Music production

The best laptops for music production in 2020: Apple, ASUS, Lenovo

The featured products are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission on purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain verifiable data for accounting purposes.

There has never been a better time to record music at home. Modern computers have made it possible to make studio-quality recordings from the bedroom, and the Internet allows you to publish them to streaming services, opening up your art to a global audience. If you need a laptop upgrade and want to get started in music production, we’ve got you covered.

What are the best laptops for music production?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a laptop for music production; below are the most important, which we took into account when researching this list.

Processor: All of the computers below have a fast, modern processor from Intel, AMD, or Apple that will be able to handle anything you throw at them.

Storage: Because you are going to be creating and storing tons of songs, you will need hardware with a large amount of storage. You can still get an external hard drive, but it doesn’t make sense to buy a laptop just to buy an external hard drive. With that in mind, we recommend that you get a laptop with at least 128GB of storage.

RAM (Memory): Having a computer with a lot of RAM will allow you to work on larger projects without encountering any slowdowns. The computers in this guide are at least 8 GB, which is the minimum amount you will need.

Contributions: A computer’s inputs (more commonly known as ports) are what allow you to connect accessories to your machine. Each of our choices has a different assortment of ports, which you should seriously consider depending on how you intend to use your machine. However, all of them support WiFi and Bluetooth, so you also have a range of wireless connectivity options.

Operating system: The laptops below run either MacOS Big Sur (Apple’s operating system) or Windows 10 (Microsoft’s latest operating system).

Screen size: We chose computers with screens between 13 and 15 inches because they are great in terms of portability. If you need a larger screen, we recommend that you connect your computer to an external monitor.

1. BEST GENERAL: APPLE MACBOOK PRO

Apple

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro was designed to deliver premium performance without sacrificing aesthetics or battery life. It runs on the company’s custom M1 processor, which is significantly more powerful and energy efficient than Intel’s current line of chips. In our testing, the M1 handled intense tasks like editing and exporting 8K video without breaking a sweat, so you should have no problem producing dense and complex tracks without a hitch. The only thing to keep in mind is that a lot of software has not yet been optimized for the M1.

In terms of specs, the new MacBook Pro has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. A 512GB model is also available if you prefer internal storage to carrying an external hard drive. While we generally recommend using a computer with more RAM, the M1 chip in the new MacBook Pro is much better at memory management, so it’s less of a problem. There is a 16 GB configuration from this computer if you prefer additional memory. The computer’s 13.3-inch “Retina” display has a resolution high enough that you can make clear and precise edits without fully zooming in on your track.

The MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt 3 / USB4 ports compatible with all USB-C accessories and a headphone jack, which is a bit basic when it comes to inputs. You can connect a new interface, like Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 directly to the computer with its included USB-C cable, but you might need an adapter if you have older recording hardware. We recommend Pluggable’s Thunderbolt 3 docking station, which allows you to connect USB-A accessories, a monitor, and an Ethernet cable to the machine.

The power and portability of the MacBook Pro makes it an excellent laptop for music production, whether you’re doing studio demos, recording live performances, or mixing and mastering tracks.

To buy:
Macbook Pro
at
$ 1,149.99

2.BEST CHOICE OF WINDOWS: ROG Zephyrus G15

ROG Zephyrus G15

Amazon

If you’d rather use Windows instead of MacOS, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is a great choice for music production.

It was designed for gamers, which means this laptop is extremely powerful. It comes with 16GB of RAM, 1TB (terabyte) of storage, and runs on an AMD Ryzen 7 processor that can run up to 4.2 GHz. These technical specifications mean that the Zephyrus G15 can hold hundreds of hours of audio files and easily perform complex edits and lengthy exports. The PC also has 6 GB of video memory thanks to its integrated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card.

The Zephyrus features a 15.6-inch 1080P display, which gives you a wide canvas to work on as you record, mix, and master. It’s a lower resolution screen than Apple’s MacBook Pro, but it’s still a big, big screen. Asus has equipped this laptop with four USB-A ports, one USB-C port and one HDMI port, so you should have no trouble connecting all your accessories without needing an adapter.

This laptop is a great choice for music production, but its high-powered graphics card also makes it a solid choice if you’re into video editing or gaming. It is a high end Windows laptop that will serve any musician for many years to come.

To buy:
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15
at

3. BUDGETARY CHOICE: LENOVO YOGA C740

Lenovo Yogavook C740

Lenovo’s Yoga C740 offers the best value for money, and it’s a great machine for a musician or home producer.

The Windows 10 laptop has a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, which is pretty good considering its modest price tag. The laptop has two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C port, and one USB 3.0 port. This is a healthy range of inputs that will work with all of your current and future recording equipment.

The main feature of the Yoga C740 is that its 14 inch 1080P screen can be flipped 360 degrees. The touchscreen can be used like a tablet, which means you can make quick changes to your music using your finger instead of a touchpad and slider. If you’re more comfortable with an iPhone or iPad for creative work, this is a must have feature.

It might not be as powerful as the other laptops on this list, but Lenovo’s Yoga C740 holds up at almost half the price.

To buy:
Lenovo Yoga C740
at
$ 654.25


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