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The 5 Best Laptops For Music Production - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated May 15, 2024 at 09:09 am
Best Laptops for Music Production

There are a couple of things to look for when looking for a music production laptop. First, you want to make sure the system can handle the workload. That means a fairly competent CPU with at least four cores and a minimum of 16GB of RAM. Memory is particularly important if you work with hundreds of tracks, plugins, or samples. A large storage drive is crucial, as audio software and tracks take up a lot of space, and you'll also want a good number of ports for other equipment, like a production station, keyboard, or audio interface.

Another thing to look out for is fan noise, as you don't want the microphone to pick up the noise while recording. Screen size is a matter of preference, as it depends on whether you use an external display. If you plan on working on the go, you'll also want to consider the battery life.

We've tested over 115 laptops, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops for producing music and the best laptops for DJs you can get. You can also check out our picks for the best laptops, the best business laptops, and the best budget and cheap laptops.


  1. Best Laptop For Music Production

    The best laptop for music production we've tested is the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This exceptionally well-built device has plenty of processing power for even the most demanding music production workloads. It also provides a great user experience with its sharp display, spacious keyboard, and gigantic touchpad. Its excellent port selection makes it easy to plug in your production station, keyboard, audio interface, etc. There's even a high-output 3.5mm headphone jack for hard-to-drive cans. Although this laptop has cooling fans, they never get loud, so you don't have to worry about your microphones picking up the noise. The main downside is that you're paying for graphical performance that you don't necessarily need in music production. If you want more screen space and don't mind paying more, get the larger Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023). It's the same device but with better-sounding speakers.

    For Windows users, we recommend the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024), a 14-inch gaming/workstation laptop. It's available with Intel Meteor Lake CPUs, which are more than adequate to handle difficult production tasks with tons of tracks, plugins, and sound effects. There's a discrete GPU (options range from an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 to 4070); again, it isn't necessary for music production, though it may come in handy if you also work on music videos. It has a nice OLED display, a responsive touchpad, and a wide selection of ports to connect external monitors and peripherals. It has cooling fans, but like the MacBook Pro, they're very quiet under load. The main drawback of this laptop is its short 6-to-7-hour battery life. Another minor complaint is its mediocre webcam.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Laptop For Music Production

    Check out the M3 Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) if you want something less pricey. Although it doesn't have as much processing power as the MacBook Pro 14 mentioned above, it's still fast enough to handle music production without too many issues. Plus, this is a fanless device, so you don't need to worry about fan noise ruining your recordings. It has a large 15-inch Retina display (not Mini LED, sadly) and a gigantic haptic touchpad, and its build is just as premium and sturdy as its Pro siblings. Unfortunately, its port selection is limited to two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3s, so you'll likely need a dock. Also, while the M3 MacBook Air supports two external displays, it can only do so with the laptop lid closed, which might be too limiting if you're used to working with multiple displays.

    Our recommendation for Windows users is the Framework Laptop 13 (2023). This 13-inch model is almost the opposite of the MacBook Air, as its design makes repairs and upgrades easy. Every component is user-replaceable; you can even get the parts from Framework. It has a sharp 3:2 display (though it isn't as large, so you don't get as much screen space), a modular port system that lets you swap out the ports on the fly, and a good amount of processing power. Unlike the MacBook Air, this laptop has a cooling fan; it isn't super loud but is audible, nonetheless. You can only get this laptop from Framework.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Laptop For Music Production

    If you want a more modest mid-range model, check out the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023), a well-built 16-inch 2-in-1 convertible. It sports a large 16-inch display, giving you plenty of screen real estate to see your tracks, samples, and tools. Additionally, since it's a 2-in-1, you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet to see your music sheets while playing. There's also pen input support, and the laptop includes a stylus in the box, which is great for those working with music notation software like StaffPad. There's a fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition camera, so you can log in quickly and get to work.

    Spec-wise, you can get this laptop with an Intel 13th Gen U- or P-series CPU. We recommend getting a model with a P-series chip, as they have better multi-thread performance to handle demanding workloads. They won't perform as well as the H-series CPUs typically found in mobile workstations or even Apple's M2 Pro/Max SoCs, but they can get the job done. Fan noise is not a problem—it's barely audible under load. Ports include two USB-As, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI, and a MicroSD card reader. The battery lasts over 12 hours of light use and charges fairly quickly over USB-C. You can get this laptop directly from Lenovo if you have trouble finding it elsewhere.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Laptop For Music Production

    Current Deal: The ASUS Vivobook 16 M1605 (2023) has dropped in price by $125 at Amazon.com.

    The best budget laptop for music production we've tested is the ASUS Vivobook 16 M1605 (2023). Like our mid-range pick, this is a 16-inch model, but it isn't a 2-in-1, so you lose the tablet functionality. You still get a nice keyboard, a large touchpad, and decent performance from its AMD Ryzen CPU. Its fingerprint sensor allows you to log in quickly, and its battery lasts around eight hours of light use. Ports include three USB-As, a USB-C (not Thunderbolt 4 or USB4, sadly), and an HDMI.

    As this is a budget model, there are a couple of compromises. First, the display only gets to about 250 cd/m² at full brightness, which is fine for most indoor settings but not for sunny environments or outdoors in broad daylight. Next, the USB-C port doesn't support video output, meaning you can only use the HDMI port to connect to an external monitor. Lastly, you can only get 8GB of memory. If you want 16GB, you must upgrade it via the empty SO-DIMM slot.

    See our review

  5. Best 2-In-1 Tablet For Music Production

    Current Deal: The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) has dropped in price by $220 at Amazon.com.

    If you like the 2-in-1 tablet form factor, get the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021). You can detach the keyboard to make it easier to hold as a tablet or save space and pop it back on when you need to type something out. Its 3:2 display looks sharp, is bright enough to combat glare, and supports pen input. You get an excellent 1080p webcam for video calls and a Windows Hello IR camera for quick logins. The battery is short at seven hours of light use, but luckily, the power adapter is fairly compact, and you can also charge via its USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports. Speaking of ports, expect to buy a dock because it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, a headphone jack, and a proprietary Surface charging port. Unfortunately, the keyboard and stylus are purchased separately.

    As this is a model from 2021, there's already a newer version, the Surface Pro 9. It's essentially the same device but with faster Intel 12th Gen. processors. The Surface Pro 9 is easier to find, but if you don't need the performance increase, you can save a good chunk of cash with the Surface Pro 8 since it's an older device and often on sale.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • HP Spectre x360 14 (2024): The HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) is a good Windows alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) if you want a 2-in-1 convertible with pen input support. It has a cooling fan, though, so it might not be ideal if you need complete silence to record tracks. See our review
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023): The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 (2023) is a great ultraportable Windows alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024). It has a wider port selection, but its fan makes a small humming noise at full speed. See our review
  • Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023): The Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (2023) is a good alternative to the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023). It has a sturdier build and a better touchpad; however, it lacks Thunderbolt 4 support, and its battery doesn't last as long. Also, it's only available with an FHD+ display, whereas the Lenovo is available with a sharper QHD+ panel. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 15, 2024: Replaced the Dell XPS 15 (2023) with the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024) because the Dell is no longer available. Replaced the M2 Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) with the M3 Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) because the M2 is discontinued. Replaced the ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023) with the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) in the Notable Mentions because the HP has longer battery life and doesn't throttle as much under load.

  2. Apr 10, 2024: Small text edits for clarity. No change in recommendations.

  3. Mar 11, 2024: Minor text changes to provide information regarding new models of the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Air 15. Removed the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) from the Notable Mentions because it's discontinued and hard to find.

  4. Feb 14, 2024: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023) with the M3 version since the M2 is discontinued. Minor text changes to add the Framework Laptop 13 (2023) as an alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023).

  5. Jan 15, 2024: Verified that all picks are valid and available. No change in recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops to record music and the best laptops for DJs you can get. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here's a list of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.