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Best Laptops For Music Production Reviews
When you’re trying to make a jaw-dropping beat, making a studio recording the best it can sound, and perhaps just getting your first gig as a DJ, you want the best music production laptop in your hands.
If you’re trying to use a general purpose laptop, that isn’t designed for high-quality or studio-quality music production, you will soon know the pain that comes with this doomed endeavor.
Lackluster performance means your recording will be corrupted with pops and clicks from your production laptop struggling to keep up with the demand.
The benefit of today’s best laptops for music production is that home recording enthusiasts and audio engineers alike can take their projects wherever they want, without feeling like they’re less technologically capable outside of their typical audio workstation.
The three most important factors for any music production laptop are speed, memory, and weight.
You want all your tracks recorded cleanly, and your actions need to be executed quickly and smoothly, so you need a fast processor.
You need to record multiple tracks, and run multiple programs simultaneously at one time, so you need a lot of RAM.
And last but not least, you don’t want to have an obnoxious weight in your backpack, annoying you as you move around town or public transport. So being lightweight is another key selling point.
An underpowered machine will simply not give you the flexibility, speed and responsiveness that a dedicated music production computer needs to perform up to snuff.
Mac or PC Computer for Music Production?
Mixing or video production will be impossible if you cannot open up multiple software programs in order to stereo balance, apply an equalizer, compression, or other VSTs and effects. And catering to the mood of the club or music concert you’re playing in is out of reach without a powerful music production laptop.
So we’ve compiled a list of some of the top music production laptops that you should consider buying for your audio projects, and make music wherever and whenever you feel like it.
Top Music Production Laptops Comparison Chart
Best Laptop For Music Production
Once upon a time, 4GB of RAM was fine and then 8GB became the standard. But today, even this isn’t enough and that’s just as well because the ZenBook 13 has a whopping 16GB of RAM as standard.
However, it does only come with a 512GB SSD which is quite large when you compared it to the size of typical audio files. Thankfully moving files to external storage is a snap with this laptop, as it comes standard with an SD card reader as well as USB-C, USB-A, and HDMI ports.
If you like saving music on a cloud system or perhaps keeping a 5GB/1TB external drive with you, then this laptop will offer all the extensive connectivity you need. And the USB-C port provides super fast connection with the latest audio interfaces as well, so sending and receiving data during the recording process is smooth and uninterrupted.
The great news is, it has an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor that offers speeds up to 4.6 GHz, which is head and shoulders above CPUs in other music production laptops.
It has a 13.3-inch screen with a full HD display, so you really maximize portability and avoid space constraints. The screen also provides 170-degree viewing angles so you can have a few people gathered around and not obscure anyone’s vision of what’s going.
For those of you that like to create shortcuts for all the different software programs you have open, there’s a number pad on the mouse pad itself to make quick selections. The battery life is also very good, reported to last up to 10 hours.
Its ErgoLift design could be seen as a gimmick but is truly useful for those that work long hours. It automatically tilts the keyboard to the most comfortable typing position, which can also improve cooling in some instances. Additionally, this is useful for when you’re in a public setting where there’s not a lot of room to spread out.
Weighing in at just 2.5 pounds, it’s not too heavy and not too light either. Its durability shouldn’t come into question, as it passes the MIL-STD-810G military standard with regard to durability and reliability. That’s an impressive strong point!
Overall, it’s fast, can handle any amount of tasks you throw at it, slim, lightweight and comes with a sleek design, the Zenbook 13 pretty much ticks all the boxes. For those looking for a dedicated laptop for music production, you’re sure to be very impressed.
- Powerful & fast for effortless on-the-go computing: 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD & 16GB RAM
- Durable & reliable: meets the ultra-demanding MIL-STD-810G military standard for reliability and durability, undergoing a punishing testing regime
- Long battery life: powered by a high-capacity battery that won’t let you down
- Exclusive ErgoLift design: an engineering masterpiece designed to automatically tilt the keyboard to the most comfortable typing position, plus it improves cooling and audio performance
- Professional Grade: use Windows your way with Windows 10 Professional and hardware TPM security
For basic bedroom studios, you don’t need a music production pc that’s too out of this world. The MacBook Pro is a do-all machine, with many bells and whistles that the music student and the music professional will enjoy.
It comes with a beautiful 13-inch screen and with a satisfactory 8GB of RAM. As mentioned before, in this day and age you really should consider 16GB as standard, but 8GB can still keep your projects moving.
The 2020 model has seen the upgrade to 16GB RAM, but it comes at a price that some won’t appreciate as necessary. The big downside there is the sheer price, as brand new you will be heading toward the $1,500 mark.
The previous versions come with the 8th generation 2.8Ghz Intel Core i5 with turbo boost up to 4.7Ghz, which most popular DAW software specifies as plenty fast enough for the average user and even more intense music production.
Along with that, the Thunderbolt 3 port allows for compatibility with the super fast speeds associated with the USB-C standard, while also providing dedicated hardware that cranks up the speedometer even higher than similar Windows laptops. Communication with audio interfaces is seamless even when multi-track recording with very demanding sample rates.
As you would expect from Apple, this computer certainly offers the looks you’d expect from a laptop for recording music with the typical contemporary lines and appearance. It’s a very slim laptop for music production, at just 1.56cm in height when fully closed. It also weighs a respectable 3.1 pounds.
You can also use voice commands to operate the laptop’s shortcuts, brilliant for busy music production artists who don’t want to or have the time to learn keyboard shortcuts.
The battery life matches the top dog, with 10-hours of running time. It also has fast-charge battery technology, so you can expect to charge up your battery very quickly while on the move.
The Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 is splendid and really capture great detail. Bear in mind, it also has Retina Display with True Tone technology, which automatically detects the environment the machine is in and adjusts the screen brightness and color tone to help your tired eyes work harder for longer.
With a force touch keypad, it makes accidental clicks a lot less likely. Minus a few soft spots, this is a great audio computer for home music studio production.
- 8th-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 Processor
- Brilliant Retina Display with True Tone technology
- Touch Bar and Touch ID
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
- Ultrafast SSD
Releasing in just 2017, the Microsoft Surface has been making waves in the laptop for the music production market. At first, it looks too good to be true, and in fact, it might not be. As you would expect it comes with Microsoft Windows 10 as standard, along with a huge 13.5-inch screen. The display resolution is 2256×1504 pixels. It’s LCD display is very crisp and clear, rivalling any other similar machine out there.
The Surface is now in its 3rd gen, but the 1st gen is incredibly popular because it ticks all the right boxes and yet remains affordable. Weighing in at just 2.83 pounds, it’s just the right amount of mass to lug around with you when you’re traveling to your next event.
However, the top model is the only one with 16GB of RAM, while the lesser models will only have 8GB. This is still better than some other laptops for music production, but it’s cutting it close. The top model has the Intel Core i7, making it one of the fastest machines out there. The lesser models all have the i5, which is no slouch in its own right.
The best part is, it has up to almost 15 hours of battery life. This has to be taken with a pinch of salt as manufacturers will always find some way of spinning their achievements in the test lab, but this is genuinely a party piece that only the Surface can brag about.
It’s also a touchscreen, so you can quickly move to other software and start toying with your music while it’s playing. The keyboard is soft and comfortable, yet still robust. Apparently, it’s covered in Alcantara fabric, which prevents slips and lowers the chances of mistyping.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop features a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 512 GB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 14.5 hours of video playback
- Backed by the best of Microsoft, including Windows and Office
- Sleek, elegant design; ultra-thin and light laptop fits easily in your bag
- Luxurious Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard. Sensors- ambient light sensor
- 3.5mm headset jack. Exterior has aluminum casing
Dell has remained strong in the computer industry but some would rightfully say, that it’s not the giant it once was. The Inspiron might be it’s a ticket back to the forefront.
It has a 10th generation Intel Core -17 processor, which can boost itself up to 4.9 GHz. Speed is not something you should be worried about as it can handle just about any of the latest music software you throw at it.
The issue arises when it comes to multitasking and having several programs open at once. It does come with 8GB of RAM, which is just above the threshold. This makes it a great music production computer for someone who is starting out in the industry, or a music student, just learning the ropes.
To offset this minor hole in its specifications, it does have 512GB of solid state drive. There’s quite a lot of room to house all your projects, tracks and music that you find inspirational. The keyboard is backlit so you can work late into the night without having to see what you’re doing by just the screen light. Speaking of the screen, it’s a massive 14-inch FHD 1920×1080 LED backlit display. It is IPS pen-enabled and it has a touch display so you can at least work more quickly than some others might have you do.
Windows 10 comes as standard. It’s a little on the chunky side, with a 2cm height when fully closed. And quite frankly, it’s a fat boy, weighing 4.5 pounds. That is not something you’ll like to carry around with you for very long. This burden is also offset by the price. It’s one of the cheaper options coming in well below $900. But Dell has always been seen as durable and reliable, and the Inspiron is no exception.
- 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510u Processor (8MB Cache, up to 4. 9 GHz)
- 14. 0 inch FHD (1920x1080) LED-backlit Touch Display IPS pen enabled
- 8GB, 8Gx1, DDR4, 2666MHz
- 512GB M. 2 PCIe NVMe solid state Drive
- Sd card reader and USB 2. 0, 3. 0, 3. 1 Type C
Right off the bat, you’ll see this particular music production laptop has a gigantic screen. It’s 15.6-inches with a full IPS touchscreen. This is a good laptop for recording music because it may only have a 10th generation Intel Core i5, but it comes with 12GB of RAM. You can, therefore, record and edit at the same time, making studio sessions a lot easier and flexible.
The processor isn’t slow by any means, as it’s 3.60 GHz. The internal space is right up there with the large brands, with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. This is great for recording professionals as you’ll be needing a lot of space for the many takes you do with artists, storing samples and working on expanding projects. It is Bluetooth connected, so you can share what you’re doing on a larger TV screen, great for when you’re working in a team or perhaps in a studio.
It’s a little chubby, as it weighs 4.08 pounds. It’s not the heaviest but its weight is not something to brag about.
- 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 Quad Core Processor 1.0 GHz (up to 3.9 GHz with Turbo Boost) / 12GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM / 512GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
- 32GB Intel Optane Memory for storage acceleration / 15.6-inch Full HD IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit Touch Screen Display (1920 x 1080) / Intel UHD Graphics
- Audio by B&O with dual speakers; HP Audio Boost / Full-size island-style backlit, natural silver keyboard with numeric keypad / Accelerometer / HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support / Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN Interface
- HP Wide Vision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone / Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5 Combo / 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Data Transfer Only, 5 Gb/s signaling rate), 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Data Transfer Only), 1 AC smart pin, 1 HDMI 1.4b / 1 headphone/microphone combo
- 3-cell, 41 Wh. Li-ion Battery / 45 W Smart AC power adapter / Color: Mineral silver cover, natural silver base and keyboard frame / Windows 10 Home
Top Music Production Laptop Features To Consider
Right at the top of the list of the most important features of a high-quality music production laptop is having a great processor. This is where everything begins. You need speed and efficiency to work to a higher standard, otherwise your work will suffer. Getting your projects finalized and releasing music on schedule can put you ahead of the game. If it’s taking too long to get a project done because you cannot work as productively due to a lack of speed, that’s bad for your growth.
Knowing how fast technology advance, getting the best computer now will help to ensure it will still perform as software advances and places a greater demand on your processor in the coming years. Spending a little more on a fast processor with speeds above 3 or even 4 GHz is a smart investment to make in the future of your audio production laptop.
Equally as important is the RAM. 8GB will still work with some less-demanding DAW software, but you really need 10GB and above in order to effectively multitask and run several plugins and VST’s in the background. The reason why you should aim for 16GB is that soon this level will become the benchmark itself, as you can now buy a 32GB ram laptop. We’re in a fast period of tech advancement now. Selecting a newer, more future-ready laptop can save you from the need to replace your laptop for music production as early.
Reliable and fast connections with external devices is a vital component to successful music production. Audio interfaces require fast speeds to minimize latency while transferring data to and from your laptop. More latency could directly translate into poor quality audio, or even prevent your project from advancing entirely. Knowing what ports you need on a laptop before buying is essential.
Today’s top music production laptops should offer USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connections, which are super fast and cross-compatible from PC to Mac. Firewire is another type of fast connection, but since the advent of the USB-C standard this connection is becoming less commonly seen. But the driving force behind your USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connection is still the power of your processor as well as having plenty of RAM. So it’s the overall picture that makes for a great music production computer, not just a single aspect.
Weight is a major factor in your decision-making or at least it should be. If you become too focussed only on the performance numbers you might buy an audio computer that feels like you’ve got a cylinder block in your backpack all day. It’s not going to be too fun to carry around. At the same time, the dimensions matter. You don’t want your laptop for music production to be too big for your workspace, or too small for your visual preferences. And the slimmer the better as they say, but by that token the price usually goes up.
Last but not least, screen size, functionality and quality are all very important too. The touchscreen is often a take-it-or-leave-it feature for audio production. But for other tasks you might like to be able to use your fingertips to move programs around, utilize your workstation more effectively and be more productive.
But is screen size more important than quality? This is a purely aesthetic question. For those who more often work at a desk, the larger screen size common of modernity is likely to be positioned higher in the preferences. For smaller workspaces and live gigs, large screen size and automation is probably overrated, but if it can adapt to your environment and working habits, your music production laptop will feel more involved in your work flow.