Need to find the a laptop for music production in 2017? which laptop is the best one for me? If you are not sure, read on for more detailed but if you are in a rush here are some of my recommendations for the Best Laptop for Music Production - but read below to see why Mac is the choice of the Pro's.
|Image||Item||Screen Size||USB Ports||Notes||Price||Link|
|Apple MacBook Pro Retina||13.3"||2||Retina display is great for plugins and virtual instruments||$$$||Check Current Price|
|Apple 13 Inch MacBook Pro||13.3"||2||Non-Retina version is the cheaper way to get the professionals choice||$$||Check Current Price|
|Apple MacBook Air||13.3"||2||Seriously light laptop with lots of power, suitable for any demanding music production||$$||Check Current Price|
|HP Pavilion 15 Gaming Notebook Intel i7||15.6"||3||Great all round laptop for music production and PC gaming||$$$||Check Current Price|
|Acer Gaming Laptop i5||15.6"||3||i5 - cheap laptop for music production and light gaming.||$$||Check Current Price|
I totally understand your situation, you would like to have the best laptop for music production for the money you have, but you are scared to death of choosing the wrong one. So here are the suggestions that should help you with your decision.
To narrow down your purchase options, let’s settle an age old debate.
MAC or PC?
If you ask this question to enough mixing/recording/producing guys "Which is the best laptop for music production?", the vast majority will tell you: Get a MAC!
I work myself on MAC as well and totally agree.
And the reason?
Firstly, MAC is an industry standard. All big recording studios, and also the biggest music producers work on MAC (historically, the first version of professional DAW Pro Tools, back in 90s, was originally designed for Macs). From my own personal experience – and I used to work with both MAC and PC – Mac will give you better stability, performance, and overall workflow.
If you go with Mac, you won’t be sorry.
However, if you still thinking about PC, you have to realise that not all software (DAW/plugins/VST) run on both platforms. So before making any decision, you should have a clear idea what DAW you going to work with. For all PC laptop buyers, scroll down for more recommendations.
As I’m a big fan of MACs for music production, the next question is coming out….
MacBook PRO - get portable power in your bag
The majority of the DJs, music producers, musicians and other music makers are using this little guy. You can find a lot of pictures of them all over the internet.
MacBook PRO is Apple's flagship and blends a lot of power along with some handy capable features.
Great portability gives you everything you need to record and make music on the way. Mounted SSD drive speeds up everything so you can better focus on your music production.
There are basically 2 types of MacBook PRO: MacBook PRO classic or MacBook PRO with Retina display.
From my personal experience, once you try Retina display laptop you won't go back.
In todays world of plugins and virtual instruments big screen resolution is becoming more and more preferable solution for all music producers. It can speed up your workflow and gives you better overview of your project, so it is much easier to manipulate with your tracks, channels, etc...
MacBook Pro is probably the best laptop for music production. This is an option for all, who want to keep their studio light and mobile, fast and reliable.
MacBook Air - best laptop for music production for its lightness
MacBook Air is a seriously light laptop with lot of power, suitable for any demanding music production.
Even if the supplied super fast 128 GB flash drive isn't a huge one, MacBook Air is packed up with 2 USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt connection so there is a plenty of portability to expand your dock station. Also, later on you can still upgrade your SSD flash drive to 256 or 500GB.
MacBook Air is nice and light though, and great for carrying to and from sessions.
A great machine for portable music, so incredibly light and great battery life & cheap as chips for such a high quality Mac.
MacBook Air works great with Logic and Ableton Live.
I was able to run 128 PlatinumVerb instances and 38 Space Designer instances. As a comparison, the 17‑inch MacBook Pro I tested three years ago, which had a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, managed 150 PlatinumVerbs and 54 Space Designers. Looking at software instances, the MacBook Air managed 144 Sculpture voices (18 instances each playing eight voices), 768 EXS24 voices (using 16‑bit samples) with the filter disabled, and 448 voices with the filter enabled. The 2007 17‑inch MacBook Pro was capable of 160 Sculpture voices, and 896 and 512 EXS24 voices with filter enabled and disabled respectively.
Mac Mini - best Mac for its price
It is cheap. Maybe it is not as fast as other Macs, it also doesn’t include monitor, anyhow for someone who is about to build his first recording home studio, Mac Mini is sufficient.
Remember, you are getting all the benefits of working with Mac OS X for very reasonable price. The great thing about the Mac mini is that it has four USB 3.0 sockets, as well as two Thunderbolt 2 connections, SDXC Card Slot, Gigabit Ethernet and a HDMI output socket; as well as Audio In and Audio Out connections.
iMac - if you want all in one solution
Also, it has nice large screen. It looks stylish and awesome on the table, in your home recording studio.
Mac PRO - not just the best laptop for music production but the only solution for all music professionals
Once you upgrade to Pro Tools HD, Mac Pro becomes your only one option. If being a music producer is your desired dream, sooner or later you will end up with Mac Pro.
Speed of the sun – you will never be bothered, how many tracks/plugins you can use
Huge, huge storage – for everything – projects, plugins, sample libraries
Extensive customization – RAM, storage, processing cards…you can add/remove whatever you want
Tons of inputs/outputs – big flexibility, you can have multiple monitors, all you can eat, see and hear:)
For all MAC and Apple haters...
If for some reasons you are one of them, fair enough. Windows PC can be just as stable as MAC if you know how to tame it.
Let’s have a look at best PC laptops for making music:
What you need to look at before getting a music production laptop.
If you don’t have that crazy money, don’t buy it and choose the cheaper one. The point here is to start working on your music as quick as possible, for upgrading there is still plenty of time later on.
It Should be FAST
Yep, that’s right. If it is not FAST today, later on, you will have serious issues as technology progress is really on the speedy highway. Recording software (DAW), all that applied plugins and virtual instruments that will make your music sound cool and fresh take a lot of resources! Here are the things you need to consider, before getting speedy one:
RAM - It is the most important thing. More RAM = better performance and stability. The good thing about RAM is that you can always upgrade it, it is like pressing Turbo Boost button, and your computer will get always a bit stable and faster. RAM can dramatically affect your production workflow and computers performance. It is recommended to get a computer with at least 4GB RAM.
Processor - Your top concern. Choose carefully, because this part is not upgradable. Keep up with today’s standard. It should be above 1.7GHz and more. If you run a lot of VSTs, plug-ins and even multiple applications simultaneously, you will need a lot. Go for at least an i5.
Hard drive - The better performance = the faster you want your computer to serve up your data. The average speed of HDD should be 5.400 RPM and more. You can always buy bigger HDD for your projects later on, however internal HDD work with your computer more smoothly and faster. If you have some spare money, consider the investment into SSD. SSD drives are becoming more and more cheaper lately and even if they offer less space than a regular HDD for that money, their writing speeds is blazing fast. SSD drives work great for recording multiple simultaneous tracks or lots of file transfers.
For some of you keeping your studio mobile ready will be important. Anyhow, finishing mixing, or making new recording(s) on the way can be fun! If you’re taking the laptop out, then you need more battery life.
Don't forget on USB ports as well, you will need them to hook up your gear (however you can easily fix the lack of ports with USB hub). Personally, I wouldn't be bothered with Fireware connection as new USB ports are much more faster.
So, hopefully now you'll be a bit more knowledagbe about the best laptops for music production.