If you’re working on music, you need one of the best audio PCs on the market. These computers are critical for musicians and producers to reach their full potential. And, when working with their favorite Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), these machines need to provide the kind of power that will easily handle large projects without issue. No matter if you’re working in Cubase, Pro Tools, or FL Studio, your workstation needs to keep up.
With that said, the best audio laptops and PCs have to offer more than just high-end internals. A large hard drive to save all your files is a must as is enough RAM to handle all your plugins and virtual instruments. And, of course, they need to be compatible with all your external equipment from audio interfaces to sequencers and everything in between.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re trying to figure out which audio computer is right for your needs. And, to help you pick the one that most suits you, we’ve collected the top machines for music production taking our criteria above into consideration. It’s quite a demanding checklist so many of these PCs are expensive. Just know that they are well worth the money. Plus, included is our built-in price comparison tool, which scours the internet to bring you the best prices for these devices.
Check out the best laptops for DJ and music production
The best audio PC in 2023 in full
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The new iMacs are not just an improvement over their 21.5-inch predecessor externally, touting a fresh and modern new face that comes in several different colors. They also come with fresh new specs, rocking Apple’s new M1 chip that makes it much more powerful than the previous Intel iMacs.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the new iMac (24-inch, 2021) is the best and most efficient all-in-one PC we’ve ever tested, making it the best audio PC right now. There's also a bigger screen, with the 21.5-inch display replaced by the larger 24-inch one.
It’s not the most affordable, but you’ll be happy to know that you are getting great value here, as you’re getting the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse included – in matching colors, we might add.
Read our full iMac (24-inch, 2021) review.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for in performance and battery life.
Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life, with Apple claiming the "longest battery life ever in a Mac", promising a huge 17 hours of wireless web browsing, and up to 20 hours of video playback. This is a mighty 10 hours more than the previous model.
Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K - and even 8K - videos – let alone music production. If you’re looking for a powerful yet portable PC for making music, this is the best audio PC money can buy.
Read our full MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) review
One of Apple’s biggest surprises of the year is the update to its smallest Mac. The brand-new Mac mini now touts Apple’s M1 chip, while keeping things the same in its much-loved design.
With an 8-core CPU consisting of four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores to balance workloads, Apple claims the M1 can process tasks nearly three times faster than the chip in the previous Mac mini.
With this significant performance upgrade, the M1 is powerful enough for music production and even 8K video editing, thanks to this new chip. Graphics designers and videographers will be pleased to know that rendering in Final Cut Pro is also six times faster than on previous models. Gaming performance is also much improved too.
That’s all while still keeping its title as the cheapest Mac ever – terrific news for budget-minded musicians and music producers.
Read our full Mac mini (M1, 2020) review.
Not that you need one of the most powerful laptops in existence for making music, but if you do want it, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition will no doubt take your breath away thanks to its sheer power and stunning display.
Its Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU, with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, is one of the most powerful GPUs you’ll find in any laptop. It blows past the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M found in high-end MacBook Pros, and means the Razer Blade Studio Edition (2020) rivals desktop and all-in-one workstations when it comes to graphic performance.
It means it can execute the most complex tasks like 3D animation and video editing, let alone music production. The steep price is just as breathtaking, however, so only invest if you really want that much firepower and can afford it.
Read our full Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020) review.
The Surface Studio 2 is a great alternative to Apple's iMacs, and if you'd rather use Windows 10 over macOS, then this all-in-one from Microsoft is an excellent choice.
Sleek, stylish and capable of handling DAW software with ease, along with a bright and vibrant built-in display, this is an excellent audio PC that would look great in anyone's studio.
It's not quite as powerful as the latest iMac, however, so if you want pure power, go for Apple's all-in-one. It's also not the best for gaming, so if that's an interest you're better off looking elsewhere.
Instead, the Surface Studio 2 is perfectly capable for its primary use case as a tool for digital content creators, so don’t let dated specs turn you off if you’re a digital artist seeking fresh tools. For folks specifically in that crowd, the Surface Studio 2 could last you several years.
Read our full Surface Studio 2 review.
The formidable Acer ConceptD 7 is capable of handling complex and demanding tasks such as audio production. Clearly designed specifically with creative professionals in mind, it boasts that sheer power you’ll only find in workstations and gaming laptops.
It comes with 32GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7-9750H six-core processor and Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card, along with a 1TB SSD. These are some very impressive specifications, and it performed brilliantly in our benchmark tests, as well as in day-to-day tasks.
Beyond that excellent performance it delivers, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design and that stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display.
Obviously, it’s still pretty pricey, but no professional’s tool comes cheap. If you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for audio production, this is a fantastic choice.
Read our full Acer ConceptD 7 review.
Lenovo’s latest all-in-one offering isn’t as powerful as Apple’s premium AIO, the iMac Pro, or even the recently updated iMac, which now offers a 9th-generation Intel Core configuration. After all, the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are aging at this point.
However, it is still plenty powerful to meet the needs of creative professionals out there who are not entirely impressed by Apple’s pricey machines. It can handle pretty much any modern application with ease – and even a spot of gaming as well.
On top of that, the Lenovo Yoga A940 has a few aces up its sleeves, including 100% Adobe RGB support and Dolby Vision, a set of Dolby Atmos speakers, a port offering that’s more generous than Apple’s all-in-one, and a stylus included in the box.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga A940 review.
Professionals and creatives need something that can handle any workload they can possibly throw at it. If you’re one such user, the iMac Pro isn’t just one of the best Macs for you; it’s the only Mac to consider.
Not only does it have a vibrant 27-inch 5K display with a P3 wide color gamut, but it also boasts some of the most powerful hardware Apple could get its hands on. As you'd expect, it also comes with the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and optionally, the Magic Trackpad 2.
It’s extremely expensive though, so if spending almost as much as a new car on a computer seems extreme, then look elsewhere. It's really only meant for folks who have deep pockets and need that unbridled power to get through their daily workloads.
Read our full iMac Pro review.
How to choose the best audio PC for you
Making sure you've got the best audio PC for your requirements is one of the biggest decisions you can make when it comes to audio production. Unfortunately, it's not something you can really afford to scrimp on, so don't expect too many wallet-friendly options.
But whether music production is your job or your passion, you'll not begrudge paying top dollar for the end result.
So the first thing to consider is the power and performance requirements. Key here is to consider the graphics and the CPU. You'll need a high level of processing power to be able to effectively mix and edit audio, and even moreso should your scope include high-definition video editing. The good news is some on this list can manage 8k videos with little issue.
Next to consider is compatibility with your existing music tech and interfaces. You'll need to decide if you're more comfortable with Apple or Windows. If you're not a complete newbie then it's very likely you (and your equipment) are already aligned to one or the other.
Finally, consider what storage requirements you'll need. If you already have a storage facility that you're happy with, be it hardware or cloud, you might not need a new PC that comes with tons of storage. But if you'll be storing all of your edited files on the hard drive, then make sure you're buying a PC with plenty of room.
The best audio PC: How we test
Like any content creator, when it comes to editing and mixing music, your production will only be as good as your tech allows.
It's why we've run the rule over some of the best audio PCs money can buy, comparing both Mac and Windows-based PCs and listing their veritable strengths, and occasional weaknesses.
When it comes to testing out each PC's specifications, we've first looked under the hood to see what the engine looks like. That includes comparing graphics, processing power, RAM, and hard drive storage space.
We've also looked at what you can see on the outside, including screen size, design and aesthetics, and general bulk and size.
We've taken into account some of the factors that are often overlooked, but are equally as important when it comes to usability. This include connectivity options like ports, sound systems, and additional features like styluses. Lastly, although as stated above, these computers don't come cheap, we have also compared costs and offered cheaper alternatives to some of the big hitters.
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