Whatever it is that you do, having a work-friendly environment is a must.
Just imagine how much time and energy you’d spend dealing with uncomfortable working space and all the inconveniences that come with it.
If you’re dedicated to studio work, production and mixing, what you really want is to fully concentrate and focus on the music instead of constantly getting distracted and irritated by all the flaws of your surroundings.
Of course, one of the most important decisions you have to make while setting up a studio is finding a proper work desk.
However, no matter how crucial they are, these specialized desks sometimes might get a bit expensive. Especially if you’re looking for some kind of custom measures for your work space.
Luckily enough, there are some affordable studio desks that you can find out there. We figured that we could do some digging and we came up with a brief list of these cheaper solutions.
You don’t need to worry anymore – you can still have an ergonomic desk and a work-friendly environment without unnecessarily draining all of your savings.
Something for those who’d like to have an adjustable height desk without busting a bank. It might not be suitable for those who plan to have a bit of a larger setup, but it definitely comes in handy for every solid home studio.
This desk, made by Pyle, ensures easy setup and adjustment and is designed with ergonomics in mind.
There’s enough room on the main surface for a monitor and anything else you need, in addition to the keyboard tray. Definitely worth checking out for its price.
But if you want space, and have enough room for such a piece of furniture, you should definitely check out HomCom 61 in.
Modern L-Shaped Computer Desk. Aside from its great looks and a sturdy steel frame, this one allows a few different practical features. It would probably take some time setting up, but you get a very practical elevated rack, keyboard trail, and even a computer stand in the corner.
Of course, being “L” shaped, it takes up some space and is probably a better option if you have a larger studio.
Overall, the HomCom 61 is designed as a classic work desk with a bit of workspace to spare.
If you do have some room to use, and if you plan on having larger studio speakers without using separate floor stands, then you should definitely consider one of these.
Maybe not as spacious as HomCom, but Z-Line Designs Cyrus Workstation gives enough room in addition to its great design. After all, do you often see such an affordable desk with tempered glass as the main work surface?
In addition, it features a keyboard tray, a lower surface for the computer, and a monitor rack that’s as wide as the entire work surface.
It can come in handy if you have a setup with two computer monitors in mind. This way, however, you’d probably need separate floor stands for your speakers. Since the rack is wide enough, you can also use it for one monitor and two speakers.
Ultimate Support Nucleus-Z Explorer Studio Desk
Although this one is right on the edge between affordable and expensive, the Ultimate Support Nucleus-Z Explorer is probably one of the best options for its price. Yeah, it’s about $900 or so, but it’s a well-built and sturdy desk with two 4-space rack modules.
Made of powder-coated fiberboard, it has around 24 inches surface depth and the secondary upper surface with about 12 inches of depth.
Whatever kind of setup you have in mind, the Nucleus-Z Explorer will be a very useful workstation for your needs. If you want to go professional, this is the more affordable solution for a solid studio.
It might be a relatively higher price, at least compared to some other products on the list. But, after all, the Studio RTA Work Station is not exactly a computer desk either. Although pretty straightforward, it is designed for studio works.
A very wide desk with specialized rack spaces for different outboard gear, a separate monitor tray, and the lower surface for your computer or anything else that you might have had in mind.
Being in the $450-500 territory, the Studio RTA Work Station is on the line between amateur and professional workspaces. It’s simple, it has enough room, it’s very well-built, and it’s not really that expensive for such a piece.
Here we have a very useful piece of software that you can use without any downloading.
As the name CreateRaps suggests, it’s mostly intended for rap music and rap beats.
How it works is that you choose any of the royalty-free premade beats, record your rapping over it, and download the file. That’s basically it!
Obviously, this is not something a professional would use, but it’s rather a beginner’s tool for making any rap and hip-hop tracks on the go. It’s fairly simple and all you need is a simple microphone and near-zero latency operation.
In this day and age, there are plenty of ways that you can enhance the sound of basically any type of recording.
Yes, you first need to have quality input, so getting quality mics, instruments, cables, and mixers is a must.
This basic foundational factor just cannot be enhanced in any meaningful way. However, with an abundance of great products, including great DAWs and very useful plugins, a lot of them free, with detailed parameter controls, the bar is set quite high.
You not only have to use so many different tools, but you need to know how to implement them in practice.
For instance, aside from compression, EQs, saturation, and other effects that come in handy for mixing, it wouldn’t be bad to use tools like transient shapers- This technique is now essential in modern music production.
This is exactly why we decided to look more into one of these transient shaper plugins. The one we’ll be discussing here is made by W.A. Production and it’s called Imprint.
There are a few interesting key features about it that could potentially make it a great choice for any modern producer.
What’s more, the plugin is relatively cheap, which is one of the main reasons it caught our attention in the first place.
Here’s a quick glance at this plugin:
Imprint by W.A Production- At a glance
Maker: W.A Production
Plugin Type: Transient Shaper
Main Features: 3 band transient shaper, 20+ presets, width / smooth / attack / releas controls, output level and master gain control
Our Rating: 4.8/5
Before we get into it, let’s first clear things out for those who are not familiar with transient shaping.
After all, you don’t hear about it that often.
This concept has to do with the beginning of the sound sample and its attack.
In some cases, we need a stronger and more pronounced attack, like with kick drums. In some other cases, we want something smoother and softer.
Transient shaping plugins come in handy for creating better tones for samples where you need a stronger and more defined attack.
Things are not that simple though, as you can’t just add a strong attack to a certain sample and thing that everything is going to be alright.
With transient shaping, you bring all the much-needed nuances of these tones. Essentially, with these plugins, you’re able to bring life to tones that need more attack, especially components like bass drums.
Imprint brings a few features that allow detailed transient design.
First off, it allows you to work with three frequency ranges, along with the adjustable crossover points.
Of course, these three frequency ranges are flexible and customizable. Thanks to the very clear graphic interface, setting up these ranges is made easy.
What you do here is add equalization while also tweaking the attack curve.
Each of the three frequency bands is adjusted with a simple control below it.
The amount is determined by percentage and you’re essentially creating a ratio of these three custom set ranges.
On the side, there’s also the gain control, which boosts the overall output of the plugin. You can also completely bypass any of these three frequency ranges individually.
The more functionality comes with the option to open advanced settings for each of these three bands.
Just click on the arrow below, and you’ll get settings for attack, release, width, and smoothness. With width control, you can set the width of the peaks that you want to target and alter, while the smooth control can smoothen out the peak shapes.
Right above the gain control, you can see the overall output with dB meters. This way, you’ll also be in total control if there’s any potential clipping involved.
The main part of the display, and its largest portion, shows the realtime output waveform. This comes as a useful feature where you can see any odd shapes that need correction.
For a quick look at this plugin, check out the video below:
The most important thing to note is that the interface is fairly easy to use. It features a pretty straightforward and intuitive design that makes it so simple.
The most common use is with samples with a strong attack that needs more definition, mostly drum components and certain synth basses.
However, it works fairly well with various types of synths or pads with at least a somewhat pronounced attack.
But the interesting part comes when you try to apply it to an entire drum track, even if it’s one separate audio file. It manages to “sharpen up” the overall tone as if you processed each component individually.
Like we already mentioned in the features section, the graphic interface makes it fairly easy to use. It’s turned on and off by clicking on the Imprint logo at the bottom left.
The frequency bands are extremely easy to control. All you need to do is just drag their edges left and right to set the width and to drag them up and down to set the output volume of each frequency, according to your preferences.
Also, the waveform can help you in determining the amount and whether each frequency range is causing any clipping.
The option to bypass these individual frequencies is pretty useful.
You can customize it to pronounce only the highs, mids, or lows for the selected track that you’re processing. Those additional controls for each band that we mentioned are where it gets really interesting. These features allow some serious tone shaping and very detailed controls for controlling attack and release.
Those additional controls for each band that we mentioned are where it gets really interesting. These features allow some serious tone shaping and very detailed controls for controlling attack and release.
Basically, anything from subtle and smooth up to sharp and intense tweaking is possible through the very simplified graphic interface.
W.A. Production refers to this plugin as very “advanced” control of one track’s attack. What’s rather interesting is that the plugin itself is not exactly advanced but rather simple. Nonetheless, with some patience and experience, you’ll be able to do very detailed tweaking of each custom set frequency range.
In the end, the price of the plugin is pretty affordable. Which is not a surprise as the Imprint is fairly simple to use. However, we would argue that it’s worth every penny and wouldn’t complain if it was 50% more expensive. It’s safe to say that this is a good purchase for any home or professional studio.
The first thing you need to do is to check out the CPU load directly in the FL Studio.
In the top screen of the FL Studio, you’ll see a small window tracking down CPU usage and RAM memory usage.
In case any of these values are getting too high, it means something’s not right.
Symptoms might include unwanted clicks and glitches in the audio. If you’re experiencing poor performance or any other issues, keep your eyes on the memory and CPU usage window.
Configuring audio settings for FL Studio
Poor performance sometimes might be due to the inadequate settings for the hardware you have.
For instance, if you set the buffer size to the minimum, or somewhere close to it, but your computer can’t handle it, you should consider raising it to the spot where it stops being an issue.
The bigger the buffer size, the easier your computer will respond to all the things going on in the program.
However, a larger buffer size increases latency, which can be an issue with the real-time instrument or vocal recording.
In case you’re not doing any kind of recording but just mixing, there’s no need to keep buffers at a lower level. But if you’re recording, try and find that sweet spot that doesn’t make it impossible for you to perform and that still allows normal operation.
For this, you’ll need to go to Options, Audio Setting, and then select the “Asio4ALL” or “FL Studio Asio” in the “Device” menu.
You can increase the buffer length to where it works best for you. Try and set the sample rate to 44100 Hz and the “Priority” to “highest.”
There are a few other switchable options in the audio settings, including the “Triple buffer” and “Mix in buffer switch”. Try stitching them on and off and see if there’s any change in the overall performance. If nothing happens, set them back the way they were.
Enable the “Smart Disable” feature in FL Studio
Another option you’ll find in the Audio Settings is the “Smart Disable” feature.
You can then enable it and go to Tools Menus, Macros, and then select the “Switch smart disable for all plugins.”
This way, all the instruments and effects plugins will be turned off when they’re not making any sounds. Depending on the type of project, this feature can significantly decrease your CPU usage.
You should also know that the Smart Disable feature is only active during playback. It will be disabled during any rendering.
Look at how many channels are you rooting in the FL Studio mixer
What you also need to be paying attention to is the number of channels you’re routing to in the FL Studio mixer. The larger the number of channels, the higher the chances that CPU load will rise faster than usual. In order to prevent this issue, you might want to plan everything out in advance before starting a project.
Look whether your plugins are 32 or 64 bit
Whenever you’re using any kind of plugins in the FL Studio, it is important to see whether they are the correct VST version.
For instance, if you have a 64 bit FL Studio version, then you should use only 64-bit versions of VST plugins.
Using the 32-bit plugin versions on the 64 bit FL Studio, there’s a high chance your CPU usage will skyrocket. This is because your computer will need to adjust to the same version. This whole process is referred to as “bridging.”
Check whether your CPU is running at full speed
There are also things you need to check outside of the FL Studio itself.
For instance, you might have a certain power saving setting on that is preventing your CPU from running at its full speed.
If you’re using Windows, then open up the settings (can be accessed via Start menu), go to the Control Panel, System and Maintenance, and then select Power Options. You should then select your power management to the “High Performance Mode.” If you’re using a laptop, always make sure that you’re plugged in and not running solely on the battery.
As for macOS, go to System Preferences, then Energy Saver, and then find the “Computer Sleep” slider and select it to “Never” mode.
Or, instead, you can check the box labeled as “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off.”
There are a few other power-related features in the settings that might help you use your computer’s full CPU potential.
Aside from the fine-looking design and the water and oil resistant PU leather, the chair is fairly comfortable, has adjustable height, adjustable back tilt, lumbar support, and padded armrests. It comes in three colors – black, white, and brown.
It’s pretty straightforward yet allows comfortable work. But despite being more than a decent option for the price, it’s not exactly a type of chair you’d like to see in a high-end studio.
Flash Furniture Multifunction Swivel- Best Lightweight Office Chair
As its name would suggest, Flash Furniture Multifunctional Swivel has an abundance of adjustable features.
What’s more, there are 10 different color options to choose from. The back is fully adjustable and you can tweak both its angle and height. In addition, there is also a handle for adjusting the chair’s tilt.
Armrests are also height adjustable and padded, something that’s also one of this chair’s strong points. Overall, this whole chair can be fully modified to suit anyone’s build.
While some might prefer solid backs, the flexible mesh material on this one’s back is a good feature that adds some comfort to it and normal airflow. Of course, the back’s shape allows much-needed lumbal support.
As if this wasn’t enough, the Multifunctional Swivel has a solid-built heavy duty base. It will definitely last for a while.
TOPSKY Mesh Synchronous- Best Mesh Studio Chair
And there are those who prefer a large mesh back on the chair. And that’s exactly what TOPSKY Mesh Synchronous offers.
The flexible mesh headrest is also a welcomed addition.
The mesh back, however, is supported with a back frame that allows not only a solid lumbar but also upped back support.
As for the adjustments, you can tweak the armrest height, armrest angle and horizontal position, the headrest angle, lumbal cushion position, chair height, and chair tilt.
One surprisingly great addition is the cleverly implemented hanger on the back construction. You can use it for hanging clothes or bags, and yet it still manages to keep the chair’s modern-looking design.
A solidly built chair with flexible mesh, many features, and a sturdy base.
What more could you ask for?
Aside from the standard features that you can find on the other chairs as well – adjustable height, adjustable back angle, and the flexible mesh material – the Executive Ergonomic has flip-up armrests.
In case you plan to use your studio chair for instrument playing as well, armrests might get a bit annoying.
So instead of moving to sit on the edge of the chair, you can just fold the armrests. Overall, it’s a quality chair, especially for those who enjoy flexible mesh material.
Herman Miller Aeron- The Best Overall Studio Chair
But if you want a high-end and fully functional adjustable chair, Herman Miller Aeron blows every other option out of the water.
Yes – it’s expensive. But although it costs $500 or more, this would be the perfect ergonomic tool for studio work.
Not only can you find the numerous features that you already found in the aforementioned chairs above, but the Aeron can be ordered in different sizes and 16 different designs.
A fully functional and adjustable chair that will most definitely last for quite some time.
It’s in the high-end price territory, but if you want to treat yourself and your studio with a fully professional chair, then this is the one you should go with.
In our experience, the biggest issue with studio chairs is the quality of the build. Usually the wheels are the first to break, followed by the swivels. In this regard, Herman Miller chairs really stand out. From an economic perspective, it is thus justifiable:
Why spend a couple of hundred dollars every year when you can spend 500$ to 800$ on a chair that is more comfortable and will last 3+ years?
There you have it folks, the very best studio chairs money can buy.
There are lot of studio components on which you can cut corners, but the studio chair should definitively not be one of them.
You’re going to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours in that thing, so make sure you get a sturdy and comfortable chair- you’ll back with thank you later.
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, specially 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.
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
High quality of content
Content available on all formats and platforms: Video, books, Desktop, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku.
Very affordable on a month-to-month basis
High quality instructors
Most comprehensive library of learning resources
Lack of focus
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$, with b&hphoto. This represents without a doubt the best value of all courses.
We’ve found this to be a great way to stay focused for idle studio time. Simply browse around their website, find an interesting video, watch it, then apply it to your current project.
The first course we’ve had a chance to review is Deadmau5’s Masterclass Course.
Music style: EDM / Electronic
Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
Duration: 6 hours of video + assignments
Main DAW used: Ableton, though teachings can be applied to any DAW.
Our Rating: 9.3/10
Skill Level: Beginner
Certificate upon completion: No
Very entertaining, huge production value. Very easy to follow through with the teachings.
Very well-rounded. All major topics are discussed (mastering, mixing, synths, drums, music business, live performance, and more).
Composed of videos, assignments, and discussions.
Great community if you’re willing to engage.
This 6 hour course will set you back 90$. It’s not a cheap course by any means, but we found the cost/quality relation to be quite good.
It’s a short course. It could benefit from going more in-depth into certain topics.
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
Digital Vs. Analog Synths
Sound Design with Effects And Processing
Drums / Beats
Mastering (includes case study)
Starting a Career
On Stage Performance
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.
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
Creating with Synths
Scoring to Picture
Scoring Under Dialogue
Case Study: Frost/Nixon
Working With Musicians
Feedback & Revisions
Learning by Listening
Life of a Composer
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.
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
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?”
How to Persevere
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.
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.
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.
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
Introduction to Frequencies
EQ in Isolation
Frequency Demo #3 – Combining the Piano and Sine Wave
The Frequency Spectrum Explained
EQ with respect to other parts
Common EQ Practices
EQ’ing Kick and Bass
EQ on the Master Channel
EQ In The Mix
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.
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
The Technology of Music Production
Introduction to Ableton Live
Creating Sounds for Electronic Music
The Art of Vocal Production
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.
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
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.
Loopcloud Drum is a new 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.
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 equipment. 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
Processor Core Count: 8 Core Processor
RAM: 16 GB Storage Size: 512GB Connectivity: Good
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A brilliant video on movie soundtracks composition. Raising questions of soundtrack music originality and showing how it is evolved from recording back-tracks with orchestra to the complete digital studios.
We definitely don’t see soundtracks like Ennio Morricone expcept in Quentin Tarantino’s movies. But just to remind you – in 70s and 80 soundtrack could sound like this:
And the evolution of music technology, electronic music genres that are focused on sound and rhythm rather than melody changed soundtrack purpose into textures and rhythms that support picture (which is not a bad thing of course).
The following improvements are included in Maschine 2.5.0:
Support for MASCHINE JAM and it’s associated features
Perform FX effects
Maschine Factory Library update (available in Native Access)
Fixed Velocity is now unified between Pad and Step entry modes
A detailed list of missing plug-ins is now presented when trying to load content which requires plug-ins that MASCHINE cannot find.
REPLIKA is embedded correctly in MASCHINE’s plugin strip
Improved Loop behaviour when deleting and moving scenes
Numerous bug fixes
Perform FX description
Enliven your sounds with MASCHINE 2.5 software’s advanced Perform FX. Designed for spontaneous, tactile control in recording or live performance, these eight complex multi-effects alter motion, space, dynamics, and more for added expression.
An analog-modeled High, Low, and Band-pass filter capable of yielding raw, natural-sounding results using saturation and resonance. Roll off the highs for a thick, murky veil, or use the resonance to create sounds that float into self-oscillation infinity.
A comb filter effect with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. Get performance-ready flanger or phaser effects, or expose its wild side – setting higher decay and frequency values unleashes ping-pong delay-like flutter effects.
A warm, versatile echo with plenty of character, designed for spontaneous splashes of echo. Strong, responsive attacks that taper off into hazy trails are perfect for dub and can also be tweaked for more extreme sound design.
A complex resonant echo with advanced feedback and saturation that verge on psychedelic tendencies. Echoes range from a tight, punchy resonant hum to ambiguous howling sounds from another dimension.
Built on a carefully selected bank of ring modulators, Ring adds a bell-like quality to melodic sound sources. Using the additional plate reverb, tweak a knob or Smart Strip to hand-pick individual notes and keep them ringing into the stratosphere.
Turn the intensity up, and down again with Stutter. This beat-mangling effect adds creative dynamics like glitches, fills, and expressive pitch-bending crescendos to drum patterns and more.
A no-frills tremolo and vibrato effect that’s perfect for creating motion and wobble on the fly. Instantly add expression with multiple modes, Rate, and Depth ranges, and use the Stereo knob to create auto-pan motion effects.
Scratcher warps your sounds with turntable motion effects that can get other-worldly. Apply a ‘brake’ to a sound, then scratch with it – just like on vinyl. Or use the pitch shifter delay to thicken the sound and create alien-sounding sweeps.