The newest generation of laptops is more capable than ever of doing the work of a desktop, and many musicians and producers are switching to portable over static to fit in with their lifestyle. Laptops are great for music editing: you can record and edit songs and clips on the go, move between studios easily and keep all your wok files in one place. You can also take your laptop to performances and use it as part of your home studio set-up; the possibilities are endless. If you are trying to find the best laptop for music production, we hope our guide and reviews can point you in the right direction. Read on for details of this year’s top laptops.
Choosing a laptop for music production
It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional producer or experienced musician, or just an amateur artist looking to make something of your hobby: you are going to need a decent computer if you want your music to sound good. How much you want to invest and how powerful a machine you will need depends on how much you will use it for music editing, and the kind of programs you want to use on it. Set yourself a budget and look for great value – you want lots of storage space, a good central processor and a nice, clear display as well.
If you are just starting out in music production as a student or an artist, you may be wondering which software you will need to run. There are plenty of music editing applications and programs available, and they suit different purposes in different ways. Apple has its own specific software, exclusive to its own devices, but you can also install your own music production programs on a Mac computer. The laptops in our reviews will support a wide range of editing programs, including:
- Apple Logic Pro (Macs only)
- FruityLoops/FL Studio
Take a look at our top picks of 2016’s laptops for music editing and production:
Apple MacBook Pro MF841LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop
- Size: 8.62 x 12.35 x 0.71 inches; 3.5 pounds
- Display: 13.3 inch screen; 2560×1600 pixel resolution; Intel Iris 6100 graphics
- Power: 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 processor; 8 GB RAM; OS X El Capitan
Many music producers and artists will tell you that when it comes to their work, it simply has to be an Apple Mac. Once of the qualities Apple is best known for is its ability to make professional machines for the creative fields. This MacBook Pro is no exception, delivering the same excellence and class you would expect from an Apple laptop.
With a battery life of up to ten hours, this is a great computer for on the go. It features an impressive HD display which is bold and clear, a reasonable sounding audio and plenty of connectivity options. The power is sufficient for medium to heavy use and overall functionality is impressive – however, you do pay significantly more for the Apple brand.
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-76YK 15.6-inch Full HD Notebook
- Size: 15.02 x 10.2 x 1.19 inches; 5.3 pounds
- Display: 15.6″ screen; 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution; NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics
- Power: 2.5 GHz Core i7 6500U processor; 8 GB RAM; 256 GB internal drive
Plenty of internal memory and the option to upgrade for more space make the Acer a good choice if you do a lot of editing and have a lot of files. Steady and smooth in performance, the i7 processor makes a big difference to this Aspire model from Acer. The design may not be to everyone’s tastes and this is the heaviest model we reviewed, but it is certainly robust and durable so it could be a good choice if it will spend a lot of time in transit.
The stereo speakers might let this model down a little, but you can always connect to a better speaker system using the USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports or over the Bluetooth 4.0 link. The battery life is also impressive at around 12 hours: perfect if you want a performance laptop that won’t cut at the last minute!
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW 15.6-Inch 4K Touchscreen Laptop
- Size: 10 x 0.8 x 15.1 inches; 5 pounds
- Display: 15.6″ screen; 3820 x 2160 pixel resolution; Nvidia GTX 960M 2G graphics
- Power: 2.6 GHz Core i7 6700HQ processor; 16 GB RAM; 512 GB drive
The ZenBook’s stand-out feature is its amazing 4K Ultra HD display, making it a popular choice with movie and game fans. However, it should not be overlooked as a great piece of music production kit. The high quality graphics are supported by an impressive quad-core central processor, roomy internal drive and faster wireless connectivity. It will run your music editing and audio production software with ease.
The touchscreen feature makes this a great alternative to a tablet. You can still enjoy your favorite recording and editing applications in the same way, and have fingertip control over edits. However, you also get the extra kick of a laptop’s power and the sleek, sharp design that makes it a more robust, sturdy option.
HP Spectre x360 13-4116dx 2-in-1 13.3″ QHD IPS Touch-Screen Laptop
- Size: 18 x 14 x 6 inches; 3.2 pounds
- Display: 13.3 inch screen; 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution; 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7 graphics
- Power: Intel CoreTM i7-6500U processor; 16 GB RAM; 512 GB internal drive
Another touchscreen hybrid, the Spectre will happily run your production software and applications with ease. Transfer your music files to the laptop with Bluetooth 4.0 power, or connect your microphones and instrument inputs with the USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. Microphone and speaker technology within the laptop comes from the audio specialists at Bang & Olufsen, making this laptop stand out from the crowd as a producer’s best choice.
Memory and storage space and sufficient for most uses but if the laptop will get heavy commercial use, you can upgrade the internal drive and also make use of compatible Cloud services. Windows 10 is included as standard and applications can be downloaded directly.
Lead image credit: Abd Majed via Pexels.com
All details correct at the time of writing, taken from Amazon.com