For most musicians recording music at home now, the laptop (or computer) will be the most important part of the studio. So with that in mind it is worth dedicating a hefty chunk of your studio setup budget. So it may seem crazy spending over $1000 at first, but if it will last you a long time and you are serious about making music that sounds great then it is worth it. Trust me, it took me buying about 3 cheap laptops and a lot of frustration to finally realize this.
Below are my current recommendations for a few different categories, I will update this list reguarly so keep checking back for the latest advice.
Minimum specs you should look for?
If you want the in-depth details into why these are the minimum specs I think you should look for when buying a laptop for music production then check out this detailed article I wrote.
But in summary the minimum specs are:
- At least 2.2Ghz i7 quad-core processor
- At least 4GB of RAM
- 64-bit operating system
- At least 256GB of internal storage (HDD or SSD)
- At least a 15-inch screen.
Mac or Windows?
I will admit, I am a little bit biased on this one. I tried and failed with a few windows laptops when I first started out making music at home, I had issues with latency and they never really lasted many years before problems started to appear.
I’d always thought that Apple products were overpriced and could never be worth the extra hundreds of dollars over the windows alternatives. But after being told to make the switch by friends over and over, I decided to save up and buy myself an Apple MacBook Pro.
And I have to hand it to those friends, because since buying one I have never looked back. The latency issues have gone, the battery life is still good after years of heavy use and of course, they look great too.
But since this, laptops have come a long way and there are now many great Windows options available too. So it really is a matter of personal preference.
Another thing to bear in mind is which Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) will you be using? Some DAWs like Logic will only work on Apple, so if that is your DAW of choice then you can’t opt for a Windows laptop.
Top Overall Pick
Apple MacBook Pro
As mentioned above, I am now heavily biased towards Apple laptops for home music production (sorry!). I am currently using a MacBook Pro from around 2015 and it still runs great. It has a 2.7GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage.
This is the great thing about Macs for me. All my Windows laptops have lasted just a couple of years of heavy use but my MacBook still feels like new even after 3 years of very heavy use.
If you want a nice new shiny one then I would recommend this one. It will give you a 2.6GHz, i7 processor, 16gb of RAM and 512GB of storage.
Best Windows Option
The new Asus ViviBook laptops are packed with features for the money. You get i7 processors, 8GB of RAM (16GB available) and a nice big 17 inch screen. They also look really cool too (if that bothers you), giving the stylish look of the MacBook a run for its money.
Best Budget Laptop For Music Production
Lenovo Ideapad 330
If you are on a budget I would recommend looking for a pre-owned version of the laptops mentioned above. Getting a new one is ideal of course, as you get the maximum lifespan out of it, along with a full warranty and the piece of mind. But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far then second-hand versions on eBay are probably the next best thing.
That said, with technology advancing so fast now there are some new options available that have specs that begin to rival the higher priced models and are capable of producing music on.
Lenovo makes great laptops and the Ideapad 330 comes at an affordable price with specs high enough for music production. It has a quad core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, 1 Terrabyte!! of internal storage and a 15.6 inch screen.