For every beginner, intermediate and amateur who wants to take music production seriously, a good laptop is the vital starting point to producing that big break, everyone dreams of.
This will require a laptop that can handle large applications and systems at the same time while processing and storing large files, which simply means that this couldn’t be done with an everyday use laptop.
A top-notch state of the art laptop is the obvious recommendation and this would mean a fair amount of price higher than the everyday counterparts.
What To Look For In a Laptop For Music Production?
Alright, guys, let's look at what you should keep in mind when shopping for a laptop to make music:
RAM (Random Access Memory)
When it comes to music production, there is a high possibility to open many programs and tabs in one go and see them all at the same time for more efficient productions.
This would mean the ability to add at least 1 extra screen while the norm of the industry is to use 2 or 3.
These usage requirements demand huge RAM and graphic power. Hence a 16GB RAM is highly recommended.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The most important factor for studio processing is the CPU which needs a fast single-core performance.
This allows all the mixes to be in a single file and process the effects and chains without the CPU needing to wait.
These requirements are only filled with 8th generation i5 or i7 processors.
While the job can be done with the 7th generation predecessors, it is highly recommended to get either an 8th generation i5 processor or an 8th generation i7 processor to manage a fast processing speed.
Hence, this article will only focus on the best laptops for music production and podcasting.
Although there are many better options in selecting desktops, the focus of this article had only been shifted to the laptops due to its vast and unique qualities including its durability and flexibility.
OS (Operating System)
The other main consideration is the traditional choice of the processing weaponry that the studio is going to use – Apple or Windows – and to be more specific, a MAC or a PC.
This choice using boils down to the recording software that is being used. Technically, apple products are hailed and renowned for their stability, durability and on the downside, its cost. This, however, doesn’t mean that windows aren’t a good choice.
Over generations, windows PC had solidified its place in the everyday market and it's no different when it comes to music production as well.
However, when the issue comes down to producing a stable recording that needs to be flawless, Apple has a genuine edge although many professionals swear by both systems.
Systems life Logic Pro and GarageBand only come specified to Apple while Avid Pro Tools, which is a very popular industry software works on both these systems. Many of these tools come with 2 options called minimum requirements and recommended requirements.
While the minimum requirements stand for the bare minimum the laptop needs to have in terms of processing power, RAM and other areas for the software to work, the recommended requirement refers to the optimal features of the laptop to make the software working perfectly without any twitch or delay.
The performance will always be fast and efficient is this software is used with exceeded requirements.
Best Laptops For Music Production List
The life span of a laptop with higher specifications and features are usually more durable than the rest with the added advantage of the specs not being outdated quickly.
Hence, approaching a laptop with high-end specifications is always recommended due to its both long- and short-term perks.
Let's look at the top contestants that would be amazing laptops for music production – give or take!
In a rush? Here are the highlights of top contestants:
Alright, let's get to the reviews now.
Apple MacBook Pro
This is the renowned masterpiece of apple computing and it is a time tested success with some pretty awesome reviews and this is undoubtedly the highest recommended laptop for music production.
This piece of equipment boasts a staggering to 64GB of RAM, a 2.6GHz 6-core Intel i7 processor (9th Gen) and a 512GB (or 1TB with 8-core i9) solid-state hard drive.
The built-in 512 GB hard drive is more than enough for basic music production and the user has the chance to expand it with an external SSD if needed.
The MacBook also comes with a Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB video RAM.
The MacBook is also equipped with 4 USB-C ports which would mean that any other external adaptors and docks wouldn’t be necessary.
The Type C port is also faster better than the traditional USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.
The MacBook also comes with 2 different variations, the regular MacBook and the MacBook Pro.
Bear in mind that only the MacBook Pro will be suitable for music production.
This is due to the regular MacBook’s being designed to have a better battery life than better speed which doesn’t suit heavy-duty and efficient operations like music production.
The other key variant is the two sizes the product comes with; the 13” model and the 16” model.
The 13” model would be ideal for touring professionals and musicians given its small size and portability.
But the 16” is the recommendation when considering the size of the screen. Music production often requires a big screen to produce quality outputs.
Even though originally produced as a gaming laptop, it also equally equipped to handle heavy tasks which include music production as well.
The specifications of this model are also amazing.
The recommended model is the advanced 15” Razer blade. It has an Intel i7-8750H 6-Core CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM), 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
The company also produces an ultrathin 13” laptop and a 17” desktop replacement, but the most recent updates still stand as the 15” model, hence the recommendation.
The quality of these products is only compared with the level of Apple computers which resonates with the high-quality standards the machine possesses.
Unnecessary software is opted out of this machine avoiding unwanted slowdowns of the computer protecting the speed and performance altogether.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Microsoft had made some massive strides on the Surface Pro line with some great configurations.
This new configuration proves to be ideal for music production which enables this model to be on this list.
The Surface Pro with an Intel i7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD is highly recommended considering all the new and improved features.
However, if the budget is under $1,000, the Intel Core i5 with 8GB RAM is recommended as a low budget option.
This laptop also comes with a MicroSD slot which makes the life of musicians much easier.
The only downside to this product is the small screen and unavailability of the keyboard.
However, these problems can be mitigated by having 2 or more extra screens which are the recommendation to anyone doing music productions anyway.
As for the keyboard, another external keyboard can be purchased.
However, it is recommended to get the Microsoft service dock to get more ports and parts.
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL504GW
The ‘ROG’ stands for Republic of Gamers which is the gaming line of products from ASUS.
This also means that these machines are reliable and very efficient for nearly every performance intensive task.
These laptops come with a lot of ports due to its gaming background which meets there are no additional costs to be spent on accessories.
The 15″ model is recommended from this brand as that gives the technicians a nice balance of screen real estate and portability for a laptop, but the company also offers the 17″ models as well if for that extra screen real estate.
Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL504GW is a brand new model that was outed not too long ago and this a perfect laptop for all music recording and production in terms of features and the specifications.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar II GL504GW-DS74 uses the NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics card which many software programs use including most DAWs.
This graphics card takes all the processes to itself and frees up the CPU to run normally without any heavy workload.
The extra GPU power will also be needed when the production starts plugging 2 or 3 external monitors.
This version also includes an improved cooling system which keeps the computer quieter and more efficient.
The added advantage to this is the noise of the fan not being picked up while recording due to the enhanced cooling system.
The processor of this version is an Intel Core i7-8750H which also comes with a 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD making it ideal for fast performance and storing large files.
Other features of the Asus ROG Strix Scar I include 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini DisplayPort.
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS line of laptops has been a very reliable and efficient choice when it comes to performance and durability.
It stands higher in the dell family above the acclaimed Inspiron series which is used for the normal workload.
The XPS series, however, specializes in a professional sphere with these laptops being used for graphic designing, gaming, and audio processing.
The XPS 15” is the thinnest of the laptops around and it doesn’t affect any performance.
The latest version – Dell XPS 9570 – includes Intel’s brand new Coffee Lake processor and an attractive 4K touchscreen with Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance.
The XPS9570 4K Touch model with the 8th generation Intel i7-8750H processor is highly recommended.
It also comes with a 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. The Nvidia GTX 1050Ti graphics card will also be available with this laptop which makes it easier and more efficient in recording and editing music, video editing, and any kind of heavy processing.
The laptop also comes with an SD card reader and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
Dell XPS 13
There was a recent upgrade to this version which makes all the more desirable when it comes to music production with its newly introduced features becoming more substantial and noteworthy.
The latest upgrade included Dell switching to the i7-8550U processor along with many other improvements and upgrades which are proved useful when compared with its predecessors.
The Dell XPS 9370 with a 4K touchscreen is recommended as it comes with a 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint reader, and more. It also has 3x USB-C ports and it has opted out the outdated USB-A port.
Though not being the most powerful laptop or the laptop with the best graphic card when compared with giants like Apple, Dell had been able to create a decent and impressive laptop that alludes to its ultra-portability.
The placement of the webcam is a bit unnatural with it being at the bottom, hence the Logitech C920 is a good recommendation.
The new colors to this model include Rose Gold on Alpine White which is a unique color when compared to other models.
HP Spectre X360
The HP Spectre X360 is a beautifully versatile and powerful laptop with some unique features.
The 15″ model updated in mid-2018 with the 8th Generation Intel i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a Radeon RX Vega graphics card is highly recommended.
This laptop is also a 2 in 1 laptop meaning that the 4K touchscreen folds backward, effectively making it a tablet.
The 15” model is a little under 4.5 lbs, which is a bit heavy to hold one-handed in tablet mode, but great for sharing content or writing.
There is also a media mode for watching videos and a tent mode for presentations.
HP had been producing laptops while giving heavy thoughts to what the customer's needs for some time and as a result in have included both the USB Type-A port (the stand rectangle) and 2x USB Type-C ports (the new oval), one of which includes Thunderbolt.
They have also included an SD card reader and an HDMI port which doesn’t require any external dongles to get all the gear connected.
If on the lookout for a lighter and portable model, the new 4K 13″ model that weighs 2.78 lbs might be a better option.
It uses the Intel UHD 620 graphics card, which is a slight downgrade compared with the previous 13″ model that had Nvidia 940MX.
However, there is a loss on this model except for the HDMI port which was opted out considering the size. An adapter will easily solve this problem.
The adaptability and reasonable price promises with warranties make both sizes of the Spectre X360 an excellent choice for a Windows-based music production laptop.
Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
This is another 2 in 1 laptop. The Pro model was announced last year and the 15″ Notebook 9 Pro has been updated with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors which also offers some decent specs for the price.
Samsung, being a mobile giant had been able to take cues from their smartphone line when it comes to design, with thin bezels and more curvature.
This model comes with an S-Pen (and a slot to hold it) that has 4,000 levels of pressure and the ability to add shading by tilting it.
Similarly, both USB 3.0 and USB Type-C can be found in this device alongside an HDMI port, and an SD card reader.
The 13″ model, however, only comes with an 8GB RAM, while the 15″ model gets 16GB.
The graphics power is also a lot better in the 15″ model with the AMD Radeon 450 being included which competes with the Intel HD Graphics 620 in the 13″ version.
Hence, it is highly recommended to stay away from the 13” version and approach its mature counterpart.
PCAudioLabs specializes in computer equipment for audio production.
Their ROK BOX MC Mobile Series line of pro audio laptops builds a custom laptop that will fit the production needs to the budget.
In hindsight, building a custom laptop would be the better option for a professional who knows the field and the exact requirements of the device.
For other producers, however, getting a normal laptop would be the vice decision when comparing the high budget and the inability to easily find repairs of custom made laptops in case if something happens.
Check it out here.
With the development of the musical and technology fields day by day, new versions will keep on coming to suit the new demands of the customers.
Therefore, it would be wise to give some serious thought before buying any laptop, be it music or otherwise.
It's best to avoid the obvious low-cost options when it comes to music productions due to the heavy workload present in this field.
And please avoid Chromebooks, the model is only suited for daily office use and will crash sooner or later if used for music production.
At the end of the day, don’t forget to maintain the laptop neatly from both the outside and from the inside systems.
This will directly affect portability and durability in the long run.
All the given product reviews are based on expert comments, customer feedback, and professional preferences.
Some of the models will be more adaptable than the rest given the unique requirements of different users.
Generally speaking, it's safer to go to well-reputed brands than experimenting with high budget stocks.
Last update on 2020-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API