12 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2018
Think you make the best beats around? Lots of musicians feel the same way, but you do not have to wonder for long in today’s connected age. You no longer need to rely on expensive studio time, producers or other costs that were considered the norm a few decades ago. You can thank the PC for that although some aspiring DJs and musicians don’t want to be stuck indoors.
A great laptop can allow you to work or play while you are on the go. They do come with drawbacks; however, including the battery and the fact that most are not easily upgradable. That makes your buying decision all the tougher when looking for the best laptop for music production. Unless you are a true techie, cracking open any laptop is never a good idea, so you need to buy right the first time around.
Let our guide simplify the shopping process for you: here we provide you with useful shopping tips, a list of the top 10 laptops for music production, and provide you with detailed reviews of the five products that we know are worth your money.
Top 12 Laptops for Music Production Comparison
|Design||Name||Display Size||USB Ports||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Apple MacBook Pro MLW82LL/A 15.4-inch Laptop with Touch Bar||15.4”||4(TB)||4.3|
|2. ASUS ROG G752VL-UH71T 17.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen Gaming Laptop||17.3”||5||4.3|
|3. Microsoft Surface Book (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB)||13.5”||4||4|
|4. MSI VR Ready GT73VR Titan Pro-201 17.3″ Extreme Gaming Laptop||17.3”||5||4.2|
|5. HP ENVY 13-ab016nr Notebook (Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)||13.3”||3||4.2|
|6. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-76YK 15.6-inch Full HD Notebook||15.6”||4||4.2|
|7. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E560 15.6″ HD Screen||15.6”||3||4.2|
|8. ASUS ZenBook UX303UB 13.3-Inch QHD+ Touchscreen Laptop||13.3”||3||4.1|
|9. Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop||17.3”||4||4.1|
|10. Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Laptop Computer 15.6 inch FHD IPS Screen||15.6”||5||3.9|
|11. 2017 Dell Inspiron 5000 Touchscreen 17.3″ FHD Laptop||17.3”||4||3.8|
|12. ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW 15.6-Inch 4K Touchscreen Laptop||15.6”||3||3.8|
Quick Tips for Audiophiles
Unlike machines built for gamers or students, consumers in the music industry looking for a laptop need to keep these key areas in mind.
Processor and RAM
To the best of our knowledge, there are currently no mainstream laptops built especially for music production although things are a little different on the desktop front. While portable, you do have to make a few tradeoffs if you want the best laptop for music production. That said, you certainly do not have to skimp when it comes to the processor or RAM.
The processor is what provides most of the horsepower, and some music programs will require a bit more oomph than others will. If you get a laptop with at least an i5 under the hood, you should be fine although an i7 will easily take on anything you throw its way. Most of the laptops on our list will have one of those two chips. Alternatively, you won’t want to opt for the Intel i3 unless you are just going to dabble and don’t need anything special.
As for the memory, a good “standard” number to shoot for is 6GB, but the more, the better. RAM has gotten cheaper, so going for a laptop with 8GB to 16GB would be your best bet. You can get up to 64GB on some models, but those are usually rigs built for gaming and not necessarily for making mix tapes.
Just like with the memory, the more storage you can afford the better. Regular old HDD’s are cheaper and come from anywhere between 256GB to 2TB while SSD’s or solid state drives fall somewhere in the middle. The latter offers faster access times and transfer speeds but will raise the overall cost in the end. On the flipside, this is the one area you can improve on your laptop. If you run out of space, you can turn to the cloud, an external hard drive or a simple USB stick.
- Ports – How do you plan to mix your music? USB ports allow you to hook instruments straight into your PC along with all sorts of gadgets and accessories. If you plan to hook your guitar or keyboard, there are USB connectors that will allow you do just that. Lightning and USB Type-C ports are also something to consider. In a nutshell, make sure the laptop has enough ports to suit your needs.
- OS – This one is fairly simple as most music programs will run on either Windows or Macs these days. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however, so you will want to ensure any specialized software will worth on the system you choose. If want to run Linux or another oddball system, you could be out of luck running your favorite audio program.
Top 5 Best Laptop for Music Production Reviews
Unless a laptop list consists of inexpensive equipment or Windows-based machines, you are likely to find a MacBook sitting at the top. There is a reason for that, as Apple’s laptops are known for more than just their style. They are less prone to software issues, which makes them a great fit for music production and aspiring artists.
While it is nice to have a reliable laptop at your side, it comes at a cost with the MacBook Pro. That said, you are getting a fully decked out machine with up to 512GB of storage, an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM. That means it can handle any music program you need to run along with any other applications. We’d be remiss if we did not also mention the four USB-C ports and the optional Touch Bar. The connectivity options are strong with this one.
The Apple MacBook Pro is a beastly laptop that is available in 13.3-inches or 15.4-inches although we opted for the latter as our top choice. You can also choose to add the Touch Bar or opt for 256GB of storage if you don’t need all that HD.
If you aren’t a massive fan of the Mac OS or just want something a bit larger, we have just the thing for you. Well, actually ASUS does in the ROG G752VL-UH71T as it is a gaming laptop that works great for putting together tracks. The fact it runs Windows 10 is also a bonus, but far from the only reason why it made the cut.
The power plant that drives this laptop consists of the popular Intel i7 and 24GB of RAM. You will not have any issue running Ableton Live, FL Studio or ACID Pro on this one. It will stay cool to the touch thanks to the “dust-release” thermal fan that keep your vents clear as you mix beats late into the night. Connectivity is no problem either thanks to a total of five USB ports. You’ll get one Type-C USB to go along with four 3.0 ports.
If you aren’t impressed by power, the extras on this one may change your mind. It sports a NVIDIA GTX 965M graphics card, five programmable macro keys, and anti-ghosting tech. Throw in a mini display port and a headphone output combo with S/PDIF, and you’ve got yourself a fine laptop for consumers looking to get creative.
When people hear Microsoft Surface, they generally think of the popular slate. The company also makes a Surface Book, which is a fine choice if you need the best laptop for recording music. It has only one downside, as it is a bit small at 13.3-inches but has more power than many machines that made the cut.
Need lots of ports? Well, you will get them with the Surface Book setup that comes the Performance Dock. The book itself has two ports while the Dock adds two more. You will also get a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Mini Display ports, and an Audio out por: something you will definitely use. As for the power, that comes from an Intel i7 and 16GB on the top tier model. The lower end of the spectrum is more affordable but still powerful with an i5 and 8GB of RAM.
If you are concerned about storage space, you will have nothing to fear with this laptop. Again, there are different options available, but all will provide plenty of room for your tunes at 128GB up to 1TB. Other tech specs to note are the NVIDIA GTX 965M, Windows 10 and a Digital Pen.
If you want to be sure you have enough memory to handle anything coming your way musically, you cannot beat the MSI GT73VR Titan. The best laptop for music production needs RAM, and this one can offer up 64GB of it. That is what we call “Future Proof” as you will not need to upgrade this one within in the next decade when it comes to RAM.
Having plenty of memory and a weak processor is not something to be concerned about with the Titan. All configurations come with the Intel i7-6820HK as well. Unless you are a professional DJ or producer with a backlog of tracks spanning a decade, you will appreciate the storage capacity on the top model, which offers a 1TB SSD drive and a 1TB HDD.
As the name implies, MSI built this one for gamers, but it is perfect for musicians needed something more than an average laptop can bring to the table. It’s also quite colorful and sports a monstrous 17.3-inch or 18.4-inch wide-angle display. Needless to say, you will be able to play even the most hardcore of games on this machine when you need a break from composing.
The HP ENVY 13-ab016nr Notebook does not have a glamorous name. That said, it one of the sleekest laptops to make the list with a slick metal shell. Despite its thin exterior, it packs some punch with the i5-7200U and 8GB of RAM. The SSD drive ensures you will have ample space as well at 256GB.
On paper, the ENVY 13 is similar to many of our top choices when it comes to specifications. One thing it has that the others lack is a feature from a brand audiophiles will appreciate, Bang & Olufsen. The laptop has audio tuning the company and gets great battery life at around 14 hours depending on your usage. It is a bit on the small side at fuzz north of 13-inches but leaves a powerful trail in its wake.