Guide to the Best Laptops for Music Production
Music is like the ocean: it can change the flow of your entire mood, wash over you with emotion, and ease your body into a different state of mind, all with a few notes.
The best laptops of music production are essentially ships - manoeuvring, navigating, and taming the high Cs, and we’re here help you choose the perfect one for you and your audio journey.
Below, we’ll guide you through the best laptops of music production, discuss which factors you need to consider, and what music producers need in a laptop.
The Best Laptop for Never Worrying About Speed Again
Music production programs require speedy RAM (random access memory) and an ample amount of disk space to operate efficiently. If you want a workstation that runs music production programs like it was built for it, you need a computer with a premium processor and a substantial amount of RAM.
The best laptops of music production use elite processors with multiple cores, 2.4 GHz of computing power, and, at the very least, 8 GB of RAM. However, with all the rigorous programs, many in the digital audio field prefer a minimum of 16 GB of RAM.
The Best Laptop for Treasure Troves of Music Files
With online cloud storage, local storage isn’t as important as before because you can save your files on the internet – for casual computer users. But as we mentioned, music production takes a lot of heavy-hitting programs and big files that require massive amounts of storage.
The SSD (solid state drive) is the current favourite because it is lighter, more efficient, and faster than the traditional spinning hard disk drives. SSDs are also quieter and can be more reliable than traditional HDDs.
Your ideal laptop for music production should have plenty of storage for all of your music files, documents, samples, and programs. A single complicated track can tack up 1 GB, so it’s easy to see why digital audio professionals use at least 256 GB storage. Some music producers prefer to use a dual drive, which is both an SSD and an HDD, and increases speed and performance. Many producers also use an external hard drive for storage (though, if you get the right workstation, you won’t need to buy external storage, as the best laptops of music production come with 1 TB of storage or more).
The Best Laptop with Ports of Gold
With music production, you have tons of tools you need to use. Your perfect digital audio workstation has the basic ports, plus the extras you’ll need for producing music, with ports to spare.
Some are essential (the wireless mouse, high-def headphones, etc.), and others aren’t. The best laptop for recording music has all the basic ports, plus the extras you’ll need, with ports to spare.
The Best Laptop for Digital Audio Workstations
You’ll probably use a DAW (digital audio workstation), so you need a computer that can handle whichever one(s) you choose. DAWs require a huge amount of power, memory, and speed. However, you may be able to cut costs if you pay attention to your DAW. Digital audio workstations usually negate the need for a soundcard and other tools, so check that out before committing to a new computer.
The Best Laptop for Truly Free Traveling
The average battery life is anywhere from 1-5 hours, you should look for ones above 7. Plenty of laptops have a battery life of well over 10 hours, and some even up to a day!
Lenovo’s ThinkPad P Series mobile workstations have up to an impressive 16-hour battery life and are a new favourite of creative designers.
No Need to Compromise on Graphics
When it comes to graphics, you have two options: a dedicated GPU (graphics processing unit), which is independent from the processor, or an integrated GPU, which is powered by the processor.
With the latest technology, it’s not necessary to use a dedicated GPU unless you’re working with hardcore graphics like video games, VR, or similar. The newest integrated GPUs are more than capable of handling heavy workloads and producing high-quality graphics.
Factors to Consider
When searching for the best laptops of music production, there are a few key features you can’t afford to ignore.
Processor – You need a powerhouse processor for music production. The best processors have multiple cores and provide more than 2.4 GHz of computing power to ensure consistent multi-tasking.
RAM – Programs still rely on RAM for memory, so it’s important to have enough RAM to support your compute-intensive programs. The minimum amount of RAM required to cohesively run your programs is 8 GB, but you should stick to 16 GB or even 32 GB depending on how intense your workload is.
Storage (SSD, HDD, and External Hard Drive) – Cloud storage makes local storage a little less important, but the best laptops of music production use SSDs (solid-state drives), and some users may even choose to add on (or require) external hard drives. The minimum amount of storage a music production laptop should have is 256 GB, though most in the digital audio profession recommend at least a significant 512 GB – 1 TB of storage.
Plenty of accessory ports – The best laptops of music production have enough inputs to accommodate the necessary accessories like headphones and wireless mice, plus additional ports for the fun gadgets that are used less often, but still useful.
Wireless/Wi-Fi – If you’re uploading music online, you need Wi-Fi that’s fast. The new IEEE standard is 802.11ac (5 GHz, up to 1300 Mbps), which is almost three times the previous standard (802.11n, up to 450 Mbps).
Long-lasting battery – You want to run intense programs that will demand a lot from your battery, but you still need a full day’s work. Look for a workstation with excellent battery life. Don’t settle for anything less than 7+ hours, though the best workstations can surpass 10 hours on optimised mode.
Lightweight but sturdy – As a music producer, you’ll likely travel with your workstation frequently, so you need it to be light but still durable.
Display – Displays aren’t at the top of the list for music production, but you still need a screen with enough screen real estate to multitask and a clear, HD display. Most workstations come with a high-resolution display that will serve you just fine. The question is what size screen (about): small 13”, medium 15”, and large 17”, and how much screen real estate you need.
Graphics – Today’s processors have integrated GPUs that are worthy adversaries to dedicated GPUs, and if you’re not working with video, the latest integrated GPUs are enough for most music production task.
Webcam – A great webcam is crucial for any workstation in 2021. Online meetings, appointments, consultations, and more all require a high-definition webcam that provides a clear, crisp video (bonus points if you get a nice microphone, but most people like using headsets).
What Do Music Producers Need in a Laptop?
The best laptop for music producers has an out-of-this-world processor, a treasure trove of RAM, and killer speakers, but it also has a few other vital features.
The best laptops of music production have everything you need for producing the best tracks:
- CPU with multiple cores that can juggle the most hardcore programs
- At least 8 GB of RAM, though the preference is 16 GB + to avoid latency issues
- Over 256 GB of SSD storage – preferably 512 GB – 1TB +
- Fast wi-fi to upload files and post them on streaming services - 802.11ac (5 GHz, up to 1300 Mbps), is the new IEEE standard, which is almost three times the previous standard (802.11n, up to 450 Mbps)
- Lightweight yet durable
- Plenty of inputs (ports) to connect all your accessories
- High-resolution display that is large enough to view multiple windows side-by-side, to streamline tasks and avoid eye strain
- Long-lasting battery of at least 7+ hours; most music professionals prefer 10+ hours
- Webcam for online appointments, meetings, and consultations
Yes, music is like the sea, and you need the right vessel to have a successful journey.
With a powerful processor, loads of storage, and all the ports a vessel could need, the Lenovo ThinkPad P Series has what you need for recording music in one lightweight, sturdy and highly efficient workstation.