Hey _____, I would have included your name, but I simply can't guess (fill the dash for me ;)), even if I don't know your name, I am very sure you've been procrastinating, and contemplating on the best budgets friendly Laptop to buy for music production and recording.
If you are on this page for a high-end laptop, I cover your part as well, and before you spend unnecessary cash on a high-end laptop, let me guide you through the needful and understanding of what you need to know before selecting the best music production system that suits you.
Most will skip this section, If you do, you might end up selecting something wrong, or you might end up buying something that won't meet your requirements, (these parts are essential), which brings us to...
- Choosing The Best Music Production Laptop
- The Best Ten Music Production Laptops
Choosing The Best Music Production Laptop
First off, Daw system requirements are one of the essential parts you'll likely overlook, for example, you might be contemplating on whether to choose a Mac or PC for production.
Both are very powerful, and great music has been achieved on both O.S platforms, what you are missing is if your Daw is a cross-platform application software (Compatible on both Operating System).
If you haven't picked your Daw of choice, check our page on choosing the best music production software that suits your need, and make sure you double-check the specification requirements.
Make sure you are also reviewing the O.s requirements (very important), and that leads us to the reason you should know your O.S and Daw System Requirements.
- Not all DAWs or music production software is cross-platform (Compatible on both Operating System).
- Some DAWs support both PC and Mac, while some are Mac only, and PC only interchangeable.
To sum up, do not make the mistake of buying a laptop before researching whether your DAW of choice supports your O.S or not.
Let's move on to...
CPU's are rarely discussed when it comes to newbies getting a system for music making, most of the time, you want to get one system, and start laying down your hit-tracks creatively, considering you aren't factoring the high-end gear set-up.
Even if you don't know anything about CPU, or you don't care, you should at least know the functions or the specific requirements as this may help you in selecting the right one for your need and also increases your system performances.
The CPU is one of the most important factors when considering the selection of a laptop.
It is the primary factor in your ability to run DAWs with larger projects, the more CPU cores, the better your music production software performance.
The question is, which should you choose?
Go for multiple cores (Core itself is a processor, it processes data), the more core you have, the better performance, although some factors affect CPU performance like clock speed, the temperature (nothing to worry about, already researched the best ones for you).
If you want to top your music level gaming with high-speed performance, here's what you need...
- Multiple cores (either quad-core or more)
- 2.2Ghz (reasonably okay), 2.5Ghz (better), > 3.0Ghz ( higher performance).
Note: The speed of the processor is measured in gigahertz, the more gigahertz you have, the more speed you get.
Always be wary of how you choose, more CPU speed doesn't necessarily mean better; in fact, it can make things worst.
A 2ghz quad core (4 cores) would be slower than a 3ghz dual cores (2 cores). Already bored you with techy stuff (Drop comments if you're confused).
Moving on to...
Processor and Ram work concurrently, Ram is just like an hard-drive, but faster than an hard-drive, Also, it doesn't store information for long, it stores data and then passes it to CPU for processing.
The more Ram you have, the more information you can save, in that case, here's the amount of ram you need as a music producer...
- Minimum of 8GB Ram is probably enough for Large projects.
- 16GB is even better, if you aren't working on large projects (and I mean extensive projects), you won't likely need this.
- 32GB is way too much for most, and you are probably wasting resources, but if you are the type using lots of samplers plugins, Larger libraries, Rompler plugins, lots of heavy intensive plugins at once, then 32GB is more than enough.
It's cool to know what you need in other to make an effective decision.
Up next is an...
You remember I said Rams are like an hard-drive but doesn't store information on a long term base, this is where hard-drives are useful, they are used to store information on long term bases, and you'll probably need a right amount of space to run a DAW properly.
Also, there are two types of drives. We have HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive), HDD is slower compared to an SSD, that doesn't mean you can't use HDD, this is what I recommend...
- Minimum of 256GB HDD (Okay, if you aren't moving lots of data)
- Minimum of 500GB HDD and 256GB SSD (Better and high-speed performance).
Note: If you are using both HDD and SSD, install your DAW program on SSD as it would handle processes faster than hard-disk drives.
To conclude, you also need...
USB is used to transfer data to, and fro from your laptop, they can also be used to power studio components, you can always use an audio interface if you are concerned about line-input, e.g. connecting Multiple Instruments, Mic, e.t.c.
If you are not concerned about lots of midi components, you should be fine with your default USB ports (Most modern laptops come with 3 or more, that's okay).
I guess you don't expect...
This is an added tip, from personal experience, screen size doesn't matter if you are beginning, even if you picked a smaller screen, you could always expand with an external monitor display of various sizes.
Screen size indicates the size of your DAW workspace, and this is what you need...
- 13, or 15 inches are okay for a start (remember you can add an external screen if you want to track multiple things), they are also portable.
- If you want to stick to your laptop screen, 17 or 18 is sufficient (not portable).
This brings us to the end of the things you need to know before selecting a music production and recording laptop, and now I am going to list the top ten best music making laptop on the market. (Before you go further, ask questions using the comment box below if you find it hard to judge which to select).
The Best Ten Music Production Laptops
Note: The list is divided into two sections, the first top five laptops on the list is costlier than the following five.
First on the list is...
1. Dell Xps 15
Dell Xps comes in various sizes, I recommend going for 15 models (when you see 13, 15, 17 next to the laptop name, it means the screen size) because they are much stronger, with 8th Gen Intel Core i7 running at 2.8GHz (6 cores), it means you can run intensive tasks at a much faster rate.
Xps 15 is solidly built with 16GB of memory, which means you have more memory storage and get the content you need quickly when producing music or when tracking multiple recordings in your home studio.
Also, if you feel you need more Ram storage, it's extensible, you are also given up to 512GB SSD space for storage and high-performance responsiveness to access and run your music production software quickly and efficiently.
The battery life on this laptop is great to provide you with long production if you aren't near outlets, and or want to produce without charging. Kindly double check your Daw O.S requirement before purchasing this, as I said, the majority are cross-platform (compatible on PC and Mac), but some aren't.
Note: Oh, boy! You might be wondering why PC's are on the top list of the best music production laptop on this page because they are currently the best...
and here's why...
- Easily extensible
- Better Support
- Cost Effective.
2. Asus ZenBook Pro 15
Asus is the best when it comes to excellent customer support (quickly resolve issues with your system), and the Zenbook Pro 15 is available with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 (6 cores), and up to 4.5GHz, which is very powerful in handling intensive tasks when producing larger music project or working with lots of intensives music production plugins.
I'll be honest here: I use lots of Asus laptops for production, and what I like about it is how it cools for maximum performances.
With up to 16GB ram, you can work with tons of plugins without no hassle, it also uses a lithium-polymer battery, and optimised to provide up to 9 hours of battery life for productive tasks.
If you want to work in a faster and efficient environment, I recommend getting a Laptop with SSD support, Asus Zenbook Pro 15 comes with 512GB SSD, meaning you have more and robust storage for accessing data faster during music production.
If you would be working with tons of intensive plugins, I recommend you go for this. It is designed for gaming, which means it is very powerful and faster in processing, and it would be a better investment in the long run.
3. MacBook Pro 15
No doubt, MacBook Pro 15 is one of the fastest and powerful Laptops in the market, and I guess you know well about MacBook, it has a strong battery life, much thinner and lightly designed, it also runs with a 6-Core Intel Core i7, providing an insane speedy performance.
With 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD, this will elevate your music production ability to a whole new level of performance, stability, easiness and portability, to say the least, this is more than enough if your Daw is compatible or runs on Mac (Do your checking before buying, make sure your Daw supports Mac ).
It also comes optimised with longer battery life, meaning you have no problem if you aren't charging your system, and can work productively for hours.
Although Mac is great for music production, the drawback is that you won't be able to upgrade SSD when you feel you need more storage space like PC's, you also won't be able to upgrade your Ram, it's been soldered and cannot be renewed after purchase. The only solution is to buy a new one with more storage space, and more Ram space, which would be very costly.
This model would hold you up for a couple of years, and serve the purpose of its function, and if you need more space right at the start, check out different storage sizes.
4. Razer Blade 15
Razer is known for manufacturing gaming hardware, and pretty new to the Laptop market, the fact they are new make them build stronger PC's from the ground up.
There are different models of the Razer Blade, I selected the 15 models because they strike the balance of power and portability.
Razer Blade 15 is built for performance, and powered by an 8th gen Intel Core i7 (6-core processor), which is ready for the heavy task when producing music, recording or tracking multiple things at the same time.
What I like about this model...
Is the large storage space of 1TB HDD and also enjoy the speed of a 128GB SSD, which gives faster and responsive performance.
This model is good for you if you would be working with tons of intensive plugins and needs a larger storage space.
5. Alienware 17
The name sound badass right?
Yh, It is!
Alienware is an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 (6 Cores), and have up to 8GB Ram depending on the type you want, this machine is super slim, and features a high-end processor in high-performance gaming technology, Gaming laptops are usually stronger, and as a music producer, you should definitely branch or buy one if you are serious with music production.
I don't know if you will ever need up to this, Alienware 17 comes preloaded with 1TB HDD + 256 GB SSD for robust storage, and for accessing data faster during music production.
Alienware 17 is perfectly optimized for longer battery life during a productive task, It is a 17-inch laptop, and would capture your workflow nicely, and smoothly.
17 or 18 inches laptop aren't always portable to move around, I love sticking with 15 most of the time (or add an external display if needs arise), but if you would like to work on a wider screen laptop for music production, 17 inch is a perfect place to start.
The Laptop Listed above are mostly a high-end music production and recording laptop and are all worth the investment, sometimes, budgets don't play it's game nice.
Let's see a lesser budget-friendly laptop, and we are starting with...
6. ASUS VivoBook S Ultra Thin
Asus brands are always top-notch, I have said it before, and I will say it again, their customer support is the best, hands down! The VivoBook Ultra Thin is a sleeky designed Laptop and has a professional look.
It's a 15.6 screen laptop, and also lightweight which makes it very portable. It also has two most important features you need for music production - 265 SSD for robust storage, and an i7 processor, for speedy performance.
What I love about this laptop is that you can open it up, and swap or add memory or even extend your SSD drive when you need more storage (Important!)
The downside of this laptop is that it sometimes becomes hotty when CPU usage becomes high or when working with intensive plugins, but not to the point where it becomes annoying.
7. HP Envy x360 15.6
Hp Envy is an affordable music production laptop that looks nice with an amazing battery life which is said to last up to 11 hours when working with lower intensive tasks.
This laptop is so much portable, and you can work in various mode - from Laptop mode to Tent mode, to Tablet mode, and a stand mode, very handy if you love portable stuff, and love working anywhere as you go.
With a Cpu of 2.2Ghz, 8GB DDR4 ram, you should be able to run your project with no problem, but note, it becomes laggy when running larger projects, if you are just beginning, it's a good fit for you.
8. Acer Predator Helios 300
Helios 300 is not an Ultra-thin laptop, but lighter than regular laptops with gorgeous displays. This beast is an Intel i7 8th Gen laptop with up to 16GB DDR4 ram that is more than enough for just about anything.
It's also as an accessible slot for hard-drive or SSD if you need more storage, although it comes bundled with 256 SSD storage space which can get you up and running for just about anything when producing.
Helios 300 is claimed to have 7-hours of battery life, which is a marketing claim, it actually last for 3 - 4 hours when working with intensive programs, if low battery life isn't a problem for you or you don't mind plugging in your system most of the time when producing, I would highly recommend this laptop.
9. Dell Inspiron 15 7000
Inspiron 15 7000 comes with an Intel Core i5 (2.5Ghz), and up to 8GB of Ram which is powerful to run large projects when producing. You are also preloaded with a 256GB SSD storage space to store about multiple things at the same time, and as usual, you can swap memory or SSD when the needs arise.
What I love about this mode is that it can hold you for as long as possible when you aren't charging (7hours of battery even with intensive tasks).
it's not that portable and makes noise when working with CPU heating task, if you don't mind the portability issue, you can opt-in for this one.
And I'll be rounding up the list with...
10. Lenovo Thinkpad
Lenovo ThinkPad comes in different series, I solely picked this because it's affordable, powerful and also portable (Work with it from anywhere). This super lighting Pc is packed with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 (4 cores), 1.6GHz processor, and can be extended to a whopping 32GB Ram. It also has plenty and enough space of up to 256GB SSD, and 1TB hard disk.
If you need an affordable, portable, and a latest cutting edge laptop, I'll recommend you go for this but have it in mind that it's not optimized for larger projects, it would really help you if you are just getting started.
You have the toolbox right up there with you, go ahead and select the one that fits your need, if you want a high-end system for music production and recording, check out the first top 5 system on the list, and if you want a less budget-friendly system, check out the second top 5 laptops on the list.
If you are confused, drop your comments below. Good luck with music, and I wish you the best!