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Recommendations for bare bones recording laptop/DAW ?
Old 9th June 2015
  #1
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Lorenzop's Avatar
 

Recommendations for bare bones recording laptop/DAW ?

I've been using direct to disk recorders but I realise that for future flexibility (more readily available ins - outs, occasional playback/overdubbing on session work, software mixer etc.) and ease of upgrade path (just change the audio interface for more I/O etc.) probably getting a rig based around a laptop plus a recorder for backup is the way to go.

Now I wonder, what would you gentlemen recommend as a dedicated laptop reduced to the bare essentials basically as a reliable multitrack recorder? Needs to handle at least 12 tracks at 24/96k

In other words I probably don't need a lot of RAM for samples and plugins and all that and editing work.

I'd like to keep costs as much down as possible.

I also only use Windows. And as DAW probably Cubase or Nuendo.

Any suggestions for what I need to look out for, much appreciated!
Also if you feel that sticking to multi track recorders + hardware mixer is the better way for Location sessions, let me know why

Thank you.
Old 9th June 2015
  #2
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huub's Avatar
I'd go for Reaper and an RME interface.
I'd also go for a macbook but any powerful windows laptop with fast SSD would work fine too.

Reaper has been 100% reliable for me thusfar for very large channel counts.
Both on windows and mac (but on windows I've never done more than 64 channels)
Old 9th June 2015
  #3
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Lorenzop's Avatar
 

Is SSD the way to go or are there any "hidden disadvantages" to SSD (durability?)
Old 9th June 2015
  #4
Gear Head
 

SSD is the way to go, like drinking water is good for humans.

You don't need to know why, you just need to accept it.

Old 9th June 2015
  #5
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
I'd go for Reaper and an RME interface.
I'd also go for a macbook but any powerful windows laptop with fast SSD would work fine too.

Reaper has been 100% reliable for me thusfar for very large channel counts.
Both on windows and mac (but on windows I've never done more than 64 channels)
I concur. Reaper is reliable, operates on many different platforms, is minimalist in its resource use, easy to use and reasonably priced. I use it on my 1-yr old laptop (a plain-Jane HP) and on a 10-yr old desktop. It works equally well on both. Best DAW bang for your buck.
Old 9th June 2015
  #6
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huub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzop View Post
Is SSD the way to go or are there any "hidden disadvantages" to SSD (durability?)
I think it's a no-brainer.
Makes your computer faster, all apps respond faster and the durability is not really an isssue.
Is your drive really going to be in your computer for say ten years? Will your computer even last ten years?
I know mine won't.
Old 9th June 2015
  #7
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zvukofor's Avatar
+1 to Reaper and MacbookPro. I use "old" 2011 MBP and never had any issues with resources.
Old 9th June 2015
  #8
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzop View Post
Is SSD the way to go or are there any "hidden disadvantages" to SSD (durability?)
Much quieter because less heat from drive and lower fan noise. Fan seldom runs on my Dell M4800.

Bazile
Old 9th June 2015
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

I've not used Waves Tracks Live much, but so far so good. It's not as good as my favorite Boom Recorder (it has a couple quirks), but that's Mac only. And the price is right - free.
Old 9th June 2015
  #10
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Thanks

What I'm wireless about - is the laptop in question.
Should it be an off the shelves machine (Sony Vaio) or should I get it from an audio dealer, who builds/customizes/fine tunes it from the ground up ?
Can they customize anything I can't?

Last edited by Lorenzop; 9th June 2015 at 11:37 PM..
Old 9th June 2015
  #11
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zvukofor's Avatar
No need to "customize" Macs, just turning off stupid consumer services, like "notifications" and auto-updates.
Can't say anything about Win, tha last one i used them i had a custom built of OS for maximum stable audio performance.
Old 12th June 2015
  #12
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzop View Post
Thanks

What I'm wireless about - is the laptop in question.
Should it be an off the shelves machine (Sony Vaio) or should I get it from an audio dealer, who builds/customizes/fine tunes it from the ground up ?
Can they customize anything I can't?
I'm sure everyone has different experiences. I would say, as long as you use a reliable interface, like RME, the laptop isn't much of a factor if you're just recording on it. It really depends on how hard you need for it to work.

I've been doing 24 trk location recording on a laptop for about 12 yrs now. (I previously used Tascam MDMs) My first laptop was a Dell C640. I upgraded it to a 7200 rpm HD and maxed out the memory at a whopping 2 gig. Running SawStudio on Win2000 with an RME digiface. It worked great. Still does! I even use the internal mixer (including eq, compression and reverb) to kick out a rough mix for the client on the fly. If I'm running 24 tracks with FX, latency is probably 150ms or so, but that doesn't bother me. I'm usually not in the same room if I'm running that many tracks anyway. At 8 tracks, I can get the latency down to about 50ms or so.

I just recently got a newer Del 6410 with an I7 running Win7, a refurb off e-bay for $300. Still using SawStudio and the RME. It's been great for 2 months so far. No mod's, just straight out of the box. The latency is better, but I haven't loaded it down much yet.

I also have another C640 that runs as a backup and a Toshiba Satellite that are each at least 8 yrs old that track just fine.

Now, understand, these are mostly just tracking machines. I do all of the mixdown, etc. on a desktop at home. I don't need a lot of horsepower for tracking or a rough mix.

Good luck,
Scott
Old 12th June 2015
  #13
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Hey thanks, sounds like what I'm thinking.
If the laptop is just a tracker/recorder, I guess the only thing that matters is a fast hard drive, and good USB (FireWire I hear is difficoult issue on a laptop) right?
Latency, CPU power and motherboard capacity won't matter too much correct?
Old 17th June 2015
  #14
maybe good for tracking, but better to make backups on HD.
aparrently the SSD loose data after a while.

SSDs lose data if left without power for just 7 days
Old 17th June 2015
  #15
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Lazerface's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monitor View Post
maybe good for tracking, but better to make backups on HD.
aparrently the SSD loose data after a while.

SSDs lose data if left without power for just 7 days
That article was based on 5 year old information, about SSDs that have made it to their 'end of life' which takes a serious amount of read/write cycles (think hundreds of terabytes)

See this article for more info: Debunked: Your SSD won't lose data if left unplugged after all | PCWorld
Old 17th June 2015
  #16
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Lazerface's Avatar
My own experience with recording laptops has been great. I have only ever had problems when trying to track with too low of latency (sub 5ms) using a specific firewire interface. My 4 year old Dell Vostro handled a 44 track session in Reaper with no problems at all last year, and will be doing the same group in a week and a half.

The key to Windows machines is optimising the OS and your programs for stability. Install just the programs and drivers you need to record, turn off networking and antivirus, uninstall OS components you don't need, etc... I have 3 partitions on my machine, a data partition, an audio recording OS partition, and a day-to-day OS partition. I can go from power on to recording in just under a minute, while booting into the day to day OS takes a few minutes for everything to load.

Just my 2 cents
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazerface View Post
My own experience with recording laptops has been great.


My goal is to simply buy a small midi controller and practice piano and maybe track it once in a while.

Is there anything even simpler than reaper for this?

Do all the more "basic" daws usually work with most any midi controller?
(I have windows 10) - Actually as I'm typing I'm thinking whatever midi controller will probably have a driver on the net right? And I would think they all work for windows 10?
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyFan View Post
My goal is to simply buy a small midi controller and practice piano and maybe track it once in a while.
You should probably start your own thread about this in the Computers forum. What you want has nothing to do with remote recording, and your post here won't be seen by as many of the right people.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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It is possible that you didn’t notice this thread is five years old, and hardly anyone posted on it then. I’ve done that.
You are also somewhat off topic regarding the original subject. Non-complex math counts that as two mistakes.
Right now Prince Hahn is being polite. But if you make another mistake, he might send his flying monkeys or blue meanies in your direction. Heed the warning!
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
It is possible that you didn’t notice this thread is five years old, and hardly anyone posted on it then. I’ve done that.
You are also somewhat off topic regarding the original subject. Non-complex math counts that as two mistakes.
Right now Prince Hahn is being polite. But if you make another mistake, he might send his flying monkeys or blue meanies in your direction. Heed the warning!
Normally with something like this you'd do a Report and a mod would put it in the right place. But that won't work here.

And yes, I could have sugar-coated it a little.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyFan View Post
My goal is to simply buy a small midi controller and practice piano and maybe track it once in a while.

Is there anything even simpler than reaper for this?

Do all the more "basic" daws usually work with most any midi controller?
(I have windows 10) - Actually as I'm typing I'm thinking whatever midi controller will probably have a driver on the net right? And I would think they all work for windows 10?
I don't know if there is anything simpler, but Reaper will work for this. You can add a VST plug in like PianoOne or some other VST into your DAW.

Besides MIDI, some keyboards can connect over USB.

As for what works with W10, you are best served by researching whatever hardware you are seriously looking at to see if it plays nicely with W10 or if other users are posting issues.

You might post this in the synth section as they can probably give you some specific recommendations without involving the flying monkeys.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
You should probably start your own thread about this in the Computers forum. What you want has nothing to do with remote recording, and your post here won't be seen by as many of the right people.
The Music Computers forum can get to very low SNR very quickly. This forum on the other hand ...
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
The Music Computers forum can get to very low SNR very quickly. This forum on the other hand ...

lol..
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
I don't know if there is anything simpler, but Reaper will work for this. You can add a VST plug in like PianoOne or some other VST into your DAW.

Besides MIDI, some keyboards can connect over USB.

As for what works with W10, you are best served by researching whatever hardware you are seriously looking at to see if it plays nicely with W10 or if other users are posting issues.

You might post this in the synth section as they can probably give you some specific recommendations without involving the flying monkeys.
will do and thanks!
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