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8 Best Laptops for Music Production to Purchase in 2021

Have you been on the lookout for the best laptop for music production? To be honest, there is a lot more to picking up a muscled-up laptop than blindly relying on the specs sheet. There isn’t a shred of doubt that laptop specifications are important to consider when it comes to music production.

However, as a professional, you must realize that laptop aesthetics, brand, the ability of the machine to run a set number of Digital Audio Workstations and other aspects are equally vital and must influence your purchase decision.

In addition to all that, your professional skills also determine your choice of laptop for music production. As a seasoned audio engineer or music producer, you would want to work alongside feature-packed DAWs like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and more. As a result, you might need to connect multiple external displays to the primary machine or keep several tabs and synths open for concurrent music production.

On top of that, you might even want to connect an external audio interface, MIDI keyboard, and even a microphone to the entire setup to make the workflows even more exhaustive. All these and more require the concerned laptop for music production to fit in at least 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage space, a powerful H-series processor from Intel or even the new M1 chipset if you are more into the Apple ecosystem. 

Best Laptop for Music Production: Our Top Choice

Apple MacBook Pro

I would deliberately break the flow of the discussion to talk about the best laptop for music production, before proceeding any further. If you are pressed for time and looking for a quick view, nothing works better than the Apple MacBook Pro 16, when making, editing, and tuning music is concerned. 

Stacked with 16GB RAM, sizable storage of up to 512GB, and the much-anticipated M1 chipset, the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro can handle the likes of Garageband and Logic Pro X, without a semblance of discomfort. 

But that’s not everything you should look for in a music-specific laptop. As a professional, you must focus on purchasing laptops with adequate battery life, bigger screen size in case you do not want to pair external displays to the laptop, and an ample set of ports to transfer data or charge the device, at will.

Still, despite being aware of the requirements, it gets a bit difficult to locate the best laptops for music production, audio production, editing, and more . In most cases, you end up overspending on laptops that have features way beyond your capabilities. Again, you also end up underestimating your capabilities at times and pick up a basic device that hardly works alongside resources like Pro Tools, Cubase, and more.

This is why I have taken it on myself to draft a rather exhaustive list of high-end music production laptops that can work with almost any digital audio workstation, have adequate USB ports, excellent displays, powerful processors, and almost every other resource for producing music with impeccable precision.

Minimum Specifications

Note: If you plan on purchasing a laptop for music production, here are the minimum specifications to look at:

  • CPU: 8th generation i5
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Screen: 13-inch FHD
  • Battery Life- 6+ Hours
  • Operating System: Windows
  • Connectivity: HDMI Port, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi AC, Card reader,

8 Best Laptops for Music Production

You simply cannot barge into the online and offline stores to get yourself a laptop that is relevant enough to music production. The best laptops that music producers invest in are nothing like gaming laptops but way more nuanced and job-specific. In due course, I shall enlist 10 such audio production laptops that could make the cut and make excellent bets in case you are strictly invested in the audio play.

1. Apple MacBook Pro: Best Overall

Apple MacBook Pro
  • Processor: Apple M1
  • Graphics: 8 core GPU
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch Retina
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Battery Life: 20+ Hours
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Operating System: macOS Big Sur

Don’t let the 13-inch screen disappoint you as the new Apple MacBook Pro is easily one of the best laptops in the retail space for music production. While Apple has recently launched the 2021-variant of the same, the 2022-model is still good enough to last you for the next 4 to even 6 years.

Design & Display

Apple continues to persist with a standard aluminium-clad chassis that is durable yet light at close to 3 pounds. The display doesn’t get a makeover either but that’s more than acceptable with the 13-inch Retina Display with True Tone support ensuring adequate visibility and color accuracy. 

Internals

While there are quite a few variants of the MacBook Pro to pick from, I reviewed the model with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Coming to the ability to manage multiple processes and workflow over the Logic Pro X, this device hardly makes you think twice about getting any other laptop. Plus, the SSD is probably the fastest one around and loads the OS in a matter of seconds. 

Productivity

Here comes the fun part with the M1 chipset making an appearance. The MacBook Pro, courtesy of the powerful processor lets you handle multiple renders, plugins, and bounces with ease. Plus, if you plan on using third-party resources, Rosetta makes life easier and the applications snapier for you.

Supplementing the chipset are high-end connectivity standards, led by two Thunderbolt 4  ports, Wi-Fi 6 standard for faster internet access, and basic webcam for professional meetings. The battery life at over 20 hours furthers the credibility of the MacBook when music production is concerned. 

Overall, the Apple Macbook Pro M1 is one of the better modern-day laptops that also promises an 8-core GPU and 16-core neural engine setup to ensure that you can work on other processes as well along with music production. 

Pros

  • New chip changes the processing game
  • Excellent display
  • Battery life is better than the predecessors
  • Adequate RAM
  • Light and supports active cooling

Cons

  • Boring design
  • Not the best webcam around

2. Dell XPS 13: Best Windows Laptop for Music Production

Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i7

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB

Screen: 13-inch FHD

Battery Life: 15+ Hours

Graphics Card: Iris Xe

Operating System: Windows 10

The Dell XPS 13 is a sleek yet formidable Windows laptop under $1000 that takes music production by the neck and lets you work on the likes of Ableton Live, Studio One, and other DAWs with professional-level precision. 

 Design & Display

The metal-clad music production laptop is sleek and ensures proper ventilation and heat dissipation. Plus, the 13-inch OLED panel is easily one of the brigtheest even with the 1200p resolution to work with. However, if you are a display monger, you can consider investing a bit more and get hold of the 4K panel. 

Internals

The new and improved Dell XPS 13 is easily one of the best laptops for music production as it offers 16GB of RAM despite sporting a comparatively sleek and feathery chassis. The 512GB SSD is good enough for the most part and ensures that the files, DAWs, MIDIs, Synths, and even the OS boots up faster than expected. 

Productivity

The Intel Core i7 processor is more than capable,  more so as it’s an 11th gen module with the Iris Xe GPU to work with. The existing chipset lets you keep multiple workflows open whilst making room for MIDI and audio routing integrations. You can even pick an Intel Core i5 variant with 8GB RAM if you are less of a professional and more of an audio geek. 

In addition to these traits, this gorgeous device comes with Thunderbolt ports for connecting external devices and fast charging the laptop. 

Pros

  • Sleek layout
  • Fast SSD
  • Ultrafast processor
  • Minimal heating
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Wi-Fi 6 

Cons

  • Was expecting some more ports
  • Pricey for a Windows laptop

3. Apple MacBook Air M1: Best Fanless Design

Processor: Apple M1

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 512GB

Screen: 13+ Inch Retina 

Battery Life: 18+ Hours

Graphics Card: 7-Core GPU

Operating System: Big Sur

The MacBook Air from Apple is easily the best music production laptop as it doesn’t make any sound whatsoever. The reason is the lack of a dedicated fan, which isn’t something to worry about as the laptop hardly heats up. 

Design & Display

I picked the Rose Gold variant of the Macbook Air and experienced that the design cues are more or less the same as compared to the 2019 variant. However, the screen seems a bit brighter despite Apple officially persisting with a 13+-inch retina display with sharp viewing angles. 

Internals

I wanted to pick up the base model to review but eventually picked up the model with 512GB of storage space. As far as the performances are concerned , the 8GB RAM holds its own regardless of the DAW you consider using. Also, the 512GB SSD is fast and helps retrieve recordings and presets, as quickly as possible. 

Productivity

The M1 chipset clocks at 3.2GHz and comes equipped with a 7-core GPU and a neural engine to intelligently manage processes. Therefore, if you do not have the budget for a Pro, the Air M1 can still be a resourceful laptop for producing music, even in real-time.

The MacBook Air even offers a wide range of other productive resources, including excellent battery backup, two Thunderbolt 4 ports to let you access external devices and consoles, and Wi-Fi 6 standard for establishing ultra-fat internet connections. 

Overall, if you want to pick the best music production laptop in terms of audio output, especially by cutting out the fan from the scheme of things, the Apple MacBook Air M1 seems like the best possible choice. 

Pros

  • High-speed processor
  • Excellent storage space
  • Sharp visuals
  • Top-shelf battery life
  • Fanless design

Cons

  • Predictable design
  • Speakers aren’t as good as the Pro M1

4. Asus Rog Strix Scar III: Best 15-inch Laptop for Music Production

Processor: Intel Core i7

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB SSD

Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD

Battery Life: 6+ Hours

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060

Operating System: Windows 10

It’s time that I talk about a 15-inch laptop that, if used prudently, can make life easier for music producers and audio engineers. Most importantly, the Asus Rog Strix Scar III comes across as a gaming laptop but once you skittle past the gamer branding and the edge form factor, there sits a highly capable machine that can sail through any complex computing task, much less, music production. 

Design & Display

Despite being launched way back in 2019, this is still the best laptop for music production if you are invested in 15-inch screens. At 5.67 pounds, this device is comparatively light and bolstered further by a reliable cooling setup, tagged as the ROG Intelligent Cooling module.

The 15.6-inch 1080p screen is adequately bright and lets you create some great music even when you are out in the open, courtesy of the excellent sunlight visibility. 

Internals

Powering the DAWs, MIDIs, and Synths is a 16GB RAM module. The best part about the existing chunk of system memory is the 2666MHz operating frequency that ensures quicker processes and better exposure during live events. In terms of storage , this is arguably one of the best laptops for music production as you have a 1TB SSD to rely on. 

Productivity

Asus makes room for the 9th gen Intel Core i7 processor, which is still one of the more dependable resources for music production in 2021. The i7-9750H is at least 12 percent faster than the i7-8750H and almost 40% more productive when compared with the likes of a 9300H, i5 processor. Although as a music producer you might not rely on the graphics, the Asus ROG Strix Scar III still manages to put together an RTX 2060 GPU for added functionality.

Plus, you get a pretty resourceful keyboard followed by the interactive Windows 10 OS that allows you to install and work with several DAWs like the inventive Reason Studios, which is best known for the racked workflow. 

Overall, if you want a bigger screen than the ultraportable 13-inch options in the market, the Asus Rog Strix Scar III is certainly worth investing in. 

Pros

  • Fast processor
  • Adequate RAM
  • Doesn’t heat up a lot 
  • Upgradable memory slots
  • Massive storage capacity 

Cons

  • Fans make some sound
  • Not the best battery life

5. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best in terms of Portability

Processor: 10th Gen Intel i5

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 256GB

Screen: 12.3-inch PixelSense

Battery Life: 10+ Hours

Graphics Card: Intel Iris Plus

Operating System: Windows 10

Some believe that portable laptops aren’t good enough for producing music. However, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 debunks this myth by rivallin even some of the best music production laptops that have already been listed. What makes sense is the 2-in-1 functionality that lets you carry this device around without having to worry about the heft. 

Design & Display

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a structural marvel, comprising a magnesium-clad chassis and a sleek chassis. In terms of display, you get a 12.3-inch panel that is bright and responsive enough, courtesy of the touch interface. 

Internals

A good thing about the Surface Pro 7 is that you can choose the RAM that you need for making certain apps and processes perform at their topmost potential. The one I am reviewing has 8GB of RAM, which is still good enough for most audio-related and production-grade tasks. Plus, there is a 256GB SSD in play that can store a lot of presets and completed projects with ease. 

Productivity

At present, I am discussing the Intel Core i5 variant at length but the Surface Pro 7 also comes equipped with an Intel i7 or the Intel Core i3 processor with Intel UHD graphics, either of which can be purchased depending on your preferences. 

The Intel Core i7 model hails from the G-series lineup of Intel chipsets, making it power-efficient and fast. In terms of performance, it is at par with the Intel i7-8750H chipset. Other relevant attributes include multi-mode operability, Wi-Fi 6 support, and over 10 hours of battery backup; traits that make the Surface Pro 7 one of the better laptops for music production. 

Pros

  • Sleek and portable laptop
  • The i5 intel core processor is good enough for most basic DAW-specific functions
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • The 16GB RAM variant can also be purchased

Cons

  • Quad-core processor isn’t meant for professional-grade music production 
  • Intel Core i3 variant is just dual core and not fit for running DAWs
  • 256GB SSD is restrictive

6. Razer Blade 15 (Studio Edition): Best in terms of Versatility

Processor: 10th generation Intel Core i7

RAM: 32GB

Storage: 1TB 

Screen: 15.6-inch 4K

Battery Life: Up to 5 Hours

Graphics Card: Quadro RTX 5000

The Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is one of the more advanced laptops for music producers, riding on the laurels of a 10th generation Intel Core processor and a workstation-grade graphics card. In addition to handling DAWs, this advanced laptop even excels when top-notch video editing, drawing and 3D modelling are concerned. 

 Design & Display

The Razer Blade 15 persists with a standard layout that comprises metallic undertones, slimmer bezels, and an overall heft of 4.9 pounds. Coming to the display, this model features a 15.6-inch panel with touch support. Plus, the 4K OLED screen ensures that you need not worry about sunlight visibility. 

Internals

This performant laptop comes equipped with 32GB DDR4 RAM, further segregated into two slots. On top of that, you get a 1TB SSD module with NVMe support that can be upgraded, if required. On top of that, there is a Quadro 5000 GPU in play that is more than capable of managing every professional task with ease, which performs even better with 32 gigs of memory in play.

Productivity

Coming to the processing setup, this laptop makes way for a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor. As compared to the older variant of the Razer Blade 15, featuring the Intel core i7-8750H chipset, the 202-variant is at least 20% faster when it comes to processing MIDIs and audio files over DAWs. 

Overall, the Blade 15 Studio Edition from Razer has a lot of processing firepower to make things happen, especially if you are looking for something for producing music. 

Pros

  • Workstation-grade processing setup
  • Sharp display
  • Powerful speakers
  • Massive storage space
  • Huge chunk of RAM

Cons

  • Overkill for basic professionals
  • Pricey

7. MSI GF63: Best in terms of Cooling

Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 256GB 

Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD

Battery Life: 8+ Hours

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Extensive music creation and audio editing can easily turn up the computing heat, quite literally. Therefore, if you want a laptop that excels when cooling performances are considered, the MSI GF63 certainly fits the bill.

Design & Display

This laptop sports a plastic-made form factor but with metallic undertones sitting in strategic places. The 15.6-inch Full HD screen is bright enough for most tasks and even boasts excellent viewing angles.

Internals

MSI accommodates 8GB of  DDR4 RAM followed by a 256GB SSD. While these specifications might sound underwhelming to some, they can handle basic DAWs and relevant audio-specific processes. 

Productivity

Despite featuring an 8th gen SoC, the MSI GF63 continues to be considered one of the best laptops for audio creation. The 8th generation Intel i5 is a tad slower than Intel i7 but still manages to hold its own, when audio production and editing are concerned. On top of that, there is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU to lend a helping hand to the processor, if needed. 

Pros

  • Core intel i5 processor is still fast
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM is fast enough
  • Comes with a dedicated card reader
  • USB 3.0 port is fast enough

Cons

  • 8th generation Intel chipset isn’t exactly future proof
  • Thicker than most

8. Lenovo Legion 5: Best with AMD

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 512GB

Screen: 15.6-inch FHD

Battery Life: 8+ Hours

Graphics Card: RTX 3050Ti

Operating System: Windows 10

The Legion 5 from Lenovo might be considered a gaming laptop by some but it has ample firepower to assist budding musicians and audio editors. 

Design & Display

The design is fresh and bolstered by the metallic undertones, which ensure that the weight remains fixed at close to 5.30 pounds. The 15.6-inch screen size is good enough for most tasks and even workflow-specific DAW usage. 

Internals

With 16GB RAM, the Legion 5 can easily be considered one of the best laptops for music production. Plus, there is 512GB of SSD storage space for managing edited and created files. 

Productivity

The Ryzen 7 processor is worth investing in, courtesy of the powerful core architecture and the availability of the integrated AMD Radeon GPU. However, Lenovo goes one step ahead and makes the RTX 3050Ti available for better performance. 

Pros

  • Powerful soC
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Sizable storage
  • Fast RAM
  • Wi-Fi 6 support

Cons

  • Heats up a bit
  • AMD chipset doesn’t support the Turbo Bost mode

Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Laptop for Music Production?

Now that you have taken a closer look at the best possible laptop for music production, it comes down to identifying one that aligns with your needs and preferences. Here are the aspects that need to be understood in detail before you can pick up the preferred music production laptop.

RAM Allocation

If you are only going to edit a few files and not actually use DAWs extensively, 8GB is more than adequate. However, if you want to work on multiple audio files at once and that too in live events, 16GB seems like the bare minimum. Just to be on the safer side, I would want you to invest in a laptop where the RAM can be upgraded via external slots.

Processing Power

Most of us tend to ignore the massive processing power that’s needed to produce and create music. If your work concerns a detailed workflow and a setup with external displays and MIDIs, a powerful processor, i.e., something north of the i5 mark, is the need of the hour. You can even look at the AMD equivalents if you want to make budget picks. It is important to note that you should not get anything less than an i7 processor if your work requires incorporating multiple plugins.

Storage Support

If you are into audio production, you should not settle for anything less than 512GB. Also, it is better to get hold of an SSD to achieve faster retrievals. Moreover, if budget is a constraint, you can always opt for hybrid storage models with HDD and SSD both offering the perfect balance between price and relevant speeds. 

Portability

Laptop portability is a multi-faceted metric that takes several aspects into account. These include lightness of the form factor, adequate ventilation in case you end up going as in with the resources, excellent battery life to help you push through some live gigs, and even an adequate set of ports and orifices that act as a card reader, Thunderbolt-powered Type-C port, standard USB 3.0, HDMI port on mid-range machines, and more. 

Wrap-Up

You can pick any of the 8 best laptops for music production, depending on the budget, preferences, and other attributes that might be necessary. For instance, you can pick up the Asus Rog Strix Scar III if you want an all inclusive, best laptop for audio-specific tasks and even gaming. Or else, you can invest in the smallish, 13-inch Dell XPS, if you want Windows 10 as the operating system of choice along with a lasting aesthetic presence. Overall, it all comes down to your individual preferences and choices and also the DAWs that the laptop can handle. 

FAQs

Q1. What laptops do music producers use?

A1. Most music producers use laptops with powerful chipsets and sizable chunks of fast RAM to speed up real-time audio production. Some of the preferred variants, therefore, include the Dell XPS 13, MacBook Air M1, and Asus Rog Strix Scar III. 

Q2. What laptop specs do I need for music production?

A2. If you want a laptop for the said process, it is better to look for a machine with top-of-the-line processing setup, excellent battery life , and exceptional storage space. 

Q3. Which computer is best for music production?

A3. If you want a computer for music production, you must look for a device that doesn’t heat up quickly and can last longer than other standard laptops on a single charge. 

Q4. Is a laptop or desktop better for music production?

A4. Personally, I prefer a laptop as I can then carry it around with ease. Plus, a laptop is a better bet if you want something for the live gigs. 

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