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Topic: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

  1. #1

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business


    Dave\'s advice is probably the best thing for you. I am not sure about if Office is 100% compatible (it could very well be but I don\'t know). I run Excel and Word on both platforms and swap files effortlessly.

    If you use Sonar on a PC laptop and then have to import the file into DP on your Mac, you\'ll have more work than if both were in DP. You\'ll essentially have to save as a midifile, import it into DP, then you\'ll have to set each of the VSTi\'s up and recall plugin settings. I do not know if plugin settings will be compatible from PC to Mac (or vice versa). The same will happen if you\'ve swapped your project into your desktop Mac running DP and need to take it with you on your laptop the next day.

    Everytime you want to swap out projects between platforms, you\'ll have to do this and it will become a big pain in the *ss.

    The Powerbooks are underpowered compared to a P4 3GHz Windows laptop. That doesn\'t mean that you can\'t get a lot done with one. I\'m still using a PC at home with Logic Audio as the sequencer but have a 15\" Powerbook G4 1GHz that I take with me whenever I\'m away from home. I swap projects without problems. I run a bunch of sampler instances (exs-24 & Kontakt 1.5) along with Trilogy, Atmosphere, and Absynth and everything runs smoothly for me. I also run Reaktor 4 and Vokator but they are more cpu-hungry and limit me a bit more. I\'ll usually bounce or freeze those when I need to run more.

    I don\'t run Waves on the Mac because I find that most of the Emagic plugins fit my needs along with a few other specific plugs so I can\'t justify the extra expense. Therefore I can\'t comment on those. Also, the Powerbook\'s built-in audio is pretty good and you can get latency down low enough for VSTi\'s while you\'re working. Most PC laptops have poor built-in audio from what I\'ve seen.

    HTH and good luck,

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    New York City

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    Hey Dave I am aware of the Mac Office suite but unfortunately its PIM is weaker than Outlook and there is no Access (database) or Frontpage (web development). So, if I go the Mac route I will have to buy Mac programs to serve those functions at additional cost and more importantly, learning curve.

    Jon, if I read you correctly, there is no real workable PC laptop solution (except presumably some of the custom makers like Millenium), even with a dedicated audio card. Are Powerbooks immune to those problems?

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    Office for OSX isn\'t an option then.

    The audio quality of both the Powerbooks and iBooks is pretty good. Not as fine as a dedicated audio card/device but fine for monitoring purposes and surprisingly good.

    It might pay to wait until Macworld in early January in case Apple release new Powerbooks with optical digital audio connections like in the G5s.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    I have a Dell 5500 and an Echo Indigo. The audio is good, the latency (using Forte and Giga) is low enough to play live, but I have a couple of unresolved issues:

    1. The laptop freezes on startup, or when you plug the Indigo in. This is probably a driver conflict, and I\'m hoping to sort it next week. It\'s probably not Echo\'s fault (I hope).

    2. There is terrible RF when the Dell power supply is plugged in (huge noises wheh the mouse is moved etc.,). I\'m told this is because Dell use very cheap, not very well filtered, power supplies. It\'s fine on battery power. The shop I bought the Indigo from is looking into some kind of fix for this as well. Be warned about Dell\'s power supplies and audio.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business


    Sonar does not currently take advantage of hyperthreading. However, there is a patch due out soon that may. It will be adding full support for dual processors. Quite a few people on the Sonar newsgroup are using Dell Dimension laptops. They seem to be quiet and powerful. I use a Sony Vaio that is only 800Mhz and Sonar works very nicely on it. We have a Sony Vaio here with a 17\" 1600x1200 screen, and it is very powerful and relatively quiet. You will need an audio interface like the Echo Indigo I/O to get the best sound out of a laptop. I use an Echo Mona Laptop interface with mine.

    -- Martin

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    >> \"Jon, if I read you correctly, there is no real workable PC laptop solution (except presumably some of the custom makers like Millenium), even with a dedicated audio card. Are Powerbooks immune to those problems?\"

    I think there are workable solutions, but there are compromises. If you want quiet operation and long battery life, you can\'t get the fastest machine out there. But then again, do you really need the fastest machine to get productive work done? Usually not.

    If you will have access to AC power, then you can get a super-powerful laptop, but it\'s good to try them at the shop to hear how loud they are. Or use sealed headphones.

    Regarding the \"software extras\", some companies are \"better\" than others. You can uninstall/disable the junk, but it takes some effort and has some risk. It\'s easier if there\'s less loaded in the first place. Unfortunately, the bleeding-edge machines often come with the most junk.

    Personally, I\'m more content if I get quiet, long life and simple operation than if I get the last 10% of the performance bell curve. And I can spend the extra cash on software and libraries :-)

    I\'ve never owned a Powerbook, but I know people who do. It seems that they have no problem in getting mail from the Exchange server and no problem running Office, but they don\'t get all of the Outlook features like shared calendars and corporate e-mail address lists.

    A Powerbook may be the way to go. They aren\'t the fastest guns, but they run cool and quiet from what I hear.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business


    If I work the HD and CPU hard in my Powerbook (867mhz ) it does occasioanlly get almost uncomfortably hot underrneath and a fan kicks in. You probabaly wouldn\'t want to record somehting quiet in the same room. Most of the time it runs very quiet and cool though.

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    For live recording I\'d think that an external Firewire drive may be the way to go. That might keep enough heat out of the case to keep the fan off. Well, that and dry-ice.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    Hello all,

    I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 2.4 PIV with 512 of ram. I run Cubase, Reason, B4, Sampletank, Edirol HQ, and some other goodies. My soundcard is a RME multiface. I can get the latency down to 3ms and record 8 tracks at once on the internal hard drive. I have been very happy with the preliminary tests I have run in Reason and with my VSTi\'s. Cpu usage stays very low. This may be one to consider, the whole thing ran me $1200 and it is under waranty for two years.

    Chadwick a quick fix for your power supply problem is to use and adaptor on the computer power supply that takes it from 3 prongs to 2. I had similar problems to you initially but no worries now.

    Good luck,


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    New York City

    OT: Laptop for Audio and Business

    Looking for the most powerful laptop to run a sequencer and plugs. I run desktops and macs in my studio and am platform agnostic.

    Here is my dilemma. My main sequencer is DP 3.11. I need a laptop for Microsoft Office (the entire suite with Access, Frontpage, etc., not the mac version) and would like to work on midi/ audio projects (with a sampler and VSTs) that I can transfer to Digital Performer when back at the studio.

    I thought the best option was Sonar on a 17\" screen HP with a 3.0 Hyper-thread processor, but boy that baby is loud (fans and processor run constantly). The Centrino line is pretty quiet but I don\'t know if it is powerful enough to run Sonar, Waves, a couple of VSTs (Atmosphere, Trilogy), etc. Maybe with Sonar, I do not need to use Waves on the road? Then of course there is the more expensive Powerbook 15\" or 17\". I guess I could run Office in Virtual PC, but I am concerned with the Powerbook\'s relative lack of power compared to the Pentium IV 3.0.

    My head is spinning. Any one have any thoughts or workable solutions? Input greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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