Top 7 Laptops For Music Production – The Heart Of A Home Recording Studio

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Recording and producing music at home has become not only possible, but also viable thanks to the ever evolving computer technology. What used to require a whole array of bulky equipment, can now be accomplished with a single laptop and. Today we’re going to show you our picks for the best music production laptops you can get. Later on, we’ll go into various specs a computer needs to meet for this particular application, and why hardware matters. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you should have a good picture of what a proper music production laptop should offer.

7 Best Laptops For Recording Music:

ImageLaptops / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Apple 15" MacBook Pro (New Model) Apple 15" MacBook Pro (New Model)

Total of 4.75/5  

The modern standard for audio and video production in a portable format.

+ - Dell XPS 15 XPS9550-4444SLV Dell XPS 15 XPS9550-4444SLV

Total of 4.72/5  

One of the absolute best choices for Windows based DAWs out there.

+ - Asus ZENBOOK Pro UX501VW-XS74T Asus ZENBOOK Pro UX501VW-XS74T

Total of 4.70/5  

Plenty of performance and on-screen real estate packed into a stealthy chassis.

+ - MSI GE62VR Apache Pro MSI GE62VR Apache Pro

Total of 4.70/5  

A gaming machine that ticks all the right boxes for music production.

+ - HP Envy 15t HP Envy 15t

Total of 4.67/5  

Probably the best bang for the buck package for the budget crowd.

+ - Lenovo E570 Lenovo E570

Total of 4.67/5  

Great little laptop that offers decent hardware at a very reasonable price.

+ - Acer Aspire VX 15 Acer Aspire VX 15

Total of 4.63/5  

A very capable powerhouse that looks stealthy but packs a mean punch.

Apple 15" MacBook Pro (New Model)

Apple 15" MacBook Pro (New Model)

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Apple's MacBook Pro has been the staple part of music production for a good while now. The system is basically bulletproof and comes with great specs. Most importantly, it allows you to use Mac OS specific DAWs. Despite the great hardware the latest model offers, MacBook Pro is a favorite for a reason that is rarely discussed. It comes with plenty of screen real estate, which is a must have for busy DAW interface layouts. It is basically the ultimate music production platform for those who travel much and can't hook up external monitors. With that said, Apple isn't really known as a budget friendly brand, but that is the price you have to pay for a rather solid performance.

Dell XPS 15 XPS9550-4444SLV

Dell XPS 15 XPS9550-4444SLV

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Laptop market has always been Dell's bread and butter. Lately, they have started releasing machines that compare to those of Apple in pretty much every single way. Dell XPS9550 shows you that high levels of both style and performance can be attained at a reasonable price. From a music production point of view, this laptop brings you everything you need and then some. For starters, we have a very large screen that features a 4K resolution. Then there's your latest gen i7 quad core with plenty of power, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of PCIe mounted SSD. All of this amounts to a very fast machine that is lightweight, compact and ready to go straight out of the box.

Asus ZENBOOK Pro UX501VW-XS74T

Asus ZENBOOK Pro UX501VW-XS74T

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Compared to most gaming laptops and similar beasts out there, Asus ZENBOOK Pro comes across a very civilized alternative. It has none of that aggressive exterior design, but a rather tamed, professional look. However, inside it packs a mean punch. This laptop is the physical representation of 'speak softly and carry a big stick' idea. You're looking at a Skylake i7 paired with 15GB or DDR4 RAM and a speedy 512GB SSD unit. Display comes in form of a touchscreen capable of supporting 4K, that features a 15.6" IPS UHD panel inside. Aside from the raw specs, ZENBOOK Pro is known as a pretty lightweight package that is highly portable. Overall, it's a proper workhorse laptop for music production.

MSI GE62VR Apache Pro

MSI GE62VR Apache Pro

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It's no secret that some of the best music production laptops are those designed specifically for gaming. MSI just happens to be the brand that offers some of the most outlandish laptops of this kind for the money. Their GE52VR Apache Pro is the first model that comes to mind. It is designed to withstand prolonged use under heavy loads, which is something that works great for music production. With its latest gen i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a fast 256 PCIe SSD, you can rest easy knowing that power is abundant. What makes this package so great is the fact that you also get a 1TB hard drive and a very decent Full HD, 15.6" display.

HP Envy 15t

HP Envy 15t

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Lenovo E570 - Lenovo's E570 high performance laptop is one of the best buys right now. This is basically what happens when a brand disregards the modern design trends, which don't do much for the core performance. Instead, Lenovo focused on packing the E570 full of proper hardware that gets the job done. You could say that this laptop has that sleeper status thing going. In terms of raw specs, we have the Full HD 15.6" IPS display, an i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. One top of that, Lenovo E570 brings the industry standard GPU. We are, of course talking about NVIDIA GeForce GTX950M. Overall, this laptop is a very solid performer that is tailored for users on a budget.

Lenovo E570

Lenovo E570

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Lenovo's E570 high performance laptop is one of the best buys right now. This is basically what happens when a brand disregards the modern design trends, which don't do much for the core performance. Instead, Lenovo focused on packing the E570 full of proper hardware that gets the job done. You could say that this laptop has that sleeper status thing going. In terms of raw specs, we have the Full HD 15.6" IPS display, an i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. One top of that, Lenovo E570 brings the industry standard GPU. We are, of course talking about NVIDIA GeForce GTX950M. Overall, this laptop is a very solid performer that is tailored for users on a budget.

Acer Aspire VX 15

Acer Aspire VX 15

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Acer's lineup of gaming laptops hides some of the true gems of the market. It is fair to say that Acer Aspire VX15 is easily one of the best bang for the buck deals you can find at the moment. It comes in a somewhat bulky but ultimately stylish chassis, and offers proper hardware components. We're talking latest gen i7 quad core, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD. One of the reasons why it's so much cheaper than most other models on our list is due to its Full HD display. Even so, it is a very formidable package. If you are on a tight budget and still want a capable Windows laptop, this Acer is for you.

Role Of Computers In Modern Music Production

Evolution of computers and related technologies has profoundly change our world. One of the impacts of that change has to do with the way we can produce music today. With hardware getting faster and more powerful, it didn’t take long for people to develop software that would take full advantage of that new potential. Today, all you really need in order to produce music at home is nothing more than a laptop and a DAW of some kind.

Beginner producers and those looking to get into this field are often times wondering just how ‘professional’ can a track sound when mixed on a laptop. The answer is very professional. Even at most elite recording studios, a computer is still essential for music production.

What Makes A Laptop Good For A Recording Studio?

Even though it is a general consensus that most modern computers, desktops and laptops alike, are capable of being used successfully in music production business, some do it better than others. In general, there are three key components that will dictate the performance of any given computer. You have your CPU, available RAM memory and lastly storage. Each of these can create a bottleneck in your work flow, making it important that you find a configuration that meets the minimum demands. Let’s take a look at each of these components individually, and see what makes them so important.

CPU Power

CPU’s are the core of every computer. This chip is tasked with handling all computing tasks ranging from surfing the web, to rendering tracks. In context of music production, more CPU power means shorter processing times in post, as well as fluid handling of various plug-ins. DAWs in general tend to be bulky and resource hungry compared to other software you use on a daily basis. More basic CPUs might be able to handle a DAW, but the moment you start using more than a few plug-ins, you will essentially run into trouble. Since no producer knows how complex their next project might be, it is always a good idea to get as much headroom with CPUs as possible. This is especially true today where the difference between the current gen of CPUs and new ones isn’t that large.

RAM Memory

While CPUs are absolutely important, RAM memory tends to be the main cause of sluggish DAW performance with most users. RAM is essential to smooth work flow. Whenever you start a DAW and start loading multiple plug-ins, samples, effects and whatnot, all of that information is stored in your RAM memory. In order to have complete freedom during your work, we highly recommend that you go with 16GB of RAM. Some might even prefer 32GB, but those users are mostly working with a desktop configuration. Overall, 8GB is the bottom limit. If you go below that, you will find it extremely hard to work due to the serious impact on performance.

Storage

Before we go any further, it is important to understand that there are two types of storage you will run into these days. On one hand you have solid state drives, while the other side of the coin are hard drives. Both of these are important but they generally serve a different purpose.

Solid State Drives

SSD, or solid state drive, is a newer and much faster type of storage memory. We have just started seeing 1TB SSD models, but chances are you will run into 512GB and 256GB units for the most part. Generally speaking, this type of storage device isn’t something you want to use to store your finished products. In a normal setup, an SSD is where you install your operating system and all of the software you need. Due to its increased speed, a solid state drive will pull information, files and media much faster. In other words, it makes your whole system work much faster.

Hard Drives

On the other hand, HDD or hard drives are much slower. However, a hard drive is the perfect storage device to hold your finished products, samples and tools you might use. With that said, you can absolutely use HDDs as your primary storage, but expect all your software to start slower and generally work a little slower. The thing about HDDs and laptops is that they take too much space. That is why you rarely even see them these days. It is much better to get a laptop that has a decent SSD than an HDD. Hard drive storage is something you can easily get after the fact.

Other Components That Matter – Screen Size And Resolution

Aside from those three main hardware components, there are others which are important but ultimately don’t affect the performance that much. The first one that comes to mind is the display. Screen real estate is a powerful tool that can make your work flow much higher. The problem is that most laptops are physically limited to how much display surface they can offer. Most of our picks on this list feature a 15.6″ panel of some kind. However, some are Full HD while others are 4K. That is a huge difference as the latter allow for much more space.

When you start using DAWs seriously, you will quickly find out that every plug-in, every effect and feature, has its own little interface. Some are more complex than others, but they all take up a portion of your screen. having more pixels helps with organizing your work space better. Higher resolution panels allow you to arrange everything so that all of your tools are in plain sight. With low resolution panels, you are forced to open different tools as you use them.

Connectivity – Important For Recording Music At Home

Since you will most certainly be using all kinds of hardware accessories in your work as a music producer, connectivity becomes a real factor. Some laptops come with only a few USB ports, while others have many. Some feature USB 2.0, some feature USB 3.0. The difference between these is huge. Then you have your Apple laptops with their own proprietary data transfer platforms. It is generally better to have a diverse connectivity suite, as it allows you to connect various devices without having to get port extensions.

One of the main situations where proper connectivity is important, is when you want to record music at home. In most cases, you will be using some type of audio interface. Those audio interfaces designed for Windows almost always use USB to connect to your computer. Depending on their bandwidth, you might need a USB 3.0 to run them smoothly.

With connectivity, it all comes down to knowing your setup, or at least what you want your setup to be in the future. More is always better, so try to make sure that you get a model that has enough ports.

Choosing Between Apple OS and Windows Based Laptops

One of the most heated debates when it comes to music production hardware, is whether Windows based systems are better than Apple ones and vice versa. In our opinion, this argument is based on assumptions which miss the point completely. The question isn’t which laptop is better, but which DAW you are planing on using. Fact of the matter is that there are DAWs designed exclusively for Windows and those designed for Apple OS. That means that you choose the hardware based on your preferred software.

Without going further into this issue, since it is very personal for some producers, we advise you to check both platforms out.There are tangible benefits to both.

You Got Your Laptop, What Now?

Once you find a proper laptop model that fits your needs, it is time to plan your setup around it. Those who don’t travel much and generally do most of their work at home, need to think about two things. First one is external storage if the internal one is not sufficient. The other thing is an additional monitor. It is highly suggested that you get a desktop monitor as it is most likely going to be better in many ways than the one on your laptop. Having an additional monitor takes away a lot of eye fatigue out of the equation, while you can always use the built in one for something else. Increasing versatility can only help you in your everyday work. That much is obvious.

Conclusion

Laptops are still the most practical format of computers for music production. Especially for those who are just starting out. The models we’ve shown you today are by far some of the best you can find right now. We tried to show you both sides of the family, including Apple and Windows machines. On top of that, we chose models from various price ranges, which still deliver good performance. No matter which one you go with, you won’t find yourself limited in any way. All that is left for you to do is find a DAW and get to work.


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