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
What is your most reliable laptop config for recording Live classical music Digital Converters
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Gaston69's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
What is your most reliable laptop config for recording Live classical music

I have been recording for a number of years using various recorders (Nagra VI), Mac Pro's and currently using Laptops with Pro Tools/Logic/Reaper/Boom Recorder.

I had a lot of successful recordings due very stable machines/software however there have been also a number of times that I pulled all my hair out as the system either stopped recording or even worse it crashed.

What is/was your most reliable computer based configuration for recording Live concerts (24bit 96kHz, multitrack).

Currently I am using/configuring:

Macbook Pro 15" mid 2012 (Pro Tools 12.8 and/or Reaper)
Macbook Pro 17" Core duo 2 (boom recorder)
Merging Horus 2x AD cards (16ch. mic pres)
Benchmark DAC1 DA converter
Cisco SG300-10 switch
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Mac + RME + Boomrecorder.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Addict
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 

Laptop Gigabyte P37w V4 (with 2To SSD)
Windows 8.1
Samplitude Pro X
RME Madiface XT
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Hi Gaston,

I have been recording on location all over the world with Pyramix and a Windows PC for over 17 years and it has been the most stable and reliable system I have ever worked on. As long as you stay in PCM, it should give you the same results (though I have heard that the newest versions with DSD and DXD have vastly improved on stability). I have used both the MassCore and Native, and had no noticable differences between them in this regard.

Edit: Merging considers the Bootcamped MacBooks the best option for laptops, by the way, so you are halfway there. :-)

Best,
Dirk
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

With rackmounted desktop computers, I was always a bit nervous.
Now with laptops, I feel a lot more relaxed.
My Toshiba Laptop fom 2008 is still going and was very stable with Win XP and RME FW800.
Still stable with Win10, Reaper and Ravenna. (But the computer feels very old now.

Macbook pro 2011, Sierra, Reaper and Ravenna is verry stable (with max ram and SSD).

Sometimes using HP switch for Ravenna with several laptops for redundency. Very stable. (I once had a glitch when connected directly from computer to sound card without a switch)

BTW, my 2-track Sound devices 702 has failed about the same amount of time as my computers)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Yes stick with a PC, I would not use a Mac. I have had 15 years of recording with very stable PC's with Reaper and Pyramix, no crashes ever. I have used mainly Lenovo business grade laptops in the early days, and lately ASUS G73 and HP Z-Book. I always get two native sata interfaces in them for separate system and data discs and plenty of RAM. And certainly avoid external USB or FW drives.

Looking forward to the new 8th Gen Intel chips with very low power consumption and heat. This will make laptops the option to beat for multi-track location recording. I heard a rumour that PMX will be multi-threaded on a laptop within a year. Even more compelling then.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 3 weeks ago at 09:44 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
I just had a 2007 MacBook Pro running Yosemite crash *twice* during a classical concert this past Saturday evening.

Up to this time it had been a reliable partner in at least 10 concerts to the Lenovo T400 that was concurrently recording. (I use a Dante system with Dante Virtual Soundcard in each laptop.)

On Sunday morning I bought another Lenovo T400 via Craigslist. Windows 7 in this 'old' tech is doing the job; they aren't desirable eye candy for those with criminal intent, and I won't cry too much if one gets pilfered...as long as I can come home with the audio files from one of them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
All the Lenovo laptops I have used have never crashed. My current is a P51. Very reliable. Using RME hardware.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Not the answer to your question but after being burnt in an un-critical situation with a laptop recorder on it's first trip out, I vowed NEVER to use one as my primary recorder ever again. And I have been very happy with that decision.

Sound Devices 7** series, JoeCos, and even a Fostex DV824 in the old days. Unbelievably problem free, knock on wood. I do use a MacBook Pro/Sierra running Pro Tools 12 as a backup recorder and recently bought Boom Recorder Pro. Maybe a Pro Tools substitute; easier to get time code into, but I can do that with Pro Tools and send a session right to the editors if they want.

I am a big JoeCo fan, now up to 64 tracks via Dante.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 

Bookcamped MBP using XP/Pyramix and RME. Rock solid!
SD702 for backup. Most gig are 8 tracks or less, looking into 788 or Mipre10 to save my back.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
... but after being burnt in an un-critical situation with a laptop recorder on it's first trip out, I vowed NEVER to use one as my primary recorder ever again.
You need to give it another go. Here are some advantages:
  1. Full mixer, continuous pan, solo, mute, pre and post fade metering, much better UI.
  2. Plugins during monitoring, reverb, soundfield etc
  3. Effortless, similtaneous multi monitoring setups, stereo speakers, surround, headphones
  4. Save full mixer config, including all mic preamp settings, for very quick setup for subsequent identical session recording.
  5. Far superior file management, delete, move, backup etc.
  6. More than 8 channels.
  7. Much larger and better metering, again plugins like phase lissajous, loudness, variety of peak metering etc
  8. Big large bright screen instead of little screens, tiny buttons and switches.
  9. Instant find of clips and within clips for replay and checking, trivial and instant to locate and playback to musicians.
  10. Nice markers and annotation of timeline during recording and review.
  11. DAW software updates frequent and feature rich. Recorder stays pretty much stagnant.

Plus, I am sure, many more.

I love my Nagra but Pyramix or Reaper are much more ergonomic for most sessions.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
Cant beat Nagra or SD for music recording, bulletproof professionalism
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

I have a Digigrid/Waves LV1 system that has performed flawlessly. The clarity of FP32/96K is stunning when paired with Digico "D" pres. The main system is housed in two SKB cases: a 4 space shock rack for the server one and two IOX 12 channel pres and an 8 space case housing an ETA power conditioner, an ADK custom computer, and an IOX 8 channel pre. Two 24inch dell touch screens provide a full screen mixing format and complete DAW (studio one) control simultaneously with cat 6 and USB 3 connectivity.
I also have a 2 space SKB case to house the IOS 8 channel (that has an integrated small server that works more efficiently at FP32/48K) controlled with my Mac book pro lap top. This is a wonderful quick way to manage audio for my solo performances. Most of my work aside from personal performance involves video capture as well and the scalability of my system from 8 to 32 channels covers most anything I might undertake. The direct stereo line feed to my Atomos Video recorder provides outstanding audio quality.
I worked with an HD24XR successfully for many years however my current system is sonically and ergonomically well beyond anything I have ever used. It is important to understand the fundamental division of processing and control the waves LV1 system offers. The compiuter connected touch screens control channel shaping however actual delivery of processing is internally housed in the server.
Hugh

Last edited by hughshouse; 2 weeks ago at 01:06 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
RPC
Gear Maniac
 

The Metric Halo Record Panel is solid as a rock, but you need one of their interfaces, a Mac, and a way to get Firewire between them. I'm still using a July 2012 Macbook Pro (the last one with on-board Firewire) and it works great. That said, this season my new Mixpre-6 has been seeing a lot of action - sounds good and the convenience can't be beat.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Firewire? The least robust connection ever.

And David. I am not going to go through your list point by point but I am recording live classical music, not trying to emulate Abbey Road Studios. I need bomb-proof capture of some bits. These performances are being played once, in real time, and to go up to the Board President after a performance a say "Sorry. The firewire cable came out during the finale movement of the piano concerto" would be, well, so uncool.

JoeCo or 788T. Yes, both computers at their heart but dedicated to doing only one thing well. Unlikely that I would ever trust a laptop if I only had one bit bucket.

Guess I feel pretty strongly about this, eh?

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Firewire? The least robust connection ever.

And David. I am not going to go through your list point by point but I am recording live classical music, not trying to emulate Abbey Road Studios. I need bomb-proof capture of some bits. These performances are being played once, in real time, and to go up to the Board President after a performance a say "Sorry. The firewire cable came out during the finale movement of the piano concerto" would be, well, so uncool.

JoeCo or 788T. Yes, both computers at their heart but dedicated to doing only one thing well. Unlikely that I would ever trust a laptop if I only had one bit bucket.

Guess I feel pretty strongly about this, eh?

D.
I also use dedicated recorders (Nagra. SD) for live concert capture. For recording sessions, I use an HP zBook via thunderbolt to a Lynx Aurora 16 running Sequoia 13. It's rock solid, generally. The one time it failed was when a producer tripped over the power cable running to my rack containing the Aurora. It powered off, causing a fatal OS crash. To avoid losing audio, I set Sequoia to write a new audio-file file every time I create a new take (object). That way, at least, I minimize what might get lost (most recent take only) after a crash. I still run the Nagra and SD recorders (wild) during sessions off of a transformer split just in case the crash happens during a magical take.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
I think a general rule for any live recording should be to keep your equipment in a zero traffic area, regardless of what you are using, practice safety, and tape down all cables that could be walked over. Also, if you use a laptop, you need to know what you are doing and set it up correctly to make sure it will not power down or update during a recording session. In over 1000 live recordings using a computer, I have never had a firewire/usb cable pulled out or a program failure. I lost a recording once because of a massive power surge, but that knocked out my two backups as well. I have lost more recordings using a dedicated recorder because of SD card failures. I would like to use a smaller recorder for the majority of my work because of setup ease, but the I/O just isn't there for the expectations of my clients.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
I run on batteries and have never lost a recording due to CF failure
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

I was also intrigued by the comments regarding power, and risk of power loss.

I'm just a hobbyist, so fully acknowledge my limited knowledge and skills. However, I use battery power (always with freshly charged batteries), and have never had any power loss issues. I wonder why exclusive battery power isn't used more in location recording of live performance events.

DG
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
I charge batteries in rehearsal and run on them for the performance
Saves idiot/cable/audience interface common with music lovers, who can be in apparent trance states, or just bewildered (like me)
Roger
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Yes. SD 788T, plugged into the wall (check for a properly wired outlet, ALWAYS!) with the battery attached. Seem-less turn over if AC power is lost.

I need to run some other outboard (not processing) devices on almost all my live capture dates, but I would not lose the recording if AC power was lost.

Laptop battery should provide the same security. The other insecurities (and I specifically had a lappy fail during a recording) put home office computers off my list. And I would never drag the Mac Pro from the studio. Just me, of course.

D.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Fair enough,

Though I wouldn't be too complacent with the ticking time bomb that is battery power. I've had plenty of issues with that as well. Some recordings last far too long for batteries, many audio recorders using AA only last a couple hours at most. As far at Li Batteries, more than once I have had a camera tell me it had 5 hours on the fully charged battery and afterward I found out it lasted only 1. The battery wasn't even old. I plug in everything now, even with a battery inside as last resort failsafe. I use a UPS battery backup for my laptop and interface, but that has failed once as well during the aforementioned power surge. Personally, I just do not trust battery power unless it is a non-critical recording that can be redone. Of course, you should be proactive and replace batteries on a regular basis even it they are not showing signs of depletion. There is no 100% safe method.
Just my experience.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I need bomb-proof capture of some bits. These performances are being played once, in real time, and to go up to the Board President after a performance a say "Sorry.
Yes, Doug I understand and feel the same way. But the Nagra and SD are still using computer DOS's and computer drives (HDD,SSD,CF) and these along with the PSU are the most likely single points of failure. Its not really Windows that is the biggest failure risk in a laptop used for recording, its the same things as a self contained unit.

There is definitely a psychological feeling of security with the self contained units I think. The complexities of the OS have been abstracted away and simplified in some instances, but the gremlins are still lurking underneath.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
You need to give it another go. Here are some advantages
I feel that most of the stuff on the list is unnecessary. I would rather keep it simple and focus on the mic
placement, and if it's a recording session, focus on working out the interpretation and editing strategy with
the musicians.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
SD 788T, plugged into the wall
The Sound Devices 788t combined with high quality small diaphragm mics
produce a good sound. Whether it's intentional or not in the design, the
preamps slightly rolloff the high frequencies in a way which works well
esthetically.

I feel sometimes that obsessing over which which preamps are the best in
the world is unhealthy and strictly for millionaires.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Yes, Doug I understand and feel the same way. But the Nagra and SD are still using computer DOS's and computer drives (HDD,SSD,CF) and these along with the PSU are the most likely single points of failure. Its not really Windows that is the biggest failure risk in a laptop used for recording, its the same things as a self contained unit.

There is definitely a psychological feeling of security with the self contained units I think. The complexities of the OS have been abstracted away and simplified in some instances, but the gremlins are still lurking underneath.
At the risk of sounding like jerk, I suspect the failure rate of an SD box is lower than a PC. While not quite a failure, but I had hiccup once from my PC/RME where I needed to pull almost a second from my backup (an SD702). This from being in service almost 10 years.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

25 years of recording on a pc based system, first with dedicated daw hardware, then native.
Only lost ONE non critical take, due to a bug that was solved a few weeks later.

I have had my zoom f8 a couple of months and did some work with it, but I need to 25 more years to prove it is more reliable ...

Imo a a well configured an maintained pc daw is trouble free.

My laptop is a mini PC in a big box with lots of cooling, and a USB3 lcd panel. It actually takes less time to setup than a true laptop.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Any system can fail. You do the work of insuring that the possibility of failure is as small as possible, that's what being a pro is. External issues like power losses are much more likely to hit you than problems with your own rig if you have put it together well, are conservative in what you ask of it, maintain and prep it properly and have lots of previous experience with it--ie you know "the signs" of trouble. UPS power back-up is a must for any system used in live recording.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 

I have both a Nagra V (batteries very old) and an RME rack rig which is run with a (DAWBench) laptop with TotalMix/REAPER. Only problem with the latter was when the FW cable connection became troublesome (DURec recording was unaffected until - during a movement break -I replaced the FW connection with USB; the USB driver was last used with different clock frequency and that was what stopped the UFX. Started again before the next movement began, nothing but a brief burst of ambo lost)

It ain't gonna happen, but a battery-powerable version of the UFX (now UFX II) would be good. Prime recording via (new improved) DURec, back-up and control on some external device. Would meet a lot of the criteria discussed above.

The big advantage of an embedded control system is that it doesn't have to compete with other software not of its own making. (Hermits don't catch colds 'cause they don't get them from contact with other people.)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Addict
Gaston,
I have been using ULN-8s, primarily with the Metric Halo Record Panel and, as RPC says, it's very stable. It's also very simple and therefore difficult to screw up. However, I'm moving to Merging Hapi/Horus/Pyramix, largely because CAT6 allows us to locate away from the musicians without having to use bulky, heavy, expensive analog snakes. Also, we are planning to do a lot more with DSD256 going forward. We might have stuck it out with Metric Halo a bit longer, but we really need to move to an ethernet setup, and who knows if they will ever actually ship 3D.

Currently, the kit looks like this:
  • Lenovo Thinkpad P51, Core i7-7820HQ, 32GB RAM, 4K IPS LCD, 1TB 5400RPM HDD, (2x) 1TB SAMSUNG PCIe NVME TLC OPAL M.2 SSD
  • Merging Hapi with 2x AKD8DP (up to 16 channels mic/line input @ PCM up to DXD and DSD up to DSD256 with direct outs)
  • Merging Hapi with 2x DA8P (up to 16 channels line out @ PCM up to DXD and DSD up to DSD256)
  • (2x) Cisco SG300-10 Gigabit managed switches
  • (2x) Furman AC-215A power conditioner

Windows and Pyramix Native Pro are installed on the 1TB HDD, with the two additional 1TB SSD drives reserved for data.

I've just gotten this system up and running and it has been burning in the last 24 hours. So far, everything is stable. The P51 running Windows 10 seems extremely stable. I must say that configuring Windows for Pyramix is quite an involved job that took me almost 3 days. The step by step instructions by Merging were technically good, but a little hard to follow at times. You really had to parse each and every word to get it right. To add to the difficulty, Microsoft has made significant changes to the Windows 10 interface, not only renaming many of the configuration options, but even moving them to different places. So many times, I'd find myself reading the Merging Installation Guide, then looking to the Web for help "translating" that into the current version of Windows Pro. The Merging stuff works perfectly, but Windows itself leaves a lot to be desired. To someone like me who has been on OS X for 16 years, Windows 10 Pro is like stepping back in time to the late 90s. (I am an MSFT alumnus).

Anyway, I'm slowly coming up to speed on all of this. Right now working on Ravenna routing. Last night, I was able to route mic preamps from one Hapi (which we'll use on the stage) over the network to Pyramix, then send the monitor mix to a second Hapi (for control room duties). I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was pretty exciting to see it all work for the first time!

It's pretty darn cool to have the preamp controls for a machine 200 feet away right on your channel strips!

Regarding the quest for stability... When I first began configuring the Thinkpad for Pyramix, my first thought was to install a second instance of Windows that would be strictly tailored for Pyramix and recording. No cloud services, no antivirus, no email, no firewall...very stripped down. This is precisely what I always do for OSX. Well, the Windows install went fine, but what I learned is that many Windows program installers (including Pyramix) will install common resources on the C: drive, even if you have specifically chosen to install to another drive, for example E:. My second (sacrosanct, stripped-down Pyramix-only) Windows instance was on drive E:. I told the Pyramix installer to install on that drive, and that's where it put Pyramix. But all the support files went onto C:. And so, Pyramix wouldn't start, giving errors about not finding a bunch of DLLs, etc. I could have gotten into it further, modifying search paths and all, but didn't feel the hassle would be worthwhile. Eventually, I just gave up and created a new user under the primary Windows installation. Hopefully, that will be enough.

Last edited by bwanajim; 3 weeks ago at 01:45 AM..
Mentioned Products
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+  Submit Thread to Reddit Reddit 
 
Topic:
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
Forum Jump
Forum Jump