Best Laptops for Music Production
Music is food for the soul. You don’t have to be an artist to start creating your own tunes. What you need is a few good software, some basic know-hows, and most importantly, the best laptops for music production.
When picking a laptop for the job, you might get overwhelmed by the choices present in front of you. Don’t sweat just yet because we have handpicked some of the greatest laptops for music making that will surely satisfy you, alongside some tips to get exactly what you want!
5 Best Laptops for Music Production
#1 Apple MacBook Pro – Best Overall Quality
Apple products are well-known for their aesthetics and satisfying performance. This is also true for the 16-inch Model Apple MacBook Pro.
Universally used and favoured by music producers anywhere in the world, MacBook Pro can be easily spotted playing alongside the world’s most famous DJs on the stages of TomorrowLand or on the counter of your favourite local pub DJ. There’s no doubt that when it comes to music production, the MacBook Pro is very high up on the list.
With the MacBook Pro, you have everything in your hands ready to be worked with. With a base RAM of 16GB that can be configured up to 64GB, you can get a lot of work done, be it loading and mixing audio files or rendering the final product.
As the name suggested, the MacBook Pro is equipped with a 16-inch Retina display, the largest of the Apple product line. This ensures that you have a better view of what you’re working with, i.e the different tracks, files in the library, etc.
Furthermore, Apple has got you covered with its array of supporting software. GarageBand – a very good digital audio workstation (DAW) – is pre-installed in every MacBook. And if you want to push your boundaries, you can upgrade to the Mac-exclusive Logic Pro X, often regarded as one of the best DAWs right now.
And to help you even more, Apple has fitted the MacBook Pro with a six-speaker sound system and a three-mic array for when you want to record acoustic music or play back some clean-made soundtracks.
Much like earlier versions, the MacBook Pro 16” only has Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, which will definitely hamper its ability to easily connect with most audio interfaces, MIDI controllers or audio speakers so to resolve this problem we would need an adapter port so it can be versatile.
- Great battery life (up to 11 hours)
- High capacity SSD (up to 1TB)
- Prone to keyboard or Touch ID failure
All in all, the Apple MacBook Pro is a dominant force in the music production industry. The price is indeed hefty, but considering its overall value and performance, it certainly is a worthwhile investment.
#2 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best for long-term versatile use
As the 7th iteration of the Microsoft Surface Pro family, the Surface Pro 7 sports a lot of software improvements compared to its predecessors. A worthy opponent of others on this list, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 ensures that it gets the job done.
Introduced in late 2019, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 while certainly isn’t ground-breaking, it’s still a noteworthy tablet, due to the sheer firepower it brings to the table.
With a base 4GB RAM and 128 SSD memory that can be upgraded to 16GB and a whopping 1TB SSD, the Surface Pro 7 is certainly ready for the more hefty audio tasks such as audio mixing or reverb.
Microsoft has taken what was previously the best points of the Surface Pro 6 and pushed its boundaries even further. Using Intel’s newest and first-of-its-kind 10nm CPU in all of its cores, multitasking is a breeze.
As for displaying specs of the Surface Pro 7, it retains the Pro 6’s specs, with a 12,3-inch-PixelSense Display monitor and 10 point multi-touch sensor. The colour is still as vibrant as ever, with image and video resolution still spot-on.
And if you need a finer level of control, the touch screen is here to help, allowing for pin-point and extremely receptive maneuvers. And if you want to plug into audio interfaces or MIDI controllers, the Surface Pro 7 offers you not only USB-A and C ports, but also a MicroSD reader and a Surface Connect port.
Unfortunately, while the Surface Pro 7 excels performance wise it still has room to improve even further more. One thing you should take into consideration is that the Keyboard and Surface Pen stylus are sold separately.
And while it’s true that the Pro 7 retains the good characteristics of its predecessors, design still remains the same like the 6. And while it finally comes with a USB-C port, Microsoft still hasn’t integrated Thunderbolt 3 into it, hence uploading and transferring speed is still not quite remarkable.
- Super fast charging speed
- Somewhat mediocre battery life
- Requires extra investment in keyboard and keyboard cover
Final verdict: All things considered, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is still a powerhouse that you can start with and comfortably use for a very long time. While it’s true that you need some initial investment, those investments are very well-worth it.
#3 Apple MacBook Air – Best laptop for emerging artists.
Stepping into the music production scene relatively later than the other candidates, and yet it has made waves due to its robust performance. True to its namesake, the MacBook Air 13” is as thin and light as air, and still very useful to any aspiring artists.
Coming right out of the gate, Apple has acknowledged the shortcomings of previous MacBook Air versions and thus has made numerous changes and improvements to this model. The base level of the MacBook Air is already very powerful, with a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor that can be turbo boosted to 3.2Ghz.
You can go even further, up to Intel Core i5 and i7, both of which can be dynamically overclocked to reach even higher performance. This feature, coupled with a base 256GB SSD storage and up to 16GB RAM, means that the MacBook Air can withstand intense amounts of work.
Another new point of the MacBook Air is its entirely new keyboard design, which is very user-friendly and comfortable to type. While it’s true that music production doesn’t need a lot of typing, you can always use a good supporting system of hotkeys and macros for the job.
Just like other Apple products, the pre-installed GarageBand DAW is always a great start before you need to up your game to Logic Pro X or other audio software. The sound system is just as good as ever, with Dolby-Atmos-integrated sound system producing the crisp and clear sound, ensuring you can hear all the layers of bass and treble of your work.
The MacBook Air has its fair share of heating problems. Lengthy periods of intense CPU usage will take a heavy toll on the cooling system so it’s best for you to manually disperse some heat or help in controlling the temperature.
- Very affordable price
- Lightweight and portable
- 2 Thunderbolt 3-integrated USB-C ports
- Prone to overheating or freezing
- Somewhat mediocre battery life
Final verdict: If you are an amateur artist with a limited budget, or if you are looking for an Apple product that is both capable and portable, then the MacBook Air is the one for you!
#4 Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – Best Battery Life
Next up is one of Microsoft’s newest additions – the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. Unveiled alongside the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Laptop 3 differs by sporting a first-of-its-kind AMD CPU as one of its CPU configurations.
When it comes to the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft gives you choices to choose from: the 13,5” version with Intel processor or the 15” version with AMD processor. Regardless of which, however, Microsoft has made sure that you can perform a wide range of tasks with their products.
Both models start with a base 8GB RAM that can be doubled alongside a 128GB SSD memory that can also be increased up to 1TB. These specs mean that when it comes to the basic hardware, the Surface Laptop 3 has got you covered.
Additionally, this iteration of the Surface is also equipped with a Radeon Vega 9 or 11 Graphics video card which can easily handle high-intensity video tasks. But the one feature of the Surface Laptop 3 that stands out is its battery life.
Under heavy testing conditions, this laptop can last nearly 8 hours. This translates to it being able to stay up for even longer than when used normally. Long battery life also means that you can mix and match audio unplugged for a very long time.
But while you can produce a lot of banging tunes with the Surface Laptop 3, it might prove a challenge with the number of ports this laptop provides. With only one USB-A and a non-Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, we highly recommend you invest in an additional port adapter.
- Durable and portable at the same time
- Affordable price
- Super battery life
- Somewhat lacking in terms of overall performance
- Mediocre keyboard
Final verdict: If you want a great laptop that can get through the relatively heavy work and can run for days on end, then look no further, because the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is for you.
#5 Lenovo Yoga Book – Best tablet for artists on the go
Unveiled by Lenovo to be a hybridisation of a laptop and a tablet, the Lenovo Yoga Book certainly stands out from its competition. While not exactly a beast when it comes to the traditional way of producing music, it is still a fantastic item for writing tunes on the go.
As thin as a smartphone and as light as one, you can bring the Yoga Book everywhere like a normal notebook. With an impressive 64GB flash memory that can be easily doubled with the help of a microSD card, the Yoga Book allows for amazing storage of all of your musical materials.
Lenovo released the Book with both an Android-based and a Windows-based version, which means you get to choose between the great system support of Windows or the diverse array of versatile and highly customisable apps and gadgets that Android has to offer , though you can still convert it into a hackintopsh laptop.
Both versions are Dolby Atmos integrated, with crisp and clean audio output that rivals other tablet speakers, ensuring optimal sound for every playback.
The Yoga Book also comes without a physical keyboard, as it has Lenovo’s signature Halo Keyboard. Excels both in functions and form, the Halo Keyboard is a virtual touch-powered backlit keyboard that can be toggled on and off with.
This allows for a full utilisation of both screens, so you can work easier and more efficiently. Coupled with Lenovo Real Pen stylus that works on both the screens and paper, you can quickly note down your music ideas or even pen down your staves and notes on the fly.
While its memory excels and is outstanding, we find the 4GB RAM rather lacking, so we recommend having more ram to carry out a lot of the high-requirement tasks in music production, such as intensive sound equalisation or bus compression.
And though it is said to boast long battery life, the Yoga Book has been reported to experience battery failure and periodic shutdowns and reboot. The battery has been improved and innovated to live up to the consumer expectation.
- Extremely lightweight
- Competitive pricing
- Lackluster performance at times
- Supports only USB-C and MicroSD ports
Final verdict: If you’re starting out and you don’t want to invest extremely heavily in a laptop, then the Lenovo Yoga Book should be amongst your first picks.
Tips to Get the Best Laptops for Music Production
Now that you’ve seen our picks, should you want to look for other laptops of your own, then keep in mind these factors in picking the one that suits you:
One of the core factors in deciding whether your laptop can handle the workload or not. In general, try to go for a multi-core CPU as it helps distribute the workload easier and ensures faster processing speed.
Additionally, you should look for a higher clock speed, which is essentially the speed at which the CPU carries out calculations and tasks completion. Therefore, as you shop for your gear, any laptop with more than 2.1Ghz should be great.
To put it simply, a space where your computer leaves data that it will use within a session. The more RAM you have, the easier for your computer to store and access data.
Audio is often very economical in terms of RAM usage, but occasionally big audio libraries would require more storage. Nowadays, you should always try to aim for computers with more than 8GB of RAM.
This entails the SSD, or Solid State Drive and the HDD, or Hard Disk Drive that will store everything your computer needs, ranging from your audio files to the DAWs that use them.
Around 128GB of memory should be a good place to start your music machine with.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
This is mostly where the magic happens, so keep an eye out if the computer or laptop you plan to buy has them pre-installed or not. Apple products often come with GarageBand, but not with other computer brands. Regardless, you can easily find the best software online.
Now that you have pretty much known the ins-and-outs of the best laptops for music production, why don’t you start getting your dream machine and make some tunes yourself? Good luck on your creative endeavours!