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Picking The Best Laptop for Music & Audio Production

How To Choose A Good Laptop For Music Production

Until recently, conducting quality music production programs on laptops was never the most reliable choice. Laptops had simply never been as powerful as the higher-end desktops at running the best music software, so I wouldn’t have recommended starting up your music production career on a portable computer. However, changes and improvements in technology happen incredibly fast these days, and music production on some of the recent models of laptops (we will go over shortly) has gotten rid of many of the old model’s issues and is now a much more viable option.

High Performance Laptops For Music Production

Newer laptops have the power needed to run more advanced music programs and your favorite DAW’s (digital audio work-station). You may need to buy your programs, software, and virtual instruments separately, but the hardware built under those keys you’re typing on is sufficient to operate whatever you need. Perhaps the greatest convenience these models provide is the ability to do much work outside of the studio when on the go, helpful in cases where you are struck with genius inspiration while on a plane or bus.

This article will outline some of the basic pros and cons for going with a laptop as your primary means of doing your audio engineering work, and provide some insight on which laptops may be the best value and most effective.

best computer for music production

The New Macbook Pro is Amazing

Can You Really Produce Music On A Laptop?

The short answer is yes. Today’s laptops are equipped with the resources to process all the computations made by quality audio software.

The Pros:

  • Whisper quiet (especially Apple products)
  • Can be great for some live events
  • Excellent for spur-of-the-moment inspiration
  • Mobility makes it easy to collaborate with others
  • Mobile storage. You can review your stored loops and samples on the go
  • You can show off your creations on the fly

The Cons:

  • You need laptop-friendly Audio Interfaces
  • Minimal audio connections
  • Inability to easily upgrade
  • Less stable than desktop
  • While still competent, may still be less than powerful than desktop
  • Can be damaged or lost more easily
Discussing The Cons of Producing On A Laptop

We’ve outlined the good and the bad—but how bad is the bad?
Well, while you probably have the common sense not to forget your expensive portable computer on a bus seat or in the library, there is still an increased risk of losing it, as opposed to a desktop at home. The fragile nature of a laptop, especially one of the extremely thin models like the MacBook Air, is also a serious factor to consider.

Also, from a technical standpoint, many laptops are equipped with some basic sound editing and video-creation software, but the meat of the high-end programs you might want to use will have to be acquired separately, and adding the best software may be incredibly expensive and push the processing power of the laptop to its limits, depending on your audio engineering needs.

One of the biggest conveniences of desktops is how easy it is to switch out old parts for new, upgraded ones. It usually takes mere minutes to upgrade RAM or power supply on a desktop, while such an undertaking may be a bit more perplexing.

The Verdict?

Ideally, a good desktop is still the best way to go.  But if you have your heart set on good engineering music on a laptop, you still have some viable options.  In a perfect world, you might have both, but that isn’t cheap or necessary for every case.  So, if you go for a laptop, be conscious of the potential risks mentioned above, and it may be wise to invest in cloud storage, external hard drives, and other methods for backing up your stored hard work and creativity.

Here is a helpful chart of some laptop options for your recording needs.  Prices are approximations and may vary by which outlet you purchase from.

Which Laptops Should I Get?

Below is a chart of some great laptops you can use to record/produce on.

ImageNamePriceSystemRatingLink

Apple MacBook Pro$1,129.98Mac4.5 StarsAmazon
Apple MacBook Air$1,111.78Mac4.5 StarsAmazon
ASUS K55A$568.00Windows4 starsAmazon
ASUS N56VJ$905.72Windows4 starsAmazon
ASUS G75VX$1,319.97Windows4.5 StarsAmazon
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