Topic: help with laptop suggestions.  (Read 6874 times)

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Offline Erk

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help with laptop suggestions.
« on: August 11, 2008, 12:27 PM »
   Hey guys, as you know, or may not know...I'm looking for a laptop in the 500-1000 range. Does anyone have some good suggestions? We can ultimately eliminate everyones favorite, the mac book pro..just too much money. Does anyone know why macbook pro's rule the recording world? The main purpose for this laptop is so I can start recording, and miking my drum set.

  I'm new to this whole thing, so does anyone know of a cheap mixer that I could by that wouldn't exactly be cheap...? Also, a nice software that I could buy or not buy. Protools is like 2000, and again I can't afford that. I keep finding out that cu base is free, and then sometimes i go to websites, and its like 500 to 400 dollars.  ?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks guys.

-EML.

Offline rebuskyle

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 01:30 PM »
I would HIGHLY suggest looking in to a refurbished macbook from apple.com. You can definitely get one under 1000 and it will do everything you need (and comes with some great apps). macbook pro's rule the recording world because of their power and size. I have a G5 that is like 4 1/2 years old and my macbook pro SMOKES it.

ProTools definitely not $2000.....If I were you I'd look into either a new mbox or a used mbox pro. You could use an external mixer and go in stereo to protools......OR.....you could get an interface and Logic Express. I haven't personally used Logic, but have friends that LOVE it. I absolutely detest CuBase, but that is just my opinion. It is certainly as capable (and some would say more capable) as protools, but I just don't care for the operation and user interface. 

Good luck!!
-Kyle

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 03:38 PM »
Will pretty much second Kyle's post.

I don't about MacBook Pros ruling the recording world specifically - but Macs in general do.  This isn't to say that PC's aren't able to do much (if not all) of the same jobs.

But over the past 15 or so years, the Mac platform has consistently the best supported in this area - by both the 3rd part manufacturers and their ability to better coax the needed performance out of the earlier operating system and now, ever since rolling out, by Apple its self with their excellent implementation of essential consumer through professional services from within the operating system.

So mainly it is about the platform sustaining the leading edge, since the outset of MIDI in the mid-80's - while the Windows market has had a spottier time of it over the years. And once pros get lock into a tool that works, that they know and they like - the whole "but you can do it a few bucks cheaper" argument falls onto deaf ears. Most are looking for the new development than saving $200.

So yeah - a macbook (not macbook pro) would be my suggestion as well.

And you do know that Macbooks come with Garageband (comes with, as in free) which allows you to record in exactly the same quality as Protools? The quality of your recording is going to be mainly dictated by your mics and audio interface. Plus if you add a USB MIDI controller, Garageband comes with a dozens of really, really good midi instruments (synths and sampler based) built-in.

As Kyle mentioned, Logic Express would be a bump from Garageband - really for the editing and more orthodox user interface.

But IMO, the absolute best bang for the bucks DAW software on the market currently has to be Logic Pro Studio - with all of its built-in keyboard instruments and world class effects, plus the first 4 loop/sampler expander sets (JamPacks) that used to cost $99 each which are all included for its $500 price tag.

As for an M-Box - I have one, because once in a blue moon I absolute have to open something in ProTools. Which is the only time I use it and then only while using a completely separate start-up drive. Digidesign's stuff is great - if you're going to just play in their sandbox. But as far as playing well with other's stuff - drivers, etc - they have a pretty horrible track record. So I've learned to just not mix Digi stuff with other stuff if I can help it.

But unless you're dead set on running ProTools software (which requires their specific hardware) there are plenty of other hardware choices available.

dc

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 04:58 PM »
And you do know that Macbooks come with Garageband (comes with, as in free)
But IMO, the absolute best bang for the bucks DAW software on the market currently has to be Logic Pro Studio -

I agree.
I would start with free Garageband and only purchase Logic if you feel you need to.
I use Pro Tools, but I think it's something to think about getting into if you want to progress significantly with your recordings.

Offline Nick

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2008, 08:56 PM »
Lots of Mac love here, nothing wrong with that,  ;) but I do personally know a LOT of Pro Tools HD rigs that are running on PC nowadays, (I run two myself, my own personal HD2 Accel & a HD3 Accel in the main studio)... That’s not to say the majority of studios out there aren’t running mac’s but the percentage of PC PT rigs is steadily growing...  ;)

It’s not a price thing, it’s a greater performance & OS preference thing, we all have our own personal preferences which is cool and as it should be... (I even have a few friends that run Pro tools on a mac through XP using boot camp).

Just wanted to wave the flag for the other side for a second, in the interests of balance...  ;D

Having said all that, I think if you have to get a laptop (not that I am a big fan of laptops for DAW’s)  a Macbook would be ideal for EML...

Don’t for the love of dog buy a PC laptop for audio without doing a HUGE amount of research, and if you have any intention of running Pro Tools on it in the future, only buy a Digidesign qualified model, the chipset incompatibilities are a total minefield, where only the most knowledgeable and experienced should tread... In fact you would have to have a VERY good reason not to use a Macbook as a portable solution unless you really know your stuff...

If you decide against a laptop, then a PC can be a very viable option, but if you are going to run PT visit the DUC and read the recommended systems in the “Best Core 2 Series Desktops-Results and Specs” Very carefully, and DO NOT STRAY FROM THE PATH! There are some very, very fast, rock solid, stable systems there that have been running for some considerable time and are smoking the Macs in terms of performance... If you are not prepared to build the system EXACTLY to the specs and if you are not technically savvy... Buy a Mac, it might be slower/more expensive, but you will be opening up a whole world of pain if you go into the PC Audio route half arsed...

Also while we are on the subject of superb DAW software, check out Reaper:-

http://reaper.fm/

Simply stunning, it’s creating a huge buzz in the Audio community and if I had to stop using Pro Tools tomorrow, I would step over logic a thousand times to get to Reaper...

Cheers

 :)

N

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2008, 09:35 PM »
Wow guys, you all seem to know your stuff. Ok, I was recently speaking to a freind, and he told me the if you get Macbook, its not going to be very good, because the screen is small.. The one I'm talking about is

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8703469&st=macbook&type=product&id=1199495905480

all the macbooks have small screens, 13". While the Pro comes in 15-17".

So is it true if the screan is small you cant view all of the software?

Also what is DAW?

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2008, 11:05 PM »
Digital Audio Workstation.
It's becoming a shorthand way to name all the different software products that record audio and midi.
Laptops tend to be more expensive than regular computers, as you are paying a little extra for convenience and for power coming in a small package.
I've been looking at the iMacs.
They offer a bit more power and more screen for around the same price as the Macbooks.
You have to balance your power requirements against the price of the computer.
Most software has a minimum RAM requirement and runs more smoothly on a faster machine. Really it's a bit of a minefield trying to work all this out. I think it's best to rely on old hands for advice, such as some of the members here.
Screensize has it's pros and cons.
A 13" screen can be a compromise when you're trying to see what you are doing and have multiple windows open.
However, the larger laptops weigh more and can be more hassle to carry around.
The small screen laptops tend to have slower speeds too.
That can be a dead end, because if you buy something on the slowish side to begin with, pretty soon, and with some experience, you're going to wish you had more processing power.
More research required I would say.  ;)


Offline elpol

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2008, 11:54 PM »
MacBook w/ Logic Express user here.

Love it, though I will say that you do have to get used to working w/ the 13" screen. I'm going to buy a 20" monitor to use with it simply to save some time from having to constantly resize items so I can see them properly.

I agree with the others about starting w/ Garage Band: it's a very nice introduction to DAW's and, depending on your interface, can do more than many might realize. Also, fair warning as I had been given making the jump to Logic Express - The learning curve becomes very steep, very quickly. Logic Express 8 is no longer so crippled as was it's predecessor - It can do most of what Logic Pro can do, only minus some of the best plug-ins and extra software that comes with Logic Studio. But at $199 - it's very sweet. $499 for Logic Studio should more than tempt you too.

I have yet to run into ProTools/Logic battle issues. As others have mentioned - ProTools really does require you to play by their book. Avid (ProTools parent) has become quite ubiquitous indeed...

The only other DAW I'd take a serious look at is Ableton Live. I haven't met anyone who hasn't loved it.

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2008, 12:07 AM »
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8907944&st=hp&type=product&id=1213046785626

how about this guys? I could customize it more on HP.com

Just tell me what recording studio laptops require, please.

If not I'll just save up for the pro.

Or, I'll buy a pc. What PC would be recommended? I head the Dell 6400 is good for recording.

I'm just really, really excited about recording, and I just want to start real soon.

thanks guys

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 12:41 AM »

Just tell me what recording studio laptops require, please.

If not I'll just save up for the pro.


It's tough one.
Everyone is different.
It's like asking what drums to buy for recording.
Everyone chooses different brands and sizes.
Not to diss everyone else in this thread including myself, but so far I would go with whatever David Crigger suggests. He records at home and knows macs!



Offline elpol

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 12:55 AM »
From what I had learned during my research for Laptop/DAW - Configuring a PC based machine to be a reliable recording machine usually meant that it wound up costing close to or as much as a Mac that didn't require any mods at all. You could have a PC made for you optimized for recording, though by my understanding, that means that you really shouldn't use it for anything else but. :-\

if you go the HP route - even though USB 2.0 is so prevalent - Firewire is still faster and more stable overall. I would have a Firewire connection installed before even considering it...

make sure you look at buying - Quality, fast processors (AMD hasn't enjoyed a sterling rep for recording stability in the past... but now they might be different) Intel has a better rep. IntelMac has been more than holding it's own.

A fast hard drive for audio (I personally use Seagate Barracudas @ 7200rpm in what's called an "Icecube") Typical laptop drives run at 5400rpm - adequate but will bog down easily when processing large audio files. All of my recording goes directly onto the Seagate via Firewire.

Lots of RAM - load the unit up with as much as it can hold! And not the cheap stuff. Believe it or not,  decent RAM isn't so expensive anymore. The HP's 8 GB cap. is alluring...

I could go on - honestly, my head was spinning when I was shopping for my rig.

End of the day, what do you want to be able to do with your recording rig? Have you considered an interface yet? computer's important. so is the interface. how about microphones? and cables and stands. it's alot of stuff to get going. but once you've been bitten by that bug, it's really addictive and fun!

my .02? - get the refurbished MacBook Pro. Look closely at Presonus Firestudio or Firestudio Project (cheaper). buy Logic Express for $199. Several companies make decent drum kit mic packages that are very reasonably priced and sound quite good. Get yer cables and stands and you are ready to rock!

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2008, 12:18 PM »
$5000 later lol. man i still have a lot more research to do, thanks a lot guys.


-eml.

felix

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2008, 01:38 PM »
Good thread.

Looking at a mac mini since they are pretty fast now.  Garage Band intrigues me.  Does Garage Band have automation?  That combined with mehbe a good mastering stereo suite would really integrate nice into my studio.  I would still have to mix with a mouse, but that's ok for now.  Easy editing and the ability to make acid type loops would be sweet.  Not sure about the hardware I would need for Garage Band.  Have seen a couple things tho' for it.

I'm not sure how my clients would react to that tho'  ::)  Seems like they might want the "pro tools" name.  I don't know... and typically have never cared, but as I get busier it might be an issue.


Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2008, 04:39 PM »
The only issue I've seen with the Mini is you have to add all the extras to the base price.
They may have upgraded them recently, but a year or so ago I read that if you added a screen, a mouse, more RAM and a hard drive to record your audio to, you might as well have bought a more expensive Mac in the first place.
I think they were initially designed to cater for word processing and iTunes duty.
But as I say, things could have changed. I'm certainly thinking about picking one up myself.

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2008, 05:14 PM »
Chris if you dont mind me asking, what type of Mac do you have?

Also what exactly is a macmini?

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2008, 05:30 PM »
Dude, you gotta start letting your fingers do the walking.  ;)
Don't know what a MacMini is? Go to www.apple.com, or google it.

My studio has been in mothballs for a few years, but I own a G4 Powerbook.
I'll be buying a new Mac for my studio this year and am looking at all the Macbook, Macbook Pro and iMac options.


Offline Mister Acrolite

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2008, 05:59 PM »


Also what exactly is a macmini?




   


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Hit on 2. Repeat on 4.
(instructions found written on Mr. A's snare drum)

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2008, 06:57 PM »
Dude, you gotta start letting your fingers do the walking.  ;)
Don't know what a MacMini is? Go to www.apple.com, or google it.

My studio has been in mothballs for a few years, but I own a G4 Powerbook.
I'll be buying a new Mac for my studio this year and am looking at all the Macbook, Macbook Pro and iMac options.




Yeah the G4 is a popular one. David Garabaldi uses one.

Sorry guys I'm just new to every aspect of music, my fault :-\

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2008, 07:21 PM »
Don't tell me you are new to search engines?

The G4 is getting old now.
'They' keep adding functions to popular software, or tweaking the operating system.
The effect is you often need to trade up on your Mac every few years.  :-[

Offline elpol

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2008, 12:02 AM »
Dude, you gotta start letting your fingers do the walking.  ;)
:D :D
oh yes... I forgot monitor speakers. yes you could easily run up to $5K before you blink, but if you're cautious and shop around, you should be able to keep it under $3K for a very respectable rig.

 

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