Laptop suggestions for music software eg musescore

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Hello can you help with a laptop suggestions for music software eg musescore. I will try and include as much info as I can.

I am currently use an old Dell latitude bought 2nd hand over 5 years ago at least. Its starting to fail so I am looking to replay it before it stops altogether.


I use a tablet for general web searching and social media. Playstation for games

I will mostly use it for music software (musescore and audacity) so something with good sound, although i will use external speakers.

I can only playback musescore on my tablet and need a laptop to write and edit scores.

With music in mind it would be good if the screen could rotate and I could see the scores in portrait form. Not essential

I dont currently attach any midi keyboard or anything to it, not sure I ever will.

I also use Word and Excel quite a bit.

Thinking a 14 inch monitor would be good.

Anti glare

Real keyboard. Dont mind if it's also touch screen or not.

It will mostly be sat on a desk but would like have option to take it out with me.

4 hours battery would be enough. Currently have about 5 minutes.

Standard resolution screen ( I do have photos stored on there)

Plenty of storage.

Windows as that is what I am used to.

Dont need disc drive

No hdmi required

USB to connect phone or laptop

I think 4gb is enough to run musescore but I am thinking I would like at least 8 if not 16 to give me options in future.

Not bothered which brand

Prefer new this time.

No idea on budget I am just overwhelmed by the choice out there. I guess I am looking for something that will do all of the above plus a bit of future proofing in case I want to do more music wise.

Many thanks in advance

Notmy
 

Carbon 60

Active Member
Hi Notmy and welcome to AV Forums :),

Loooking at your requirements the thing that stood out for me was "real keyboard". Presumably by this you mean a mechanical keyboard as opposed to a chiclet (membrane) keyboard. You're only going to get a mech keyboard on very expensive (gaming) laptops, which you don't need, and you won't find one on a 14" laptop at all. You're also going to severely limit your choices as to models. I think you should forgo this particular requirement, some chiclet keyboards are excellent.

As regards screen rotation you can do that within Windows.

There's two 14" laptops I've seen reviewed with good sound and they're both 2-in-1s -

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 has a dim display but the keyboard is better. The max storage however is 512GB which may not meet your requirement of "plenty of storage" (I interpret that as 1TB).

Best is the Dell Inspiron 14 5406, although the screen suffers from reflections and is dim when viewed at an angle. Time on battery is quite low at 5 hours when web browsing (8 hours when watching vids).

Although you said you wanted a new one I suggest a certified refurb direct from the Dell UK Outlet. There's one in stock at time of posting with 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD for £756 (plus an extra 10% off with a Limited Time deal).

Note the Dell Outlet stock inventory changes rapidly. Laptops can be there one day and gone the next, and that happens very often.

You may be better off all round with a cheaper 15" conventional laptop. I've given you some things to think about anyway.
 
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Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Wow thank you. I will check those out.

You are correct about the keyboard I just meant not one like on a phone
And yes 1 TB is plenty

Things have really moved on since I last bought a laptop and that was pretty old to start with.

Thanks again for taking the time to help.
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
The portrait one on a laptop is just not going to work. If you need that I would suggest to just get a USB-C powered external screen and use that for the portrait notation.

Likewise no laptop speakers are good, and PC based ones are even worse. My daughter is a music producer with several tracks released and wouldn't dream of using anything other than studio monitors. I hear you saying you won't use a midi keyboard, but if you do, they are usb based nowadays, not generally a need to get a midi interface like in the old days...

I'd definitely go for 16Gb when you get a new machine, especially considering you'll be running software synths..
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I would suggest you go for a larger screen so that scores can be shown portrait without them becoming too small. If you have the desk space, consider a 17" screen.

Get a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD), as these boot up much faster and are virtually silent in operation. Use an online backup service like Dropbox, so that if the laptop fails or goes missing, it can be quickly restored.

In terms of audio monitoring, do budget for some external monitor speakers and a USB sound card. If you use external real instruments, pick one with a good quality input- an XLR socket or 2 with phantom power is a good starting point, but if you are all electronic, just having a volume control for the monitors and a separately controlled headphone output can be really useful.

My wife uses a small Behringer audio mixer with USB connection for this, as it covers all the bases and makes controlling the speakers very easy to do.
 

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Thanks again

Much to think about.

Re the other equipment, in the house we have a mixing desk and a pa system. Plus something called a red box, which I believe provides xlr.
None of which I have ever tried to connect to my current pc. But maybe I will in future once I get more than 5 mins battery life.
 

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Spent a few hours looking round and I keep coming back to the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14
I am usually a big fan of 2nd hand tech (and musical instruments) as a way of getting value for money, so I don't know why I am fixed on new this time.
consider a 17" screen
I am a bit stuck for space and also used to reading scores on my tablet via mobilesheets, so ok with the smaller screen.

Use an online backup service like Dropbox
I am a big fan of Dropbox for sharing between devices.
 

Carbon 60

Active Member
Hi again,

I think I was wrong now mentioning the Lenovo Flex 14 because the max RAM you can get is 8GB, which won't be enough for you. 16GB would be a far better option. Also you'll need an Intel Core i7 CPU either 10th or preferably the latest 11th generation (gen). The CPU model number starts with a 10 for 10th gen and 11 for 11th gen. You could consider an AMD Ryzen CPU too as some models easily outperform their Intel counterparts.

With this in mind and noting your insistence on a new 14" machine I suggest the Huawei Matebook 14 53011RJP with the powerful 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD from ebuyer for £800. This laptop also has a higher vertical 3:2 aspect ratio screen instead of the more usual 16:9.

AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
Intel Core i7-1165G7
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Hi again,

I think I was wrong now mentioning the Lenovo Flex 14 because the max RAM you can get is 8GB, which won't be enough for you. 16GB would be a far better option. Also you'll need an Intel Core i7 CPU either 10th or preferably the latest 11th generation (gen). The CPU model number starts with a 10 for 10th gen and 11 for 11th gen. You could consider an AMD Ryzen CPU too as some models easily outperform their Intel counterparts.

With this in mind and noting your insistence on a new 14" machine I suggest the Huawei Matebook 14 53011RJP with the powerful 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD from ebuyer for £800. This laptop also has a higher vertical 3:2 aspect ratio screen instead of the more usual 16:9.

AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
Intel Core i7-1165G7
You really don't need that much computing power for scoring and playback using a few software synths. An i5 with 8GB is plenty. Music editing and composition requires far less resources than video editing.
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
You really don't need that much computing power for scoring and playback using a few software synths. An i5 with 8GB is plenty. Music editing and composition requires far less resources than video editing.
I think opinions will vary on that. I wouldn’t even order that low spec for our office users as they complain about speed when you have multiple things running at the same time. Likewise for music editing and composition, my gosh the complexity I see my daughter get into and the near real-time rendering. It does require a fair bit. And then there is future proofing. As the OP has the last stop for a long time, I think there is something to say for it to get a decent spec now.

Naturally a lot depends on budget as well.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I think opinions will vary on that. I wouldn’t even order that low spec for our office users as they complain about speed when you have multiple things running at the same time. Likewise for music editing and composition, my gosh the complexity I see my daughter get into and the near real-time rendering. It does require a fair bit. And then there is future proofing. As the OP has the last stop for a long time, I think there is something to say for it to get a decent spec now.

Naturally a lot depends on budget as well.
True, always get the best you can afford, but with music scoring and playback, you are not really using the features of latest processors, which are more geared to video playback and editing.

Scoring and composition software is much lighter in terms of the processing requirements than recording "real" audio tracks, as virtual synths and a few plugins are not that resource hungry.

Where things can get tasty is multitrack production requiring a lot of plugins, stems and punch in / outs of additional tracks. This requires fast disc access and more ram, hence my suggestion for an SSD. I would go so far as to say that an SSD is the single most important factor, ideally coupled with a 2nd physical drive for project storage. A USB3 external SSD is 1 option for laptops not having the capacity for a 2nd physical drive.

The requirements for Musescore are as follows:
  • Windows 7 or higher.
  • At least 300MB hard disk space
  • 1024x600 pixel resolution
And Audacity only requires 2Gb ram & a low spec processor to operate correctly.

My wife uses Sibelius for composition and until recently was running it on a 2007 laptop with 2GB ram and an Intel Core Duo processor running at 1.2GHz! Other than startup, running the software on her new i7 8Gb HP Elitebook really isn't much different.
 

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Thanks again both.

One of the things I checked on the Lenovo is that I can swap the ram up to 16GB. For about £50-60. I watched a YouTube.

I think your musical ambition for me is more than I had in mind. I mostly use musecore to play along with and to practice with, so sometimes I create simple backing tracks.

Sorry if I missled I tried to give all the necessary info. It's difficult when my current pc is so old the Lenovo is a massive step up.
In my head my current storage is massive and I have used half of it. I checked yesterday and its only actually 114gb.

Budget wise, I don't really want to go over about 800,

The more I consider I think I could get by with a smaller and cheaper spec than the Lenovo, but I am hoping to hang on to it a while.
 

Carbon 60

Active Member
OK, I've looked at several Musescore forum threads about system requirements, the latest only a couple of days ago. I've also read the posts here after my last one and see Notmy doesn't need such a high spec as I thought originally.

So, I spent a couple of hours looking at more 14" machines and here's my updated suggestions, 3 laptops with good performance, good keyboards and reasonable sound.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 with Ryzen 5 5500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD (available in blue or black), £600 direct from Lenovo.

MSI Modern 14 with Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, £530 from Laptops Direct.

Huawei Matebook 14 with Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, £600 from Argos.

AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
Intel Core i5-1135G7
 

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Many many thanks again.
I will check those out, I will probably pick something later today before my head explodes with options.

Notmy
 

Notmyrealname

Standard Member
Well I have a new laptop. Thank you again to all who helped, and apologies if I have not gone with your suggestion.

In the end I went for the original suggestion of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5. As someone suggested its probably a bit over spec for what I need, but so far I am very happy with it.

FIRST A RANT ABOUT MICROSOFT SETUP which I accept will be the same with any Windows Laptop.

What is the point of Windows S? The only reason I wanted a laptop was to run software NOT from Microsoft. That's been turned off right away.

I don’t want everything automatically copied to the cloud either.

No I don’t want to PAY for Anti Virus or a monthly subscription for Office.

Yes I am sure I don’t want to use Microsoft Edge

No I won’t tell you what teams I support and what celebs I am interested in (none).

After realising I was using office from 2007 (14 years old) I thought I would try one of the free alternatives. Trying LibreOffice. Looks a bit different from MS Office, but perhaps MS office now looks different to 2007.

Think I have finally removed the last trace of McAfee, its worse than a virus.

I think its knowing that I would have to go through this that has made me wait so long before replacing my old one.

AFTER THE RANT.

I am loving the new laptop, its really really REALLY fast compared to what I am used to, and have even used it in tablet mode which is something I didn’t think I would use much.

I was used to clicking on an application, waiting a bit, clicking again as I thought I had not clicked. Repeat, wait, wait, then 10 versions of the app open up.

Being able to use Bluetooth for headphones is good news.

Bluetooth to everything instead of a load of wires is a revelation to me.

Oh I spent 5 mins looking for a catch to open it, there isn’t one you just open it….

Thanks again everyone.

Notmy
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
FIRST A RANT ABOUT MICROSOFT SETUP which I accept will be the same with any Windows Laptop.

That isn't the case.

Well a few bits will be, but things like S mode and McAffee are very much choices the laptop developer has made and not something Microsoft required.
 

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