Music brings solace to a tired and stressed mind. Music composition is, in fact, a serious business that requires the most efficient and dependable instrument and devices. All the music composers, professionals, and DIY musicians will vouch for the value of having a good laptop for music production and recording. Since it is not possible to afford the high priced music studios or set up the recording and production space at home for music composition to keep that Hammond organ or an acoustically designed room to keep those Leslie speakers. So it is both cost-effective and easy to set up your own audio workstation at home. All you need is a laptop designed for music production, a DAW software and effective VST ( virtual studio technology) interface. In this guide, I will be penning down the vital features required in a laptop to run music production and recording software and create wonderful melodies.
Features to Look for in a Best Music Production Laptop
For the musicians who like to work on the go, it is better to look for a lightweight laptop without compromising on the quality of construction. So I stressed to include those laptops in the top-ten list, which ranked higher on sturdiness, durability and at the same time fits easily in your backpack.
The central processing unit or the processor is the brain of the laptop. So it is imperative to buy a laptop with a CPU that offers optimum performance to run the heavy DAW software smoothly. The two things you need to look in a CPU is its speed that is mentioned in Giga Hertz and the number of cores. So for a music production laptop, it will be good to have an Intel i5 CPU with a minimum of 2.2 GHz speed and two (dual) cores.
The main memory or RAM ( random access memory) is the hardware component that stores the application while it is being executed. The music production process needs to run software together in multiple tabs, so the RAM should be enough for multitasking. So my recommendation is to have a minimum of 8 GB RAM
Responsive Mousepad or Trackpads
This is again a vital feature to look for in a laptop designed for recording or music production. In logic pro or Cubase, you do a lot of scrolling so the trackpad must be super-responsive to run the task faster and it will also enhance your productivity.
Brighter Screens for Outdoor Working
If you love to create music in nature and prefer to work outdoors, you definitely need a brighter screen that will allow you to work even in sunlight. So I have given due consideration to the screen type while shortlisting the top laptops for music production.
Music files are quite huge in size in addition to the library of samples and projects underway. So it is important to have an adequate storage space say a minimum of 500 GB.
A good battery life is needed only for those music enthusiasts who like to travel a lot and may wish to show their work on their personal laptops to prevent any kind of copying or tampering to their compositions. So all the laptops mentioned in the list have a decent battery backup to help you select the best one.
1. HP Envy 2018
I always love the reliable HP laptops when it comes to music and media. The HP laptop is equipped with Bang and Olufsen speakers that produce clear and impressive sound effects. The laptop has got all the necessary hardware to run music production apps like FL studio, Propellerhead and more. HP Envy is powered by Intel i7 2.7 GigaHertz processor with 2 (dual) cores, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. The trackpad of this laptop is quite responsive with multi-gesture support. It has a backlit keyboard with island-style keys for comfortable keying. With pre-loaded windows home 64-bit OS, this laptop offers up to 7 hours of battery backup. Talking about the graphics, it has dedicated NVIDIA graphics chip with 2 GB video memory that ensures you get true and vivid colors on 17.3 FHD screen.
2 MacBook Air
If you work on Apple Logic Pro and Apple Garageband, you need a Macintosh laptop. The MacBook Air is undoubtedly the best to run music production programs considering its premium hardware configuration. It is equipped with Intel dual-core i7 2.2 GHz processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM, and 512 GB SSD as a storage device. It does not have a dedicated graphics card, but instead an integrated Intel HD 6000 video chip. I personally think there is no need for a GPU to run a music software. MacBook Air is designed for on-the-go working since it ’s a lightweight with a side-profile that is less than 0.70 inches. You can work for 12 long hours between two charges. Another notable feature of this MacBook Air is its multi-touch gesture enabled trackpad that provides not only smooth but realistic responses. Highly recommended, if you are a Mac fan.
3 MacBook Pro
If you can spend a little more, you need not think twice before going for this MacBook Pro for music production programs. This laptop has already garnered rave reviews from its satisfied customers. Now let’s see what it has to offer as far as hardware is concerned. The MacBook Pro is powered by Intel i7 Quad core processor with 2.9 GHz frequency, a whopping 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD storage drive. Furthermore, it comes with a powerful Radeon Pro 560 GPU with 4GB video memory. For instant access to vital tools, it has a touch bar on the top of the keyboard. Apart from performance, it also offers extreme portability. It is lightweight and provides around ten hours of battery backup. This is a multi-tasking machine that lets you work on resource-hungry apps and heavy games smoothly. So, go for this durable and long-lasting MacBook and I assure you that you will be more than happy after buying it.
4 Razor Blade Stealth
This is one the sturdiest laptops I have seen in the market. Its body is made from aircraft grade single-piece aluminum and the gunmetal finish further adds to its rugged looks. This is an UltraBook with a 13.3 inches QHD touchscreen that can produce a maximum resolution of 3200×1800 pixels. The Razorblade is powered by Intel i7-7500 CPU with 2.7 GHz speed and 16 GB RAM. You get 512 GB SSD storage. The Razor Blade stealth Ultrabook comes with an anti-ghosting keyboard for fast typing without resulting any error while pressing multiple keys simultaneously. Moreover, the keyboard is equipped with multiple color backlit light. So this is one solid laptop you need for fun, play and work at the same time.
5 Microsoft Surface Laptop
This is an ultra-thin and a lightweight laptop from the tech-giant Microsoft. It comes with pre-loaded Microsoft Office and Windows 10 S. You can upgrade 10S to Windows Pro for free, but for a limited time or you can pay to upgrade it for lifelong. The surface book is beautifully crafted and built with eye-catching design and fits perfectly in a backpack. Now, talking about its hardware specifications, it comes with 7th generation Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of memory (RAM) and 512 GB Solid State Drive. The surface book is available in four different colors that include platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue, and graphite gold. The keyboard and trackpad area is covered with premium Alcantara fabric for comfort and durability. You have the option to pick from different configurations. The surface book is highly recommended as a digital audio workstation (DAW).
6 HP Zbook Workstation laptop
This is again the best laptop to run Ableton or any other Pro music recording or production software. You can install VST plugins or connect an audio interface without any hassles. This is a latest 2018 mobile workstation for digital audio apps. It is equipped with dual-core Intel i7 processor ( 2.7 GHz) and 16 GB RAM. The other highlight of HPZbook is that it comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 64-bit professional OS. Storage-wise, it consists of a hybrid of 256 GB SSD and 1TB of HDD. It has a 14 inches anti-glare Full HD screen, producing a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The graphics is powered by Intel Pro Fire W4190M chipset. The Zbook comes with a number of interface ports that include USB Type C, VGA port (found rarely these days), RJ-45 and audio ports. Furthermore, the laptop consists of a backlit keyboard and offers 10 hours of battery backup.
7 Lenovo ThinkPad P52
This is a capable digital audio workstation to unleash your music creativity. Lenovo Thinkpad is fully capable to run music production programs like FL Studio, Reason, Cubase or Acid Pro. The ThinkPad is packed with Intel’s eighth generation i7 four-core processor, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, and 512 GB SSD. The laptop comes with NVidia Quadro P500 (2GB memory) dedicated graphics processing unit. The display quality is further enhanced with IPS technology that ensures clarity, even at wider viewing angles. It has 15.6 inches of touchscreen and produces high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The laptop is equipped with a full numeric keyboard with comfortable and long-lasting keys. From a security point of view, it has a built-in fingerprint reader and pre-loaded with 64-bit Windows 10 OS. Available in graphite black, this laptop is highly recommended if you are looking for a durable and long lasting machine.
8 Asus ROG Strix GL703GM
Next in the list is this lightweight yet powerful laptop in the form of Asus ROG Strix. It is a gaming laptop and I firmly believe that gaming laptops comprise of robust body, efficient airflow and assembled with high-end hardware. Asus Strix scar is no exception when it comes to premium features and flagship specifications. It is powered by Intel eighth generation coffee lake hexa-core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM. The laptop gives you a plenty of storage area with a hybrid of 250GB SSD and 1 TB SATA Hard Disk Drive. Furthermore, it comes with NVIDIA GeForce 1060 with graphics memory of 6 GB for outstanding screen quality. This laptop has a screen of 17.3 inches with FHD resolution. The unique feature of this laptop is its RGB keyboard capable of producing multiple color options. It comes with a 3-year limited warranty and is one of the best laptops for music production.
9 Dell XPS 15 9650 Laptop
This is a real beast in performance and graphics quality. Although it is priced on the higher side, I believe that it is better to invest one time in a good laptop that will last for the next several years. It’s an all in one package when it comes to portability, speed, performance, battery life, and graphics. It is equipped with Ultra HD 4K touch-display that is capable to produce a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The graphics are further powered by NVidia GeForce 1050 with 4GB VRAM. Talking about the processing power, it is equipped with Intel i7 quad-core processor and a whopping 32 GB of RAM. Moreover, the laptop comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 professional OS with 64-bit architecture.
10 MSI GV62
This is a real value for money workstation for VST integration and running resource-hungry recording and music production software. Equipped with the 8th generation Intel i5 processor and 16 MB Intel optane memory, your day to day computing tasks are accelerated by 2.2x. Apart from its powerful CPU, the MSI workstation is powered by NVidia 1050Ti GPU with 4GB graphics memory. This high-performance laptop comes with 1TB of the hard disk drive and SteelSeries Keyboard with Red backlit keys. You can work for longer durations without feeling any heat on the trackpad area. The laptop is equipped with cooler boost technology, three numbers of dedicated heat pipes for GPU and CPU respectively. Furthermore, the laptop comes with 7.1 enhanced audio system and pre-loaded Windows 10 OS. Buy this for faster file access and quick loading of heavy apps like FL-studio or Cubase.
Best Laptops for Music production, Recording Studio, and DJs
This list of 10 laptops contain the best laptops to run any DAW software in the market. I have tried my best to include the laptops of various brands, OS, and price range to meet the specific needs of the musically creative buyers. If you pick any of the laptops above, you will never regret your decision since all the laptops offer high performance and durability. If you still believe that there is some other model which needs a place in this top-rated music-production laptops, do share your opinion in the comments section.