Buyer's Guides

Best Laptops For Music Production 2024: Make Pro-Sounding Music On The Go

It’s no secret that hit songs have been made on laptops. It’s becoming increasingly common for musicians and producers to open a DAW session on their laptops, rather than hire out an expensive studio space. The likes of Skrillex have made some of their biggest tracks on a humble laptop setup, as were beats sent to Kendrick Lamar that went on to be some of his biggest songs. That said, this doesn’t mean any old laptop will do the job — when investing in a new device, you’ll want to ensure you get one of the best laptops for audio production available.

Just like a desktop computer, a laptop can be the epicentre of your music centre, connecting your soundcard, speakers, microphone, MIDI keyboards and controllers. Making sure you purchase a music production laptop that can handle all of these, plus VSTs, effects plugins, the needs of your DAW and more, is the key thing to consider. The good news is, there are many incredible laptops, both PC and Mac, that are up to the job. Bear in mind that a lot of the computers below can be bought refurbished for big savings, and the environment will thank you.

So, Headliner is here to get your music production supercharged with the best music producer laptops on the market today, to suit all budgets. Let’s get charged up!

Acer Swift 3 AMD

If you’re looking for the best music producer laptop on a budget, and you don’t mind if said laptop doesn’t look like it belongs in a music studio, then say hello to the Acer Swift 3 AMD. Don’t judge it too much on its rudimentary looks, it is chiefly promoted as a laptop for students, after all. Besides its unbeatable price tag, it boasts a strong enough performance to leave you wondering if you should really splash out on Microsoft or Apple. That said, don’t expect the slicked HD screen compared to the others here or earth-shattering onboard sound. But with up to 16GB memory, a choice of graphics cards and more, it absolutely gets the job done if you need a music producer laptop to start your journey, before spending more further down the line.


Microsoft Surface Pro 9

As we peer through the windows at the best music production laptops money can buy, Microsoft was guaranteed to come up sooner rather than later. And particularly thanks to the Surface Pro 9, the game-changing device which combines the worlds of tablet and laptop. And a tablet with a 12th Gen i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD drive is not to be scoffed at. This beastly power means it would take a ridiculously over-the-top DAW session before you begin noticing any minor performance issues. Everything looks wonderful on its fantastic screen, and many producers love being able to edit sessions with their hands on the screen rather than a mouse. And it can become even more portable when you separate the tablet and keyboard.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be able to hit a perfect crow pose or downward-facing dog to be eligible to get a ThinkPad X1 Yoga from Lenovo. Because it is very much one of the best laptops for audio production out there, thanks to being another tablet-meets-laptop, plus the power of the 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors from Intel. Definitely consider going for the full 16GB if your budget allows. The connectivity makes it one of the most music production-friendly laptops in existence: Two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-Cs, HTML 2.0 and two USB Type-A ports.


Dell XPS 13 Plus Laptop

Offering a harmonious blend of style, quality, and performance, the XPS range rivals even top-tier gaming laptops when it comes to overall value. The latest iteration boasts a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1230U and an impressive InfinityEdge Anti-Glare display. While perhaps not the headline feature that might captivate a music producer's attention, this laptop proves to be an excellent choice for various tasks, from immersive film-watching experiences to general awe-inspiring moments. Beyond the sleek 13-inch model, there's also a beefier 15-inch variant for those seeking more power. However, for most users, the XPS 13 emerges as an enticing and well-rounded package, showcasing Dell's commitment to delivering a compelling computing experience.


Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2024)

When seeking the best laptop for audio production, it's worth looking at the gaming market. Gaming and rendering require a high-spec, and while the graphics capability of many gaming machines is likely more than you'll ever need for music production, many home or project-studio producers are multi-talented creatives these days, and could benefit from the additional graphics power for YouTube content creation. Depending on your budget, you can configure the machine with an AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 processor, and up to a massive 32GB of memory. All models come with a fast SSD hard drive. The more affordable models are stocked with 512GB, while the top-end machine is equipped with a healthy 1TB drive. If you want a laptop that also looks loud (to put it mildly), you may have met your match!


HP Envy Notebook x360

Hewlett-Packard enters the best laptop for audio production conversation with its HP Envy Notebook, an excellent all-rounder when it comes to music production. Easily portable and with a longer battery life than most of its rivals, it offers maximum convenience, while its 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and a 13.3” full HD touch display make for an excellent user experience across the board. HP often has fantastic deals for its laptops on the official website, so you can snag one at a great price. Its full-sized backlit keyboard and touchscreen also offer music creators a variety of ways to work.


Razer Blade 18

Billing itself as ‘the ultimate desktop replacement’, the Razer Blade 18 is an absolute beast that overdelivers. You could even say it’s verging on overkill for the needs of most musicians and producers looking for the best music producer laptop — but it’s nice to know you’re covered, right? The 18-inch screen is one of the biggest you’ll see on a laptop – perfect for huge DAW sessions, or Netflix and chill. It can go up to 64GB RAM and 8TB SSD, which is, quite frankly, insane for a laptop. Whatever music or game you send its way, expect very high speeds and performance.


Apple MacBook Air M1

Perhaps you are sceptical that any MacBook without ‘Pro’ in the title is worthy of being included in the best laptop for audio production conversation. That may have been true, until the MacBook Air went Super Saiyan thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s M1 chip. What this means is that this MacBook will almost certainly cover the needs for most home producers now. 8GB-16GB and up to 2TB SSD will more than cover most. Another big factor here is how freakishly weightless this MacBook is, hence the ‘Air’ title. So if you make music a lot on your travels, this is a great one to consider.


Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 exemplifies Microsoft's progress in laptop design, featuring a premium build with a touch screen and enhanced performance driven by the latest 13th Gen CPUs from Intel. It not only boasts powerful capabilities but also offers commendable battery life, catering to the needs of those who engage in on-the-go recording or editing tasks. Being a Microsoft product, it serves as a platform to showcase the company's software, particularly highlighting the capabilities of Windows 11. The laptop's built-in speakers, despite the compact size, deliver impressive audio quality. While it could benefit from a few more ports, overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 stands out as an excellent choice for music production enthusiasts.


Apple M1 Macbook Pro

And, inevitably, here comes Apple again with the MacBook Pro Air, powered by the M1 chips designed for the Mac. When compared to the previous-generation 13-inch model, this MacBook Pro delivers massive gains in performance for the most complex workflows. Designed with music producers in mind, it applies a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time, featuring fast unified memory and increased memory bandwidth. Up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD storage means you can expect supercharged music performance. A lovely update is Logic Pro now comes with a complete set of tools for spatial audio music — allowing anyone to mix and export their songs in Dolby Atmos for Apple Music.


Dell XPS 17

Like the Razer Blade 18, Dell’s XPS 17 isn’t just for those seeking out the best music producer laptop, but also an absolutely gigantic screen. Ease your fears if you’re fretting that it will be too big and unwieldy to carry about with you, as Dell have somehow made this device quite light for its size. Nor will you be complaining about its Intel Core i9 processor, or the massive 64GB of RAM. In plain speak, run any music software and any size project on this laptop, and you’ll be breezing away with ease. Said performance comes with a price tag, but well worth it if you have enough liquid assets to cover it.


Apple MacBook Pro M3

First things first, if you go for the max storage of 48GB Unified Memory and 1TB SSD Storage, a 16” screen and an Apple M3 Max chip, you’ll be forking out over four grand, or spending the next 36 months paying this laptop off if purchased new from the Apple website. If you’re wondering how that could ever be remotely worth it, let us explain. The sheer power of that M3 chip, the godly amount of RAM, the choice of lovely, big 14” or 16” screens are the justification. Making music on this thing is quite simply joyful. You may find yourself wondering how you ever did without it. As an experiment, you could have dozens of tabs open and then open as many tracks with as many plugins feasible in your DAW, and this MacBook won’t break a sweat. A wonderful machine, if your chequebook is feeling confident.


FAQ: How to choose the Best Laptop for Music Production?

When choosing the best laptop for music production, consider these updated factors, including Apple's M-series chips:

  1. Processor (CPU): A powerful processor is crucial. For Apple users, M-series chips (like M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max) offer excellent performance for music production. For Windows, look for Intel i5/i7/i9 or AMD Ryzen processors.
  2. RAM: Aim for at least 16GB of RAM. More RAM ensures smoother handling of large sample libraries and multiple plugins. Apple's M-series laptops often come with integrated high-performance RAM.
  3. Storage: Prefer SSDs (Solid State Drives) for fast data access. A capacity of at least 512GB is recommended to store your DAW, plugins, and projects. Apple's M-series laptops offer high-speed SSDs which are great for audio production.
  4. Audio Interface Compatibility: Ensure the laptop has the necessary ports (USB-C, Thunderbolt, etc.) for your audio interface and peripherals. Apple's M-series laptops typically include Thunderbolt ports, offering high-speed data transfer and connectivity.
  5. Display: A larger, high-resolution screen is beneficial for handling complex projects. Apple's laptops are known for their high-quality displays, beneficial for detailed audio editing.
  6. Battery Life: Long battery life is important, especially for on-the-go production. Apple's M-series chips are known for their energy efficiency, offering extended battery life.
  7. Build Quality and Portability: For frequent travel, choose a sturdy yet lightweight laptop. Apple's M-series laptops are known for their solid build and portability.
  8. Operating System: Choose between macOS and Windows based on your preferred DAW and software compatibility. The macOS on Apple's M-series laptops is optimized for performance and stability.
  9. Budget: Balance your budget with the laptop’s features. Apple's M-series laptops can be more expensive but offer high performance and longevity.

Remember, the best laptop for music production depends on your specific needs, including the type of music you produce, your workflow, and whether you prefer macOS or Windows ecosystems.

Further reading:

Best Desktop Mac & PC Computers for Music Production