Best Laptops for Music Production

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With on-the-go music production becoming a norm today, music producers chained to their personal desktop computers are on the lookout for ways to take their production along with them to projects. It is, hence, about time now that we look at and review the best laptops for music production.

While most producers are experts at balancing chords and adding rhythm to sonnets, they’re relatively inept at understanding the specs on computer products. In fact, many of them today are confused by the tons of misinformation out there.

Working through the gibberish of computer specs can be tough for many of our modern day Beethovens. However, after going through this article you will be able to understand what some of these specs and features mean in their individuality and how you should gauge them while selecting the right device.

We understand just how demanding DAW software can be, which is why we use our knowledge and research to steer you toward the right choice. Read through this article to find not only the best laptop for music production, but to also understand the features that you should look out for in them.  

What Should I Look For When Buying My Laptop for Music Production?

Hardware is by far one of the most important things to check in a laptop for music production. Regardless of whether you need the laptop for occasional DJing or for random recording sessions in your studio, you should understand the features and hardware that go into it.

Music producers that are well versed with the DAW software they use will know the hardware specifications they require. However, if you’re unsure about the DAW software you’ll use and want to buy a laptop that can run smoothly on any software, then you need to look at the following considerations in detail.

CPU – Performance & Speed

There are two major players in the world of CPU – Intel and AMD. Intel is the market leader and offers a range of CPUs from i3 – the least powerful system – all the way up to i9. Most users opt for an i5 or an i7 system in mid-to-upper tier laptops that can handle music production well. Different systems come with different speed ratings, which are measured in gigahertz. A higher speed rating ensures better CPU performance.

AMD is the other name to look out for. AMD produces Ryzen processors. These processors follow a similar nomenclature to what Intel does – starting from R3 and moving on to R5 and so on. AMD is popular with gamers today.

In the world of laptops and tech, a faster processor usually means two things in general; your computer is capable of handling more tasks at once, and it can process these multiple items a lot faster. In your actual experience, you will see small differences as a result of processor speed and performance – perhaps one of your audio files will render a minute faster than what it would take on a slower processor. However, with the passage of time these small differences will add up to signal huge changes.

We recommend you get a CPU that provides at least 2.2 GHz of speed and ani5 dual-core processor; you can jump up to i7 or i9 quad-core for an even more ideal experience.

Memory

Software programs for music production can hit your laptop’s memory hard, especially if you add more plug-ins to the process. RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is what we are talking about here. RAM is the short-term working memory of a computer, as it is quicker for laptops to access data through the RAM than through the hard drive every time.

To explain how RAM works, we will take up the metaphor of a bank and a wallet. Consider RAM as your wallet and your hard drive storage as your bank. The money you have in your wallet or the memory you have in your RAM can be used for immediate purposes and paying out people. The money in the bank is well stored, but it isn’t of much use for performing immediate tasks. Random Access Memory is measured in Giga Bytes. 16GB of RAM or higher should suffice in a laptop for music production.

Storage Space (SSD)

One thing that’ll most definitely shock you when you start music production is the crazy amount of storage space that most audio files will consume. One high quality music file will take a considerable number of gigabytes of your space.

So, as you might have guessed with RAM and processors, the higher the number the better. But what is the minimum amount of hard drive you need? You will want a decent amount of hard drive to store all the music files you’ve composed or are in the process of composing. Laptops today come with spectacular hard drive storage space, but we believe 1 TB will perform just about fine for you. If you want, you can use an external drive to store audio files.

Now, hard drives are available in options of HDD and SSD. A solid state drive or SSD is much faster than a hard disk drive or HDD and obviously comes at a higher price tag. HDDs make a whirring sound while SSDs are more efficient and silent. Think of an SSD like having bookmarks within your books to get to the pages you want to go to. Whereas, a hard disk drive or HDD will be like having to flick and scour through every page to find what you want (our metaphors aren’t the sleekest, but we hope they get the job done).

Ports and Connectivity

The ideal laptop should provide USB connectivity for on-the-go usage. It is nice for music producers to have plenty of USB connectivity options for on the go usage. This can also help save them the cost of buying an additional USB hub. A good laptop for music production should have a minimum of three to four USB ports for connecting devices like drives, dongles and MDI controllers.

Dedicated GPU/Graphics

A dedicated graphics card or GPU comes completely separate from your CPU or power source. The graphic card usually houses the GPU in a dedicated setup, which is then used to process all graphic related instructions and data, entirely separate from your CPU.

Dedicated graphic cards work discreetly and come with their own memory in the form of VRAM or video random access memory. This allows a dedicated GPU to quickly access relevant information related to image and video documents. In comparison to this, an integrated graphics card is not equipped with a dedicated memory set to gather image data from.

Keyboard (Full Size)

The laptop you buy should preferably have a full sized keyboard to it. You will feel the need to practice and perform multiple commands through your keyboard. A decent keyboard will ensure that you are able to enter these commands with the speed and efficiency you require.

Hardware Upgradability

In computer lingo, hardware upgradability is considered the laptop’s ability to let you upgrade the specs and add new hardware into it. The additions can be made to enhance performance and speed. For instance, you can use a hardware upgrade today to replace an HDD drive with an SSD drive. The laptop you buy should offer customization abilities in the form of hardware upgradability.

Display Quality and Screen Size

The screen size of your laptop should depend on how portable you want your laptop to be. A 15 inch screen size will be ideal for you as it is easy to carry and doesn’t feel as big and heavy as a 17-incher. A 13 inch laptop screen size can work as well, but we aren’t in favor of these because of how small the screen gets and how hard it would be for you to maneuver around the controls.

The ideal screen size would depend on your preferences, use and comfort. Some people prefer 17 inch screens over smaller ones because of how they can help with viewing and performing tasks.

Unless you’re going for a dirt-cheap laptop, you should always opt for one that offers at least 1920 x 1080 resolutions – also known as full HD. Since we don’t expect you to be well versed with screen gamut coverage, you can at least ensure that the screen has an IPS or an OLED display label on it. An IPS or in-plane switching laptop screen is ideal for viewing and performing tasks without dark angles or damaging your eyes.

Battery Life

The battery life of your laptop could mean one of two things; the period the laptop can effortlessly perform on one charge and the actual life of the laptop’s battery without needing a replacement.

As a music producer, you should preferably buy a laptop with a battery size of over 3,000 mAh. This battery size is sufficient to provide 6+ hours of battery life on one charge (this figure can vary based on your usage pattern). Additionally, most high-end laptops today come with batteries that perform well for 5 years and longer without presenting any issues.

Portability

Finally, you should check the portability of the laptop you buy, and just how easy it is for you to carry around. As a music producer with multiple errands to run, you need a laptop that is easy to carry and use. The less your laptop weighs, the better and more convenient it will be for you.

Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Laptops for Music Production

We’ve shortlisted the laptops in this article after days of research and experiential information. Our experts have gotten in touch with some of the best music producers in town to understand their needs and the systems they are most comfortable using.

Our chosen laptops are also a summarization of the specifications we mentioned above. We have put special focus on these specifications to ensure that the list is comprehensively meant for all music producers.

As a music producer you can blindly pick any of the laptops on this list and get the performance you require. But, to further aid you in the buying process, we also mention laptops that are the best in specific niches and categories. For instance, you can find our specific picks for best budget and best value laptopsonthis list as well.

The Best Laptops for Music Production

Our experts have selected the following laptops after careful consideration and a music-centric approach. We want audiophiles to get nothing less than the best experience in music production, which is why our options hit home with users.

#1: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (Best Overall #1)

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

Pros:

  • Brilliant IPS Retina display
  • Class leading 9th generation processor
  • Innovative acoustic setup
  • Sizable RAM
  • Upgradeable memory
  • Top of the line full-size keyboard

Cons:

  • Storage support is restrictive for users using massive DAWs

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: 4GB AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
  • Display: 16-inch IPS Retina (3072 x 1920)
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

The new Apple MacBook Pro 16 is one of the best laptops for audiophiles looking to take their music production to the next level. The futuristic attributes, the full-size keyboard, revolutionary speakers and the excellent processing speed make this laptop the undeniable success that it is today.

To begin with, this laptop offers you an Intel Core i7-9750H chipset. This processor is characterized by excellent single-core turbo power and clocks speeds up to a staggering 4.5 GHz. Music producers can now process intricate music files and combine multiple synths and samples without worrying about sluggish speeds.

The laptop comes with a 16 GB upgradeable RAM module, a 1TB SSD module. The storage unit can easily load the latest macOS Catalina. As a music production engineer, you work on several projects and tabs at one time, which is where the sizable RAM and storage of this device can come in handy.

  • The 16-inch screen is well lit and boasts an IPS retina display and 3072 x 1920 view. The laptop weighs a respectable 4.3 pounds, which is testimony to the solid exterior while being fairly easy to carry around.

The Apple MacBook Pro 16 is the leading laptop today for music producers looking to take their production game to the next level. The laptop comes with formidable features and won’t leave you high and dry due to its excellent 11-hour battery backup.

Buy the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch here on Amazon.

#2: Asus ROG Strix G17 (Best Overall #2)

Asus ROG Strix G17

Pros:

  • Exceptional 10th generation processor
  • Expansive screen size
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Ultrafast RAM
  • Advanced cooling tech

Cons:

  • Not NVMe compatible

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Display: 17.3-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours
  • GPU: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070

The Asus ROG Strix G17 is a decent device to put your money, especially if you are into professional music production and editing for clients. At the heart, this is still a top notch gaming laptop that can serve your leisure indulgences well.

When it comes to brute force, the Intel Core i7-10750H is a formidable choice to opt for. The motherboard can clock exceptional speeds of 5 GHz in turbo mode.

Asus has made for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 in this device, which ensures a decent graphic-intensive experience for users to enjoy. The 16 GB of RAM is decent for multitasking through projects and is followed by an ultrafast 512 GB of SSD storage. The 17.3 inch screen size is massive and can cover all UI elements part of a DAW system.

The Asus ROG Strix G17 is a decent choice for professional music editors who want good battery timings and speed from a reliable provider.

Buy the Asus ROG Strix G17 here on Amazon.

#3: MSI P65 Creator (Best Overall #3)

MSI P65 Creator

Pros:

  • Powerful processor
  • Decent memory system
  • Ideal for multi-tasking
  • Brilliant display with anti-glare technology
  • Thunderbolt 3 support

Cons:

  • Does not offer Wi-Fi 6 support

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)

The MSI P65 Creator is the perfect gadget for composing and editing outstanding music. The device provides top-of-the-line specs and comes with processing brilliance. The laptop is equipped with the Intel Core i7-9750H, which is a proven motherboard when it comes to success in editing and composing for music producers. The turbo clock speed can go up to 4.5 GHz, which is ideal if you carry this laptop along with you to live shows and performances.

With a 32GB RAM, this laptop is definitely your best bet when it comes to handling multiple projects and multitasking. The 1TB Teton glacier SSD takes care of all storage-centric requirements. The screen size of 15.6 inches is complemented by the slim 4.9mm bezel size. The device weighs a mere 4.9 pounds and is equipped with a decent pair of speakers.

Overall, the MSI P65 Creator is definitely one of the best devices you can purchase for creating, recording and editing music on the go. The 8-hour battery backup is ideal for busy producers.

Buy the MSI P65 Creator here on Amazon.

#4: Razer Blade 15 (Best Overall #4)

Razer Blade 15

Pros:

  • Excellent processing speed
  • Complete suite for connectivity
  • Dependable battery
  • Dual storage
  • Extreme sunlight visibility in matte screen

Cons:

  • Keyboard is a bit shallow

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery: Up to 7 hours
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

The Razer Blade 15 strikes the perfect balance between presentation and power. As an audiophile, you would want a notebook that is sleek and does not fall short when it comes to specs. The Razer Blade 15 boasts an Intel Core i7-9750H processor under the hood and can clock up to 4.5GHz in turbo mode.

The 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can help you with setting up extensive workflows and for gaming during your leisure time. The 16 GB RAM makes it easier for you to manage multiple VSTs, piano rolls and synths at one time. The 1 TB HDD has been helmed with 128 GB of SSD space or managing dynamic project files.

Overall, the Razer Blade 15 is your best bet if you want to manage music production on the go and are also required to perform some outdoor gigs.

Buy the Razer Blade 15 here on Amazon.

#5: Dell XPS 15 9500 (Best Overall #5)

Dell XPS 15 9500

Pros:

  • Aesthetic design
  • High-speed RAM
  • Dependable battery
  • 10th gen processor
  • Functional ports
  • Multi-touch display

Cons:

  • Pricey

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery: Up to 13 hours
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD+ Touch (3840 x 2400)

Probably the most aesthetic laptop on our list, the Dell XPS 15 9500 is a crafty beast when it comes to helping you in music production and amping up your editing resources. The 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H processor is worth mentioning and can reach amazing speeds of 5GHz in turbo mode.

The device offers 15 GB of high speed RAM that can come in handy for productive multi-tasking. The high processing speeds ensure that the system is able to render data faster than many other high-end machines on this list. The 1TB SSD unit is another piece of brilliance that can spruce up your usage of this device.

The 15.6 inch display is what ranks the Dell XPS 15 9500 in a category of its own. Dell flaunts a touch UHD plus panel in its display and offers resolutions of 3840 x 2400 pixels. The vibrant screen is a delight to work on.

The Dell XPS 15 9500 definitely has one of the best displays in the market today and complements it with a decent memory and operating speeds to offer a brilliant experience to music producers.

Buy the Dell XPS 15 9500 here on Amazon.

#6: HP Spectre x360 15t (Best Value)

HP Spectre x360-15t

Pros:

  • Powerful and high speed processor
  • Stellar 4K display
  • Innovative design
  • NVMe-supported SSD
  • Exceptional acoustics

Cons:

  • Subpar cooling

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery: Up to 15 hours
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD Touch (3840 x 2160)

The HP Spectre x360 15t offers convenience and portability for all audiophiles. The good part about this laptop is that it looks great in your hands and can be carried around with ease. For starters, you get to benefit from the dependable Core i7-9750H processor that offers exceptional multi-core performance and can reach staggering speeds of 4.5 GHz at turbo mode.

The 16 GB dual-channel RAM works well with the ultra fast 1TB SSD module to help you with multi-tasking and storing all your valued music compositions and collections. The multi-touch display is complemented with the high screen quality which enhances the value this laptop has to offer.

The HP Spectre x360 15t offers amazing value and is definitely worth your money if you want your career as a music producer to grow forward.

Buy the HP Spectre x360 15t here on Amazon.

#7: Lenovo Ideapad L340 (Best Affordable)

Lenovo IdeaPad L340

Pros:

  • 9th Gen processor
  • Ultra fast storage
  • Respectable battery timing
  • Good FHD IPS display

Cons:

  • Touchpad is stiff
  • Limited specs

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • Storage: 512GBSSD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery: Up to 7 hours
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is one of the few professional laptops today that offer portability, performance and power in a price range of under $1,000. Despite being termed as underpowered by some critics, this is by far one of the best affordable laptops that audiophiles can rely on for their music production.

The Intel Core i5-9300H chipset is more than adequate and offers quad-core processor power. The 8 GB of system memory won’t sound like much, but it can manage the workload of most producers. The 512 GB SSD is a valuable addition and makes this device a wonder to work with.

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 might be a bit limited in its specifications, but the device performs well in its price category and is surely one you can rely on for music production.

Buy the Lenovo Ideapad L340 here on Amazon.

#8: MSI GF63 (Best Budget)

MSI GF63

Pros:

  • Nifty processors can speed up audio
  • Dual-channel RAM
  • Light and portable
  • Standard FHD display
  • Dual storage support

Cons:

  • Lacks Thunderbolt 3

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H
  • Storage: 1TBSSD plus 1 TB HDD
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GX 1050 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD LED (1920 x 1080)

If you want a device that can cater to your production needs without breaking your bank, then you can definitely rely on the MSI GF63. The 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-9300H is a reliable addition and can handle your performance requirements without any compromises.

The upgraded MSI GF63 flaunts a dual 1TB SSD and 1TB HDD support. Static products can find their place in the hard disk drive, while other more demanding projects can be stored in the fast SSD storage. The innovative notebook weighs around 4 pounds and is on the lighter side.

The MSI GF63 is your go-to device if you want to ramp up your production without breaking your bank. The specs are decent and provide good value.

Buy the MSI GF63 here on Amazon.

#9: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Best for Portability)

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Pros:

  • Ideal for portable use
  • Class leading battery
  • Sleek design
  • Decent storage
  • Good processor

Cons:

  • Slow RAM speed

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U
  • Storage: 512 GBSSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery: Up to 17 hours
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Display: 15-inch PixelSense LCD (3240 x 2160)

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the gadget you need if you want a laptop that isn’t underpowered and can perform well on-the-go. The 17 hour battery backup is what makes this laptop excellent for portable usage. You can take this laptop to gigs and production studios without worrying about charging during the day.

The device weighs a low 4.2 pounds and boastsa sleek design that makes it easy to carry and go around with. The Intel Core i7-8650U offers 4.2 GHz top speed on turbo mode. The existing 16 GB RAM can help with production work and does not overburden the processor.

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 comes with an excellent battery size and a portable design and weight. The laptop is easy to carry around and does not compromise on performance.

Buy the Microsoft Surface Book 2 here on Amazon.

#10: Lenovo Legion Y540 (Best for Beginners)

Lenovo Legion Y540

Pros:

  • Fast 9th gen processor
  • Bright and quality display
  • 24GB RAM
  • Innovative keyboard

Cons:

  • Comes without Thunderbolt 3 support

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 512 GBSSD + 1 TB HDD
  • RAM: 24GB
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

The Lenovo Legion Y540 is the perfect laptop for beginner level music producers. The laptop provides the right features for beginners to begin their production journey without being lost in specifications. The Intel Core i7-9750H chipset exceeds all expectations and hits speeds of 4.5GHz in turbo mode.

As far as multitasking is concerned, the Lenovo Legion Y540 provides you with an exceptional 24GB RAM. This RAM size can help beginners with learning multiple programs and projects at once. Storage is good at 512 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD. Beginners also get a bright and responsive IPS panel to start their journey in Full HD.

The Lenovo Legion Y540 boasts an excellent hardware arrangement for audiophiles today to enjoy their production experience.

Buy the Lenovo Legion Y540 here on Amazon.

#11: Acer Aspire 7 (Best for Music Students)

Acer Aspire 7

Pros:

  • 9th generator processor
  • Vibrant display
  • Metal clad solid structure
  • Ultra fast storage module
  • USB charging and additional ports available

Cons:

  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Not the lightest machine

Key Specifications

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • Storage: 512 GBSSD
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery: Up to 7 hours
  • GPU: 3GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

The Acer Aspire 7 is the productivity-centric notebook that music students need to learn all they need to know about DAWs like Ableton Live, FL Studio and many others. Besides its processing excellence, owed much to the Core i7-9750H and a hexa-core processor, the laptop also offers longevity and portability.

The Aspire 7 works well for professional music students who are all about multi-tasking and handling different projects and assignments at one time. The 16 GB RAM validates the multi-tasking potential and works well with the ultra-fast 512GB SSD to offer decent performance.

The Acer Aspire 7 is definitely a winner when it comes to display quality as it boasts a 15.6 inch FHD display. The display is bolstered further by color intelligence technology and 72 percent NTSC color gamut.

The Acer Aspire 7 complements the learning curve that most students studying music production go through. The amazing specs ensure that you can take this machine with you into your professional career as well.

Buy the Acer Aspire 7 here on Amazon.

Verdict

Due to our endless research efforts, you now have a list of the 12 best laptops for music production. You can run through this list again to determine the best laptop for your needs. We will obviously stick with the device we suggested above – the Macbook Pro 16 – courtesy of its built-in editing and podcasting resources. If you aren’t a big fan of Apple IoS then you can go for the Spectre x360 15t from HP or the Lenovo IdeaPad L340. Both of these machines support Windows OS and come at contrasting prices.

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