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Best Laptops for Music Production & Buyer’s Guide [2022]

Best Laptops for Music Production & Buyer’s Guide [2019]

Choosing the best laptops for music production is easier thought than done.

From a distance, it could seem like a cakewalk; until you’re set – financially and otherwise – to hit the market. The actual confusion sets in as you scroll down a pile of available options –whether on online or offline stores.

If you are currently stuck between some laptop options –or completely clueless, no worries. We have you covered.

After detailed market research – primarily influenced by user experiences – we put up this comprehensive guide.

The article features a guide to help you select a good laptop for music production, as well as a review of our top-five best picks.

Table of Contents

Best Laptops for Music Production Comparison Chart


Best Laptops for Music Production

Best Laptops for Music Production & Buyer’s Guide [2019]

Apple MacBook Pro

First on our review list is Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro. Initially released in 2015, this modest, lightweight design comes with a thin and compact build that makes it pass for a sufficiently portable device.

With its modern Intel i5 2.3GHz dual-core speed processor and SSD, this device boasts, confidently, of sufficient speed to run multiple programs at the same time without hitches.

Although the laptop comes with a meager 8 gig RAM, it is extendable to 16 gigs. Obviously, this gig size may not hold up for high music productions.

However, it is a good pick for less demanding productions. The MacBook Pro is also ideal for professionals who own a music production studio, but needs a device to check up on collaborations, access shared projects, or make modifications, away from the studio.

Again, its 10-hour battery life is a huge plus, offering long working hours while on the move.

So, if you do not make sample-heavy productions and have no plan for orchestral grade workloads, Apple’s 13” MacPro laptop has all the basic specs for most popular Digital Audio Workstation.

Apple 13in MacBook Pro, Retina Display, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 Dual Core, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Space Grey, MPXQ2LL/A (Renewed)The butterfly spring keyboard is an impressive bonus. It works as much as a virtual keyboard in the absence of a midi-keyboard or remote control.

Users say although Mac products are typically pricey, MacBook Pro is a relatively affordable model. So, although it won’t handle ram-zapping plugins or large samples, it’s indeed worth every penny of its cost.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Quick launching and importing

Cons

  • 8 GB RAM – only upgradeable to 16 GB max.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop: Intel Core i7-8565U 4-Core, GeForce MX150, 13.3" FHD 1080p, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD - CNC Aluminum - Chroma RGB Lighting - Thunderbolt 3 Compatible

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop

This is one of the popular laptops in the music production niche.

With its Quad-Core i7-8550U, Razer Blade Stealth handles your digital audio workstation and plugins without any hassle. Also, its 16GB RAM, though not extendable, will do the work for a traveling producer.

Its NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 106 offers extra support to the plugin processing during productions.

One impressive feature is its touchscreen display, which allows you tweak your draw automation and audio plugins.

Besides, its 256GB SSD – upgradeable to 512 GB – is considered industry-standard. The model comes with a 1TB SSD version, but for some extra buck.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop: Intel Core i7-8565U 4-Core, GeForce MX150, 13.3" FHD 1080p, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD - CNC Aluminum - Chroma RGB Lighting - Thunderbolt 3 Compatible The laptop also features a USB-C port which allows you to use external HDD or SSD to load plugins, projects, or virtual instrument, seamlessly. Though the USB-C is superfast, you will need an external drive – better an SSD – for faster loading and samples’ storage.

For the mention – Razer Blades Stealth is a gaming laptop. However, the laptop is as great for music production.

Pros

  • High-quality and performance
  • Features USB-C.
  • Touch screen

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Limited upgrade options

2018 Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-IN-1 Laptop: 15.6" IPS Touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080), Intel Quad Core i7-8550U, 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA 940MX, Backlit Keys, Windows 10 - Black (Renewed)

Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-IN-1 Laptop

NO doubt, Lenovo has taken a spot among leading manufacturers of laptops for music production. The Lenovo Flex 5 laptop is power-packed, with high speed and huge space for massive video editing projects and gaming.

If the 15.5-inch machine can handle such storage- and speed-hungry demands, music production software and related plugins should be a walk in the park for this beast.

This 2-in-1 model allow you easily swap between four different models – tent, tablet, stand and laptop.

One attractive feature of this device is its fingerprint sensor access. It offers users fast and stress-free access to their workstation.

Again, the device comes in a lightweight structure, which makes it easy to access and handle your projects away from home.

2018 Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-IN-1 Laptop: 15.6" IPS Touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080), Intel Quad Core i7-8550U, 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA 940MX, Backlit Keys, Windows 10 - Black (Renewed) Besides, the system comes with an 8 generation processor as well as a 256 GB SSD. This promises users lightning-speed booting time and transfer speed.

Even more, the device offers a breathtaking 10-hour battery life.

Pros

  • Fast speed processor
  • Fingerprint reader for easy login
  • Outstanding FHD display

Cons

  • SD slot takes just half of SD card]
  • Poor anti-glare, making it difficult for some users to see clearly under bright lights.

HP Pavilion Power 15-inch Laptop, Intel Core i7-7700HQ , AMD Radeon RX 550, 12GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10 (15-cb071nr, Black), Gaming

HP Pavilion Power 15-inch Laptop

The first thing you will most likely notice about this laptop is its widescreen, for convenient DAW edits. The gadget features an Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ, which guarantees enough processing capacity for massive music arrangements and recordings.

One downside, however, is its 4GB RAM size upgradable to 16, max. Anyways, this still sounds decent enough for minor production management outside the office.

The battery life is well juiced to offer hours of standby power backup. An impressive feature for on-the-go producers.

One of its most significant plus is its dual-storage feature. With both the HDD and SSD options, you can throw all your VSTs and plugins on your HDD and save your programs on your SSD.

HP Pavilion Power 15-inch Laptop, Intel Core i7-7700HQ , AMD Radeon RX 550, 12GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10 (15-cb071nr, Black), Gaming

More intriguing, the HDD is extendable to 2TB.

This pavilion Power 15 comes with NVIDIA GeForce 1050, which makes it suitable for light film scoring or video editing. The laptop is a nice pick for beginner-intermediate range music producers who may combine music with other tasks.

We recommend you get the exact specs that suit your production needs. This will help you avoid likely issues that come with future upgrades.

Pros

· Long battery life
· USB-C Ports and many others
· Large storage and dual-storage options

Cons

· Plastic built
· 4GB, extendable to 16 GB only.


Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US 13.3" Traditional Laptop (Light Titan)

Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US 13.3″ Traditional Laptop (Light Titan)

Most laptops sacrifice compatibility for performance – not Samsung Notebook 9. The 15-inch thin and light laptop spots an i7 core processor, supported by a 16 GB RAM and 256GB SSD drive.

Samsung Notebook 9 is impressively slim – thinner than MacBook Air. Yet, it spots a built-in dedicated NVIDIA 940MX GPU.

Although it comes with a 256GB SSD, relatively small, the storage can be stretched to 1TB.

With on-the-go music producers in mind, the laptop features a USB-C, which allows you recharge your laptop with a mobile phone charger.

Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US 13.3" Traditional Laptop (Light Titan) On the battery, Samsung promises 2.1 hours for a 20-minute charge.

Also, the PC comes with many connectivity options, including HDMI, USB 3.0 ports, and, surprisingly, a Micro SD slot in place of the larger-size SD ports as in most laptops.

Pros

  • Wide display
  • Thin and lightweight
  • USB-C port
  • SSD extendable to 1TB

Cons

  • MicroSD slot in place of standard-sized slot
  • Extendable to 16GB RAM max.

Laptop for Music Production Buyer’s Guide

Apple 13in MacBook Pro, Retina Display, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 Dual Core, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Space Grey, MPXQ2LL/A (Renewed)

Selecting the Best Laptop for Music Production

There are two most important factors to consider when selecting a suitable laptop for your productions – the DAW software and the Operating System you plan to use.

Recommended Specifications of 3 popular DAWs

Steinberg Cubase Elements 10 Music Production Software

Steinberg Cubase

  • 8GB RAM
  • 18GB HDD
  • AMD or Intel Multicore (at least i5)
  • 64-bit OS

Logic Pro X 10.4.2 : What's New In Logic

Logic Pro 10

  • 4GB RAM
  • 6GB disk space for installation and an additional 57GB for sound library
  • 2.3GHz i5 processor or higher
  • MacOS 10.12

Ableton Multitrack Recording Software (Live 10 Standard)

Ableton Live

  • 4 GB RAM
  • 5 to 76 GB for sound content and 3GB for installation space
  • AMD or Intel multi-core – at least i5
  • MacOS X/Windows 7 or higher

From the spec, you’d notice each DAW have their individual minimum required spec for best performance.

Sometimes, however, these recommendations do not factor in other add-ons and external plugins necessary to run the workstation. VST instruments may suffer hitches if heavily layered, particularly for orchestral suites.

Also, loops and samples require considerable space for their storage. And, of course, this should be in a good-spaced hard drive for easy and more efficient access.

For RAM

Ideally, your target should be somewhere around between 16GB to 32GB of RAM and with impressive clock speeds.

However, some DAWs work great with an 8GB RAM and perfect for newbies and music dabblers. But where ‘top performance’ is the primary keyword, you will most likely require a higher spec.

For Processor Speed

Most top DAW brands will not run well on any specification below an i5 core processor supported by a 2.3 GHz dual-core speed. So, your laptop’s processor speed is directly proportional to the production quality.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook Laptop: Intel Core i7-8565U 4-Core, GeForce MX150, 13.3" FHD 1080p, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD - CNC Aluminum - Chroma RGB Lighting - Thunderbolt 3 Compatible

Operating System

Your DAW may be OS-selective. There are, however, software – as virtual machines – that help your Operating System mimic other OS and run their programs.

The Operating System you choose boils down to individual preference. Although some producers argue that Mac is the in-thing when it comes to music production, most DAWs are cross-compatible with major operating systems.

It is worth stating, however, that Mac, as with other operating systems – is susceptible to crashes and complete data loss too. In such cases, a hard reset may be the only way out.

Worthy of mention also – MacBook tends to overheat after extensive uninterrupted usage.

Mac users may also require adapters to communicate with other non-Apple devices.

The I/O capabilities should also be considered. The accessories –keypad or mouse – you’d want to use during productions should also determine your buy.

For instance, your DAW may need an audio interface for recording an audio track line-in from TRS or XLR. These features would require a high powered and high-speed connection Bus.

Ideally, Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 is most recommended. Still, some audio or MIDI interface controllers can be connected to your audio interface directly, while others require an independent USB power source.

The list of good laptop brands and models on the market are non-exhaustive – each with their unique pros and cons.

2018 Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-IN-1 Laptop: 15.6" IPS Touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080), Intel Quad Core i7-8550U, 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA 940MX, Backlit Keys, Windows 10 - Black (Renewed)

Summarily…

Here are some important boxes to check before you invest in a laptop for music production:

  • Ensure you have already decided on a DAW to use. This helps you narrow your options to the most suitable OS requirements.
  • Choose a laptop with, at least, an i5 dual-core processor
  • IT should spot at least three modern version USB ports
  • It is advisable to have a RAM size that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendation
  • You need a great SSD/HDD space for storage of loops, samples, and related files.

Top Budget Laptop For Music Production

Whenever it comes to music production, the faster is always better. Using a lagging computer can be a horrible experience.

Glitches and crashes or loss of latency way down your recordings can be the worst thing during productions.

The best laptops for music production reviewed in this guide will give you a smooth recording experience. Interestingly, they come with reasonable price tags.

Desktop Vs. Laptop – which for music production?

It depends. Performance-wise, desktops are better than laptops for music production.

Primarily, because desktops are easily upgraded without hassles.

Pros believe desktops are generally more efficient for your music production gigs, but not without their peculiar drawbacks.

Above all, desktops are set up and stationed – a limitation for on-the-go productions.

However, they make a preferred investment option for those looking to set up a home studio.

Conversely, the world has literally gone mobile, and most business models are following suit – including music production.

Mobility is the in-thing. Mobile devices have made it easy to work while on the move – a major limitation with our desktops.

However, if your studio is already stationed, you may still need a supporting laptop to enable more convenient production management, miles away from home.

Talking convenience – and portability – laptops allow you set up your music shop within seconds, regardless of place and time. And with some latest thin and lightweight designs, they won’t add much weight on your backpack.

However, the most capable laptop specs come with as high as $2500 price tag.

Whether laptop or desktop, if you need a computer primarily for your DAW workload, you’d get a remarkable experience with more USB ports –preferably thunderbolt or 3.0-, a fast memory speed, great processor, decent SSD storage, and, at least, 6 GB RAM.

2018 Lenovo Flex 5 15 2-IN-1 Laptop: 15.6" IPS Touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080), Intel Quad Core i7-8550U, 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA 940MX, Backlit Keys, Windows 10 - Black (Renewed)

Cost and Budget

As with any purchase, cost is a primary consideration.

For music producers, you may not necessarily spend a fortune on a laptop.

You can get one within the $500 – $1000 range and still be sure of a decent performance – whether for recording, DJing, or production.

However, logically, a higher budget comes with more features. So, check your budget. Confirm how much you can invest in a laptop. And have in mind the need for additional accessories – such as audio interface, microphone, studio headphones, DAW, etc.

Mac Vs. Windows PCs

Here, we assume you’ve never had an experience with either of these options. Let’s find out what you should buy.

Check the list below. You may opt for a Mac if, at least, two of the options apply to you:

  • Are you already comfortable with Mac’s interface?
  • What DAW do you wish to use? Logic Pro X?
  • Do you seek to increase your employability in the music industry as a producer or studio engineer?
  • Do you have enough budget to fund a Mac?

If your answers to most of those questions are a “NO,” then maybe you should think to buy a Windows PC. That’s it – as simple as it seems.

None is better or worse. World-class producers across the globe still use both Macs and Windows PCs to produce good music.

That said, Mac, over time, has gained a prestigious reputation in the world of music production. Currently, Mac is widely recognized as an industry-standard product. It has secured this status with its consistent stability and reliability when music production is mentioned.

Windows aren’t any less reliable and stable, though. So, we’d be right to think users’ commitment to these brands is primarily a function of brand’s loyalty – not functionality, per se.

Summarily…

    • If you feel more comfortable with PCs, opt for PC
  • If you feel more at peace with Mac – and it fits your budget – go for Mac
  • If you wish to use a PC-only DAW like Cakewalk SONAR for your productions, go for a PC
  • If you wish to use a Mac-only tool like Logic Pro X, then get a Mac – if it’s convenient for your budget.

FAQ

HP Pavilion Power 15-inch Laptop, Intel Core i7-7700HQ , AMD Radeon RX 550, 12GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10 (15-cb071nr, Black), Gaming

Is 8GB RAM enough space for music production?

8 GB is probably enough. However, you may not need more than 32 GB RAM for your productions.

Instead of increasing RAM, invest more in your audio interface, CPU, plugins, or video card. If your laptop has up to four to six slots, you may want to leave some slots free in the event of a future upgrade.

Is 256GB SSD sufficient for music production?

Yes, a 256GB SSD should do as a primary drive. However, for better storage, you may need an external SSD as well. 

Final Thoughts

Of course, good laptops for music production are somewhat pricey. It’s not an investment to be rash about – you don’t want to make a regrettable mistake, particularly on your first buy.

We trust the buyer’s guide has sufficiently treated all you need to know before choosing a laptop for music production.

Some of the laptops reviewed have a lot more features than mentioned above. We intend to keep the reviews on features relevant to music production functions – particularly for your audio workspace.

While some of the reviewed laptops are mostly recommended for starters, you may need an upgrade as your production method and skills evolve.

With the rapid technology growth, so long as you know the purpose of your buy and the particular DAW you wish to use, there’s always a perfect laptop that ticks all the boxes.

Remember, two key features to look out for are OS compatibility and processor power.

Then, you need to search for one within your price range, sufficient RAM, and enough SSD storage for easy navigation and data retrieval.

About the Author

Michael-B

Michael-B is a Music Producer, Musician, and Formally Trained (and was Certified by the Recording Institute of Detroit in 1986) Recording Engineer. As of to date, He's built 3 home recording studios go back to 1987, where he wrote, played all the instruments, and recorded his music. Michael B is also a Writer, Chief Editor and SEO of TrackinSolo.com