Imagine having to halt your music-recording, mixing, and mastering sessions every couple of minutes because your music production laptop is not the best investment you thought you made.
Or it annoyingly becomes unresponsive and screeches your practice sessions to unwarranted halts every 5-minute because it can’t keep up with those modern synthesizers.
What if your music producer laptop limits the expanse to which you can take advantage of the choicest, professional DAW programs out there?
Because it doesn’t have the processing power or memory to handle every music production project, you are limited to using only shabby music production software that is not best for business, home use or other laptop music production needs you might conjure up.
Buying the best laptop for music production could be a daunting task. It requires research and a quality understanding of the options in the market. We have put everything together to ensure that you get the best information on how to purchase your music production machine.
- Our Top picks for Laptops for Recording Music
- Key Considerations when buying a music production laptop
- Final Thoughts
Our Top picks for Laptops for Recording Music
#1: Apple MacBook Pro
Wondering what laptop to tag along for your live concert recording, on-road show, or studio time?
The MacBook Pro sports fitting hardware and software support for musicians and music producers regardless of skill level. It comes with Apple’s Garageband music production software for basic recording and production out of the box. But professionals will appreciate that almost every decent, more engaging daws are supported here.
If you are a Logic diehard, though, you have no option but to use an Apple computer since Logic does not support Windows OS. And if you are asking for the absolute best music production laptop around, then pricing may not be your concern.
If you can drop as much on a MacBook Pro, you can expect impressive speed with a Quad-core 2.9 GHz, Intel i7 processor, snappy performance (16 GB of DDR3 RAM), and fast SSD (512 GB) for a sizable chunk of top-tier DAW suites, samples, and so on.
The 15-inch display pops videos and images thanks to 2800 by 1800 resolution Retina Display but could be unsatisfactory if you prefer larger rooms to work on.
For that, you get two USB 3.0 ports to connect to other audio and video interfaces, Bluetooth 4.0 for a wireless connection, and Thunderbolt ports (only usable with other Apple peripherals, unfortunately).
If you choose to record on the fly or are doing a live concert, the MacBook Pro is decidedly durable, lightweight at just 3 lbs, reliable with that 10-hour battery life, and the sharp display won’t shudder under bright lights, either.
#2: Eluktronics P650RP6 Premium
We know you haven’t heard of it before. But if you’d rather score an ultra-performance music recording and production laptop than flag around a mainstream label, here comes.
For less than you’d have to cough up for a MacBook Pro, you get this Made in America beast puffing a horde of multitasking goodies with up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM.
From Sonar to Ableton to Studio One and all the way down to Point Tools and Audacity, this thing will reap through your heavy-handed, resource-hogging, pro-DAW programs with shocking ease and flow.
That’s crazy good. There are four variants to choose from but each hosts a 6th Gen Intel Quad-core i7 CPU. Prices vary with RAM and Storage upgrades.
The base entrant affords you 256 GB SSD storage and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM for around $1,100—a good bargain compared to the harsher price tag on the MacBook Pro.
The flagship version beefs up storage (and RAM up to 64 GB) to a primary 512 GB SSD and an additional 1TB HDD storage.
With all that RAM and processing power, it also swanks a truckload of connectivity options if you are planning to plug several MIDI controllers, as well as both audio and video outputs. It beats every other laptop here—includes two USB 3.1 Type C, three USB 3.0, 1 HDMI (with HDCP), and two mini Display ports.
So, while it is a 15.6-inch (Full-HD) portable beast, it could easily and optimally serve as a workstation replacement, any day. It might seem overkill for a music recording computer, too.
#3: Asus ROG Strix (GL753VD)
Choose this workhorse of a gaming laptop to crank up professional-quality audio and video at half the price of the MacBook Pro.
It hosts similar CPU specs as the MacBook Pro, and even ousts the latter with snappier DDR4 RAM and 1TB HDD storage. That might seem slower than the SSD option winded into the Apple computer, but Asus’ HDD is a 7200 RPM beast that’s great for producers who want more room to record and run DAW suites without a need for external reinforcements.
Still, you get 17.3 inches of Full-HD (60 fps) display estate that’s reinforced with 4GB (DDR5) NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics processing power. Not better than the MacBook Pro but ultra-resourceful if you use graphics-hogging DAW.
It is also surprisingly lightweight for the size, weighing 6.6 lbs. That weight might lead you to prefer it as a studio-time machine. And it aptly fits that role with its array of connectivity ports including two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, one LAN, and a couple more ports.
This Asus is a top contender for the best Windows music production laptop, if not the laptop to beat overall, especially if you think the MacBook Pro is overpriced.
Better yet, check out the bustling Lenovo Y700 if you prioritize an immersive sound experience with all the top-performing (and priced) hardware components.
#4: MSI GX63VR (Stealth Pro -230)
This sturdy thing is hard to beat if you need top-tier components for running every kind of DAW, need to connect to multiple interfaces, and just need fluid, reliable performance. In fact, it is third here because it is priced above the Asus ROG Strix—and that matters to many people.
Wait, there’s more. You get not one, but two storage chambers; a speedy 256 GB SSD and a stunning 2 TB of HDD in-built into one machine. That gives you the choice to run your DAW suite from the faster SSD, and samples et al from the HDD.
On pretty much any other innards, expect the top-performing components of the Asus ROG Strix aforementioned, including the DDR4 RAM—although the display here is a tad smaller at 15.6 inches which is not shabby at all. That’s because it’s Full-HD for all your videos and working under bright lights.
It also couples sleek design with generous connectivity options, sound clarity, lightweight, and reliable performance to make for a portable music recording and production workstation. If you prefer a super-fast computer to this, also check out the Alienware AW Series of gaming laptops for seamless music production.
#5: Acer Aspire V17 Nitro
This Black Edition Aspire is a serious machine. Similar to the Asus ROG Strix above, it sports a roomy 17.3-inch Ultra-HD (3840 by 2160) display for all the true-cinematic format videos and special effects you conspire to throw at it. That’s the kind of 4K display the Dell XPS 9560-7001SLZ PUS boasts—although a touch-screen on the Dell.
Acer also shoved 512 GB of the faster SSD and an additional 1TB of HDD storage into it. It will handle all that in tandem and fluidly as it ships with 16 GB of DDR4 Dual Channel RAM inbuilt (to run with the 6th-gen Intel Quad-core i7 CPU—you can actually turbo boost it to 3.5 GHz).
One other honorable mention must be the DustDefender system. The heavy-handedness of professional-grade DAW suites makes it too hot for many laptops to breathe, so it is good to have a system built into a laptop to cool it down and blow the dust off the working innards.
That’s to like. If it makes any difference, you get Windows 10 (64-bit Home) out of the box. Expect a 7-hour battery life.
#6: Dell Inspiron Flagship
Who says you can’t get the best affordable music production laptop without settling for a bummer? Think again.
There are actually a couple. These include Dell’s sub-500-dollar Inspiron, the Asus F555LA-EH51, and HP 15-ay018nr, and more.
The Flagship, similarly to the two others sports a Full-HD, 15.6-inch touchscreen display, making it great for music production on the fly for not too heavy projects (say, home or self-recording purposes). It even comes with a DVD writer if you want to burn some mixes and small-medium projects to a CD.
You get a usable 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM, which you can spruce up to 16 GB. For processing power, this affordable contender lets you use up 1TB HDD storage right off the shipping package, which is quite the bargain at this pricing point.
And if you want to take full advantage of all the Freemium (and free trials) music production software out there, it comes with Windows 10 (64-bit Home Edition). You can always swap that for Windows 7 if you prefer simple and fewer bells and whistle that you won’t use.
There are four variants to choose from—all distinct from the innards they sport, so get more room to customize your selection at the price you want.
That is before investing in a heavier set at some distant future that will run professional-grade, music production DAW without as much as a whim.
#7: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Windows OS diehards and anyone who wants a top-performing, touchscreen laptop for both amateur and professional production might want to pay attention here. Of course, if you are not a fan of tablets and MS, jump right ahead.
Expect up to 1TB of SSD storage to keep pace with the top-notch 16 GB (DDR) and 6th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU in tandem. Those twin front-facing speakers are also crisp. All these feel attuned.
The well-matched trio will suck the juice out of the power plant in about 8 hours. Couple that with its lightweight design and sturdy build and portability becomes a non-issue for those live recordings, for example.
You might prefer more display room to fit your professional-grade music production software, but the 12.3-inch screen pops beautiful contrasts and is sharp enough for most projects.
If you’d like a more laptop-like feel, we recommend you check out the Dell XPS 9560-7001SLZ PUS and HP Spectre x360 if you plan on operating several parameters within different DAW suites—awesome suit for the touch-screen options.
#8: Apple MacBook Pro MGXC2LL/A
This is another sturdy device from Apple! It has stood the test of time indeed. The machine is made for modern entertainment uses. It comes with an incredible Retina display that offers amazing viewing angles. The screen is bright enough to allow you to work with comfort.
The MacBook Pro model is a functional, innovative, and fast machine that is designed for multitasking.
Even the Experts are in love with this laptop. You can read the review by Joel Santo Domingo on PCMag. It is rated as Excellent and given 4-star Rating.
The Intel Core i7 processor is a powerhouse to deliver great performance for music editing and writing. The creative machine has quality audio and video recording features. The built-in sound features are just brilliant. The machine is made with a cool 8GB RAM that can be upgraded for better results.
#9: Asus Zenbook UX305UA
This laptop is designed for music production. It has features to allow quality video and audio recording. The model is a real deal for professional music production. It comes with a 13.3” Full HD, IPS anti-glare Matte display.
It can thus be used even in the sun without any complications. It has an Ultra-wide 170-degree viewing angle. This is the perfect machine for music production.
Performance is a very important feature of a good laptop for music production. The Asus machine is made with Intel Core i5 6200U, a 2.3GHz processor. The speeds are enough for any performance level you intend to achieve. The laptop features a 1 x COMBO audio jack to support music recording.
Storing your recorded music is not a problem. The machine has a 256GB SSD. This is plenty of space to allow for quality music production. The storage is fast.
For performance sake, the machine has 8GB RAM. It allows for the smooth running of applications and programs opened on the computer. The 1.2 MP, High Definition WebCam can record quality videos.
I personally found this laptop to be the best deal in the market for music production.
#10: Acer Aspire V17
The Aspire V17 Nitro is a beast laptop that has excelled in many ways. It comes with quality features for music production. It can be used for music editing anywhere you want.
The large screen machine runs on an Intel Core i7 processor. This is a performance powerhouse like none other in the market. The Acer machine is equipped with Dolby audio and 4 built-in speakers. This device is designed for power, productivity, and speed as well as general performance.
Working at night or in the dark is also possible with this powerful laptop. The keyboard is red-lit making it convenient for night use and enjoyable to work with. The CoolBoost and DustDefender technologies used in the machine make it very powerful and fast for modern music production.
It has a cool look thanks to the super personalized UI control center. The stunning cinema visuals make it the perfect tool for music production. It is a device meant for entertainment.
Key Considerations when buying a music production laptop
Everyone has their own preference. The point is, why do you need this machine? The amount of job you intend to involve the machine in will determine the kind of music production laptop to buy. The following are some of the questions you need to answer when searching for a reliable laptop for music production.
Here is a roundup of the top considerations to make when buying a music producing laptop
1. Operating System: You might find that ton of the finest music production software is primed for the OSs running on MacBook Pro and iMac computers. But Windows also supports fluid operations for gazillions of those. So check your DAW hardware requirements.
2. Peripheral compatibility: Figure out if you’ll need to connect with other music production hardware as part of the job. If you do, then you are going to thank your stars for a laptop with multiple USB ports (PC) or connectors (MacBook).
3. Storage: Now, this will depend on how big the projects you take on really are. If you are an all-out professional music producer you are definitely going to need lots of room for all those samples and heavy-lifting DAW suites. If you are just starting but want a music production laptop that will stand the test of time (making for good value for money), you’ll still need more storage capacity as well.
4. Processing power: You’ll need the fastest, latest-generation CPU you can afford. Typically, Intel’s i7 processors will get the job running like clockwork.
5. Memory: To run resource-hogging DAW while tweaking other samples, components, and so on demands unrelenting memory. Aim for at least 8GB for fluid operations. If you can afford 16GB of DDR3 memory (although DDR4 is becoming standard fast), that’ll be awesome.
6. Screen size and resolution: It is without a doubt that the size of the screen you use for your laptop determines its performance and reliability in many ways. If you intend to use the machine for some production, playing tracks, and modules, there is a need to pay attention to the screen size. In most cases, our study has established that you need 15 inches or more reliable laptop use. Simply put, the need for a screen is always based on the job you intend to do with the laptop. The other issue is the resolution of the display. You must consider a High Definition screen. This is useful in viewing quality videos and photos. Gamers, video, and photo editors know well the importance of using a full HD screen.
7. Battery life: Arguably one of the most important aspects of any laptop is battery life. The idea is to have a laptop that can be used off the power source without inconveniences. You must check on the performance of a laptop when away from the power source. You must consider a battery that is small in size and less bulky but can hold enough power to run your jobs for sufficient time.
The specifications above will also help you decide between MAC or PC for your audio music productions. However, the decision boils down to the budget you’ve.
Are Macs good for music production?
Music producers prefer the MacBook’s stable OS and its intuitive UI, which is ideal for music production. Its crash-proof design also makes it ideal for the studio. The Mac is also loaded with popular software such as Logic Pro, and the CoreAudio drivers in MacBooks greatly improve the overall quality of audio.
Is Intel or AMD better for music production?
You’re better off going with Intel because it’s reliable, but it might be more power-hungry and less powerful. As AMD continues to face compatibility rumors, it is a less safe bet.
How much RAM do you need for a DAW?
It is usually recommended to have at least 16GB of RAM to ensure adequate performance in DAWs. Nevertheless, 8GB of RAM is plenty of RAM for entry-level users who are just getting started.
We all have our favorite music production tools. And your sweet spots as far as the combination of features, power, multitasking, components, compatibility, and price scores for each laptop.
However, our top 10 picks for best music production laptops here strike a good deal among all these considerations. Well, clearly with a bias towards punchy processing power and workhorse RAM.
Have an awesome music production laptop that you think deserves an honorable mention or a trick to get the best out of one and you’d like to share? Hit us all up in the comments. If you are looking for video editing laptops with the latest generation 7 Intel processor, you must check this list of laptops