS 15 is a solid music laptop, that’s for sure.
Recommended configuration for Dell XPS 15
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15. 6″ 1920×1080 Infinitydge IPS HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 5.39 pounds
Asus Zenbook Flip – Best 2-in-1 Option
If you have to present any work, then they’re notably deft at the task, as indeed they are at playing back movies without a keyboard glowing beneath the screen.
The standout feature of the Flip is the hinge that brilliantly turns it from a standard laptop to a tablet, with various stages of practicality between. This hinge keeps the screen and keyboard tightly connected while producing clean lines at any point in its rotation.
While we’re not convinced regarding the number of ways manufacturers want us to use convertibles, we’re still impressed by how they work when done well, and this is an excellent poster child for the genre.
The coating of this Royal Blue rendition (it’s likewise available in Smoky Grey) is initially beautiful, although it picks up fingerprints so alarmingly easily that we felt duty-bound to photograph it without wiping them off first. A few fingerprints here and there is one thing, but on this lush blue finish they really do stand out, and anyone even vaguely fastidious is going to have their work cut out trying to keep this looking shop-fresh.
And you will want to touch it. A lot. It’s beautiful to hold, in any of its orientations, but particularly as a tablet, where you can cradle it easily in one hand while tapping away with the other. At 3.08lbs it’s certainly light enough, and the inclusion of a slipcase means that you can pop it’s svelte 14 inches form into any bag easily. Even the power brick is small enough to take along with you without much hassle.
Recommended configuration for Asus Zenbook S
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14″ 1920×1080 HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 5 hours | Weight: 3.08 pounds
Apple MacBook Air – Best Mac Option
Another great mac option is the MacBook Air, it features powerful specs while staying to under $1200 price tag, and considering its specs this is really worth every penny.
It features the latest 10th generation Core i5 processor along with 8GB of RAM so you can cut on every music production software there is, without a problem.
The fast SSD storage makes sure if boots very fast and you have enough room for everything, it features 512GB SSD.
The Backlit Magic Keyboard makes your life easier, wether for typing or music production. While the trackpad is so accurate you’ll never miss a bit!
It can last for up to 11 hours so you can make music anywhere you want, the stereo speakers is so high quality you won’t need headphones.
Recommended configuration for MacBook Air
CPU: Intel Core i5-10th Gen | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3″ Retina with True Tone HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: macOS | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 5.34 pounds
Asus TUF – Gaming & Enormous Storage
Asus TUF is designed for gaming but could be your music production device, in terms of specs you can never go wrong with this laptop.
It features a powerful Ryzen 7 processor and 16GB of RAM to make sure you can go all out the weather in gaming or music production.
It features an enormous storage of 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD so you can save and install anything you want, you’ll have room for everything so don’t worry about lacking in storage.
The dedicated graphics card will help you in getting things done especially if its media, you’ll never get a problem. While the IPS display is very important for visual purposes, you’ll never go wrong with this laptop.
Definitely a good pick for gamers who at the same time do music production.
Recommended configuration for Asus TUF
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ 1920×1080 HD IPS Display| Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 4 hours | Weight: 4.85 pounds
Picking The Best Laptops For Music Production In 2020
When it comes to music production, performance is everything. However, there’s much more than that. It’s important to consider your needs and types of tasks you’ll be performing.
This way, you won’t only find the most powerful laptop that will definitely be able to handle your tasks, yet you will find the most suitable laptop for your personal needs.
Here are some things to consider before making a decision.
- Laptop screen size
- How powerful does your laptop need to be?
- Type of tasks/software you do and use
- Is battery life important for you?
- Are there any special requirements you need to consider?
Instead of going for the most powerful laptop, you should go for the laptop that will make you feel comfortable and very happy about the decision. There is much more than performance.
Everyone uses their laptop differently, and that’s why you need a laptop that will make you love and enjoy music tasks even more.
The CPU (Central) or processor of your computer is probably the most important thing when it comes not only to music production but everything else in general. A lot of people refer to the CPU as the brain of the computer.
If the CPU isn’t powerful enough to handle an application it either won’t run the application or your system will crash since its too much for your CPU. Sadly, most music editing software uses up the majority of your CPU’s processing power.
In fact, one of the more high-end audio editing software out there, Presonus Studio One, can take up a lot from your CPU. There are even cases of high-end PCs like the Macbook Pro having trouble with Presonus Studio One with the program taking up 7 out of their 8 cores!
A good CPU will have good clock speed and a good number of cores. The more cores a CPU has, the more parallel processing it can do. This simply means the more parallel processing it can do, the faster the processing time is.
Clock speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). A laptop with 2 GHz can perform up to 2,000,000,000 clock cycles per second. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the GHz, the faster your CPU can perform the task.
This isn’t always the case since you have the model of the processor also matters. The latest model of processors at the moment is the core i7. And the newer the model, the better it functions so a core i5 performs way better than a core i3.
So to put it simply any CPU with a frequency of 2.2 GHz or more, a core model of i5 or i7 (preferably i7), and with 4 or more cores are usually more than enough to handle most audio editing software.
I5 Or I7 Processor For Music Production?
When it comes to producing music, it’s basically all about the software you’ll be using.
Now, the software might not have high requirements, but it’ll definitely require more power once you set up your tracks, extensions, plugins, and effects.
i7 has some of the best and the latest processors, and if you can afford it, we’d recommend you to go for it.
On the other hand, i5 processor is still a great option for making music, but you’ll just have to pay attention to go with some of the best i5 processors, and you won’t have anything to worry about.
The more RAM you have the better! RAM stands for random-access memory which is a form of memory that allows your computers to store short-term data such as applications.
In short, RAM temporarily stores the memory of software applications like your audio editing software. Not all applications are created equally and some consume more RAM than others.
This means a 2GB laptop is out of the question since you’ll probably want to browse the internet while working on your music.
A 4GB laptop should be the minimum if you want to run multiple applications but we really recommend that you go higher than that. Laptops of 8 GB or above are what we recommend that you use since you’ll have a much easier time running multiple programs along with your editing software.
As we’ve said before, the more RAM the better! It will also make it easier to render audio files, saving you a lot of time.
It’s also good to take note that the DDR generation of RAM matters. It’s very similar to processors that the newer generation RAMS have are much better. So if you were to choose between a DDR3 and a DDR4 RAM, go for the DDR4.
In short, go for the laptop with more RAM and choose the newer generation RAMs if you can. So a DDR4 RAM with more than 4GB is ideal for music production.
You don’t really need a high-end graphics card to do music production. However, Integrated graphics won’t do since they can’t handle heavy graphical options. They’re basically your laptops basic graphics card and they are used to run simple applications that don’t require heavy graphics.
This is why we highly recommend dedicated graphics card since they are specifically built to handle the graphics performance of your computer.
We do recommend you get a good graphics card for your laptop. Since you’ll probably be running multiple audio editing software at the same time. This can be quite taxing to your system so a good graphics card can help lighten the load.
So to summarize, any graphics card as long as it’s not an integrated graphics card.
If you’re going to dive into music production, then you’re going to need a lot of space. Although audio files don’t take up much space, it’s better safe than sorry.
So try to go for HDDs with at least 250 GB of space. 250 GB might seem excessive but you’ll also need that storage space for other applications as well. And if you’re the type who likes to keep movies and large playlists, the extra space might be needed.
You can also try SSDs since they can boost your computer’s loading speed and performance. However, it’s not really needed unless you want things to be more convenient for you.
So to summarize, at least 250 GB if you are using that laptop for other reasons aside from music production.
Last but not least is the screen size. This is more subjective than the others but ideally, you want a screen big enough that is comfortable for your eyes. If you’re squinting your eyes using 12-inch screens then a 15-inch screen is ideal for you.
Best Laptop Computer For Recording Music At Home?
When you’re trying to make a home studio, you’ll have to carefully choose every component.
Recording music and audio production at home are very possible nowadays, and it’s becoming way more popular than ever before. If you happen to choose any of these laptops from the list above, you’ll have a powerful laptop computer for music producers no matter where you are.
Nothing changes the fact you’ll be working from the comfort of your home. Therefore, you don’t need to break your head thinking about home music recording, and only focus on the music recording and production needs.
Now, if you’re planning to use Ableton for recording music at home, we’d always recommend going with the best laptops for music and audio production, if possible.
Windows Vs Mac For Music Production Debate
We take a look at the essential factors that guide the buying decisions of most music producers in the windows vs mac debate. They include:
In terms of which interface offers ease of use to the consumer, the Mac comes out tops. For one, it offers a navigation system that optimizes a workflow process. Therefore, it is easier for producers to move seamlessly from one app to another.
…in Mac these items are separated according to type and placed in separate folders..
Also, unlike Windows which stores samples, loops and plugins across various locations, in Mac these items are separated according to type and placed in separate folders.
Software And Plugin Compatibility
Audio plugins and virtual studio technology (VST) are a music producer’s best friend. But, when it comes to developing these softwares and plugins, coders opt to create them for the Windows system.
As a result, the software and plugin options available for Mac are limited. Also, most of these VSTs are available for free on the internet. The same cannot be said for Mac where the limited offerings require purchase.
The availability of VST makes the cost of music production on Windows cheaper than on the Mac.
However, when it comes to digital audio workstation (DAW), the Mac is more flexible. Mac users do not have to worry about errors due to incompatibility which most Windows users have to face.
Cost Effective Performance
A major downfall for the Mac is that for every one of it, it is possible to find several Windows alternative. Although Mac systems are generally built to handle large chunks of data, their price is a bit on the high end.
For the same specs offered by a Mac PC, a music producer can find a much cheaper Windows option with the same capabilities. Therefore, for the budget conscious producer, a Mac product may not be at the top of the to buy list.
Also, when it comes to upgrades, Windows systems are not rigid. If you need a higher storage space, you can swap out the old one, your sound system not performing the way you want? You can get a new one but the same cannot be said of Mac.
Quality Of Drivers
In terms of drivers, music producers have to choose between the option of Asio for Windows or CoreAudio for Mac.
Asio drivers are good for device configurations, however, tweaking them is a major challenge. On the other hand, CoreAudio offers the option of plug and play as all devices are aggregated under one driver control panel. It is also specifically programmed for sound control of Mac systems.
You might be able to improve the performance and latency of the Asio driver after a few tweaks but the functionality and user interface will not be as smooth as CoreAudio which needs no configuration.
In a Windows system, music producers have the liberty to customize, optimize and enhance both the internal and external parts of the PC. The same cannot be easily said for Mac which offers limited control option to the user.
Also, Apple are known for their abandonment problems. Once there is a new release of software or hardware, support for old ones is hard to come by.
For a more reliable long term solution, Windows is a better option.
After reviewing and comparing some of the best laptops for audio production and music production, it’s fair to say that there’s a laptop on this list suitable for almost everyone.
We think that it’s important to know your needs and have a clear goal of what you’re looking to get from the laptop. Instead of just getting the most powerful laptop to handle all your music production tasks, hopefully, you’ve learned how important your needs are and your way of work.
Whatever your choice is for the best laptops for music production, you won’t be disappointed with any of these laptops from the list we have carefully selected.