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Which Computer?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Randy_Q, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    Well this is my first post so I will say hi to everyone out there!

    I have a Gateway P7811 FX laptop and it refuses to let me record in peace! It has all the specs I need but there is something conflicting with the whole ideal of recording. So I have made up my mind that it is time for a different computer so I would like some oppinions.

    I am use to Windows so I would like to stick with a PC but I will change to MAC if it is the best thing to go with. Also I would like for it to be mobile.

    What I am think of getting is one of these three. 15" MACBOOK PRO, 21.5" iMac or a Sony Vaio. So anyone used the Vaio for recording? Which Model should I go with? Any other laptops you would recommend?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome to RO.

    My personal opinion, biased as it may be, is to go with PCs. Those are cheaper, more powerful and ..well much more.. Sorry, mac users..:-(
    Any modern PC is capable of performing any kind of recording with the appropriate software and outboard.
    I have done whole films in surround, voice overs, o-tone, scoremusic and SFX on a 2,4 GHz single core...

    I am not that fond of using laptops, though. Too smaller screen and the need for lots of external gear and HDDs.

    If you can't record on your core duo it is most likely a driver or software compatibility problem, but for
    further help, please, state your complete gear you want to use.

  3. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    Ok here's a list of everything I'm using.

    Gateway P7811 FX Gaming laptop, 2.26 core duo processor, 4 gig RAM, internal 7200 rpm hard drive
    Cubase Le 4, someone had me to try presonus studio one but I prefer Cubase so I will probably get Cubase 5 soon.
    I have a USB 8 track Tascam Us-1641 audio interface and also a fire wire presonus firestudio project interface that I will later link another firestudio project to.
    The problem I am experiencing is that in the middle of my recording and playback the audio keeps dropping out. I have had this problem for 2 years I've talked to other music recorders, Tascam, Cubase and my computer repair specialist and have tried everything they suggested but nothing works so I'm ready to sell my laptop and get another one I just hope I can avoid problems like this on my next computer

    Another question someone told me that gaming laptops would be more out to conflict with recording software and interfaces does that seem right?
  4. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    I just talked to a Sony sales rep about their Vaio laptops and he suggested using their Vaio F gaming laptop, i7 quad core 1.86, 500 GB 7200 internal hard drive, 4 gig 1333 mhz RAM, 2.0 and 3.0 USB, eSATA and iLink 4 pin fire wire. Kinda seems like over kill though to me.
  5. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    First off, let me point out that you need at least TWO hard drives. THat's two physical drives, not just partitions. One drive for C: (system), and one for audio work. Your operating system will refer to the C: drive any times it wants, including in the middle of recording. That could be the problem right there on your one-hard drive system.

    Build your own! It's not that hard anymore. Let me suggest:
    The Ars System Guide: September 2010 Edition

    My DAW is a punched-up version of the "Budget Box", with more hard drive space and more RAM, and a quad-core.

    You can't compete on price with a Walmart computer, but building your own will give you a very high-quality professional DAW that has everything you want and nothing you don't.

    Keep in mind that your mouse/monitor/keyboard/CD-DVD drives that you already have may be re-purposed into your new system, thus saving you money.
  6. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    Yeah using a 2nd hard drive is something I'm fixing to try. I would however like to stick with a laptop (if possible) so as for an external hard drive I know it should be 7200 rpm but any suggestions on which one? And which port eSATA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or fire wire 4 or 800?
  7. epitexan

    epitexan Active Member

    I have the Hewlett Packard G71, Intel 6600 2.2 Core Duo, its only has the 5400 HD and i honestly can say, it does better than a Macbook Pro. Its 17" screen also. Its runs great. I will eventually start using a external drive but at the moment i need to invest in nice preamps.

    I would try to find you a nice Hewlett Packard G71 series or higher over any other laptop. They are beast and last forever. Mine has never given me problems. If you have the extra cash go with the Hewlett Packard Envy 17, its a beast of specs and runs circles around a Macbook, iMAC and the Sony Vaio. Its comes with everything you would ever need for recording. Even the 7,500 HD. Macbooks are nice but not req. for recording if that what you are just buying it for. The HP ENVY is amazing. It looks like a beaf-ed up Macbook but better quality parts and higher specs.

    If you are a beginner, stick with what ever computer you have now and learn the basics before you invest in anything else. DownLoad Reaper (DAW) for free. Its the best DAW i have used thus far.
  8. epitexan

    epitexan Active Member

    I do not know the quality of the the Gateway P7811 but its seems you have more than enough already haha.
  9. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Your gear is fit to do any ol' recording and Cubase 5 is an excellent choice.
    A second HardDrive is necessary. E-SATA has had its problems for my machines, though. That depends on the MoBo, I guess. If you have ( I don't think your labtop has it, though ), use USB 3. That is fast enough for anything. As to HDD..any known manufactureres drive at 7200 rpm will do fine. Make it a big one..lol...
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I'm glad you like your machine. However, in my forum we don't participate in Mac v PC bashing or vice versa. And this statement is pretty much riding the knife's edge.

    Let's leave it at the fact that it is a matter of taste. Either a PC or a Mac will do the job. Largely it is a matter of taste and sometimes finances.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member


    As with Big K and epitexan, I also utilize a pc. I use both laptops and a desktop. One must be quite a bit more selective with laptops (either pc or ma) than desktops because of how the motherboards are designed and routed. That combining of buses on a laptop mobo can cause quite a bit of headache and add to that when some manufacturers don't use quality parts like firewire or (e)sata chips. Gaming laptops are geared more for graphics rendering than audio work or even video editing so that is why they aren't a default as a best option though some work well enough.

    Both my laptops happen to be Core2Duo and I use Express Card firewire for my interface/external hard drive routing. Avoid if possible anything that says Ricoh for the firewire/usb/Express Card chip. You will definitely want an external hard drive and that could be either usb or firewire. I would keep it a 3.5" if possible as they are more stable.
  12. epitexan

    epitexan Active Member

    Sorry, i did not even know this was even close to riding the knifes edge. Simply just stated for the same price of a Macbook you can get a better PC Laptop for recording purposes. I will watch my wording next time ;) Stating something is better for a single purpose, i was always taught, it was not bashing. I have both machines. They both do swell. In the Macbook, i think Logic is your best bet. If i had the kinda money you are talking about spending..i would go the iMac. ;) Like Jake said, its just taste.
  13. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    @ thejackattack

    What you said helped me a lot. I will be buying a new computer because I ran my recording setup on my sisters computer and everything worked great and her computer is slower than what you would think it should be with recording. So here's the next step I'm looking at getting a Sony Vaio with i5, 4-6 gigs of 1066 mhz RAM, 500 GB 7200 rpm HD and an external, ATI redion mobility video card with 512 dedicated RAM, it will have a 4 pin iLink firewire port but I have a 6 pin firewire express card, it will have HDMI and VGA out puts for dual monitors, and a few USB ports. The only thing I think I need help with is knowing the motherboard in it. I can't find that on sonys site and when I called they couldn't help me. So any ideas there?
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You don't get to choose the mobo in most laptops. However, if you can get even a 1 gig video chip that would be better yet. The i5 looks fine as well as the HDD. The onboard 4 pin firewire is useless for audio most likely so you'll be wanting an Express Card firewire card (which you already have). If the Vaio has an eSATA port (sometimes combined with a USB port) you can opt for an external eSATA hard drive. I recommend Glyph. Not all externals are created equal either.

    As far as DAW program, if the OS is 64 bit and you install a 64 bit DAW which is fine, make sure your plugins are all 64 bit as well. You can get by with some 32 bit plugs depending on who wrote the code but it would be best to stick with the 64bit all the way.

    If you have a big monitor already or a HD TV then purchase an HDMI cable for working at home. A big screen saves the headaches when editing tiny details. If not, don't sweat it.

    Depending on your budget, all the big audio computer manufacturers have laptop versions as well. You might check them out. PC Audiolabs, Rain Recording, etc.
  15. Randy_Q

    Randy_Q Active Member

    Ok guys I appreciate all your help! I think I know what I'm gonna buy. I'll be back on here in a week or two to let you know what I got and how it works!
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Spot on John.

    I have a PCAudioLabs Rok box i5 laptop coming in a few days for this next mobile gig.
    Its got all I need except for the external HD. They are top on my list. Tried and tested against the rest.
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    There should be nothing wrong with your Gateway. The section sounds like another case of operator error or improper computer settings. When you set up computer for audio purposes, there were certain other optimized settings & precautions one must observe. There are numerous " stickies" here on Recording.org that can help better explain how to properly set up your machine for audio recording purposes. Suffice it to say, it's not the same as what most computer optimization software programs reconfigure your machine for. So some of those helpful pieces of software that keep your machine running well conflict with how the machine needs to be set up for audio. Most of your computer stores, repair centers, specialists have no real clue on how to setup a machine specifically for audio production. There are many programs that typically are running in the background. Many of these programs need to be disabled or prevented from starting when the computer starts up. Page file settings & memory allocations also must be changed from dynamic to static. Your games may not run as fast but then, you want to use your computer for audio. If you like playing games, get a gaming machine.

    Purchasing another computer will not necessarily solve your problems. If your machine works fine for everything else, there is nothing wrong with the machine. It's operator error. Better you should spend your money on some more audio equipment.

    My 75 MHz Pentium in 1996 was perfectly adequate for making 2 track recordings but not much more. My 700 MHz Pentium III, had no problem recording 24 simultaneous tracks to an external 7200 RPM USB 2.0 hard drive. My five-year-old Hewlett-Packard laptop DV 8339 US, a 1.7 Core Duo, can handle 8 simultaneous tracks of audio & 2 simultaneous DV FireWire camera feeds all simultaneously. So your computer is more than powerful enough and it's most likely just a settings error.

    Look for sticky stuff here @ Recording.org
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  18. remixx

    remixx Active Member

    Hi guys, I'm new here, first post so first of all a big hello to everyone.

    Randy, I have this very same laptop and my advice would first be stop!! Dont run off for a new one yet. It's rare that I've bought a product that far exceeds my expectations but the FX laptop has blown me away. I use it every Sunday in church running Ableton Live for loops. Like so many others I also play in a band and we recorded our Cd's and take it on the road and record our live shows with it. 16 channels at once and no problems. Last cd I did had average of 40 tracks and 40 to 50 seperate instances of plugins/ vi's and resource meter hovers at 35%....not bad! They are discontinued now but my guitar player grabbed a used one he was so impressed.

    I would first agree with remyRAD. Have you optimized your system? I would download DPC Latency checker and see what it says. I don't know what operating system you have but I have vista so i would assume you have that at least or windows 7. Turn off all the areo stuff, disable cd drives, networking, internal sound card, web cam, all that stuff. Once you get it set up I promise you, it will fly. When it's optimized head over to OWC and grab an external hard drive (is it ok to name names?) They have very reliable drives for not much money that have usb and esata. Use the esata port and run all you data from the external. They actually are Mac drives but you reformat them. The internal firewire port it useless...disable it, it's Ricoh. Grap a siig or any other texas Instrument chipset firewire express card.

    I know I'm a bit late to this thread but if you haven't bought a new one yet, I'd be glad to help you get it working good. It's worth a try at least, then you can spend your money on other cool toys.
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Welcome remixx!

    Good thread. I just received my PCAudioLabs laptop, ya! I'm excited to hear as much as I can about mobile recording gear as possible now!

    What HD are your using or do you recommend?
    I'm using the eSata and tried a WD HD last night. 5 tracks @ 88.2 and ran great with Sequoia 11.

    16 tracks is impressive. What converter are you using? What is your buffer setting at with 16 tracks running? I kept mine at 512.

  20. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    audiokid, your computer ought to be able to handle 16 @88.2k. I would think you could get all of the FF800 simultaneously at 88.2k. An old Gateway laptop depending should be able to do 16@44.1k provided the tweaking is done. It's the tweaking most folks refuse to do that is key.

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