Note: Our comparison table only shows our top 5 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article.
Before this bug of technology bit us, music was created from physical instruments – guitars, pianos, flutes, drums, sitars. Each passing century discovered a newer, better instrument till we reached the 21st century where children started playing music on their iPods.
Parallel to this history of the development of music runs the history of music production. It all started with the invention of gramophones when music producers first started making records.
Then came in tapes, cassettes, CDs, Bluetooth mp3 devices and now the internet. With each change, the equipment required for music production kept getting more sophisticated and more compact.
Now we’ve finally reached the time period where music production is possible with a laptop alone.
No PC, no sophisticated machinery - just raw talent and the correct laptop with the correct software.
The question to ask now is which is the most appropriate laptop for this activity? And the answer to that would depend on several variables ranging from the level of the music producer’s ability – amateur or professional – to the amount of cash he/she is willing to shell out for quality features.
Now one would assume that the ability to make the correct choice depends on the technological knowledge one possesses, and one couldn’t be further from the truth. To demonstrate this, today we shall guide you in making the perfect choice for yourself.
This article lists down 10 best laptops for music production currently available to music producers. Based on your budget and software requirements you can pick out the one most suitable to you. There are three key features one can measure a laptop in for the purpose of music production.
These are the processor, RAM, and the Operating system. One must select the fastest processor, largest RAM and the OS that supports the software of their choice. Now obviously budgetary constraints make it next to impossible to have all three. One must then trade off based on how much value each feature adds.
Personally, I believe in not compromising when it comes to the power of the processor. For beyond a certain point RAM is a luxury but the faster the processor the easier it is to work complicated software. And same goes for OS.
One must always choose the best OS for without the best software, one will be left nowhere. Music producers also need to keep moving around, so to top it all it’s always helpful if the device is more portable.
Our Top Picks for Best Laptops for Music Production
1. HP Spectre x360 Laptop
This HP Spectre comes with a 8th generation quad core i7 processor and a 512 GB SSD which provide decent power to produce and record music. NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB DDR5 dedicated) and a maximum of 16 GB of RAM are sufficient to handle most of the music producing tasks other than intensive work like film scoring.
The laptop is a hybrid that allows utilization as a normal laptop as well as a tablet. It is well-built with a solid aluminium chassis.
The touchscreen display is a gorgeous 4K display and the thin profile coupled with a great battery life (8 hours of online browsing) make the laptop an attractive proposition for traveling and producing music. The audio is voiced by 2 Bang and Olufsen speakers.
The laptop is provided with just 1 USB 3.0 port along with Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports for charging which might be a turn down for the tech savvy, crazed beings who like a lot of devices functioning together. The laptop also experiences minor heating issues due to the thin build.
Overall, HP Spectre x360 is a great package for the traveling music producer providing a decently powerful machine in a compact and thin profile. It’s one of the best premium laptops under $1500 and we highly recommend it for tasks such as music production.
2. Lenovo Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop
This machine is a powerful gaming machine that doubles up as a music production system. The quad-core i7 7700HQ, 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti Graphics, and the 256 GB SSD make this device a performance beast suitable for gaming as well as video editing, photo editing and music production.
The RAM of 16 GB limits its usage away from intensive tasks like film scoring. The battery life is also not the selling point of this laptop but this shouldn’t stop buyers who intend to use it in the studio for music production.
This performance beast comes with a great cooling system which would prevent the device from heating up when performing intensive processing tasks.
The build of the laptop is a bit plasticky which is understandable considering the affordable price of the laptop. The back lit keyboard and a full HD matte display make using this laptop a pleasant experience during the night as well as sunlight.
For ports, the laptop has enough to not face connectivity issues. The connectivity is great and there are plenty of ports for music production gear.
Lenovo Legion Y520 is a great buy under $1000 provided the best specifications and would be ideal for music producers who produce in their studios.
3. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin
This laptop is massive both in terms of size and in specifications and that is exactly what makes it among the best laptops for music production.
With a 15.6-inch FHD 144Hz anti-glare display that is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and a 6 core i7-8750H processor, this machine would be able to handle most of the production tasks thrown at it including video editing and post processing.
A 16 GB RAM should be enough for most tasks while the 256GB SSD drive provides for smooth streaming of music as well as ample space to store your music files.
The laptop is built with the high-end gamer in mind. It lacks the design nuances associated with music production or art in general.
However, the machine is fit to do the task it is intended to do – produce music. It includes great connectivity with special features such as advanced speaker technology, True Color SRGB, Cooler Boost 4 and VR Ready.
This performance focused machine in a package might cost you a little over $1600 which is on the more premium side. However, the device would handle most of the production tasks thrown at it with ease.
4. MacBook Pro Retina
The MacBook Pro has always been a favorite choice in music production. Does the new MacBook Pro Retina model with Touch Bar live up to this reputation?
A 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 with a Turbo Boost of up to 3.6 GHz means that you have the processing power, when needed, but also great battery life at 10 hours. The Pro has a beautiful 13.3" Retina display with IPS technology. Although Retina screen is not vital for music work, some music production applications have many details controls on the screen and the high resolution will make the control rendering more precise.
The 13.3" inch model with 256 GB SSD is decent enough, though you may still need to store some of your data externally. Removal of the optical drives allows the model its sleek shape.
Music production often needs more ports on a laptop. The MacBook Pro can come configured with 2 or 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and you may want to choose the 4 port model. You can also buy port extenders or hubs (sometimes called a docking station) that will give you plenty of ports when you aren't mobile.
The Touch Bar feature adapts to the application being run. It's a somewhat controversial feature, but it can be very useful in some scenarios. I personally like it.
The aluminum body is very nice to the touch and quite durable. This laptop may cost a bit more than a similar Windows laptop. However, if you want a laptop that will perform well and last for many years, this is a great choice.
5. ASUS FX502VM-AS73
A laptop typically built for gaming is a dynamic performer for music and video production. The IPS display screen is quite accurate, combined with a Nvidia GTX 960M graphic card with 4GB GDDR5 memory making the laptop to outshine when working with huge file size.
A large number of ports ranging from thunderbolt to USB will make your music work hassle free. There will be no issues attaching it with several screens as you work.
With newest 7th generation Intel i7 and a RAM upgradeable to a max of 32GB, is bound to give you a powerhouse performance. It would be highly comfortable when you work on bigger music projects with files that are much larger in size. In addition to these, the laptop features a brilliant, extraordinary cooling system.
It prevents the keyboard from getting heated even when you’re working on heavy music compositions. The battery life of Asus FX502VM-AS73 seems to be a small issue, which can be overlooked if it is plugged in all the time during work.
The model seems to be a promising catch for music production with almost no negatives about it. The brand name guarantees quality as well.
6. Eluktronics Mech-17 G1RX
Gaming laptops have the fastest processors. So don’t get thrown off by the name. This laptop fits in most budgets and features the latest Intel Core i7 processor with a max of 4.5 GHz processor.
The operating software is Windows 10. Battery life of this device can last up to 5 hours and it has multiple connectivity options allowing number of additional audio devices to be attached to it.
This laptop is less bulky than its predecessors Its packed with the best parts available and is highly recommended for music producing. However, it has several cons as well.
Heavy computing load makes its fan go so loud that it might interfere with your recording and can honestly be scary at times.
But when one looks at the price, many are willing to make the sacrifice for it offers all the best features in the lowest price range possible.
7. Dell XPS9560-7001SLV-PUS
This laptop is as sleek as Eluktronics was bulky. An absolute delight to look at with 15.6-inch infinity edge screen display and an ultra-thin build – Dell XPS is one of the best laptops for music production as well as appearance wise.
Coming to the more important features – it has a RAM that is upgradeable to 32 GB, provision for a 7th gen i7 Intel Core with a 3.8 GHz. The cheaper models have a 7200 RPM HDD.
But with a little more money one can upgrade that to an SSD making the device more powerful. Connectivity is not an issue either as it has several different ports that allow it to attach multiple devices in a studio. On the flipside, the biggest con to this laptop is the hefty price it demands.
One can always turn down the features to more basic to reduce the price but a premium has to be paid for the elegant build. Hence this laptop is recommended more for those with a higher budget than the rest as music production is more about the internal features than the external build.
Otherwise, this is one of the best laptops for music production for both amateurs and professionals.
8. ASUS ROG Zephyrus
This model of ASUS captures all the latest technologies with the newest Lake i7 processor and a Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU for better processing of DAW software. Its RAM is upgradable to 32 GB which is perfectly suitable for music production.
And lastly, the greatest advantage that this model has above all the other laptops mentioned here is that it has two storage devices – an SSD as well as an HDD. You can use the former for your processing needs and the latter for storage which is perfect for running music production software while saving the results separately.
It is thin and relatively lightweight which makes it suitable for traveling. However, the battery life too is not impressive at 3-4 hours so don't plan to be away from an outlet for very long.
Therefore, while this model has world class technology and some of the best features required by a music producer, it is better suited for using inside a studio or house compared to a Mac which can be used easily while traveling.
9. Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop
A cheaper model than the rest, this laptop fulfils all basic requirements of a music producer but doesn’t have the best features available and that is the reason why it falls on the lower scale of the price range.
However, it is still well suited for beginners looking to dabble in this art without investing large amounts of money. The lowest model features an intel core i5 processor but that is easily upgradable to the recommended i7.
Where this model falls short is storage with just a 256 GB SSD. It has an in built SSD drive and has the provision to add an HDD but that is a task in itself. Moreover, the RAM provided in it is 16 GB which is enough for most of your tasks.
Its display too is not something mind blowing. Nonetheless, this model does offer excellent performance for the price it charges. Thus while this laptop gets checks in the processor and operating system boxes, it falls short in the storage section. However, if one is unable to collect suitable fund for a better model, one can definitely start with this.
10. Apple MacBook Air 13
The name Apple is sufficient to establish trust in the quality of this model. It sports a dual Intel Core i5 processor with a boost of 2.7 GHz.
An amazing battery that can last up to 12 hours with non-intensive functioning and an amazing display screen of 13.6 inches. The MacOS operating system should support most DAW software and is extremely user-friendly.
Its price is more appealing than the other MacBooks as well. However, it doesn’t have an exceptionally high RAM (just 8 GB) nor does it sport several external ports which make connectivity an issue. This option while not the most ideal, is good quality, powerful as well as perfect for those looking for a Mac as their device but have a tight budget.
Its only major con is that one needs to buy a lot of converters as this model, sleeker than most in its build, doesn’t have too many external ports. On the plus side, it’s lightweight and small making it ideal for music producers who work on the go.
In conclusion, there are several varying models available to music producers. This article just lists 10 best laptops for music production from the best brands.
If one is on an even tighter budget they can look at other new upcoming brands that may not promise the same long lasting quality as these brands do but will most definitely provide the same features at a cheaper price.
The bottom line is that one no longer needs an entire studio fitted with equipment to produce music. A simple laptop will do the job!