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Topic: OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    New York City
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    OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

    Was not sure where to post this, as it deals with hardware, software and obviously samples, so here goes.

    I currently have a Mac (828 and Midi XT) with a dedicated Giga (2.5) PC (Frontier Wavecenter audio card and Micro Express midi) piped into Digital Performer via ADAT. All is fine except I do not have enough power to run some of the virtual instruments, etc. AND I have a 3.0 Ghz PIV laptop with 2 gigs of RAM and an external HD (has Sonar, Acid, etc. on it) that I would love to use as a VSTi and/or samples module.

    Any thoughts on the best way to integrate it into my setup, considering cost and flexibility? I would love to run Spectrasonics VIs, EW VIs and NI Komplete 2 on it (maybe even Giga 3.0. Use a dedicated audio card/midi interface, MOL, Echo cards, etc? Should I just forget the laptop and either upgrade the existing machine or get a new dedicated PC?

    Ports wise the laptop has firewire, usb 2 and 10/100 ethernet.

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

    Do you sequence primarily in DP on the Mac? The new MidiOverLAN CP works well, and you can easily get midi into your laptop from DP/Mac using it. I just started using it from my G4 into my Giga-PC, in place of my motu AV USB midi time piece. I've found no problems yet.

    For audio streaming out of the laptop, it seems you have two best choices: 1) a Firewire audio unit on the PC, streaming into your motu gear, or 2) the soon to be released cross-platform version of FX-teleport (which is supposed to do both midi and audio), an ethernet solution. Of course USB audio is another possibility.

    You might want to research your laptop's IRQ setup, as it could impact your audio routing setup of choice. Laptops are more limited, sometimes, and some of them are built in a way that leaves some critical devices all parked on the same IRQ - not cool for audio performance. I suspect since you have a late generation PIV that you have both ACPI and APIC on the laptop, which adds some more usable IRQ's and probably relieves the audio device priority problem. You can easily check your situation in your laptop's device manager.

    Let us know where you come out on this, and what your experience is.

    Trond

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

    Modern notebooks with XP Sp1 have (almost) no limitations -use it as a normal PC. You need a good firewire, usb or pcmcia-solution.

    I have a sony PCG-GRV 616 and the RME multiface with pcmcia adapter. Works very well. Very good latency. (adat optical 8 channel+8x analog)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    312

    Re: OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

    Yeah, I sequence primarily in DP. I will investigate the IRQ situation -- didn't think about that one. Regarding the MOL scenario, will my 10/100 laptop port be enough to avoid latency issues? Thanks for you input so far.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Laptop as a Samples Module

    Quote Originally Posted by aplanchard
    Was not sure where to post this, as it deals with hardware, software and obviously samples, so here goes.

    I currently have a Mac (828 and Midi XT) with a dedicated Giga (2.5) PC (Frontier Wavecenter audio card and Micro Express midi) piped into Digital Performer via ADAT. All is fine except I do not have enough power to run some of the virtual instruments, etc. AND I have a 3.0 Ghz PIV laptop with 2 gigs of RAM and an external HD (has Sonar, Acid, etc. on it) that I would love to use as a VSTi and/or samples module.

    Any thoughts on the best way to integrate it into my setup, considering cost and flexibility? I would love to run Spectrasonics VIs, EW VIs and NI Komplete 2 on it (maybe even Giga 3.0. Use a dedicated audio card/midi interface, MOL, Echo cards, etc? Should I just forget the laptop and either upgrade the existing machine or get a new dedicated PC?

    Ports wise the laptop has firewire, usb 2 and 10/100 ethernet.
    There is a new version of MIDIoverLAN for Mac that lets you network the MIDI (but not audio) between the Mac and the PC. Check that out.
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

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