The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Laptops for Music Production – Pt. 2

If you’ve viewed our other article on selecting the best windows laptops for music production in our article titled, Best Laptops for Music Production – Pt. 1, then you’re probably more than familiar on the reasons as to why picking the correct laptop for studio recording is a core piece of your recording process. Therefore, we’ve decided to go on the opposite side of the computing spectrum and devise a list for the Best Mac Laptops for Studio Recording to include in the second part to our series.

To give a brief review:

The laptop that you decide to go with can make the difference in which DAWs you use, how effective you are at producing and mastering your music as well as the speed of the editing process, which can be daunting at times.

We decided to create a separate article for Mac computers because they have a lot of functional and operational differences from a Windows computers and as such must be evaluated with a different set of criteria.

First, however, we will discuss what those differences are and what you need to know about Mac computers in our next section.

What Are the Fundamental Differences Between a Mac and a PC?

The biggest difference between the two that you are probably already aware of are the manufacturers. PCs typically run the famous Operating System called Windows, which is manufactured by the corporation, Microsoft. Conversely, Mac computers run an Operating System that is manufactured by Apple.

Other differences:  

Both of these computers used to run on different processors, with Apple using their own brand and Microsoft preferring the Intel processor. Now, they both use Intel processors.

One of the largest differences between the two is that Apple is not typically open-source and Microsoft is. What this mean is that Apple does not allow its users to actively edit the fundamental code of its machines. If you’ll remember, there used to be a large craze surrounding the ‘jailbreaking’ of iPhones, which would enable users to change the designs on certain icons, hack games, and all sorts of other ‘illicit’ features. The reason why such a jailbreak even existed in the first place was because Apple does not offer open-source software where users can make those modifications themselves, so the device had to be ‘hacked’ into in order for these permissions to be granted.

Susceptibility to hacking and maintenance. On the flip side of Apple’s open-source nature, their devices tend to be significantly less susceptible to hacking and corruption. This is extremely helpful for a multitude of obvious reasons that don’t need to be stated here.

The interfaces on the two devices are vastly different. If you’ve used both kinds of laptops, then you’ll notice that there are some similarities as well as stark differences between the two. However, they are, in general, largely different from each other and require a slight learning curve if one is transitioning from one machine to the other.

Compatibility. This is where Mac is seen as superior to PC in many ways in the music world. Apple has done a great job of partnering with DAW companies such as GarageBand and ProTools among others. These programs are typically exclusive to the Mac laptop itself.

Pricing. Mac computers are typically more expensive than PCs, this is fact. As to whether or not they are worth the extra cost is a matter of opinion. Given the sales of Mac and Apple products in the last few decades, it is safe to conclude that many users are more than comfortable with paying a little extra to be Mac owners.

 

 

Now that we’ve gotten these differences between Macs and PCs out of the way, we’ll explain what criteria factors important to evaluate when deciding what makes one Mac computer better than the over.

 

Criteria for Evaluating Mac Computers for how good they’ll be for Music Production

Much of the criteria for evaluating Mac computers in terms of their efficacy for music production is very similar to that which we used for our Windows laptops.

Typically, the factors that matter the most in determining whether a Mac laptop is better than another for music production are as follows:

Processor:  The processor is one of the key features one must evaluate in determining how well a particular Mac computer would work. As with the Windows models, an i7 Core Intel processor is always preferable and it is expected that the Macs that have made our list of Best Laptops for Music Production should contain such.

Display: This is usually determined by the specs of the screen itself as well as the video card contained within. The Macs on our list of Best Laptops for music Production should have excellent graphics that allow music producers and engineers to clearly visualize the music that they’re working on.

Storage: This is another essential feature that one of the Macs on our Best Laptops for Music Production should excel in. If the laptop contains a significant amount of storage, then that assures that there will be no problem in holding the multiple recordings, drafts, and songs that are produced. This is particularly important for those working in music because projects can easily become gigantic in file size, especially the raw mixdowns.

-RAM: As mentioned in our article on Windows computers, the RAM that a laptop has makes a substantial difference when evaluating which Mac laptop qualifies itself as one of the best for music productioon. To recap, RAM stands for ‘Random Access Memory’ and refers to a computer’s current amount of working memory. This term is confusing to some because we typically think of memory in terms of ‘remembering’ or ‘storage’. However in this case, memory is used in the present tense, so RAM basically refers to how much ‘space’ does the computer have to operate in a given moment. Does it have enough RAM to handle 5 programs open at once? Or just 3? As you can imagine, the more RAM that a computer has, the better it will be able to handle the load from various DAWs and software that are used in the musical editing process. RAM plays such a large role in this because most DAWs and music software tend to require a great amount of RAM to run smoothly without flaw.

 

 

Now that we’ve covered most of the relevant information concerning the factors that make a Mac standout as well as its differences between a Windows laptop, we’re ready to present to you our list of the Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition.

 

PsyRox’s list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition

For each computer on our list, we decided to grade them using four categories, which are; aesthetics, hardware, pricing, and ‘overall’. Each category is graded on a score from 0 to 100 with 0 representing the worst possible score and 100 the best. For pricing, the computers will be between the cost of $500-3,000.

Below, is a breakdown of the criteria that we have used for grading each of the categories.

Aesthetics – The aesthetics score is based purely on how good the laptop itself looks. Is it a stylish, sleek, and thin design? This particular category will be explored in greater depth than it was for other devices because of the multiple nuances of a laptop.

Hardware – This will be the most important category by far. This is because the predominant reasons for what would make a laptop better for music production, engineering, and audio recording reside within the hardware composition of each candidate. We’ll be breaking down all of that tricky jargon that you find attached to these devices and helping you decide which one is truly the best.

Pricing – The pricing score will be based upon two things: (1) How reasonable we feel the pricing is given what the laptop offers and how well it serves the purpose of audio recording and (2) It’s price relative to that of comparable devices on the market.

Overall – This category merely gives an overall score to help you better assess how good each individual laptop is in contrast with the others.

Without further ado, we present to you our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition.

 

#4 – Apple MacBook Pro 15.4” Laptop

Aesthetics – 70/100

Hardware – 75/100

Pricing – 85/100

Overall – 73/100

Coming in at #4 on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition is the Apple Macbook Pro. This nifty little notebook is a great selection for any artist that is just beginning to dip into the world of studio recording.

Aesthetics – Appearance-wise, there isn’t too much to discuss when it comes to this laptop. It isn’t aesthetically displeasing by any means. However, it certainly does not do much to impress upon first glance. The exterior of the laptop is all silver per Apple’s usual stock color preference. There is the Apple logo in the center of the laptop’s back and not much else to note on its exterior. On the interior, the keyboard is a standard Apple keyboard – all black, neat and file keys without the presence of anything to distracting fancy or obtrusive. This laptop, in essence, is the classic Mac laptop of today in terms of appearance.

Hardware – Hardware-wise, this laptop is surprisingly decent for its unassuming nature. While the RAM is a little lower than we had hoped it would be (4 GIG), we certainly were impressed by its other specs. It offers half a TB (500gb) of memory as well as an i7 Intel Quad Core Processor. It comes with a lengthy battery life which ensures that those doing work on it will be able to do so for a long while without being tethered to the ball and chain that is a charger. The computer runs on the latest OS and appears to have superior graphics capabilities in comparison to your garden-variety laptop of today.

Pricing – Pricewise, this is where the laptop really shines. Its price is substantially cheaper than what you would typically expect for most Mac laptops, which is a pleasant surprise. Given what you get on the hardware side of things in conjunction with the price being charged, we believe that this laptop is somewhat of a deal for customers, though not once-in-a-lifetime caliber.

For more information, including how to purchase, customer reviews, and a more detailed product description, click here.

 

 

#3 – Apple MacBook Pro MD104LL/A

Aesthetics 70/100

Hardware – 80/100

Pricing – 90/100

Overall – 80/100

Coming in at #3 on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition, the Apple MacBook Pro MD104LL/A is very much like an upgraded version of the Apple Macbook Pro that shows itself as #4 on our list.

Aesthetics – Aesthetically, there is virtually no difference between this laptop and the #5 laptop on our list. It is flanked in the all-silver coating that is classic of Mac laptops. It is also a fairly thick device, guaranteeing that it will weigh a hefty amount in comparison to some of the thinner models of laptops that we have discussed on our website. There is nothing that aesthetically stands out about this laptop in general. It has the same standard black keys that come with all Mac laptops as well.

Hardware – As noted in the intro description of this device, the hardware is where this device shines. It comes equipped with a 2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor, with 8 gigabytes of RAM, which is tremendous. It also has ¾ of a TB of memory (750 GB), which is 50% more than what the #5 laptop on our list contains. It is equipped with the NVIDIA graphics card, which provides superb quality. It also has one of the latest Mac OS additions too, ensuring that one is equipped with the latest and greatest in Mac technology.

Pricing – The pricing of this laptop at the time of writing is tremendous given the specs that we just outlined in the hardware section. It is definitely rare to get a Mac laptop of this quality for this price and we recommend that you go out and purchase this device immediately if you have the opportunity to do so.

For more information, including how to purchase, customer reviews, and a more detailed product description, click here.

 

#2 – Apple MacBook Pro MGXA2LL/A

Aesthetics 80/100

Hardware – 85/100

Pricing – 90/100

Overall – 87.5/100

Coming in at #2 on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition, this device, as with #3, is an upgrade over its predecessor on the list although not as much as #4 was in relation to #4.

Aesthetics – Aesthetically, the color-scheme is not any different than the other two laptops on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition. However, it is substantially thinner than the other two devices whilst maintaining the same overall screen size, which is highly favorable from an aesthetic standpoint. Other than that, there is nothing of note that would separate it out from the other two models that we covered previously on our list.

Hardware – In terms of the hardware, there is a lot to be pleased about in terms of the hardware capabilities of this device. The device runs on a 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor with a 3.7 GHz turbo-boost option. In laymen’s terms, that means that this device has the ability to process a lot. It also comes equipped with 16 GB of RAM, which is substantial in itself as well and 100% more RAM than what was offered for the #4 laptop on our list. In addition, the 15.4-inch retina display guarantees that the graphic quality of the device is top notch. Overall, this device is everything that you would desire out of a top-flight Mac Laptop.

Pricing – The current pricing on this device at the time of writing is superb. We couldn’t ask for anything better in terms of the pricing and believe that this is fundamentally a steal when considering the hardware that one receives, the boost in aesthetic value, and the relative price of comparable Macbooks on the market.

For more information, including how to purchase, customer reviews, and a more detailed product description, click here.

 

 

#1 – MacBook Pro 13-inch Touch Bar

Aesthetics – 95/100

Hardware – 95/100

Pricing – 90/100

Overall – 98/100

There is absolutely no debate about this MacBook Pro being placed at #1 on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition. In reality, it may be the best MacBook for anything that one desires to accomplish on a Mac itself.

Aesthetics – Aesthetically, it makes a major break from the other Macbooks on our list of Best Laptops for Music Production – Mac Edition. The first way that it does this is with its color scheme. Deviating from the classic space grey that is featured on most Mac computers, it has more of a dark tone covering the outside of the laptop as well as the inner. The most obvious aesthetic enhancement on the MacBook however, is the touch bar. You may have seen this in recent advertisements and commercials for the MacBook computer and were ‘wowed’ by it when you first saw it. Trust and believe that it is as aesthetically pleasing as it has been billed to be and you will not be disappointed when you get your hands on this bad boy. In terms of the rest of the device, the keyboard is nothing of incredible note, however, it is something worth mentioning in general as the keys appear to be a bit larger than they have been in the past. The laptop is also thinner than the first two models on our list, which is always a huge plus.

Hardware – In terms of the hardware on this device, it does not fail to impress in any way at all. The first item of considerable note would be the MacBook’s new installment of the touch bar on this device. The touch bar, which is a thin strip placed across the top of the keyboard section of the computer is a novel innovation that allows users to control items on the screen and see them in a linear like fashion where they can scrub between different screens using their fingers directly. In addition the machine comes with a whopping 3.3 GHz of processing speed to couple its Core i7 Intel processor. It has only 512 GB of hardware memory which is not too remarkable, however, is well enough to satisfy whatever needs that a recording professional would have in terms of storage on the computer. And the 16 GB of RAM is the absolute maximum that can be held by any MacBook at this point, so you know you’re receiving top of the line in that area.

Pricing – This laptop is a bit pricy, all things considered from an objective standpoint. However, our pricing category is based on the hardware that you receive in addition to the benefits that are received by the laptop itself make the pricing more than fair and for that reason we gave it an excellent score rating. Basically, if you have the money you should go out and purchase this device.

For more information, including how to purchase, customer reviews, and a more detailed product description, click here.