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new guy looking to buy some recording toys

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sundaysonmonday, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. sundaysonmonday

    sundaysonmonday Active Member

    ok so i started recording with my 16 track multitrack recorder and am loving in, but now i wanna step into the computer age. i wonder if its possible to get a laptop in the 350-450 range that will have ample power for what im looking for. i really dont think ill need to record more than 4 things at once, and just about everything will be guitar, bass, and some drums with pretty much no virtual instruments. Probably wont ever have more than 16 tracks playing at a time. so can this be done on a modest budget?

    thanks a bunch
    its good to be part of the team

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Some questions:

    What is the make/model of your multitrack recorder?
    Do you envisage using that as an interface in your computer setup or do you want a completely new way of getting the audio into the computer?
    What have you got in the way of microphones?
    Do you have monitoring loudspeakers?
    Are you aiming to record all the players at once or "track" individual parts?
    Is your budget in US $? That's not much to cover a usable laptop, an external drive for the audio and a respectable audio program (DAW), let alone an audio interface.
  3. sundaysonmonday

    sundaysonmonday Active Member

    its an akai dps16
    im looking at getting a new usb setup, with maybe 4 inputs max
    i just have a couple sm-57 mics
    i just plan to use headphones for the time being
    mostly its just for me recording solo
    and yes its US $

  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    OK, I understand that if it's just you, then tracking one instrument at a time is the way you would be laying it down.

    However, what does the "some drums" comprise? You can indeed track drums with just two mics, but you need a good room acoustic to do it in. For this sort of work, I normally use at least 4 mics: kick, snare and two overheads. The SM57 is an excellent snare mic, and you can press one into use for the kick. But using them overhead as the only drum mics in a confined environment is not going to give very good results. If you were to add a pair of carefully-chosen pencil condenser mics as overheads and use the 57s on the kick and snare, the results would be much better.

    If this matches the way you were thinking, come back to us, and we can give you some ideas of what to look for in the way of interfaces.
  5. sundaysonmonday

    sundaysonmonday Active Member

    im not too concerned about getting mics right now, that can be down the road. im more concerned with just a laptop and a usb interface for now
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Even for a laptop, you're on the low-end budget types. That doesn't make it impossible as even the inexpensive laptops of today are fairly capable for the average home recording enthusiast. You might get better bang for the buck by getting a dual core AMD instead of a dual core Celeron style Intel processor. However even an Intel Core 2, i3 would be a better bet. All of those machines will come with a version of Windows 7 and also be 64-bit CPUs. Though I still utilize my old IBM Pentium 4 M, 2 GHz machine and my six-year-old HP Core Duo 1.7 GHz dual 32-bit processor and those worked perfectly fine for 24 track mixing. I also don't have more than 2 GB of RAM and just 1 GB in the IBM.

    One of the things you really want to look for is an abundance of USB 2.0/3.0 available ports. Some laptops, like my HP, even have a FireWire port and 1 or 2 available external card slots for additional I/O capabilities. Even low-end laptops generally have at least 3 GB of RAM already installed. Though it would also be good if it was upgradable to at least 8 GB of RAM if so indicated. Not all are. My HP only accepts up to 2 GB of RAM which now has. I could put the same into the IBM that it will only recognize up to 1 GB of RAM and it's still usable with ProTools. I just don't have the option of running too many plug-ins on the old IBM and only slightly better on my HP. But that hasn't stopped me. There are workarounds that I need to utilize because of their intrinsic limits. What you DON'T want is anything that has the Windows XP, 32-bit, Windows Media Center Edition operating system on it. That's one of those awful dogs that Microsoft created that came with my HP. So, I had to upgrade that HP to the Windows XP 32-bit Professional Edition. So you also don't want a laptop with the Windows 7 " Basic " edition, either since that version is also not capable of much of anything other than e-mail & surfing the web. You'll need one that has Windows 7 " Home Premium ", at the very least.

    And yes, you pretty much just want to forget about the internal sound card. Most any USB 1.1 audio card that features no latency, pass through monitoring will work out just fine for your purposes. Interestingly enough, one can utilize more than 1 USB 1.1 external audio devices if you need to record 4-8 simultaneous tracks. Though one should also know that many audio cards do not work well on USB 2.0 4+ port hubs. You want to be plugging your USB audio device into dedicated USB ports on the laptop. Though some are still capable of handling a couple of simultaneous soundcards on a USB hub. It's just not something that's recommended and in some cases may not work worth a damn that way.

    Kluge Master
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. sundaysonmonday

    sundaysonmonday Active Member

    here was one i was looking at, the processor seems pretty decent for $400

    Asus - Laptop - Black - X54C-BBK5

    whatcha think?
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think it would be a perfectly lovely laptop. I have been using their motherboards for years. They are very quick and responsive compared to some others. I've actually been looking at those laptops myself as a replacement to my HP of six years of age. Although I personally want the current version of my HP of their new version which is still $1500 US which I ain't got at the moment to spend. In all probability, I would yank out the 5400 RPM hard drive in favor of a 7200 RPM hard drive. But that's just me. Given the opportunity to utilize an external 7200 RPM hard drive for multitrack use would be a wise decision to include in your purchase plans. And that way you may still be able to live with the internal 5400 RPM hard drive. I just feel the faster the better for multitrack & video purposes.

    Go for it
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. sundaysonmonday

    sundaysonmonday Active Member

    hey thanks alot, i think ill go for it. this is going to be one expensive hobby i can see
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, since I'm not getting the work I used to, my profession has now turned into a + $150,000 hobby. Expensive? Unbelievably so. Out of sight. Out of mind. Your next stop DA DA DA... The Twilight Zone.

    Do not attempt to adjust your picture... oh... that's that other show.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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