Traditionally, music production artists have relied on heavy, bulky desktops to layer their tracks and edit their content.
Not only did this limit their flexibility of work, but also meant considerable expense.
In contemporary times, top brands like Apple, MSI and Razer have produced laptops to perform the job beautifully.
Music production laptops have the power to fuel music software applications like Ableton Live and Adobe Audition without encountering delays.
Frequently, they can also double up as gaming laptops. Plus, the cherry on the cake is that many of them are rugged yet lightweight, versatile yet stylish.
Purchasing a Music Production Laptop: Key Considerations
It can be tricky to zero down on the best device for your musical needs since the market abounds in choices. It is not enough to seek out exceptional audio, powerful speakers, and noise reduction technologies.
Other questions demand answering as well. Should you get a gaming laptop or a replacement for your desktop? How important is the processing chamber, and just how much muscle do we require? Here are the primary requirements you cannot do without:
A powerful CPU for all the hard work
The first and overpowering criterion is an impressive CPU that can handle heavy-duty applications and play your sound without complaining.
You will need tons of processing muscle during music production to add effects or incorporate new instrument plug-ins. The processor does all the work, from loading a new MIDI instrument to sampling new tracks. Look for an Intel Core i5 or above, although you can also look for an AMD equivalent.
Aside from the CPU, another major factor is the RAM. The amount of RAM you have decides how smooth your playback is going to be.
The minimum is 8GB, but it is better to look for 16GB, especially if you need to work with many recorded audio files.
Storage to stock your music files
The amount of storage you have is a vital consideration while selecting the best device. A solid-state drive (SSD) is the best option since it offers rapid data transfer and helps your files load quickly.
Getting a 512GB SSD or more should have you covered. You can also choose a combination of an SSD with a traditional hard disk drive.
Portability and build
Modern professionals need to be up and about, and you cannot let yourself get tied to a workstation. Find a lightweight laptop (3-5lbs is ideal) that is also robust, fit for travel, and offers a long-lasting battery.
Multiple USB ports, especially Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ones, allow rapid data transfer and let you connect to external displays or peripherals.
In addition to these considerations, it is helpful to get a vivid and bright display. A QHD or QHD+ monitor will provide a detailed view of how things pair with the sound. It is just what the doctor ordered for editors or creators to get the complete picture.
Note that a blazing-fast refresh rate is not indispensable but is suitable for multimedia content people who are also pro-gamers.
Our Picks: 10 Best Laptop for Music Production 2021
In this round-up, we discuss some of the best laptops for music production available in the market. Today, creative professionals have plenty of choices that go beyond the standard Mac.
Whether you want to layer tracks or edit a movie, you are sure to have the armory to get stuff done. You have a wide budget range, from only around $1000 to $3000 or more.
While deciding, ascertain that the hardware and the OS will be compatible with any applications you intend to use.
Going with the minimum configuration may seem a tempting decision from a budgetary standpoint. But it can bring you down as file sizes increase.
1. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
No surprises here – the $1,999.99 Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch is among the best laptops for music production and related multimedia pursuits.
It comes with a stellar configuration: an Intel Core i9 CPU, 16GB of RAM (up to 64GB), an 8TB SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics.
A six-speaker system, a three-mic array, and force-canceling woofers generate studio-quality sound.
The Retina display with True Tone offers a P3 wide color gamut and 500 nits of brightness for a clear, bright picture.
It is a lightweight, portable MacBook (4.3lbs, 0.64”) with four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports to let you access all your music files.
A 100-WHr battery that lasts for 11 hours and a reliable Apple T2 security chip enable work in shared environments. Impressive heat dissipation with more airflow and a large heat sink keeps things sustainable during long working hours.
Your production experience will also benefit from the specially built keyboard with inverted-T arrow keys, Touch Bar and Touch ID.
2. ASUS TUF Dash 15 (2021)
Here is an affordable but exceptional laptop for creative professionals: the 15.6” ASUS TUF Dash 15 (2021). It comes at $949.99. At this price, it bundles in an Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics.
On the display front, you get an FHD monitor with IPS. Adaptive sync ensures synchronization between the refresh rate of the display and the frame rate of the GPU.
It significantly lessens delays, stuttering, etc., and is beneficial if you are working on sound-editing for a movie, for instance. If you also use your laptop for gaming, you will benefit from the refresh rate of 144Hz – great for rendering details and transitions.
It is a well-connected laptop, equipped with a Thunderbolt 4 Type-C port to connect to two external displays, HDMI, and Intel Wi-Fi 6. At 0.8” and 4.4lbs, it is also highly portable.
The military-standard build (MIL-STD-810H) and effective heat dissipation keep your laptop cool amidst intense music production projects.
3. Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6
An excellent display and superior sound technology with AI noise reduction make the 14″ Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6 an intelligent choice for multimedia professionals.
It gets powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti graphics.
The FHD display comes with a screen-to-body ratio of 85.73%, 100% sRGB, and 300 nits of brightness.
At $1,069.99, it is not an inexpensive buy but intended to be long-lasting and liberating. On one charge, it offers 12 hours of unplugged usage and also comes with fast charging.
Accessibility is a high point for this 3.06lbs laptop, making the user experience comfortable. You can enjoy the ease of using Alexa to get your queries answered on the go and let Windows Hello with biometrics keep your work secure.
A backlit keyboard makes it simple to work anywhere, while Wi-Fi 6 and USB 3.0 ports keep you connected to all your documents and music samples.
4. Lenovo Legion 5 15 Gaming Laptop
The 15.6″ Lenovo Legion 5 15 gaming laptop employs Nahimic 3D audio to deliver exceptional sound to gamers and music producers.
It features an innovative sound tracker to give you a visual indicator of the direction of the sound.
Lenovo couples this auditory excellence with a splendid FHD display infused with IPS, Dolby Vision, and a 100% sRGB color gamut.
Gamers will delight in the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, the refresh rate of 165Hz, and the response time of 3ms.
This $1,049.99 device is driven by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It is a configuration suitable for intense multimedia projects, full-fidelity gaming, and editing applications.
From the connectivity perspective, you get multiple USB ports, Wi-Fi 6, HDMI, and a high-definition webcam with an e-shutter.
The 4-zone RGB backlight keyboard makes it comfortable to work in different surroundings, while the improved heat dissipation keeps things cool for long. It is a reasonably portable computer at 5.28lbs and 0.89”.
5. Razer Blade 15 Advanced
If you have a sizable budget, you can consider the $2,699.99 Razer Blade 15 Advanced – a 15.6” professional-grade laptop with superior specifications.
An Intel Core i7-11800H CPU runs this computer, with up to 64GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.
The audio-visual finesse is exemplary, thanks to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, a refresh rate of 360Hz, and THX spatial audio.
If you work in music production for film-making you can opt for the OLED display with 4K clarity. It is possible to choose a 240Hz display (QHD) to cut down on the costs.
Razer has ascertained sustainability with its improved vapor chamber cooling for optimal heat dissipation.
While on the move, you can stay connected with your music using the Thunderbolt 3 port, a UHS-III SD card slot, and Wi-Fi-6. It is easy to carry this device around since it weighs just 4.4lbs and is 0.62” thick.
6. Dell XPS 15 9510 Laptop for Music Production
Although pricey at $2,349.99, the 15.6″ Dell XPS 15 9510 laptop for music production is quite the find.
It delivers superb sound: a quad-speaker design and Waves Nx 3D audio tuned by Jack Joseph Puig, the renowned multi-Grammy-winning producer.
Dell uses top-mounted mics for an improved calling experience on Skype and Cortana.
Inside the processing chamber is an Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, up to 64GB RAM, a 4TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics. The OLED 3.5K screen is charming enough, but you can pick the 4K Ultra HD+ if you require.
It is complete with 400 nits of brightness, a 100% Adobe RGB accuracy, and a 94% DCI-P3 gamut. Corning Gorilla Glass 6 keeps the screen safe when you travel.
Moving with it, by the way, is straightforward since it weighs only 3.99lbs and is 0.71” thick. Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 connections keep you plugged in through the day.
7. MSI Creator Z16 Professional Laptop
The 16″ MSI Creator Z16 professional laptop has plenty going for it, from a QHD+ monitor and Thunderbolt 4 ports to a 90Whr battery.
An Intel Core i7 11800H processor drives the proceedings, with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. It is a premium purchase at $2,599.00, so it makes sense to go for it if you can truly benefit from its top-notch specs.
Aside from creative professionals, gamers will enjoy the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. The monitor comes with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a P3 wide color gamut.
Music production artists, filmmakers, etc., will find the improved cooling mechanism (Cooler Boost Trinity+) beneficial. The enhanced airflow lets you work uninterrupted for prolonged periods without experiencing loss of performance or speed.
If you need to work while traveling, the high-speed Wi-Fi 6E will bring you increased smoothness. A mini LED-backlit keyboard that gives you better brightness while consuming less energy is another winsome feature of this 5.07lbs laptop.
8. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED
The 15.6” ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED is a pick for the committed professional.
It boasts of a 14” 4K matte touchscreen (ScreenPad Plus) to up your productivity and an ultra-absorbing OLED 4K UHD main display.
The double-screen is excellent for multitasking as it allows you to split windows and get multiple views in parallel.
This celestial-blue ZenBook gets driven by an Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics.
It is a flexible device that permits you to detach the palm rest and use it intuitively with a stylus (included). Since the build adheres to MIL-STD 810G military standards, traveling is not a problem.
This 5.16lbs laptop costs $2,999.99 – significantly more than most others on this list. But then again, it packs in features like 133% sRGB color and 0.2 ms response time that genuinely elevate your production experience.
A 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and cinema-grade visuals make this device ideal for multimedia pursuits.
9. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
At just $1,299.99, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch can be yours as an able music-production partner. It features a three-mic array with a better signal-to-noise ratio. The audio output compares favorably with professional microphones.
This 3lbs MacBook has an adequate configuration to support creative tasks like audio sampling and editing.
You get 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD (up to 2TB), and a bright Retina display with 500 nits of brightness.
The P3 wide color ensures that all the details in your imagery get rendered precisely. A neural engine (16-core) uplifts your whole experience as it is adept at advanced machine learning.
From a security standpoint, you will be well set with the Apple M1 Chip. A super-long-lasting battery – up to 20 hours – keeps you fueled on the move.
You can also access your files and plug in to external displays with the Thunderbolt USB 4 ports.
10. Razer Blade 14 Gaming Laptop
The 14” Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop is a terrific choice if you are looking for an AMD device and require professional audio-visuals.
It costs $2,799.99, so it is a considerable investment.
But what you get is worth the price: an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics.
On the display frontier, things are dazzling. The QHD display provides an astounding refresh rate of 165Hz, ensuring meticulous gameplay.
The GPU is complete with ray tracing, bringing to life special effects and transitions. Whether you are working on multimedia projects or participating in an intense gaming session, this laptop has your back.
Sustainability-wise, Razer owns the game with vapor chamber cooling. A CNC aluminum body and lightweight build of 3.92lbs make it a portable laptop. Moreover, the battery juice is up to 10 hours.
Multimedia devices are evolving rapidly to keep in step with advancing editing and production technologies.
Tech giants are working to better heat dissipation mechanisms and fine-tuning displays and mic-arrays to enhance your user experience. The expenditure you are willing to incur will depend on your commitment to the task.
Essentially, it depends on whether you are a professional, student or hobbyist. Pro-multimedia laptops lean toward the pricier side of the spectrum but making on-point decisions can save you some bucks.
While buying a music production laptop, deciding on the configuration is salient. But picking the bonus features that would delight you will keep you satisfied in the long run.
Laptops like the Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6, for example, offer Alexa to lend you added convenience on a workday.
If you opt for an ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15, you can benefit from the dual displays that boost your productivity and ease of multitasking. Likewise, you can find computers that deliver on fronts like the color gamut and battery-charging speeds.
Ultimately, selecting the right fit is as much an intuitive decision as a considered one. If you find a device that feels your music, you have a winner.