5 Best Laptops for Music Production in 2020 Reviewed

Most producers prefer using Apple Logic Pro, Steinberg Cubase, Image-Line FL Studio, or Avid Pro Tools, and there’s a big chance you’ll be using MIDI boards, turntables, and microphones as well.

This means an ordinary, cheap laptop won’t cut it. you need something that’s powerful, fast and yet portable. But picking the best laptop for music production out of 200+ models can be tough.

And there’s where we come in. We have narrowed the search down to 5 laptops so you can find a laptop based on your budget and needs in a jiffy.

Best Laptop for Music Production Reviewed

1. Apple MacBook Pro

Specs:

  • Processor: 10th Gen, i5 (3.8GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Graphics Card: Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • Display: 13.3″ (2560×1600)
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Weight: 3.10 lbs
  • Battery Life: 6-7 hrs

We’ll kick off this list with the latest Apple MacBook Pro. It ticks all the right boxes for a portable laptop that’s great for producers on the go. The MacBook Pro is sleek, lightweight, and runs one of the best DAW software, Logic Pro.  

What we like

Let’s kick off this review with the MacBook’s 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. This CPU ensures that the MacBook Pro can handle just about anything you throw at it, whether it’s through Logic Pro, Cubase, or FL Studio. 

The MacBook Pro also comes with 16GB of memory for smooth and optimal performance. It also guarantees that the laptop won’t lag when you’re working for quite some time. Paired with the 512GB solid-state drive, the MacBook is a speedy, reliable laptop for producers. 

You can easily purchase any further upgrades for the MacBook Pro from Apple, though they’re quite costly. Apple will upgrade the MacBook Pro up to 32GB of memory and 4TB of storage. 

The MacBook Pro has the best display of all the laptops here. For a 13.3-inch display, it’s got a high pixel density and offers up to 500-nits of brightness. Despite its size, the MacBook Pro has some very powerful specs under the hood, making it a portable powerhouse. 

Its portability is supported by how lightweight it is as well. The MacBook Pro weighs just about 3lbs, so most producers with home-studio setups who just need a laptop to take with them won’t worry about this laptop weighing them down. 

Another benefit to the MacBook Pro is the fantastic sound system. Any producer knows that you’ll need good speakers to play your creations back to you (or your clients), so you know you’re producing quality tracks. 

Downsides

One of the biggest downsides to Apple’s products is how costly their repairs or upgrades are. While the MacBook is extremely durable, any repairs you might need doing if anything were to happen to it will cost you a pretty penny, as much as any future upgrades you’d want for it as well. 

While 13.3-inches is fantastic for portability, the 16-inch variant is the go-to for most producers, as it offers more space to work on. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. 

The lack of ports is another issue we’ve found with the MacBook Pro is the lack of connectivity ports. While there are two Thunderbolt ports to work with, some users might have to purchase a hub extension to add more ports to connect their recording accessories to the MacBook. 

Pros

  • Powerful specs for production
  • Extremely portable and lightweight
  • Has two thunderbolt ports
  • Comes with excellent inbuilt speakers

Cons

  • Expensive upgrades and repairs
  • Not cost-effective
  • Purchase port extension

2. ASUS ROG Strix Scar III [Best Windows Laptop]

Specs:

  • Processor: 9th Gen, i7-9750H
  • CPU Speed: Up to 4.5GHz
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Graphics Card: GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB)
  • Display: 15.6″ (1920×1080)
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Weight: 5.67 lbs
  • Battery Life: 4-5 hrs

Now, if you’re looking for a flashier laptop with insanely powerful specs, you won’t need to look any further than the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III. Flashier producers and DJ’s can’t go wrong with this sleek, durable, and powerful laptop for all your creative needs. 

What we like

The ASUS ROG Strix Scar III comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, which clocks up to speeds of 4.5GHz. This is sure to give you enough power to meet all your producing needs, whether it be for recording, creating, mastering, and so on. 

It also comes with 16GB of memory, which gives you enough RAM to work without any hiccups or lag whatsoever. The speediness of this laptop is supported by its 1TB solid-state drive, which is sure to give you enough storage space for your files and ensures your laptop will start quickly as well. 

Not that you’d need to upgrade the Scar III, but you do have the option to upgrade both the memory and storage of this laptop. Having the option to upgrade both memory and storage increases the longevity of this laptop for production use.

This is a great choice for both aspiring and established DJ’s who have to carry their entire rig with them to play at venues and festivals. The ROG Strix Scar III is extremely sturdy, can take a beating, and was built to last with its aluminum deck, and looks just as good with its RGB keys. 

You can easily incorporate the ROG Strix Scar III as your main studio rig. It has tons of ports, making it easy to connect your MIDI board and other recording accessories. This makes the ROG Strix both powerful enough to be your studio rig, and convenient enough to take on-the-go as well.  

The ROG Strix Scar III comes with fantastic speakers. The bass coming from the sound system is incredible, and you won’t need to purchase additional speakers or headphones to listen to your work on this laptop. 

Finally, we’re pleased to say that the ROG Strix Scar III stays extremely cool, although the fans are loud. Even if you overclock both the CPU and GPU (like when playing your favorite games), the laptop won’t heat up and stays comfortably cool that you can easily place it on your lap.  

Downsides

The ROG Strix Scar III does stay quite cool, but you might find that the fans spinning while overclocking your laptop might be a distraction when working on your tracks. Despite the fantastic sound system for playback, you might want to consider purchasing headphones for when you’re producing. 

We also found that the display of the Scar III isn’t that bright, only offering the standard 250-nits of brightness, making it difficult to see in bright lighting. Let’s face it though, who’s producing music outdoors under the sun? 

Pros

  • Powerful specs for music production
  • Incredible speakers
  • Upgradeable storage and memory
  • Stays cool under heavy loads

Cons

  • Average display brightness
  • Loud fans

3. Lenovo Legion 5

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
  • CPU Speed: Up to 2.9GHz
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Graphics Card: Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • Display: 15.6″ (1920×1080)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 5.41 lbs
  • Battery Life: 4-5 hrs

If you’re looking for a more affordable option that still has some insanely good specs, you won’t have to look any further than the Lenovo Legion 5. This laptop feels so much more expensive than it is and looks just as good. 

What we like

Starting with the processor, the Lenovo Legion comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, which goes up to speeds of 4.2GHz. The CPU is almost as powerful as its Intel i7 counterpart, at a much more affordable price. 

With 16GB of RAM, you can be sure to work without experiencing any lag. When you pair this with the 512GB of storage, this laptop is a beast. At the price point of the Legion 5, these specs come at a steal. The Legion is sure to run smoothly and efficiently.

For anyone looking to use this laptop for a long time, you don’t have to worry about running out of space or it not being powerful enough in the future; upgrading both the memory and storage is easy, as the Legion 5 has an extra 2.5-inch slot and M.2 SATA slot. 

The Legion 5 has a bright 15.6-inch display, going up to 330-nits of brightness. You won’t get a screen with this kind of quality at this price point. It has a sleek, minimalist design, and is one of the less flashy-looking laptops listed here, but we still feel it’s a great choice for producers.

If you’re looking to have a laptop to add to your current studio setup, the Legion also offers tons of ports for you to connect your studio sound system, MIDI board, and other recording accessories. The Legion comes with four USB-3.0 ports, one USB-C port, and an audio jack for your headphones. 

The Legion 5 doubles as a great laptop to take with you on the go, as the build quality is fantastic. The laptop is solid and sturdy, so producers who want to take it on tour with them don’t need to worry about this laptop taking a beating. 

Drawbacks

One of our main issues with the Lenovo Legion 5 lies in its thermal cooling system. While the laptop itself doesn’t get uncomfortably hot with regular use, when running more intensive tasks, whether you’re editing your beats or recording your instrumentals or vocals, the Legion can reach temperatures of 100C.

The sound system of the Lenovo Legion 5 is alright, and that’s the biggest issue with it. We expected better from Harman Kardon speakers, and we were disappointed with this model. You should consider purchasing a good pair of headphones to use with this laptop if you’re planning on producing on-the-go.  

Pros

  • Great specs for its price
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Good inbuilt speakers
  • Expandable memory and storage

Cons

  • Gets quite hot
  • High volume makes the body rattle
  • Awkward USB Port placement

4. Dell XPS 13

Specs:

  • Processor: 10th Gen, i7-1065G7
  • CPU Speed: Up to 3.9GHz
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Graphics Card: Iris Plus Graphics i7
  • Display: 13.4″ (1920 x 1200)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.70 lbs
  • Battery Life: 4-5 hrs

If you’re looking for a great Windows OS laptop that feels just like, and costs just as much as Apple’s MacBook Pro, look no further than the Dell XPS. Powerful, sleek, and portable, the Dell XPS 13 is a fantastic choice for producers looking for an ultrabook to take with them.  

What we like

The hook of the Dell XPS 13 is that it’s quite similar to the MacBook Pro, but sports a much more powerful processor. It comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, which goes up to speeds of 3.9GHz, so you’ll have just about enough power to run your DAW.  

This laptop also sports the highest RAM among the laptops we’ve listed down for you, with 32GB of memory. You can run tons of programs simultaneously with no slowdown at all. To add to the speed and power of the Dell XPS 13, it has a 512GB SSD to store your files on, safe and sound. 

Though we couldn’t find any reason for you to need to upgrade the memory as it’s so large, the option is there. The storage can be upgraded as well, so you can add another HDD or SSD to the Dell XPS to give you even more space to store your files on. 

Because it’s a 13.3-inch ultrabook and not a gaming laptop, the Dell XPS is extremely portable. It weighs a little bit over 5lbs, so it’s heavy enough for you to be sure it’s durable, but light (and slim) enough to carry around with you when you hit the road. 

We were thoroughly impressed with the build quality of the Dell XPS 13. The 360-degree hinge is very well built, so if you switch from laptop-mode into tablet-mode, it isn’t likely to break. 

The display quality of the Dell XPS is fantastic. It’s clear and crisp and spending long hours in front of your screen when working won’t tire your eyes out.  

Drawbacks

Having 13.3-inches of display might take away from your work experience as it doesn’t give you as much room to view your screen. This might be an issue for users who need a larger screen to work on their DAW. 

We also found an issue with the speakers of the Dell XPS 13. While they’re quite loud and produce quality sound, the bass of the sound system doesn’t quite cut it for us. We suggest that you purchase a set of headphones to take with you when on the go.  

Pros

  • Powerful specs, similar to Mac, at a better cost
  • Massive amounts of RAM
  • Upgradeable RAM (unnecessary) and storage
  • Great value for money
  • Portable and compact

Cons

  • Average speakers

5. Razer Blade Stealth 13

Specs:

  • Processor: 10th Gen, i7-1065G7
  • CPU Speed: Up to 3.9GHz
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Graphics Card: GTX 1650 Ti (4GB)
  • Display: 13.3″ (1920×1080)
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.11 lbs
  • Battery Life: 3-4 hrs

If you’re looking for an extremely portable laptop that still sports gaming laptop specs, then look no further than the Razer Blade Stealth. It offers powerful gaming specs condensed in a 13.3-inch laptop, so you can produce (and play) wherever you are. 

What we like

The Razer Blade Stealth comes with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. This CPU clocks up to speeds of 4.5GHz. The Stealth provides more than enough power to run your DAW of choice. 

This laptop comes equipped with 16GB of memory to ensure there’s no lag when working with tons of programs. Paired with the 512GB solid-state drive, and you’ve got a performance powerhouse on your hands. You can easily upgrade the storage of the Stealth to give you that extra storage wiggle room if you’re looking for it. 

All of this power fits under the hood of a 13.3-inch laptop, which is quite impressive. This isn’t that common with smaller gaming laptops, making the Razer just as portable as it is powerful. 

The Stealth is also quite lightweight for a gaming laptop, weighing in at around 3.6lbs. Producers who frequently hit the road to play shows in venues or clubs, or travel around to meet clients left and right won’t have to worry about lugging quite a heavy laptop around with them. 

You can expect that the Razer Blade Stealth can take a beating. The build quality on it is fantastic, as the chassis is built from aluminum, giving it a sturdy yet sleek finish. 

There are tons of ports on the Stealth as well, giving you the option to connect multiple other accessories when using this laptop at home to produce. It comes with two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, one of which (on the right side) has Thunderbolt support for quick file transfer. 

Downsides

The Razer Blade Stealth comes with upwards facing speakers, which produces decent quality sound, but it doesn’t fill the room in as much as the other laptops we’ve listed here. The bass isn’t that great on it either, so we suggest you purchase better speakers or headphones to use with the Stealth. 

Another thing that’d get in the way of the sound of the Razer Blade Stealth is how loud the fans get when working under heavy loads. 

The glossy finish on the aluminum chassis might also keep some fingerprints, and while this isn’t too much of a dealbreaker, we find that it is more an inconvenience that makes the Stealth look quite dirty. 

Pros

  • Gaming specs fitted in a smaller laptop
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Expandable storage
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Loud fans
  • The glossy finish keeps fingerprints
  • Average speakers, lacking in bass

Best Laptop for Music Production FAQ

Q1. Can a laptop be just as good as a desktop?

When it boils down to getting the job done, yes, a laptop can be as good as a desktop. The major difference between the two is you can take the laptop around with you. Desktops can be built and adjusted to suit your needs more than laptops can, though, so if it were possible, we’d suggest professional producers build a desktop setup at home and have a laptop to use when on-the-go. 

Q2. Which laptop brand has the best built-in speaker?

Apple and ASUS use Harman/Kardon, while HP makes use of Bang and Olufsen. If you’re specifically asking about the laptops on our list here, the MacBook Pro takes the cake. The speakers are room-filling, with fantastic sound quality, so you can’t go wrong with it. 

Q3. Do I need a high-end GPU for music production?

No, you don’t. You can opt for other laptops with integrated graphics cards, as they are not a requirement for most production software. Some of the laptops we’ve chosen do have high-end GPUs, but that’s more an additional perk for any other purposes you may use the laptop for. 

Q4. Does my laptop need 3+ USB ports for music production?

That all depends on any additional hardware you’d be using to record. Laptops are meant to be portable, so if you’re planning on making use of more than a couple of devices, you might want to consider building a desktop for your studio instead. 

Q5. What’s the best production software to use?

The answer to this question boils down to your personal preferences, though having asked a couple of producers which digital audio workspace (DAW) they prefer using, the most common answers to this question are Steinberg Cubase 10 or Apple Logic Pro for preferred production software. 

Conclusion

There you have our top 5 best laptops for music production, along with an FAQ for some questions you might have. Always remember that when selecting a laptop, you’ll need to know what kind of OS your DAW of choice is, as some are exclusive to only MacOS or Windows. 

All of the laptops we’ve listed down have Intel i7 or Ryzen 7 processors to ensure you’ve got enough power to run your DAW, but if that seems a little out of reach, you can always purchase a laptop with an Intel i5 or Ryzen 5 processor, and you won’t have any issues with your DAW.

You should aim to have some excess memory than the system requirements of your DAW to open up more options in the future, but the other workaround to this is purchasing a laptop with upgradeable memory. 

Lastly, make sure that your laptop of choice comes with more than enough port options with good transfer speeds so you can easily transfer files over to or from your clients, and attach any accessories you might need throughout your production process. 

Let us know down below if you agree (or disagree) with our top 5 picks for the best laptops for music production, and we look forward to hearing from you (and your tracks) soon!

Good luck!

Written By James Avery

The lead editor for the laptop team at GetSuperBook, Avery has been an integral part since the beginning. With 5 years of experience at one of the biggest IT firms, his experience, MBA in IT, and love for tech make him the ideal person to help you guys make better buying decisions.

Leave a Comment