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The Epic Laptop Quest

Discussion in 'Recording' started by DjElfo, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. DjElfo

    DjElfo Active Member

    As tempting as it is to start the PC vs Mac battle, I won't. I would actually like to get somewhere in this thread. So first off, Hi everyone howdy! I'm Elfo. A trilingual travelling musician, producer, DJ, street dancer/performer. I am producing with my Sony Vaio laptop at the moment. I use the Korg Kronos 61 key as well. My Daw is Cubase 5 soon to be 7.
    I produce mostly electronic styles of music: Hiphop/Trance/Dance/House/Dubstep/Triphop/Glitchhop/Chill/Electronica/NewAge/Techno/Ambiental/World/Irish/Fusion/Gypsy/Flamenco/Salsa/Capoeira/Breakbeats/Funk/Reggaeton/Latin/
    Also, I do my own videos = Sony Vegas Pro, and graphics = Photoshop CS6/Illustrator/Indesign/Bridge.

    I need a new notebook. Its just time. I'm sick of how slow and crappy mine is. So, now comes the decade long search for which book I want...or better, which book I need.
    I would be willing to give Mac a shot. Yet everything I read says that PC has caught up in their design and quality so that Macs are now, officially, over priced. And because my partners use PC, for compatibility I'd prefer PC.
    So I go through the basic models, HP Envy, Sony Vaio...etc. I can get one, spec'd out for around $1000. But are those really the best?
    I saw an article on this site about PCAudioLabs and how amazing their notebooks are. When I looked at them their base price is $1599 and not as spec'd out, at least to my novice eye, like 1TR HD and 16gb Memory, i7Quad Core...etc.
    So can anyone help me understand what it is I need to have a top performing music laptop? IS PC Audio Labs the best?
    Thanks a ton for any and all help!
    cheers thumb

    - Music is my weapon
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    How many tracks on your usual project and how many plugins per track/bus/master? Also, how many virtual instruments are utilized? Are you needing to link to a music desk or control surface eg StudioLive? If your needs aren't too intensive, any average laptop with an i5/i7 processor and 8 gig ram that has the correct port to connect to your flavor of interface will suffice.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    also you have to consider that when you buy an audio specific cpu, even tho the specs (numbers) may be lesser, your getting a particular group of parts that have been tested to work well and efficiently together. so maybe you have the fastest processor, but if you have to replace a hardrive, or graphics card, then things get annoying and expensive fast.
  4. DjElfo

    DjElfo Active Member

    It varies from project to project. Average project is probably 25-30 tracks. 5 plugins per track. I don't use a ton of VSTis yet. Just Halion, Native Instruments Absynth atm. But I am going to expand.
    No, no link necessary.

    Okay, thanks kmetal. So you're saying that the PC Audio Labs is probably the best way to go then?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    PCAudio Labs is definitely one of the preferred DAW builders. Everything will work correctly out of the box and be quality components.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    jacks the dude around here for computers. Rain makes a 1500 laptop. it's an i 7. i mean when it gets down to the specifics of purpose built pc's it might just be things like solid state harddrive, or usb 3.0. or thunderbolt. they will all work (from reputable builders) but in order to be comptitive each one offers something different that the other one doesn't.

    depending on your plug-ins(different plug-instake more processing) you may want to factor in a dsp card/and pcie-to-usb box. 30 tracks w/ 5 plug-inseach, is quite a bit. have you considered a rackmount cpu? they can be just about as portable as a laptop w/ the extras boxes. if you start 'instantiating' the CLA76 on every channel, your gonna run outa room. you could get a liquid mix cheap if your new cpu has a firewire.

    you definatly need a purpose built cpu. brand names, and style are up to investigation. You will not get what need in the sunday sale flyers. you need a professional level machine, because you are doing professional level productions. remember that now is a weird time to buy a computer, things have been about the same for the past few years, and the newest stuff is barely out there. it's a good time for the 1500 budget, cuz you can attain a future workable machine, and one that slams thru the current stuff. sorry i'm so general, jack is the dude like i said, when it's technical.

    i use a mac g5 at the studio (w/ dsp), and a core 2 duo at home for demos. i'm a very reluctant cpu/software updater. when i get a daw working, i hesitantly alter it. they are fine tuned machines, and even the best are quirky at least. to me anyway.

    ps. laptops are usually required to have an external hardrive, interface, and often a second screen, don't dismiss a rack-mount cpu right away. from what i've sen in the local flyers the past couple years, they are not loading up towers in the consumer range like they used to. it's all about laptops. but in the professional realm, towers still live, and have rack-mount ability, and additional real easte for connections, and internal drive, which are quite fast and reliable at this point.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yeah, you're gonna want some power... 30 tracks with five plugs for each track is gonna require some beef.

    And, as you mentioned, you haven't really crowded your productions with a boatload of soft synths yet, so if you are planning on expanding into these more and more, you have to figure that into your specs accordingly.

    Personally, I really like the idea of getting a computer that is custom-built by guys who understand what it is that we do. :)

    As K mentioned, this probably isn't something you'll find on Best Buy's Sunday paper flyer. And, very few of the people who work in these superstores understand DAW production, anyway.

    For the most part, audio devices and pertinent specs to them are based on things like gaming, MP3 playback, etc.

    The easy thing to do is to purchase based on what you need now.

    The harder thing to do is to look at the crystal ball and determine what you might be doing a year from now, or two years from now...

    I'm not an expert, nowhere near as knowledgeable as other cats here like Jake and Kmetal, but I can tell you from my own personal working experience, that purchasing based on current needs
    - or, even worse - on "minimum requirements", is something you want to avoid.

    If you have the financial where with all to do so, do your best to stay ahead of the curve, at least as much as you can ... ;)

  8. DjElfo

    DjElfo Active Member

    You guys are the best! I so appreciate all the input, really helps clear the path and focus on what I need.
    It is hard to spend the $1500-$1700 now, like you said, but I'm planning for the future and in the end it will save me money and hassle and I'll have a better machine and production as well.
    Now does anyone have a %50 off coupon for PCAL? :D
    Wish I could 'like' each post 40times :) This forum is bomb!
    cheers ya'll

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