BEST LAPTOPS FOR MUSIC RECORDING AND PRODUCTION

Want to get serious about music production or podcasting? You will need a good laptop that can handle everything you throw at it.

There is a good chance that you have many programs and tabs open at the same time and you will need the ability to add at least one additional screen (many people use 2 or 3). These usage requirements use a lot of RAM and graphics power, respectively. I recommend getting at least 16GB of RAM if possible .

 

What is the  BEST LAPTOPS FOR MUSIC RECORDING AND PRODUCTION

The most important thing for audio processing is a CPU with fast single core performance. This will allow you to get your mixes into a single file much faster and process effects and chains without the CPU waiting, among many other benefits. The 8th Gen Intel i7 processors are the best, followed by Intel i5 . The 7th generation processors are excellent too.

We are going to focus on the best computers for music production and podcasting. There are many more options for desktops and all-in-ones that work well for audio and podcast recording, but the flexibility and portability of a laptop makes it a must.

 

The other big thing to consider is Apple vs Windows (Mac vs PC). This choice often depends on the recording software (DAW) you are using and what you are used to using. Personally, I’m a fan of Apple, but I started with Windows – and I use both on a daily basis. The Mac OS is usually more stable, which can be critical when recording, although there are tons of great producers who swear by both systems.

If you want to use Logic Pro , it is made by Apple and only works on their computers. If you want to use GarageBand (a great option for podcast production), it’s included for free on Apple computers. Avid Pro Tools is another very popular industry leading software that works on both systems.

Many of these popular tools have minimum requirements and recommended requirements. Performance will be much better if you get a laptop with at least the recommended requirements, so I am going to recommend music production laptops that meet or exceed the recommended specifications.

 

It will generally have a much longer lifespan if you get a piece of equipment to the top of the specs list, as it won’t go out of date as quickly, meaning it will cost you less over time. Just something to consider.

Let’s start with my favorite Apple laptop:

Apple MacBook Pro

Best laptop for general music production

CPU: Intel Quad Core Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3 inches, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 128GB – 2TB PCIe 3.0 SSD

If you are looking for the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, we suggest looking for the 2019 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. While Microsoft had the performance advantage over last year’s MacBook Pro, with the Surface Book 2, Apple has come out with greatly improved specs for the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro , and even more so if you decide on the larger model. 15 inches. As such, right now it is the best laptop for music production.

The Touch Bar: A thin OLED screen on top of the keyboard can be used for many things, most notably the functions of Logic Pro X 10.4.5. It certainly retains Apple’s sense of style, but it comes at a cost. It’s an expensive machine, so you might want to consider one of the Windows alternatives in our best laptop music production guide.

If you’re open to switching to a PC, definitely consider the XPS 13 or the excellent MateBook X Pro. But, if you’re an Apple stalwart, this is definitely the best laptop for you!

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft has come a long way with their Surface Pro line. They offer a few great settings that would work well for a music production laptop.

I recommend the Surface Pro with an Intel i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD .

If you want to be under $ 1,000, the Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM is a lower budget option. It also comes with a MicroSD slot. You can get one directly from Microsoft here .

The screen size on these is 12.3 ″ which may be a bit small, but most people have an external monitor or 2 anyway. Note that these do not come with a keyboard, and you will likely need the Microsoft Surface Dock to have more ports.

Samsung 9 Pro Notebook

Here’s another 2-in-1 laptop, this time from Samsung. The Pro model was announced at Computex earlier this year. The 15 ″ Notebook 9 Pro has been updated with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors as well and offers decent specs for the price.

Samsung has taken the cues from its line of smartphones in terms of design, with thin bezels and more curvature. It comes with an S-Pen (and a slot to hold it) that has 4,000 levels of pressure and the ability to add shading by tilting it.

Similar to the Specter above, you have both USB 3.0 and USB Type-C, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. The 13 ″model only comes with 8GB of RAM, while the 15 ″ model has 16GB. The graphics power is also much better on the 15 ″ model with the AMD Radeon 450 vs Intel HD Graphics 620 in the 13 ″ version. That is why I would steer clear of the smallest for serious music producers.

PCAudioLabs

PCAudioLabs specializes in computer equipment for audio production. Their ROK BOX MC Mobile Series line of professional audio notebooks allows you to custom build a notebook to fit your production needs and budget.

Best Laptops for Musicians Buying Guide and Tips

Choosing the best laptops for music production

Mac or PC

In the world of computers, there are two types of people… well, actually, three types of people. Are you a Mac or PC user, or are you a Linux user?

However, this article will not cover Linux users (I myself used Linux, Ubuntu, to be precise, and found it a very powerful platform for music creation and production). However, if you want to buy a PC, you can easily load Linux on your system.

Returning to our topic …

Are you a Mac or a PC geek?
How do you know?

It’s very simple.

Forget, for a second, which one is really better to use. From what we know from experience, it is mostly subjective.

A Mac is good for you if you meet at least two of these criteria:

  • You already know its interface
  • You want to increase your chances of being employed in the music industry as a studio engineer or producer.
  • You want to use Logic Pro X
  • You have the budget for the purchase …

If the above options do not apply to you, then your choice must be a PC.

That’s it. It sounds too simplistic, but that’s it.

There is no “better” or “worse.” It is above all a question of aesthetics at this point, and of commitment to the brand, because many producers and musicians use the Windows platform to make music.

Mac continues to be the industry standard because it has built a reputation as a stable and reliable machine for media and creative professionals.

But Windows can be just as stable and good. Some people have spent their entire working lives in the walled garden of the MacIntosh computing environment. His dedication to the brand is based on familiarity.

  • If you are familiar with PCs, get a PC.
  • If you are familiar with Macs, and your budget allows you to buy one, get a Mac.
  • If you are a Mac user and want to switch to a PC for some reason, like using a CAM program like Cakewalk SONAR , get a PC.
  • If you are a PC user and want to switch to a Mac, because you want to use Logic Pro X or Pro Tools, because Logic Pro X is an Apple product made for Apple, and Pro Tools was originally made for Apple, then buy a Mac.

Now that we’ve talked about it, we come to the question of the form factor in purchasing a computer for music production. In particular, a laptop.

Why choose a laptop for music?
Even if you are, or plan to be, a producer with a home recording studio with a dedicated music production office, a laptop will still be an essential tool for you.

A laptop, for a producer or musician, is their portable studio. You can record, mix and compose anywhere. You can go to remote places, capture recordings, ideas and use it as your DJ laptop for events. If you are always on the go, you are not tied to one place by a desktop computer.

Laptop requirements for music production

These are the main criteria to consider when choosing the best laptop for music production.

  • Storage capacity
  • RAM size
  • Processing power
  • Ports
  • Test of time
  • Operating system version
  • Budget

Let’s now look at the criteria necessary to meet each requirement.

 

Criteria for searching  LAPTOPS FOR MUSIC RECORDING AND PRODUCTION

 

Which laptop should you buy for music production?

Finding a suitable laptop for use in music production basically comes down to a few important factors, the digital audio workstation you plan to use and the operating system you prefer to use is the most important.

First, let’s take a look at some of the recommended specs for 3 of the most popular DAWs

Steinberg Cubase

  • 64-bit operating system (which are the majority these days)
  • Intel or AMD Multicore (i5 or faster recommended)
  • 8GB RAM (the faster the better)
  • 18 GB of hard drive space (you will need more for additional content)

Logic Pro 10

  • MacOS 10.12 or later (only).
  • 2.3GHz i5 or higher.
  • 4GB of RAM .
  • 6 GB of disk space for installation, up to an additional 57 GB for the entire sound library.

Ableton live

  • Windows 7 / MacOS X or better.
  • Intel or AMD multi-core 64-bit (i5 or faster recommended).
  • 4GB of RAM minimum, although 8GB is recommended.
  • 3GB for basic installation, 5-76GB for additional sound content.

 

As you can see, each DAW will have its own set of individual specifications necessary to run it, but sometimes that doesn’t take into account the plugins you may need to run it or the external plugins you may use. VST instruments can be difficult to play if they are heavily layered, and this is especially true in orchestral suites.

The samples and loops you use will also need a large amount of space to store and ideally this should be from a solid state drive as they can be opened and accessed much more efficiently.

Generally speaking, you should be looking for around 16-32GB RAM with decent speed, there are some DAWs that work well and use 8GB RAM as a guide, and for most hobbyists this will be ample, but to improve performance, you probably want something else.

Most popular DAWs won’t run on anything less than a 2.3GHz dual-core i5 processor . Therefore, the processor that your laptop has is really essential for its performance in audio production.

The choice of operating system is sometimes restricted by the DAW itself, although there are various software solutions, such as virtual machines to emulate other operating systems, that could be a workaround if you are tech-savvy enough and have no other alternative.

The operating system you choose is literally based on preferences, and while there are many who argue that Mac is the musical mac-daddy, most DAWs work on most operating systems. There is very little technical difference and to clear things up and leave misinformation alone, Macs are just as prone to total data loss and crashes, with the only viable option being a full restart. We should also add that MacBooks can overheat after prolonged use and sometimes require adapters for non-Apple compatible devices.

Next, you have to take into account the I / O capabilities that you won’t have to plug in a mouse or keyboard but will have to think hard about what you want to connect to work within your chosen DAW. (Some people prefer to add a traditional mouse because they find it easier to use than a mouse pad, in this case a USB connection will already be down to start with most DAWs you will need an audio interface to record a track line from an XLR or TRS, these are typically Bus-powered so a high-power, high-speed connection will be required. USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt is usually recommended Some MIDI interfaces or audio interface drivers can be connected directly to the audio interface,

There are several suitable models and the ones we have reviewed are each suitable for its own level of music production. We have tried to choose those whose audio production capabilities have been consulted, but some outshine the others. If you’re serious about music production, chances are you’re around the € 1,200 + mark.

Storage capacity

We think you should have a hard drive of at least 256GB. 500GB is adequate and 1TB is ideal. But realistically aim for 512GB SSD (Solid State Drive). An SSD has advantages in music production for more than one reason. Since SSDs are essentially flash drives, you won’t have to wait long to load sample libraries and pro audio plug-ins (a process that can take even a few minutes on typical hard drives). Most importantly, if you plan to use your laptop in production, the bass vibration would be detrimental to your hard drive mechanism.

The reason we insist on a large hard drive is that when it comes to recording audio or using samples in your productions and compositions, file size can become an issue. We prefer not to limit you to this. This is an area where it is good to start bigger than smaller.

Memory size

This allows for quick access and storage of data. If you’re in a creative flow, you don’t want to hear a lot of pop and bugs in your music. A decent amount of RAM will help you with this.

Our suggestion is 8GB. 6GB is fine. Many sources say that 4GB is recommended, but in our opinion and experience this is the basic level and really unacceptable.

Processing power

Processors are what allow your computer to handle multiple tasks at the same time. If you do the recording at home, a typical low-cost laptop should be able to handle this. But if you’re recording multiple tracks for a basic mix, while you have a few plug-ins working, you’ll need a slightly more powerful processor.

Our suggestion for processors is the Intel i5 or i7 quad core series. Quad-core AMD A10s are also sufficient.

Try to stay away from dual-core processors.

Ports

The recommendation here is to get 2 or more USB ports, an HDMI port, and a Thunderbolt port. Audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, control surfaces, and external hard drives use USB and Thunderbolt ports, so the more you have, the better.

Note: Thunderbolt is making laptop USB ports increasingly obsolete. This is especially the case with music production notebooks. Therefore, purchasing a laptop with Thunderbolt connectivity and an audio interface that supports it should be your priority.

Future proof

This is mainly related to the types of RAM and processors. That’s why we recommend 8GB of RAM and a more powerful processor. As the software is constantly evolving and improving, you must ensure that your laptop is capable of handling new versions of OS, CAM, drivers, plug-ins, etc.

Operating system version

You want one of the latest versions of the operating system available, at a minimum, the upgrade option. Music creation software is updated to match OS specifications in later versions than the latest versions, providing an overall better experience if you are not on an outdated machine.

Budget and cost

This is, of course, one of your biggest considerations. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a laptop if you intend to become a producer. It is quite possible to buy a laptop at the lower end of the 500 to 1000 euro range and use it to produce great music, DJ, or record.

However, some readers will find that a laptop with a higher budget is preferable. And it is, if you can afford it. But your plan is to figure out how much you can budget for a laptop, since you need a digital audio workstation, an audio interface, studio headphones, and a microphone as basic necessities.

 

Notebook PC for music: FÀQ

How do I set up a laptop for music production?

Here are some general tips to follow when setting up your laptop for music production.

Disable automatic updates: As you can imagine, an automatic update in the middle of a recording session can greatly affect the quality of your work. Since updates consume valuable CPU resources. But more importantly, the important background processes and drivers related to running your DAW can be interrupted. It’s better to have manual control of updates yourself.

Disable Bluetooth and Internet: Wireless connections such as Bluetooth and Internet can affect system performance. Many sources say that it is a good idea to turn it off. I say use your discretion. In my case, it has never bothered me much. But if you think it’s a problem, turn it off while working on your music.
Turn off all system sounds: This should probably be the first item on the list. Of course, system sounds can interfere with your music. It would be better to remove them.

Don’t let your screen go to sleep – this is actually optional. If you do a lot of long recording sessions away from your laptop, you will need the screen always on.
Schedule your updates to be efficient: Pick the ideal times to back up, perhaps during the hours you know you won’t be making music.

How much RAM do you need to produce music?

The short answer to that question is, “How much can you afford?”

Experienced music producers will always tell you to get as much RAM as you can afford. Most of today’s decent sample libraries come with gigabytes and gigabytes of data, and you’ll want to be able to load as much data into memory as possible.

It is highly recommended to have at least 8GB of RAM. You’ll probably want to upgrade to 16GB, especially if you’re working with large orchestral libraries, etc.

Is a gamer laptop good for music production?

Gamer laptops often have specifications that meet and even exceed those of entry-level music production laptops. So a gamer’s laptop is certainly good for music production.

 

conclusion

This guide will be updated regularly to ensure that the decision you make is the correct one.

We hope that by using the information and products on this page, you have found the best music machine for your music production and home studio. By following the criteria listed at the beginning of this article, it should be able to guide you in acquiring your perfect music computer.

If you have any difficulties, questions or comments, please do not hesitate to leave a comment

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