Best laptop for recording music: Best laptops for music production 2023

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review

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High quality, classy and musician-friendly Windows laptop with a screen to die for

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MusicRadar Verdict

If you’ve got the money, and going down the Apple route isn’t for you, then there are few laptops on the market today that can match the Dell XPS 13 OLED for all-around form and functionality.

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Pros
  • +

    Has the instant ‘wow’ factor visually

  • +

    Enough grunt to handle most music production tasks

  • +

    The screen is a sight to behold

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Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: What is it?

If you are looking for a laptop for music production, you are clearly not short of options. In the past, the majority of creatives would have made a beeline for Apple’s MacBook range, mainly because there were so few viable options running Windows. That has changed of late, with laptops at all ends of the budget scale that can happily run a large multitrack DAW session with ease. At the top of the tree, however, is the Dell XPS range. Here, we are reviewing a specific model from the range, namely the Dell XPS 13 OLED (or Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED to give it the full name), which – on paper at least – matches most of what’s good about its Apple counterparts. 

Straight out of the box you can tell this is a premium laptop. It features a machined aluminium shell, with carbon fibre across the keyboard and trackpad, and hardened Gorilla Glass on the screen. And what a screen it is too. With a near bezel-less InfinityEdge viewing area, everything you look at here is going to pop. Colours are vivid, as you’d expect from an OLED, and it all adds to the feeling you’re working with something special. For musicians and producers, there’s a lot of processing power on offer thanks to its 11th generation Intel i7 processor, and if you buy through Dell it can be configured to include up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of solid-state storage. So there’s a lot to like here, with a price tag to match. Let’s explore its performance.

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: Performance & verdict

(Image credit: Dell)

At upwards of $/£1,499, it’s reasonable to expect the Dell XPS 13 OLED to perform as well as it looks. With its 11th-gen Intel i7 and plenty of onboard RAM, we found it breezed through pretty much anything we could throw at it. We started by firing up our trusty demo Ableton Live session – 128 tracks of MIDI, audio and plugins, designed to push any laptop to its limit – and found it coped admirably. From grabbing audio samples off the SSD, to bouncing and rendering audio, the XPS 13 gave us no issues on the performance front. This is made even more impressive when you consider it’s not a dedicated music production laptop, per se.

From grabbing audio samples off the SSD, to bouncing and rendering audio, the XPS 13 gave us no issues on the performance front

The XPS has only two Thunderbolt 4 ports which seems to be the norm nowadays, rightly or wrongly. The fact you’ll need one of them for charging it means the now-mandatory external USB hub will be required by most. There’s also a single 3.5mm in/out audio jack, and a micro SD slot, and that’s as far as physical connectivity goes with the XPS. The built-in speakers are decent enough for a laptop and produce enough bass that watching films on it is passable. We did however find the trackpad a touch on the small side, particularly now we’re used to the much larger offer found on current MacBooks. Face Unlock and a fingerprint scanner are nice touches from a security perspective though, because nobody likes typing out passwords these days right?

There are some other points we’d draw your attention to if you are considering buying an XPS 13 OLED. It’s hardly scientific, but the fact you can open and close the laptop with one hand highlights the overall high levels of build quality. These are well-constructed laptops, with thought that has evidently gone into the design over and above making them look pretty. Of course, they do look pretty too. Coming in either black or white on the inside – we’d opt for white, given the choice – the flash of carbon fibre which houses the keyboard and trackpad is elegant and doesn’t attract thumb or fingerprints as some other laptops do. It’s also very light in weight, so if your usual workflow doesn’t involve staying stationary then we’d have no concerns about throwing it in a bag. 

Also consider

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple MacBook Pro 14″
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Huawei MateBook 14S

The Dell XPS 13 OLED manages to pull off two distinct feats. It has that killer industrial design down to a tee, marrying up slick looks with some nice engineering to make it both light and able to handle the rigours of daily life. It then backs that up with enough power on tap to suit even the most demanding of production workflows. 

If we were being honest, there are probably other laptops out there that would offer better pound for pound performance for the price, but then you’d lose out on the other benefits that come with the XPS, like the fact that it’s so darn nice to interact with. In summary, if music and audio production isn’t the only thing you’ll be using it for, and you’re looking for a top-tier, premium laptop that you’ll never get tired of using, then the Dell XPS 13 OLED is a very exciting proposition indeed. 

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: Hands-on demos

Mark Guim

MobileTechReview

Andrew Mark David

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: Specification

(Image credit: Dell)

  • Processor: 11th-gen Intel i7
  • Memory: Up to 32GB
  • Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
  • Screen: 13.4” OLED 3. 5K InfinityEdge Touch
  • Video: Intel Iris Xe
  • Colours: Platinum exterior/black interior, Frost exterior/arctic white interior
  • Contact: Dell

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world’s biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones, DJ gear and music production hardware.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review

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Best of 2021: Has Apple created the perfect machine for music production?

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(Image: © Apple)

MusicRadar Verdict

Quite simply the best MacBook that Apple has ever made, and the one that pro-level music producers have been waiting for.

Pros
  • +

    Incredibly powerful

  • +

    New ‘industrial’ design

  • +

    Enhanced connectivity options

  • +

    No more Touch Bar

  • +

    Excellent display and speakers

MusicRadar’s got your back
Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review: What is it?

BEST OF 2021: Since their launches last year, Apple’s M1 Macs (the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini) have been showered with praise – and rightly so.

However, they’re not for everyone. Great though these machines are, they represented a first step on Apple’s journey away from Intel towards its own silicon ‘system on a chip’ technology, and were designed more for consumers, hobbyists and ‘prosumers’ (whatever that means) than hardcore creative professionals.

In the eyes of these pros – many music producers among them – there are a few things that have held the M1 machines back. These relate not so much to outright speed – the M1 chip has shown itself to be something of a powerhouse – but to issues such as RAM capacity (a maximum of 16GB), screen size (a mere 13.3 inches) and connectivity (not enough ports, basically). A design refresh was on a lot of people’s ‘most wanted’ lists, too.

Something else was required, then – and now it’s here.

(Image credit: Apple)

The 2021 MacBook Pro comes in two sizes – 14-inch and 16-inch – and with a choice of two different processors: M1 Pro and M1 Max. As with the M1, these integrate the CPU, GPU, security, I/O and memory onto a single chip, but promise significantly enhanced performance. 

The M1 Pro offers an up to 10-core CPU and up to 70% faster performance than the M1, with GPU performance that promises to be up to twice as fast. Memory bandwidth is 200GB/s – that’s getting on for three times that of the M1 – and you can install up to 32GB of RAM.

The M1 Max has the same 10-core CPU as the top M1 Pro, but doubles the maximum GPU core count to 32. This is said to equate to four times faster GPU performance than the M1. This chip can handle up to 64GB of RAM, and the memory bandwidth speed is 400GB/s. 

For video processing, the M1 Pro features a ProRes accelerator in the media engine. The M1 Max gives you two, so pros can edit even more hi-res streams simultaneously.

Apple claims that the new MacBook Pros will maintain their performance levels whether they’re running on mains or battery power; maximum running times for the 14-inch and 16-inch machines are quoted at 17 hours and 21 hours respectively.

In terms of physical changes, these new MacBook Pros have a Liquid Retina XDR display that features the same mini-LED technology that’s used in the iPad Pro. This includes ProMotion technology that features an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The bezels around the screen are significantly thinner than those on the previous model, and the machine as a whole has a chunkier, more industrial feel to it.

Strangely, one of the other new ‘features’ is the removal of an existing one: the Touch Bar. This always felt like a bit of a fudge – a byproduct of Apple’s reluctance to put a touchscreen on a MacBook – and we’re happy to see a row of function keys returning in its place, complete with a good old Escape key.

There’s plenty to take in on the sides of the 2021 MacBook Pro: two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5-mm headphone jack (with support for high-impedance headphones) and a Magsafe power adapter (another old favourite that’s making a return) on the left, and a further Thunderbolt 4 port, an SDXC card slot and an HDMI port on the right.

Back up top, you’ll find a 1080p FaceTime HD camera in a ‘notch’ in the screen, an improved array of mics, and a “high-fidelity” six-speaker sound system that promises 80 percent more bass than the one it replaces. Spatial Audio playback is supported, too.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review: Performance & verdict

Let’s get this straight: our test machine – a 16-inch, 10-core M1 Max machine with 64GB of RAM – is a beast, in every conceivable way.

This isn’t a light laptop (it weighs in at 2.1kg, which is 0.5kg heavier than the 14-inch model) and it’s not a dainty one, either. There’s a hefty price attached to this kind of spec, too – the ‘entry-level’ M1 Max machine, with 32GB RAM and 512GB storage, costs $3,099/£2,999.

It’s fair to say that some of our colleagues weren’t all that taken with the new MacBook Pro’s more chunky design, which actually has echoes of the laptops that Apple was making more than a decade ago. We rather like it, though – it looks like a computer that means business.

Also consider

And that, really, is what the 2021 MacBook Pro is all about. It’s not a machine for casual users, or a family laptop that gets passed around laps on the sofa. It’s a computer that’s laser-targeted at professionals – particularly those in the creative industries.

This is reflected in the performance, which is little short of jaw-dropping. We ran our usual Logic Pro test, using the Benchmark project created by Music-Prod. This contains a big stack of identical duplicated tracks, each loaded up with Logic’s Sculpture synth and five effects playing a heavy chord. The challenge for the Mac is to see how many of these tracks it can play without falling over.

The 2020 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro coped with 106 tracks in our test, while the M1 MacBook Air topped-out at 98. The 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max, though, managed a whopping 181, which is not altogether surprising, but still hugely impressive.

To put this in context, according to Music-Prod, the only Macs to have beaten this figure are the 2019 and 2020 Mac Pros (these achieved 265 and 386 tracks respectively), desktop machines that can end up costing tens of thousands. The new MacBook Pro certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s reasonable to say that we haven’t seen anything like this kind of performance in an Apple laptop before.

We can confirm that battery life is excellent, too, while the built-in speakers do a pretty impressive job when you’re listening to music or watching video. Obviously, you’re not going to finish a mix on them, but there’s a definite sense of immersion, and it’s to Apple’s credit that they’re more than just an afterthought.

A shout-out to the mic array, too – again, a step-up from the usual laptop fare – and we can also confirm that those who saw us on FaceTime through the 1080p camera said we’d never looked better (though they might just have been being polite, obviously).

(Image credit: Apple)

Here’s the big question, though: do you really need all this power? Producers and composers who are working on huge, RAM-intensive projects will certainly appreciate it, as will those who work with a lot of hi-res video, but for the vast majority of us, it’s not really required.

The sweet spot, we feel, could actually be the entry-level 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro, which has an 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, and costs $1,999/£1,899. This makes it only $550/£450 more expensive than an 8-core M1 MacBook Air with the same memory and storage specs, and $300/£200 more expensive than the comparable 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, which comes with the now out-of-favour Touch Bar.

These aren’t insignificant sums, obviously, but when you start crunching the numbers, you might decide that it’s worth paying the extra for the benefits that the 2021 MacBook Pro offers (better screen, more connectivity, improved speakers, mics and camera etc). 

To have one quick moan, we’re still frustrated by how much it costs to spec-up the RAM and SSD sizes in these machines. Unless you’re willing to spend a fortune on storage at the outset, the chances are that you’ll be plugging in an external drive or two sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, though, what we have here is the best, most powerful MacBook that Apple has ever made, and the one that pro music producers have been waiting for.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review: Hands-on reviews

Andrew Huang 

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review: Specifications

  • Key features: Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip with up to 10-core CPU, up to 32-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine, up to 64GB RAM, up to 8TB SSD, 14. 2-inch or 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with True Tone, Backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, Three Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot
  •  Contact: Apple 

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Best laptops for music production and DJing in 2023


Best laptops for music recording and live mixing.

Best
music production laptops let you record, edit and mix
studio-quality compositions wherever inspiration strikes.

It doesn’t matter which audio editor you use, performance is key. This means that when creating music, you should choose a laptop that can run your software without any lag or stutter that can ruin a consistent workflow. And while working with audio workstation (DAW) software isn’t as resource-intensive as video editing or graphic design, the best computers and laptops for music production benefit from plenty of storage for your files, a fast processor, and enough RAM to run flawlessly. all your plugins and virtual instruments. They also need to be compatible with your hardware, such as audio interfaces and sequencers.

So Western
experts have tested the best laptops for creating music. Within this
review, each device was tested to evaluate the internal
specs, connectivity, battery life and screens.
Design, overall performance and, of course, price were also evaluated.

Best
laptops for making music in 2023

1. MacBook Pro 14 (2021)


The best laptop for making music.

Processor : 8-core Apple M1 Pro – 10-core M1 Max | Graphics : Integrated 14 / 32 core | RAM : up to 64 GB | Screen : 14″ Liquid Retina XDR | Drive : up to 8 TB.

Pros:

  • Brilliant performance;
  • Best laptop screen;

Cons:

  • Diagonal may not be enough for some;

It’s no surprise that the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) is the best choice for making music, as well as the best laptop for video and photo editing.

Powered by an M1 Pro or M1 Max processor, this laptop takes your MacBook Pro to the highest level of performance with amazing battery life that’s not hindered by a great XDR screen with 1600 nits peak brightness. There’s an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports (all of which can remain accessible since MagSafe is for charging) are nice little extras.

The mini-LED screen technology on this notebook matches that of the latest iPad Pro and features a huge contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.

Read the full MacBook Pro 14 (2021) review.

2. Dell XPS 13 (2022)


Powerful, lightweight laptop for music production.

Processor : Intel Core i5 – Core i7 (12th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM : 8 – 32 GB LPDDR5 | Display : 13.4″ IPS (FHD) | Drive : 512 GB – 1 TB SSD.

Pros:

  • Great design;
  • Excellent starting price;
  • Lightweight and portable;
  • General purpose performance;

Cons:

  • Controversial redesign;
  • Performance drops in demanding applications;
  • Not enough ports;
  • Webcam is mediocre;

Dell XPS 13 (2022) for many years
is regularly included in our ranking of the best laptops, and also takes a well-deserved
place in the list of best laptops for making music. In 2022 update
there’s a new color, fewer ports, and updated components.

now
laptop equipped with Intel Core i5 and Core processors
i7 (12th gen) with Infinity Edge bezel-less screen, which
provides the Dell XPS 13 (2022) with brilliant performance in a thin
and light body. There is also a wide range of configurations to suit every budget.

Like most other Ultrabooks, the XPS 13’s speakers aren’t particularly good, and their placement doesn’t help the sound quality. Connectivity is also a bit limited. The updated XPS 13 (2022) is dropping most of the ports besides the two Thunderbolt 4s. And while that’s a moot point, you can use the dock, so the lack of ports isn’t an issue. On the other hand, if you use USB-A based peripherals, you will need adapters to connect your devices to this laptop.

Read the full Dell XPS 13 (2022) review.

3. MacBook Pro 16 (2021)


Big screen creative laptop.

Processor : Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core | Graphics : Integrated 16-core – 32-core graphics | RAM : up to 64 GB | Screen : 16.2″ Liquid Retina XDR | Drive : up to 8 TB.

Pros:

  • Battery life;
  • Port selection;

Cons:

  • Too big for some;

The MacBook Pro 16 is a monster laptop, whatever your creative needs. Its performance rivals that of a smaller laptop, and while its stunning screen is only a minor bonus for music production, its size adds real estate, making it easier to work with a heavy interface.

Long battery life is important, allowing you to work long hours away from home. And you won’t experience any performance degradation from not being connected to power. In addition, the laptop is equipped with a variety of ports, including three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), HDMI, an SDXC slot, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and MagSafe 3, so you can always connect all your audio peripherals.

This laptop’s screen is amazing. It supports a billion colors, creating smooth gradients, and the refresh rate is 120Hz, making it the fastest 16-inch screen.

Read the full MacBook Pro 16 (2021) review.

4. Asus ROG Zephyrus Alan Walker Special Edition


A powerful music production laptop with a convenient controller.

Processor : AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS | Graphics : Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen : 14″ IPS (2560 x 1440, 120Hz) | Drive : Samsung M. 2 SSD 1TB.

Pros :

  • High processor performance;
  • Long battery life;

Cons :

  • Expensive laptop;

What makes the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Special Edition unique is not just the look, but the internal changes as well. It’s still the same great laptop as the classic G14, but with new body and keyboard colors. This laptop model was developed in collaboration with a famous DJ, but the special edition was not limited to coloring.

The box it comes with can be used as a mixing controller or synthesizer that connects via USB-C to run a dedicated application. Even if you have your own controllers for music work, the laptop is equipped with two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports to connect them. And its performance is enough to handle most music sessions.

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4


A reliable Windows laptop for making music.

Processor : up to Intel Core i7 (11th generation) | Graphics : up to AMD Ryzen 7 4980U | RAM: up to 32 GB LPDDR4x | Screen : 13. 5″ / 15″ PixelSense | Drive : Up to 1TB SSD.

  • Pros of : Comfortable keyboard | Attractive screen;
  • Cons : Ports may not be enough;

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch models are powered by powerful components ideal for making music, which means Surface Laptop 4 will help you with all your musical needs. It also features a stunning 2496 x 1664 pixel touchscreen, so your eyes will be just as happy as your ears.

The battery life is decent enough for a full day of music work. Microsoft could add a few more ports, but for now, you need a hub. Whether you’re mixing someone else’s music or creating your own, this is one of the best laptops for the task.

Surface Laptop 4 measures 14.5mm thick and weighs 1.3kg, making it easy to carry around. Despite the sleek design, it feels pretty solid. The lid of the laptop is made of aluminum and does not flex.

Read the full Surface Laptop 4 review.

6. MacBook Air M1 (2020)


Apple’s thinnest and lightest music production laptop.

Processor : Intel Core i3 – Core i7 | Graphics : Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM : 8 GB – 16 GB | Screen : 13.3″ LED backlit display with IPS technology | Physical Memory : 256 GB – 2 TB PCIe based SSD.

Pros:

  • Fast and responsive macOS Big Sur;
  • Long battery life;

Cons:

  • Fanless design hurts performance;

The new M1 chipset was truly a game changer, as was the first laptop to showcase its capabilities. Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook is back in 2020 with new power, but in 2022 it remains in demand and even budget in a sense.

The MacBook Air M1 (2020) holds a great promise for music producers, thanks to its successful combination of performance and battery life – all without a price increase, making the laptop relatively affordable. This MacBook is not limited to ordinary users.

MacBook Air’s battery life is absolutely amazing, you can expect 14-18 hours of battery life. The laptop is built around a fanless design, so it runs silently, which also sometimes leads to heat dissipation issues and performance degradation under prolonged use under load.

Read the full MacBook Air M1 (2020) review.

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 8


Powerful hybrid with Windows and touch screen for music production.

Processor : Intel Core i5 – Core i7 (10th generation) | Graphics : Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 8 GB – 32 GB | Screen : 13″ PixelSense Flow (2880 x 1920, 120Hz) | Drive : 128 GB – 1 TB.

Pros :

  • Processors are faster;
  • The updated design is very good;
  • Large screen;
  • Thunderbolt 4 port;

Cons :

  • The laptop is more expensive than I would like;
  • No more USB Type-A;
  • Type Cover still sold separately;

The latest iteration of the award-winning Microsoft Surface Pro series – and it’s a significant upgrade from the previous Surface Pro 7, which was one of the best music production laptops if you’re looking for the ultimate music production experience, more like an iPad but with Windows.

Surface Pro 8 in this respect becomes
even better with an Intel Core i5 or Core processor
i7, long battery life behind Intel Evo certification, new RAM to help support the process
creating music efficiently as your tracks get longer and
more difficult.

However, we’ve dropped USB-A support, so if you have USB-A peripherals like microphones, you’ll probably need to purchase an adapter if you’re using a Surface Pro 8.

Read Microsoft’s full review Surface Pro 8.

8. Dell XPS 15 OLED (2021)


A great laptop for making music with a stunning screen.

Processor : Intel Core i5 – Core i9 (11th generation) | Graphics : Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4 | RAM : 8GB – 64GB | Screen : 15.6″ OLED InfinityEdge (3456 x 2160) anti-glare touchscreen 400 nits | 900 05 Storage : 512GB – 8TB SSD

Pros:

  • Nice screen
  • Excellent CPU performance

Cons:

  • Battery Life

Dell XPS 15 OLED (2021 ) looks great at first glance, but behind the attractive face hides the power. There is enough processing power, as well as enough RAM to process your music production and, and you can also pay for a hard drive upgrade, you can store all your work files on a laptop.

The laptop comes with a fairly powerful graphics card, although it doesn’t plan to compete with the best gaming laptops. And while battery life could be better, the machine is incredibly portable, making the XPS 15 a great travel option.

The Dell XPS 15 doesn’t offer a wide variety of ports – USB-C 3.2, a full-sized SD card reader, a 3.5 combo mic/headphone jack, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a Kensington Lock slot.

Read the full Dell XPS 15 OLED (2021) review.

9. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX582L


Dual screen laptop for all your mixing needs.

Processor : Intel Core i7 – Core i9 (10th generation) | Graphics : Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 | RAM : 16 GB | Screen : 15. 6″ 4K OLED (3840 x 2160) Touch, 0.2ms, 440 nits – 14″ Optional IPS (3840 x 1100) Anti-Glare | Drive : 256 GB – 2 TB SSD.

Pros :

  • Great main display with 0.2ms latency;
  • The second screen is really useful;
  • High performance;
  • Stylish design;

Cons :

  • Expensive laptop;
  • Cramped keyboard and touchpad;
  • Average battery life;
  • No SD card slot;

Whether you’re recording, editing, or mixing a new track, the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582L is a creative workstation so capable you won’t find it anywhere else, thanks to dual touch screens that create additional tools that increase your workspace. space so you can focus on the task at hand.

And yet
we don’t have the latest 11th gen Intel Core processors, Core
i7 and Core i9 processors are powerful enough for most
tasks you will want to perform on your music production laptop, be it
mixing live sound or recording in a studio.

Time
battery life is not the best anyway, so you have to have
access to an outlet while you work, otherwise music production may stop completely
suddenly.

What is the best laptop for making music?

How to choose the best laptop for making music?

Definitely
there is a difference between what a laptop needs to make music and what a laptop needs
for other tasks, so the characteristics are important for your
musical production.

Obviously a laptop graphics card is not a priority, but you will need the best processor you can get, especially the excellent single core performance. As a rule, Intel Core falls under these parameters, so the new generations of Core i7 and Core i9will serve you well.

you
you will also download powerful software and work with large
raw audio files, so RAM is also very important. How
bigger is better, but anything less than 8 GB just won’t work, actually
In fact, the minimum you should aim for is 16 GB of RAM.

Accumulator
will also be useful, but if you need to save money, choose more operational
memory than physical memory. You can always use an external SSD
or even hard
disk when needed, but no external RAM exists.

Which laptop is best for making music?

Best
music production laptop depends on what part of the creation process you are in
you will use it. If you are looking for a machine that will work from the first
audio recordings for the latest mix and publish, you need something like the MacBook Pro 16.

If you’re looking for portable options for on-the-go recording and light editing, Dell’s latest XPS laptops should work great, and with long battery life, they’ll last a long time. long to withstand a long recording session.

Want more options? Check out our ranking of the best laptops of 2022.

Notebooks

Top 10 Notebooks for Music Production

There are many factors to consider when looking for the best laptop for making music. You want something light, high performance, powerful, and with enough battery life to keep you going for more than a few hours. In the process of working, you will most likely have many different programs or tabs running at the same time.

In most cases, 16 GB of RAM has become the standard. For audio processing, a high processor is critical. Without it, loading files can become a chore, and having to wait every time you want to load a plugin can hinder your creative flow.

While many artists may recommend that you opt for a desktop computer if you want maximum functionality, many modern manufacturers cannot replace the flexibility of a laptop. You will probably choose between a Mac and a Windows laptop. While any of these are suitable, it all depends on the recording software (DAW – Digital Audio Workstation) you are using. For example, Logic is only available on Apple products. I am a big fan of Apple computers, although I have worked on a lot of PCs.

Both systems can be reliable, although it all depends on what features you buy them with, whether you can upgrade them later, and what your production goals are. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the top ten music production laptops on the market today.

What to look for when looking for a laptop for music production

Finding the best laptop for music production is just as important to the music production process as musical instruments. Finding the best laptops for music production involves keeping the right points in mind.

  • In general, there are four significant factors to consider when looking for a laptop for music production: RAM (Random Access Memory)
  • Processing speed
  • Drive space
  • Monitor specifications

To produce music effectively and efficiently, you need power and performance. Let’s take a look at the recommended specifications for a powerful music production laptop with us.

RAM MEMORY

RAM (Random Access Memory) is needed to work on sessions with a large number of tracks, a large number of plug-ins or a large volume of audio. Without it, your DAW won’t run very smoothly.
When it comes to music production, I recommend having at least 16GB of RAM.

Yes, if you are just starting out, 8 GB of memory might be enough. However, as you go along, the 8GB memory limits will become noticeable as your sessions start to slow down or your DAW starts to click and beep during recording and mixing.

Battery Life

If you plan on using your laptop for audio production on the go, you should pay attention to battery life. Average battery life varies between music production laptops, so it’s important to research the specs to find the best laptop for your needs. On average, laptop battery life is between 7 and 11 hours.

Processing speed

Along with RAM, processor or processing power is one of the most important parameters to consider when looking for a laptop for music production as most
leading DAWs
, such as Pro Tools and Ableton Live, requires a sufficient amount of processor. When looking for laptops with an efficient processor, keep in mind that the more processing cores a computer has, the more opportunities it provides for recording musical instruments and mixing. You also want to look for laptops with clock speeds over 2.0 GHz.

Extra power and performance is needed if you
write down
, mixing, editing sessions with a large number of tracks or working on many tasks at the same time.

Drive space

Having enough space on your computer is critical when making music, as you will often be working with audio files and other large files.

Before moving on to the question of how much disk space your computer should have, I recommend choosing a laptop that uses an SSD rather than an HDD. Hard drives may work when you’re first starting out, but again, limitations become noticeable as you move forward. Hard drives are much slower because they have a lot of moving parts.

Digital audio workstations and plug-ins will load much faster on an SSD and your workflow will become more responsive. I recommend using at least 512 GB of internal storage. You can add an external drive to increase the storage capacity.

Be aware that audio files and music files can take up a lot of space. Having a disc dedicated solely to music production use can be very helpful in optimizing performance.

Monitor specifications

While those who care about portability can put up with the small screen size, the endless scrolling and minimizing of plugins to see what you’re doing can be a serious waste of time. The extra screen size will help you see better when you’re working. You may also need to pay attention to the resolution of your monitor. Can it handle graphically heavy plugins? Does it provide a crisp, clean interface that inspires you?

Best Laptops for Music Production – Alternative Options to Consider

Connections

When choosing a laptop for making music, there are some connections to look out for:

  • USB ports
  • Thunderbolt
  • ports

  • Headphone socket
  • HDMI port

DAW selection

What DAW are you using? Is it compatible with Mac and
Windows
Or just one operating system? Most DAWs are compatible, although some work better on certain operating systems than others. Some types of recording software have cleaner layouts that are easier to manage on smaller screens, while some require more space. It should also be noted that there are DAWs that require more memory or CPU when using plugins.

Home studio size

Are you working in a large professional home studio or in the bedroom? You may want to consider getting a larger laptop if you have room for that kind of hardware. Of course, if you’re planning to take your laptop on the go, then portability should be a priority.

Plugs

You have
plugins or VST files
that require a lot of CPU to be used on many tracks? There is a big difference between
recording multiple audio tracks at home
and making a film using the latest
orchestral VST
. If you’re working with plugins that require tons of processing power, or you’re working on multiple tasks at the same time, you’ll need more power and performance from your computer. You can also think about how you do
mixing
And
mastering
, or what you’re going to do with your music in the future. You don’t want to feel limited as you develop as a music producer.

Speakers

While the built-in speakers aren’t critical since you’ll most likely use alternate speakers or monitors for your songs and mixes, they’re nice to have when you’re recording or mixing on the go. Also, being able to test your recording or mixing decisions on a smaller set of speakers can be helpful. Like
minimum

you will need a headphone jack.

9 Best Laptops for Music Production in 20230512

1) Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    12.3″

  • Storage –

    SSD (128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB)

  • Battery life –

    13.5 hours

  • Memory –

    8 GB or 16 GB RAM

  • Graphics –

    Intel® UHD Graphics 620 (i5 or i7)

  • Processor –

    8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8250U or i7-8650U

Let’s dive into the main competitor in the music production laptop market, the Microsoft Surface laptop.

Microsoft has changed a lot over the past decade, especially with the release of the Surface Pro line.

These laptops are also great for creative professionals. There are many high quality configurations that can be used to create music.

If you decide to go with the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, I highly recommend choosing the Intel Core i7 Surface Pro and getting at least 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD as you will get better processing speed and power, allowing you to work on longer sessions with a lot of plugins. This laptop is one of the best music production laptops in Microsoft’s lineup and has 13.5 hours of battery life, perfect for producers on the go.

A cheaper option for those who don’t want to spend more than $1,000 is an Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM is the bare minimum for music production, so we wouldn’t recommend it for anyone looking to thrive.

This particular model of Surface Laptop also comes with a Micro SD slot. The screen size of only 12. 3″ may be small for some users, especially if you work with visual plug-ins.

However, if you plan to mainly work with external monitors, then you should be fine. It should also be noted that the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 does not come with a keyboard, so you will have to purchase one. You may also need to purchase the Microsoft Surface Laptop Dock if you need more ports for
MIDI hardware
,
audio interfaces
, hard drives, etc.

2) Razer Blade

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    15.6″

  • Storage –

    512 GB SSD

  • Battery life –

    8.4 hours

  • Memory –

    8 GB or 16 GB RAM

  • Graphics –

    NVIDIA RTX 2060

  • Processor –

    6-core, Intel i7-8750H

Gaming laptops are designed for heavy use and are among the best laptops for audio production. While the Razer Blade may be best known for its role in the gaming community, it is more than well equipped to meet the needs of music producers.

The 15-inch Razer Blade is a great option for just about any music producer who wants something different from an Apple laptop. The Razer Blade 15-inch gaming laptop is a 6-core Intel i7-8750H model with NVIDIA RTX 2060, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Not only will you be able to open heavy sessions and run them at top speed, but you’ll also have enough space to install apps, VSTs, and more.

While the Razer Blade also comes in a 13-inch configuration and a 17-inch desktop model, the 15-inch model is the most updated to date. For a laptop designed for music production, you don’t need more than 15″ unless you’re starting to dive into the world of sync.

While there’s a lot to be said for the Razer Blade, it’s impossible not to mention the build quality. Many compare the Razer Blade to Apple computers because of its sleek design.

When buying a Razer Blade, you also won’t find a ton of unnecessary software installed on it, which means it’s optimized for performance and speed. Any DAWs, plugins, and extra apps you choose to install will take precedence on this laptop.

3) Alienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    15.6″

  • Storage –

    128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD

  • Battery life –

    11 o’clock

  • Memory –

    16GB DDR4 SDRAM

  • Graphics –

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

  • Processor –

    Intel Core i7 (7th generation) 7700HQ / 2.8GHz

Trying to find high-tech laptops for music production always leads people to the gaming community. With insane processor speeds, using gaming computers for music production makes sense, and this is one of the best laptops for music production.

While this laptop focuses on immersive gaming with a top-notch graphics card, it also features a high-performance Intel i7 quad-core processor. Whether you’re running multiple VSTs at the same time, or exporting large sessions, this is one of the best laptops for making music.

The Alienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS makes managing VST-heavy sessions a breeze. The battery life is incredibly long and gives users up to 11 hours of use on a single charge. For music producers on the go, this is a huge benefit.

In terms of RAM, you get 16GB, which is ideal for most users. You also get one terabyte of storage, but keep in mind that this is not an SSD, which means you may have trouble loading heavy sessions at optimal speeds. However, you can always find an affordable external SSD if you need some extra speed.

Best Budget Laptops for Music Production

1) Dell Inspiron 15 3580

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    15.6″

  • Storage –

    1 TB HDD

  • Battery life –

    n/a

  • Memory –

    8 GB DDR4 RAM

  • Graphics –

    AMD Radeon 520 (2 GB GDDR5)

  • Processor –

    Intel Core i7-8565U

Dell has some of the best music production laptops on the market today, but if you’re looking for a budget model under $500, there’s nothing better than the Dell Inspiron 15 3580. Yes, Dell has some thinner and lighter options in its lineup, but we We believe that the additional features of the 3580 offset the weight.

Can we take a moment and say how crazy it is that Dell put a 1TB hard drive in a sub $500 laptop? You get tons of storage, which is great for large audio files and sessions with lots of tracks. Sure, it’s a hard drive, so it’s not the fastest, but you can always get an external SSD or upgrade the drive later.

The 15.6″ screen is a dream. You can open multiple plug-ins, run multiple windows and still see clearly what you’re doing.

The 3580 comes standard with 8GB of RAM, which is more than enough for aspiring music producers, and four Intel processors deliver fast performance so you don’t have to break your stream. In addition, it provides impeccable connectivity, including an SD memory card reader, an HDMI port, three USB ports, and a headphone jack. Whether you need to plug in headphones, an interface, a hard drive, iLok, or all of the above, the Dell Inspiron 15 3580 is one of the best laptops for making music.

2) HP 14″ Ryzen 3-3200U

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    14″

  • Storage –

    128 GB SSD

  • Battery life –

    7 hours

  • Memory –

    4 GB RAM

  • Graphics –

    AMD Radeon Vega
    3

  • Processor –

    AMD Ryzen 3 3200U

While HP may be better known in the corporate world than in the world of music production, the HP Ryzen 3-3200U 14-inch laptop offers some serious power to run heavy applications like a digital audio workstation. With 8 GB of DDR4 2400 MHz RAM, you can work with your DAW for a long time without crashing or overheating your laptop.

On the downside, it only comes with a 128GB SSD, so we recommend getting an external drive if you want to free up some space on the built-in drive. Compared to other budget laptops, the HP 14″ Ryzen 3-3200U offers an incredible amount of inputs and outputs, including three USB ports, an HDMI port, an RJ45 LAN jack, and a headphone jack.

We highly recommend the HP 14″ Ryzen 3-3200U for manufacturers on the go. Not only does the laptop have great battery life, but it’s also incredibly light. At just over three kilograms, you can put it in your backpack and hit the road.

If you love working with your plugins, you will definitely love the high definition touch screen. The beauty of the touch screen is that it uses LED backlighting, which isn’t as hard on the eyes during late night sessions. In addition, the LED helps improve battery life, allowing you to work in remote sessions for much longer.

If you’re on a budget and looking for the best laptop to be your travel companion for making music, then the HP 14″ Ryzen 3-3200U is a great choice.

3) Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    15.6″

  • Storage –

    128 GB SSD

  • Battery life –

    7 hours

  • Memory –

    4 GB RAM

  • Graphics –

    Intel® UHD Graphics 620

  • Processor –

    Intel® Core™ i5

For the most basic styles of music production, the Acer Aspire 5 Slim is an excellent choice. As you probably guessed from the name, this laptop is thin and ready to go wherever the music takes you. However, even though it’s thin in design, it comes with a 15.6-inch screen that can match larger, higher-end laptops. Combined with a backlit screen and keyboard, you can work anywhere, anytime.

While you won’t be able to run heavy VSTs or sessions with lots of tracks with two processors and DDR4 SDRAM, you will be able to run basic sessions, edit audio or record.

The two main downsides are 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. If you want to get more out of your Acer Aspire 5 Slim, we highly recommend upgrading. Otherwise, this laptop, which is priced under $500, is quite suitable for production needs.

Best Windows Laptop for Music Production

1) Dell XPS 15

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    15.6″

  • Storage –

    512 GB SSD

  • Battery life – 8

    hours

  • Memory –

    16 GB RAM

  • Graphics –

    NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti

  • Processor –

    Intel Core i7-8750H

The Dell XPS 15 is a great laptop and one of the best in the Dell XPS line for music producers. In fact, compared to the rest of the Dell XPS laptops, it often makes lists of the best laptops for music, and for good reason. Even though this is the thinnest 15-inch laptop on the market today, its performance is on par with some of the best options on this list. The Dell XPS 9570, the company’s latest version, uses the new Coffee Lake processor and Intel Iris, which allows you to run sessions at high speed. No longer will you let load times stop your workflow.

Combined with a stunning 4K touchscreen that uses Gorilla Glass to resist scratches, you get not only an incredibly elegant, but also insanely durable computer thanks to its aluminum chassis. In addition, the presence of a touch screen allows more active work with plug-ins, which is very convenient for producers who like tactile sensations.

There are many models to choose from, which can make finding the right one for your needs quite difficult. However, if I had to pick one of these, I would go with the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H Turbo Boost, which comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

As a bonus, you get an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti graphics card that provides video capability if you even get into that realm. For added security, the company has provided a fingerprint reader for Touch ID.

The possibilities of the Dell XPS 15 are almost limitless. Plus, you get an SD card reader and 2 USB 3.0 ports, which means you won’t have to spend a fortune on potentially costly adapters and docking stations for additional hard drives or iLoks.

Best Mac for Music Production

1) Apple MacBook Pro

Specifications

  • Screen size –

    13″ – 16″

  • Storage –

    512 GB SSD or 1 TB SSD

  • Battery life –

    11 o’clock

  • Memory –

    16GB-32GBRAM

  • Graphics –

    AMD Radeon Pro 5300M

  • Processor – 2

    .6 GHz 6-core Intel Core i7

The Macbook is always a good laptop choice for creative professionals.

If you want to get a new Apple MacBook Pro, you can choose between 13-inch and 16-inch models, each with 11 hours of battery life. The 13-inch model is ideal for manufacturers looking for extra portability. However, screen real estate can be quite limited and some will find it difficult to work comfortably in a DAW, especially as the number of tracks increases.

Buy an Apple MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz 6-core Intel i7 processor, 64GB of RAM and a 512GB or more SSD and you’ll be working for years to come. You’ll have enough speed for professional sessions without any lag, clicks, or bursts, while still being able to install plenty of apps and VSTs.

In my humble opinion, the MacBook Pro is one of the best and most stable laptops for music production today.

While this Apple Macbook Pro can use a 512GB SSD, I would recommend getting an external drive and save some money, unless you need internal storage in your Macbook Pro for some reason. Also, storing all your music content on an SSD is a smart choice in any case if you want to take the load off your computer.

If you’re into video production as well as making music, you’ll be happy to know that this Apple Macbook Pro comes equipped with Radeon Pro 5300M video memory and 4 GB of VRAM.

Depending on your current music production setup, you may need to purchase a docking station or multiple external adapters, as the Macbook Pro only has 4 USB-C (Thunderbolt) ports. The USB-C port is different from USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, so to connect an audio interface or
MIDI keyboards
For a Macbook Pro, you’ll need USB-C adapters. Purchasing a thunderbolt cord for these unique USB ports is one of the biggest cons to buying a new Mac.

I would also recommend staying away from the regular non-Pro MacBook models, although these Mac laptops offer some of the best prices for minimal specs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Laptop vs desktop for music production?

Desktop computers are much better suited to professional music production when it comes to speed and processing power. However, laptops may be the best choice for your needs when it comes to portability and economy.

What computer specifications are needed for music production?

If you are looking for a PC for music production, your specifications should be at least the following:

  • 8 GB memory
  • AMD Ryzen Multi-Core or Intel Core i-Series
  • Integrated graphics card
  • Screen size 15″+

Should I overclock for music production?

Overclocking for music production is not necessary and can make your session more unstable. Because overclocking can cause hardware to overheat, if you plan on overclocking, you need to provide cooling. Otherwise, you risk killing your thread.

Does the GPU play any role in music production?

Graphics cards are not a big deal for music production, and the integrated graphics card found on the motherboard will most likely be up to the task. Of course, if you use a lot of high-end plugins, having a GPU capable of handling visually demanding graphics can be useful.

Are gaming laptops good for making music?

Gaming laptops are great for making music because they can handle heavy loads. Compared to most laptops, gaming laptops usually have better RAM, processing power, and faster SSDs.

What is the best gaming laptop for music production?

The 15-inch Razer Blade is one of the best gaming laptops available on the market today thanks to its combination of 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and 6-core Intel i7 processor.

What is more important for music production – processor or RAM?

The processor is more important than RAM when it comes to making music. The advantage of RAM is that it can usually be upgraded later, which cannot be done with a processor.

Is 32GB of RAM overkill for music production?

If you are working with large sample libraries that require a lot of processing power, you may need 16 or 32 GB of RAM to run smoothly. However, for most music projects, 8 GB is usually sufficient.

Can you get by with 4GB of RAM for music production?

If you’re looking for the best laptop for making music, we highly recommend purchasing a laptop with non- RAM
less than 8 GB

if you want maximum speed and performance.

Do I need an SSD for music production?

Solid state drives are a much better choice for today’s music production than hard drives as they provide much higher reliability and performance. With an SSD, you won’t have to deal with incredibly long load times, clicks, or bursts that can ruin your stream.

Final Thoughts – Finding the Best Laptops for Music Production

A laptop for music production is like a tool. As with musical instruments, there are many things to consider when buying a laptop for music production.

As you can see, there are plenty of great music production laptops out there, many of which are surprisingly affordable.