Topic: help with laptop suggestions.  (Read 6896 times)

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Offline Dave Sharma

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2008, 09:31 AM »
i have a macbook (white) and a macbook pro, both running logic and a bunch of other stuff.  the MBP is pretty fantastic-- and fragile and expensive, which is why it stays at home now.  the macbook is totally fine for basic recording, etc (but USE AN EXTERNAL DRIVE).  it gets a little stuttery in high track counts but it's still better than cubase on my g4 from 5 years ago. 

i got my macbook used on craigslist for $500.  they're really easily upgradeable, as well.  get as mch ram and as big a hard drive as you can and read online about how to back up and install things.

if yr just starting out, a macbook & Garageband is more than enough to get going.

felix

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2008, 07:58 AM »
I have a mac keyboard and mouse now so all I would need is a 21" cinema screen

Fully loaded 2gig memory and dual core intel processor with the cinematic display is 1500 and some change.

Looking at the m audio boxes/presonus boxes and I also reviewed the garageband software which looks entirely capable.

I might be moving to smaller quarters so a really nice midi controller/keyboard (these m audio ones actually act as control surfaces now!) are very compelling.

Or I just buy nothing and save $2500 bucks LOL!  I keep coming back to that conclusion!


Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2008, 05:35 PM »
http://tech. yahoo. com/blogs/yoon/278


I think you guys need to see this, because appearently macs are the same as everything else...

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2008, 05:48 PM »
Link didn't work.
http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/yoon/278

You'll always find naysayers.
The competition between PC and Mac has been fierce in the past. It's become a little tribal, with the two sides separated by strong opinion.
In the end, I think both PC and Mac have their strengths and weaknesses.
That's why I've been saying you have to do your research, you have to make the decision.
A couple of things to consider though.......
100% of the studios I've worked in have been running music software on the Apple Mac platform.
100% of the musicians I collaborate with use a Mac.
Those are just my experiences though.
It's not that Mac is better, although I think it's easier to navigate around, it's just that it's so widespread it's the standard.
That makes it easier to collaborate with other people, use other people's systems (like in a studio), and easier to keep up with new developments, and trouble shoot any problems.
Also, as has been mentioned, a new Mac comes with a pretty good music program already installed.



Offline eardrum

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2008, 06:39 PM »
http://tech. yahoo. com/blogs/yoon/278


I think you guys need to see this, because apparently macs are the same as everything else...

-EML.


Yes, many of the hardware components are identical.  The processor is Intel.  Memory is memory. A hard disk is a hard disk.  BUT, they are NOT the same. What differentiates these, AND it is a HUGE difference is first, the operating system and second the software available.  As Chris said, both have their strengths and weaknesses.  If you want to run facility management software, you better not buy a MAC.  If you don't want a bunch of headaches, do not buy a machine with Windows VISTA - almost everyone I know that has VISTA is switching back to XP (unless they work at Microsoft and want to keep their job).  However, all the technical software applications that we use in our field run on Windows (either 2003 server or XP).  If you are going to dive into a field and need to buy a computer, you need to check out what others are using in that field.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2008, 02:25 AM »
http://tech. yahoo. com/blogs/yoon/278


I think you guys need to see this, because appearently macs are the same as everything else...

-EML.


EML - no big news here. Keep in mind this is a party some of us have been dancing at for a very long time.  :-)

OK - we got a blog reporting on another blog - ok.  The big red flag here - the term ASP - or average sales price. Apple is never going come out on top in a comparison of average sales price because they don't sell in the bargain basement, low end tier - never have.

"But they compared specs of similar computers", you say. Well... maybe... but I doubt it.  

One real good rebuttal came on the original blog's site:

<<<John :
OK, put aside Apple products for the moment. I just found this at Nextag.
HP Compaq RM252UA 17.0" Notebook
2.2 GHz - Centrino - 2.0 GB RAM - 120 GB Hard Drive - 17" Display - Windows Vista
Price: $2,799.00 at Amazon.com
$2,629.99 at MacMall.com
So if the $700 laptops are so great why would anyone ever buy an HP laptop for this much?
?????>>>>

Because at the end of the day, after all of our bargain searching, there is still something to - "You get what you pay for"

Even in Apple's laptop line - and this is one I've fallen prey to - if you just go by the specs, it would appear the Macbooks are quite the deal compared to the MacBook Pros. But the reality is the Macbook Pro is just built better, it's not pushing components as hard heat-wise, and has proven to be a machine I can push pretty hard for hours and hours on end (as a replacement for a desktop machine) with greatest of confidence.

Is that to say there's anything wrong with the Macbook - absolutely not. Unbelievably great machine for the money - absolutely deserving of its praise and very frequent recommendation as the #1 choice for college students regardless of their field of study.

But it's not quite a Macbook Pro, almost but not quite.

Just as a $700 Dell is not the same as a $2700 HP or a $2500 Dell.

In a nutshell - there are three tiers of computer products  - low, mid and high.  And Apple only deals in mid and high.  So again ASP means very little.

But if you take the time to actually compare similar models...

Just went to dell.com and built a XPS M1330 to have as close as I could get to the same specs as a $1499 black Macbook - this meant upgrading the wireless card, the processor, and adding Roxio Creator (to stand in for Apple's free iMovie and iDVD) - I'm not sure how the DVD drives compare (Dell was unclear) - the Dell has 1 GB more RAM included, but is missing an equivalent for Garageband and iWeb (I assume Vista comes with some sort of basic photo editing software in place of Apple's iPhoto) And of course the Dell comes with Vista Home Premium which I assume is in some way less than Vista Ultimate  - there is only one version of OSX. So I don't know what that amounts to.

Anyway, bottom line.... the Macbook $1,499 .... the Dell XPS M1330 $1,587

So much for average prices.

But - just like any gear choice - it all depends on what you need to get your specific jobs done. This really applies to the whole thread - figure out what you need to get done, plan in a little room for growth and buy the appropriate tools.

And especially with technology, be careful "investing for the future". This stuff just gets better and better, and cheaper and cheaper with each passing month. So a future investment can end up being out of date before that future ever arrives.

Anyway, blah, blah blah - it's good and a billion times cheaper than it was 5 years ago.  Yea!!!

Anybody want to guess what I paid for my first external audio drive in the early 90's - it was a 1 gig SCSI drive. Right, one whole entire gig! Biggest drive you could buy, that you can now get as a $5 flash drive!!!

dc

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2008, 02:42 AM »
$2,000?

Anyway, thanks for the informative post. I'm going to be Mac shopping in the next few months too.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2008, 02:56 AM »
$2,000?

Anyway, thanks for the informative post. I'm going to be Mac shopping in the next few months too.

Close enough - $1850  :-)

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2008, 03:32 PM »
Ha, ha.
I remember buying CD Rom players and optical storage drives for similar money.
A 1 Gig drive was quite rare in those days though. I think the max memory in my sampler was 16mb.
 ;D

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2008, 11:11 PM »
so can you actually make a decent and comfortable living at recording? Because it seems a lot of musicians are just doing it themself. However, there are still recording studios around.

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2008, 12:36 AM »
so can you actually make a decent and comfortable living at recording?

Quite a sudden change of subject.

It's all in the luck of the draw, who you know AND what you know, being in the right place at the right time - and other well worn cliches.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2008, 07:11 AM »
so can you actually make a decent and comfortable living at recording? Because it seems a lot of musicians are just doing it them self. However, there are still recording studios around.

Yes, that is a subject matter for another thread ... which I would recommend you start if your interested in the topic. There are quite a few members here at the Drummer Cafe would do a lot of recording in their own studio or home studio. Some of this topic has been discussed in other threads in the past, so you can search for that or start a new thread.

Good luck with your laptop purchase!

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2008, 12:27 PM »
Hey guys sorry one more question about this subject. Ok so I found a laptop that may be as good as a macbook pro, check this out

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_6400?c=us&cs=28&l=en&s=dfb

so guys is this conciderd as good as the macbook? One of my friends uses it, and he seems to be able to record just fine with it. Plus its 15.5 inches.



-EML.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2008, 02:22 PM »
Hey guys sorry one more question about this subject. Ok so I found a laptop that may be as good as a macbook pro, check this out

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_6400?c=us&cs=28&l=en&s=dfb

so guys is this conciderd as good as the macbook? One of my friends uses it, and he seems to be able to record just fine with it. Plus its 15.5 inches.



-EML.

Hardware-wise it doesn't appear nearly as powerful as either the MacBook Pro or the Macbook (you mention both and they are two different things). Seems to use a Intel "made for budget laptops" processor and has an older, less powerful graphics processor. EML, I think you really need to realize, there are no deals to speak of out there - no big pricing irregularities that make one machine a "hidden" value. This stuff, on both the Apple and Windows side, is all priced very tightly these days, meaning you pretty much get what you pay for.

That your friend "seems to be able to record just fine with it" doesn't surprise me. I don't believe there is a computer currently available that is incapable of recording audio (with working interface if necessary) to some degree.

But to what degree? There lies the rub.

What does "record just fine" mean for YOUR needs? Are you doing scratch pad demos? Recording band demos? Full orchestra sessions? Mixing CD's? Scoring movies? How many tracks typically in a project? 8? 24? 90-100?

The more tracks you use; the plug-in processing you use; the amount of higher end plug-in processing you use.... all these things determine the amount of horse power required to your particular work needs done.

If you don't know what your needs are at this time - then "at this time" they probably aren't that demanding and I wouldn't invest in more computer than you need. Since by the time you "grow into it", it will likely be out of date.

So yes everything will do audio to some degree - but no, I think you'll find these days that no $700 equals a $2000 computer. That doesn't mean you need a $2000 computer - most don't. But they are not the same.

dc

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2008, 02:54 PM »
So yes everything will do audio to some degree - but no, I think you'll find these days that no $700 equals a $2000 computer. That doesn't mean you need a $2000 computer - most don't. But they are not the same.

Exactly.

EML89, I think you are trying to spend the least amount of money, which I get, but what you have to understand is you DEFINITELY get what you pay for when it comes to computers. In fact, you may get LESS than you paid for, but never more than you paid for.

As David points out, the bigger question is what do you really need to accomplish your goals? Once you determine EXACTLY what it is you need to do and/or would like to do, your choices of computers will narrow down VERY quickly budget wise.

As I mentioned to you in an IM weeks ago, you need to decide on the software you plan to use. Next check with the manufacture of the software to see what they state as "requirements" for their software. If you were to use Pro Tools for example, Digidesign spells out very clearly what the minimum requirements are, plus computers that they have tested and recommend for their product.

To be honest, you need to research and write down the features that you need. That narrows down your choices right there. Price should be the LAST thing you think of when making your final decision with something like this. Why? Because whatever features you need automatically puts you into a particular price range. Prices may vary slightly, but not much, and will probably be because of the software that comes with the computer and not the hardware itself.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2008, 04:46 PM »
Good answers.  :)

(I'm learning too)

Offline Erk

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2008, 10:00 PM »
Well guys like i said before, all i want to be able to do is mic my drums, and record myself playing along to play along tracks(groove essentials). I dont need it to record a band or anything.

-EML.

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2008, 02:23 AM »
Well you can record yourself on an iPod, portable recorder such as the H2 or video camera.
If you are going to go all the trouble of buying a laptop, you'll want to use it for other purposes; word processing, net surfing, basic video editing and music software (composition).
I still recommend the Mac platform for those kind of uses.

Offline David Crigger

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2008, 02:41 AM »
Well guys like i said before, all i want to be able to do is mic my drums, and record myself playing along to play along tracks(groove essentials). I dont need it to record a band or anything.

-EML.

Sorry - guess I lost trak of the original thread here... ;-)

There may be a parallel Windows suggestion for this, but I'm a Mac guy so a specific suggestion from me is going to be Mac based (as I my audio usage of Windows is limited for sure).

Anyway easiest solution for that using ZERO external hardware -

Take a Macbook (or Macbook Pro but it will be completely overkill) - Open Garageband (comes with the Macbook free) - drag your background file to a track - set the Macbook itself near the drums - and recorded the built-in iSight camera mic onto another track, while listening on headphones plugged into the side of the laptop.

It should certainly work for evaluation purposes. Remember, the location of the laptop WILL effect the sound.

Beyond that - to make it sound better - is a step by step process of adding more hardware (mics, preamps, audio interface, the room!) and spending more and more $$$

The Macbook and Garageband will keep sounding fine - actually better and better as better input is provided.

dc


Offline Chonson

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Re: help with laptop suggestions.
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2008, 11:18 PM »
Take a Macbook (or Macbook Pro but it will be completely overkill) - Open Garageband (comes with the Macbook free) - drag your background file to a track - set the Macbook itself near the drums - and recorded the built-in iSight camera mic onto another track, while listening on headphones plugged into the side of the laptop.

One note, you'll need the mic to be a couple feet away from the drums. A few months ago I was using Cubase and it kept activating the internal mic on my Mac (unbeknownst to me at the time), which distorted pretty seriously when it was near the set.

One relatively inexpensive option to look at might be a Blue Snowball, which is a USB condensor mic and it runs just under $100. That would stomp the internal mic and not have much cash outlay.

That being said, for home use, Logic Express and even GarageBand will do the trick. Mac + Logic is just a really great, simple combo. And it happens to be a great computer for general use.

 

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