The 10 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2024

Finding the perfect laptop for music production can be an overwhelming odyssey. With countless models and specs to evaluate, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds.

As a producer and laptop connoisseur myself, I’ve been on this journey quite few times trying to find the best laptops for music production. I’ve made more than a few regrettable laptop purchases that left me sorely disappointed and frustrated.

But over the years, I’ve learned what REALLY matters when it comes to choosing a laptop specifically for producing banging beats, hypnotic synths, and silky vocals.

I discovered the must-have features that make all the difference in being able to create smooth, professional music without technical hiccups.

Let’s dive in and reveal the best laptops for glitch-free DAW performance based on real-world testing and reviews.

Our Quick Top 5 Picks

ModelCPURAMStoragePortsBattery Life
MacBook Pro 14″Apple M1 Pro16GB512GB SSD3x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SD cardUp to 18 hrs
MacBook Air M2Apple M216GB512GB SSD2x Thunderbolt/USB 4Up to 15 hrs
Dell XPS 1312th Gen Core i716GB512GB SSD2x Thunderbolt 4Up to 12 hrs
Surface Pro 912th Gen Core i716GB256GB SSD2x Thunderbolt 4Up to 8 hrs
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14AMD Ryzen 916GB1TB SSD1x USB-C, 2x USB-A, HDMIOver 10 hrs

Powerful Processor for Audio Production

You’ll want a multi-core processor with enough speed and power to run your digital audio workstation software smoothly. I recommend at least an Intel Core i7 or i9 chip. The latest Apple M-series chips are also excellent and can be found on the MacBook Air line of computers.

More cores mean better workload division.

Sufficient RAM

RAM stands for random access memory. It’s like your laptop’s short-term memory and directly impacts performance. For music production, 16GB RAM should be the minimum, while 32GB or more is ideal for complex sessions with many software instruments and effects.

Fast SSD Storage

An SSD (solid state drive) offers much faster read/write speeds compared to old-school HDDs. This is important when working with large uncompressed audio files. Aim for at least 512GB of SSD space, but 1TB or more is better for storing sample libraries.

In my experience testing and reviewing over 20 different laptop models in recent years, Apple consistently provides top-notch performance and usability for music production. However, there are also good Windows options at more budget-friendly prices.

Here Are 10 Best Laptops For Music Production In 2023:

  1. Apple MacBook Pro 14”

    The MacBook Pro 14 is my top choice for its unrivaled power and portability. I’ve used the M1 Pro model before and it has worked flawlessly when recording complex orchestral arrangements.

macbook_pro_14

It also has a stunning mini-LED screen and long 18-hour battery life, making it ideal whether I’m working in the studio or traveling.

The SD card slot, HDMI port, and multiple Thunderbolt 4 USB-Cs give me all the connectivity I need.

  1. Dell XPS 13 OLED

    For Windows users, the Dell XPS 13 is a strong competitor to the MacBook Pro. It has a sleek, high-quality design and a gorgeous near-bezel-less OLED touch display that looks fantastic. dell xps 13

The latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 configuration offers smooth performance for music production.

My only complaint is the limited port selection, but a hub solves that. Overall, a great premium laptop.

  1. Apple MacBook Air M2

    This is Apple’s ultraportable option with the new fast M2 chip. Despite the thin and light design, it runs my projects flawlessly thanks to the speedy processing and 16GB unified memory.

Macbook air m2

I love that it’s completely silent too since there’s no fan. The battery easily lasts 10+ hours.

My main gripe is the 2 thunderbolt ports limit external connectivity, so a hub is a must-have accessory.

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro 9

    Many producers like to use the Surface Pro 9 as a tablet for mixing on the couch or even outdoors. The 2-in-1 detachable keyboard design gives you that flexibility. The 120Hz touchscreen pairs nicely with the pen for precise audio editing.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

It has awesome performance too with the latest Intel Core i7 chip, making it suitable for even huge multi-track sessions.

My only complaints are somewhat short battery life and lack of ports, but it’s still a fantastic mobile studio.

  1. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

    Gaming laptops like this Asus ROG model can be great options for music production thanks to their processing muscle. I use an AMD Ryzen 9 configuration which chews through my projects with ease.

asus-rog-zephyrus

It weighs just 3.5lbs making it super portable. I get over 10 hours of battery life with general use.

The AniMe Matrix LED design may not be for everyone aesthetically, but for pure performance this laptop rules.

  1. Apple MacBook Pro 16”

    If you want more screen real estate, Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro is essentially the same brilliantly fast laptop as the 14-inch but with a bigger display.

laptops-for-music-production-macbook-pro.

The excellent battery lasts nearly 20 hours in my experience, so it really can go all day long.

And it has awesome built-in speakers that make listening back to your mixes enjoyable even without headphones. It’s pricey but a creative powerhouse.

  1. Dell XPS 15 OLED

    The XPS 15 from Dell is a stellar Windows alternative for music production. The OLED touch display is stunning with its 4K resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut.

Dell XPS 15 OLED

It has plenty of processing muscle too with Intel 12th Gen Core i7/i9 CPUs and an RTX 3050 Ti GPU.

The giant trackpad and keyboard also feel great to use. Battery life leaves something to be desired, but overall an awesome creative laptop.

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

    I like the unique 2-in-1 convertible design of the X1 Yoga. Being able to use it as both a laptop and tablet adds nice versatility for music-making on the couch or on the go.

ThinkPad-X1-Titanium-Yoga

Plus, it comes loaded with ports, unlike some other ultraportables. The 16:10 display looks superb and is fantastic for touchscreen operation.

Available with the latest 12th Gen Intel processors and 16GB RAM for solid music production performance in a portable package.

  1. Acer Aspire 5

    Here’s my top value pick for music producers on a budget. For around $700, you can get a Aspire 5 model with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD — enough for many basic home studio needs without breaking the bank.

Top 10 Best Laptops
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Music Production

The 15.6-inch display is quite large for the price and it has a good port selection too. It’s not the prettiest or most premium-feeling laptop, but it will get the job done for affordable music production and content creation.

  1. Razer Blade 15

    Finally, while pricey, I wanted to include the Razer Blade 15 for those seeking pure power. It’s a gaming laptop but the Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, 1TB SSD, Intel Core i7 CPU, and 16GB RAM give it serious muscle for music production.

RAZER BLADE 15

The build quality is outstanding and it stays cool under load. If you want no compromises in performance, this is a great (but expensive) choice that can handle even the most complex sessions.

Is Mac Or Windows Better For Music Production?

When it comes to selecting the ideal operating system for your music production needs, the Windows vs. Mac debate is a classic conundrum.

The decision you make ultimately hinges on a combination of factors. These include your unique requirements, technical demands, and, of course, your budget.

For those leaning towards the Apple ecosystem, Mac laptops are renowned for their premium quality, durability, and capability to effortlessly tackle resource-intensive music production tasks, particularly if you opt for a higher-end model.

Macs are celebrated for their stability and reliability.

If you’re already immersed in the Apple ecosystem, with an iMac, iPad, or iPhone in your toolkit, seamless connectivity between your devices is an undeniable advantage.

On the flip side, if you find yourself more at home in the Windows environment, the familiarity of Windows might make navigating a Windows laptop for music production a more convenient choice.

It’s also worth noting that Windows offers broader compatibility with a wide array of music production software. These are plugins and apps, and they offer extensive customization options.

The Windows landscape provides a broader spectrum of hardware options at varying price points. This makes it easier to find a laptop that aligns with your budgetary constraints.

Eventually, you’ll notice that the decision between Windows and Mac boils down to your personal preferences, workflow, and financial considerations.

Both operating systems have their merits and can serve as effective tools for music production, so take the time to assess your specific needs before making a choice.

What To Look For In a Music Production Laptop

When you’re in the market for a laptop dedicated to music production, there are several crucial factors to consider. Your choice of laptop can significantly impact your music-making experience.

So it’s essential to make an informed decision.

Beyond the models mentioned, there are some general factors to keep in mind when choosing a laptop for producing music:

Operating System

This depends on your DAW software and personal preference. MacBooks only run MacOS, while Windows laptops are compatible with Windows software. If you already own iOS devices, a MacBook provides seamless integration.

CPU Processing Power

Look for multi-core Intel Core i7/i9 or Apple M1/M2 chips. Avoid low-power CPUs found in ultraportables, as well as older or entry-level processors.

For Windows, AMD Ryzen 7/9 chips are also great options. More cores mean better workload division during music production.

Plenty of RAM

I recommend a minimum of 16GB RAM for smooth performance, but 32GB or more is better for large sessions with many software instruments and effects. Upgradability can future-proof your investment.

Fast SSD Storage

SSDs allow much quicker access to audio files compared to traditional hard drives. Minimum 512GB is recommended, but 1TB or larger is ideal for storing uncompressed audio and sample libraries.

Port Selection

Having Thunderbolt, USB-A/C, HDMI, SD card slots, etc. allows you to connect audio interfaces, MIDI devices, mics, monitors and more. Dongles can add connectivity if ports are limited.

Battery Life

Look for at least 8 hours of light use battery life for productivity on the go. Discrete GPUs in gaming laptops tend to drain battery faster under heavy loads.

Display & Audio

A good screen with accurate color reproduction is great for getting mixes to translate across systems. Decent built-in speakers or headphone jack allow previewing tracks on the go.

Wrapping Up – Best Laptops for Music Production in 2023

Over the past decade, technological advances have opened up new possibilities for music creation and production. Portable computers have gained the power and efficiency required to serve as viable studio tools.

Software developments have made music production accessible to novices while maintaining high-level capabilities for seasoned professionals.

This democratization of the tools signifies a profound shift. Barriers to entry have fallen, allowing musical vision to shine through regardless of means or experience.

Aspiring artists no longer require a dedicated studio space to write, record, and refine their work. A laptop provides all the necessary DAWs, virtual instruments, and effects to sculpt raw ideas into polished tracks.

Of course, experience remains invaluable. While the hardware exists for anyone to become their own recording engineer, the subtle art of production takes years to master.

Nuanced techniques for mic’ing, mixing, and mastering evolved through dedicated practice. However, the gap between amateur and professional has narrowed considerably.

Resources now abound to accelerate the learning process. Online tutorials offer structured guidance for enthusiasts of all levels. Production communities foster collaborative problem-solving.

Streaming platforms highlight talented independents worth emulating. By leveraging available knowledge, newcomers can develop studio savvy far beyond what early laptop-based productions could achieve.

In democratizing the means of music creation, technology has fostered a renaissance of independent artists shaping popular culture from outside the studio system.

The portable studio empowers all to fully realize musical visions and bring fresh perspectives to audiences worldwide. Innovation will continue pushing creative limits while preserving music’s universal ability to move humanity.

Sources:

https://www.creativebloq.com/buying-guides/best-laptops-for-music-production
https://americansongwriter.com/best-laptops-for-music-production/
https://splice.com/blog/best-laptop-music-production/