Unlike the good old days when you had to be inside a full-blown studio to create something worth listening to, you can now climb your way up the Billboard charts and reach millions of people using a desktop or laptop computer while sitting comfortably at home in your pajamas.
For many novice music producers, the question of which computer is ideal for music production seems to be a recurring one. With the endless deluge of high-quality products on the market, it’s really hard to get a definite answer.
Picking the right computer for music production doesn’t necessarily have to do with the brand. In fact, all brands on the market will do. It’s more about following a few guidelines that will ensure having a computer that can handle the modern-day music production process.
In this article, I’ll help provide you with a complete and bullet-proof framework to work with in order to pick out a computer that suits your needs. But before I do that, I’ll be revealing our top contenders for the title of the best computer for music production.
In case you have no idea what the Touch Bar is, it’s a strip of glass sitting above the keys which lights up and presents various buttons. The buttons presented will vary based on the app you’re using. Further, the Touch Bar is where the “function” keys dwell.
The display screen of the MacBook Pro has gone through a significant update this time around. It’s just beautiful, to say the least. Even if you’re going to be using this laptop primarily for music production, you’ll still be able to appreciate the improvements in clarity and brightness.
The MacBook Pro features quite a commodious trackpad that’s extremely responsive, which is a huge relief from previous models where you felt like you’re running out of space when dragging your fingers across. Not a significant update, but highly acknowledged.
Now onto the crown jewel of this powerful laptop: it’s battery life. It’s just fantastic for the amount of use that you can get out of it. If you’re not that glued onto your chair creating music non-stop, you might only need to charge this laptop once or twice per day.
Probably the only negative association to this unit is it’s super steep price tag, and that’s mainly a result of the Apple brand. This MacBook is simply a great music production workstation. However, it’s only available for those having some deep pockets.
- Thunderous Core i9 processor at 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost
- Enhanced screen brightness and image clarity
- Attractive and lightweight design with very sleek edges
- Features both Touch Bar and Touch ID functions
- Steep price tag compared to other products of its tier
- No way to adjust the brightness of the Touch Bar
The Strix GL702VS has quite a number of things going for it. The 75Hz G-sync display is just phenomenal and extremely smooth. It’s hard to imagine a laptop with a better 1080p panel. This might not be that important to a producer, but hey, don’t tell me you won’t ever use it for gaming.
The battery life is what you would usually expect from a heavy-duty gaming laptop. But since the main purpose behind this laptop is mainly going to be music production, you’ll probably be able to squeeze out a good few hours of use before needing to recharge the battery.
The equipped keyboard features a fantastic layout and it will be quite easy to get used to it. But many users seem to have complaints about the placement of the ROG key, which apparently is sitting on the number pad. However, you can easily disable the key from the software itself.
There’s a bit of a tricky part with this laptop, though. Many users seem to have reported issues related to the heat. The thing that many users aren’t aware of is that you have to manually set the fans’ rpm when planning on launching some demanding tasks for extended periods of time.
All in all, this is a powerhouse of a laptop that should get all of your music production tasks done easily without feeling like you’re over-taxing it. It’s also an ideal gaming laptop, so you can spend an hour or two of gaming if you’re facing some creative blocks.
- Super fast and smooth 75Hz G-sync display
- An ideal choice for music production and gaming
- Features an Intel i7-7700HQ CPU at 2.8 GHz
- Sleek and extremely durable construction
- May suffer from occasional cooling issues
- Screen aspect ratio and refresh rate are lacking
The 17-inch diagonal LCD IPS screen provides stunning image clarity and brightness at a native resolution of 1920×1080. Bloatware is almost non-existent within this computer’s super clean OS. Also, a Wi-Fi analyzer is added to the list of Acer utilities for a better network performance.
The touchpad and the keyboard on the Predator are simply top notch. Running your fingers on the keyboard feels like dancing on tiles. It also features rainbow backlights that help add to the atmosphere. Definitely, some thought and care were given to this quality piece of hardware.
The build quality and cooling are quite solid. The laptop is shipped with an additional fan that can take the place of the DVD drive. All components of this computer are kept at a maintained, cool temperature even when tackling some of the most demanding computing tasks.
The following setbacks might not be that serious, but they’re still worth pointing out. The laptop is quite large and heavy, but that’s understandable for a 17-inch gaming laptop. Also, it features some very basic optical media with no ability to read Blu-Ray discs.
- Extremely sturdy construction and a really cool design
- Features a large, 17-inch diagonal LCD screen
- Top notch build quality and super fast performance
- Comes with an additional fan for extra cooling
- Construction is a bit too heavy and bulky
- Media reading and writing is pretty basic
This PC comes equipped with 12GB of RAM memory: 8GB and 4GB RAM sticks, with the ability to upgrade it to up to 32GB. However, 32GB of RAM is a bit overkill, so what you can do is take out the 4GB stick and upgrade it to 16GB one, acquiring a total of 24GB of RAM memory.
The Acer Aspire features the integrated Intel HD Graphics 630, which is an adequate enough GPU for most uses in the music production field. The PC also features a PCI Express x16 (PCIe v3.0) and PCI Express x1 (PCIe V2.0) slots, allowing you to add a more powerful GPU.
The thing that’s surprising about this desktop computer is that it comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in. This allows for a great internet connection without the need for an ethernet jack, and you get to spare yourself of unnecessary cables.
This is an ideal PC for executing all media-related tasks that don’t require heavy-duty graphics processing abilities. You will need to add a bigger, more capable power supply if you’re planning on getting a better graphics card, which can be a little costly.
- The most affordable computer on this list
- Powerful 7th-Gen i5 CPU up to 3.5GHz
- All components are easily upgradeable
- Features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Not the best graphics processing unit
- Boot time can get considerably long
The Dell Inspiron features the 2nd-Gen AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, coupled with 16GB of DDR4 RAM memory that ensures super fast processing capabilities and intensive multitasking. It also comes with the powerful Radeon RX580 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory for smoother graphics.
This desktop computer is one of the easiest ones to set up on the market. It’s also fairly quiet for a computer that packs such a punch. The only time you can hear a sound out of it is when the fan starts working, and even then, it’s barely a hum.
The only problem with this computer is that the C-drive is a bit too small for practical use. Why is that even a big deal? Well, while you can install most apps on another drive, there are a number of apps that insist on being installed on the C-drive. You should consider a larger SSD.
Overall, this is a powerful, sleek looking computer that features quality hardware at a reasonable price. Whether you alternate between music production and gaming, you’ll find that this desktop computer is more than capable of handling extensive tasks.
- Surprising performance for its price tag
- Very sleek and sturdy construction
- Fast performance with little to no noise
- Extremely easy to set up
- C-drive space is very limited
- Forceful Dell software updates
This laptop is the best bang for your buck if you’re on a low budget. It features a sleek and very sturdy finish, 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM memory, 1TB of hard drive space, and an AMD Radeon R7 graphics card. Not to mention the surprisingly long-lasting battery life.
The laptop might seem a bit laggy at first, that’s because of the existing bloatware that comes with the windows. After removing such unnecessary software, you’ll find that the laptop’s speed is pleasantly fast. It’s also a good enough laptop for gaming as well.
The only thing that seems lacking for the price of value is the screen quality. This isn’t the laptop for you if you’re looking to watch some super HD videos, movies, or TV-series. But as a laptop dedicated solely for music production, you’ll have no complaints at all.
Another thing this laptop can use is an additional USB port and it seems to lack bass from its sound quality. Apart from that, this sound piece of machinery features all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a computer within its price range and more.
- Super affordable price tag for a quad-core laptop
- The construction is attractive and feels pretty solid
- Highly capable AMD A12-9720P processor
- Pretty decent battery life
- Not the best computer for ultra HD media
- Sound quality can use some improvements
7. HP OmenOmen by HP is one of the most popular gaming laptops on the market today. It arguably has the best specifications for its price range, including the incredible 8th-Gen i5-8300H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated video RAM, and 12GB of SDRAM.
The Omen is possibly the best-looking laptop on this list, with its Dragon Red backlit keyboard, full-size directional arrow keys, and the instantly-recognizable, illuminated WASD keys. Simply put, this is an absolutely picturesque powerhouse of a computer.
This laptop features a 7200RPM HDD, which is a big plus compared to other laptops that feature 5400RPM HDDs. Despite its immense power, the Omen manages to perform quietly, especially in power saver mode. But don’t let the quietness fool you, this beast is sporting some blasting speakers.
The 15.6-inch display screen sets this laptop apart with its thin bezel and its incredible clarity. And for a gaming laptop, this computer has an impressive battery life which, as the seller claims, can keep this laptop running for up to 10 hours with mixed usage. A little too bold of a claim.
The overall performance of this awesome piece of machinery is super fast and highly capable of handling the most extensive processing tasks. So no matter what software you usually use for your music production, you can rest assured that you’re getting the real deal here.
But just like every other piece of machinery, this laptop has a few mishaps: its BIOS is criminally limited, it doesn’t feature custom fan control, only has two keyboard LED settings, and its control center is disappointingly minimal.
- Possibly the best specs you can have for under $1000
- High raised feet make for a better ventilation process
- Features a super fast, 7200RPM hard disk drive
- Lightweight and thin design with Dragon Red backlit keys
- Minimal BIOS compared to other gaming laptops
- You’re unable to customize the fan settings
The Shadow II features AMD’s 4-core CPU, Ryzen 5 1400 at 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost. It also comes bearing the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR5 memory as its graphics processing unit, along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. We definitely have a tough contender here.
The packaging is an absolute winner with this one. The desktop comes with a mouse, keyboard, and a wireless Wi-Fi adapter. They might not be the best on the market in terms of quality and functionality, but hey, they’re free, so we can’t really complain.
I’ve already addressed how beautiful this machine is, but I can’t stress enough how amazing it looks inside and out thanks to its clear, see-through panel which allows you to see the inner beauty of this well-built PC. Many users have given this PC the title of the best-prebuilt gaming computer on the market today.
For such a powerful desktop computer, you’d expect it to sound like an aircraft that’s taking off. But surprisingly enough, the fans only give off an almost unheard, gentle hum. Speaking of fans, you can easily adjust the speed of the fans to suit your needs.
It’s extremely hard to find something negative to say about this computer so we’re just going to bash the operating system. The recent updates of Windows 10 make it an even more irritating OS. And just to avoid sounding biased, this computer can use a better USB Wi-Fi adapter.
- Most aesthetically-pleasing desktop computer on this list
- Extremely smooth and quiet performance
- Package includes a mouse, keyboard, and Wi-Fi adapter
- Sold at an unbelievable price considering its hardware
- Some users reported occasional crashing and blue screens
- Can use a better USB Wi-Fi adapter than the one included
Music Production Computers Buying Guide
Like I’ve already established, it’s not about which brand you pick, it’s about the specifications of the computer itself. So in order to get a feel for what sort of specs you should be looking for in a computer, I’ve comprised a simple checklist to use as your guide.
The processor is the primary backbone behind your computer’s performance, the more powerful and multi-cored it is, the more tasks you can get done simultaneously. A capable processor will allow for a much more fluid performance than a subpar processing unit.
Not all processors were created equal. For instance, having a quad-core processor is equivalent to having four separate microprocessors on the same die, each one with its own cache. On the other hand, a single-core processor will execute fed strings then selectively store it in the cache.
So you need to understand that even with the same gigahertz rate as a multi-core processor, a single-core processor will still fall short and that could result in clogging up your computer during crucial creative moments.
At the very least, you should be aiming to get a computer that houses a quad-core CPU such as the Intel Core i5 or the AMD Ryzen. There are of course models with higher core count and a lot more threads such as the Intel Core i9 and the Ryzen Threadripper, but those are a bit overkill.
Your multi-core processor should have a clock speed of around 3.0GHz. It’s also a major plus to have a CPU with Turbo Boost Technology as that will help increase its clock speed temporarily, which is a process known as overclocking.
To put it in simple terms, the overclocking process changes the processor’s clock multiplier. So for example, a processor with a 10x multiplier and 300MHz clock would technically have a clock speed of 3.0GHz. But with Turbo Boost activated up to 11x, the clock speed becomes 3.3GHz.
Unlike gaming where you must have a powerhouse graphics processing unit, music production doesn’t require a super capable GPU. You can even rely on the stock card equipped inside most pre-built computers.
Integrated graphics cards are very cost-effective for music production. Also, they tend to have low power consumption and a compact, simplistic construction. Dedicated graphics, on the other hand, are extravagantly pricey and have significant power consumption needs.
High-end dedicated graphics cards offer a few perks that you should consider before making your decision. They provide enhanced processing power, they can tackle non-graphic tasks by taking on CPU-designated work, and they offer an improved display output.
If you like to play video games or if you intend on doing video editing, you might as well invest in a computer that features a powerful graphics processing unit. Who knows what you might need it for in the future. The bottom line is, video cards don’t have much to do with music production.
On a side note, whether on a laptop or a desktop computer, many tend to prefer having a screen display of 15 inches or more, but that really boils down to your preference. Also, consider having a dual-screen setup if you can as that will help you multitask a lot faster.
There are conflicting opinions about the minimum requirements a computer should have when it comes to SDRAM. Some would say that 8GB of RAM should be sufficient enough to get the job done, while others opt to go with 16GB of RAM.
What’s the verdict? In the RAM department, higher is always better. But that doesn’t mean that 8GB of RAM isn’t sufficient, it just means that 16GB will be fast enough to handle all software related to music production with ease.
If you’re using Pro Tools or intend on using you, you must be aware that Pro Tools has upped its minimum requirements in terms of RAM from 8GB to 16GB, so just to stay on the safe side, you should invest in a computer with 16GB of RAM or higher.
And although there might be potential for some data to be lost, volatile memory like RAM is a lot faster than mass storage, making it ideal for retaining important information as such information would become unavailable with the absence of power. So you should make it a habit to save all of your projects regularly.
This is also another department that many seems to be divided upon. On one hand, many think that 500GB of hard drive capacity is good enough to keep all of your work on. And on the other hand, an equal sum amount of opinions opt for a 1TB hard drive.
With hard drive capacity, the choice is all yours. It really depends on how productive you tend to be. If you’re always creating music or use a lot of VST software plug-ins – which are extremely demanding when it comes to hard drive space – we’d recommend a 1TB hard disk drive.
If your production rate isn’t all that frequent, then 500GB should do. The great thing about HDD capacity is that if your internal space is packed, you can just buy an external hard disk drive and get yourself a lot more storage space than what you already have.
Please make sure that your hard-drive is SSD, short for a solid-state drive. An SSD hard-drive has the ability to process data significantly faster than a regular HDD. This is a very crucial point that you just can’t compromise on.
SSD drives don’t have physical discs or any sort of moving components within their structure. Also, they’re highly resistant to shock and they run very quietly. SSD drives have lower latency and quicker access time than HDD drives. And obviously, that would make them more costly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get a laptop or a desktop computer?
Neither one is better than the other really. Both styles have great qualities. It’s all based on your personal preference. But take time to contemplate this decision because you’re going to have to stick with it for a while.
If you’re one of those people who prefer being able to work in different places like a café or so, then you should definitely go for a laptop computer. But if you prefer the feeling of being inside an office or if you already have a desktop computer, then stick with what you’re familiar with.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that desktop computers are easier to customize, which means that if you decide to change your graphics card, processor, or add additional RAM sticks, you’ll have a much easier time doing so as many laptops can’t be tampered with.
Here are 10 truly best laptops for music production.
Should I build my own custom computer?
It’s a bit of an intimidating prospect to build a custom PC if you haven’t done it before, but it’s not really that hard if you do your research, choose the right components for your build, and put it all in the right slots. If you’re hellbent on building your own PC, I’d recommend following this step by step guide.
Building your own computer is actually a terrific idea if you know exactly what you need because a lot of pre-built machines tend to have a few of the components that might need, but usually not all. Even better, you can save on a lot of otherwise squandered money by doing so.
What’s the best laptop computer for music production?
If you’re running on a tight budget, the Acer Predator 17 and the HP Omen are definitely your best bet. However, if you’re willing to spend some money, the Apple MacBook Pro is milestones ahead of the rest and is arguably the undisputed champion of this list.
What’s the best desktop computer for music production?
This one is pretty clear. The Dell Inspiron Desktop takes the number one spot by a thunderous storm, thanks to its exceptionally powerful hardware components. This isn’t only a phenomenal PC for music production, it’s phenomenal for everything!
Music production is a limitless sphere of creativity, and for you to be able to transform your ideas into reality, you need a competent computer to count on. Hopefully, the information in this article has provided enough insight for you to form your decision upon which is the best computer for music production.
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