If you’re a struggling music artist, just thank your lucky stars it’s not the 1970s anymore. In the prog rock years (and today, if you’re Bjork), anyone who wanted to bring their music to a paying audience needed to be able to cart a Moog synthesiser, several live swans, five session musicians, and a wardrobe full of kaftans around. Tiring and expensive.
Nowadays, all you need is a bit of AV equipment and a laptop, and you’re good to go. You can DIY a Number One single in your bedroom if you’ve got the right skills-- but you’ll need the right kit for the job. So if you have dreams of going triple platinum or headlining the Ultra Festival, you’ll want to pick up one of the best music production laptops 2017 has had to offer…
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
If you’re looking for portability -- and given that you may be living in a van for a few months in the best-case scenario, you are looking for portability -- then you can’t go far wrong with the Surface Pro 4. In its base form it is a tablet, but for around $1000 you get a laptop version with Windows 10 that offers all the mixing and editing versatility that a budding Skrillex could possibly want. It comes with a stylus too, so you can scrawl lyrics or ideas on the touchscreen before converting them to text.
Dell XPS 13
This one will set you back a pretty penny but you can chip away at the cost by declining some of the features available with the full-fat version. In its most basic form, it is still a speedy, high-memory machine that will let you run all the programs you need to produce a sure-fire hit, plus it’s slim enough to hold on your lap and enjoy having some fun at the Ladbrokes casino in your down time. The huge swathes of storage mean that you’ll be able to keep all your mixes on hand, so you don’t need to choose between the underground smashes and the club bangers you’ve put together.
Apple MacBook 12”
Cheaper than the MacBook Pro, and with better battery life, the MacBook 12” is probably the best Apple laptop for creative artists. The saving you make by not buying the Pro can be invested instead in Pro Tools or Spectrasonic software that will make production a walk in the park. Furthermore, if you choose to take it for a walk in the park (inspiration can strike anywhere, after all), you can rest assured that its super-light frame makes it far more portable than your average laptop.
Lenovo Yoga Book
Full disclosure: If you’re looking for a production laptop, this is not for you; one of the options above is more suited to your needs. However, If you’re a DJ looking for a machine that will let you mix your music and play it in clubs, then the Lenovo Yoga is an absolute dream. The touch screen folds flat, allowing it to become a tablet when you need one, and it’s available for just $400 with some stockists. Just to put that in perspective, back in the 70s that was David Bowie’s leotard budget for one show. Probably.
There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough for 2018 to beat this year’s offerings.