2018 has been an eventful year so far, with the release of groundbreaking technology and updates to current architectures that show promising performance increases that are both unprecedented and affordable. You can already see how the latest technology is transforming how we work, game, and connect to other people, with powerful laptops that come in super-slim packages, state-of-the-art ray tracing technology powered by the latest Nvidia RTX GPUs, Intel’s Coffee Lake architecture, and AMD processors that boast up to 32 processing cores. All this means a huge step up in both productivity and gaming, and music production is no exception.
While there are still thousands of up-and-coming musicians jamming on in garage bands and creating music that helps define their generation, the sheer popularity of digitally crafted music is, without a doubt, taking the world by storm. DJs and sound producers from around the world can make wondrous scores and resonating soundtracks. Their instrument: a laptop.
From massive EDM concerts by top-chart artists to digital sound producers for AAA gaming titles and Hollywood blockbusters to Soundcloud aspirants looking for their big break, is transforming the way people make music. Whether you’re a celebrated musician, an artist on the verge of his big break, or an aspiring sound engineer, we’ve come up with this list to help you identify the best laptop for music production of 2018.
Our Top Picks for the Best Laptop for Music Production of 2018
Pro Audio MC Mobile Series
If you’re serious about getting the best laptop for music production of 2018, you may want to consider our top pick. The Pro Audio MC Mobile Series laptops are built by the biggest name in the digital sound industry, PC Audio Labs. The Pro Audio MC Mobile isn’t just your average laptop; it’s dubbed a mobile DAW or digital audio workstation, and it’s built to cater to the sound-intensive needs of both seasoned and aspiring sound producers.
The Pro Audio MC Mobile Series of laptops come in three flavors: the MC Mobile 7, the MC Mobile 7 S, and the MC Mobile 10. Each of the Pro Audio MC Mobile Series laptops comes custom-built to handle the most demanding of sound-production tasks and operations, so that everyone, from aspirant to seasoned veteran, in the sound production industry can feel like they have all the means necessary to produce unique and creative sound.
The PC Audio Labs Pro Audio MC Mobile Series of laptops are all custom-built to deliver the best performance and functionality in sound and music production. Each of these laptops comes with its configurations, but the best thing about the Pro Audio MC Mobile series is that they’re all customizable to go with the specs and components that you want, so it can deliver the power and performance you need.
Apart from customized builds and high-performance components you can get anywhere else if you had the budget, the PC Audio Labs Pro Audio MC Mobile Series comes with something that gives it an edge in sound and music production. It has something that no other brand manages to do, but PC Audio Labs does so well: customizing your entire system with tweaks and driver configurations that make it unparalleled in pursuit of a single purpose: cutting edge sound and music production.
The Pro Audio MC Mobile 7 comes with a 15.6” FHD display with the option of a 17.3” if you want a larger screen. Internals support 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H processors that come with 6 cores, 12 threads, and 9MB cache all on the Intel HM370 Express Chipset – that is top of the line processing performance and well-suited for CPU-intensive sound editing and production. RAM starts at 8GB and is configurable up to 32GB, with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 memory. Lightning fast operations with the 240GB SSD OS drive and 1TB Firecuda SSHD for your audio files makes the MC Mobile 7 versatile and spacious. The thin profile and sleek design make it ideal for taking with you on-the-go, whether you’re making mixes on the fly on your daily commute, or heading center stage to play your music for millions. The Pro Audio MC Mobile 7 delivers on its promise of professional audio, making it one of the best laptops for music production in 2018.
The Pro Audio MC Mobile 7S does everything the Pro Audio MC Mobile 7 does, but a little bit better. The same powerful processor backed by even more RAM starting at 16GB and a huge step up in graphics processing with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 while still retaining the sleek aesthetic of the MC Mobile 7 makes the Pro Audio MC Mobile 7S the highest-tier music production laptop ever built and may just be the best laptop for music production in 2018.
For sound and music producers who don’t care about thinness and weight comes the Pro Audio MC Mobile 10. From the audio industry giant comes a literal giant, with all the power and performance to match. The Pro Audio MC Mobile 10 comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8000 processor that features 4.60 GHz overclock, six cores, 12 threads, and a 12MB Smart Cache all on the Intel Z370 Express Chipset – unprecedented power that you would only see on a high-end desktop PC. The MC Mobile 10 comes in either a 15.6″ or 17.3″ FHD display and is powered by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5. Starting at 16GB of RAM and configurable with up to 64GB, the MC Mobile is a powerhouse laptop for music production. It features a fast and snappy 240GB SSD for the OS and comes with 1TB Firecuda SSHD to store your audio files. If that’s not enough, the MC Mobile 10 is configurable to have up to 4 drives. With storage space at a lower premium, you’ll be able to store your audio files like a true audiophile – at the best bitrates and the highest quality.
The Pro Audio MC Mobile Series is priced according to your configuration, but the MC Mobile 7 starts at $1699, the MC Mobile 7S at $2299, and the MC Mobile 10 at $2799. Cheaper or more expensive models are available depending on your preferred configuration.
If you’re hesitant to invest in a non-mainstream brand like PC Audio Labs, let us help sate those nerves by saying that PC Audio Labs is the best when it comes to sound-oriented hardware. PC Audio Labs is used by DJs, sound designers, musicians, and sound engineers, from all over the world, who sport a plethora of different styles that cater to a wide variety of audiences across multiple disciplines. PC Audio Labs hardware has been used in world tours and concerts. It’s been used in music and sound production for the biggest AAA titles in gaming. It’s been used in film scores and ambient soundtracks. It has been, it is, and it will be – because PC Audio Labs is the authority, the world leader, in sound production.
These three laptops by sound-hardware authority PC Audio Labs are bar-none the best laptops for music production in 2018. But, if you’re still not hooked on the idea of a dedicated music production machine and digital audio workstation, there’s plenty of mainstream laptops that fit the bill and work great for music production. Because we hate to disappoint, here’s the rest of our top picks for the best laptop for music production in 2018.
The MacBook Pro is the go-to for musicians and music producers around the world and has been seen on-stage at even the biggest concerts and music festivals worldwide. The 2018 iteration of the 15″ MacBook Pro is said to be the best laptop that Apple has ever made, especially for musicians. While the MacBook Pro doesn’t see that much action in sound design and engineering, it is the best laptop for music production in 2018 – if you can handle the cost.
The MacBook Pro stands out as Apple’s flagship laptop and, as expected from the innovation giant, the MacBook Pro reinvents a lot of things in its pursuit of top-tier performance, efficiency, and aesthetic. With the choice of the most powerful processors in Intel’s line-up, the i7 or i9 hexacore processors, and up to 32GB of RAM multitask like never before and completely submerge yourself in music production. The MacBook Pro not only boasts impressive things under the hood, but it’s pretty safe to say that this (figuratively) million-dollar laptop looks like a million bucks. A robust aluminum body makes the MacBook Pro sturdier than ever before, and with its 15.6″ Retina display, it delivers groundbreaking video performance as well as sound performance.
It’s powerful, it’s beautiful, and it’s one of the best laptops for music production of 2018. If you don’t mind the $2,800 price tag for the base specs, the MacBook Pro is the way to go.
Microsoft Surface Pro
The Microsoft Surface Pro delivers music production power, performance, and functionality in one of the highest-rated 2-in-1 form factors in the world. For portability and natural music production, look no further than the Microsoft Surface Pro.
The Microsoft Surface Pro is one of the lightest and most versatile machines ever built for consumers, and with it, you can take your sound studio anywhere you go. The Microsoft Surface Pro is a laptop, tablet, and studio that lets you take control of your workflow with intuitive design and controls, and not be limited by traditional input methods.
Artists, designers, and even musicians around the world rely on the Microsoft Surface Pro to cater to their needs when it comes to power, performance, and productivity. Experience groundbreaking productivity on the Microsoft Surface Pro by letting into your workflow, and allowing it to change the way you take control of your work. Carefully and intuitively craft digital audio sets with the unprecedented level of control that the Microsoft Surface Pro gives you over your workflow. With up to 13.5 hours of battery life, you can take the Microsoft Surface Pro, and all your productivity, with you on-the-go.
At $799, you’re getting an Intel Core m3 Processor with 4GB of RAM, so you’re not getting an ultra-powerful machine that’ll allow you to record, rasterize, or render anything simultaneously. However, if you want to have a device that facilitates a smooth, professional and productive workflow for your music production needs, then consider the Microsoft Surface Pro, one of our top picks for the best laptop for music production of 2018.
Now, if you do want to have a device that’s ultra-powerful and can house all your music and audio production needs while still having access to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4’s smooth and productive user experience, then you’ll be glad to know that the Microsoft Surface Pro comes with a $1,599 configuration. The more expensive setup gives you the latest Intel Core i7 Processors which is enough processing power for even the most daunting sound work, and a 256GB SSD with 8GB of RAM. You can also turn it up to maximum capacity with the top-of-the-line configuration at $2,699 (almost as much as a MacBook Pro) for an impressive 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.
Dell XPS 15/13
Dell has been at the forefront of laptop technology for years, and with the latest iterations of the Dell XPS series, the power of 2-in-1 form factor PCs has made it viable and beneficial to productivity in just about every industry, music production included. Get the Dell XPS 15 for greater control over your audio workflow and max out your portability.
The Dell XPS 15 laptop is a small but capable laptop designed for streamlined work processes, increased productivity, and better control of your workflows with the 2-in-1 form factor. Note that we said work processes, and while this incites mental images of documents and white papers and endless spreadsheets being worked on by number crunchers, there is no reason for these productivity-oriented features not to translate into music production.
Sound designers and music producers don’t have to compromise much if they choose the Dell XPS 15. Both the Dell XPS 15 and Dell XPS 13 are potent machines in their own right, but the Dell XPS 15 sets itself apart by being great 2-in-1 form factor laptops that come with the latest components and deliver unprecedented performance and productivity. The Dell XPS Series 15 comes with the best-in-class patented InfinityEdge display with microthin bezels that makes it the world’s smallest 15.6” laptop. But don’t let the size fool you – the Dell XPS 15 packs more than enough punch to see you through to the very end of your audio projects, and to help you get there like a champion. The Dell XPS 15 is priced at a modest $1,549 for the high-end configuration. Not a wrong price tag considering that this includes the Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of RAM, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050.
HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 is magnificent. Featuring a 2-in-1 form factor that makes your music production process and workflow so intuitive, so smooth, and so easily integrated into your system that the way you produce music truly feels like an expression of who you are and an extension of your being. The HP Spectre made waves in the last year for being one of the best and top-performing 2-in-1 laptops the world had ever seen, and the 2018 reiteration is even better.
Introducing groundbreaking technologies to enhance the way you use your computer by adding intuitive, natural input, the HP Spectre x360 exceeds expectations. While it doesn’t have any super-specific features or functions that’ll give you an edge in music production – which, we understand is something you want and ought to be looking for in the best laptop for music production of 2018 – the HP Spectre x360 offers unprecedented improvements in overall productivity. It helps streamline everything from CAD design to business presentation to – you guessed it – music production.
The HP Spectre x360 offers a lot in terms of sheer productivity. Super-charge your musical creations or manage your digital audio edits with ease and intuition, or create striking visual effects and sound effects to accompany your scores. With top of the line performance and a not-so-heavy price tag, the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent laptop for budding artists and music producers. The entry-level HP Spectre is priced at $989, but for serious sound work, you’ll want to spring up to $1100 or $1200 to get the best specs that’ll really let you maximize the HP Spectre x360’s productivity features in music production.
The MacBook Air was the Ultrabook that started it all, and it brings a lot of it prized functionality and portability well into 2018. While it’s outperformed by the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air offers a significant chunk of the Pro’s performance at a significantly lower price tag.
The MacBook Air was the thinnest laptop ever made back in its heyday, and today it still shines as one of the lightest, sleekest, and most powerful machines on the market. The latest MacBook Air starts at $999, but for serious music producers, you might want to spring for the $1199 configuration so that you can have twice as a much lightning-fast SSD storage.
While its age is showing just a little bit, the MacBook Air has matured gloriously over the years, and its 2018 refresh is still crowned the king of ultrabooks. If you’re willing to compromise some power, storage space, and performance for the MacBook Air’s amazing battery life, ultrathin design, and lower price tag, then the MacBook Air is the best laptop for music production for you.
Razer Blade Series
The Razer Blade Series has been dubbed the MacBook of Windows, and for a good reason. The Razer Blade Series follows in a lot of the MacBook’s footsteps – sleek, thin, and lightweight design, paired with the highest-end components to deliver unparalleled performance, all at a premium price tag. The Razer Blade Series flagship is even called the Razer Blade Pro, and if you’re looking for a Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro, it delivers.
The Razer Blade Pro is available starting at $2,299, but for a souped-up, ultrapowerful machine that outperforms even the MacBook Pro while remaining thin and lightweight, be prepared to spend up #3,999 or even more on the Razer Blade Pro’s highest-end configurations.
The Razer Blade and the Razer Blade Stealth are also in the same MacBook-alternative category, and these smaller models (15” for the Razer Blade, 13” for the Razer Blade Stealth) start at $2099 and $1899, respectively.
There you have it for our list of the best laptops for music production of 2018. While we still can’t recommend the PC Audio Labs Pro Audio MC Mobile Series more than we already have, the music production laptops from mainstream brands still offer excellent power and performance to the budding music producer.