Best Laptops For Music Production 2017 - Buyer's Guide
Are you looking for the best laptop for music production or for Djing?
We've solved the puzzle for you. To give you a hand, we did the most extensive research and we shall be reviewing the best music production laptops.
If you don't want a laptop/PC or desktop your only alternative is a tablet
Some of these tablets include
The 2 are our recommendation to anyone looking who want to try music production using a tablet.
There has also been an argument of whether Windows operating system is better than macOS when it comes to music recording and production, but we don't think there is going to be an answer soon.
With a price tag of below $1000 for Apple 13" MMGG2LL/A MacBook and Dell 13.3" XPS9360 makes 2 of the best cheap laptops for music production.
Best MacBook Laptops for Music Production
Best 2 Window Music Production Laptops
Best Laptops for Music production 2017- Comparison Table
Apple MacBook Pro w/TouchBar
Intel Core i5
Dell XPS 13
Intel Core i5/i7
ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD
Intel Core i7
Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280
2.0 GHz i7
Acer Aspire V17 VN7-792G
8 GB & 16 GB
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E560
Lenovo Y700 15.6"-
Dell Inspiron Flagship
MacBook Air 13.3’’
Apple MacBook Pro MF839LL/A
1. Dell XPS 13 Review - i5 - i7 - 8GB RAM, 128 GB- 256GB - Silver
If you are in love with music, you must be the person who seeks out the best hardware for their work. Dell XPS 13Inch just landed as one of the best in the world.
It is a laptop devised for all your production needs. Starting with the sleek exterior look, you can take it to the studio and Djing gigs with no hassle.
Dell shapes the technology world using innovative designs. It started in 1984 by 19-year old Michael Dell as PC’s Limited. Today, the Dell influence is felt as they delve in providing the best technological solutions to the worldwide market.
Their Dell XPS 13 excels in meeting their mission statement. It has a sharp display which is virtually borderless, so you get the full 13inches to place different projects side by side. It enjoys a thin bezel which frees much of the screen space to squeeze 13 inches of screen size in an 11inch frame.
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB- 1TB SSD
- 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor
- 9-15mm thick
- 400-nit screen brightness
- Windows 10 preinstalled
Display and Performance
There’s everything to like on the Dell XPS13. It is furnished with the latest technology to give modern music production a new touch. The 7th Generation Intel Core i5 processor refines the speed of this laptop since you are not about to experience any delays when running multiple programs.
It has four cores to take multitasking speeds to whole new levels. Regarding the applications you’ll be running, this laptop can preserve battery life from 22hours with common office software to around 13hours with advanced uses.
The display as we said is jaw-dropping. With the stunning 3200x1800 resolution and UltraSharp QHD, you get to see eye-popping details for all your mix videos. It carries a 170-degree viewing angle on the IGZO IPS panel. This means from whichever position this laptop is placed; you can have a clear view of the screen.
Do you DJ on bright sunny days? Well, with the 400-nit brightness, the screen remains visible even under the sun. See images for what they are with 1000:1 contrast ratio and color gamut of 72%.
Not to mention, it has an optional touchscreen where you get to swipe away on a friendly screen. The keyboard is backlit so you can use it in music concerts with low lighting.
The chassis is a single cut from aluminum, and the palm rest is from carbon fiber. The touchscreen is from Corning Gorilla Glass NBT which is scratch resistant. It preserves an elegant design, and you get to choose between silver or rose gold.
This is a plush laptop with a steep price tag, but you can already tell why. The features are what we call near perfect since it excels from every angle. The display is top-notch with borderless edges and a bright screen. Take it to outdoor and night concerts and enjoy speed, mobility, and durability.
- Borderless infinity screen
- Long battery life
- Backlit keyboard
- Fast-speed processor
- Full-size SD card slot
2. Apple Macbook Pro with Touchbar - RAM 8GB- 16 GB - Core i5 – i7 - 256GB – 1TB - 2017 Edition
The Apple MacBook Pro with TouchBar comes off as a luxurious choice but will give the Windows laptops a run for their money. It has an overly brilliant display with powerful speakers. The SSD is super fast and is faster than current Windows PC.
The Apple Company is synonymous with giving their Mac laptops a genius touch. With over forty years of designing, developing, and selling computer software, consumer electronics, and online services, Apple gives what they know are refined products.
This is the latest laptop from Apple with the headline being the touchbar. Its available in either i5 or i7 processors, 256 GB or 1TB and 8GB OR 16GB RAM
- Core i5 (3.1GHz) to i7 (3.5GHz)
- 8-16GB RAM
- 128-1TB SSD
- IPS 2560x1600pixels
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650
A bright display on a laptop makes music production more enjoyable. You even feel the creativity coming along if the machine is in sync with your thoughts. The premium look in this device starts with the grey Apple-inspired exterior. It has a full-sized keyboard making it super easy to feed keys and notes with ease.
The touch bar gives a superior input experience since you can still use it as the unlocking security feature. With the 458nits of brightness, it doesn’t matter where the music takes you. It lets you see the screen while controlling various interfaces.
The fast SSD, RAM, Core Audio, CPU Power, and battery power all work hand in hand to support your music production demands. It has 2X Thunderbolt 3, USB ports, and a 3.5mm headset jack. If you are just connecting two audio interfaces and a MIDI controller, you will not need an extra dongle for connectivity.
The Thunderbolt 3 can send huge amounts of data up to 40GB/sec such that you can connect monitors directly.
The 7th Generation Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM is great for multitasking. It does not experience any lags while running multiple production software. The SSD lets you store many samples giving you the flexibility where you can check in later and refine the sound.
The speakers are kicked up a notch such that if you want to make recordings and listen to the audio, you’ll undoubtedly get clear vocals with strong bass, and accurate synths.
We love the battery life it offers at around 9hours with moderate usage. It’s good but not the best when compared to other Windows PCs competing with it. You may not want to leave the power cable when taking on road trip concerts, but for around the home recording, you can take it to the studio without worrying it will cut short your recordings.
This 2017 Mac Pro model is much better than what we saw in the last year’s 13inch design. It comes with blistering speeds, ample storage, and Thunderbolt 3ports. The screen display gives catchy effects plus the brightness allows using the laptop in super bright conditions. The speakers also have impressive audio. With 13inches of screen size, it is slim and gives a clear balance of usability and portability.
- Thin and lightweight
- Multiple ports
- High-speed SSD
- Latest MacBook Pr0
Most acclaimed in the gaming world, this machine’s configurations make it a perfect bet if you have a little over 1 grand to spend on a good laptop for music studio.
Asus is a China-based computer hardware and electronics manufacturer situated in Taiwan. This company was established in 1989 by 4 hardware engineers who were former Acer employees.
It derives its name from a mythological Greek horse, Pegasus, which is linked with wisdom. Asus isn’t only known for its laptops but music production workstations, tablet PCs, motherboards, and desktops amongst other products.
Asus GL553VD features a Core i7 quad-core processor which makes it a great music producer laptop. This is both professionals and beginners,
- Intel Core i7 processor
- Windows 10 pre-installed
- 4GB RAM
- 1TB 7200RPM HDD/ SDD option available too
- Overboost cooling fan
- 15.7’’ Widescreen
- Backlit keyboard
- 3 USB ports (2 3.0 and 1 2.0)
- LAN and HDMI port
Its 4gb RAM is a great feature that allows you to run several programs without experiencing freezes or delays. Obviously, you can go as high as your music production demands in the RAM department.
Its 15.6’’ Full HD panel will ensure that there’s great consistency in color and contrast as you work on your projects. It also offers up to 178 viewing angles with extreme clarity and no color shift whatsoever. What makes this screen even better is its matte finish that eliminates all glare and reflections no matter where you’re doing your thing.
Are you a DJ or do you find yourself editing, recording, or mixing away from your studio? GL553VD packs lots of great features for you. Its ROG Aura RGB lighting keyboard accentuates its sleek design while also allowing you to have a clear view of all the keys on your keyboard regardless of the light intensity. This machine is also lightweight at 5.5lbs and has a slim build that won’t demand much space.
Asus GL553VD is a true tank in this. Its 1TB (Terabyte) HDD is all you need to store your tracks, mixes, and anything else in your line of music production. This HDD makes over 7,200 RPM (Rotations Per Minute) that ensures speedy files transfers and loading.
If you need more speed, you can opt for a similar model with a SATA3 SSD alongside the 1TB HDD, of course, at a slightly higher price.
ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD’s extensive connectivity again makes it a great deal. Besides its Bluetooth 4.0, you’ll also benefit from 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 RJ45 LAN port, and an HDMI port- almost all the connections that you require for flawless music production.
- Matte finish wide screen for superior clarity
- Lots of ports
- Sleek design
- Impressive versatility, both for beginners and pros
- I7 processor
- From all perspectives, this is a great laptop for any recording artist.
4. Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280 - Another laptop for music recording under $100
If you found GL553VD a bit on the pricey side, Toshiba has a budget-friendly option with almost all the features in GL553VD and some even better.
Toshiba is a Tokyo, Japan-based well-known manufacturer in the field of computers and electronic components. It was founded in 1875 and is well-rooted in most continents around the globe.
It’s over 130 years of computer hardware experience is a substantial reason to consider it if you’re in need of an affordable studio laptop.
Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280 is a reliable option for beginners and students who want convenient music production and editing laptop without spending over $1000.
This power-packed machine comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1 that you can later upgrade to a version of your choice. It also features the 4th generation 2.0 GHz Core i7 processor which is a great deal for its price tag.
- Intel Core i7 (2.0 GHz)
- 12GB RAM
- 1TB HDD1
- 15.6’’ LED Backlit screen
- Windows 8.1 pre-installed
- USB 3.0 ports available
Its speedy i7 dual core processor is boosted by the presence of a 12-GB DDR3L RAM which eliminates all blue screens and hanging as you track and edit your sounds on several multi-tasking programs.
Like the pricey Asus above, Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280 also flaunts 1TB worth of storage space. It also has a 15.6-inch TruBrite and LED Backlit screen with 1366x768 HD resolutions.
This laptop’s webcam with Ultra HD output capabilities is an added advantage if you are Youtube or video-chatting enthusiast.
This device is also lightweight at around 4.8 pounds and can, therefore, be effortlessly ferried to the music production site. It also has USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, and Media Card Reader connectivity for greater convenience.
If you’re on a tight budget and need a machine with near-perfect features for incredible music production, Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280 is all yours. Its 1TB will cut the cost of having to purchase an external HDD while its LED-backlit display makes it easy to work on your tracks and mixes both day and night.
However, be informed that its battery- which holds power for a pretty good time, by the way- isn’t user-replaceable. You’ll, therefore, have to learn how to take care of it.
- The laptop is lightweight Large
- RAM and 1TB storage space
- LED backlight display
- Speedy i7 dual core processor
- No DVD player and non-replaceable battery
5. Acer Aspire V17 VN7-792G-79LX N 17.3’’ Review and Specs
One thing that attracted us to this Acer Aspire is its excellent build. We were also amazed by its musician-friendly price tag on Amazon which was almost 23% cheaper than what other dealers were offering it at.
It brings highly innovative features that make music editing and recording super easy, enjoyable, and fun. This isn’t much of a surprise considering that Acer has been in this business for over 40 years now.
This is Taiwan-based computer Hardware Company that deals in computers, Smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
Notably, this company was rated the 6th best computer vendor in late 2015- this should wash away all your doubts about dealing with them.
So, what’s there for you in this Acer Aspire music production laptop?
- Windows 10 pre-installed
- 6th Gen i7 2.6GHz Quad-Core Processor with Turbo Boost
- 8GB RAM
- 1TB HDD (5400 RPM)
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Li-Polymer battery with 7 hours life
The most easily noticeable feature in this piece is its 17.3’’ ultra wide screen. Amazingly, the display is LED-backlit and offers full HD (1920x1080) effect. As such, Acer Aspire V17 can be confidently treated as amongst the best Deejaying laptops for 2017.
Digging deeper into its specs, you find a 2.6GHz quad Core i7 processor from Intel’s latest 6th Generation. This engine also boasts Turbo Boost Technology that takes your speeds up to 3.5GHz. You also find a 4GB GDDR5 RAM for flawless multi-tasking and a 1TB HDD for all your music files.
Acer Aspire V17’s dedicated sound system with 4 state-of-the –art stereo speakers will again take your music editing- gaming and movie watching too- to a whole new level.
This music laptop also offers an important addition that Toshiba Satellite S55-B5280 lacked; 8X DVD Drive.
- Excellent graphics for music editing and gaming
- Backlit keyboard and display
- Enormous storage space
- Non-replaceable battery
6. Asus F555LA-AB31 15.6-inch, 500 GB HD Review and Specs
Sometimes good things come cheap, and this model perfectly fits in this category.
Asus F555LA-AB31 costs way less than 500 bucks on Amazon. I hate calling it cheap especially after considering the exclusive Asus apps at your disposal and incredible specs herein.
This machine’s 5th Generation 2.2GHz i5 processor and Asus’s IceCool technology are its strongholds. Its lightning speed response backed by its powerful hardware ranks it highly on any list of cheap music editing and production computers.
Asus F555LA-AB31 boasts a 4GB DDR3 RAM and 500GB Hard Disk for your data storage purposes. Notably, this high-quality studio laptop comes fitted with Windows 10 which is quite familiar to most users. Uniquely, you also get a digital assistant with the Windows 10 and one of the latest, super fast browsers.
- Windows 10 pre-installed
- 4GB RAM
- 500GB HDD
- 15.6’’ LED-Lit display2.1GHz i3 Intel Processor
- USB 3.0, 2.0, HDMI and VGA ports available
- DVD Drive
This laptop also brings 2 USB 3.0 ports which are known to be almost 10x faster than their USB 2.0 counterparts. You also get 1 USB 2.0 ports and HDMI and VGA ports. Moreover, you won’t be spending extra bucks on an external DVD player since your Asus F555LA-AB31 has it already.
For Skype and video conferencing lovers, this laptops 15.6’’ matte display and high-sensitivity HD camera have your back.
It’s also worth noting that this is a beautiful-looking machine- just in case that was on your list of musts. It has a decent and up-to-date design with a non-smudge and fingerprint-resistant finish. Its subtle concentric circles on its body make it easy to grab on your hands without the risk of it sliding off.
- It is inexpensive
- From a reputable brand
- 1-year accidental damage cover 15.6" matte display
- Low storage space
The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E560 is another reliable option with about all the required specs for a good music production computer.
This machine comes from the world’s largest personal computer manufacturer- Lenovo- headquartered in China and USA. This company currently has its foot in over 60 countries worldwide and sells its products in close to 160 countries.
ThinkPad brand is now under Lenovo since the entire IBM personal computer division was acquired in 2005. So, don’t be surprised to find the brand names Lenovo and ThinkPad in a single product.
This ThinkPad Edge E560 music workstation laptop is available at a little over 500 bucks. It comes with Windows 7 pre-installed plus a free license to upgrade to Windows 10 Professional version.
- 2.3GHz i5 Intel Core Processor
- 3 USB Ports
- 8GB RAM
- 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Windows 7 installed
- DVD player and writer
- Screen size 15.6’’
If you think that the price is awesome, wait until you find out the great deal in its specs.
ThinkPad Edge E560 boasts Intel’s latest 6th generation i5 2.3GHz processor and an upgraded 8GB DDR3 RAM. This is good news especially if you’re planning to run excessive plug-ins and programs in your music recording, editing, mixing, and producing purposes.
The machine also has a 500-GB HDD with 7200rpm which is a great improvement from Asus F555LA-AB31’s 5400rpm.
Another advantage of this model is its fingerprint reader which gives it a more serious design compared to other studio computers on this list.
Its 15.6’’ anti-glare screen is enough to allow you to multitask while the 6-cell battery will keep it powered for long.
For connectivity, ThinkPad Edge E560 brings 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 VGA video port 1 HDMI port, 1 4-in-1 card reader port and an HDMI port.
- Long lasting battery
- Numerous connectivity ports
- Feature packed,
- yet affordable
- From a reputable brand
- May require an additional storage space
If you’re more into pricey gadgets, Lenovo Y700 is all yours. This model is in the same league with ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD- our first contender in this list- in terms of price and functionality.
Lenovo Y700 is a common name in professional music studio due to its reputable effectiveness resulting from its amazing specs.
First things first: if gaming is in your blood, do know that this laptop was purposely designed for gamers like you but was later adopted by the musicians. True, it’s pricey. However, its stunning graphics backed by the incredible sounds from JBL and Dolby Audio Premium sound systems are all you need to lose yourself in your music production studio.
It’s also lightweight at around 5.7 pounds if you’re to take your music experience with you.
- Intel Core 2.6GHz i7-6700HQ processor
- 8GB RAM
- 1TB HDD + 128GB SDD
- 15.6’’ LED-lit Display
- 1920x1080 resolution
- Backlit keyboard
- JBL speakers and subwoofer
Lenovo Y700 ships pre-installed with Windows 10 which is easily compatible with several DAWs including Logic Pro, Ableton, and Cubase.
Its engine is 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 backed by an 8GB RAM. What makes this laptop worth every penny is its enormous 1TB HDD storage space plus an additional 128GB SSD which should save you a few hundred bucks.
Even better, its 15.6’’ display is LED-lit and designed to minimize all glare. Another great feature with this studio computer is its onboard Ideapad thermal fans which keep the system cool when you get serious on your music programs. It also flaunts Lenovo Energy Management software which aids in boosting battery life.
- Has detailed sound system
- Has a glare-resistant wide screen
- Has a backlit keyboard
- Isolated complaints of the design
For those who “Made in the USA” matters so much to them- which is good- I give you Dell Inspiron Flagship.
Dell is an American manufacturer, dealer, and vendor in personal computers, data storage devices, servers, cameras, mp3, and numerous other computer peripherals. This company is named after its founder (Dell) and is situated in Round Rock, Texas.
Dell is a well-known hitter when it comes to computer quality. Simply put, they know their thing and seem to understand what you need in a good music production computer. As such, Dell Inspiron Flagship is a reliable bet for a music producer seeking for a quality entry-level laptop below 500 dollars.
This machine comes ready to use, thanks to the Windows 10 already installed. It also boasts feasible internal features including 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor alongside AMD Radeon R5 M335 graphics co-processor for breathtaking videos and gaming.
- 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor
- AMD Radeon R5 M335 graphics co-processor
- 15.6’’ screen size
- 8GB RAM
- 1TB HDD with 5400rpm speed
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
- 1920 x 1080 screen resolution
- Intel RealSense 3D camera
The screen measures 15.6’’ and has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Another feature worth celebrating is its 1TB 5400rpm HDD which is quite hard to find in a laptop at this price range. You also get an 8GB DDR3 SDRAM RAM which is quite large enough for heavy duty music production software and programs.
The only thing that didn’t sound well is the absence of USB 3.0. This laptop is fitted with only 2 USB 2.0 ports which may necessitate the need for a USB port hub.
- Features packed, yet affordable
- Large storage capacity
- Lighter than most other laptops in this list
- Made for the modern studio
- No USB 3.0 ports
Next on line is a brand that I am currently using to type this list of the best recording laptops. It’s amazing and very much reliable.
Most of us have probably heard about HP- Hewlett Packard. It’s very likely that the first laptop, desktop, or printer that you interacted with was an HP. This is a California-based company that has been the leader in PC business for a few decades until Lenovo took over after merging with other brands including IBM.
HP is synonymous with quality, and this 15-ay018nr laptop doesn’t shy away from this. It’s a bit pricier than several other laptops here but still way below the 700 dollar mark. If you are looking for the best HP laptop for music production, this is our recommendation.
As you’ll soon find out, HP 15-ay018nr is loaded with impressive next-generation features to make your music recording and editing smoother and enjoyable.
- RAM Size: 8GB
- Storage space: 256GB SDD
- Screen size: 15.6’’
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Processors: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 and Intel HD Graphics 520
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- 1 USB 2.0 port
To begin with, HP understands that speed and reliability is critical in your music production. As such, you get a laptop fitted with Intel’s Core i7 2.5GHz processor and a large 8GB RAM. That’s not all. Your bucks are also enough to get you a 256GB SSD storage which will boost your computer’s disk reading and writing speeds.
On this note too, do know that this machine comes with a built-in DVD writer. This feature backed by HP’s reputable batteries will make on-site music recording quite a breeze. Did I mention that this is the lightest Windows laptop we have on this list at 4.8 pounds?
HP 15-ay018nr again brings a 15.6-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution for crisp and vibrant colors for video editing experience.
There’s so much to say about this model simply because it never disappoints. HP stresses that each unit goes through 200 thorough tests to ensure that it never fails you.
- Impressive speed
- Well built, Impressive design
- Intels i7 processor
- 5 pickup settings
- Requires extra storage area
This list wouldn’t have been complete without a slot for this MacBook Air because of one very simple reason; these models are currently the best-selling in the music industry.
Ask any professional music producer or check out what your favorite DJ uses. The chances are that it’s a Mac.
Mac personal computers are amongst the most reputed gadgets in Apple’s line of products. Apple is USA-based Company situated in California.
It’s currently the world’s leading manufacturer of information technology by revenue and comes second after Samsung in mobile phone manufacturing.
So, what’s up with this MacBook Air?
To start us off, this model is amongst the slimmest at 10.5 x 2.2 x 14.2 inches and also the sleekest we have on this list. It’s also the lightest Mac computer in this category at around 3 pounds.
- Screen size: 13.3’’
- 1.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB SSD storage space
- 1440 x 900 resolution
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- Battery life: 12 hours
Needless to say, this MacBook Air operates on Mac OS X operating system and is fitted with a 1.6GHz Core i5 processor from Intel. Notably, it also features a turbo booster that takes this speed as high as 2.7GHz. It also has an 8GB LPDDR3 RAM and 128GB SSD.
As expected this laptop offers flat-out performance in about any music production task that comes its way.
Another reason why we recommend this model is its Intel HD Graphics 6000 coprocessor that offers crisp and vibrant images and videos for professional editing. Moreover, this Apple music production computer offers best battery life with a promise of up to 12 hours (this will depend on how you use your comp, though).
Its screen is 13.3’’ which is slightly smaller than most of the other models here and has a resolution of 1440 x 900.
- Well built
- From a reputable brand
- Lots of music programs available
- Core i7 processor
- The display is a bit smaller, 13.3"
We are not surprised that another of our undisputed contender on this list of the best laptops for audio production comes from Apple. This laptop’s price may be a bit out of several musicians’ budget. However, we highly recommend it if you need something that will last you for long without regular breakdowns and frustrations.
Like its brother MacBook Air above, MacBook Pro MF839LL has a 13.3’’ screen. However, this one is LED-lit and has a higher resolution of 2560x1600 pixels. It’s, therefore, more superior when it comes to editing.
This model also blows the previous model out of water with its larger 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor and a Turbo Boost that takes it all the way up to 3.1GHz.
- 13.3’’ LED-lit Retina display
- 2560x1600 pixels resolution
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB SSD
- 2.7GHz-3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
- Up to 10 hours battery life
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt ports, HDMI ports
Like other music production laptop seeker, you’ll also love MF839LL’s over 5 million pixels and Intel Iris Graphics 6100 coprocessor that work collaboratively to bring out every detail in your images or videos.
MacBook Pro MF839LL again has 8GB LPDDR3 RAM and sports 128GB of flash memory. This music production Apple laptop also shines in the connectivity department. Besides the routine Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports, you also get 2Thunderbolt ports which allow you transfer files/data up to 4 faster than the most acclaimed USB 3.0 ports.
Without forgetting, MacBook Pro MF839LL also boasts 2 mic ports and also has state-of-the-art speakers for music listening, videos, and gaming.
What to Look for in A Music Production Computer- Buying Guide
Whether you operate an analog, digital, or hybrid studio setup, most of your major undertakings will revolve around your music producing computer.
hese machines have revolutionized modern day’s music recording, mixing, editing, and producing which would have been pretty expensive if you chose to do it in a professional recording studio.
Now, identifying the ideal laptop for your studio is tricky. Like any other audio interface, there are tons and tons of features to look out for.
Unlike purchasing a pair of earphones which can be easily replaced without feeling the pinch, buying music laptops is risky because:
· 1. They are expensive
2. Their specs (most) can’t be easily modified to fit your preference
Truth be told, it only takes a tech savvy to identify best of the best laptops for any task. The market today has a vast majority of computers. They are quite confusing and you may either go home empty handed or fall for the wrong machine.
However, choosing a good laptop can also be quite a breeze. How? I’m glad you asked.
The most important thing to understand is the specs and little basics about them. The type or brand plays no big role in your studio experiences… just learn what specs fit your needs then identify the brand that offers that…SIMPLE.
So, here are most important specs that make the best home recording laptops
1 PC/Windows vs. MAC
There exists a vast gray matter over which is best between these 2. There are lots of arguments going around with most tech savvies arguing that Mac is more reliable and stable while Windows is only an option if you’re on budget.
However, do know that this most acclaimed Mac also has its share of hiccups. On the other hand, Window is quite user-friendly and less expensive.
Simply put, there isn’t any brand that’s purely dedicated to music production.
Whether you’ll go for Mac or PC is determined by the points below.
2 Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that you’ve employed in your studio
A digital audio workstation refers to computer software/program specifically devoted to multiple digital audio recording, editing, and playing. Now, the recording software is the key determiner on whether you’ll go for a Mac or PC model. This is because some, for instance, Apple Garageband and MOTU are Mac-only while others like Ardour are compatible on both Mac and Windows.
Uniquely, PCs allow you to run several DAWs on a single version of Windows unlike in Mac where you may be forced to change the OS X version to run different software and hardware.
3 CPU (Processor)
The processor speed determines how fast your applications will run on your computer. You need to be more careful on this since you won’t be able to upgrade it later. A faster processor is always welcome since it’ll allow you to do heavy tracking as well as run several plug-ins, VSTs, and applications simultaneously.
Processing speeds are measured in Hertz (Hz). Most computers today offer MHz (megahertz) or GHz (gigahertz) super-speeds. Remember, the faster, the better. If you need satisfaction, go for processors with over 2.0 GHz.
Another way of determining how fast a PC is by identifying how large the processor is. This is indicated in about any computer’s specs sheet as Core i3, i5, or i7. i3 machines are inexpensive but a bit slower. They are, therefore, ideal for simple computer functions such as web surfing and sending emails.
Going a notch higher, i5 are mid-range level computers which are slightly pricier than i3s but, of course, faster. You can rely on these for your music laptop. If you still have some cash to upgrade your studio to professional level, a Core i7 laptop with its supersonic speeds will take you there. However, be ready to pay for this luxury.
3 RAM (Random Access Memory)
This refers to the amount of space available for your machine to handle the software and be able to run various applications without slowing down/Freezing. Music production laptops shouldn’t have anything less than 8 GB of RAM. The good news is that it can be upgraded to suit your needs.
4 Regular Hard Disk Drive (HDD) VS. SSD
Most laptops today come with built-in HDDs with over 500GB of storage space. You may also opt to attach an external HDD via a USB cable if your computer’s original space isn’t enough and to prevent loss of data too.
Notably, professional music producers and recorders prefer SSDs today. Though both the HDD and SDD have virtually similar functionalities, SSDs are known for their fast writing speeds. You may require this for heavy and numerous files transfers. A few laptops have the SSD onboard.
However, be informed that SSDs offer minimal storage space. They are also darn expensive!
5 Screen Size
This goes without saying. The size of your studio recording and producing computer also matters a big deal. This, however, depends on what you’ll be doing. A model with at least 12’’ may be enough if all you need is an ultra-portable laptop for on-location recording and simple files transfers.
For heavy production work, tracking, editing, and arranging, opt for 15’’ screen and above. In fact, 17’’ models look more serious- if you have extra bucks to spend, though.
Most importantly, ensure that your computer of choice has enough ports to let you connect your sound equipment. Ensure that you get at least 1 or more USB 3.0. However, this shouldn’t be more of a worry since you can always bring a USB hub onboard to save the situation.
7 Don’t forget the battery life too…
Most audio recording laptops have a higher battery life of up to 12 hours. However, it’s common sense that this will be affected by the programs you run on your machine. If you’re doing your thing near a power socket, keeping the computer plugged in is the best idea. For on-the-road use, go for a model with a longer battery life.