10 Best Laptops for Music Production 2020
So many more of us having to take our musical production jobs on the go with us, we thought it was about time we looked at the top ten best music production laptops in 2019.
For some, computer product specs can read like gibberish, and there's plenty of misinformation out there that can further confuse things. In this technological age, for many of us musically inclined people, music creation is increasingly becoming an open choice.
With numerous competent and competitive DAWs for home studio setups available. Most of our home studio setups require a Mac or PC, but we see a range of products from other competitors in notebook and laptop style that provide a much more compact, portable production solution.
Finding out your expectations is the key thing and that can be difficult if it is uncharted territory to buy a laptop for music production. We look at a range of portable options that run a range of operating systems. We're not here to settle the Mac v' PC argument and hope in our reviews to stay as unbiased as we can.
So for your convenience, we've looked at some of the items we've been asked about to see what they're actually made of and given a FAQ-style guide to help you overcome all of your headaches related to RAM.
See below the best laptop for the development of music
1. Apple 13” MacBook Pro Review 2020
The MacBook Pro is the start of our review series. This modest model was released in 2015 for the first time and creates a thin and compact 13-inch option that is sufficiently lightweight and ticks all portable boxes. The MacBook Pro will be able to quickly load and handle multiple software suites with a 7th generation 2.3 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor together with an SSD.
Now this one comes with only 8 ram gigs, which is not amazing but can be upgraded to 16. We have included this in our reviews because of public interest and we believe that, with the ram being on the lighter side, it still provides a good choice for those who want to digitally pen a new idea down before it falls into the ether. It's also a great option for those who set up a studio and just want to be able to access shared projects, check collaborations, or edit away from the office.
It has an impressive battery life of 10 hours, which is again a bonus for managing the go workload.
If you're not a sample-heavy producer and you're not planning to run any orchestral level workloads, most common DAWs will have the minimum required specs.
We like the butterfly spring keyboard response that works fine as a virtual keyboard if you don't have a remote control or midi keyboard etc.
+ Quick start-up and import.
+ Long life of the battery.
Why We Liked It - Mac products may tend to be more cost-effective, this one is an affordable notebook option that provides wont handle ram hungry plugins or super-sized samples, but makes an affordable apple laptop for music production.
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Review 2020
Next up is Microsoft's similarly priced comparative product. In addition, it also has i5 processor, offering very similar specs to the MacBook Pro that we reviewed above. The main differences are the higher speed of the 3GHz processor and double the capacity of the hard drive. It is also a screen size of 12.3 inches and is not only more lightweight, but also lighter at 1.7 lbs.
Like the MacBook Pro, it contains only 2 USB ports, if that doesn't meet your needs, you might want to consider investing in a USB hub to extend your connectivity options.
It only has 8 gigs of ram on board, again this will only meet minimum requirements but is likely to be enough for most simple DAW development.
+ Processor with high speed.
+ Perfect for traveling in small size.
+ Simple weight.
Why We Liked It - It is a safe option for bare-bones audio production that meets minimum specs for most DAWs, it has more than ample storage drive space and will not break the bank.
3. Dell XPS 13 9360 Review 2020
Dell's XPS 13 9360 is a strong choice in the same category. It has only 8 GB again and is soldered, unfortunately, so it can not be upgraded in the future. However, aside from most entry-level users or bedroom music dabblers, RAM ramifications should find that it meets most of their needs. Heavy beat-makers sample may be struggling.
It has an up-to-date 7th gen dual-core i5 processor to handle busy workloads, a 128 gb SSD, and runs a 64-bit windows10 operating system as previously tested by Microsoft.
It has a 13.3-inch touch display, which makes the application of Windows 10 much more user-friendly and you can control and draw software if you wish.
+ Extremely portable and compact.
+ Low cost.
+ High speed processor.
Why We Liked It - It offers an adequate level of minimum specs to run most DAWs comfortably and comes in at around a hundred bucks cheaper than the popular Microsoft and Apple versions we've been looking at so far, making it better value for money.
4. Apple 13.3” MacBook Air Review 2020
Their MacBook Air would be another small and lightweight, 8 gig RAM option from apple. This one has a screen of 12 inches. It has a 1.6 GHz Intel core i5 processor of fifth generation with turbo boost that will improve processor speed as long as temperatures are not running too high. It has a 17times faster capacity SSD with 128 GB than a standard notepad.
It is incredibly thin and weights less than 3 pounds (just 0.68 inches). It was expertly manufactured from components of high quality. It is compact but powerful and has a long battery life, providing up to 12 hours of interchange between charging.
It has good memory speeds and is able to handle all major digital audio workstations and workloads. It makes a perfect mobile audio production device and comes with a secure carrying case to keep it safe during transit.
+ An older version is a reasonable price.
+ Extremely thin.
+ Long life of the battery.
+ Boosting the Turbo.
Why We Liked It - Apple products are easy to navigate, making it simple to produce audio, some are expensive, but this older model is an affordable choice. It benefits from all the factors needed to meet minimum requirements like the others, but what distinguishes it is its battery life, certainly one of its best attributes.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 Review 2020
Lenovo IdeaPad's original intentions are as a portable gaming device, but its high-spec processor makes it perfect to run process hogging workstations.
With its quad-core Intel i7 processor, it offers incredible speeds for a non-SSD with a whole terabyte of memory.
What is aimed at gaming the graphics with it is awesome but for musical use it is pretty much overkill so we will skip them in this review.
Like the others we checked enough, it has 8 gigs of RAM to cope with smaller workloads efficiently.
It is not as lightweight as some of its rivals, but it is a beast of a piece of equipment that is robust.
The extra power needs extra fuel, of course, so the battery life on this one doesn't come close to its rivals at about 4 to 5 hours of use at a time.
+ processor for i7.
+ Disk space of 1 TB.
+ Construction lasting.
+ Silent refrigeration.
How We Liked It - It's brilliant processing, and if you're a gamer with a propensity to generate audio or vice versa, it's a perfect 2 for 1! They also make a 16 Gig touch screen version if you're more hands on with your production, though for the privilege it will put you back a few more bucks.
6. Razer Blade Stealth Review 2020
The Razer blade stealth is another quad-core version on the market, with incredible speeds using an up-to-date 8th generation i7 Intel processor. In fact, it is one of the fastest processing laptops in this article that we are examining.
It also has a heartfelt 16 gigs which makes it much more suitable for a number of popular digital audio workspaces and better for a beat maker producing heavy sample works.
It has 256 GB, fast SSD memory, and with a screen size of 13.3 is lightweight and highly portable. The total battery life is about 6 hours.
+ 16 RAM gig.
+ 8th gene i7 processor high speed.
+ User interface touch screen.
Why we liked it-it more than meets the minimum requirements and the features make it possible to boot and retrieve a laptop quickly.
7. Lenovo Yoga Book Review 2020
That would be brilliant for a music artist, not so much for a producer. The Lenovo Yoga Book is a tablet computer with a touchpad keyboard that can double as a graphic tablet with a stylus in itself.
The bulk of heavy production software that usually requires a Windows or Apple operating system will not be able to run on Android OS. But on the upside, you can use a huge range of software to get some tracks down.
It's the thumbnail size and limited capabilities that make this really just a great option for songwriting through musical apps and penning those melodic ideas on the go. Nonetheless, it does have a surprising amount of internal storage for a tablet device, with 64 GB available for boot and expansion.
+ Impressive choice for Android OS.
+ The cost is highly competitive.
+ Lighter and smaller.
+ Great storage.
Why We Liked It – While it's not going to handle a full DAW, it's a good option for those who need something on the fly to create music, and it retails at about a quarter of the price of some laptops that we've reviewed so if money is a problem, it's a good starting option.
8. Dell XPS Thin and Light Review 2020
This Dell XPS series model makes a fantastic 16gig, touch laptop screen. It would be well suited as it is admirably easy to use audio output. It has Intel quad-core processor 7th generation and a faster memory that offers impressive speeds together.
It's at 15.6 inches on the slightly larger side. It has 2 USB 3.0 slots and a multi-use port of Thunderbolt 3. This choice is much more versatile and will be more compatible with modern audio interfaces. It allows for an excellent choice and can accommodate even the most busy workloads in your DAW.
This one has a price tag double the one we've reviewed from its 8 gig predecessor, but the ram has doubled and the SSD storage alone is more than the difference. It also has many excellent features that make it a great laptop for a variety of uses in general.
+ RAM 16 GB.
+ Processing quickly.
Good options for I / O.
SSD space of Terabyte.
How We Liked It - It boots and resumes in a moment, the feedback on this one is great. SSD space terabyte is nearly unprecedented and needless to say a highly desirable incentive, providing plenty of room to save ongoing work.
9. ASUS ROG STRIX Review 2020
This is the second gaming laptop to make our list and its unsurprising since you need a sufficient processing power for decent FPS rates during games, which is also a key ingredient in the production of audio.
The storage is very generous with a terabyte hard drive as well as its 256 gb SSD, while your current ideas are accessed via the high-speed solid state drive, you can rest assured and back up your completed parts.
It has 16 GB of ram, which is very important for audio workstations, a slightly newer model is now available on the market, but this one retail at a lower price and the upgrades do not have a huge impact on its use for audio production purposes.
It weighs a remarkably robust 5lbs and is easy to carry around, it has a 15 inch screen with 4 USB ports I in 2.0 and the others are USB 3.0. The average battery life for a powerful model is about 9 hours, which is a fairly decent time span.
+ RAM 16 GB.
+ Processor at high speed.
+ 4x slots for USB.
+ Appropriate space of SSD and terabyte HD.
Why We Liked It - This one ticks all the important boxes on our audio production list laptop, it has a decent amount of ram good input options and a fair battery life its definitely one of the best DAW laptops out there is o par with the Dell XPS model specifications minus the touch screen capabilities but it's almost half the price.
10. Alienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS Review 2020
Our effort to find a top laptop for audio production continues to lead us to the gaming scene with its need for processor speed. This entry by Alienware may well be one of the best laptops for music production on the market, given its reliance on graphics for immersive game play.
It has a rapidly reactive Intel i7 quad-core processor to boot and import into your virtual audio workstation efficiently. It quickly handles several plugins at once and can handle a heavy workload with a medium layered VST. Despite of its high powered specs, it has an impressive battery life that lasts up to 11 hours between charges.
It has an ideal amount of RAM (16 GB) and a terabyte of storage although this is not a solid state drive so it is not as fast as it could be, but space for multiple ongoing projects is still sufficient.
+ RAM 16 GB.
+ Space of terabytes.
+ The price tag is accessible.
+ The battery life is decent.
How We Liked It - Due to its outstanding processing quality, it is reasonably priced and the ram meets optimum DAW running requirements, making it a good option for the best laptop for audio production.
Laptop for Music Production Buyers Guide
Scrolling through the specifications of computer devices can be confusing and perhaps even daunting for some, unless you are particularly technologically inclined. So you may find the following useful in an effort to make the market more navigable.
What laptop should I buy for the production of music?
Finding a suitable music production laptop essentially results in a few important factors, which digital audio workstation you are intending to use and which operating system you want to use.
First, take a look at some of the recommended specs for 3 of
Steinberg Cubase's most common DAWs
+ 64-bit operating system (most of which are nowadays)
+ Intel or AMD Multicore (i5 or faster recommended)
+ 8 GB RAM (faster than better)
+ 18 GB hard drive storage (you'll need more for additional content)
Logic Pro 10
+ MacOS 10.12 or later (only).
+ 2.3GHz i5 or above.
+ RAM 4 GB.
+ 6 GB disk space for the full audio library, up to an additional 57 GB.
+ or better Windows 7/MacOS X.
+ 64bit multi-core Intel or AMD (i5 or faster).
+ Minimum RAM of 4 GB, although recommended by 8 GB.
+ Standard 3 GB setup, 5-76 GB for additional audio material.
As you can see, each DAW will have its own set of specifications needed to run it, but sometimes it does not take into account any add-ons that you may need to run or use external plugins. If they are heavily layered, VST instruments can become difficult to run, and this is particularly true of orchestral suites.
You will also need a large amount of space to store the samples and loops you need, and preferably this should be from a solid state drive as they can open and access much more easily.
Generally speaking, you can look at around 16-32 GB RAM with respectable clock speeds, there are some DAWs that work well and use 8 GB RAM as a guideline, and this will be enough for most hobbyists, but you'll probably want something more for improved performance.
Most popular DAWs are not going to run on anything less than a dual-core i5, 2.3 GHz processor. So your laptop's processor is really paramount to its audio production performance.
The choice of OS is sometimes limited by the DAW itself, even though there are a number of software solutions, such as virtual machines to emulate other operating systems that could be a workaround if you re-tech knowledgeable enough and have no alternative.
The OS for which you go is literally down to preference and although there are many who argue that Mac is the musical mac-paddy most DAWs are going to run on most operating systems. There is very little technical difference and just as likely to complete data loss and crashes with hard reset being the only viable option to set the record straight and put some confusion to rest Macs. We should also add that after prolonged use, MacBooks can overheat and sometimes require adapters for devices that are not compatible with Apple.
Next, you need to consider the I / O capabilities that you don't need to plug into a mouse or keyboard, but you need to think a long time about what you want to connect to work within your chosen DAW. (Some people prefer to add a traditional mouse as they find it easier to use than a mouse pad, in this case you'll already have one USB connection down to start with most DAWs. You'll need an audio interface to record an audio track line-in from an XLR or TRS, typically Bus powered, so you'll need a high-speed, high-speed connection.
There are a range of appropriate models out there and the ones we reviewed each fit their own music production standard. We've tried to pick those whose audio production capabilities you've been inquiring about, but some outshine the others. If you're serious about producing music, you'll probably look around the $1200 + mark.
Obviously, this is a huge amount of information and we are not a fan of large texts in order to summarize a little more clearly the key factors;
- Before you buy to narrow down the OS requirements, consider a digital audio workstation.
- Choose a version that has a minimum i5 dual-core processor, i7 if possible.
- Make sure SSD space is ample on board.
- So keep options open for the future, it is always best to have a little more RAM than the DAW defines.
- RAM should be above average speed (1600MHz +) Make sure 2 or 3 up-to-date USB ports are available.
Now that you're a little more clued in, you might see some of the items that you've asked us to test do simply not cut the mustard for more multi-instrument manufacturers. Of those we reviewed today, the DELL XPS Thin and Light makes an exceptional choice, it is definitely one of the best laptops on the open market for music production. It has a rather surprising price tag, due in large part to its design of the touchscreen. They make a high spec LCD screen model, which is slightly more modestly priced, if this is not important to you.
The Alienware, the Asus Rog Strix or the Razer blade stealth devices would be other top suggestions from today's article.
Best budget laptop for the production of music?
Sadly, the faster the better in the field of audio production to avoid crashes and crashes or lack of delay in the middle of recordings. The top audio production laptops we looked at in this article all make for budget options that are reasonably priced.
In our view, the best value for money would be the Alienware or the Razor Blade Stealth, each with high-end graphics gaming laptops with good sound processing capabilities, superior CPUs, fantastic clock speeds and reasonable RAM and storage capacities. Nevertheless, they are not exactly cheap.
The cheapest option in our list is the tablet option, the Lenovo yoga book, but it only runs an Android operating system so that the most complete DAW is not managed. When cash is of interest, it makes for a good choice for younger users and those who branch out creatively into songwriting. There are a good number of apps with great content for the development of simple audio. If your budget simply does not stretch to the $1000 mark, this may be an ideal starting point for you.
Which is the best way to produce music – a laptop or a desktop?
Overall, a desktop is better for music production, especially considering that they can be relatively easily updated and built-on. They have their disadvantages, though much more competent, which means they have to be set up and stay where they are housed. If you're serious about setting up a home studio, they're a worthy investment, but we're living in a modern world that's constantly moving and being able to take your work with you is just as important.
If you already have a studio setup, a laptop for the creation of music is essential tools to take those hours of endless editing with you in a more comfortable environment.
There are some great laptops around which carry their smaller footprint and the convenience of being able to set up shop in any situation at a moment's notice, but the truly capable ones with the perfect set of specs will set you back over $2,500.
When you invest in a new laptop that can specifically support your DAW workload, you will need one with a good number of USB ports (ideally 3.0 or Thunderbolt), a great processor, fast clock speeds, 16 + GB of RAM and a decent amount of SSD space.
When you find a more expensive investment such as a good audio laptop, you will want to make a well-informed decision before you leave with a large amount of cash.
Admittedly, today's buyers ' guide was on the heavier side to make sure you delivered all the necessary information in an understandable manner. Computers are of a complex nature, so much has to be covered.
Many of the laptops that we have selected to test have characteristics that we have not investigated in an effort to keep design breakdowns important for audio production purposes. We also aimed to conceive in concise terms all the more vital aspects that you will need when running a digital audio workspace to get a laptop with optimum performance.
While many of those we looked at are able to install and run them fairly competently, we chose to be very honest and clear as your computer's software for music production can be very demanding as your production skills and methods evolve.
With technology improving at a steadily increasing rate, the modern market is overwhelmed by high-performance laptops so long as you know which DAW you want to use and how you intend to use it, you should find a suitable laptop to meet your needs.
Your primary concerns should be processing power and the correct operating system to find the best laptop for audio production. Once you've narrowed it down, all you need to do is find one in your price range, which is as rich in fast RAM as it's stuffed with enough SSD storage for quick recovery.
If you have plenty of cash to spend on a laptop purchase, PCAudioLabs will make some great laptop specifically designed for audio production, their high-end models will feature ample processors and generous gigabytes. They're a fantastic option because they're designed with producers in mind that they're more suited for start to finish musical use.
Have you heard that?
You'll find an armada of Android audio production apps at your fingertips to provide access to basic music making. If you're not thinking gold, you could find that a cheaper tablet device is going to jut over enough.