I have always thought that for music producing, recording, and mixing, you need expensive equipment. Music production was always synonymous with the studios that charge an expensive fee to record even one song.
Then I have had the idea to produce my music using just a laptop, and asked myself, is it even possible?
This obvious answer is yes, but the question is, how can a laptop produce such complex sounds that require a music studio.
The answer lies in the software and hardware that you need to produce the sounds for your record. With the right programs and equipment, it becomes really easy to make your music.
So, can you produce music with just a laptop?
With simple research, I found out that you can produce even complex songs using just your laptop. Technology has advanced to the level that you can produce music on the go, using your laptop or even a phone.
The economy is not the only factor to consider when you want to produce music this way. Using just a laptop can save you a lot of space, and you can do it anywhere in the world. In the old days, musicians would be in the studios for months. Now you can work and travel simultaneously.
Music production using a laptop is not that hard, and I will give you a few tips to save you time and money.
Check out Oak Felder, the famous music producer producing music with just a laptop.
What laptop do I need for music production?
You don’t need any particular laptop model, and even the cheapest laptops can produce simple songs. However, with a few upgrades to your computer, you can make your life easier.
These hardware components are the most essential for music production.
- The important thing on your laptop is RAM. With more RAM, you can execute more actions on your computer simultaneously. In the music world, that means you can work on more samples at the same time and use more plugins. The optimal RAM capacity is 16Gb, but you can work pretty fine even with the 8Gb RAM computer.
- Another important thing is the hard drive capacity. More gigabytes means more storage for your songs. The 1 Tb hard drives are not expensive today, and you can even consider going for an SSD, which will improve your laptop’s overall speed.
- The last thing to look out for is the processor or CPU of your laptop. While not necessary for music production, a good CPU will speed up your music programs tremendously. With a good processor, you can record bigger tracks and use more plugins. Quad-core CPUs like AMD Razer or Intel I-series are an excellent choice for music production.
Remember, you don’t need a monster PC to record some good songs. But, if you want more quality tracks and a more friendly user experience, these are the things you will want to consider.
What programs or DAWs do I need for music production?
The programs that we are using to record and produce music are called Digital Audio Workstations or DAWs. It transforms your laptop into a studio in a matter of minutes.
There are a few free DAWs, and the ones you need to pay for that even professional musicians use.
The most famous DAW certainly is Pro Tools. Musicians usually use this program to write and record music.
The base version is free, so you can download it, have some fun, and learn music production basics. You can always upgrade to a premium mode and have the same experience as professional musicians. It supports Mac and Windows operating systems.
The other good DAWs are:
Ableton Live is a favorite of the DJs and live musicians. It even has a session view that is perfect for live performance mixing. If you are an aspiring DJ, you can invest in this DAW or try it for free since it has a free trial.
Reaper is a more straightforward alternative to Pro Tools. The main advantage over other programs is that it can record very high sample rates. It has a free and a premium version.
The other programs for Windows operating systems are Cubase, FL Studio. If you own a Mac laptop, you have GarageBand or Logic Pro X. All of them are great programs on their own and have some kind of free trial. Try them and decide which one works for you!
Be sure to watch some tutorials on how to use them, because they can be a bit confusing.
Do I need more accessories to produce music on the laptop?
The base laptop is usually enough for you to make high-quality tracks. But, if you want to spice up the quality of sound input and output, you should consider buying a good set of headphones for music production and maybe an interface.
Chances are if you are a sound enthusiast, you probably have a good set of headphones.
Headphones are essential when you listen to music furthermore when you record it. You want to have a clear view of all basses, mids, and lows in your track.
How to determine which headphones suit you?
There is no clear answer. It’s best to try them and choose which ones sound the best to you. If you want to mix bass sounds, go for the ones that have strong bases. Ultimately, you are the determining factor. Here an article on the 10 best studio headphones I was able to find.
The interface isn’t necessary for laptop music production. However, if you grow bored and want to experiment with the new sounds, you should invest in the interface. It will mainly improve input and output quality and reduce latency.
Here’s the list of plugins you may find useful.
Do professional musicians make their music on the laptop?
A growing number of musicians use laptops to produce music like Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Oak Felder (Nicky Minaj, Demi Lovato), and many more artists. Recording and touring simultaneously were unimaginable 20 years ago, and now every professional musician does it.
With the rise of electronic music and the popularity of techno, house, drum, and bass, the studio’s role in a traditional sense has died out a little, and music production on a laptop has risen in popularity.
Should you go with a desktop PC or a laptop to produce music?
Many beginners are probably asking themselves this question, but the answer is straightforward. It does not matter!
The sound quality is the same on both computers. If you care about the computer’s raw power, choose the PC, as they are usually much faster and cheaper than laptops. Multitasking is also easier when you use a stationary computer.
If you travel a lot and like the mobility of laptops, absolutely choose them. There is no clear disadvantage in any of them, except for your personal preference.
How to learn the basics of music production?
Music production and DAWs can be a bit overwhelming at first, but they all offer some kind of tutorial. If that is not enough, Youtube and Google are your best friends. Never was this easy to learn something new than it is today.
Don’t just look into tutorials, download some DAWs, and experiment by yourself. When I started learning music production, experimenting was the most fun way to learn. You can even discover some fantastic new tracks that way.
Knowledge of music theory can help you tremendously. Every professional musician should at least know the basics. It will make your life much easier, as it will be easier for you to write, read, and play music.