Best Laptops for Music Production [2021 Review]


Producers, composers, musicians, DJs… they all have a thing in common besides their passion for music, and that is that they have very specific requirements for their computers. They need a device that’s powerful and fast enough to handle anything they throw at it. Those needs can be easily met with a desktop PC, but what about if they need to take their musical production with them on the go? There are so many options out there that it can be really hard to find the best laptop for music production, especially if you’re unfamiliar with computer jargon. In this article, we provide you with a list of the best laptops for music production that are currently available on the market. We account for all the specs that you need to look for in a laptop, so you can make an informed decision and determine which model suits your needs better.

Brand
Best Overall
Dell XPS 15
2020 Apple MacBook Pro
HP Spectre x360
Product
Dell XPS 15 9500 15.6 inch FHD+ Laptop Intel Core...
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip...
HP Spectre x360 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch Laptop,...
Processor
Intel Core i7-10750H
Apple M1 Processor
Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM
16GB
8GB
16GB
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Dell XPS 15
Product
Dell XPS 15 9500 15.6 inch FHD+ Laptop Intel Core...
Processor
Intel Core i7-10750H
RAM
16GB
Price
Rating
Brand
2020 Apple MacBook Pro
Product
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip...
Processor
Apple M1 Processor
RAM
8GB
Price
Rating
Brand
HP Spectre x360
Product
HP Spectre x360 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch Laptop,...
Processor
Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM
16GB
Price
Rating

Best Apple laptop for music production – Apple MacBook Pro 13” (2020)

Macbook Pro

Macs seem to be the preferred portable option for music producers. They might lean towards the more expensive side, but they’re quite complete and offer excellent performance.

The newest MacBook Pro features Apple’s innovative M1 chip technology, which makes it one of the fastest and most powerful models in the market. Thanks to the 10th-Generation Intel Core processor and the 32 GB RAM that is integrated into the chip, this laptop can deliver up to 3.5x faster performance and increase up to 5x graphic processing speed.

Sale
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip...
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
  • 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever

What makes the MacBook Pro 13” even more impressive is the strong battery that can last for up to 20 hours, the longest of any other Mac yet. This means that you can work productively for hours without worrying about running out of battery.

An interesting feature for music producers that this model has is the touch bar. With this touch bar you can create useful shortcuts and commands. For example, if you’re a Logic Pro user, you can turn this bar into a mixer with faders and knobs.

To put into simple words, what makes the MacBook Pro 13” the best Apple laptop for music production is that it’s powerful enough to perform demanding tasks for long periods of time, which is a great aid when processing DAWs and plugins.

Oh, and don’t forget to check that your DAWs are compatible with macOS!

Pros

  • Travel-friendly (13” display)
  • Excellent performance
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Touch bar
  • 1 TB of storage

Cons

  • Expensive (it starts at $1299)
  • The hardware is hard to upgrade after you purchase the laptop and expensive before doing it

Best Windows laptops for music producers

Not everyone likes Apple, and not everyone can afford it. So, here are some alternatives for those of you who prefer Windows-based devices or who work with software that is incompatible with macOS.

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (2020)

ASUS ROG Strix

ROG stands for “Republic of Gamers” so yes, this is a gaming laptop. What makes gaming laptops great for music producers, is that they’re powerful and capable of handling intensive tasks.

The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 features a 9th Gen Intel Core processor and a 32 GB RAM that allow for heavy multitasking and working on massive projects.

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (2020) Gaming Laptop,...
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost (Base: 1140MHz, Boost: 1380MHz, TDP: 115W)
  • Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H Processor
  • 240Hz 3ms 15.6” Full HD 1920x1080 IPS-Type Display

Just like gamers can run highly demanding games smoothly, so can music producers power through intensive tasks easily.

And with 1 TB of storage, you can install all the software you need without ever running out of space.

Even if you did, this laptop model has an interesting feature: it’s very easy to upgrade if you need more power or more storage. The Strix Scar III was built with standard screws so that you can get under the hood without too much hassle.

The speakers are particularly important when working with music. The Strix Scar’s have Smart Amp technology, which means less noise distortion, higher dynamic range, more bass, and significantly higher potential output.

The downside of this laptop is, unfortunately, the battery life. Gamers have reported that it doesn’t last more than 5 hours from a single charge, but as usual, it will depend on what you use the device for.

Pros

  • Powerful performance
  • 1 TB of storage
  • Easy to upgrade the hardware
  • Excellent sound

Cons

  • Expensive (over $2000)
  • Weak battery life

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020)

Razer Blade

Now you might be thinking something along the lines of “Another gaming laptop?” Yes, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is a gaming laptop. However, Razer has creates this model to be “powerful, purposeful, and portable“ with the aim to cater to as many kinds of creative professionals and content creators as possible.

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition Laptop 2020: Intel...
  • More Power, More Cores: The 8-Core 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor provides the ultimate...
  • Studio Ready: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6 VRAM) graphics is up to...
  • Vivid Visuals: The 4K OLED touch display delivers blazing fast 1ms response time and a wide color...

Music producers can greatly benefit from this laptop for a few reasons.

The first one is that with a 10th Gen Intel Core processor and 32 GB RAM (which can be upgraded to 64 GB), this powerful and fast device can tackle any heavyweight creative tasks.

Furthermore, with 1 TB of storage you can confidently download all the software and apps you might need for your job without worrying about running out of space.

Finally, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is extremely portable. The casing is made of lightweight aluminum and the laptop itself is only 0.7” thin.

As usual, the cost of such a powerful performance is the battery life. When performing intensive tasks, the battery doesn’t last much more than 5 hours and a half.

Pros

  • Powerful performance
  • 1 TB of storage
  • Portable

Cons

  • Expensive (over $3000)
  • Weak battery

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo (2019)

ASUS ZenBook

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a durable and reliable device, and one of the best laptops for writers.

Thanks to the 10th Generation Intel Core processor and the 16 GB of RAM you can run your plugins and apps seamlessly and without worrying about lagging. This laptop is powerful enough to handle multitasking effortlessly.

An interesting feature of the ZenBook Pro duo is the full-width secondary touchscreen called the ScreenPad Plus, which you can personalize to optimize your workflow. It includes certain handy built-in apps that let you interact with the main screen and have more room to work.

Some of these apps allow you to switch between tasks, organize your open apps, and even maximize what you’re viewing by combining both screens.

For a music producer, this feature is extremely handy because you can have the track control panel on the secondary screen.

As it happens with the other models we’ve reviewed so far, the battery is rather weak, lasting an average of 5 hours.

Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Secondary screen to optimize your workflow
  • Good storage
  • Excellent sound

Cons

  • Weak battery
  • Rather expensive (over $2000)

Best budget-friendly laptops for music producers

The laptop models we’ve mentioned before are premium options, hence the impressive price tag. If you don’t need a state-of-the-art laptop, there are a few alternatives that run on Windows that are more budget-friendly.

HP Spectre X360

HP Spectre

The HP Spectre X360 is one of the best laptops that run on Windows and one of the most powerful convertible devices.

This laptop has excellent performance, and it can easily handle almost anything you throw at it. All of this is thanks to the Intel 10th generation processor. An interesting characteristic of the processor is that it features Intel Turbo Boost technology. It increases energy efficiency when you’re using few programs and apps, and boosts the power when you need it to run more processes. And it does all of this intuitively, depending on what programs you’re using.

HP Spectre x360 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch Laptop,...
  • Newly Launched HP Spectre x360 13T Cutting Edge GEM CUT Design - 10TH GENERATION QUAD CORE CPU:...
  • UNMATCHED AUDIO PERFORMANCE with QUAD Bang & Olufsen speakers: The partnership between Bang &...
  • SUPERIOR SPEED and NETWORKING: Fast Data Access with 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201...

To one-up that, the 16 GB DDR4 DRAM memory ensures faster speeds and higher efficiency, easily handling multiple apps and files while you’re working on your DAW.

The best part is that you don’t have to compromise battery life for power. The battery of the HP Spectre X360 lasts for up to 17 hours with a single charge. You can forget about your charger and work with ease knowing that you have a while before running out of battery.

Another juicy feature is that it has 2 TB of storage, more than enough to comfortably download and save everything you need.

Even though the price starts at $1300, you get a reasonably complete laptop for half the price of the other Windows options.

Pros

  • Powerful and fast performance
  • Long-lasting battery
  • 2 TB of storage
  • Portable

Cons

  • The glossy screen creates reflections that could be distracting

Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Dell XPS

Editors note: We have a lot of experience with the Dell XPS line of laptops (the Dell XPS 17 is my daily driver), and absolutely love them. We would highly reccomend this line of laptops to anyone who is looking for one of the best laptops for music production!

The Dell XPS 15 is a powerful, all-in-one device that runs seamlessly and multitasks effortlessly thanks to its 10th-generation Intel Core processor and 16 GB of RAM. It can be configured with up to 32 GB of memory and a hard drive of up to 1 TB of storage, getting as close to a desktop computer as you could get with any other laptop.

Dell XPS 15 9500 15.6 inch FHD+ Laptop Intel Core...
  • Dell XPS 15 9500 (Latest Model) with Dell Factory 1YR Warranty
  • Intel Core 10th Generation i7-10750H Processor (Hexa Core, Up to 5.00 Ghz, 12MB Cache, 45W) with...
  • 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive | 16GB DDR4-2933MHz | 86WHr 6-Cell Battery

The 15.6-inch display features Eyesafe technology that filters harmful blue light without dampening the colors. It also has an anti-reflective coating that reduces the glare of the glossy screen when working under bright lights.

What about the battery? As always, how long the battery lasts will depend heavily on how much you use the device and how you configure it. However, you can get up to 9 hours of battery for your music production tasks.

Pros:

  • More budget-friendly (starting at $1500)
  • Fast and solid performance
  • Display that’s easy on the eyes
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • Not so travel-friendly (it weighs 4 lbs.)

MSI Creator 15 (2021)

MSI Creator

The MSI Creator 15 is the newest model of all we’ve reviewed so far and, surprisingly enough, its price starts at $1499, which makes it more budget-friendly than other options. We highly suggest looking into this laptop as it is one of the best laptops for music production!

As the name suggests, the MSI Creator 15 was specifically designed for content creators of all kinds.

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This high-performance laptop combines the latest 10th generation Intel Core processor with 32 GB RAM to make demanding processes run smoothly. The Cooler Boost technology of this device helps with thermal dissipation to allow uninterrupted multitasking workflow.

Music producers will like to hear that the MSI Creator 15 has a front-firing Duo Wave Speaker design. This, combined with the Hi-Resolution Audio, creates a deep, warm bass and clean, crisp octaves. You will have the best audio experience with this laptop.

You won’t have to worry about storage because you can get up to 2 TB, more than enough for anything you might need.

As regards battery life, you can get up to 9 hours from a single charge.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • High performance
  • Great audio
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Only one USB Type-A port

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I decide which is the best laptop for me?

The key is to figure out your needs. Will you depend entirely on the laptop? Or you will only use it while traveling? If you said “yes” to the first question, then you should consider investing in one of the premium options. However, if the laptop will only be your travel companion, then a budget-friendly alternative is enough as you won’t be performing many intensive and demanding tasks all the time.

Which is the best type of laptop for music production, Mac or Windows?

This will depend entirely on your preferences and affinities. If you’re already familiar with Windows and work with software that isn’t compatible with macOS, then it makes no sense to switch to Mac. The same applies the other way around. As we have shown you, Windows laptops can be just as good as a Mac.

What specs should I look for in the best laptops for music production?

The main hardware features you should consider when looking for the best laptops for music production are the following:

  • CPU/Processor: this is the most important feature because it’ll determine your laptop’s power. Ideally, you should get as much CPU as your budget allows you.
  • RAM: this is essential to avoid lagging. Too little RAM can make your DAWs run slow and even freeze. You need at least 8 GB RAM.
  • Storage: the creative process can go as smoothly as possible thanks to the processor and the RAM, but what’s it worth if you can’t save your work or download the software you need? Try to choose a laptop with enough storage to install all the software you might need (check the software’s requirements) and that still has a lot of it left for your files.
  • USB ports: this is something we haven’t mentioned in our reviews, but if you need to use external equipment you should check how many ports you’ll need and of which type.
  • Are there no cheaper laptops for music production?

We have compiled a list of the best laptops for music production. Since they’re the best, they’re all over the $1000 mark. Unfortunately, considering the level of performance you require, a cheaper laptop won’t have enough power to handle such intensive tasks

Conclusion

The best laptop for music producers, composers, musicians, and DJs has very specific requirements, mainly as regards CPU, RAM, and storage.

The premium options have them all, they are the best of the best. However, there are some budget-friendly ones that sacrifice battery life in favor of better performance, and that work quite nicely. You might not be able to work uninterruptedly for 15 hours, but can still get 5 and even up to 9 hours with a single charge.

If you’re still unsure about which model to acquire, or if you don’t know whether you need a macOS or Windows-based laptop, then you should check the Frequently Asked Questions section. There, you’ll also find a list of the specs you should consider for your laptop.

Now you can start creating with the perfect tool to optimize your work!

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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