Being a central pillar of the contemporary music production setup, the careful consideration of what laptop to buy is essential. Running all of your musical applications, storing your audio content, and permitting you to research useful information, a laptop is an unmistakable ally of the artist and performer. Nonetheless, it is difficult to not be overwhelmed by the multitude of laptop options that are available today. This is why we have decided to make your choice easier. This article will provide you with a a list of the best laptops for music production, as well as offer you the most relevant information you need to know before making an important decision.
Here is some additional information before checking out our best laptops for music production picks!
Review: 5 Best Laptops For Music Production
Solid performance & quality
Minimal driver or software issues
Compatible with almost all digital audio workstations (DAW)
Only provides USB C ports (even though you can get an adaptor)
Pricey (However, quality comes at a certain price.)
Nowadays, it has become a social trend to own a MacBook pro, and the same rule applies in the world of music production. Loved for its stability, the MacBook pro is one of the best deal when it comes to music production as many DAWs are entirely optimized for it. Arguably, any mac is the best laptop for ableton live. Moreover, the design and quality of manufacturing are without a doubt some of the best out there. These greatly facilitate and enhance your working environment. That being said, there is no best macbook pro for music production. Different options will satisfy different users.
However, considering the multitude of options available in today’s market, the best MacBook Pro is any model with a minimum of 8 GB RAM & a dual-Core processor of minimum 2.5 gHz. These specifications are just enough to ease your workflow, and cope with the most intensive CPU tasks.
The most recent models have incorporated the intuitive touch bar which can be configured with your DAW of preference. One of the few downfalls are both the price and the few ports that are available (especially with the USB-C models). Nonetheless, you can still go with an older model (2013, 2014) and that won’t really be a mistake considering their performance.
Since, there are almost 15 MacBook Pros options for you to choose from the latest 2017 model to the 2015 models, we have narrowed down the possibility to the best available options:
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch Retina, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) – Silver (Latest Model)
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch Retina, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) – Silver (Latest Model)
Apple MacBook Pro (13″ Retina, Touch Bar, 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) – Space Gray (Latest Model)
Apple MacBook Pro (15″ Retina, Touch Bar, 2.6GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) – Silver (Latest Model)
Numerous port options
Not the most affordable option
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon SPECIFICATIONS
Intel Core i7-8650U Quad-core 1.90GHz (Up to 4.20GHz) Processor
512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
14″ WQHD (2560×1440) + IPS Anti-Glare Display
HDMI, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 2x USB, 3.0, 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader
Lenovo hasn’t always been the most reputable brand in terms of computers, however it seems as if they have managed to deliver a competitive laptop with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Without a doubt, ultrabooks for music production have become a recent trend, as well as tablets. However, the former still remain more competitive and suited for music production given their versatility and more all round characteristics. In that regard, this ultrabook could be the best lenovo for music production.
Very slim and light, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon still remains solidly manufactured. Moreover, the keyboard is backlit and very comfortable. The trackpad is appropriately sensitive (adjustable), with minimal falsely recognized finger positions. Another important characteristic to underline is the extremely pleasant 2560×1440 display which makes for comfortable long hours of use.
In terms of what is inside of this machine, you get a very fast laptop, with a stellar CPU. By this we mean that the featured i7 processor is fast enough (1.9 GHz) to keep up with most of your intensive tasks (loading several VSTs at once, keeping up with CPU intensive plugins). Paired with that is a long battery life; the battery easily lasts a day. Therefore, this laptop is a good option for those of you who travel a lot. In addition, you will also get an expansive choice of ports including HDMI, 2x USB, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), a thunderbolt port, and a 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader. On the negative side, Microsoft should really quit filling their OS with junk programs from 3rd parties. Another downfall, is the RAM which is not upgradable. However, this is rarely the case on laptops.
Excellent battery life
Multitude of ports, including USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3
The screen isn’t very bright.
Can easily heat up during intense sessions.
Acer Predator Helios 300 SPECIFICATIONS
Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
16GB DDR4 Memory & 256GB SSD
15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display, Red Backlit Keyboard
2 USB 2.0 Ports, 2 USB 3.0 Port
More of a gaming laptop, the Acer Predator can also very well be used for Music Production. In fact, at this price, the purchase of a laptop with these type of specifications is a steal. It is definitely one of the cheapest available options out there for these specifications.
In terms of construction, the laptop is very well built and the red lighting is very useful. Nonetheless, compared to other laptops, we wouldn’t say that the Predator marks the most points in the design department. But is that really a criterion of utmost importance? What you will also get with this laptop is an extensive amount of connectivity options with a standard USB, USB C port, HDMI and an Ethernet Port. In terms of true flaws, we can underline the acceptable quality of the screen. Even though quality speakers on a laptop don’t really matter for a music producer, the sound system here is up to par.
Bulky and resistant construction
144Hz narrow-bezel and clear display
Versatile Storage options for the different models (128GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB FireCuda SSHD for the base model)
Touchpad needs improvement
The screen doesn’t open to 180°
Can heat up easily during intensive sessions
ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition Specifications
8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8750H processor.
16GB RAM (DDR4)
128GB PCIe SSD + 1TB SSHDD
15.6″ 120Hz Full HD Wideview
3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 (Type C), 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x headphone/Mic jack, and 1x RJ45 LAN port
Asus has managed to develop itself as an honorable brand in the computer world over the years. This is not surprising considering how competitive their laptops are. The Asus ROG Strix Hero Edition is no exception to the rule. With a futuristic design and finish, this laptop is slick looking . Indeed, the design is simple (all plastic construction) but the manufacturing is solid and not too flashy (except the keyboard). In addition to looking good, the laptop feels great too. On a side note, some might not approve the multicolored keyboard which has been conceived for gamers.
Nonetheless, the keyboard, is very comfortable to type onto. Conversely, the trackpad can feel a little unpleasant. Even if the connectivity options with this model are good, the USB ports seem to be too rigid and could wear out quickly. Moreover, the fans of this laptop can get very loud under CPU intensive tasks. However, what makes this choice a good choice for music producers is its great CPU performance which should allow you to run all your music programs without any problem. What we also like is the fact that it comes in different (more expensive) versions to meet your needs
The first question you should probably ask yourself is: are you looking for portability at all costs? In that regard, it will probably better to go for a 13 or 15-inch model if you plan to travel a lot with your computer. If you only plan to work inside your home studio with your computer, weight and size should not really mater in your selection.
Are you looking for a more flexible laptop?
How many ports do you need? Will you use any external hard drives or DVD drives? Do you plan to connect your laptop to an additional screen display (a lot of music producers go for this option)? We think that it is always best to have a fair share of ports since you will probably need this connect your music equipment.
What computer power do you need?
And is speed really important? For music producers, the speed of processors should matter. This is because you are using a lot of CPU intensive programs. A powerful graphics card can also be handy even if it’s not really a necessity in audio (more the case for video). Will you want to upgrade your RAM or even your motherboard in the future?
What budget do you have?
For a competitive and qualitative laptop, you will need to consider a budget of between 1000 $ and 1500$ at least. It is important because you will want your laptop to still be running well for a couple of years, and avoid buying a new computer again very soon. That being said, it is not impossible to make music on a low-budget computer. Nonetheless, you should be aware of the fact that you might not obtain the same results as on a higher tier laptop.
All these questions should matter but any decent i7 processor and 8 Gb Ram laptop would do the job. In our opinion, this would be the minimum you need to avoid having your tracks freezing and to keep running your VSTs flawlessly.
2. How to choose a laptop for music production?
Another important specification to look out for is the processor. You would prefer it to be one of the latest generations of processors. If the options are too expensive for you, the basic requirement would be a dual-core processor of about 2.5 GHz.
What drive options are available? Is there only a Hard Drive, Solid State Drive or are they combined ? HDD is very useful when storing stuff. The advantage is that it is less expensive and you often get a considerable amount of it when it is featured on a laptop. The advantage of SSD is that it’s blazingly fast. Therefore, it is really appropriate for running applications and softwares. Today, you should look out for a 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute), which is good enough for both reading and writing tasks.
Are there FireWire ports (useful in audio), USB, FW and Express slots? The more available the better.
Before buying any electronic device, you will want to make sure that it comes with an advantageous warranty. This is especially the case when you are buying a laptop which you will (without a doubt) use for several years. In this regard, consider at the same time the budget you still have to allocate to additional music production equipment. Prioritize your needs.
Do you want a larger screen or you don’t really mind the fact that it will be less portable? Can you put it inside your backpack if you travel often? Here, 15,6” seem to be the perfect fit. Additionally, you will want to know if the fan system rarely produces overheating (and irritating noise).
3. Basic laptop requirements should be:
- 8GB RAM
- Core i7 processor (goes for both desktop and laptop)
- 500 GB HD
- Dual-core processor with speed of 2.5 GHz
4. What are the advantages of this type of product?
The question could also be asked differently: What are the benefits of a laptop over a desktop when it comes to music production ? If you wanna go portable, laptops and even tablets like the iPad can be great options for music producers. Often, laptops allow for more flexibility for a music producer, more portability, and you the great amount of options in today’s market make it easier for you to find an affordable option if that is your concern.
Selecting a laptop is never an easy task with all the specifications that have to be considered. Nonetheless, our list of laptops offers accessible options for everyone. A laptop will always be an expensive device considering the extensive amount of functions and tasks it can perform and the central importance it holds in a working environment.
In our opinion, the MacBook Pros are probably the best all round option even though they are also the most expensive. Both Acer models offer a great CPU performance without having a great design. The Asus model has an appealing design and is performing well, however it can heat up easily and its storage options aren’t the best. Finally, the Lenovo Thinkpad is a great option in terms of design and performance, but its price and overheating issues make it as imperfect as the other models on our list.
The bottom line is that there is no perfect option, and you should find a laptop that really corresponds to your needs. Moreover, choosing a music production laptop for beginners isn’t easy. However, there are certain minimum laptop requirements for music production as listed above. These should facilitate workflow and enable you to work while perfoming CPU intensive tasks. We hope that this article has provided you with the clearest information about music production laptops and that it will facilitate your choice.