Best Cheap Laptop for Music Production

Best Cheap Laptop for Music Production – There are a lot of great laptops out there that will do well with running music production software. While looking for a budget laptop, make sure to never skimp on RAM, CPU, and a hard drive or solid state drive.

Having a fast, capable processor will enable you to work efficiently and save you from waiting several minutes just to start your computer up and get things running. RAM allows for more plugins to be used in your DAW and works hand in hand with your CPU.

OVERVIEW

If your processor isn’t fast enough, you’ll get issues like latency while recording, and if your RAM isn’t big enough, you’ll get issues like your plugins running slowly or crashing. This is why having a good computer is so important.

That being said, don’t forget to look at older computers, especially ones from Apple. They can be just as good as newer computers and you’ll be able to save much more money if you buy something that’s been refurbished or used.

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ROUND UP

For more information on the best computers to use for music production to help you choose the best laptops and desktops within your budget, be sure to check out the articles and guides that we have coming up in the near future!

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1.Acer Aspire

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2.ASUS VivoBook

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3.Dell Inspiron

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4.Samsung Galaxy

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5.Huawei Matebook

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6.Lenovo ThinkPad

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7.Razer Blade

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8.Acer Swift

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9.ASUS ZenBook

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10.HP Jaguar

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Best Cheap Laptop for Music Production – BUYER’S GUIDE

  • The CPU is what powers the laptop as it processes commands. In music terms, this dictates how many virtual instruments you can run at the same time, or how many effects you can add, or how quickly you can export your finished tracks. Intel and AMD have the monopoly here, and you get what you pay for. For audio and music production we would recommend looking at Intel’s i5 line, or AMD’s Ryzen 5 line, although the lower-end CPUs will suffice if budget is a sticking point – you might just be staring at progress bars a bit longer.
  • RAM is a bit more straightforward. It dictates how large the arrangements you can create are, and how many audio files you can work with at a given time. A laptop with 4GB of RAM will technically allow you to open music production apps like Garageband or Ableton Live and create short, basic arrangements, but you’ll quickly run into a wall where the laptop can’t cope with what you’re asking it to do. Look for a minimum of 8GB here.
  • Storage will come down to one of two options; HDD or SSD. Hard-disk drives are cheaper and can hold large volumes of data, but are typically slower which means streaming sample libraries isn’t ideal. SSDs, on the other hand, are lightning quick but do cost more.

The one other essential non-laptop component for music production is a USB audio interface; this effectively outsources the laptop’s sound card and allows you to record electric guitarsmicrophones and other instruments into the computer, as well as hooking up a pair of studio monitors or studio headphones to listen back to your work.

  • Backup your music with the best external hard drives
  • The best audio interfaces for all budgets

What are the non-essentials?
If you’re buying a laptop for general use, with a bit of music production thrown in occasionally, then you will likely have other factors to consider. The size and resolution of the screen, for example, or the battery life. These are all worthy considerations and shouldn’t be discounted, but bear in mind that the more non-negotiable things you have on your wishlist, the higher the cost will be. If the laptop is being bought with music production, and only music production, in mind then you should keep your focus on performance over aesthetics.

Many Windows-based laptops come stuffed with plenty of ‘helpful’ non-essential software and apps – known as ‘bloatware’ – which you’ll want to discard. And, while it might sound strange in an article about music production to tell you to ignore the laptop’s speakers, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. For watching YouTube videos or holding video calls, laptop speakers are fine but for audio and music production they’re not going to give you the results you want. So, while it might sound appealing to have B&O or Beats speakers in your laptop, in reality they aren’t going to have much of an effect on your music production so don’t make them a deal-breaker.

  • The best headphones for music production
  • The best studio monitors for all budgets, from budget to pro

What are the ‘nice to haves’?

(Image credit: Getty/Manuel Breva Colmeiro)

As your recording career progresses, you may find you want to add to your studio with extra gear like MIDI keyboardshome studio mixersdrum machines and more. Most kit these days connect to your computer via USB, so you’ll want to ensure you have a decent number of USB ports. Increasingly brands are looking to incorporate USB-C into their gear so look out for these ports where possible too. This is also useful when using an external hard drive, where the combination of USB-C and an external solid-state drive (SSD) makes light work of large audio or sample files.

Another ‘nice to have’ element is the option to upgrade components in the laptop yourself in the future. This won’t be possible on every laptop, but having the ability to chuck in a couple of extra sticks of RAM can have a significant impact on overall performance.

Start small, start clever
Realistically, not everyone can afford the latest Apple MacBook Pro or Dell XPS. Hence, we all have to sometimes make compromises in what we want versus what we can afford. It would be great to have a touch-enabled 4K screen, all-day battery life, plenty of horsepower, and all those other headline features. But we have to cut our cloth accordingly, right?

That’s not to say music production can’t be done on a budget laptop. It absolutely can, as we’ll outline in our recommendations below, but just be aware that certain concessions may have to be made. Start small, before working your way up. This way, when you reach the skill level where you are making 72 track arrangements featuring a symphony orchestra, you’ll know the equipment inside out and have a handle on what’s really important from a music production laptop.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What Laptop Should I Buy For Music Production?

Finding a suitable laptop for music production use, basically boils down to a few important factors, which digital audio workstation you plan on using and what operating system you prefer to use is the most important.

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Best Budget Laptop For Music Production?

Unfortunately in the world of audio production the faster the better, so as to avoid crashes and glitches or latency loss in the middle of recordings.  The top laptops for audio production we have looked at in this article all make for reasonably priced budget options.

The best value for money in our opinion would be the Alienware or the Razor Blade Stealth, each are gaming laptops with high-end graphics that have good sound processing capability, they have superior CPUs and great clock speeds and fair RAM and storage.  They aren’t however exactly cheap.

The cheapest option on our list is the tablet option, the Lenovo yoga book, but it only runs an Android operating system so won’t manage most full DAW.  It makes for a good option if cash is of concern, for younger users and those just curiously branching out into songwriting.  There are a decent amount of Apps that have great content for basic audio production.  If your budget simply won’t stretch to the $1000 dollar mark this might be an ideal starting point for you.

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Which Is Better For Music Production – Laptop or Desktop?

Ultimately a desktop is better for music production especially considering that they can be upgraded and built-on with relative ease.  Though much more capable, they have their drawbacks meaning they need to be set up and remain where they are located.  They are a worthy investment if you’re serious about setting up a home studio, however, we live in a modern world that is constantly on the move and being able to take your work with you is every bit as valuable.

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WRAP UP

For some, the specs on computer products can read like gibberish, and there is a lot of misinformation out there which can confuse things further.  In this technological age, music production is increasingly becoming an accessible option for many of us musically inclined folk.

With many competent and competitive DAWs available for home studio setups.  For the most part our home studio setups require a Mac or PC, however, we are seeing a range of notebook and laptop-style products from other competitors which are providing a much more compact, portable production solution.

Laptops