The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Attn: Laptop DAW Users Audio Interfaces
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Attn: Laptop DAW Users

All of you Laptop users, why do you use your laptop instead of a desktop for your recording, and secondly, do you use an external harddrive, or any external equipment that requires a power source, and if so, why bother if you are going to be teathered to a power source?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
lowfreq33's Avatar
 

Convenience. I can edit on the go. I have plans to buy a desktop, but before I do that I've got some sheetrock to buy. For now my Macbook Pro is fine. I mix tracks with 50-60 streams of audio and LOTS of plug-ins, and yeah, I'm running the cpu meter pretty high, but it handles the load. Occasionally I'll have to process a few things offline or render a software instrument to audio. And you have to use an external drive because a) you need a separate audio drive and b) laptop drives aren't fast enough to stream that many tracks.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 

what external audio interface do you use for tracking?

why a second harddrive other than for speed issues?
Old 23rd August 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfreq33 View Post
Convenience. I can edit on the go. I have plans to buy a desktop, but before I do that I've got some sheetrock to buy. For now my Macbook Pro is fine. I mix tracks with 50-60 streams of audio and LOTS of plug-ins, and yeah, I'm running the cpu meter pretty high, but it handles the load. Occasionally I'll have to process a few things offline or render a software instrument to audio. And you have to use an external drive because a) you need a separate audio drive and b) laptop drives aren't fast enough to stream that many tracks.
Can't you order a MacBook Pro with a 7200rpm drive?
Old 23rd August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
lowfreq33's Avatar
 

Maybe, but that's beside the point. Think about it like this. While you're recording or playing back audio, your computer is constantly accessing the program files for your recording software. At the same time it's either reading or writing audio (or both) to/from your hard drive. This data is on different physical locations on your hard drive. There's a limit to how much virtual memory is available to store all those little bits of information as the drive zips back and forth between the program data and the audio files. This leads to disk errors. You may be okay if you're only doing 10-12 tracks, but once you get up to about 15 you can start having problems. Audio should always be separate from your system drive.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #6
Gear Addict
 
hle144's Avatar
 

IMHO

Desktops and towers are usually for people making $$$ from their musical endeavors or have extra $$$.

If not, a laptop is more convient, takes less real estate and cheaper.


As long as you start and finish your project in a studio enviorment, with a proper and moderately expensive audio chain and I/O, you can do alot of the overdubs on a laptop. Traveling would be a breeze, and you always look cool doing music on the plane!

Ask yourself about intentions, and you'll know if you can get away with a laptop.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

I agree with everything else, but a laptop is most definately not cheaper!

all of my past PCs have cost me less than $1K and they have outperformed every laptop I have used (usually around $2K)...

You can build a fantastic desktop PC for half the price of a laptop. and faster..

but I agree, laptops make writing the music a lot easier... I am in the process of recording a band and just using my 1616M and my laptop is sooo much nicer than last time when I had to lug my desktop, flatscreen, keyboard and mouse, headphones, and all of my cables and interfaces.. now all of the computer related junk is in one little folding peice of metal.


about the external harddrive, I always wondered if it would be a problem due to the bottle neck of USB or Firewire...

what kind of external harddrive do you use? 3.5" or 2.5" and does it need external power? that is the thing that sort of blows with laptops, if you have an external harddrive, you have to plug it into a power source which defeats the purpose of the mobility of the laptop...

Here's an idea...

what if you got a 2gb flash drive, and while tracking, you save your audio to the flash drive (flash memory is faster than hard disks and all their spinning nonsense) then transfer those recorded files to your computer before you are done, that way you are able to give the system disk a break and track to a different drive, but it doesnt require extra power and its really small!
Old 23rd August 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
vaka's Avatar
 

I'm using a Macbook Pro 2.16GHz (Intel Core 2 Duo) w/ 2 GB's of Ram and an external 7200 rpm HD which connects via FW800.

I use Pro Tools and is able to run some pretty heavy projects without the CPU going through the roof. Of course, it depends on what kind of plugs are used.

I record at various studios and then mix with this setup going to a pair of Genelec 8040's. I've gotten crazy good feedback on my mixes, so I'm happy as a pig in.. well, you know what.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
firby's Avatar
 

I have mixed 24 track recordings with quite a few plugins at 24/48k on a powerbook G4 400 mhz. It was with Logic audio 4.8 and a Emagic 6|2 usb interface.


That was on the internal drive as well. It was maxed but it bounced it and didn't catch fire. I would like a new ibook intel and one of those cheapest smallest interfaces for protools so that I can protools edit my Logic tracked stuff.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #10
Baz
Lives for gear
 
Baz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post

why a second harddrive other than for speed issues?

Way less crashes hang ups for one. you do need to print to a separate drive if you wanna avoid hassles, trust me.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #11
Here for the gear
 

I've never had any troubles using just my laptop for tracking. I've done up to 36 tracks all simultaneous playback and multiple plugins on each track and never had a problem. Of course that's with cubase 4, I had protools le but it just wouldn't work with my Processor (digis words). I'm also able to do all the mixing at my home after tracking which is better than driving the 35 minutes to my studio space. Using a laptop I've also been able to take bare necessity's to a bands show to record live which is a major bonus. Someday I'll have a desktop exclusively for recording, but right now a laptop is both convenient and economical.
Old 23rd August 2007
  #12
I use both. Sony Vaio for location recording using an Edirol FA-101 FW interface, and my DAW in studio. If I had a choice of just one I would probably stick with the DAW, faster, expandable.

However I can see if you are moving around alot and don't want a larger dedicated studio that a laptop could be your only DAW. The problem I have had is they tend to be slower and not as expandable, so you end up bringing alot of external gear (backup drive, mouse, audio interface), and yes you do need external power. No way am I going to record a long gig without it. The battery merely gives you time to save your work if power goes out.

diamondjim
Barn Jazz Home
Old 23rd August 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 

I mostly use my laptop for my own self. and so I can rely on the battery power occassionally when I just want to program an idea via midi. I usually do most of my heavy stuff later when I have a good lighting situation and a powersource (and access to my monitors).


That macbook looks really nice... but its got a smaller screen and is less powerful than the D830 which is cheaper...

but its so goddamn cute!
Old 13th May 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 
andsonic's Avatar
 

These days I do most of my work on a MacPro, but my personal rig is now a Sonica laptop with a Seagate eSATA drive. I can connect thru firewire to my digital mixer, or thru a Lightbridge I/O at the studio.

What I like is that I can take "my" setup anywhere. I have been mixing in my dining room.

That said... my next computer will be a desktop (in a few years).
Old 13th May 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 
msquared's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
All of you Laptop users, why do you use your laptop instead of a desktop for your recording, and secondly, do you use an external harddrive, or any external equipment that requires a power source, and if so, why bother if you are going to be teathered to a power source?
1) Portability. I can take a laptop anywhere. A studio, a musician's place, a house, anyplace with a great room. I can record remotely and then sit in my living room playing with rough mixes later on without abandoning my family, all without having to have a hojillion copies of every piece of software laying around. I like to configure a DAW once and then just keep using it and know that all of my stuff is tweaked to my liking no matter where I go. My laptop is my R2D2.

2) I don't mind being tethered to an outlet. I don't ever record without a firewire drive, usually one that I've built out of a known solid internal hard drive with good specs for multiple simultaneous long reads and writes. I've found that with a robust enough external disk, you never miss the desktop. I also have a 16U SKB shock rack with a bunch of gear in it that I can take with me, or a 3U shallow rack if I'm doing something simple.

At home I keep all of my data on a well appointed file server at home which is sitting on a gigabit ethernet network and do all of my edits and stuff to that data, which means that if I'm at home I don't need to lug the external disk around.
Old 13th May 2008
  #16
Most of my work is on an HD rig with a G5.
But I have a Macbook Pro, that I keep in a bag with an MBox 2, so that I can work no matter where I am. And considering how much vocal editing work I've been doing lately, this is a good thing.

As far as mobility, it's not about being able to move around WHILE working, but rather about being able to quickly set up and tear down ANYWHERE.

It's not too bad with big projects either. I've never tried mixing on the thing, but I've got a 003 that I use for practice-space recordings with bands, and I have no problem running a pretty healthy track count (I use Lacie D2s as my recording drives).
Old 13th May 2008
  #17
rlg
Gear Maniac
 
rlg's Avatar
 

MacBookPro 2.4 Core 2 Duo w 4GB RAM and 7200 rpm drive here. I travel a lot, so being able to edit/program/work on software patches in an airplane beats watching the same movies over and over. If I'll be away for more than a couple of days, I will also likely take my Apogee Duet, a Stewart travel guitar (the neck hides away into the body and fits in a carry-on!) and a mic for song sketches and just keeping my fingers limber. Back in the studio, the laptop just plugs into my Fireface/Mytek combo, and a USB cable for the MIDI/Mackie Control stuff, and I can start wherever I left off, without needing to transfer files. I also have a Metric Halo ULN-2 parked near my favorite spot on the TV room couch along with a guitar and mic, just in case. You never know where inspiration will strike!

BTW I used to have a standalone DAW as well as a laptop, but the hassle of moving projects and songs between the two machines was too much of a hassle for me, and I haven't yet found myself running out of processing power with the MBP.
Old 27th May 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 

I originally needed to be mobile, but now that I am settling in at my new home, I sort of wish I had got a more powerful desktop versus the laptop.

Though, the macbook pro is a SWEET laptop.
Old 27th May 2008
  #19
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 

My some years old Toshiba laptop running Nuendo with MOTU firewire hardware has recorded 30 tracks of 44.1/24 simultaneously without any hint of trouble - onto its INTERNAL HD. I guess it would do a lot more if necessary. As long as there's a backup recorder running.
I just like having the project completely set up when arriving at the venue, doing a rough mix on the fly, and then being able to start from there when I get back to the studio. As I still have to haul preamps and stands around, it's just nice not to haul another heavy rack with a desktop PC.
Old 27th May 2008
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, definately true for mobile recording! My laptop just sits on a desk at my house- which is why I am now thinking that for the same money, I could have had a nice desktop rig.

There are still some good things about the laptop though. I can take it with me on trips for WIFI and other uses.
Old 27th May 2008
  #21
Gear Addict
 

any comments on using a 2gb usb flash drive, any why as opposed to a usb hard drive? whats the difference, i dont really know much about flash memory so i dont know if itd be better or worse, im guessing worse?
Old 27th May 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 

You should find the transfer rate of your USB key and compare it to a USB HDD you'd be considering. The Flash Memory has 0 seek time, and if its transfer speed is comprable to the HDD, it might actually be quicker.

I'd give it a try if you already have it. If you run into speed issues- move on.

I think its recommended to use a FW hard drive or ESATA if possible, they afford better performance for sound applications.
Old 27th May 2008
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
You should find the transfer rate of your USB key and compare it to a USB HDD you'd be considering. The Flash Memory has 0 seek time, and if its transfer speed is comprable to the HDD, it might actually be quicker.

I'd give it a try if you already have it. If you run into speed issues- move on.

I think its recommended to use a FW hard drive or ESATA if possible, they afford better performance for sound applications.
ok, right thats kind of what i thought. ive been thinking of getting a external HD for a while, im using a macbook at the moment, with only 1 firewire port, and i dont want to compromise the transfer speed of my motu 828 on the same bus with a FW hard drive. might check it out thanks.. im aware 4gb flash usb drives are pretty affordable (very) right now, so if i only held the audio for that project on the usb drive temporarily id be okay i guess... though BFD is more than 4gb. hrm.. ah well, worth a look into
Old 27th May 2008
  #24
Lives for gear
 
inthere's Avatar
 

My whole studio fits in my laptop bag-Macbook Pro, Apogee Duet, hard drive, Liquid Mix. I'm in a different country almost every weekend, and my setup has to be mobile.

Most of the mixes I do are 40+ tracks with multiple plugins on each track. They push the Macbook, but it handles it.
Old 27th May 2008
  #25
Lives for gear
 
ersheff's Avatar
 

I'm a college student (for just a couple more weeks) and had an imac G5 a little over a year ago. I decided that a laptop would be very beneficial for me as a college music student that's as involved in audio as I am. And for homework... Riiiiight...
So I got a 12" ibook G4. Did some pretty decent multitrack recording with that ibook, a Firepod, and an external drive. But it would still bog down on bigger projects, which the imac could handle.
At some point, when the Intel switch was complete in the laptops, I realized that it was pretty stupid for me to have two computers when a Core 2 Duo laptop would be faster than even my imac. So I sold the ibook and imac and bought a Macbook (which I actually returned within 2 weeks for a Pro- I figured if I was only going to have one computer, it might as well be the NICE laptop heh).
So far, my 2.16ghz MBP has handled everything I've thrown at it with room to spare. I use an external firewire drive, but mostly because I wouldn't have enough room on my internal drive otherwise.
I've recorded 16 tracks simultaneously and worked on 40+ track projects with Reason rewired and multiple plug-ins, including Logic's Space Designer.
Having a means of mobile recording has been indispensable. I would literally have not been as productive the last year without a laptop.
I don't think I'll ever buy a desktop again, unless it's to get a cheap Mac Mini for a house internet/itunes computer.
And the great thing is that if I ever do run out of power with a laptop, which I doubt, I can run a Mac Mini as a Logic node and have the best of both worlds without going overkill on an 8-core Mac Pro.
Of course, I don't do this professionally, so maybe I'm not a good example.
Old 27th May 2008
  #26
Lives for gear
 
inthere's Avatar
 

Well, I do this professionally and I say you're on the ball
Old 28th May 2008
  #27
Lives for gear
 

My only gripe is that when sitting at my desk, my laptop is somewhat hard to use ergonomically, I have to lean forward (taking me out of my sweet spot) to use the keyboard.

I need to get an external keyboard/mouse and one of those trays that come out of the bottom of the desk to put the keyboard and mouse closer to my proper position, then I dont have to slouch!


Any suggestions for a good desk that does this? Ill keep my laptop on the desk along with my LCD, but Ill put it further away from me (out of the triangle) and use an external keyboard/mouse setup. Suggestions?
Old 28th May 2008
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkEcho View Post
All of you Laptop users, why do you use your laptop instead of a desktop for your recording, and secondly, do you use an external harddrive, or any external equipment that requires a power source, and if so, why bother if you are going to be teathered to a power source?
Thats the beauty of a MBP + Duet. The Duet is bus powered and the internal 5400RPM drive can playback 40+ tracks easily.
Old 28th May 2008
  #29
Gear Nut
 
mp54u's Avatar
 

Nice... I was just about to ask some of the same questions regarding the external drive vs. internal. A friend of mine is selling his Macbook with 2gb ram and core2 duo. I think it is the 1.83 core 2 duo but he could not remember. It's only $300 so it's a good deal. I know the pitfalls of using the internal drive but since I have never tracked to the interal drive, will the internal drive on a mackbook handle 12-14 tracks for tracking? It would be very minimal plugins (mainly a reverb and eq on a couple of the tracks during tracking). It came with a 5400RPM drive but I could upgrade it to a larger 7200rpm drive if it would help. I really don't want to lug around an external drive if I don't have to.
Old 28th May 2008
  #30
Lives for gear
 

I like being mobile, and being able to track everywhere I want, without having to connect a whole desktop computer. And I just like laptops. I do use an external FW hd (7200 rpm) for tracking.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
goldphinga / Music Computers
8
jseveriniii / So much gear, so little time
31
1484 / High end
21
DaKid / Rap + Hip Hop engineering and production
6
sixtoo / High end
18

Forum Jump
Forum Jump