The BEST Online Music Production Masterclass Course [2021]

Best Music Production Courses and Schools

Investing in an online music production “masterclass” course is one of the best decisions you will make this year.

This might seem like a bold statement (especially since it is actually written in bold :P), especially for those of you who have previously tried free courses or dabble around some youtube videos on production, but it’s the truth: Knowledge is more important than any piece of gear in your studio. Furthermore, enrolling in one of the below courses is nothing like doing a free course or watching youtube videos.

These online music production masterclass courses allow you to follow a tried and tested structure devised by top producers and engineers, plus incentivises you to follow through, as you have money invested.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a summarized version of this article, check out the below table with our favorite online music production courses, including our very own choice for the best online music production course. And if you are also looking for a music production laptop, we have a comparrison and test article with the top models here.

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.

Summarizing Table

Course Name Cost Duration Main Focus Our Rating
Editor’s Choice – Best Value
Groove3
Starts at under 50$
– Over 20 000 hours of video,
– Over 20 books.
– Workflow,
– Plug-Ins + DAWs,
– Recording,
– Production,
– Mixing + Mastering.
9.5/10
Deadmau5 Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total
– 6 hours of video,
– Assignments
– Electronic Music Production,
– Synths,
– Music Business,
– Mixing and Mastering,
– Workflow.
9.3/10
Hans Zimmer Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total$
– 4.5 hours of video – Film Scoring,
– Soundscapes,
– Composing,
– Industry, and More.
8.7/10
Timbaland Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total$
– 3 hours of video – Hip-hop Production,
– Beat Making,
– Inspiration and Workflow,
– Industry and Motivation.
8.5/10
Point Blank Music School Online
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– Huge subject diversity
– Mixing/Mastering
– Dj
– Music Business
9.6/10
Udemy Music Production Courses
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– 38 hours of video
– each DAW has it’s own course
– other specific topics have dedicated courses
9/10
EQ Fundamentals
Under 50$
CHECK PRICE
– 2.5 hours of video,
– PDRs,
– Assignments
– EQ,
– Mixing + Mastering,
– All Musical Genres
9.2/10
Berklee Online- Electronic Music Production
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– 16 weeks – Electronic Music Production,
– Vocal Recording,
– Ableton Live.
9.3/10

Groove3 Online Music Production Course Review – Editor’s Choice

  • Music style: All
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: Over 20 000 hours of video + over 20 books. 1 077 Courses 17 979 Individual Tutorials.
  • Main DAW used: All DAWs available.
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certificate upon completion: No

PROS:

  1. High quality of content
  2. Content available on all formats and platforms: Video, books, Desktop, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku.
  3. Very affordable on a month-to-month basis
  4. High quality instructors
  5. Most comprehensive library of learning resources

CONS:

  1. Lack of focus
  2. Can be overwhelming

We’ll start with our favorite online music production course: Groove3. What an absolute gold mine of music production knowledge.

If you watched all of groove3’s videos back-to-back you’d take over 2 years to finish, probably much more, given that they update the content regularly.

There’s tutorials on all topics you can image, including all DAWs, Plugins, and musical styles. If you search around the forums, it’s often mentioned as a student favorite, along with some of the masterclass courses we’ll review below.

When it comes to price, an all-access pass costs only 89$, with b&hphoto. This represents without a doubt the best value of all courses.

We’ve found this to be a great way to stay focused for idle studio time. Simply browse around their website, find an interesting video, watch it, then apply it to your current project.

MORE INFO

Deadmau5 Masterclass Review

The first course we’ve had a chance to review is Deadmau5’s Masterclass Course.

  • Music style: EDM / Electronic
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 6 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: Ableton, though teachings can be applied to any DAW.
  • Our Rating: 9.3/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Certificate upon completion: No

Pros:

  1. Very entertaining, huge production value. Very easy to follow through with the teachings.
  2. Very well-rounded. All major topics are discussed (mastering, mixing, synths, drums, music business, live performance, and more).
  3. Composed of videos, assignments, and discussions.
  4. Great community if you’re willing to engage.

Cons:

  1. This 6 hour course will set you back 90$. It’s not a cheap course by any means, but we found the cost/quality relation to be quite good.
  2. It’s a short course. It could benefit from going more in-depth into certain topics.

Course Structure

The course has 23 lessons, all delivered through video classes. It also has assignments and discussions.

The classes touch upon the following topics:

  • The Deadmau5 Production Process
  • Building Your Home Studio
  • Melodic Structures
  • Arrangements
  • Synthesized Sounds
  • Modular Synths
  • Digital Vs. Analog Synths
  • Sound Design with Effects And Processing
  • Drums / Beats
  • Song Structure
  • Remixed
  • Mixing
  • Mastering (includes case study)
  • Starting a Career
  • Music Business
  • On Stage Performance

Our Thoughts

Overall, this is a solid and very well rounded online music production masterclass course. It won’t hold your hand and automatically offer you a career in audio engineering or music production, but if you follow through with all the tips shared, your chances of making it will increase exponentially.

Furthermore, if you take your time to network and reach out to the community, you’ll likely make some useful connections out of this online music production masterclass course.

This is a great course for anyone looking for a well-balanced course on electronic / pop / hip-hop / digital music production, with no specific focus on any are of the music production process, but rather a wholistic approach. It gives you a framework, the one used by deadmau5, to produce a song. It is not a case study, i.e- it won’t show you how deadmau5 produces a song from scratch, but it will show you every single step of the process. We recommend deadmau5’s online music production masterclass course to people that are starting out and want something a bit lighter (shorter) and more fun.

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Hans Zimmer Masterclass Review

Up next is Hans Zimmer’s online music production masterclass course.

  • Music style: Film Scoring / Soundtrack / Sound Design
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 4.5 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: N/A.
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Course Structure

  • Themes
  • Story
  • Directors
  • Sound Palettes
  • Creating with Synths
  • Scoring to Picture
  • Scoring Under Dialogue
  • Tempo
  • Music Diary
  • Character
  • Case Study: Frost/Nixon
  • Working With Musicians
  • Feedback & Revisions
  • Audience Feedback
  • Writing Tips
  • Hans’ Journey
  • Learning by Listening
  • Life of a Composer
  • Closing

Our Thoughts

This is a very interesting course. The simple fact that you get to hear Hans Zimmer talk on the first person about stuff that he has never revealed on interviews is worth the cost of the program.

However, we found the structure a bit random.

Unlike deadmau5’s course, this program kind of jumped around topics, with one class being solely about Hans’ career and progression in the industry. To be honest, if we wanted to learn about that, we could just check one of the hundreds of interviews that he’s given.

Having said that, there are loads of golden nuggets there about his process, inspiration, and process. It is packed loads of synthesiser tips as well as general aesthetic in sound design.

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Timbaland Masterclass Review

To finish off our selection of Masterclass courses, we’ll have a look at Timbaland’s online music production course.

  • Music style: Hip-Hop / Pop
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 3.5 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Course Structure:

  • Studio Session: Making a Beatbox Beat
  • Building Beats: Tim’s Process
  • Making a Beat: Getting Warmed Up
  • Song Origins: “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  • Making a Beat: Starting With a Chord Progression
  • Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums
  • Song Origins: “Pony”
  • Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples
  • Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown
  • Song Origins: “Gossip Folks”
  • Making a Beat: Adding a Topline
  • Song Origins: “Are You That Somebody?”
  • Tim’s Influences
  • How to Persevere

Our Thoughts

We found this masterclass to be the least technical of all online muic production masterclass courses reviewed. Perhaps on purpose, as Timbaland’s production process seems to be based a lot around feeling, leaning on his team to fill in the more technical gaps.

We still found it very useful and inspiring, with some pretty straight forward but useful tips such as thinking about drums through beatbox.

His team of “co-producers” also share some gems on drums layering, chord progression and more.

If you’re a hip hop head, you’ll love this course. You’ll learn about how Timba produced hits for Missy Elliot, Jay-z, and others, as well as some inspiring tips on how to succeed in the industry. If you’re not a hip hop nerd, then you might find it not that inspiring. Though we still recommend purchasing it as part of the masterclass bundle of classes.

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Point Blank Music School Online

Point Blank is an well established English music school, which has opened it’s expertise to the online sector. The sheer diversity of courses that they offer, including Music Business courses, is practically unmatched. This Online Music Production Masterclass Course set is both formal and fun.

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Medium-high
  • Duration: Depends on the subject of choice.
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate-High

The “Online” courses of Point Blank Music School are actual real-time/live lecture by teachers, customised to you as a student. You get to ask questions and interact with your teacher via webcam. Each course thus has it’s own structure.

Our thoughts:

So this is clearly something different. Theere are no pre-recorded sessions, like the others. This would also explain the high price point compared to the others. As a drawback, their online music production courses are not instant, you have to enroll like you would to a school. Only that the school location is your home, if you cannot access the offline schools Point Blank Music School has running in London, L.A., Mumbai, Ibiza and China.

We feel like this product is for the more advanced music production, since asking questions is key here.

If you feel like you have run out of material to study on your own and feel like it’s time to get 1:1 with a teacher who can guide you further then look no further and click the button below to access the Point Blank Music School website.

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Producertech EQ Fundamentals Review

Producertech is a well established music course provider. It was founded in 2009 by Rob Jones. Of all their online music production courses, EQ fundamentals is one of our favourites. Here’s why:

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: 2.5 hours of video + assignments +
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 9/10.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Course Structure:

  • Introduction to Frequencies
  • EQ Controls 
  • EQ in Isolation
  • Frequency Demo #3 – Combining the Piano and Sine Wave 
  • The Frequency Spectrum Explained
  • EQ with respect to other parts
  • EQ’ing Drums 
  • Common EQ Practices
  • EQ’ing Kick and Bass
  • EQ on the Master Channel
  • EQ In The Mix

Our thoughts:

This course is, in our opinion, a must do for all aspiring producers. Having a solid grasp of EQ can be the difference between an amateur sounding song and a commercial grade end product.

Producertech’s EQ Fundamentals online music production masterclass course will give you the foundation you need to make clean sounding mixed, at a very accessible cost (25$).

It doesn’t have a rock star teacher or cover 10 different topics, but that is, in our opinion, a strength. There is no magic pill that will make you a successful musician. Instead, the path to success is continued investment in small courses on different topics. This laser focused course will give you a very complete foundation on one of the most important skills in the game: EQing.

It also comes with the EXPOSE software, which allows you to “test” your final mix for any potential issues. We were positively surprised by the production quality of the course. Here’s a sample video from the course:

There is a special focus on bass and kick mixing, thus making it slightly more relevant to electronic, hip-hop, and pop producers, though it really suits any kind of music style.

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Berklee Online Review- Electronic Music Production

Berklee is one of the most famous music schools in the world. This institution is a pioneer in online music production courses, having started in 2002! They still are an industry leader and offer the most formal type of education you’ll find in this list.

  • Music style: Electronic
  • Financial Investment: Moderate
  • Duration: Around 6 months (4 hours / week recommended)
  • Main DAW used: Ableton, though teachings can be applied to any DAW.
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10.
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate
  • Certificate upon completion: Yes

Course Structure:

  • The Technology of Music Production
  • Introduction to Ableton Live
  • Creating Sounds for Electronic Music
  • The Art of Vocal Production

Our Thoughts:

This is a solid course for students looking for a serious commitment and some degree of credibility. It teaches all the theoretic background + gives you a solid foundation in ableton production and recording / mastering vocals.

If you’re looking for some credibility in the industry, the Beerklee is something to stick in your CV that can also teach you some good theory.

However, there are more advanced and complete courses in this list in terms of knowledge.

Finally, one of the main advantages is that coursera offers financial aid to certain students.

All in all, it is pretty inexpensive, at 39$/month, and if you’re feeling motivated, you can knock it off in a couple of months, getting a “mini” degree for a very affordable price.

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Udemy Music Production Courses review

Next up, we have a couple of udemy courses. We’ll start with probably the most popular music course in the platform, “Music Production in Logic Pro X”.

Udemy has a lot of online music production course programs on it’s website, they mostly have a similar structure to the Logic X one which is our reference.

This course was developed by Digital Music Masters, a well established music school.

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: 38 hours of video + articles and resources
  • Main DAW used: Logic Pro X
  • Our Rating: 9/10.
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Our Thoughts

This is mostly for those more advanced. What we like is that you can just pay for one “topic” and not buy the whole online music production masterclass course package like with the others. You just get to Udemy, shop for what you want to know and that’s it.

These courses are mostly focused on daw workflows, with some specific items covering hardware gear like the Maschine and others focusing on specific sub-genres like music for games. All in all we think it is good product if you just want to fill some specific empty spaces in your skill arsenal.

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Final Thoughts

We hope that the above suggestions help you kickstart your music production career/hobby.

This article is in constant update as we try new courses, so if you have any recommendations, please post them below in the comments section!

Loopcloud Drum – New Free Drum Plugin by Loopmasters

Loopcloud Drum is a free plugin that features 16 pads for drum/samples, built in sequencer and effects.

We’ve written about loopcloud before- It’s a great piece of software to store all your samples and organize your library and production workflow in the cloud.

It comes with ready to use kits from some very popular producers including Audiojack, Evil Needle, Maribou State, Justice, Timo Maas, Phaeleh, and many more.

The coolest feature of a new plugin is of course integration with Loopmasters sample libraries/Loopcloud.

Here’s a quick look at what the interface and main features look like:

It also comes with loads of preset patterns, making it possible to get some very high quality drums with just a few clicks. If you’re looking for a simple solution to adding high quality drums to your instrumentals, look no further.

There is a focus on electronic / EDM beats, but you can really find most styles present in their sound bank.

The best part? It’s absolutely free.

Have you tried this piece of software? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Best Free Kontakt Libraries for 2021

Surely everyone that uses Native Instruments’ industry standard Kontakt sampler has at least one favourite free library or instrument.

What I’ve compiled here is a list of my personal favorites.

These are among what I find to be some of the most usable high quality libraries available.

This is not a complete list of free kontakt libraries or kontakt instruments, its simply a curated list of my favorites.

There are hundreds and hundreds of free kontakt libraries, but to be honest, a lot of them simply aren’t that good.

They get plenty of burn in my production projects at least, some may even be slept on. So here they are, in table form for your viewing pleasure:

? CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON VST PLUGINS AND DAWS
Library
Instruments
Website
Ivy Audio Pianos, Vocals, Drums, Trombones DOWNLOAD
AURORROR by Fluffy Audio More than 25 sound sources DOWNLOAD
The Free Orchestra Cinematic, Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Sketching Chamber Orchestra Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Jerry’s Pianos Piano DOWNLOAD
Precisionsound Amore Grand Piano Piano DOWNLOAD
16PAD by HelloSample Drums DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Chimes Percussion DOWNLOAD
Free HD Orchestra Chords & Sustained String Chords by Sonuscore Strings DOWNLOAD
Free Fall by Soundethers Synth DOWNLOAD
NS Drums J13 Drums DOWNLOAD
Alpine Project Strings, Woodwind, Brass DOWNLOAD
Ivy Audio Pianos, trombones, vocals and drums DOWNLOAD
Bicat Instruments Guitar, Bass, Organ, Pianos, and much more DOWNLOAD
Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus Guitar DOWNLOAD
Waves Factory Whispers Creepy Voices DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Landscape Drone Generator DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Esemblia Chamber Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Producer’s Store- Angel’s Harp Harp DOWNLOAD
Retrosampling- Electric Piano, Breaks and Beats, and More Piano, Drums, and More DOWNLOAD
Sonic Bloom- Mellotron Samples Woodwinds, Strings, Brass, Flute and Choir DOWNLOAD
Cymatics Free Kontakt Libraries Strings, Guitar, Keys, and Much More DOWNLOAD
Red Room Audio- Pallette Primary Colors Orchestral DOWNLOAD
Detuned Upright Upright Piano DOWNLOAD


Also, don’t forget to check our updated MEGA-LIST of 400+ FREE VST here.

AURORROR by Fluffy Audio free Kontakt library

This excellent free Kontakt library is definitely the one I use the most.

Although it is a limited version of their fantastic AURORA library in terms of NKI presets, it still delivers on usability and sound quality.

AURORROR is advertised as a “horror cinematic and hybrid library” on Fluffy Audio’s website, but it’s a surprisingly versatile and flexible synth. 

With more than 25 unique sound sources, 13 different modulators, an arpeggiator and polystep modes, there’s a lot to work with.

The idea is to layer up to 3 sounds and adjust the plethora of parameters to create your own sound. Your new custom preset can then be saved. Check out this review by Saint Joe of Sounds And Gear.

16PAD by HelloSamples free Kontakt library

This developer has been around for quite some time and continues to offer a generous amount of extraordinary free and premium kontakt libraries.

Recently they stepped their game up even further by designing their own Kontakt instrument, 16PAD. Here’s a word about it courtesy of the included pdf manual:

To put it simply, it’s a 16 Pad instrument, each Pad has Volume, Panorama, Tune, ADSR, Filter + LFO, Distortion (Lo-Fi, Distortion, Skreamer, Tube) and Modulation (Chorus & Flanger) controls, plus 4

Send controls for 2 global Delay, Reverb and a Convolution Reverb (IR) effects.

There is also a simple on board step sequencer with controls for Volume, Tune and an Assignable Parameter per pad.

The pads can be selected via MIDI and can be colorized individually. The 16-channel mixer can be viewed by clicking the MIXER button to the bottom left of the step sequencer. 

I would have liked to have had the ability to load my own samples and have darker more pronounced colors on the pads, but this is a very nice instrument nonetheless. Big up to HS!

Amore Grand Piano free Kontakt library

This is a new addition to the list and honestly, we don’t have much to say about it.

It’s a great piano. And it sounds great. And it’s free.

Download it here.

Free HD Orchestra Chords & Sustained String Chords by Sonuscore free Kontakt library

Both of these Kontakt instruments have an awesome sound and are dead easy to control.

There is only 1 knob on each interface, low velocity triggers major chords, and high velocity triggers minor chords. On Sustained String Chords, you can control the dynamics with the mod wheel and mix sustain and tremolo chords.

On both libraries, you can play low, mid, and high strings separately or play huge chords altogether. The interface is simple and the design straight forward.

It’s a great library for generating or enhancing your compositions.

Check them out below:

Free Fall by Soundethers free Kontakt library

Free Fall is another library that has been out for a while, but I think it’s one of the most underrated free Kontakt libraries.

It’s dedicated to ambient textures and evolving type sounds which are useful in many musical genres.

It comes with 18 otherwordly patches and you are free to create and save your own custom patches.

This library just begs to be experimented with and you will have 4 pages of parameters to play with:  Main Engine, Effects Engine, Rhythm Engine and Output Engine.

There’s really a lot to go through with this library, once you download it, no doubt you’ll feel the same.

Also, remember to check our own list of best VST Synths here.

And now, for some honourable mentions:

NS Drums J-311 by NS Drums

Just released a few days ago, NS Drum kicks (pun intended) in with a well-crafted and high quality sounding acoustic kit.

Not only does the library sound great, but it offers the ability to really customize your drum sound with a nice set of sensible parameters: Pan, Tune, Room (mic), Attack, Hold and Decay.

There are a good number of presets for each of the 6 drum sounds represented in the intuitive interface: Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat, Tom, Ride and Crash.

NS Drums J-311 also boasts I very high level of detail as there are no less than 27 layers per instrument, so you will be able to dial in just about any acoustic kit sound you like. 

In addition, the FX page provides an EQ and Compressor for each instrument, while the MASTER page has an EQ and Compressor for the entire kit as well as a number of presets to choose from. Can’t wait to play around with this one.

It’s a great drum machine, and, you guessed it, it’s absolutely free.

The Alpine Project

If you’re looking for free orchestral kontakt instruments, look no further.

The alpine project is one of the most complete orchestral libraries we’ve seem- and it’s totally free!

There’s strings, woodwind, brass, and more.

Ivy Audio

Ivy Audio is a donation based sample/library producer known for its piano library.

It also offers trombones, vocals and drums, as well custom made libraries, which are of course, not for free.

If you’re looking for some classical piano, check out piano in 162.

If you’re on the hunt for some usable libraries, go check these 5 out. They are sure to inspire. Tell me what you think.

Also, if you’re looking for a cloud based solution to manage all these free libraries + search for buyable options, check out loopcloud.

*These libraries require the Full version of Kontakt

Best Laptop for Music Production – Tested and Reviewed [2021]

If you’re here then you are looking for music production laptops, either to replace your old one or to get into music making in 2021. Back in the day the music was composed, created, and produced in specialised music studios full of heavy analog gear, and analog gear only. Now you can take the studio with you to the beach, the mountains and even to a family dinner.

Nowadays, we are not so limited and we can do a great job on our laptops. There are several digital audio workstations available that can help with music production on your laptop or desktop pc.

However, not all laptops have what it takes for a serious music production. Buying a proper laptop for this purpose can be a bit difficult because all of the choices you have today. The laptop required for this kind of job must meet some requirements, as we will elaborate.

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

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. The, it is followed by type and speed of storage but since today everything is running on SSD technology, we will not get into this discussion and consider all laptop storage technology equal.

Then, the third thing you want would be very good battery life if you are on the road or on planes a lot.

We have a very nice article about what these tech specs mean for music production, and we invite you to read it here before going forward with our product list.

The i7 processor seems to be the industry standard CPU, though the exact model varies as do the overclocking possibilities. For portability you can get on very well with an i5, only it will not hold that many channels (still sufficient for regular use). AMD has developed a very good processor lineup named Ryzen which on desktop outperform 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.

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.

If you want a good explanation on Apple M1 chips, here is a nice video. We are not saying that the technology is not good, we are just advising you to wait and get a later generation that will have less issues and more stability and performance. Also, a good note to add is that the compatibility right now is better than expected, as the below video shows, it’s just that you should not rush and buy the first generation of new tech products as a general rule, but wait a bit and get a more mature iteration. If you do, however, make sure you check each plugin that you use for compatibility with the M1. Also, be prepared for some update problems in the future as it is common for first generations to have issues down the line due to faulty software updates.

Last but not least, good speakers are always nice to have for emergency situations, as well as a nice sounding headphone output.

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.


To make your life easier, we surveyed our team and community to come up with the very best laptop for music production in 2021. For a summarized table, check the one below.

Also, please note that while this music production laptop comparison is of course accurate for 2021, 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.

Model CPU RAM Price
Editor’s Overall Choice
Apple Macbook Pro 16″
8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor 32 GB
Editor’s Value Choice
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX534FTC
Intel Core i7-10510U 16 GB
Editor’s Budget Choice
HP Envy X360 2 in 1
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 16 GB
Editor’s Portability Choice
Microsoft Surface Laptop
Intel Core i5-1035G7 8 GB
ASUS ROG GU502GW-AH76
Intel Core i7-9750H 16 GB
Apple Macbook Pro 15″
4-Core Intel Core i7 Processor 16GB
Dell XPS 13 7390
Intel Core i7-10710u 16GB

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).

If you also want to record vocals, we have an interesting articles on microphone arms – tested and reviewed.

Best Overall Music Production Laptop: Apple Macbook Pro 16″ review

Apple MacBook Pro 16″ 2019

Price Range: 2000-3000 USD
Portability: Average
Processor Core Count: 8 Core Processor
RAM: 32 GB
Storage Size: 1TB
Connectivity: Very Bad
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This one was very simple, everybody everwhere would agree that in 2021 you are still better of with an Apple Device. This particular Macbook Pro is, above all, future proof. You will be covered for at least 5 years with this device, and 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.

The processor is top notch with a whopping set of 8 cores. You can take this baby out and record a full orchestral performance of more than 100 different instruments all at once, it will take them. If you want to use it for electronic music, it will handle all VST Synths with ease, no matter how many voices of polyphony use want to use. Some synths allow up to 128 voices, and the results are VERY interesting, if your processor allows it of course. You insist to work with VST processing set to High Quality or Oversampling? No problemo, go ahead, this laptop can simply do everything and all at once.

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 cracks in 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 it’s 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.

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 connectivity we recommend this Thunderbolt dongle, so you can have a single connection from gear to laptop, including power:

Never connect your sound card to the music production laptop via Dongle because it will impact your latency no matter what specs your laptop are. Always go for a direct connection.

Best Value Music Production Laptop: ASUS ZenBook Pro UX534FTC review

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX534FTC 2019

Price Range: 1500-2000 USD
Portability: Good
Processor Core Count: 4 Core Processor
RAM: 16 GB
Storage Size: 1TB
Connectivity: Good
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ASUS is a well-known company and when you are looking into their laptop you simply have to have high expectation. 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 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.

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.

ASUS laptops are known for their build quality and reliability, and this model is no exception.

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.

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.

Best Budget Music Production Laptop: HP Envy X360 2 in 1 review

Being on a strict budget in 2021 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, 2021’s best budget music production laptop:

HP Envy X360 2in1

Price Range: 500-1000 USD
Portability: Great
Processor Core Count: 8 Core Processor
RAM: 16 GB
Storage Size: 512GB
Connectivity: Good
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To be honest, recommending a convertible laptop in 2021 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.

We can clearly say that for muticore 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 that 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 of with a cheap cpu that has as many cores as possible. We can say for sure is 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!

Best “Portable” Music production laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review

Sure, all laptops are portable. But some laptops are more portable than others. 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.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Price Range: 500-1000 USD
Portability: Excellent
Processor Core Count: 4 Core Processor
RAM: 8 GB
Storage Size: 128GB
Connectivity: Good
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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. 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.

ASUS ROG GU502GW-AH76 Music Production Laptop Review

The ASUS ROG (Republic Of Gamers) product line is simply amazing and this particular model is one of our all-time favorite laptops. It 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.

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.


Yes, this laptop is labeled as a gaming laptop, but it can 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.

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.

Apple 15” MacBook Pro Music Production Laptop Review


This is one of the older Apple Macbook offerings, older than our all-round winner (the 16″ MacBook Pro). 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.

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. Well, it’s a slim chance that this will ever happen with a MacBook Pro.

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.

Dell XPS 13 7390 Music Production Laptop Review

Finally, we arrive at the Dell XPS 13.

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.

Final Thoughts

The models we described above are the absolutely the best music production laptops for music production you can find. 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. It mostly comes to what you actually want, because at the end of the day there is really no all-rounder laptop for both performance and portability, not to mention price.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Battle of the Synths

Omnisphere 2 and Serum: Two giants of the software synth world. We’ve all wondered how they compare to each other, and today, after thorough analysis of both, we will come up with a winner.

It is, however, important to note that this article isn’t an attempt to determine which one of these beastly VSTs is ‘the OVERALL BEST’. This a far too subjective decision for one humble reviewer to ascertain, so please note that this is based on our personal experience and preferences.

What you are about to read is merely a comparison of 2 industry leading virtual instruments in order to help you understand the differences and similarities between them. If you’re on the fence about purchasing either one, or if you own both and struggle with which one to use for a particular task, you will benefit from the information in this article.

If you’re not familiar with either of these, we strongly recommend checking them out. We’ll start with the most obvious differences, then we will break things down into various sections:

You should also check out Splice, where you can try out both Omnisphere and Serum and other plugins for free for 3 days then rent to own them.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Obvious differences

Omnisphere 2 is an 8-part multitimbral VSTi, meaning you can play up to 8 different sounds at once with one instantiation. Serum can only play one sound at a time, so if you want to play more than that, you’ll have to have to use a different instantiation for each different sound you use from it. Spectrasonics hasn’t provided a demo of Omnisphere 2 yet, so there is no way to test it out unless you buy it. A demo version of Serum is available with Splice.

To get more acquainted with each synth, please check out the links below:

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Oscillators

Omnisphere 2 comes with over 400 new waveforms each of which is a morphing wavetable. Ethnic instruments and unusual sound sources like a burning piano are also included and can be used as oscillators. Additionally, you can add your own sounds and use those as oscillators or mangle them in the granular synthesis section.

However, when compared to other dedicated granular synths like Mangle or PadShop, Omnisphere 2 falls a bit short in terms of editing features.

Serum on the other hand, comes with 144 wavetables and also gives you the ability to draw waveforms or load your own sounds and use them as oscillators.

Aside from being an “advanced wavetable synth”, Serum is also capable of performing additive and VA synthesis with classic waveforms (saw, square etc.) + a sub oscillator + noise oscillator.

Because of the array of waveforms and synthesis techniques that can be applied in both synths, they both could very well be referred to as modern hybrid synthesisers.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Filters

Serum has a variety of filter types. All the filters from Xfer’s LFOTool are included in addition to some new ones like Flangers, Phasers and the dirty sounding French LPF. There are also Dual Filter types allowing you to morph between filter types.

Omnisphere 2 boasts a more flexible filter engine and 8 new filters giving you the ability to create your own filter sound with stereo control, drive and a host of other parameters to further customize your filters. Also, it now includes all of the filters from GForce Software’s virtual synth, “impOSCar”.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Modulators

Personally, my favorite thing about Serum’s modulators is how easy it is to drag and drop a modulation source to a destination.

This makes for a much faster workflow when creating or editing complex a patch. Then there are the drawable LFOs, Envelopes and Macros which, depending on your preference, are more fun to play with than mousing around with percentages or virtual knobs.

Omnisphere’s Modulation Matrix is unbelievably massive and flexible!

Almost every parameter can be modulated and there are a plethora of modulation sources and targets.

All 4 Effect Racks’ parameters, all the granular parameters, all the FM parameters, numerous parameters in the arpeggiator and envelopes can all be modulated by a multitude of sources.

But with all this modulation power, there is no drag and drop ability in Omnisphere 2

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Effects

In addition to Serum’s classic synth effects and advanced effects such as a multiband compressor, Serum can be used as a dedicated FX processor as well. Off the top of my head, the only other synths I can think of that have this feature are Native Instruments Absynth 5, FM8 and Reaktor 6.

The results of running an audio source through an effect with synthesizer parameters can be extremely inspiring and a lot of fun!

Omnisphere 2 has a wider variety of effects. Vintage effects like echoes, choruses and compressors as well as various reverb types are included.

And remember, all of the parameters in each effect can be modulated. This does come at the cost of higher CPU usage, however. I’d be curious to see what kinds of sounds could be generated if Omnisphere 2 was able to be used as a dedicated FX processor, but that feature isn’t available.

Overall Winner

I think Omnisphere 2 has a better sound library and is well-rounded as far as sound selection thanks to some of the best sound designers of our time, Eric Persing and Diego Stocco. Therefore, it takes the prize.

Serum may have a more flexible wavetable engine and deeper sound design capabilities with the wavetable editor, formulas and additive engine.