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Help with sound card for laptop recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by joeker19lc, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. joeker19lc

    joeker19lc Active Member

    Hi! So I'll cut right to the chase. I'm not very experienced at all with home recording, but I've been engaging in it lightly for the past 2 years or so and its something thats really fun for me and a stress reliever while I'm at school. On my old laptop I had FL Studio and recorded primarily using Amplitude for my guitar and bass and EZ Drummer for synthetic drums, it was really easy and I was really happy with the sound, but then my laptop crashed. So I got a cheaper HP because that's all I could afford at the time (and my classes pretty much require a laptop), anyways I reinstalled Fl Studio and Amplitude and when I tried to test out Amplitude to make sure it installed correctly, I noticed that it seemed to be too difficult of files for my laptops sound processor to handle. I record with a really cheap Behringer Guitar-to-USB interface. I'm not entirely sure about the inner workings of a laptop or what a sound card even is, I've heard it described as something internal and as something external. I was just wondering if there is any sort of external device I could hook up to my laptop in order to enable it to process the more difficult files from Amplitude and EZ Drummer (which, to the best of my knowledge, would be even more difficult than Amplitude.)

    I apologize if this in any way seems like ignorance, I'm just unexperienced and its something I enjoy. Any help is greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    What is the computer your just bought? Also, your best bet is to install a clean legal* version of your OS WITHOUT any of the HP add on "helpers" or bloatware. Let's start however with what the model is.


    *You have a legal version on your computer now with a license key on the bottom. If you have an OEM install disc from the same generation as the computer you can legally install the same OS with the same key.
     
  3. joeker19lc

    joeker19lc Active Member

    HP Pavillion g7-1219wm. From what I gather its geared more toward watching movies or playing video games than recording music. Thank you so much by the way! Is there any sort of external sound processor i can use? Also, installing the OS again shouldn't really present much of a problem
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    OK. So any external soundcard is going to be USB as there is no Express Card slot and no firewire port. This is OK but you need to make sure you get a USB2 device. USB1 is unreliable but still available. Your other main issue with this laptop is that the hard drive is only 5400 rpm. You need a 7200 rpm main drive for best results and it would behoove you to have an external drive except no good way of connecting it if you end up with a USB interface so hold off on the latter. You don't have an eSATA port on that machine which is why that gets a little complicated.

    But first, you need to start by uninstalling every thing not OS related or needed. Alternatively you can reinstall the OS with a clean copy. A restore image won't count because all the preinstalled stuff is already there. You can leave the image partition there in case you ever decide you want it but clean is the order of the day. After you have a cleaned up machine then you go to the Black Viper website and pick your operating system and start turning off services. Your DAW manufacturer probably also has an optimization page and places like the Sweetwater Forum has a good one as well.
     
  5. joeker19lc

    joeker19lc Active Member

    So I got rid of all the bloatware and games I don't use rather than reinstalling the OS. Now, just to completely understand, there are devices that will allow me to record with these programs? I understand that quality and price are usually connected, and I don't necessarily need studio quality. I have heard from others that I need USB2, what device would you recommend? I've heard m-audio is really good, is that true?
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Now that you've ditched unnecessary programs, now optimize the computer itself.
    Optimize Your PC For Music Production

    M-Audio is not the best. I'd use Presonus as a starter. Better quality and better drivers. USB1 can be used for two channels but I still would rather recommend USB2. Figure out how many minimum individual channels you need now and how many you anticipate needing in the next two years. Then buy an interface of the appropriate size.
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I utilize my HP Laptop that is already six years old, still. It came with this Windows XP " Media Center Edition " which was a horrible crap operating system. Thankfully, I also possessed Windows XP Pro for my other workstations. I pulled out the 5400 RPM hard drive from the laptop and replaced it with a much larger 7200 RPM drive. Then I installed Windows XP Pro and am utilizing Service Pack 2. I tried the upgrade to SP 3 which caused all sorts of problems and went back to SP 2. And in one of my desktop machines I'm just running XP Pro SP 1 A. Although one of my clients recently purchased an HP laptop with Windows 7 and the Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB device and it's working out quite nicely even with his 5400 RPM hard drive. He's not even using a secondary outboard hard drive. But that's not 100% necessary unless you're recording more than 4 track simultaneously. I record 24 simultaneously most often. And that's where it's necessary to have an external 7200 RPM hard drive, FireWire 400/USB 2.0 device. Unfortunately if your laptop only has a single USB 2.0 port, you will be highly restricted. Multi-port hubs don't work well with audio interfaces & external hard drives working simultaneously together. Not that it's impossible but it is frequently fraught with limitations since everything is glommed into a single USB 2.0 port. So simultaneous active track counts & hard drive access may cause glitches to be recorded & played back. C'est la vie. Some of that can be repaired within software but why when you can avoid it altogether. Sometimes compromise is not a dirty word.

    Dirty girl
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  8. joeker19lc

    joeker19lc Active Member

    So let me get this straight, and again, I'm sorry that I seem so ignorant to all of this, everyone stars somewhere, but if I were to get either this product or a product similar to it my laptop would be able to handle and playback sounds that it previously couldn't? 2 channels is really all I can see myself needing. It's just dorm room recording and I record alone. PreSonus AudioBox USB 2X2 USB Recording System: Shop Pro Audio & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend
     
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Yes. Using audio processing outside the computer allows "bigger" sessions without chugging the computer up to a point. A second 7200rpm internal hard drive is still highly recommended. The AudioBox is decent enough to do what you want provided you really are only going to need two inputs.
     
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    The device you already have is what I got for my client, for his brand-new HP laptop. There aren't any problems with it. You may be having problems due to improper computer settings within the operating system? That is a simply fine audio interface you already have if you are using that Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB 2 x 2 recording system. But if your question is whether to get that device or not, I would say yes. And it will provide a profound difference than your laptops on board sound device can offer. It is certainly a worthy investment and only $159. Class A microphone preamps also, which typically sound smoother than just a cheap IC chip type device would offer. And being as small as it is, it's quite portable also. It has a nice versatile front panel and separate headphone & Speaker monitoring outputs. Zero latency monitoring and all that other good stuff you want. It also comes with awesome multitrack software, included. So if you don't have that, I suggest you get it. If you already have that, you are experiencing computer problems due to improper settings. And you're not ignorant, you're asking questions which is the least sign of ignorance. So even in a dorm room, with the Audio Box, you should be making some really decent sounding stuff. Since it already works fine on my six-year-old HP laptop, it should be fine on anything else modestly newer than that. There is a sticky somewhere around here indicating how one should tweak their computer for audio recording purposes. It's a bit long winded but it's necessary to prevent glitching, pops, clicks, errors yielding a homerun in the end at the bottom of the ninth inning.

    Hit that ball right out of the control room
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     

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