Whether you’re a pro producer or an amateur musician doing your own mixes, choosing a good music production laptop is a critical decision to make.
But it shouldn’t be too hard.
What you are looking for is a laptop that’s powerful enough for your music production and recording programs. Since these laptops are usually of high quality, they will last you for many years, and as long as you have the musical and technical skills, you will eventually make profit from the right laptop investment.
Dell XPS 15
Our top pick is definitely the Dell XPS 15. It has the right specifics with a quality build at an affordable price. It will let you enjoy your music production as much as you can!
Our Top Rated Music Production Laptops
How to Choose the Right Recording Laptop for Your Needs?
Before everything, you have to think about the operating system you want to use for your music production.
Do you prefer to use a PC or a Mac?
Choosing the right OS will depend on the digital audio workstation software (DAW) you want to use.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
A DAW is an application software or an electronic device used for producing audio files, recording, and editing. Your DAW can be a single software program on a laptop all the way to a very complex studio configuration that’s controlled by a main computer. Modern DAW software includes an interface that will allow you to mix and alter multiple tracks and recordings.
Some of the most popular DAWs today are Cubase and Studio One.
When it comes to CPU, you want to buy the laptop with the fastest CPU within your budget. If your processor is fast enough, your laptop will be able to play back more virtual instruments and mixing plug-ins. Also, you will get a higher track count. This means that your CPU won’t get overloaded and you won’t hear all those annoying pops.
Having the right CPU also means that you will have a more responsive system, with much love latency. We recommend you buy a laptop that has at least a quad-core CPU. Also, search for one that has great single-core performance.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the next thing you have to look at. This is where your laptop will store samples and files temporarily. Today, almost all DAWs support 64-bit, which means that we have access to an unlimited amount of RAM we can use. In other words, you will be able to create more complex and larger projects without any problems.
We recommend buying at least 8GB of RAM, unless you are using a VST with a lot of multi-sampling, like EastWest. If this is the case, you should get at least 16GB of RAM, and even more if your budget allows you to do so.
Hybrid magnetic/SSD storage is the best option for storage for laptops at the moment. The general idea is to buy a very fast but small SSD for your OS and your programs, and a larger magnetic drive for all your project files and samples. This will allow you to have very fast loading times thanks to the SSD and a huge storage capacity for a low price thanks to the magnetic drive.
Also, if you follow these recommendations, you will be keeping your operating system separated from your precious project files. This is a safe route to go if you ever need to fight data loss or the corruption of your system disk.
USB connectivity is another point you have to take a look at. It’s always good to have a lot of USB connectivity without using a USB hub. It’s recommended that your laptop has a minimum of three, and if it’s possible, even four USB ports. This will allow you to connect devices like MIDI controllers, drives, and dongles a lot easier.
Our Laptops for Making Music Review by Category
Browse the list to see our recommendations according to each category below.
Apple 13" Macbook Pro
The MacBook Pro is one of the best music production laptops you can get at the moment. There are numerous reasons for this.
The debate about Mac vs PC is endless. It really comes down to personal preference. However, most professionals and experts are recommending this laptop for music production over any Windows laptop.
This laptop has 8 GB of RAM that runs on 2133 Mhz. This will help you to have smooth multitasking, and accessing the programs and files you use frequently will be a piece of cake.
The MacBook Pro includes an Intel Core i5 dual-core processor. The processor itself is 7th Gen Kaby Lake, and runs on an amazing speed of 3.6 GHz.
The laptop has two Thunderbolt 3 USB ports. This may not be enough for some people so you will have to use a dongle for more ports. However, they are quite good and can do the job decently.
Here’s a little tip; if you want to get a MacBook Pro but you want more RAM, go for the 15” model. It comes with an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. This makes more sense than buying 13” model and then buying new RAM and upgrading the whole laptop.
Lenovo Thinkpad P51
RAM is very important when it comes to music production. This ThinkPad PC model by Lenovo has more RAM included than you can ask for.
ThinkPad models are known for being constructed very well; they will withstand almost any impact without major consequences. This model, specifically, is considered to be one of the best for music production for numerous reasons.
An insane 64GB of RAM and Intel Core i7 7600U processor that runs on 3.9GHz will ensure that you have enough power and speed to facilitate your creativity and productivity. The “ThinkPad” keyboard will also make it easier for you to navigate through your music production process.
This model also has a screen that’s compatible with 4K resolution, allowing you to have awesome visuals/graphics, which can be pretty useful if you want to do some video editing to go with your music project.
Dell Inspiron 13 7000
This Dell Inspiron model is actually designed for gaming but is a budget-friendly laptop that you can definitely use for music production.
It has a pretty good processor and provides quality sound.
It has a quad-core processor that runs on 3.8GHz, which is, for the price, awesome. Depending on the model, you can get either 8GB or 16GB of RAM.
However, you can upgrade it up to 32GB of DDR4 of RAM. Regarding the HDD, you will get 1TB 5400RPM HDD, but no SSD.
The model includes uniquely designed vents that will protect your laptop from overheating and allow it to work at its full potential at all times. This is a huge plus as software for music production usually puts a lot of pressure on your CPU. Music production demands similar needs from a processor as gaming, and this is why this Inspiron model is a very good choice if you’re on a budget.
High Performance Applications
MSI GE72MVR APACHE PRO
This MSI Apache Pro laptop is specifically designed for applications that require a high performance system. It has 16GB of RAM and a processor that runs on 3.8GHz. Combine that with 1TB of HDD and an awesome NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, and you have a machine capable of running almost any application.
This laptop also has a huge 17” screen working in full HD. MSI designed this display to deliver you the undistorted and the truest color possible. Another cool feature is the Steel Series keyboard, which is customizable by color and tactile pressure.
You will also get up to 256GB of SSD storage, which is fine, and you can install most of the applications here. However, you will have to use your HDD to store project files and samples. You can always buy more storage if you need to.
Considering the connectivity, this laptop has an SD slot, 1 USB 2.0 slot, 1 USB-C slot, 1 mini display port, and 2 USB 3.0 ports. That’s not bad, and will certainly be of use to you for music production.
Best Recording Laptop Brands
These laptop aren’t only good for mixing, but recording as well.
The XPS series by Dell has been on the market for quite some time, showing its quality. This Dell XPS 15, in particular, is also one of the best looking 15-inch laptops you can get for producing music.
It’s not a secret that Chinese laptops can be quite bad with their builds. This is not the case with the XPS 15. You will love its premium and strong build. Also, the touch desk, pretty borderless display, and its slimness is something you will enjoy. Simply put, it’s a beautiful laptop.
Depending on your budget, you can choose from a few different models, performance wise. Keep in mind that Dell laptops are more expensive than other laptops in the same system performance category. This is mainly due to the component and build quality.
You can get this model for a little less than $1,850 with the Intel Core 7th gen i7 processor. If this breaks your budget, there are less expensive options, such as a model with 7th gen i3 processor for a little less than $1,000 and 7th gen i5 processor for a little less than $1,350. It’s totally up to you, but we advise you to go for the first option.
Lower end models have a hard drive that works on a 7200RPM and this is totally fine regarding the music production. However, if you want something faster, get a better model and you will get an SSD included.
You can upgrade RAM on any model up to 32GB, which is more than ideal for producing music. The connectivity in the studio should never be an issue as there are many ports, from Thunderbolt to USB 3.0
All in all, this is a beautifully designed, solid laptop that features a very nice display. It’s fairly powerful, and higher-end models include an awesome graphics card that you can use for video editing, gaming, or enjoying your favorite TV series.
MacBook Pro 15”
Let’s make something clear. Don’t buy a 12” MacBook or MacBook Air if you want to get seriously involved in the music production. The 12” model will do some work for you, but only slightly.
If you are very serious about the work you want to do, make sure you go with the MacBook Pro 15”.
It is a lot more powerful and will help you handle all those plugins and tracks. So, make sure you delete any MacBooks from your potential buying list and focus on this one.
I know, at the price of around $1,200, it seems like it is quite expensive, but this laptop is the best for you if you really want to get into music production with a Mac product. You want as much RAM and processing power you can get when it comes to running a session with a lot of plugins and tracks actively running. This 15” model includes 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, which is more than enough for your needs.
Another thing to mention is that those high-quality audio files will take a lot of space. However, this 15” model has a solution for that with 512GB of SSD memory included. Seriously, if you like Mac, this system is definitely for you. You won’t have problems with freezing in the middle of a guitar solo.
This laptop is also ready to use out-of-the-box. You will also get Garageband included with the laptop, which is awesome for beginners who want to learn a thing or two before investing in other programs.
ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD
This Asus ROG is, in fact, a gaming laptop. But it works perfectly for recording and producing music, and here’s why. Considering its weight and size, it is very, very powerful. You will get the latest i7 processor by Intel Core that will take on any plugin processing and recording without any problems.
As it’s the case with all gaming laptops, this one also has a pretty good graphics card. It’s a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti that has 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
This is not very important when it comes to music production, but it will be of use if you want to do some film scoring and video editing as well. You can upgrade the RAM up to 32GB if you like to use a lot of effects and plugins.
Regarding the storage, it’s best if you get an SSD with 256GB of space and install all of your software there. Upgrade your HDD to the 7200RPM to store your samples. The laptop has a usual gaming build with lots of lights and is made mostly out of plastic. If you can live with that, you can’t go wrong with this laptop.
The laptop will get a little bit heated if you want to do a lot of processing on it. This is the case with almost any gaming laptop as the battery can’t work the best when the processor is under a lot of pressure. However, this laptop will perform perfectly if you plan to be plugged in while you are doing your music production work.
Overall, it is a very powerful laptop considering its weight and size. It has enough ports for all of your music production needs and requirements, meaning you won’t have to use a dangle. Another great aspect of this computer is that it is totally customizable and upgradeable to the degree you desire.
This laptop costs a little less than $1,050.
Acer Aspire VX 15
This Acer Aspire VX 15 is our highest-quality, most budget-friendly option on the list. If you can’t afford to spend tons of money on a laptop, this model is definitely for you. It’s not as powerful as other laptops on this list, but it will do the job.
It includes a 2.5Ghz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, but you can find versions with i7 processor that runs on 2.8GHz. Keep in mind that both of these processors will smoothly run almost any music production software you want to use.
Depending on the model, this laptop has 8GB or 16GB of RAM. This means that your projects will definitely keep running smoothly all the time.
You can also get this laptop with up to 1TB of HDD. Most other models usually feature 256GB or 512GB SDD. This means that you probably want to consider adding storage or getting the model with more storage if you plan to have a large production library.
Also, this laptop can be used for video editing and gaming as well. This is due to the fact that all models include NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti graphics card, which is awesome. You will be able to run almost all games at medium settings.
This laptop will cost you a little less than $1,000.
HP Pavilion 15
This HP Pavilion 15 laptop has a pretty nice screen size for all your busy editing and working. It includes an Intel Core i7 processor with enough power for large music recordings and arrangements.
However, on the down side, it only has 4GB of RAM. Thankfully, you can always upgrade it up to 16GB. A distinct feature of this laptop is its battery, which lasts a decently long time, depending on the program you’re running if you plan to spend some time working outside of your studio.
Probably the best thing about this laptop, however, is that it has a dual storage option. Because you can use both HDD and SSD, you can dump all your VSTs and plugins on your HDD and install all your programs on your SSD. The HDD can be upgraded up to 2TB, which will give you a lot of space for storing files.
This laptop has the NVIDIA GeForce 1050 graphics card, which will allow you to do some film score and video editing on it. Overall, this laptop is really good if you’re a beginner in music production and you just want to enjoy making music. Only keep in mind to get the right specs for you so that you don’t have to do a lot of upgrades later on.
You will get a huge storage option, including dual storage. The laptop also has a pretty decent amount of ports, meaning you won’t have to use a dongle. The battery life is also awesome, lasting up to 14 hours when you’re not charging. This will allow you to make some samples outside your studio.
Music Production Laptop Reviews By Price/Budget
If you are really on a budget, here are some laptops you can get for an affordable price that will do the job for you.
HP Flyer Red 15.6"
The HP Flyer Red is a very inexpensive laptop that will do some work for you. It’s packed with an Intel Core Pentium quad-core processor, 500GB HDD, and 4GB RAM.
It also has a 15” display that will allow you to see everything clearly.
Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A 17"
The Apple MacBook Pro MC226LL/A is a very good option if you are on a budget but want to get into music production on a more serious scale. It has a precision design and high performance considering the price. The battery can last up to 7 hours if you’re not plugged in.
It includes an Intel Core dual-core processor that runs on 2.8GHz, which is enough to run most of the programs you’ll need. This laptop also has a decent graphics card which will allow you to do some video editing and gaming on at least medium settings.
HP 15T Spectre
The HP 15t Spectre is a pretty unique laptop. It has a good battery that will last for a long time, making it good for outdoor usage. A decent graphics card will allow you to do some photo and video editing and some casual gaming.
You will also get three USB 3.0 ports, which is good enough most of the time. You might want to use a dongle with this laptop though. It includes an i7 processor that runs on 3.1GHz, meaning that most of your programs will run without any problems, and 16GB of RAM will further increase the performance.
Acer Aspire VX 15
The Acer Aspire VX 15 we looked at above takes this spot definitely. This laptop has everything that you need at an affordable price.
An i7 processor will ensure that you have enough power to run everything smoothly. The only downfall is that some models have only 4GB of RAM, but you can always upgrade it up to 16GB, which will be enough for everything.
An NVIDIA GeForce 1050 graphics card will allow you to do some basic video editing and play some of the newer games.
Our Top Choice for Your Money
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 model is, without a doubt, the best laptop for music production you will find at the moment.
It has everything you need packed into a portable but high-quality build.
For around $1,850, you will get the Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and up to 32 GB of RAM, which will allow you to run any program smoothly with no lag or interruptions.
You will also get an SSD where you can install all of your necessary programs for those beats.
When you consider the price and the specifications, this is definitely the best laptop for music production.
Order it today, and start making it work for you!