Let’s be frank. A lot of laptops are specially designed for gamers. The truly dazzling display, the speakers, and the impressive performance.
However, those features are what you want if you are looking for the best laptop for music production. Navigating the market can be tricky as you need to work out which operating system you want.
There is also the space that’s required for everything you are working on and the processing speed.
Music production requires several features for a performance you can rely on. A fast processor to keep up with your production efforts and enough memory space to house all those tracks.
Without the right laptop, you could find your own musical craft suffering. Worse still, the laptop could threaten a live performance or a studio session.
Do not allow a lackluster laptop to ruin your chances of musical fulfilment. With the right processor, a gorgeous screen display, and a suitable battery life you can excel.
Especially if you are on the move or require a laptop that you can truly trust. You already have the tools for music production, to make them really stand out requires the best laptop.
Best Laptop For Music Production
Yes, Razer knows a thing or two about producing laptops for gamers. That doesn’t mean they cannot make laptops for creatives either.
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop does come with an 8 Core 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. While that would be great for gaming, the display is ideal for music production in brilliant visual clarity.
A QHD 165Hz display should tick those visual requirements. NVIDIA architecture and a huge array of colors make it ideal to see an entire track.
With Ray Tracing you can also have real-time quality rendering for brilliant intense graphics.
One TB of SSD should be ample memory yet there is also an M.2 slot if you needed further expansion. Ideal to move around too with a thin, compact frame and a Vapor Chamber for great and cool performance.
Strong performance and a slick, cool design.
- Powerful Processing – 8 Core 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor provides up to 5,1Ghz Turbo Boost
- Stunning Display – An QHD 165Hz touch display brings stunning clarity in a visual display
- M.2 Slot – As well as 1TB SSD there is also a slot for further SSD upgrades
- Compact Design – The CNC aluminum unibody is thin and wonderfully compact
- Heavy Weight – Still portable but hefty at 4.4 pounds
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Graphics for Stunning Visuals: Built on NVIDIA’s award-winning 2nd-gen RTX architecture, these GPUs provide the most realistic ray-traced graphics and cutting-edge AI features for the most powerful graphics in a gaming laptop.
- Intel 11th Gen 8-Core CPU for All-out Gaming Performance: Run the heaviest AAA titles and creation tasks without breaking a sweat, and activate Intel Turbo Boost Technology for a jolt of speed that brings the i7 processor up to 5.1GHz.
- Next-gen Displays to Meet Your Needs: Go with ultra-fast 360Hz FHD for competitive gaming, OLED UHD for creative work with 4K clarity, or a 165z QHD display for the best of both worlds.
- Vapor Chamber Cooling for Maximized Thermal Performance: The laptop quietly and efficiently dissipates heat through the evaporation and condensation of an internal fluid, keeping it running smoothly and coolly even under intense loads.
- Advanced Connectivity for Greater Convenience: With built-in WiFi-6 and a UHS-III SD card slot, you can cut down on adapters and travel light.
For a creative professional, only a Macbook will do. For music production, that means the Apple Macbook Pro M1 2021 is the easy choice.
Apple really has come up with the goods, powered by an M1 chip this is the best offering from Apple in a laptop. Not only does this come with great power and battery life but useful functionality too.
First, the power. An M1 chip should easily handle 8k video editing. Audio should be crystal clear with a six-speaker sound with power that you would be surprised comes from a laptop.
There is also a mic array that is good enough for the studio. The screen is also superb, offering a vast array of colors and a 1600 nits peak brightness. The increased functionality comes from the range of ports.
Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a MagSafe 3 port for charging, an HDMI port, and even an SDXC slot. Power, battery life, and all the ports you should need.
- Great Battery – Up to 17 hours which should last for an all-day session
- XDR Display – Peak brightness of 1600 nits plus a huge color range
- Huge Power – Choose between the M1 Pro and the M1 Max
- Several Ports – Choose from three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, a MagSafe 3 port for charging, and a SDXC slot
- Smaller Screen – May be comparably too small for some people
- Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
- Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 3.7x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
- Up to 32-core GPU with up to 13x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
- 16-core Neural Engine for up to 11x faster machine learning performance
- Longer battery life, up to 17 hours
If your creative musical pursuits mean added air miles then the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is the portable option for you. Not only are you able to sketch ideas out with a Surface Slim Pen 2 but there is that display too.
A 14.4” PixelSense Flow 120Hz touch display introduces vibrancy to your musical ideas then brings them to life. Quad Omnisonic speakers come with a large bass sound to let you truly immerse yourself with Dolby Atmos.
This laptop is not just for musical endeavors but great for enjoying other media when on the move. Of course, the laptop is mainly for impressive transitions from the design stage on your laptop to being studio-ready.
That comes from Ampere, award-winning 2nd gen RTX architecture that enables great graphics and enables the smartest AI features.
- True To Life Color – A 14.4” PixelSense Flow touch display is great for visualizing your creativity
- Quad Omnisonic Speakers – Great bass and an overall great sound to listen to your musical wares
- Battery Life – Should last all-day or a really long flight
- Sketching Ideas – A Surface Slim Pen 2 makes it easy to physically sketch out ideas
- Ampere – 2nd gen RTX architecture for superb graphics and AI features
- Performance Level – If you were looking for an upgrade on power, this pales in comparison to previous models
- The most powerful Surface Laptop. Quad-core powered 11th Gen Intel Core H Series processors handle your most complex workloads.
- Design, animate, and render at top speed. Step up to the award-winning Ampere — NVIDIA's 2nd gen RTX architecture, enabling ray-traced graphics and cutting-edge AI features from NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti.
- Boundary-pushing design with sleek 14.4“ (5) touchscreen makes seamless transitions from laptop to entertainment-ready stage to portable creative canvas.
- Pair with Surface Slim Pen 2* for the best digital pen experience yet, featuring the feeling of pen on paper(7). Magnetically attach, store, and charge under the front of the keyboard.
- Enjoy uniform, true-to-life color and contrast on the beautiful 14.4”(5) PixelSense Flow touch display. Experience smoother scrolling with a refresh rate up to 120Hz.
For creatives on the move, there is the Dell XPS 13 OLED. This is a great alternative to the Apple Macbook and Windows-based laptops that seem to dominate the market. There are several reasons why.
Take the InfinityEdge display which is a 4k OLED screen, more than enough to provide great visual clarity to what you are working on.
An 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor is more than enough performance for rendering your musical projects. Or watch a film when you need to divert your attention on that gorgeous screen.
For added functionality, there is thermal engineering to ensure the laptop does not get too hot. A fingerprint reader should also ensure the security of your most private endeavors.
- InfinityEdge Display – An anti-reflexive 400-nit display really brings impressive color to your musical projects
- Energy Star Certified – 90% of the parts can be reused/recycled and the packaging is from recycled materials
- Thermal Engineering – Dual fans to spread any heat to keep the performance running well
- Fingerprint Reader – Great for security and ensuring your latest musical ideas remain on the laptop
- Few Ports – Only one headphone/microphone combo jack is included
- SEE EVERY DETAIL: The OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touchscreen display offers pinpoint accuracy for all your computing needs. See the detail of every pixel in photos without needing to zoom in.
- GUARANTEED POWER: With 11th Gen InteI Core mobile processors, it’s now possible to enjoy incredibly immersive entertainment on a remarkably thin and light laptop.
- POWERFUL GRAPHICS: Intel Iris Plus graphics take a huge leap forward in gaming, streaming and creativity, pushing a smoother, more detailed, and more vivid experience than ever before.
- KILLER WIRELESS: With advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology and theoretical throughput speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, it prioritizes traffic in your lightweight laptop for fast, smooth online experiences.
- ADVANCED THERMAL ENGINEERING: Dual fans separated to spread heat over a larger area ensure you have the best performing system in the thinnest form factor possible.
If you have your rig just the way you like it then 16GB of DDR4 RAM will be more than enough for future-proofing. Throw in capacity for up to 64GB and this is a laptop to stick with.
As your live performances and studio sessions get bigger there is more than enough potential for upgrading. That goes for your performance and that of the laptop.
With a 2.5 GHz i5 processor this is a solid investment in a laptop that won’t let you down.
For studio sessions, dual speakers are vital. Especially if you want to hear a track as it was intended to be heard. Premium sound quality comes from lossless hi-resolution audio to give an honest representation of your tracks.
Use this laptop for your live performance or simply as a studio when on the move.
- Dual Speakers – Listen to a track as it was intended with lossless hi-resolution audio and premium sound quality
- Solid Processor – A 2.5 GHz i5 processor will provide solid performance
- 16GB DDR4 RAM – Ideal for future-proofing your projects
- Upgrade Potential – There is room to upgrade to 64GB of DDR4 RAM which is ideal for bigger live performances
- Lackluster Battery Life – A paltry six hours should cover a live performance but not a long flight
- Fast and easy multitasking: experience high-grade Graphics and processing power that meets your gaming and multitasking needs for the latest games including Fortnight, PUBG, and Overwatch
- Equipped With The Powerful and Fast 10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-10300H (Base Clock 2.5GHz, Max Boost Clock Up to 4.5GHz, 8MB Smart Cache, 8 Threads)
- Realistic Graphics: Nvidia geforce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated). enjoy new levels of gaming realism and performance with real-time ray-tracing technologies. Vr/mr ready. 15.6-Inch diagonal FHD IPS Anti-Glare micro-edge WLED-backlit Display (1920x1080) with 60Hz refresh rate
- Memory and Storage: 16 GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM and Fast boot-up, file transfer and a snappier experience with the internal 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Ports: 3x USB-A 3.2, 1x USB-C 3.2, 1x HDMI (supports 4K @ 30Hz), 1x RJ-45 Ethernet, 2x Audio Port (Headset AMP + Gold Flash jacks), No DVD drive
There are numerous factors to consider when deciding on which laptop to get. This may be down to what you need it for, what processing speed you desire, or the storage.
Making a considered decision means finding the best laptop for your music production.
With the sheer variety of equipment that a musician goes through, having a laptop with numerous ports is helpful. Simply having one for your microphone may not be enough if you want to branch out with a full band.
Consider the laptop as another piece of equipment, just like your sampler, instrument, and speakers. Having that versatility is key to ensuring it is another worthwhile piece of equipment to add.
As part of a glamorous lifestyle, DJs should expect to be on the move. For a laptop, that means finding one that has a thin and compact design that you can pack away easily.
Portability is the main feature and being able to take your laptop with you is a must, which requires little space and weight. You should also consider a laptop with a quick start-up so you can sketch out an idea for a mix within seconds.
DJs should also opt for a laptop with great battery capacity for performance over a long period of time. That some laptops provide all-day performance should make your decision a bit easier.
The 20-hour battery life of a MacBook Pro with an M1 chip is also partly why Apple has cornered the market.
Considering how many tracks and remixes a producer may accumulate, a laptop with huge storage is a big deal. As a minimum, 8GB of RAM should be sufficient for a novice music producer.
However, for professional producers, you may need to step that up to 16GB or even more.
If you use several samples and a library of tracks then consider the storage memory. This is where a Solid State Drive (SSD) makes an impact. These are great for audio applications and essential for rapid data transfer.
This means files will load quicker though these are usually more expensive than their equivalent. A Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is an option though this is already seemingly being outdated so you should opt for an SSD.
You could find a combination of both SSD and HDD. In these scenarios, the HDD is used purely for storing files such as tracks. The SSD excels at quicker responses so the laptop will feel quicker with a better performance.
With a spare SSD and room for expansion, you should be able to future-proof your laptop.
Apple has almost cornered the market when it comes to laptops you should use for music production. For a few years, when you considered music production without a desktop there was only one option.
The Apple MacBook Pro was the go-to choice for DJs, musicians, and producers yet times have changed. There is still a place in the market for Apple yet their dominance has been eroded by the likes of Dell and Microsoft.
Other manufacturers have also made a claim to provide a great laptop for music production. The operating system could mean limiting your options yet with so many laptops you can still find a great one.
Having a battery life that you can rely on brings a certain peace of mind. For DJs, this could mean being able to practice a set while on the move then perform it.
Producers may need their laptops for even longer, in which case a 20-24 hour battery life is really handy. For musicians, being in the studio or at home should mean being able to plug the laptop in so the battery life is less of a concern.
Processing Speed (CPUs)
The processing speed is essential to consider for DJs and producers. You can quickly tell the difference between a fast processor and one that is not up to scratch. Just measure how long it takes for an audio file to render.
With a fast CPU, this should seem effortless and only take a matter of seconds to see new audio or load a new instrument. The same audio file could take minutes with another CPU and if you have to render several tracks then this soon adds up.
As a producer, you may use instrument plugins or fancy extra effects. Remember that this will cause a strain on your CPU so finding a laptop with a faster processor makes life so much easier.
If you need to export a new version of a track then the processor becomes a vital part of your laptop.
For a lot of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), a multi-core processor is an essential component. This is where Intel excels with a range of multi-core processors.
If you simply want a good, reliable CPU then look at laptops that feature the i5 to i7 variants. These should be available in the midrange and up laptops.
However, for the best performance and the best laptops look at those that get all the way up to i9.
For CPUs you should also look at the other speeds. Primarily look at the one measured in gigahertz (GHz), the higher the GHz the faster the performance.
Apple may have already begun to corner the market again with their new in-house silicon CPU known as the M1. Expect to see MacBooks take their place back in studios.
Depending on your output, you should opt for a laptop with at least 16GB of RAM. If you find yourself experimenting with various sounds and styles then a few extra gigabytes are vital.
There is a danger that by limiting the available storage you are limiting the lifespan of your computer. Soon enough your memory will run out and then you will need to buy another laptop.
Finding a laptop with the right amount of storage that you can upgrade saves you time and money. As a producer, musician, or DJ who deals with a lot of files, you should opt for more storage.
Not only will you be able to store more files but files of a higher quality and bitrate. To hear a track, clip, remix, or live session in all its intended glory requires bumping up the bitrate for a bigger file.
With more storage, that is not really an issue and you can enjoy the fuller quality of sound.
If you cannot decide between getting an SSD or an HDD then there are always external hard drives. These are a smart option for SSDs as they can use USB-C technology and provide a strong performance for transfer speeds.
When dropping in a track you should not have to wait that long, which is ideal for music producers. Put bluntly, you get what you pay for with storage space. That goes for the laptop in general too, be prepared to pay out for all the specifications you need.