Looking for a music production laptop?Whether it’s to replace your old one or to get into music making in 2023, we have you covered. Back in the day you needed a full studio with heavy analog equipment, but thanks to digital you can take your latest project anywhere on your laptop.
However, not all laptops have what it takes for a serious music production. Buying a proper music production laptop can be difficult as we are now overwhelmed by choice.Fortunately, in this list we break down some of the best music production laptop specs so you know exactly what to look for. We also compare different options so you can see how laptops such as in in the ASUS ROG range vs the HP Envy, MacBook Pro range and more stack up next to each other in terms of processing power, CPU comparison, RAM capacity, and more.
Also be sure to subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to stay up to date with the latest audio production and sound design news, deals, tutorials, reviews and much more:
Editor’s note: This list of BEST laptops for music production is constantly updated to reflect the actual market, so make sure you bookmark this article for future reference.
MUSIC PRODUCTION LAPTOP SPECIFICATIONS: WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHY
If you’re not a tech-head, you may not know what the best music production laptop requirements are. However, the most important factors for every laptop for music production are the CPU power as well as the amount of RAM that you have at your disposal.,This is followed by type and speed of storage, but as heavy use of SSD nowadays helps make things more equal, we’ll just look at RAM and CPU in this article.
Thirdly, thing you want would be very good battery life. This is especially important if you are on the road a lot.
Ok, so what about music production laptop specs? And what features exactly are you looking for? For industry standard CPU, we think the i7 processor is the best bet, though the exact model varies as do the overclocking possibilities. You could also go for something with an Intel Core i9 if you have the means. For portability you can get on very well with an i5, only it will not hold that many channels (still sufficient for regular use).With a processor, you’re looking for something that lets your laptop run quickly and efficiently. You want something that will let you make changes fast, and edit large amounts of data without issue.
AMD has developed a very good processor lineup named Ryzen which on desktop outperforms Intel’s products by a long shot, and they are now getting into the laptop market as well. Thus, we have included a Ryzen-powered laptop on our list.
So, how much RAM does a music production laptop need? RAM is like your laptop’s working memory. You want a large level, at least 16GB RAM, because any producer knows how complex some projects can get. The more busses, FX, features, and instruments you add to a mix, the more it will require from your laptop. Do yourself a favor and go for higher than lower RAM – you’ll thank yourself in the future.
If you’re still wondering how much RAM you want for music production, remember RAM and CPU are linked. If you want more RAM for particularly complex projects, start with 16 GB and work your way up as you also get better CPU. However, if starting out, 16GB RAM is the best bet. It gives you plenty of headroom compared to the recommended minimum of 8GB, so you can rest easy knowing you have space to add to your projects.
For now we do not recommend the new M1 Apple laptops for music production, it is still early technology that will most likely be improved vastly in the next years.
Ok, so Apple products are often considered the industry standard best music production laptop. However, before we go ahead, as of 2023 the tech simply hasn’t been tested enough. If you want a good explanation on Apple M1 chips, here is a nice video. However, first gen often tends to have issues later on. Last but not least, we’ve taken good speakers into account. These are always nice to have for emergency situations, as well as a nice sounding headphone output.Oh, and don’t forget about the software that will run on your music production laptop, so make sure you check out our list of BEST VST Synths.
Ultimately it helps to see these laptops side by side, so you can judge which one is best for your needs. To make your life easier, we surveyed our team and community to come up with the very best laptop for music production in 2023. For a summarized table, check the one below.
Also, please note that while this music production laptop comparison is of course accurate for 2023, we have kept products from 2019 and 2020 because their price has decreased a lot and the performance is still top notch for current music production needs.
Note: if you are on a mobile device, scroll left and right in the table to see all the entries, and up and down in the cells to see all the content.
As you can see, we have a very neat selection and have defined not one but three winners, based on each user. It would be unwise to recommend a 2500+ USD laptop to a student, so we have split the price-sensible offering into a Value winner (bang per buck) and a Budget one (best cheapest one). The all-rounder cannot be something other than a Macbook, and while it saddens us to see the Windows offering a bit lagging behind, things have gotten better in recent years and we can fully recommend a Windows machine is the price is a deciding factor.
A very important note here: we recommend Apple laptops not because of the hardware, because it is on par with Windows devices, but because of the drivers.
Apple audio software drivers (CoreAudio) are still the best ones for Audio Production. The latency, broad compatibility and ease of use (basically plug and play) cannot be equaled by what can be done with the Windows operating system.
Another advantage, minor but existing, is the native MIDI support of MacOS, which is much more simpler to manage, filter out and route than using 3rd party software on Windows (very poor native MIDI).
It’s pretty common knowledge the best overall music production laptop tends to be an Apple Device. This particular Macbook Pro is, above all, future proof. Not only will you bewill be covered for at least 5 years with this device, if you take care of your laptop, you will be celebrating 2030 with it for sure. 32 GB of RAM is very useful if you are doing orchestral music or working with a lot of sample-based instruments and material. The 8-core processor is quite uncommon in a laptop, but it will guarantee the lowest latency even when working with 192 kHz sample rates that truly capture your outboard gear and hardware synthesizers.
Why MacBook Pro Offers The Best CPU for Music Production
The processor is top-notch with a whopping set of 8 cores. Simply put, it’s incredibly powerful compared to other offerings, even if this laptop doesn’t come cheap. Want to record an orchestra ofmore than 100 different instruments all at once? No worries. Likewise if you want to use it for electronic music, it will handle all VST Synths with ease, even if you want to test that previously unobtainable 128 voice polyphony. Want to work with VST processing set to High Quality or Oversampling? No problemo, go ahead, this laptop give you the option of the M2 Pro or M2 Max chips that both offer immense bandwidth and are only found in the 2023 editions of this laptop.
How MacBook Pro Build Quality Makes It The Best Overall Music Production Laptop
The build quality is truly unique. There is no other product that looks and feels so good, while on the other hand can take a beating on tour and still look and work great. No wonder all travelling musicians and DJs travel with a MacBook Pro. I’ve never ever seen one with a broken hinge, with crackin the case (which is smooth aluminium) or manifesting discolouration due to the sun like the plastic devices do.
The screen is the best in its class, not only due to the very high resolution but also due to its natural color reproduction. Yes it creates a lot of glare and is prone to fingerprints, indeed all MacBooks are like this, but this is only because there is a layer of very resistant glass on top, and resistant glass always does that.
Is It Also One OF The Best Portable Music Production Laptops?
Oh.. Apple, the company we love to hate. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, stability is preferred instead of innovation. Yes, connectivity is (at first glance) rather limited. But we still buy it because it is by far the best operating system, which has excellent drivers and compatibility for your gear. You buy a MacBook Pro if you need very low audio latency, excellent MIDI and Audio Routing, better than average battery life and stellar build quality.
This Apple device has two native Thunderbolt 3, and we recommend you use them both, one for your native Thunderbolt 3 sound card (or other sound card with an adapter) and one for a Thunderbolt 3 Dongle.
For a budget music production laptop, this one can’t be beaten. ASUS has a great reputation and needless to say, this particular model effortlessly meets those high expectations.
We want to point out now that Value does not mean the cheapest, which this laptop is not. Value means how much laptop and how many features you get for the money invested.ZenBook is probably the ultimate solution for those of you who are looking for an excellent and highly portable laptop for both music production as well as DJing. This ASUS ZenBook comes with a very nice 4K display and the CPU is a quad-core i7-10510U. This is about the best laptop for high CPU and RAM for a low price.
When it comes to RAM, you have 16 GB of RAM at your disposal. This laptop also features an SSD and all of these components make it an ideal machine for music production.
The secondary display is just astonishing and can be very well used for music production as well as DJing and live performances.
The laptop has a powerful GTX 1050 graphics card that is able to run some of the latest popular video games, making it ideal for gaming as well. Simply put it is one of the best all-rounder laptops for production and other music projects.
ASUS laptops are known for their build quality and reliability, and this model is no exception. Due to It’s relatively good value this is also one of the bes tmusic production laptops for beginners.
As you know, one of the most important factors you need to take into consideration when purchasing a music production laptop is that it doesn’t freeze or crash while you work.
Well, with the ZenBook’s CPU power and RAM, you have more than enough for any production task.The laptop works well with any DAW or music production interface due to it’s consistency and quality across the board.
In order to make this machine crash, you would need to load 40+ effects and VSTS into one single project. This is an absurd amount of VSTS and effects and no one does that.
Being on a strict budget in 2023 seems like fun. It is totally not like it was back in the day when you had to sacrifice everything but the bare minimum. Right now, technology has gone so far that even the entry-level offering is compelling in some way. Here is the winner, 2023’s best budget music production laptop – one of the best options for any aspiring producer looking for a laptop that is under $1000. This isn’t just a second option for if you can’t afford a more expensive laptop. The HP Envy X360 has everything a music producer should look for in a laptop and more.HP laptops are good for music production in general and this is no different. It is powerful yet portable and can handle high volumes of data.
HP Envy X360 2in1
Price Range: 500-1000 USD
Processor Core Count: 8 Core Processor
RAM: 16 GB Storage Size: 512GB Connectivity: Good
To be honest, recommending a convertible laptop in 2023 seems right. Not to mention that the processor is not Intel, but AMD.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, AMD have come a very very long way and have eaten quite a big share of Intel’s market share. This is only because their new processor line, Ryzen, now reaching it’s fourth iteration, works very well.
Apart from this, this laptop offers very high quality sound with great speakers making it perfect for music production in all scenarios. It may not be as impressive in some ways as a Macbook but as a budget laptop it has everything you need and a surprising array of stand-out features.
We can clearly say that for multicore tasks (all current DAW versions have adequate multicore support) AMD is at least on par with Intel.
What is very very good about AMD is the price point, because as you can see, only the top choice of this article (a laptop that is 3x more expensive than this HP) has an eight core processor. Sure, the single-core performance is not the same, but for regular 12-15 track projects you are better off with a cheap cpu that has as many cores as possible. What we can say for sureis that you don’t necessarily need an Intel CPU for your machine to be one of the best music production laptops.
The 2-in-1 aspect is by no means a gimmick. Modern musicians love to work on the road, in the train or airplane so having a very comfortable and, should we say inspiring mobile setup can be important.
This laptop has a touch screen which, being released in 2020, is of course multi touch. Multi touch is a very important thing, because with a mouse you will never be able to control more than one parameter/knob. But now with multitouch, you can actually use both hands to control two parameters. So don’t consider yourself poor, consider yourself lucky! It’s features like this which make this a great and somewhat underrated option. Simply put it is one of the best laptops for artists just starting out.
Sure, all laptops are portable. But some laptops are more portable than others and for music production you need a laptop for on the go. Microsoft have had a good run with their Surface devices. As portability dictates, this machine is one of the best music production laptops. Surface devices are premium devices. Unfortunately you have to sacrifice connectivity and raw processing power to get portable but still, if this is your thing, we have a recommendation for you.
We cannot hide this from you, you are sacrificing performance. You are sacrificing storage space. You are sacrificing battery life. But you get a very thin and light laptop that you don’t really feel in your bag or luggage. If you are using it mostly to store hardware presets (thinking of digital front of house mixers) or to use digital interfaces to hardware (DANTE/MADI soundcards with 96 channels) then you really don’t need the performance. If you mostly record on the road or if you just want a portable studio and are ready to take the hit, go for this music production laptop.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is indeed pretty, sure, it looks a lot like the MacBook. The build quality is very good.
The downsides, and there are many, yes, are in performance. The processor is still four-core so good, but lower in performance compared to the i7s. RAM is somewhat limited to 8GB, so you will not be able to do everything you want with samples on this machine. This IS sometimes recommended as the minimum needed for most DAWs. But the truth is, unless you are working on an extremely basic project, this is not good RAM for music production at all.
But the worst limitation, in our oppinion, is the connectivity and the storage. At 128GB, you will have less than 100GB realistically for all your files.
Unortunately, there is a no SD card slot so you have to rely on an external SSD drive for your studio media, sample library and such.
We recommend this external SSD. Don’t go for an old-school mechanical hard drive because it is much slower than the USB port and will bottleneck your setup.
The ASUS ROG (Republic Of Gamers) product line is simply amazing and this particular model is one of our all-time favorite laptops. Yes, we already have an ASUS laptop on this list. However, the ROG range blows away all of our expectations when it comes to performance, build quality and design. The design is out of this world and it’s probably one of the most well made laptops currently on the market.
Why Is The ASUS ROG Range So Good For Music Production?
If we have to put our finger on one thing we like the most it would be the amazing desktop-like configuration. Of course this is expected because ROG stands for Republic of Gamers, and gamers demand performance. The laptop features an overclocked Intel i7-9750H CPU, RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card, 512GB SSD, and an amazing 17” screen.
When it comes to battery life, the ASUS ROG GU502GW-AH76 is an under performer, lasting only 6 hours, according to the manufacturer. I guess there is no such thing as a free lunch in the world of laptop music production and at this price and with these specs, you can hardly expect the battery to last 10+ hours
As you can see, this is one of the best music production laptops and it can mirror a performance of the high-end desktop gaming computers. You could argue that the Intel i7-9750H CPU is a bit of overkill for music production, but is there really such a thing as too much CPU? You will never get any CPU spikes, crashes, or lags while working on your music production tasks, that we can guarantee.
So,this laptop is labeled as a gaming laptop. However, it’s great to think outside the box and the best laptop for one music producer may not be the same as for another. Yet either way, thiscan handle any music production task you throw at it. This machine is made to do anything from 4k gaming to graphic design and intense music production. If your budget is high enough, you will absolutely love this laptop.
What Do Experts Say About the ROG Range for Music Production?
To put things in perspective, the company behind FL studio states that any machine that scores above 9000 in the cpubenchmark.net is a strong machine. Well, this laptop scores 11774. With this configuration, you can be sure that it will run smoothly and quietly. It’s made for serious gaming so the music production is nothing for this beast. You can push it to the limit and it will never struggle.
This flawless performance is attributed to its powerful CPU and the 16 GB of RAM and the 512 GB SSD are there just to seal the deal and make this machine one of the fastest and smoothest laptops on the market.
Next up as a contender for the best laptop for production is another Apple product.This is one of the older Apple Macbook offerings, older than our all-round winner (the 16″ MacBook Pro), but it still stands strong today. Still this one packs a punch, with an 2.9GHz quad-core Intel i7, that can be turbo-boosted up to 3.9GHz. This is more than enough CPU power for almost any music production task.
15” MacBook Pro VS Windows Products. How do the specs for this music production laptop compare to competitors?
When it comes to RAM, you can freely say that 16 GB of 2133 MHz RAM is quite enough. With this amount of RAM at your disposal, you will have almost zero crashes even if you use a lot of effects and VSTS.
To be completely honest, Apple products are usually more expensive than its Windows-counterparts and this particular laptop is not an exception. With that being said, we simply must admit that the MacBooks are made to be perfect.
It features a 512 GB Solid State Drive that enables the smoothest and most reliable working experience when you work in your DAW. Almost every producer can tell you the same story about one time he produced an awesome track and he didn’t save it and then his DAW crashed unexpectedly, but it’s a slim chance that this will ever happen with a MacBook Pro.
Why This Laptop Is Great for Complex Requests
Music production requires a lot of complex processing from your laptop.The SSD instead of a normal hard drive was most definitely a good decision. The Solid State Drives are the fastest units you can find today and are way faster than a normal hard drive. The high-quality SSD in this laptop means it boots way faster than other laptops.This also means that your laptop will run much smoother and if you store your VSTS and samples on your SSD, they will load very fast, which is very helpful for music production.
The graphics card in this machine is the Radeon HD 560, which means that this laptop can also be used for some serious gaming or graphics editing. And with its nice 15 inch retina display, you can enjoy a high-end viewing experience and you can fit a few DAWs on your display at the same time.
Overall, this MacBook pro is one of the best music production laptops with a sleek design and it’s the perfect solution for music producers who work with Mac compatible software.
Priced at arround 100$, this can be an entry level laptop. When it comes to performance, it ranks among the very best laptops for music production. It comes with an Intel i7-10710u which can be clocked to 4. 6 GHz which gets an 9980 score from cpubenchmarks. One of the main highlights of the XPS 13 is its battery life. According to pcmag, it can last almost 12 hours, taking the number 1 spot for batteries in this list.
When it comes to graphics, this model uses Intel UHD Graphics with Shared Graphics memory. It delivers fairly good graphics though some other models in this list will perform better in this department.
All in all, this laptop presents a great price/quality ratio. It’s one of the cheapest in the list and has the best battery and a great core processor.
Ok, so it is difficult to choose the right music production laptop for you. However, the he models we described above are absolutely the best music production laptops you can find, so you have a wide range of options. All of these offer a great power and reliability and are capable to handle any music production project.
Which one will you choose depends solely on your personal preferences as well as your budget. Ultimately, everything is a trade off, so t mostly comes to what you actually want. Nevertheless, at the nd of the day there is really no all-rounder laptop for both performance and portability, not to mention price. That being said, this list should certainly get you on the right track.