Music production is a creative and satisfying job when you see people enjoy your mixed and presented tunes. With the job becoming increasingly mobile, DJs rely on laptops to work on the go. However, no laptop will do, and even the best may not be the right choice. You’ve got to find the best laptop for music production.
Confused? We’ll explain.
Musicians use DAW (digital audio workstation) software, such as Logic and ProTools to mix tracks and reproduce music in different forms. The laptop you use for music production should have enough power to run DAW software, multiple plug-ins, and store countless tracks in the memory. A computer/desktop seems to be a viable option in such instances, and many music producers have a complete home setup with a high-end desktop.
Nevertheless, the latest laptops and notebooks are not far behind meeting the requirements. We’ve compiled a list of the ten best laptops for music production after thoroughly testing each model based on various factors.
From affordable laptops to premium models and HP to Apple, we have some wonderful laptops that are a great choice for music production. So let’s get started without further delay.
Roundup of the Best Laptops for Music Production
|Overall Best Laptop for Music Production||Apple 2022 MacBook Pro|
|Music Production Laptop With Best Performance||Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop|
|Most Compact Laptop for Music Production||ASUS VivoBook F512 Thin and Lightweight Laptop|
|Most Lightweight Laptop for Music Production||Microsoft Surface Laptop Go|
|Most Reliable Laptop for Music Production||HP 15 Laptop|
|Music Production Laptop With Best Bass Performance||Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop|
|Best Budget Laptop for Music Production||HP Chromebook x360 14a 2-in-1|
|Best Convertible Laptop for Music||Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop|
|Best Budget Laptop for Music Production||Acer Chromebook 314|
|Music Production Laptop With Long Battery Life||HP 17 Laptop|
What Does a Laptop Need for Music Production?
We aren’t talking about the laptop specifications in this section. Here, we’ll read about the necessary elements the music production laptops should have (just like the essential music production equipment for producing music).
For example, the CPU (Central Processing Unit) needs to pack a punch to sustain the use of DAW software. But you don’t necessarily need a high-quality GPU (Graphical Processing unit). The GPU has a vital role in gaming laptops but is not crucial for music production.
RAM is again important, as music producers need to store large music files and audio tracks on the laptop. Instead, a laptop with less than 8GB RAM won’t cut. Storage is another aspect to consider, though you can still opt for external SSD storage if budget is an issue.
So, the three main things a laptop needs for music production are the latest CPU (Core i7/ i9), Large RAM (> 8GB), and SSD storage. Of course, there are more aspects to consider, such as the battery life, and we’ll deal with them in the coming sections.
What Kind of Laptop Do I Need for Music Production?
The kind of laptops or portable computers you need for audio production depends on the digital audio workstation you use and the operating system you find comfortable to work with.
Let’s look at some music production specifications:
- CPU: Intel (> 2.3GHz i5) or AMD Multi-Core
- Operating System: > macOS 10.12 or > Windows 7 (64-bit)
- RAM: Min. 8GB though 16-32 GB RAM is recommended
- Hard Drive/Disk Space: Min. 6GB with additional storage space up to 76GB or more
The laptop specifications change depending on the music production applications you use. For example, Logic Pro 10 works the best with macOS 10.12 or higher operating systems.
Since most DAW software doesn’t run on CPUs less than i5, we recommend going for something latest like i7 or i9 for the laptop to work faster.
Apple MacBook (especially Macbook Air) tends to overheat due to extended use, which is necessary for music composers. After all, you can’t mix tracks in a few minutes. Some MacBooks also need adapters to work with non-Apple devices. It’s up to you to decide if you want to stick to Apple products or whether Windows would be a preferred choice.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Music Production Laptop
When you look at the factors to consider for buying the best laptops for music, you’ll notice a few common aspects of a gaming laptop. Both purposes require extensive laptop use, and a regular model cannot sustain such heavy usage over time.
The CPU performance is the first factor to consider for an audio production laptop. Luckily, we have a range of CPUs to choose from. Do you want to go for Intel, AMD, or Apple? Intel has been a global favorite for years, though AMD and Apple are not lagging in popularity.
You need a faster processor that can run large music production applications without getting stuck or freezing at a crucial moment. For example, AMD’s Ryzen processors are a favorite among gamers.
You can either go for R5 or higher from AMD or stick to Intel’s latest processors. If Apple is your choice, the M1 chip naturally tops the list, though not all software apps are yet compatible with it.
So, how much RAM is perfect for a music-making laptop? You might be tempted to go with the specifications listed by the DAW manufacturer. That’s the biggest mistake you’ll ever make. No kidding. The RAM specified won’t even handle half your requirements.
You know better than others about the size of audio tracks you need to play when producing music. Will a teeny RAM do the job? No. Our ideal RAM is 16GB, though we’d happily take 32GB. We might work with 8GB RAM too, but nothing lesser. Also, ask if the RAM is extensible and if you can upgrade it down the years.
If the audio applications you use have a sample library or an entire sound library, you’ll find it convenient to use solid-state drive (SSD) storage instead of a hard disk drive (HDD).
Unfortunately, we admit SSD storage is a little expensive, but it is also faster and can complete file transfers in a quick time compared to HDD.
You can also opt for both storage types, where you can store images and videos on the hard drive and audio files on SSD. You can also go for external hard drives, depending on your requirements.
There is no definite screen size for a music production laptop. That said, a bigger screen is more convenient to work with DAW software. Anything around 14 inches should be a decent choice.
Though it’s not mandatory, you can check out the touchscreen laptop models as these come with greater color vibrancy and reproduction than regular laptops.
USB ports are important for a laptop, and a USB-C port goes perfectly with SSD storage. However, you can easily add a few more ports by attaching a four-in-one USB port dongle to the laptop.
One factor people tend to forget is the battery life. If you work on the go, you need a battery life to last through the day without being charged. A musician would not want the laptop battery to die when fine-tuning the tracks for an event.
Since we’ve already discussed the operating systems, we just say that the laptop’s operating system should work seamlessly with the music production software you use. If there are basic compatibility issues between the two, the laptop doesn’t suit music producers.
Top 10 Laptops for Music Producers
The following are some of the best laptops for music producers available in the market:
1. Apple 2022 MacBook Pro
Overall Best Laptop for Music Production
- Incredible battery life
- Lightning-fast speed
- Same classic design
- Thinner and lighter
- M2 chip has excellent performance
- Enhanced display and webcam
- Very portable
- Few advantages over M2 Air
- Just 2 ports
- 720p webcam
- An unsatisfactory 13″ screen size
Apple MacBook Pro is the overall best laptop for music production with great computing performance and wonderful graphics. The Retina display makes the screen a delight to look at. The native resolution falls between HD and 4K, making it a perfect choice for gamers and music producers.
Firstly, we love that this revamped version has double the RAM and the latest 10th gen processor with the Core i7 variant. Not once did we worry about working with a full sound library and running multiple music apps simultaneously. Not a single glitch throughout! This one also comes with a fingerprint sensor to lock the laptop and keep our files secure.
Secondly, the new Magic Keyboard is super cool. Though we don’t use it much during editing, it’s nice to work on it when compiling data and maintaining records. Yes, we use the same MacBook for record-keeping to see how it would fare. The touchpad is just as good, but we prefer to plug a mouse into the USB-C port. It’s faster and easier.
To conclude, Apple MacBook Pro is an expensive model but delivers what it promises and more. There’s wireless support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5, though we’d have loved it even more if it supported Wi-Fi 6. However, the memory is 32GB and can go up to 4TB SSD. Given the range of work a music composer has, 4TB sounds perfect. The battery life is more than decent at around ten hours. Of course, it comes down to eight hours when continuous usage, but we aren’t complaining. The speakers play bass, mids, and highs clearly, thus helping us fine-tune the tracks with precision. MacBook Pro is indeed one of the best laptops for music producers.
View on Amazon: Apple 2022 MacBook Pro
2. Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop
Music Production Laptop With Best Performance
- Excellent performance
- Powerful 11th Gen processor
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- Easy to upgrade
- Great build quality
- No biometric sensor
- Average battery performance
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S is the best audio production laptop known for its performance. It comes with the 11th gen Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. The 15.6-inch screen is full HD with a clear and sharp display.
Firstly, the laptop is sturdy, and the solid build is reassuring. We feel relieved when we don’t have to pamper a laptop (we still take good care of it). Moreover, it weighs just five pounds and is compact enough to carry around. We wish it looked a little modern as Asus doesn’t seem to have changed the design for years.
Secondly, the keyboards worked better for us as we aren’t used to typing fast and rely more on the mouse. But let’s talk about the processor, shall we? Featuring 8 cores and 16 threads, this is a gaming laptop at its best. Naturally, it suited our audio production software with the same ease as it would run an HD game or even better.
In conclusion, Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S is still an expensive laptop for music but is worth the price. We are impressed with the thermal pads that regulate the temperature and prevent overheating. Though we could hear the fans running slowly, it didn’t bother us, as the laptop didn’t end up hot. If only the battery life were better than six hours! We wouldn’t say no to better speakers either. Still, it’s a slight disadvantage to deal with, given the performance.
View on Amazon: Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop
3. ASUS VivoBook F512 Thin and Lightweight Laptop
Most Compact Laptop for Music Production
- Modern build/design
- Lightweight and thin
- Available in four colors
- Fingerprint sensor
- No Thunderbolt 3 ports
ASUS VivoBook F512DA-EB51 is the most compact music-making laptop for an entry-level price. The laptop competes with premium models in appearance and build quality with four color options and stylish looks.
Firstly, this Asus laptop has an AMD processor with a 3.6GHz processing speed. Though it has only 8GB RAM, it does the job effectively and doesn’t freeze or slow down. Moreover, we can upgrade the RAM anytime we want. Cool, right? The 256GB SSD is enough for now, and we are happy with the results.
Secondly, the laptop has a fingerprint sensor to ensure data security. It’s good to see low-cost laptops adding such an important feature. The 15.6-inch screen is supposed to be full HD. It does the job for music making but may not be an excellent laptop for gaming. But guess what? The keyboard is spacious and neat!
To sum up, ASUS VivoBook F512DA-EB51 is easy to carry, thanks to its lightweight design. It is less than 4 pounds and has a thin design that’s convenient to stuff into backpacks. We like that the laptop still feels sturdy despite the lack of weight and thickness. We also like that it has a long battery life of around 8 hours. It’s not the best in the market but better than some expensive models that last even less.
View on Amazon: ASUS VivoBook F512 Thin and Lightweight Laptop
4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Most Lightweight Laptop for Music Production
- Extremely long battery life
- Fingerprint sensor
- Keyboard is not backlit
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is the most lightweight laptop on our list and weighs less than 2.5 pounds. With a fab touchscreen and stylish looks, the laptop is one of the best budget-friendly models.
Firstly, this surface laptop has an excellent battery life and can last more than 10 hours. It should touch 13 hours, though it doesn’t last long since we use it heavily. The build quality was a lovely surprise. It was much better than we expected. We take it with us just about everywhere we go. The weight and battery life make it a great portable laptop.
Secondly, with a 10th gen Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD, it gives us a seamless performance as we move through multiple tabs and folders. We can always connect an external drive for more storage space with the numerous port options. The keypad is not backlit, but that’s a minor issue.
Finally, Microsoft Surface Laptop Go comes with Windows 10 S operating system, which you can change to Windows 10 Home (but only once). The company also promised a free Windows 11 Home upgrade once they rolled out the changes. We also grabbed the Bluetooth mouse to go with the laptop, and it’s been a perfect combo. The screen is a little small, but hey, it is touch-sensitive. Surface Go can easily compete with high-end models with a lovely display and great features.
View on Amazon: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
5. HP 15 Laptop
Most Reliable Laptop for Music Production
- Good display and touchscreen
- Great CPU performance
- Worthy build quality
- Lightweight and stylish
- No backlit keyboard
- Average battery life
The HP 15 is one of the best audio production laptops that deliver solid CPU performance. The HP laptop turns head and fits the budget with a lightweight and stylish design.
Firstly, the 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage space are enough to keep us working on the DAW software. We also love the multiple connectivity options. Our model has Windows 10 Home operating system, though HP offers the same laptop as Windows 11 Home for a slightly higher price.
Secondly, we are glad that the fast-charging feature works as promised by the manufacturer. Since battery life is just about 7 hours (and mostly lesser due to our usage), we need to charge it frequently. It goes to almost 50% in 45 minutes, and we can start using it again.
To conclude, HP 15 weighs less than 4 pounds and has a conveniently thin design. We stuff it along with the charger when going out. The display screen is nice and big with noteworthy clarity. Oh, the Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is our favorite. It makes the file transfer fast and hassle-free. The CPU can clock up to 4.5GHz, ensuring that we can rely on this little one to mix tracks even with time constraints.
View on Amazon: HP 15 Laptop
6. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Music Production Laptop With Best Bass Performance
- Two built-in stereo speakers
- PCIe NVMe SSD
- Great value for money
- Eye-catching display
- No USB-C charging
Acer Aspire 5 Slim has the best bass speakers we’ve seen in the laptop market. With a sleek design and decent processor, the laptop works well for beginners in music production.
Firstly, there’s no denying that the laptop delivers more than its price. We weren’t sure, but are now happy to say that this Acer laptop has exceeded our expectations. The battery life is around 7 hours, which is still good for the amount we paid for it.
Secondly, the laptop is sleek and fits compact spaces, though it’s not much of a looker. That’s fine. The display screen and two built-in stereo speakers make up for the lack of stylish appearance. Moreover, the laptop is easily portable as it weighs less than 4 pounds. And what’s more, the build quality is fantastic.
In conclusion, the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2: Over-Ear Headphones can be a good option to purchase if comfort is a priority for you, along with the retro look. Not only do they have a pleasant sound, but they are made from eco-friendly materials.
View on Amazon: Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
7. HP Chromebook x360 14a 2-in-1 Laptop
Best Budget Laptop for Music Production
- Amazing battery life
- Responsive touchscreen
- Two-in-one usage
- Low-resolution display
HP Chromebook x360 14a is the best budget laptop for music production with a lightweight design and decent features. It can be used as a tablet and laptop, as it comes with a responsive touchscreen.
Firstly, the laptop’s operating system is Chrome OS, developed by Google. It is Linux-based and easy to use. Since the Chromebook has been designed for everyday/general use, it comes with a quad-core budget processor usually found in entry-level models. We noticed the laptop was fast enough when working with the DAW software.
Secondly, the battery life is close to twelve hours. That’s half a day and suits our requirements well. We didn’t have to worry about charging the Chromebook when working on it. Though the display resolution is not great, it does the job for music production. The speakers could have been better, though.
In conclusion, the HP Chromebook x360 14a is what a budget model would offer. The RAM is 4GB, and the SSD is only 64 GB. It should be useful for a couple of years and beginners in the field. Yet, we like how easy it is to use this as a tablet, despite the 14-inch screen. The hinges are smooth, and folding the keypad is not scary (we didn’t want to break it). The Chromebook also has a USB-C port and Wi-Fi 5 connectivity. All in all, it’s a decent model and worth the price.
View on Amazon: HP Chromebook x360 14a 2-in-1
8. Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
Best Convertible Laptop for Music Production
- Less than a one-inch thickness
- Better battery life
- Super affordable
- Good design and build
- Average display and brightness
Lenovo Chromebook C330 is the best convertible laptop for music production. It is cheap and can be considered an extended model of mobile devices. The Chromebook is a good choice for beginners, with a sleek design and stylish looks.
Firstly, the laptop costs less than $150, making it a highly affordable model. It is pocket-friendly in different ways. After all, the Chromebook weighs less than three pounds and is less than an inch thick. What we love the best is its convertibility. We can fold and use it in four different positions.
Secondly, it has 4GB RAM and 64GB hard disk. The Mediatek MT8173C processor is in no way the best but does the job. The battery life is around ten hours, which is good for a budget laptop. Since the virus protection comes built-in, we didn’t have to worry about antivirus software.
Finally, Lenovo Chromebook C330 looks rather cute in the blizzard white color and has a good build quality despite having a plastic chassis. The screen is small, only 11.6 inches, and isn’t very bright. But we didn’t have any issues when working on the music production software. The Chromebook sure won’t suit gaming but works for producing music and comes with anti-glare protection to work outside. It would have been even better if the speakers were louder. Though Chromebook C330 is not what most music producers will choose, it is a good option if you are new to the field.
View on Amazon: Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
9. Acer Chromebook 314
Best Budget Laptop for Music Production
- Bright display screen
- Great laptop design
- Excellent battery life
- Premium build quality
- Comfortable keyboard
- Pocket-friendly price
- No touchscreen
- Slightly bulky
The Acer Chromebook 314 is a great budget laptop for music producers with a stylish color scheme and good looks. The Chromebook comes with an additional 100GB of storage space on the Google cloud.
Firstly, it is a reliable laptop that works as a lightweight computer. It is slightly bigger than an average Chromebook and weighs a little extra. However, we don’t mind any of it. The laptop is solid yet portable. We can use it just about anywhere, except in direct sunlight.
Secondly, there are four USP ports on the sides, including a MicroSD slot, headphone jack, and Kensington lock. This makes up for the lack of a fingerprint sensor (almost). We weren’t sure of a dual-core processor handling the pressure of DAW software, but the laptop surprised us. It didn’t freeze or shut down even once.
In conclusion, Acer Chromebook 314 is a budget Chromebook with decent features and a great battery life of twelve hours. We are willing to overlook a few issues because of the price and battery life. We also plug in the headphones, so it does the job. We do wish the 4GB RAM was expandable, but well. This one has been designed for light use and still manages to deliver for music production.
View on Amazon: Acer Chromebook 314
10. HP 17 Laptop
Music Production Laptop With Long Battery Life
- Large, brilliant display
- Excellent speaker
- Long battery life
- Ergonomic keyboard with number pad
- Thin and light relative to its screen size
- USB-C port present
- No touchscreen capability
- Not illuminated keyboard
- No privacy slider for the webcam
- No SD card reader
- Low display resolution
The HP Laptop 17 is a fantastic low-cost option for everyday usage. If you are a music producer who spends a lot of time creating music, you’ll love the vivid display for multitasking and relaxing after a long day.
The HP Laptop 17 is simple at first sight, with just the glossy HP logo on the lid, adding visual interest. The metal body of this laptop is sleek and well-polished. The HP Laptop 17 is not, however, all metal. Like the rest of the metal construction, the base is Silver-finished plastic. Therefore, it gives the impression of being entirely fabricated from aluminum. The laptop has a smooth outside border with a projecting lip that allows you to raise the screen when the lid is closed easily.
A nice surprise is the laptop’s keyboard. Although several keys (the function keys and the up and down arrows) are only half size, typing on the keyboard is still a pleasant experience because of the positive feeling you get when you touch a key.
Though OLED screens may represent the pinnacle of laptop display technology, seeing the season’s best movies on a big screen is always a thrill, and having such a screen at your disposal no matter where you travel is a huge bonus. Moreover, the HP Laptop 17 has a high-quality display for a laptop in its price range when set to maximum brightness.
To conclude, the HP Laptop 17 may not have a luxury design, but it has enough processing power for most tasks. Additionally, its uncomplicated style makes it an excellent choice for usage in a professional environment. This portable computer serves the user well in various settings, from workplace to home theater to studio.
View on Amazon: HP 17 Laptop
Frequently Asked Questions About Music Production Laptops
Yes, it is enough in most instances. The 16GB RAM is the right choice for large projects as it can handle multiple music applications at once and easily runs sample libraries with acoustic instruments to deliver a realistic musical output. 8GB RAM is also enough if you work around less than 25 audio tracks (with multiple instruments).
Mac is considered a better choice for music production as it doesn’t crash often and delivers great performance. It has a longer lifetime, and the intuitive interface makes it a user-friendly model. Though MacBooks tend to overheat, they are surprisingly stable and come with audio optimizations that make music composition a wonderful experience.
Yes, of course. Gaming laptops require the same or higher computing power and pace to run huge games in real-time. Similar features are necessary for music production. Since gaming laptops have higher RAM, a powerful CPU, greater SSD, and long battery life, music producers can happily use them for DJing and music composition.
We hope you have the necessary information to buy the best music production laptop. Also, we recommend Apple MacBook Pro 13″ with its 10th gen Intel processor, great expandable memory, and 16GB RAM. We also recommend ASUS VivoBook F512 for its sleek design and AMD processor and Acer Aspire 5 for its speakers and cost-effective pricing.
However, you need to choose a laptop that suits your requirements and DAW software. Read the specifications and compare them carefully to make the right decision. Let us know which one you selected. Drop a comment below!