The 10 Best Laptops for Music Production (2022)

Investing in an adequately powered laptop is crucial for music production. The CPU power is the most important factor when choosing a laptop, because it directly impacts recording and the amount of virtual instruments, effects, and external plugins that it can process without distorting and lagging.

A low-powered laptop can be a serious barrier when producing music, and it can be quite a hassle to have to ‘freeze’ tracks in order to save CPU usage while producing. That said, it is possible to produce music on a reasonably modest laptop, particularly if you use the efficient stock plugins that come with your DAW and choose your external plugins wisely.

My top pick is Apple MacBook Pro M1 13”, as it is one of the most preferred laptops for music production with its impressive performance specs and long battery life.

If you do not want to break the bank and purchase something more affordable, you can go with the Asus VivoBook 15, which can get the job done with its decent processor and satisfying performance.

If you’re not sure where to get started, then also consider reading our article on How to Choose a Computer for Music Production.

The Best Laptops for Music Production (2022) – At a Glance

Let’s look at the full list:

1. Apple MacBook Pro M1 13”

Top Pick
Great quality build with macOS, which is ready out-of-the-box for audio.
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One of the most preferred laptops for music production is Apple MacBook Pro M1 13,” and there is a reason for that. Apple provides great possibilities for music creators with this laptop, which features the high-power M1 chip, more than 20 hours of battery life, up to 2 TB of SSD storage options, 8 or 16 GB RAM, 13.3” Retina display, and two Thunderbolt ports.

Pros

  • High CPU performance with M1 Chip
  • 20 hours battery life
  • 16 GB Ram & 512 GB SSD configuration options
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Only 2 Thunderbolt/USB ports
  • 13” screen
  • Pricey

All these features make this laptop a powerhouse for music production. Plus, it is pretty lightweight and portable (3 lbs). As the operating system is macOS, you have the possibility to work with great DAWs like Logic which is Mac OS exclusive.

Screen Size13.3”
Processor Apple M1
Ram 8 GB or 16 GB
Storage 512 GB / 1 TB / 2TB SSD
Operating SystemMac OS
Speakers Dual Stereo Speakers
Headphone Yes
Weight3 lbs (1.4 kg)

The laptop’s only letdown is its two USB 4 ports which can be limited if you work with many different devices. Besides that, Apple MacBook Pro M1 13” is an excellent laptop that can serve you for years if you want to get into serious music production.

If you do not want to spend much money on a laptop, the Asus VivoBook 15 is the right one for you. This model of the series is a great value for the price, featuring a 10th generation Intel Core i3 CPU, upgradable 8GB Ram, 15.6” Full HD display, 128 GB SSD storage, fast charging option, 4 USB ports, and a lightweight, portable design.

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Upgradable 8 GB RAM
  • Fast charge
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Only 128 GB SSD of storage
  • The LCD display is not the best

The features are more than enough for music production, yet you can upgrade most of them whenever you want. Overall, the battery life is not the best, but the fast charge option gives you more than 60% power in less than an hour. 

The 128 GB SSD as the only storage won’t be enough, so you might consider upgrading or buying an extra Hard Drive. Finally, the LCD is not the best, but it gets the job done as your job is with audio, not video.

Screen Size15.6”
Processor Intel Core i3 up to 3.4 GHz
Ram 8 GB
Storage 128 GB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Dual Stereo Speakers
Headphone Yes
Weight3.75 lbs (1.7 kg)

Overall, the Asus VivoBook 15 is a great portable and affordable solution for music producers who want a decent laptop for fundamental music production.

Lenovo Thinkpad E15 Gen 3 is one of the most durable laptops for music production with its incredible specs, fast processing, and sturdy design. It comes in a variety of different specs, but the model that we’re recommending comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU that works up to 4.3 GHz, 16 Gb upgradable RAM, 1 TB of storage with 512 GB SSD, 15.6” high-quality display, and 3 USB ports and a USB C port for charging (which can also work as an additional USB port and/or HDMI port as long as you get the relevant power-through adapter). 

Pros

  • Strong performance with AMD Ryzen 7 5700U (8 Cores)
  • 16 Gb Ram & 512 GB SSD
  • 15.6” FHD High-quality display
  • 2 USB-A Ports and 1 USB-C port (which can be used as an additional port as long as you have a power-through adapter or USB-hub)
  • Very Durable

Cons

  • Pretty boring laptop design (they’re often used as business machines).

The features are great on this laptop, which can easily support complex music production. However, the problems with cooling and high fan noise are the dark side of the moon. Finally, I must say, Lenovo sacrificed looks for durability with this model.

Screen Size15.6” LCD
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 CPU that works up to 4.3 GHz
Ram16 GB
Storage512 GB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
SpeakersDual Stereo Speakers
Headphone JackYes

Overall, Lenovo Thinkpad E15 Gen 3 is a good and sturdy laptop for music production, especially if you want to use this laptop for other projects or if you move a lot.

Dell XPS 15 9510 is an ultra-high-performance machine with incredible specs. It features the latest technology 8-core Intel i9 up to 4.9 GHz, 16 GB Ram (upgradable), 1 TB SSD, 5.6” FHD+ 16:10 display, a great number of ports with two USB-C type thunderbolt and an additional one with power delivery, long battery life of around 25 hours and GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB graphics card.

Pros

  • Strong performance with Intel i9 up to 4.9 GHz
  • 16 GB Ram & 1 TB SSD
  • 15.6” FHD+ 16:10 Display
  • Great number of ports
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Pricey

These performance features are what a music producer, a gamer, or a video editor would dream of having. The 16:10 display is ideal for working with different applications simultaneously, while the long battery life is great for using it on the go. Plus, the high number of ports makes the laptop more versatile.

Screen Size15.6” FHD+ .
Processor Intel i9 up to 4.9 GHz
Ram 16 GB (upgradable up to 32 GB)
Storage 1 TB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Quad Speaker 3D Audio
Headphone Yes

As you may have guessed, this high-performance laptop is one of the high-end products on this list. But, if you have the budget, this laptop would not let you down in any sense.

Asus Rog Strix Scar III is another high-end powerhouse laptop with high-performance specs. It features Intel i7 up to 4.5 GHz processing power, 16 GB upgradable Ram, and a 1 TB SSD for fast data transfer. Plus, 3 USB 3.1 ports and one USB-C port are very useful for connecting external MIDI controllers and an audio interface without having to use a USB hub, while a 15.6” FHD display with a touchscreen provides great comfort for control.

Pros

  • High CPU performance with Intel i7 up to 4.5 GHz
  • 16 GB RAM & 1 TB SSD
  • 3 USB 3.1 & USB-C ports
  • 15.6” FHD display with touch screen

Cons

  • Cooling issues
  • High fan noise
  • Higher-end product

The features are more than enough for music production with reasonable processing power requirements.

Screen Size15.6” FHD with touch screen
Processor Intel i7 up to 4.5 GHz
Ram 16 GB (upgradable to 32 GB)
Storage 1 TB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Dual stereo speakers
Headphone Yes

Overall, this is a great laptop for music production that can serve you for years without a drop in performance.

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is an incredible choice for music production as it features everything a music producer needs and dreams of. It has a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 0.7″ thin CNC aluminum unibody, three USB Type-A inputs, and a USB-C/Thunderbolt port.

Pros

  • High CPU performance with Intel i7 up to 4.6 GHz
  • 32 GB Ram & 1 TB SSD
  • 15.6 Inches 4K OLED Display
  • Elegant design

Cons

  • The speakers are not great

The latest tech CPU provides ultra-high processing power while 32 GB ram handles every project easily. 1 TB SSD and connectivity options give you versatility and speed. With this performance, you may think the heat may be an issue, but it is not as a liquid-filled copper vapor chamber takes care of the problem.

Screen Size‎15.6 Inches 4K OLED
Processor Intel Core i7 up to 4.6 GHz
Ram 32 GB
Storage 1 TB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Dual stereo speakers
Headphone Yes

The only thing to say against this performance beast is the poor speaker system, but as none of the music producers use the internal speakers, that is not a real problem. Overall, it is a very powerful machine that can handle high multitasking projects.

7. Apple MacBook Air M1

Lightweight laptop with decent performance and certainly able to handle reasonable amounts of audio processing.
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Apple MacBook Air M1 has similar specs with the Apple MacBook Pro M1 13,” but it is more portable and slightly less powerful. The base model comes with the great M1 Chip as the CPU power, 8 GB Ram, 256 GB SSD, 13.3” LED screen, ultra-lightweight and slim design, 2 USB & Thunderbolt ports, and a long battery life of around 18 hours.

Pros

  • High CPU performance with M1 Chip
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Long battery life, around 18 hours

Cons

  • A limited number of ports, only 2 Thunderbolt/USB ports (but they can be used with hubs for power/display and peripherals)
  • 13.3” screen

While the M1 Chip provides great performance for music production, 8 GB Ram and 256 GB SSD of the base model can be limited for serious music production. So, you might consider getting the 16 GB Ram upgrade along with the 512 GB SSD. Do not forget, MacBooks can not be upgraded later, so you will have to buy it with the upgraded version in the first place.

Screen Size13.3” LED
Processor Apple M1 Chip
Ram 8 GB or 16 GB
Storage 256 GB or 512 GB SSD
Operating SystemmacOS
Speakers Dual Stereo Speakers
Headphone Yes

This is the best laptop if you are an on-the-go musician. It is lightweight and slim and has enough power with the mentioned upgrades. Otherwise, the base version can be good for beginner music producers to learn the fundamentals.

The letdowns are the limited ports and the small screen size, but they are not dealbreakers. Overall, it is a great machine that can produce music with famous DAWs like Logic which is only supported in macOS devices.

Alienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS is a gaming laptop with good specs that can also be used for music produAlienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS is a gaming laptop with good specs that can also be used for music production. It provides high performance with Intel i7 CPU up to 3.8 GHz, 16 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, 15.6” LCD, and 2 USB-A and 2 USB-C ports. If you are into gaming, it also has a great graphics driver, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

Pros

  • High performance with Intel i7 up to 3.8 GHz
  • Sturdy design
  • 16 GB Ram & 1TB HDD

Cons

  • Relatively heavyweight
  • No SSD means your samples won’t load as quickly

This laptop is great for using multiple VSTs simultaneously or exporting extensive sessions. However, it is a heavyweight laptop that is not for carrying around. Also, it does not have an SSD, making the data transfer a bit slower.

Screen Size15.6” LCD
Processor Intel i7 CPU up to 3.8 GHz
Ram 16 GB
Storage 1 TB HDD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Dual Stereo Speakers
Headphone Yes

In short, Alienware AW15R3-7001SLV-PUS is a good overall laptop that can thrive both with music production and gaming. The price is also reasonable for the high specs it features.

Razer Blade Stealth 13 is another portable laptop for on-the-go musicians with great specs that is more than enough for serious music production. It is equipped with an Intel i7 processor working up to 4.6 GHz, 16 GB Ram, 512GB SSD, 13.3” FHD screen,2 USB-A and 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, and a lightweight (2.89 lbs – 1.31 kg) and sleek design for portability.

Pros

  • High CPU Performance with Intel i7 up to 3.9 GHz
  • 16 GB Ram & 512 GB SSD
  • Lightweight, portable and sleek design
  • Good amount of connectivity options

Cons

  • Higher-end product compared to other portable laptops
  • Average battery life
  • Poor speakers
  • 13.3” screen

The performance specs are great for music production as well as gaming. Many people compare Razer Blade Stealth to MacBooks due to its sleek design and reliable performance. Although this laptop is a higher-end product compared to MacBooks on this list, the specs are also higher in the right proportion.

Screen Size13.3” FHD
Processor Intel i7 up to 3.9 GHz
Ram 16 GB
Storage 512GB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Dual Stereo Speakers
Headphone Yes

The letdowns are the poor speakers, the small screen, and the average battery life, which lasts around 8 hours if used in medium power mode. It is not the ideal battery life for a portable laptop.

Overall, this is a good laptop for traveling musicians with high-performance specs and ultra-portability.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 comes in many different performance configurations depending on your budget and needs. You can choose between the different RAM, CPU, and SSD options while enjoying great features like the touchscreen and high portability as the laptop weighs around 2.83 lbs (1.3 kg).

Pros

  • Many configuration options
  • Long battery life or around 14 hours
  • Ultra-lightweight

Cons

  • Poor graphics card (which doesn’t matter as much for music production, but might impact your other uses of the laptop)
  • Only 1 USB port

Surface 2 is a great laptop for producers who want a versatile and comfortable laptop that can be used with out-of-the-box ideas. It comes with many accessories like Surface Dock, Surface Arc Mouse, and Surface Pen that provides high comfort while changing the laptop to a desktop computer or a tablet.

The cons are the graphic card and the lack of connectivity options that are not dealbreakers because you won’t need a good graphic card for music production. The Surface Dock provides more connectivity options.

Screen Size13.3” LCD Touchscreen
Processor Intel i5 or i7
Ram 8 GB or 16 GB
Storage 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1TB SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10
Speakers Omnisonic Speakers
Headphone Yes

Overall, Microsoft Surface 2 is a great portable laptop for music production with different features that make it unique. If you are a beginner in the music production world, you can go with a less powerful and budget version or have a high-performance machine for more serious projects.

Does the laptop’s operating system make a difference for Music Production?

The operating system gets important with the DAW you want to use. Some DAWs only work with particular operating systems. For example, Logic Pro, one of the most used DAWs today, only works with macOS.

Although most DAWs work both for Windows and macOS systems, you have to be careful when choosing your DAW and operating system. Check out our article on windows vs mac for music production.

How much storage do you need?

The recommended storage amount for music production is 500 GB of SSD storage. Everything will work faster and smoother if your operating system, DAW, plugins, projects, and other software are stored in SSD.

SSD products are not cheap, so you can try to go on with a 256 GB one storing your DAWs, plugins, and projects into it. But, if you have a high budget go with a 1 TB SSD drive to not worry about anything and have the comfort.

How fast should your Processor need to be?

You need at least a process such as an Intel i3 (or equivalent), ideally you should be aiming for something such as an intel i5 or i7 (or equivalent) so as not to experience glitches or any problems in your tracks.

Of course, there is no limit to processor power – the higher it is, the better. You can work on more complex projects without lags or problems with higher power.

You would be surprised at how quickly your CPU maxes out when using processor-intensive audio plugins.

How much RAM do you need?

The recommended minimum ram for music production is 8 GB. Other than that, RAM does not have a massive baring on audio processing.

How much screen size do you need?

Screen size is about comfort. It is easier to control tracks and navigate through your DAW with bigger screens. Although a 13.3” screen would be enough, I recommend 15.6” screens for more comfort.

It all depends on how many tracks you plan to work on and what DAW you intend to use.

How many USB ports do you need?

With only one USB port, you can certainly produce music as you can use a USB hub to have more connectivity options. However, it’s better to have more USB ports on your computer for two reasons. More USB ports mean more backup ports just in case one of them breaks at the wrong time.

Also, particularly if you’re using an older USB port, they might not be able to handle all of the power requirements if you’re using USB bus power to power multiple MIDI controllers or external drives (however in this case, you could alternatively use a powered USB hub).

As always, it’s nice to have more options of USB connectivity without the need for a USB hub. I would try go with at least 3 USB ports to connect MIDI controllers, drives, or any other device that may be needed, and then only use the USB Hub when needed.

What instruments or components will you plug in your laptop?

In theory, you do not need to plug anything into your laptop for music production, as you can manage everything with VST Instruments and plugins. However, using gear like MIDI Controllers (such as MIDI keyboards and drum pads, we cover all of this in our article about MIDI), audio interfaces if you are going to record instruments, and pair of speakers or headphones are almost a must for serious music production.

Verdict

To start producing music and benefit from the vast world of music production tools like DAWs, VSTs, and plugins, you need a powerful laptop. Depending on your budget, I recommend you to check the laptops on this list to step into the world of producing music.

My top pick is the Apple Macbook Pro M1 13” as it is the most preferred laptop for music production with its high-performing features and MacOs system.

If you want something more affordable, you can go with the Asus VivoBook 15, which features a great value for its price and would get you going with its decent specs, which you can upgrade later.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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