I'm preparing to make the jump from Mac-based computing to Windows.
I'm soliciting opinions/advice on configuring the "Ultimate" laptop for using
Gigastudio 3.0 ORCH. This laptop will be used as a desktop replacement.
The primary function of this mobile workstation will be to score projects in Finale/Sibelius, playback through Giga, and then render mp3 mockups for my clients. Most of my work is in acoustic media (big band, orchestra, wind ensembles, etc.), so outstanding emulation of acoustic instruments and ensemble is the goal of the set-up. I've been looking at options that include:
-Pentium P4 @ 3.2 Ghz minimum
-17" screen (I would like to be able to drive an additional LCD monitor if possible)
-1 - 2 GB of RAM
- min. 7200 RPM hard drives
So...any advice would be MOST welcome.
Should I even consider GPO as a cost effective alternative? The upcoming release of the GPO Jazz/Big Band Library does make the notion intruiging...
I'm assuming that you plan to compose in various locations, but not necessarily in planes, trains and automobiles, or on the beach or a mountaintop.
The most important thing to look for is the ability to accept 2GB of RAM. That will eliminate a number of lesser machines. Don't worry about the internal hard drive. Go with an external Firewire or USB HD. Driving an external LCD is no problem for any high-end laptop. And if it has a large screen, it will likely have the VGA connector built-in, rather than on an adapter.
You didn't mention the soundcard. You can go for an Indigo (PCMCIA) or a firewire solution. Go firewire for high performance and features, or Indigo fo simplicity.
Note that the external HD and a Firewire soundcard will need external power, so beach composing is out.
Get as much processing power as you can afford, if you want to run GigaPulse. An average desktop will be more powerful, so don't skimp here.
You might look into driver support for various vendors. Some laptop vendors only let you install their full package, which may come with lots of garbageware. You will have to manually strip it off, and that can be time consuming and risky - if you strip off a critical service or driver. A company with great driver support might give you the opportunity to install generic windows, then add drivers as needed. That would be much better for a DAW.
Finally, GPO... GPO is really complete and is an awesome value, but I find it limiting. It's great for people on a budget though. I find the ability to mix and match sounds in GS3 and then run them through GigaPulse very rewarding. If you have the budget, go for the full sampler and various libs. If you don't, go for GPO.
It also depends on your needs. If you're targeting perfect scores and rough mp3 mockups, GPO will far exceed that goal. If you want to make the best mockups that you can, go for the bigger libs. For instance, GPO offers only a single velocity layer for many instruments, while the bigger libs will generally offer four or more layers. It all depends on budget and needs.
I have GS3/VSL/SAM/etc on my desktops but use GPO on my laptop. GPO performs very well on it (Dell Latitude Pentium M, 1.6 GHz), is simple to use, and sounds "pretty good" without tweaking. In some respects GPO helps my composing workflow as I tend not to spend time tweaking my midi and adding controller data. I do that when I transfer to Sonar on my desktops and use GS3 and libs. In other words, I put more notes down on the page when I'm at my laptop. I will say that GPO does sound much better than its price. There are plenty of GPO demos that sound very good as well but not, as one should expect, as good as the multi-$1000 libs. I use Overture as a sequencer (rather than my usual seq - Sonar) on the laptop (free with GOP) and use the music notation interface to enter notes. This approach does give me a quantized sound but that's OK for my purposes of the laptop. It would be nice to get a very small keyboard though.
Laptop DAWs are wonderful, giving you freedom of movement - by the pool, at the book store, or where ever life happens to take you. Also get a wireless mouse ($40). Have fun.
You know what is potentially a very interesting option for portable laptop composition? Synful! It hardly needs ram at all, and is pretty light on the cpu as well. If things go as has been announced on the website, the program will include full orchestral instruments (and more comprehensive articulations) by the end of the year.
As a portable scratchpad, it has the potential to be the best option.
Not a bad choice for final renderings either - at least in certain things.
I just want to (digitally) transfer Giga tracks into audio tracks in Pro Tools.
I can do this in Rewire, but I'm trying to ditch Rewire due to latency issues.
Can anyone give idiot-proof instruction for bringing audio from Giga3 into PTle?? ....