What is the Best Computer for Music Production in 2022?

Best computer for music production

In this article, you will learn what to look for in order to get the best computer for music production. 

And we have no time to lose. After all, you have some music to produce. Let’s get straight to it.

3 Best laptops for music production:

  1. 16″ Apple MacBook pro
  2. 14″ Apple Macbook pro
  3. Dell XPS 13

3 Best desktop computers for music production:

  1. Mac Mini 
  2. Renewed computer
  3. Custom-Built PC

Short on time? These are my favorite picks:

You will read more about not only these two – but all the computers featured further down in this article.

But before we do, I think it is essential that you understand what to look for in a music production PC. 

That way, you will be better positioned to make a decision that is the right one for you.

Music production specifications: CPU and memory

In order to get maximum performance, there are some specifications that you should look for when getting a pc for music production. 

And those specifications are:

RAM (memory)

How much RAM you need depends on what music you intend to create. 8 gigs of ram are okay – 16 GB is better.

Based on my own experience, most people rarely need more than 16 GB of RAM for music production.

If you can, go for at least 16 GB of RAM. That should be enough for most cases.

CPU power

The CPU is your computer’s brain. It handles a lot of information and makes all the system calculations. 

The RAM stores machine code and data being used. But it is the CPU that decides how fast everything is calculated.

A CPU works like this: It is like this: you have a place to store all your old stuff (The RAM), yet it still lays around in your living room because your mind (The CPU) has too much other stuff to deal with.

So, prioritize a new, quick processor. 

SSD storage

You should definitely look for a computer with decent hard drive space storage. However, the ideal solution is keeping most software on an external drive.

Laptop VS Desktops for music production: The differences

Computers intended for music production must be powerful enough to host all the software you own without issues. 

In other words, a solid music production computer needs to:

  • handle multitrack recordings
  • load several virtual instruments
  • handle movie files (if you compose to media)

In contrast to a gaming computer or film-editing computer, the specs for music production computers actually don’t have to be insane.

Newer desktops and laptops are well suited to produce music – even the moderately specced ones.

That said, a desktop computer has faster and more intense processing power (CPU). This means that they can handle a higher number of plugins and tracks.

So, if you are doing really demanding work, or want to have the best computer for music production possible, chances are that you will benefit from getting a desktop computer.

Desktops also tend to have more drive space for your projects, audio, and instrument samples – but I will actually recommend you to get one or two dedicated external drives. That way, you won’t clutter the space on your computer. 

My favorite external SSD is the credit card-sized Samsung T7, which you can take a closer look at here.

Personally, I am currently using both a desktop computer and a laptop for music production:

  1. MacBook Pro 14″: great for creating music on the road or bringing it to meetings with directors, music producers, and sound editors)
  2. Custom-built desktop computer and external SSDs for avoiding files cluttering up my computers.

(Previously I used a second-hand Dell Optiplex, which you can read about in this article)

I have no issues with creating music on either of these computers. And I am working with orchestral virtual instruments, which tend to demand more CPU and memory than synths, for example.

I typically work on short films, video games, and commercials (usually somewhere between 30-50 total tracks in the project). But I have also done even more tracks with no stress. 

The truth is, that almost any moderately powerful 2022 computer should be able to handle music production in a home music studio.

Should you use a Mac or PC for music production?

The next consideration you have to make is whether you are getting a Mac or a PC. 

Both are good for music production, but the answer depends on several things:

  • Which DAW you are using (or want to use). Logic Pro is a fantastic DAW but is only available for Apple products
  • Which operating system do you want?
  • If you want to possibility to change computer parts and upgrade your computer. Windows PCs are easier to work with if that is the case

Mac is perhaps the industry standard in professional studios. But there are of course engineers that prefer Windows too. It all depends on which operating system they are accustomed to.

And, unless you are planning to get Logic Pro (Apple) or Cakewalk (Windows), most mainstream music production software is cross-platform nowadays. 

Laptop or desktop computer for your music production?

Finally, you must decide whether you want a laptop or desktop for your home studio.

Laptops tend to be pricier than desktops with the same specs. So, if you are on a budget, a desktop computer might be the wisest option.

Add the fact that you can often spec a more powerful desktop for less money than a laptop. 

The portability of a desktop computer is of course the drawback. 

If you work from multiple places and are going to meetings and such, go for the laptop. 

If you just want the most specs for the money and do not have any criteria for portability, a desktop computer is a good choice.

So, without further ado, let’s check out the best computers for music production.

3 Best Laptops for Music Production

Let’s have a look at the laptops first.

1. 16″ Apple MacBook pro

I have been using Apple products forever, and there is a good reason for that. One thing is the clean design (which in my eyes, no one can beat). 

But another thing is Logic Pro, which is a fantastic DAW especially made for Apple products.

DAW is short for Digital Audio Workstation and is the software in which you record and mix your music. Logic Pro, Cubase, Fruity Loops, and Garageband are examples of DAWs.

Even if you don’t have the means to get Logic Pro right away, you can still use their completely free DAW, Garageband for creating music. 

Actually, there have been examples of professional musicians using Garageband to produce music, which you can read about in this article.

MacBook Pro Specs:

  • 10-core CPU
  • 16-32-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural engine M1 chip
  • 16GB-64GB RAM
  • and 512GB-8TB SSD

These are specs that make the MacBook Pro capable of handling heavy loads.

An extra bonus for the long battery life. The 16″ has a battery life of up to 21 hours.

Check out the price on Amazon here

2. 14″ Apple Macbook Pro 

If you are determined to get a MacBook, but the budget is not in place for a 16″ model, you can consider the smaller 14″ MacBook Pro. 

This is the one I personally use at the moment, and I could not be happier with how well it performs when it comes to music production. It handles everything it needs to cope with with ease.

Everything from loading up multiple tracks to handling virtual instrument samples like a full orchestra.

Its handy size and light weight make it perfect for creating music when on the road.

14″ MacBook Pro specs:

  • 10-core CPU
  • 16-32-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural engine M1 chip
  • 16GB-64GB RAM
  • and 512GB-8TB SSD

The battery life of this model is up to 17 hours.

Check out the price on Amazon here

3. DELL XPS 13

If you really enjoy the sleek, elegant design of the Apple MacBooks, but still want to use the Windows operating system, you should take a closer look at DELL XPS 13.

With a gorgeous display and powerful specs, this Dell might actually be the closest Windows alternative to an Apple MacBook Pro.

Extra bonus: If you want more options when it comes to changing computer parts, and generally more power for the money it might be worthwhile to check out windows PCs. 

In other words, this Dell could last you a long time.

DELL XPS 13 Specs:

  • 11th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
  • Iris XE GPU
  • 18GB-32GB RAM
  • and 512GB SSD

Have a closer look at the DELL XPS, and check the current price here.

3 Best Desktops for Music Production

1. Mac Mini

If you are looking for the most budget-friendly Mac out there, The Mac Mini would be my option.

This is a desktop computer, but its small size makes it a portable solution.

It is actually the perfect computer if you want an affordable desktop Mac, if you want something compact, and if you already own a keyboard, display and mouse.

Mac Mini (M1 chip) Specs

  • 8-core CPU
  • 8-core GPU
  • 8GB-16GB RAM
  • and 256GB-2TB SSD

Check out the current price of Mac Mini on Amazon

2. Renewed desktop computer

second-hand computer

If your budget is an issue, and you are looking for as much power as possible for the money, it might be worth browsing through used computers on the second-hand market.

For example, I used an iMac as my preferred music production computer for over 10 years (that should tell you something about the quality and power of Apple computers, by the way). 

However, after 10 years it started to struggle a bit, so I browsed the second-hand market for a “new” desktop.

I found a used Dell Optiplex which already had some nice upgrades to it – and it performed way better than my older iMac.

One place I really recommend you check for secon-hand computers is Amazon and their ‘Amazon Renewed’ concept. Her you will get used computers that are like new – but at a much cheaper price.

Check here to get a second-hand, renewed Mac Mini for around half the price of a new one.

3. Custom-Built PC

An even better option than a second-hand computer is a custom-built one.

This is what I am currently using myself. I have built a computer, not only designed for music production but also for gaming and film editing.

There are plenty of second-hand desktop computers with enough juice to handle music production. Many of them are quite affordable, as well. You can in fact get an older Mac Pro or a windows PC surprisingly cheap.

But if you really want a PC suited to your excact needs, I’d recommend having a custom PC built according to your needs, specs, and budget.

My tip if you are on a budget: put together your own custom build by searching the second-hand market.

If keeping the budget low is not the most important part, and you rather want a brand new product, you can build a brand new custom PC here.

What now?

Now you have seen my top picks for the best computer for music production. 

In addition, you now know that RAM and CPU are important specs to look for and whether a desktop computer or a laptop is the way to go for your needs. 

The most important takeaway from this article is that your needs are individual and what is the right music recording computer for you, is not necessarily the best computer for another person. 

Do you want to get my best tips for a whole music studio setup? Then you should check out my article on this topic.

Every studio equipment you need.

I have spent hundreds of hours researching and testing the best (and some not so good) music production tools on the market. Click the button below to see my recommendations.

Thomas Leypoldt

Hey there! My name is Thomas and I have been a film composer for over 10 years, delivering music to feature films, documentaries, video games, and commercials. I share everything I have learned on this website, to hopefully be of help to your own development as a musician.

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