Producing music isn’t what it used to be just a couple of decades ago. No longer are we limited to a whole bunch of large, heavy analog equipment and specialized music production studios. These days you can do a lot of the same work from your own laptop. That being said, a laptop that is adequate for serious music production needs to meet several requirements. Two of the most important aspects are by far the CPU power and the amount of RAM you have at your disposal. Everything else comes more or less as secondary. Since the laptop market is rather extensive, we have done the footwork for you and selected the best laptops for music production you can find at the moment. With that said, let’s dig right in!
Apple MacBook Pro
If you walk into any professional music production studio, you are bound to see at least one Apple computer being used. Usually it’s an iMac or Mac Pro, but if the producer values mobility, you will find a MacBook Pro. Here’s the thing. Even though these machines come at a price, you are not just buying the components, you are also getting an operating system that some of the best DAWs on the market were designed for. The latest MacBook Pro comes with the all new Intel i7 that packs some 2.6GHz within its four cores. On top of that, you also get 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. Now, DDR4 is becoming the new standard, but you definitely won’t be hindered by what Apple installed in this MacBook Pro.
Aside from its raw power and a great OS, the latest MacBook Pro also brings you that 2880×1800 resolution thanks to its Retina display. That on-screen real estate is essential for a good workflow and laptops are not the best when it comes to having this. Apple’s MacBook Pro is one of the few that actually give you enough room on the desktop to arrange everything cleanly. There is also the new touch bar that can be a great tool. Since it adapts to each program differently, any MacOS supported DAW will allow you to use a whole array of shortcuts directly from the touch pad. So far, MacBook Pro is still one of the best choices for music production.
Producers who are using Windows based software have a much wider selection of hardware to choose from. Gaming laptops were always the best solution for professional music production purely because of the top tier components they bring. Asus ROG Strix GL753VD is currently among the best models that fit this description. This thing packs the latest generation i7 from Intel, as well as 16 GB or RAM. However, it also comes with an impressive 1 TB HDD. Even though you would generally want an SSD instead, simply due to its superior speed, 1 TB the type of storage space that can be pretty useful. This is one aspect where ASUS ROG Strix GL753VD beats Apple’s MacBook Pro with its 256 GB SSD.
On a similar note, you also get a full USB cluster, which MacBook Pro lacks. Display size is 17.3″ while the native resolution is 1920×1080. In this aspect, MacBook Pro comes on top. Other features worth mentioning is the GeForce GTX1050 GPU, a more than attractive design topped off with RGB backlit keyboard, great WiFi capability and more. While these features are not essential to music production, they are definitely a good thing to have. Finally, one of the best advantages of going with this ASUS over the MacBook Pro is the price. You are looking at spending roughly half the money on this laptop compared to MacBook Pro. That is a pretty significant factor for many.
Last but not least we have the GS63VR Stealth Pro-230 from MSI. Just like the ASUS model we have mentioned just now, this laptop belongs to the top tier level among other high-performance gaming machines. Compared to ASUS, Stealth Pro-230 offers one pretty significant benefit. Instead of coming with just an HDD, you get a 256 GB SSD and an incredible 2TB hard drive. Having an SSD offers a significant boost in performance when it comes to how fast your DAW will load resources and samples. The CPU and RAM are pretty much on par with both the ASUS and Apple models, meaning the latest generation i7 from Intel and 16 GB of RAM.
Although, it is worth mentioning that this MSI comes with DDR4 working at 2400MHz, making it a bit a faster all around. One of the biggest flaws this laptop has in terms of music production is the size of its screen. You are looking at 15.6″ display with the maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. When you need to open up a large number of tools, it is easy to fill up your work environment. In terms of price, MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro-230 is much closer to Apple’s MacBook Pro, which is why we have placed it below the ASUS model.
These three models we have shown you above are by far among the best laptops for music production you can get at the moment. They offer enough power, have the necessary components, and are simply capable of dealing with any DAW and project, no matter how resource heavy they are. Making a choice between these three models is going to depend on the DAW you are using as well as your budget. Apple’s MacBook Pro is generally the norm, but it is by far one of the most expensive options.
Especially if you consider that you will probably need some external storage as well. If you using a Windows based DAW, ASUS Strix we have shown you is the sweet spot. It brings the perfect balance of hardware and price. MSI’s Stealth Pro-230 does pack a lot of storage, but its display and significantly higher price make it less cost effective in general.