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Guest Gladstone

Music laptop / programmes etc

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Guest Gladstone

I'm thinking about getting a dedicated music laptop. Something I can record to, download samples, create stuff etc.

Not really sure what I'll do with it yet, but thinking about trying to create some "different" music for want of a better word using my bass / looping pedal / samples etc.

Any recommendations for a laptop / what programmes etc?

Don't really know what I'm looking for, but any ideas!!?

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Guest Gladstone

That was vague as fuck.

Looking for a laptop that will do nothing but music. I can use it to DJ, record loops and riffs etc to, download samples, mix stuff - all that kind of shit. I'm a total noob though, so don't really know what I'm looking for. Also no idea how much this would cost, but the cheaper the better obviously. I already have another laptop that needs fixed up a bit, but that other laptop would be used for everyday use, so no music shit would happen with it - this new one would almost be like another "instrument" that would only be used for that side of things.

What other hardware would I need? I'm imagining some sort of interface for recording direct from instruments and a midi controller, perhaps some of those nifty electronic mixing desks or something? I'm guessing this could get quite costly...??

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Guest Gladstone

Where are all the laptop DJs / home music producers etc??

Been trying to google stuff on this, but I'm struggling to get my head round it to be honest. I know there are a load of folk on here that meddle with this sort of stuff.

What's your set up??

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Guest Gladstone
I don't do it but I think the general consensus will probably turn out to be use a mac rather than a windows laptop.

Yeah - forums I've been looking at, some have said just that. For some reason, I'm a bit prejudiced against Macs. I have no reason (other than the fact they are fucking expensive, maybe) to hold that prejudice, but I do - no idea why.

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Have you searched the forums here? This topic's been covered on more than one occasion.

Anyway this thread has a lot of good suggestions:

http://www.aberdeen-music.com/threads/whats-your-recording-setup-and-method.47957/

There's nothing wrong with using a windows laptop. Get ASIO4ALL drivers and you should be able to get decent latency. The better the processor and memory the better the performance so expect to pay a bit more than you're spending on your wife's tablet.

You'll probably also need a USB interface (i.e. http://www.gak.co.uk/en/m-audio-fast-track-usb/4109) which can cost a little or a lot depending on make, model and spec. You should be able to get by with something with 1 or 2 inputs for £50-90. This will probably come with some software (i.e. the DAW - digital audio workstation you'll need to record and mix the final tune) but it's usually not the full version. Download the free trial of Cockos Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/). It's fairly easy to use as far as workstations go, is pretty powerful and if you like it then it only costs about £40 for the full licence.

Also worth downloading Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) for editing individual wav files. I don't know anything about loops and drum software but if you find anything good let me know 'cause I'd like something for that as well.

Plus you'll need microphones etc. You might already have them though.

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Guest Gladstone
Have you searched the forums here? This topic's been covered on more than one occasion.

Anyway this thread has a lot of good suggestions:

http://www.aberdeen-music.com/threads/whats-your-recording-setup-and-method.47957/

There's nothing wrong with using a windows laptop. Get ASIO4ALL drivers and you should be able to get decent latency. The better the processor and memory the better the performance so expect to pay a bit more than you're spending on your wife's tablet.

You'll probably also need a USB interface (i.e. http://www.gak.co.uk/en/m-audio-fast-track-usb/4109) which can cost a little or a lot depending on make, model and spec. You should be able to get by with something with 1 or 2 inputs for £50-90. This will probably come with some software (i.e. the DAW - digital audio workstation you'll need to record and mix the final tune) but it's usually not the full version. Download the free trial of Cockos Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/). It's fairly easy to use as far as workstations go, is pretty powerful and if you like it then it only costs about £40 for the full licence.

Also worth downloading Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) for editing individual wav files. I don't know anything about loops and drum software but if you find anything good let me know 'cause I'd like something for that as well.

Plus you'll need microphones etc. You might already have them though.

Nice one - cheers Chris.

I did just read through the entirety of the "Laptop DJing" thread which includes some fine Stripey moments...

Not sure if I've seen that recording setup thread before though - will have a read of that too.

Cheers!

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I have a shitty old Mac computer which I acquired second hand last year. The music recording application I use is Pro Logic 8. There are newer versions available I'm sure, but fuck it - version 8 was both cheap and easy to download. Ahem.

Aside from that, all I use to record is a Shure SM57 microphone and a Soundcraft Spirit Notepad mixer, and the necessary cables/leads to plug the mixer into my Mac, and my microphone into the mixer.

In summary, apart from instruments, then, I use:

x1 Mac computer (with Pro Logic installed)

x1 Microphone

x1 Mixer

Possibly the most basic of home recording set-ups, aside from a single unit 4/6/8-track or a dictaphone.

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I have a shitty old Mac computer which I acquired second hand last year. The music recording application I use is Pro Logic 8. There are newer versions available I'm sure, but fuck it - version 8 was both cheap and easy to download. Ahem.

Aside from that, all I use to record is a Shure SM57 microphone and a Soundcraft Spirit Notepad mixer, and the necessary cables/leads to plug the mixer into my Mac, and my microphone into the mixer.

In summary, apart from instruments, then, I use:

x1 Mac computer (with Pro Logic installed)

x1 Microphone

x1 Mixer

Possibly the most basic of home recording set-ups, aside from a single unit 4/6/8-track or a dictaphone.

Aye, but you play self-indulgent egotistical acoustic pap so you would think your set up is ace, you fucking mega-lo-maniac.

LOLz.

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Guest Gladstone

Edit to above post as I'm just out of time...

I notice it doesn't have a firewire port either - is that restrictive in terms of interface/soundcard options?

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Guest Gladstone
I wouldn't try using a laptop with 1gb ram live.

I don't know much about this as you can probably gather...

Is that because it could slow your system down? Ie. more RAM allows you to do more things at the same time without slowing the machine down? Is that about right?

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Guest Gladstone

What about this spec:

Here is your chosen specification...

Chassis & Display

Mirage: 13.3" Glossy HD LED Backlit Widescreen (1366x768)

Processor (CPU)

AMD® Zacate™ E350 Dual-Core Processor (1.60GHz) 1MB L2 Cache

Memory (RAM)

4GB SAMSUNG 1333MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (2 x 2GB)

Graphics Card

AMD® Mobility Radeon™ HD 6310 - DirectX® 11, Shared Memory Architecture

Memory - Hard Disk

250GB SERIAL ATA II 2.5" HARD DRIVE WITH 8MB CACHE (5,400rpm)

Memory Card Reader

Integrated 3 in 1 Memory Card Reader (SD, MMC, MS)

Sound Card

Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack

Bluetooth & Wireless

ENIGMA GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS 802.11N + BLUETOOTH 3.0

USB Options

4 PORT USB 2.0 EXTERNAL HUB + STANDARD USB PORTS

Battery

Mirage Series 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (2,200 mAh)

Power Lead & Adaptor

1 x UK Power Lead & 65W AC Adaptor

Operating System

Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit - inc DVD & Licence (£79)

Office Software

FREE Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (Limited functionality Word & Excel)

Anti-Virus

NORTON ANTI-VIRUS 2011 - 1 Year Licence for 1 PC (£14)

Laptop Cooling Stands

Zalman ZM-NC1000 Ultra-Quiet Laptop Cooler, upto 15.6 inch (£29)

Keyboard Language

INTEGRATED UK KEYBOARD

Notebook Mouse

INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE

Webcam

INTEGRATED 1.3 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM

Warranty

3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)

Insurance

1 Month Free Laptop Insurance inc. Accidental Damage & Theft

Delivery

STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)

Build Time

Standard Build - Approximately 4 to 6 working days

Quantity 1

Other Features Included As Standard...

Software CD/DVD/BLURAY viewing & authoring software is included with all DVD Writers/BD Drives. Memory Our memory comes with a 100% tested lifetime warranty! Support We offer lifetime hardware technical support during normal office hours. Cables & Manuals A power cable & transformer, and all drivers & manuals are included with every order. Service Our laptops come fully assembled & thoroughly tested. We are so confident in the quality of our laptops that we offer a free collection and re-delivery service* should you ever have a problem with your laptop. Installation If you order an operating system it will come fully installed with the CD and licence key. Low Total Cost of Ownership Taking into consideration our low cost telephone support, free collection warranty service* and our strive to use energy efficient components where possible, the total cost of owning a pcspecialist laptop is reduced as much as possible. And Finally If you are lucky enough to have seen a cheaper quote, click here.

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Firewire is pretty irrelevent especially on a windows build I think.

I'd swap out that dedicated graphics card for a more powerful processor. It's a music laptop so you don't need dedicated graphic. You want at least 4GB RAM I reckon. The most important things you're looking for are RAM and the CPU. I don't know much about AMD chips but if it was intel I'd be looking for dual core i3 at least. An i5 would be better.

That's not to say you can't make do with a cheaper system or an older one but if you're buying a laptop specifically for making music and using it live you should probably make sure it's up to the job. You don't want it to be struggling at an important point in a gig.

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Guest Gladstone
Firewire is pretty irrelevent especially on a windows build I think.

I'd swap out that dedicated graphics card for a more powerful processor. It's a music laptop so you don't need dedicated graphic. You want at least 4GB RAM I reckon. The most important things you're looking for are RAM and the CPU. I don't know much about AMD chips but if it was intel I'd be looking for dual core i3 at least. An i5 would be better.

That's not to say you can't make do with a cheaper system or an older one but if you're buying a laptop specifically for making music and using it live you should probably make sure it's up to the job. You don't want it to be struggling at an important point in a gig.

Thanks Chris - yeah, I was aware there were a few things on that spec that were unnecessary, but it wasn't an option to remove the graphics card (for example). I just quickly worked through the options and posted it on here to try and get a handle on what I should be looking for and that seemed to get the desired result.

Any tips on where I could get a totally custom built laptop that would allow me to (for example) get rid of the graphics card in favour of a more powerful processor?? (Whilst keeping the cost down as much as possible)

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I have the same prejudice. But for media work, Macs are apparently a lot better.

Not neccesarily. Or, specifically for music software, not if you get an ASIO driver for your PC's soundcard. then it's just about your preference and how deep your pockets are feeling.

To the OP, you'll probably want Reaper for recording. It's a full featured DAW for $60. pretty win really. you get 30 days to evaluate it also.

and maybe you'll want an audio interface. something like the Focusrite Saffire 6 is a good budget unit. the quality is excellent and it's much nicer having sturdy 1/4" inputs instead of those pishy stereo minijacks.

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Ableton is awfully expenisve.

I'm trying to build up a little more hardware at the moment. I want a wee mixer like an alesis usbfx. Would this be suitable for playing live and tweaking stuff live?

Ideally, when I get a flat again I'll have room to kit myself out with stuff. Sitting on a bad arched over a laptop with headphones on is the main reason I haven't completed a single song yet.

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