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You don’t need the fastest system on the market, but laptops suitable for music production have minimum specs. But what are the best laptops for music production?
Your laptop will be the heart of your digital music production implement. Using a USB connection, you will connect your MIDI controller in order to play your notes in real time or even play live. Also, if you’re looking to record audio, you’ll need a microphone And one audio interface too! These are just a few of the reasons why you’ll want a good laptop for making music.
A laptop-based music production setup is the most common setup among music producers. And it is also completely logical! After all, you’re not limited to using your computer at home – you can take it anywhere! And depending on the outboard gear you use, you can take your entire studio with you on the go. But which laptop exactly for music production?
In this article, we give you a list of laptops for music production and recording. We’ve put together this list based on a few things, including processing capabilities, size, and portability, in addition to overall speed.
But what makes a laptop good for music production? After all, music production involves a number of things – many of which are heavily dependent on processing power. Recording sounds and designing new ones, editing arrangements, inserting the many necessary plugins, mixing and mastering your music are much easier when your computer has enough processing power it can dish out.
Well, an Intel i5 or equivalent multi-core CPU is the minimum CPU size required by most or all DAWs. And when it comes to RAM (Random Access Memory), at least 8GB is the minimum to competently undertake any music production task – but 16GB is a much more desirable amount for smoother processing.
Depending on how long you’re on the go, you’ll need to pay close attention to battery life. Between 4 and 8 hours should get you through an average day, of course. Finally, you will need plenty of storage. We recommend that you look for an SSD hard drive with a capacity of at least 500 GB rather than a hard drive. SSDs are digital and have faster read/write times than HDDs!
1. 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro – £1,769
The 14-inch MacBook Pro is today’s best laptop for music production.
With a choice of M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, the 14-inch MacBook Pro is a true workhorse for music production. It can handle the most demanding processing tasks and projects, even projects with countless tracks. As a result, this particular laptop is the go-to choice for music producers around the world.
In fact, Apple technology is far more desirable to many music producers than Windows due to the “clumsiness” of Windows systems. However, this does not in any way mean that Windows systems are written off.
Apple reinvented its MacBook Pro product line with the M1 chip. You may have noticed that the chip has been all the rage since its release in November 2020. In short, the M1 chip replaces the Intel processors that Apple has been using in its MacBooks since 2006. Plus, the M1 chip actually helps extend battery life battery – giving you up to 20 hours of battery life!
However, MacBooks are not user-serviceable, which means you can’t upgrade any components inside. Therefore, we recommend that you buy big, even if you have to save up for it. At least 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage will give you plenty of processing and storage.
2. Dell XPS 13 2020 – £1479
For Windows PC fans, the Dell XPS 13 is the next option on our list of the best laptops for music production. With a choice between an i5 or i7 processor, the XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch display and a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM too.
Additionally, you can choose your desired SSD space between 256 GB and 2 TB, in addition to a Full HD 1920 x 1080 or 4K 32840 x 2160 display. It is well suited for live performance in addition of music production, so it’s sure to meet all your needs. Its lightweight design also includes a 10th Gen Intel processor and customization options!
In summary, the Dell XPS 13 is a fantastic alternative to the MacBook Pro. He consistently ranks among the best laptops on the market, and an average battery life of 5 hours and 35 minutes should see you through your travels.
3. Microsoft Surface 4 Laptop 2021 – £1099
The Surface Laptop 4 is an underrated hero. To illustrate, its AMD Ryzen 5 4680U processor is the equivalent of an Intel i7 chip. Also, you can upgrade its 8GB of RAM to 32GB and also have up to 1TB of storage.
The Surface Laptop 4 is said to be the best laptop Microsoft has ever made. Its premium design and 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 PixelSense touchscreen provide easy navigation and a comfortable user experience. Plus, you don’t have to worry about battery life, which is 19 hours, thanks in part to its long-lasting keyboard. You can use it on your travels without worrying about battery life.
All DAWs and plugins will be equally at home with Windows 11. Despite all these positives, one negative is the lack of USB ports. A simple remedy here is to invest in a powered USB bank so you can always connect all your gear. However, this means that it may not be possible to take all of your gear with you on the go.
4. 16-inch MacBook Pro – £2425
The performance of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is only surpassed by that of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. However, you can rest assured that your music production and live performance needs will once again be met with an Apple M1 Pro or Max chip inside the 16-inch. Overall, the specs between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are essentially the same.
However, we have listed it under the 14 inch due to its larger size. While performance isn’t compromised, a 16-inch laptop is harder to carry around than a 14-inch. And with larger size, the price is also higher. There’s a price increase too, and that’s why we’re ranking the 14-inch higher.
Like the 14-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll get a blisteringly good performing laptop and handle your music production perfectly. The larger 16-inch display also presents a bigger screen, of course, making it a more comfortable option if you’re working on a big project.
5. Dell XPS 17 2021 – £2,099
Finally, we have the Dell XPS 17. A real beast of a Windows computer.
An 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, and a massive 17.0-inch Full HD display present a laptop that can rival the most powerful Apple MacBook Pro. However, a shortage of USB ports necessitates an investment in a powered USB hub.
Despite its larger size, the Dell XPS 17 is still very thin and light, so you can carry it around while enjoying a bigger screen. Like the Dell XPS 13, all DAWs and plugins will work without issue.
And, like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the price is higher with the larger size.