Transporting a G5 for location work

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by kid, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. kid

    kid Guest

    I'm not sure if this is a correct forum to ask this but here it goes. I am putting together a mobile setup using a Mac G5 some pres and a Hard Disk interface. Has anyone had any experience lugging the very heavy G5 around? What is the best way to transport it? Are there custom cases or bags that can be used to safely put it in the car drive to a location setup and beakdown again?
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    You're in the right place.

    There are several manufacturers who make a rackmount product for the G5. It will take your existing case and allow it to fit neatly into a road case. Below is one of the adapters I'm referring to.

  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Problem with a G5 is that it is larger than rack size... Marathon's solutions are for placing the computer vertically in the rack or cutting off the handles...

    I think your best bet would be to have a case manufacturer make a foamed case that fits the computer exactly and you pull the whole computer out whenever you leave the studio. The monitor is easier- see the custom thread for a link to photos on what I did for my field monitor...

    Contact me off list- I may actually have a case sitting around unused that would work (but send me measurements of the computer and I'll check...)

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    That is true...

    Another case manufacturer that I love for transporting computers is Pelican. They make cases that photographers typically use, but some of their cases are very large (big enough for a computer and several mics) and quite affordable too.

    They are what I use for a lot of my equip including my PC.

  5. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Hey Kid,

    I did a couple of gigs moving G5 / ProTools setup. I just used the
    original Mac and display boxes (I saved them). And the off-board
    stuff and DigiRack I have in a nice rack.
    You may use the contacts Ben and Jeremy mentioned and buy
    those G5 racks. But if you are gonna do lots of recording gigs
    at locations - consider getting a power book G4 and external HD.
    I'm thinking about it myself, moving G5 is such a hassle.

  6. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    If location is your living (as it is mine) I would NEVER consider a laptop for several reasons:

    1- Not very robust. One accidental serious impact and you care out of business, at least temporarily.

    2- If you want a truly professional interface you need a Magma chassis to use PCI cards, and they are $1000 and the cooling fan makes a bit of a racket. Also, once you start stringing together a bunch of stuff using laptop-type connectors, you realize the whole rig is pretty fragile just from a connector standpoint.

    3- an adequate Powerbook (G4/<800mHz) will cost more than something more substantial and expandable, especially as you add external drives.

    4- Everyone has a laptop. If you are doign professional work at professional prices, you can't show up with something that isn't very different than what the client already owns. This is a bigger factor than many people realize is you are presenting yourself as something more than a hobbyist.

    I thought about the very same options a littel over a year ago and realized if I was going to have my livelihood depend on a computer I was slogging around, I better get something rugged. I bought a Sequoia shuttle and have not regretted it for a nanosecond.

  7. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Me too. I bought a very specialised PC to lug around, the Nagra V. Sonarerec, your post contained thoroughly excellent points.
  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    You're session photos that you posted also had that POS thing in it... Oh yeah, it is called a Genex.... :p

    Not exactly low end there, my friend...

  9. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm perfectly happy and content with the size of my uh....LAPTOP, :wink: and don't have any worries about people (clients and competition) who might think otherwise. (And they don't pay me by the pounds of gear I lug around, either!)

    A Hobbyist?? Hardly. Time is $$ in this biz, and with the sheer number of gigs we do every week, laptops for me are a great way to go; I am simply tracking on location, and using the big guns back at the studio for all the other stuff.

    I've been using Sony VAIO laptops for over three years now on live remotes, and the trick is to transport them with a proper carrying case, etc., and treat it the same as any other expensive device, be it a mic, monitor, or a full size PC. Treated properly, they're not any more fragile than a PC in a box, or an LCD screen in a case. Drop any of them, and they break the same way. ;-) Connections are a non-issue with 6 pin FW cables, and I keep a dedicated power supply wired in my rack for the laptop as's always there, non-flexed cables, too.

    With a P4, lots of ram and a 120 gig FW HD, I have never experienced any problems at all due to the laptop itself. The problems were always pilot error (mine) and something dumb happening.

    Arguably, it's a safer system than a PC (without a UPS). The battery at least saves the program - the VIP - should power go out. To date, I've never lost a thing related to power issues on remotes. Maybe it's Samplitude, maybe it's XP, or the drive,or a combination of things, but I recently had a total power outtage (without a UPS online) and was able to get the VIP file working again - complete with a hole in the wav files, and start anew. I figured the whole thing was toast, but aside from the HD taking a nasty power-break, I was able to continue with minimal damage.

    Of course, whatever makes you comfortable on the gigs (and what is most reliable) is always best. Jeremy's "one trip with the cart" is similar to mine: I get inside with two trips from the van: One with the recording system and goodies, one with the hardware (mic stands) and cables.
  10. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I've thought many times about building a cart, a bit like the movie sound guys, they have the wheeled cart thing sorted and at the end of its evolution cycle.

    But there are so many steps in our venues and I would be tempted to make the cart the labour of love and it would end up being a real heavy structure with the kitchen sink bolted on the back.

    How mature is the idea of a cart for our work? I still think its an excellent idea. The other thing with a cart is that one needs a truck to move it around.

    I remember reading an article a few years back about a location music recordist in London who travelled to gigs on a motorbike as there was never any parking. He had all his gear in a backpack and a manfrotto slung down the length of the bike. Interesting idea.
  11. Costy

    Costy Guest


    You guys are free to build carts and buy big trucks and vans, and,
    if your clients get really excited about it, I'm very happy for you.

    I just have told my opinion on ProTools LE portable setup: the G4-
    book w/ 15" screen and 512 Mb RAM will work just fine with recording
    ($2000), extra 100Gb drive ($100), two FireWire cables are included
    with the book and HD. Why: when recording you don't need any fancy
    plug-ins the G4-book CPU power is enough. Back home: stick the HD
    in your main computer (G5 or whatever) and keep going. As reliability
    goes: I have a doubt that your vans are more reliable that Apple's
    G4-books. Just an opinion.

  12. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    You're preaching to the choir here, Costy; my setup is very similar to yours, just my choice of platform is Windows/PC. I too take the HD files recorded by the portable remote rig and simply plug it in to the main system back at the studio.

    Just to be clear, the VAN gets me and the gear TO the gig. The Cart (in my case, a $49 dual-function handtruck/cart that rolls) gets me IN to the gig. The rest of it sets up on any small-to-medium sized table top. (You can see my current rig right on my home page if you click on the Lipinski 505 speaker blurb on the main page, then click the picture again for a close up).

    Many ways to get the job done, indeed.
  13. Costy

    Costy Guest

    I'm not preaching here. Sorry, if it gives this impression. You are right,
    JoeH, there're many ways to do the job. As far as it sounds good at
    the end, works for me.
    For example, for simple gigs I use Yamaha MD8, 8-tracker (analog
    mixer + digital recording). Old and cheap work-horse. Then, I toss
    everything in ProTools. Why I have chosen the ProTools is another
    story for another forum, I guess.
    Have a fine weekend guys,

  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Did not mean to offend laptop fans-- only relating my thought process. I actually borrowed a laptop, got a Magma and the rest and tried it before ditching it all for the shuttle. It was the PMCIA connector more than anything that led me to the conclusion that the entire chain was less than robust.

    I am curious how you guys get 16 tracks of 24/96 into the laptop and what you run for backup.

    FWIW I never record anything without a UPS. Hearing those heads hit the platters is NOT a happy sound! Twice I have been VERY thankful I slogged that 40lb anchor along.

  15. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I never use to believe this was worth it as hard disks are stopped suddenly all the time when PC's go off in power failures ... BUT ... last week, we completely stuffed our Genex 18G SCSI drive when the power was accidentally turned off while it was in PLAY. It must be a PSU issue where a spike hit the HD electronics.

    Now I have the job of finding another older 18G SCSI Seagate 7200RPM drive on eBay that allows 2048byte sectors to be set. Only a few in myu testing actually permit this.

    A UPS would have prevented it.
  16. Costy

    Costy Guest

    16 mono tracks of 24/96 for about 60 min should make about
    15.5 GB (this I get from ProTools manual). Digidesign does NOT
    recomend (understandably) recording on system drive. So, one
    should size up the external HD accordingly to the needs. I have
    160 GB to be on a save side (LaCie made).

    Oh yeah, I got UPC screaming blue fire once too (when bouncing on
    disk a heavy session). After that I bought one as big as I could find
    (Belkin made).

  17. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    The question was not about storage-- it was about interface. How do you get your 16 channels of audio (or AES) into your laptop, and what do you use for a backup when you are recording?

  18. Costy

    Costy Guest

    I have Digidesign's DigRack interface, it's only 8 inputs. That's my
    limit for live recording.

    As backup I use DVD disks, 4.7 GB each.

  19. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    By backup I mean some means of capturing the data simultaneously with your primary rig. For live work it really isn't an option. Most of the guys on this list would agree that there are two groups of recordists:

    Those who wish they had run a backup and those who were glad they did. If you are not in either group be thankful, and realize you are running on borrowed time!

    If you search the forum you'll find alot of ideas and info for doing this.

  20. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Ok, thanks Rich. I'll check it out. I do not run any secondary rig.
    My primary one did not mis-fire yet, but I don't do that many gigs.


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