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5 Best laptops for music production & why they’re great

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Let’s look at the best laptops for music production and why we like them.

We’ll break down what qualities these laptops have that are important in handling music production programs.

Our 5 best laptops picks

  1. MACBOOK PRO 14” M3 PRO – Best laptop for music production
  2. MACBOOK AIR M2 – Best laptop for portability
  3. DELL XPS 15 – Best Windows laptop for creative work
  4. MACBOOK AIR M1 – 2nd best laptop for portability
  5. ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 – 2nd Best Windows laptop for creative work

Skip to our reviews. ↓

Laptop used for music production

Why do you need a specific laptop for music production?

Generic laptops fall short of requirements. You need a laptop with the specs tailored to meet the demands of music production software and workflows.

Regular laptops don’t have the processing power needed for music production. Specialized laptops are indispensable for music makers. They provide the seamless performance required for resource-intensive tasks like running multiple music applications simultaneously.

Our recommended laptops cater to the unique requirements of music creators. They offer the best processing power, audio precision, and versatility to compose and produce. Whether a solo artist or an experienced producer, investing in a laptop for music production is at the core of fulfilling your creative potential.

What to look for in a laptop for creating music

Processing power:

Your laptop must have robust processing power. Music production involves resource-intensive digital audio workstations (DAWs) and various plugins simultaneously. A powerful processor ensures real-time performance, fast rendering, and efficient handling of large project files.

Port options:

Facilitating seamless connectivity with external devices is essential for music production. Audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, external hard drives, and microphones are used heavily throughout the workflow. Having an array of port options, including USB, Thunderbolt, and HDMI enables integration.

Sufficient RAM and Storage:

You’ll be working with large files, multiple tracks, and extensive sample libraries. Laptops need to be equipped with ample RAM to handle memory-intensive music production tasks. Additionally, sufficient storage space, preferably in the form of fast SSDs, is crucial for quick access to project files and samples.

1. Best laptop for music production - MacBook Pro 14” M3 Pro

Price when reviewed:
From $2,370

Macbook M1 Pro Music Laptop

We like:

M3 chip is POWERFUL
Relatively lightweight considering the insides
Beautiful display

We do not like:

No USB 2.0 ports
Not upgradeable
Premium cost

Famous producers who use Apple:

Everyone

Seamless integration of hardware and software within the Apple ecosystem plays a pivotal role in the MacBook’s strengths. The M3 chip’s processing prowess is a game-changer. Navigating complex digital audio workstations (DAWs) and running resource-intensive plugins feels remarkably fluid, offering an unparalleled level of responsiveness.

The MacBook Pro 14” M3 is a powerhouse in a portable package.

The Apple design and high-resolution Retina display contribute to a visually immersive production environment. This is nothing new and is why MacBooks have mostly always been favoured in the arts.

The MacBook Pro 14” M3 doesn’t merely meet the demands of music production; it anticipates them. Its ability to handle large project files, extensive virtual instrument libraries, and the load of mixing and mastering places it at the forefront of laptops favoured by music professionals.

Features:

  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates
  • Mini-LED backlighting
  • Apple M3 Pro chip

Specifications:

  • RAM: Configurable to 32GB unified memory
  • Storage: Configurable options up to 8TB SSD
  • Ports: 3x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, SDXC card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI port
  • Operating System: macOS Monterey
  • Battery: Built-in 70-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Graphics: Configurable to 16-core GPU
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • Three-microphone array with directional beamforming
  • Six-speaker sound system with force-canceling woofers
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Full-size backlit Magic Keyboard

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

2. Best laptop for portability - MACBOOK AIR M2

Price when reviewed:
From $1,665

Apple MacBook Air M2 Music Laptop

We like:

M2 chip is POWERFUL
Silent fan won’t disrupt recording
Great battery life considering its size
Slim and slick as expected

We do not like:

Tiny number of ports
Can’t add custom upgrades

The MacBook Air M2 strikes an impressive balance between power and portability, making it an ideal choice for musicians on the move. Thanks to the M2 chip’s commendable processing capabilities, its compact design doesn’t compromise performance. Navigating through resource-intensive digital audio workstations (DAWs) and handling intricate projects is a remarkably smooth experience.

One of the recurring themes in its reviews that resonate with our findings is the MacBook Air M2’s ability to deliver flow-state creativity.

The M2’s audio rendering capabilities are exceptional. The attention to audio detail is a crucial aspect for those who demand accuracy in their arrangement playbacks.

  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • Apple M2 chip
  • Height: 0.16–0.63 inches
  • Width: 11.97 inches
  • Depth: 8.36 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Liquid Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

Specifications:

  • RAM: 16GB unified memory
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Operating System: macOS Monterey
  • Battery: Built-in 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Graphics: Configurable to 8-core GPU
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • Three-microphone array with directional beamforming
  • Stereo speakers with wide stereo sound

Where to buy?
Check price here

3. Best Windows laptop for creative work - DELL XPS 15

Price when reviewed:
From $1,550

DELL XPS 15 Music Laptop

We like:

Powerful processing
High-res Infinity Edge visuals
Large SSD configurations
Loads of connection port options

We do not like:

Bulkier compared to other laptops in our list
Premium cost

Famous producers who use Dell:

Jack Joseph Puig, Morgan Page, Glitch Mob

The outstanding InfinityEdge visual display maximizes the screen real estate which contributes to an immersive experience. 

The XPS 15 processing power has been a front-runner for many years, especially against the MacBook Pro Intel era. Its high-performance processors and graphics ensure that the laptop can handle resource-intensive tasks beautifully. 

The XPS 15’s storage options are incredibly appealing. With configurations offering SSD storage, users can confidently manage large sample libraries and DAW projects.

External connection options are a major advantage of the XPS 15. The variety of ports available, including USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI, caters to the diverse needs of music producers. Comparatively, the MacBook Pro’s reliance on USB-C ports is been a sticking point depending on your setup.

Features:

  • 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display
  • Precision-machined aluminum chassis
  • Full HD or 4K Ultra HD resolution options
  • Carbon fibre or woven glass fibre palm rest options

Specifications:

  • Processor options: Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9
  • RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-2933MHz
  • Storage: Up to 2TB PCIe SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti or GTX 1660 Ti
  • Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 with power delivery and DisplayPort, SD card reader, USB-C 3.1, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home or Pro
  • Battery: 56WHr integrated battery (configurable to 97WHr)
  • Wireless: Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Backlit keyboard with fingerprint reader
  • Precision touchpad
  • Waves Nx 3D audio
  • HD (720p) or 4K (3840 x 2400) webcam options
  • Dual integrated stereo speakers
  • Dimensions: Height 0.71 inches, Width 13.57 inches, Depth 9.06 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 4 pounds

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

4. 2nd best laptop for portability - APPLE MACBOOK AIR M1

Price when reviewed:
From $643

Apple MacBook Air M1 Music Laptop

We like:

M1 chip is exceptionally powerful
Impressive battery life
Very quiet machine even when processing heavily

We do not like:

Tiny post connectivity options
Can’t custom upgrade specs

The M1 chip again is the home run of Apple’s engineering, It has been pivotal in the success of MacBooks in the music production world. It handles resource-intensive tasks on par with, and sometimes surpassing, certain MacBook Pro models. M1’s macOS optimization ensures a seamless experience in navigating through DAWs and running plugins.

The processor’s silent operation allows for undisturbed recording sessions. Compared to other MacBook Pro models, it is quiet.

The Air M1’s battery life is phenomenal considering its size.

Features:

  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • Apple M1 chip
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Force Touch trackpad

Specifications:

  • RAM: Configurable to 16GB unified memory when purchasing from Apple
  • Storage: Configurable options up to 2TB SSD when purchasing from Apple
  • Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Operating System: macOS Big Sur (upgradable to macOS Monterey)
  • Battery: Built-in 49.9-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • Three-microphone array with directional beamforming
  • Stereo speakers with wide stereo sound
  • Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports
  • Support for external 6K display
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with ambient light sensor
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Dimensions: Height 0.16–0.63 inches, Width 11.97 inches, Depth 8.36 inches
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

Where to buy?
Check price here

5. 2nd Best Windows laptop for creative work - ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14

Price when reviewed:
From $1,183

ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 Music Laptop

We like:

Incredibly powerful processor
Stunning flawless graphics
High refresh rate display is luxurious for editing and arranging

We do not like:

Fan can be noisy under heavy sessions
Not upgradeable

Famous producers who use ASUS:

DJ Alan Walker

Primarily built as a gaming laptop, but has proven itself to be a formidable choice for music production.

The powerful AMD Ryzen processor is known for its efficiency and multitasking capabilities. This has shown to be a solid foundation for tackling resource-intensive music production tasks.

The Zephyrus G14’s GPU is stunning. While not a primary need for audio, the GPU’s performance is extra smooth at handling elements in DAWs. Its high refresh rate and colour accuracy make it an excellent visual tool for music producers who appreciate a vibrant and detailed display.

While gaming laptops may not be immediately thought of for music production, perhaps they should be.

Features:

  • 14-inch display
  • AniMe Matrix LED display on select models
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • High refresh rate display

Specifications:

  • Processor options: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, Ryzen 7 5800HS
  • RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, RTX 3050 Ti, GTX 1650
  • Ports: 2x USB-C, 2x USB-A, HDMI 2.0b, 3.5mm headphone jack, Kensington lock
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home or Pro
  • Battery: 76WHr
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Backlit keyboard with customizable RGB lighting
  • Precision touchpad
  • HD (720p) webcam
  • Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Dimensions: Height 0.70 inches, Width 12.76 inches, Depth 8.74 inches
  • Weight: Starting at 3.53 pounds

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

Why do you need a powerful laptop for music production?

Multitasking:

Music production involves running multiple applications simultaneously. A powerful laptop effortlessly juggles tasks, ensuring a smooth workflow.

Real-Time Processing:

DAWs demand real-time processing for instant feedback. A potent laptop handles this demand, allowing you to make adjustments without delays.

Large Sound Libraries:

Powerful laptops effortlessly manage extensive sound libraries, crucial for accessing a diverse range of instruments and samples during music creation.

Plug-in Handling:

Music production relies on various plug-ins. A robust laptop ensures efficient handling of these plug-ins, preventing performance bottlenecks.

High Track Counts:

As your project grows, so does the number of tracks. A powerful laptop maintains performance with high track counts, accommodating complex arrangements.

Low Latency Recording:

Latency disrupts the recording process. A potent laptop minimizes latency, enabling seamless recording sessions and accurate synchronization.

Realistic Virtual Instruments:

Virtual instruments (VSTs) require significant processing power to use alongside open programs.

Audio Rendering:

Quick audio rendering is essential for efficient editing and production. A high-powered laptop accelerates the rendering process, saving valuable time.

Stability Under Pressure:

During intense production sessions, a powerful laptop remains stable. It handles the pressure, preventing crashes and ensuring a reliable platform for your creative endeavours.

Intel and Apple’s M1 processors were commonly praised for their performance in this context. AMD’s Ryzen processors were also well-regarded but might not have been as prevalent in laptops for music production compared to Intel.

How did Apple’s new M series processors change the laptop game?

Performance Efficiency:

Users appreciate the M1 processor’s performance efficiency, emphasizing its ability to handle resource-intensive tasks with remarkable speed and responsiveness. This efficiency contributes to a smoother and more seamless music production experience.

Unified Memory Architecture:

The M1’s unified memory architecture allows for efficient data sharing between the CPU and GPU. This architecture contributes to improved multitasking capabilities and faster data access, which is beneficial when running multiple plugins, instruments, and tracks in music production software.

Silent and Cool Operation:

The M1 chip’s efficiency not only enhances performance but also contributes to a quieter and cooler laptop operation. This is particularly appreciated by music producers who require a quiet environment for recording without the interuption of fan noise.

Optimized Software Ecosystem:

The M1’s impact extends beyond just hardware. Apple has optimized its software ecosystem, including macOS and music production software like Logic Pro, to leverage the M1’s capabilities fully. This optimization enhances overall system performance and compatibility with music production applications.

Battery Life:

Customers often mention improved battery life with M1-powered laptops. This is crucial for music producers who may need to work on projects for extended periods without being tethered to a power source.

How much RAM does your laptop need for making music?

The amount of RAM recommended for a laptop used in music production is often influenced by the complexity of the projects and the specific requirements of digital audio workstations and plugins.

 

Minimum RAM Requirement:

Many users recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM for basic music production tasks. This is suitable for smaller projects with fewer tracks and simpler arrangements.

 

RAM for Mid-Range Projects:

For more extensive projects involving multiple tracks, virtual instruments, and plugins, users often suggest 16GB of RAM. This amount provides headroom for handling larger and more complex music production sessions.

 

Professional and Resource-Intensive Work:

Music producers working on highly professional or resource-intensive projects may benefit from 32GB or more of RAM. This higher capacity ensures smooth performance when dealing with large sample libraries, intricate arrangements, and numerous plugins.

 

Future-Proofing:

Some customers recommend choosing a laptop with the option to upgrade RAM. This allows for future expansion as the complexity of music projects evolves or as new software versions with increased system requirements are released

How much storage do I need?

The storage requirements for a laptop used in music production depend on various factors. 

  • Project size
  • Number of virtual instruments (VSTs)
  • Samples use
  • Whether you store media files on the device

Minimum Storage Requirement:

Many users suggest a minimum of 256GB of storage as a baseline. This is considered suitable for smaller projects and basic music production needs. However, keep in mind that the operating system, software applications, and other files will also consume a portion of this storage.

 

Optimal Storage for Mid-Range Projects:

For more extensive music projects with larger sample libraries and additional software, users often recommend 512GB or 1TB of storage. This provides ample space for project files, virtual instruments, and audio samples.

 

Sample Libraries:

Music producers working with extensive sample libraries or using high-quality, large-sized audio samples may benefit from even larger storage capacities. Some professionals prefer 2TB or more to ensure they have enough space for their assets.

 

External Storage Options:

Customers often highlight the importance of having the option to expand storage through external devices such as external hard drives or SSDs. This is particularly useful for archiving completed projects and freeing up space on the laptop’s internal storage.

 

SSD vs. HDD:

Many users recommend laptops equipped with Solid State Drives (SSDs) for faster data access, quicker load times, and improved overall system responsiveness. SSDs are generally preferred over traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) for music production

Is Mac OS better than Windows?

The music production community often prefers Mac OS for its exceptional stability and style. Producers also appreciate the seamless integration of Apple iPhones and software resulting in efficiency. The exclusive availability of Logic Pro, a highly regarded Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), adds to the appeal. MacBooks, known for their stellar build quality and longevity, have been frequently chosen by music producers for years.

One advantage is the minimal occurrence of driver issues on Mac OS compared to Windows. This reliability contributes to a more consistent hassle-free production experience. Additionally, the introduction of the M chips in MacBooks has been a home run.

Mac OS users prefer the user-friendly interface it offers for creative work. The intuitive design and functionality appeal widely to not just music but a lot of creative arts.

Windows laptops are praised for their broader software compatibility, offering a vast array of music production tools and applications. Popular DAWs like FL Studio and Ableton Live, widely used in music production, run for Windows devices.

As with most decisions, they depend on personal preference. Both platforms have their strengths based on factors such as interface preferences, exclusive software offerings, and overall system reliability.

Why buy a laptop for music production over a desktop computer?

  • Portability matters to musicians who value flexibility in their workspaces. Laptops are compact, saving space in home studios or when on the go.
  • On-the-road music producers need the convenience of a portable setup.
  • Collaborative studio writers benefit from the ease of sharing.
  • Creators value the ability to switch locations easily for inspiration or collaboration.
  • Wireless capabilities provide freedom from cable constraints

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We offer a variety of different mix options as well as customized selections so you can specify exactly what you need for your tracks.

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