10 Best Computers For Music Production

Dave Mostert
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There are plenty of us rock stars out there who just can’t get enough of making music, right? And, unlike most real rock stars, we don’t get to stay up until all hours of the night and sleep until noon!

I’m guessing that’s generally because real “rock stars” have a little something called “respect” in their blood. Whether living on the edge like a “rock star” or not, though, computers make a great music studio.

Also, most of us music producers play more than guitar and keyboards.

In fact, odds are you will also be playing around with drums, vocals, piano, and many other types of instruments and sound fx in your studio. However, the more you get into producing music the more your studio will grow and the tougher it gets to get all of your equipment to work well together.

The good news is that you can buy the perfect computer for music production today and you’re very likely to use it for years to come. In fact, computers for music production tend to be more durable and less likely to “die” on you with heavy duty use.

NameCategoryProduct
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming LaptopBest OverallAcer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
Acer Aspire DesktopBudget PickAcer Aspire Desktop
ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC DisplayUpgrade PickASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC Display

1. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Our rating: 9 / 10

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

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Pros:

  • Very cool laptop
  • Sweet design
  • Very fast
  • High-quality gaming design
  • Extreme level performance
  • Loaded with features
  • Very good battery life
  • Extremely nice resolution
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Sleek keyboard

Cons:

  • Little too heavy
  • Not the portable laptop

This is one of the best laptops when it comes to music production, because of the amount of power that it can deliver to your workspace. It’s not just capable of handling huge audio files, but it can also handle the highest quality of videos and animations. If you’d like all of the top features combined, this is the mobile rig that you can invest in. It’s really worth it, because you will be able to get all of the features that you possibly could need, for a very awesome price.

2. Dell XPS 15 9560 4K UHD Touch

Our rating: 7 / 10

Dell XPS 15 9560 4K UHD Touch

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Dell XPS 15 9560 Reviews:

Mar 2018 – Dell XPS 15 9560 is one of the high-end laptops available in the market today. It comes with the 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of Solid State Drive. The 15.6-inch boasts of a 4K Ultra HD Touchscreen display offering outstanding colors and crispness. Weighing around 3.9 pounds, it is undoubtedly a portable laptop. Needless to say, the battery life is also quite impressive at up to 16 hours on one charge. In short, it is a must buy for both professional reviewers and gamers alike.

Jan 2018 – I have been using this laptop for 1 year now and I must admit I was very skeptical about buying a Dell until this upgrade. I have not come across any issues or even minor drawbacks. The laptop is mobile, the battery life is incredible for a machine of this size and in fact, I can even use it for gaming for 4-6 hours without any issues whatsoever. The NVidia 1050 graphics are absolutely stunning. I am involved in graphics designing and the machine is just awesome. That being said, I do wish there was a few more USB ports and definitely a backlit keyboard. All in all, it is a great laptop and definitely worth its price.

3. HP Envy 17.3-Inch Full HD IPS Touchscreen Laptop

Our rating: 7 / 10

HP Envy 17.3-Inch Full HD IPS Touchscreen Laptop

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Pros:

  • Amazing 8th gen CPU
  • Great graphics
  • Dial design system for controlling the screen
  • Bright, vivid pictures
  • Ultra thin and portable
  • Great customer support
  • Great for editing

Cons:

  • Starting to show its age
  • Lacks important software
  • Heavy, big and bulky
  • Poor sound

This HP laptop is a great option for those looking for a great balance of power and portability. At only 3.73 pounds, this laptop is pretty light for all that it does. It offers an ample amount of RAM, a fast SSD and solid build quality.

With a 17.3-inch 1080p screen and a backlit keyboard, it offers a great flow for writing and editing. The included NumPad means that in addition to multiple arrow keys, you also get a huge range of function keys to help you work faster.

It’s not as fast as the new 8th generation of Intel processors, but it’s a strong performer compared to previous years. The integrated graphics are solid performers and built to keep your CPU occupied for all but the most graphically intense programs. This means that you don’t have to worry about your laptop slowing down if you’re in the middle of a demanding task.

4. Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation 20HH000TUS

Our rating: 7 / 10

Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation 20HH000TUS

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If you plan on producing music on the move, this powerful laptop from Lenovo is a great option. It comes packed with a 7th gen, quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM. So you can be sure that your music production software will run smoothly, even when you are running several programs or plug-ins simultaneously. It also comes with a 512 GB Solid State Drive, which is far more reliable than a conventional hard drive, and provides several times the read speed.

Running all this won’t slow you down. As the device has a dedicated NVIDIA GTX graphics card, which boasts more than enough power to handle video editing and the output of your music. All of this is wrapped in a durable and elegant chassis. So it won’t look out of place in a professional studio or on the road.

5. Apple 13.3" MacBook Air

Our rating: 6 / 10

Apple 13.3" MacBook Air

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Pros:

  • MacBook Air is one of the best computers for music production
  • Thinnest and lightest in its class
  • Small body with large screen
  • Includes latest version of macOS – 10.12 Sierra
  • Pretty good battery life
  • Great build quality
  • Aluminum body
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Following are some of the cons;
  • Little expensive

For those looking for the best price and performance, the Apple MacBook Air is a perfect choice. It’s the lightest and thinnest device in its price range. However, its small body and light weight comes with a few compromises – no SD card slot and no option to play videos on it.

One of the best parts is that it is fan-less, which makes it a fairly silent machine. But since it’s not a particularly suitable laptop for programming, multimedia projects and excessive gaming, you should save your money and look at other similarly-priced laptops that come with additional features which can come handy for creating music at home.

6. ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC Display

Our rating: 6 / 10

ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC Display

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Backlit keyboard.

After spending a few weeks playing with the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3-inch gaming laptop, I was surprised by just how well this system performed when I ran various tracking and mixing software. This offers much of the power that you could get from a desktop computer while you’re on the go, but at a price that’s much more reasonable. It has an amazing NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card that will give you loads of power for graphic-intensive programs like Adobe Premiere Pro. Plus, you can take advantage of its Intel Core i7 7700HQ 2.8GHz processor and 12 GB of RAM.

The only drawback to this laptop, at least in terms of music production, is its noise. The fans on this laptop have been known to run pretty loudly – so much so that you won’t be able to get the best out of any recording sessions you have on it. It could also do with a little more storage space – it has a storage capacity of only 128 GB (eMMC) and 1 TB of HDD.

7. Apple MacBook Pro

Our rating: 6 / 10

Apple MacBook Pro

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Pros:

  • Price tag isn’t too high
  • Touch bar provides new ways to interact with your laptop
  • More power than other MacBook models

Cons:

  • Many feel it’s too heavy
  • Touch bar may not be for everyone

You will not be disappointed with the latest Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch touchscreen. This device comes with a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor, which will allow you to run your music production programs without any lag or stuttering. You can also increase the speed of your workflow by using the Touch Bar to do things like scrolling through a browser with a flick of a finger or adjusting the volume. The Touch Bar also allows you to see information, like the chords in a song you’re playing, without really having to be in your DAW app. The processor is coupled with 512GB SSD.

8. Apple iMac MK482LL/A 27" Intel Core i5-6600 X4 3.3GHz 8GB 1TB

Our rating: 6 / 10

Apple iMac MK482LL/A 27" Intel Core i5-6600 X4 3.3GHz 8GB 1TB

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Pros:

  • Retina display with a 2560×1440 resolution
  • Uses an Intel Core i5-6600 Quad-Core 3.3 GHz Processor
  • 8 GB of 1867MHz DDR3
  • 1 TB Hard Drive

Cons:

  • No CD/DVD drive
  • No Ethernet port
  • No Bluetooth
  • No FireWire port

If you can get past all the reasons not to get this computer (we did manage to get past them), you’re presented with a sweet deal for a very powerful computer.

Note that this model’s specs can fluctuate slightly depending on which model you get, but the essential components will be the same between the two. This model comes with a 2.8 GHz Core i5 quad-core processor, 8 GB of 1867 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a 1 TB Fusion Drive, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200.

9. Acer Aspire Desktop

Our rating: 5 / 10

Acer Aspire Desktop

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The best computer for music production depends on the type of music you want to produce, and how serious you are about making music.

However, this desktop from Acer is a great choice for the average musician who is just looking for a computer that can handle the basics of music production, such as recording and editing audio, or making beats.

The Intel Core i3 processor in this machine has enough power to handle most things you can throw at it, including music production software like FL Studio, Ableton, ProTools, and others.

10. Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower M710t Intel Quad Core i5-7400

Our rating: 1 / 10

Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower M710t Intel Quad Core i5-7400

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Pros:

  • Multiple USB ports
  • Solid cooling
  • Excellent performance

Cons:

  • Average build quality
  • Not for gaming

This is a no-frills business PC with an emphasis on performance. If you want to just work and don’t care about what’s inside or the look of the outside, this one’s for you.

It’s a workhorse for media editing, web browsing, and gaming. It features a 7th Generation Intel Kaby Lake i5-7400 processor which operates at a base speed of 3.0GHz. This means you can handle most software-intensive tasks without too much trouble. There’s also a 16GB DDR4 SDRAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a DVD RW optical drive.

With regards to performance, users report good results, with the machine doing its job without any fuss. It can handle applications including WordPress, coding software, Microsoft Office, and more. You can even game on this machine, but no one expects it to compete with a PS4 or XBox.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best computer for music production?

A lot of people ask me what computer I recommend for music production. Well, the answer depends a lot on what you want to do, but I've put together a list of the computers I would consider to be the top 10 best computers for music production right now.

I've also broken this list down into different categories in order to make it easier for you to find the right computer for your needs. Take a look at the list below and see if it helps you make your decision.

Is Windows 10 good for music production?

Windows 10 is one of the best operating systems for music production.

Many of the issues that held back earlier versions of Windows have been addressed in Windows 10. The ability to run 32-bit plug-ins has been reinstated, which is a big win for older hardware and software.

Windows 10 comes with a newly designed audio engine, and while the dedicated audio card is preferred, most standard ASUS sound cards will easily perform the task.

Included in Windows 10 is upgraded software — including AU (audio unit) effects and plug-ins. There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced. Additionally, Windows 10 is compatible with most industry-standard music software, and new versions of the software have been designed to run smoothly on Windows 10. So, if you are a music producer, Windows 10 is a big improvement over previous versions and a good reason to hang on to your PC if you are on the fence of a Mac vs PC debate.

How much RAM do you really need for music production?

According to the Recording Studio Bible by David Miles Huber, you need at least four gigabytes of RAM to work with your music software and another two for your audio sequencer.

However, computers with six or more gigabytes of RAM are probably even better. Here’s why:

{1}. You get faster processing and you won’t have to thrash your operating system so hard.
{2}. You can run more software in the background, which is similar to running a web browser in the background.
{3}. You can achieve larger multitrack projects.

You don’t necessarily need this if you are just doing small projects in your own home, but if you are serious about music production and intend to work on large projects, then you will probably need a decent amount of RAM.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market to buy a new computer for making music, it can be hard to figure out what you should buy. To help you make the right buying decision, we decided to do an in-depth article on comparing popular music production computers.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming LaptopBest OverallAcer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
Acer Aspire DesktopBudget PickAcer Aspire Desktop
ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC DisplayUpgrade PickASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3" Full HD Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop,75HZ G-SYNC Display