The Best Laptops For Music Production for All Budgets

By | March 25, 2022

Recorded music usually means paying millions of rupiah or more to go to a professional recording studio. Now, if you have a computer, all you need is some other hardware, and you’ve got your own studio. If you make electronic music, you may need less hardware.

Of course, not all computers are created equal. You can record music on almost any computer, but you can do a lot more with something more powerful. Choosing the right laptop will make getting your ideas from your head to the listener a lot easier.

Here are the best laptops for music production to suit all budgets.

Best MacBook Overall:

MacBook Pro 15-inch

Step into studio pro, and you have a very good chance of seeing a Mac, even if it’s most likely an iMac or a Mac Pro. Windows computers are gaining popularity in this sector, but you’ll still see Macs often. There are only two options for the MacBook, with the MacBook Pro being the more powerful of the two.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro not only offers a larger screen than the 13-inch model, but also more powerful hardware. You get a choice of Intel i7 or i9 CPUs, and the base model offers 16GB of RAM. Ideally, you want to use 512GB of storage instead of 256GB in the base model. Thankfully, the 2019 edition has an updated keyboard that Apple says doesn’t have the reliability issues that plagued the models of recent years.

Best Budget MacBooks:

Macbook Air

The MacBook Air hasn’t been updated in years, but it did receive a refresh in 2019. The new MacBook Air isn’t as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but if you don’t need those high-end specs, the Air will be for you. good. We recommend choosing the version with 16GB of RAM, but if you want to lower the cost, you might want to opt for the 8GB edit.

Similarly, you’ll be working with large audio files, so the more storage, the better. However, if you want to keep costs down, opt for a 256GB internal SSD, and buy an external drive to go with it. The MacBook Air 2019 comes with Apple’s Retina display, though you’re still limited to a relatively small 13-inch screen.

Most Adaptable Windows Laptops:

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is the perfect choice if you want a laptop that can run Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software seamlessly. The hardware also makes it perfect for use as a composition tool as well. Touch screen support is hit and miss depending on the software you are using.

However, it’s getting better, with tools for electronic musicians developing rapidly. The Surface Book 2 is no slouch in the hardware department. This laptop ships with a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. You also get up to 17 hours of battery life. This makes it an ideal laptop for recording in remote locations where you don’t have easy access to power.

Best 2-in-1 Laptops:

HP Specter x360

The HP Specter x360 is a great 2-in-1 alternative to the Surface Book 2. Where Microsoft’s offering can go out of the way to enter tablet mode, the Specter x360 rotates on its hinges to create the same effect.

You get a six-core Intel i7 CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 512 NVMe SSD. The 15.4-inch display is 4K, meaning things will stay incredibly sharp when you zoom in to edit audio in your DAW software. Editing software-based instruments with the Specter x360’s touchscreen also makes the experience more immersive.

Best Budget 2-in-1 Laptops:

Lenovo Yoga 730

If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 but don’t want to spend too much, the Lenovo Yoga 730 might be for you. This laptop is highly configurable, so you should be able to find something that fits your budget. However, the more RAM and storage space you can manage, the better off you will be.

If you want to keep the price low, opt for the Core i5 model, which is still powerful enough for most music production needs. You also get 12GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. You can also increase storage space by adding an external drive. As long as you’re not using too many plugins or tracking freezes, then you should be fine.

Best Mobile Workstations:

HP ZBook Studio

Many of us would rather have the power of a desktop computer, but the portability afforded by a laptop is hard to resist. They don’t offer the same hardware upgrades, but mobile workstation-class laptops can offer the best of both worlds. The only downside is that many of these aren’t as sleek or slim as other laptops.

One of the best mobile workstations for music production is the HP ZBook Studio. This laptop is equipped with a 2.8GHz Intel Xeon CPU, unlike other laptops on this list which usually have a Core i7 or similar. This model also has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. On top of that, there’s an Nvidia Quadra M1000M graphics card, which you’ll find in many pro multimedia rigs.

Best Budget Mobile Stations:

Lenovo ThinkPad P52s

Mobile workstations are generally not cheap, so even a budget device will cost you a lot of change. That said, the Lenovo ThinkPad P52s offers a lot of power for the price. The base configuration uses a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, packs 16GB of RAM, and has a 512GB SSD.

On the downside, the 15.6-inch display is only 1920×1080, which feels a little dated compared to the high-resolution screens you’ll find on some of the same laptops. Despite these slight drawbacks, the Lenovo ThinkPad P52s is easily the best budget mobile workstation for music production.

Best 17 Inch Laptops:

LG Gram 17-inch

Whether you’re mixing a large number of tracks or editing audio across multiple tracks, you generally need all the screen you can get your hands on. Most of the laptops you find these days are 13-inch or 15-inch models. However, you may find it just isn’t enough for you, which is where the 17-inch LG Gram comes in.

Despite clocking just over a gram, despite the large screen, the LG Gram is thin, light, and easy to carry around. This laptop has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 as well. This model uses an 8th generation Intel Core i7 and has 16GB of RAM and a 512 SSD. Although, for more money, you can get a model with a 1TB SSD.

Best 17 Inch Budget Laptops:

ASUS VivoBook Pro 17

If you’re willing to sacrifice some power for a big screen, the ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 might be right in front of you. While not quite as slim as the LG Gram, this model is still pretty slim, plus it boasts an 85 percent screen-to-body ratio, meaning it’s barely bezel-less.

They should lower the price, which means you only get an Intel Core i5 CPU. Similarly, you are limited to 8GB of RAM. The hard drive has a very small SSD storage space, only 128GB. This is usually a deal breaker, but ASUS has also included a 1TB HDD inside for extra space to store your audio files.

Best Laptops for Music Production

If you already have DAW software that you like, you’ll want to choose your computer based on what you have. Logic will only run on a Mac, for example. Windows gives you more options, but most of the most popular DAWs also run on Macs.

If you need software, you want to be sure to pick something that works well with your laptop. You have to work on your operating system, but you also want to meet the system requirements. If you need help choosing software, we recommend Best Free Music Production Software For Beginners.