Topic: help with laptop suggestions.  (Read 6875 times)

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Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2008, 04:20 PM »
hey guys, I think I'm going to go with this laptop


http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8892898&st=sony+laptop&lp=6&type=product&cp=1&id=1211587728389

i was researching the specs and compared it to that of the macbook pro, and they both have a lot of the same specs. Same size screen, and both running pretty much the same processor. And to replace garageband ill just use Audacity(free). The pro is just to much money for me, no matter how much i work. Tell me what you guys think of this decision.

Thanks guys, (ps. after this i think im done with the millions of questions haha).

-eml.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2008, 04:25 PM »
Only that you don't need the 'Pro' to record your drums with Garageband.
I've been looking at an iMac myself, but would have suggested you look at the MacBook.

Offline Chonson

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2008, 06:12 PM »
Not being a PC guy, I can't really comment fairly on the specs; my concern would be that Vista may require more than the system has. (I truly don't know -- my limited set of vista experiences were pretty underwhelming)

Chris is right in that you can get by with a MacBook. You ought to make sure that Audacity will give you room to grow. GarageBand files can be opened by Logic Express & Pro retaining track data; the loops and etc are actually the same format. I would consider that strongly in your research.

(If you do go Mac, and this advice is for anyone considering a purchase -- DO NOT BUY RAM FROM APPLE. Buy it from crucial.com or someone else, install it yourself and save 50-70%. Though this doesn't work as well for the Mac Mini)

I should note, I have a heavy Mac bias and try not to touch PCs at all so it will color my input. But definitely make sure you've got some forward compatibility with Audacity.

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2008, 07:35 PM »
Yeah I know chris, but the macbook screen is just way to small, and is way more than this Sony laptop. I actually talked to a professor at UMASS Lowell about this, and he agreed that the Sony is a great deal.

Offline Ryan Culberson

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2008, 08:03 PM »
For the amount of money the VAIO costs, I think you'd be better served by buying one or two nice overhead mics (maybe Shure SM-81's), perhaps a good bass drum mic, and a entry level 4 or 8 track recorder.  You'll keep the mics forever, and by the time the recorder outlives its usefulness, you'll have moved on to bigger and better things. 

I record all my practices and band rehearsals with a  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fostex-MR8HD-8Track-Digital-Recorder-with-40GB-Hard-Drive?sku=240341]Fostex MR8-HD , one  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Shure-SM81-Condenser-Mic?sku=270171]SM-81  (overhead on the drums) and an  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Shure-SM57-InstrumentVocal-Mic?sku=270102]SM-57  in front of the guitar amp.

The vocals and acoustic guitar run direct into the recorder, the SM-81 picks up the bass guitar and drums, and the SM-57 picks up the electric guitar.  We're able to capture a pretty darn good sound with this minimal setup, plus I get the experience of moving the mics around and some rudimentary mixing techniques.  I dump the recordings into Audacity, manipulate them a bit, then make a copy for all the band members. 

Total cost = $800 through Musician's Friend so I'm sure there are better deals out there.   
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Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2008, 03:45 AM »
hey guys, I think I'm going to go with this laptop


http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8892898&st=sony+laptop&lp=6&type=product&cp=1&id=1211587728389

i was researching the specs and compared it to that of the macbook pro, and they both have a lot of the same specs. Same size screen, and both running pretty much the same processor. And to replace garageband ill just use Audacity(free). The pro is just to much money for me, no matter how much i work. Tell me what you guys think of this decision.

Thanks guys, (ps. after this i think im done with the millions of questions haha).

-eml.

OK - you asked... :-)

I think it will be fine for the very specific, limited musical use you have described. But it seems pretty obvious that you have other criteria for this purchase than being able to overdub a couple of drum mics on top of a music-minus-one recording. Or for instance, the need for 1600x900 of display real estate wouldn't be an issue (the Macbook (not Pro) is 1280x800 by comparison). Neither will make much difference for running Audacity.

But anyway, I'm sure you are planning on using this laptop for many things - and honestly evaluating your decision would require looking at the whole picture.

Not that I'm volunteering to do that.

Suffice to say, the thread has traveled a bit of distance from it's beginning - and talk of ProTools and  professional recording studios... which is fine, since we've now settled into the true topic at hand.

Couple of last thoughts - for your stated limited goals for the musical use of this laptop, yes, Audacity should probably will suffice. But that's as far as that will go.

Audacity is first and foremost an audio editing program, not a music production program. So if you have any thoughts of taking this beyond a practice tool and getting more deeply into music creation and production. Then Audacity will be an immediate brickwall.

To go to the next step would require - a true multitrack sequencer, synth/keyboard sound capabilities and libraries, and possibly a way to handle and manipulate loops (as well as loop libraries). All of this is what comes with Garageband (and for a more professional interface and capabilities with Logic Express for $200 more).

So I guess what I'm pointing out is - after you've recorded yourself over a few Groove Essential tracks, what's next? If that's it, cool. But if not, and you think you're going to want to go more - then you should really look at what it is going to cost to add the program, plug-ins and libraries who'll need to build a Garageband equivalent from scratch on a Vista machine.

Guess that's about it - best of luck with whatever way you go.

dc

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2008, 01:08 PM »
Yeah I see what your saying David. Ok what I were to not get Audacity and just get Logic Express? The whole thing is I really dont know much about recording, so I really dont think buying a 2000 dollar laptop is really smart at this point, although it would be nice if i had the money.
But anyways, thank's guys for all your help.

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2008, 01:12 PM »
For the amount of money the VAIO costs, I think you'd be better served by buying one or two nice overhead mics (maybe Shure SM-81's), perhaps a good bass drum mic, and a entry level 4 or 8 track recorder.?  You'll keep the mics forever, and by the time the recorder outlives its usefulness, you'll have moved on to bigger and better things.? 

I record all my practices and band rehearsals with a  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fostex-MR8HD-8Track-Digital-Recorder-with-40GB-Hard-Drive?sku=240341]Fostex MR8-HD , one  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Shure-SM81-Condenser-Mic?sku=270171]SM-81  (overhead on the drums) and an  http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Shure-SM57-InstrumentVocal-Mic?sku=270102]SM-57  in front of the guitar amp.

The vocals and acoustic guitar run direct into the recorder, the SM-81 picks up the bass guitar and drums, and the SM-57 picks up the electric guitar.?  We're able to capture a pretty darn good sound with this minimal setup, plus I get the experience of moving the mics around and some rudimentary mixing techniques.?  I dump the recordings into Audacity, manipulate them a bit, then make a copy for all the band members.? 

Total cost = $800 through Musician's Friend so I'm sure there are better deals out there.?  ? 

Thats a good idea man, but i need a laptop for not only recording but for school. Also for my own entertainment, like talking on  AIM, Email, using Finale, and other things like that.

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2008, 04:47 PM »
My only advice is back to a very generalistic comment....
If you see the arts, music, stuff like that in your future, get into the Mac way of doing things now.
The Mac is the industry standard in this area. Who knows why? Both Mac and PC can do accounting, email, word processing, music software, video editing and graphics.
Not being a real tech head, I've found it incredibly helpful to use the same computer platform as most other musicians, especially when trying to find out how to install and use a music program.
As I said, people use Mac and PC for music software, so it's not a black and white decision, I'm just telling you why I went Mac and I've never regretted it.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2008, 05:08 PM »
Yeah I see what your saying David. Ok what I were to not get Audacity and just get Logic Express? The whole thing is I really dont know much about recording, so I really dont think buying a 2000 dollar laptop is really smart at this point, although it would be nice if i had the money.
But anyways, thank's guys for all your help.

You realize that you can't run Logic Express on the Vaio, right?

And you're right I don't believe you should $2k on a laptop for recording either.

But you do need to decide between the two platforms - before you invest in software. (That's not completely true - with the Macbook you can actually run it as just a Mac or just a PC or both)

Sorry to keep pushing the Macbook (not Macbook Pro) at you - but it is best selling incoming college student laptop for the past two years. And for a number of good reasons -
good (if not excellent) bang for the bucks; an almost all inclusive software set included - your normal college student only needs to bump up the memory and purchase the Student version of Microsoft office and you're ready to go -

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2008, 05:14 PM »
I would be happy to own a Macbook myself.

Are people still having problems with Vista?
I know a while ago people were going back to the previous incarnation of Windows and some other people were trying to find new PC's that didn't have Vista installed.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2008, 05:49 PM »
oops - dropped something on my keyboard and a "sent" that last post prematurely...

My point about was - we've actually got 4 college students in school right now (not me personally, but in the family) and the first iBook and three subsequent Macbooks have worked out fine - and as these are all students in general meaning non-arts field - the software requirements have been just as I described... the stock software plus Office.

The youngest student - going more into science - may or may not need access to some PC only stuff down the road, but even then the Macbook will cover it.

Which is all to say for these students (and most general students) there are no field specific advantages to choosing Macs either - other than the normal lower housekeeping, ease of use, and elegance of operation aspects - the arguments at the source of every platform war argument. But that argument aside there was no specific advantages for these "normal" students.

But as Chris points - for arts based students, this platform thing is another matter. Because be it music, audio, graphic arts, or film/video - OSX is the standard platform in each of these fields. Probably more so than Windows is in most business fields, because as you move to the upper levels of business, you'll find more direct UNIX expertise.

Just something to think about before one starts investing in Finale, Adobe Creative Suite, video editing programs, etc... actually a two fold invest - first $$$ for the software, and then second time in building expertise.

And for those PC users reading, I'm not at all saying that can't start anywhere and end up wherever you want to or are capable of being. Just saying if you think you know the path you're heading down, why not head there as directly as possible.

Finally EML - my ex uses a Macbook for hear musician business/small studio needs - loves it small size for shelpping around to gigs and to lessons - and at home expands it's screen size by adding a 20" Samsung monitor to it - giving her both the laptop screen plus the 20"!. Dual, not mirror screen capability built in.  She far prefers that to what I carry around - the 17" Macbook Pro (though I hook mine up to a 22" Samsung when at home as well).  :-)

dc

Offline Chris Whitten

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Size Matters
« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2008, 05:59 PM »
Not wanting to hammer any points home too much, but I have a 17" G4 laptop and it's surprisingly a drag to lug around.
I wanted to buy the smallest version, but at the time Apple didn't offer the speedy processor and RAM capability I needed for my work in the small screen version.
Having lugged this through several airports and across North America on tour, I would love to have a 13" version instead.

diddle

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2008, 06:02 PM »
Sorry to keep pushing the Macbook (not Macbook Pro) at you - but it is best selling incoming college student laptop for the past two years. And for a number of good reasons - ... an almost all inclusive software set included - your normal college student only needs to bump up the memory and purchase the Student version of Microsoft office and you're ready to go -

I use "Audacity" recording software on my Windows Laptop... which is free... my new 17" HP box costed me ~ $1,200 and I'm able to get very good recordings... without the need for a PhD in *recording*  :o

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2008, 06:49 PM »
I use "Audacity" recording software on my Windows Laptop... which is free... my new 17" HP box costed me ~ $1,200 and I'm able to get very good recordings... without the need for a PhD in *recording*  :o

Not really sure what the quoted part of my post has to do with this, but great! I'm sure you can make very good recordings with Audacity... I think I posted something to this effect a couple of posts back.

But once again, Audacity is all great and fine (and cross platform - mac & pc), but it is an AUDIO ONLY program. And really intended as a simple editing program at that. Audacity is miles away from being even a basic DAW or digital audio workstation.

For example - overdubs are not in sync with the source tracks, so each overdub must be hand synced. (Check the Audacity FAQ - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/faq.html#a3 )

Which to most would make it unworkable as an audio only "we don't need no MIDI" multi-track recorder.

But most musicians want and can make good use of more of the functions of a DAW besides strictly capturing audio - midi, soft-synths, loops, complex editing - these are along with capturing audio are the bread and butter of the modern musician/recordist. And 90-95% ships with Garageband - also free - actually pre-installed. Though serious dabblers should move up to Logic Express as its interface and operation is much more standard than Garageband (meaning Logic Express operated in much the same way as Logic Pro, ProTools, Digital Performer, etc.)

All the way around - no PHD's required - just depends on what you want to create.

dc




Offline scarmike67

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #55 on: September 08, 2008, 06:54 PM »
I have experience with both Macs and PCs and didn't want to fork over the money for a Mac if a PC can do just as good.  For what it's worth, I bought a Dell Vostro 1500 business level laptop with Core 2 Duo, 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM.  I chose Win XP SP2 over Vista.  I bought an Alesis Firewire 12 channel mixer which comes with a version of Cubase.  Works great for recording.  My whole setup (laptop and mixer) came out to about $750.

I did some research online and found some tips for optimizing a PC for recording.  It included things like turning off unnecessary services, etc... like this site - http://www.jakeludington.com/ask_jake/20050225_optimize_your_pc_for_audio_and_video.html

Cubase doesn't like my wireless connection running at the same time, so I have to disable my wireless while recording.

Some of the inexpensive versions of software have limits, such as recording only four mics at one time.

Hope that helps, Steve...
I can't stop drumming!

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #56 on: September 08, 2008, 07:10 PM »
That kind of illustrates the difference between PC and Mac perfectly.
I'm not technical, so I wanted a platform I could unpack from it's box and use for music, email, web surfing and video editing.
Choosing Mac I haven't had to consult any sites on what features to turn off.
Performance-wise and financially the PC can be a no brainer.
All I'm pointing out (I think David too in a way) is that you have to think beyond performance and price and look to your future.
If you are sitting in an arts based class at college, and the people around you are all talking about the Mac platform, it's useful to understand what's going on (although not essential of course).
If you think you might want to eventually get into higher levels of arts style software - Logic, Pro Tools, Final Cut etc, the Mac is the platform to choose.
It's not the only choice, it's just easier.


diddle

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #57 on: September 08, 2008, 08:15 PM »
Not really sure what the quoted part of my post has to do with this,


b/c you were *pushing* Mac  ;D

the original poster wanted an inexpensive laptop... and MAC ain't that  ;)

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #58 on: September 08, 2008, 08:45 PM »
Fair comment.

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #59 on: September 09, 2008, 10:30 AM »
@$%# guys this is such a hard decision. You guys all bring up great points. I'd love to get a macbook, but I would just like if the screen was a little bigger like a 15 or 17. However those are pro's and they cost twice as much, well not twice but you know what i mean. And like you guys were saying before, i could plug a macbook into a monitor like 20 inches or so, but I can't bring that 20 inch monitor to class everyday. The whole thing is I'm still skeptical about the size of the screen, because if the screen is small, you cant see all the programs your running, which is what i heard. And David, why can't you run Logic Express with VAIO(please spare me the research haha).
Thanks again guys, you guys prove why this is the best site on the net!

-EML.

 

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