Laptop multitrack recording

Discussion in 'Computing' started by aphid, Apr 23, 2006.

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  1. aphid

    aphid Guest

    I wish to build my next DAW using a laptop in conjunction with a firewire multitrack recorder. Has anybody gone down this route, and could you tell me what I should be on the lookout for?

    I need to be able to record 8 tracks simultaneously as well as use this for midi production with soft synths.

    What type of processor, hard drive speed, display, ram, etc, should I be on the lookout for? Are any laptops more rugged than others? Are there any particular models or brands anybody prefers for laptops?

    Any tips, tricks or stories from the road appreciated as well.

  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Aphid, this is a great topic/question but it's been covered many times already. Not to be a smartass, I could easily answer your questions here by spending another big chunk of time re-stating what I (and many others) have said on the subject already, here and elsewhere.

    You can find a lot of info on this very topic by going to the "Search" funcion and typing: "Laptop AND Recording AND Firewire" and read some of the topics you get.

    I would suggest after thorough reading all of that, I'd be very happy to follow up again. I've been using a Sony Vaio Laptop running Samplitude (and now Sequoia) , feeding an external HD over firewire, for many years now, and aside from a little pilot-error here and there, it's rock solid and flawless.

    Good luck, and stop back soon.
  3. Tallisman

    Tallisman Guest

    I built a mobile rig on a Toshiba Satellite p30 and an RME Fireface 800 and Cubase SX3.
    I boosted the Ram to one gig. And bought a Lacie external 250g trive that spins at 7200rpm.

    It has be rocck solid and I love it. I have also had great success with Protools LE 7 (mbox), and Ableton Live 5 runs smoothly.

    Most of my projects use cubase as the host and have Live and Reason 3 rewired in addition to several other softsynths (Stylus RMX, Halion 3 and Korg Legacy Collection).

    My biggest production was recording a Choir and Chamber quintet I ran 16 Mics for 2 hours straight and not a glitch.

    I would recomend it to anyone.
    hope this helps.
  4. ckswartwood

    ckswartwood Guest

    I have a HP Laptop with a AMD 3000+ and 1 Gig of ram. I use a Presonus Firepod with all eight imputs with 11ms latency with no problems. I use Sonar 5 as well. I enjoy having a mobile system. It makes doing remote gigs a little less nerve racking.--CK
  5. aphid

    aphid Guest

    thanks for the info tallisman. was your external HD a necessity or did you just need the extra storage space? i've seen some laptops that come with 7200 rpm hd drives but I didn't know if that was abnormal.

    Is 7200 good? would a 10,000 rpm drive be any better in terms of the amount you are able to record at one time or are there other bottle necks in the pipeline?

    I'd like to try and stick with an internal HD, just so its one less piece of kit I don't have to worry about. It seems with some people's rigs, they need so much external periphenially with their laptop that it would almost be better to stick with an atx desktop computer racked inside a case with the rest of your outboard gear. then you'd have to lug a keboard, mouse and lcd screen around with you :)

    thanks for the advice JoeH. i had tried using a similar search, but most of the threads I had found didn't site anything usefull in terms of specific hardware considerations like hard drive speed, ram type, cpu type (dual core/hyper threading, etc). Plus, alot of them seem to turn into a Mac vs Pc type of discussion. Just trying to get some exact data. If you have links to any threads in particular that I might have missed, I'd greatly appreciate it!
  6. aphid

    aphid Guest

    thanks ckswartwood! i've been looking at the HP's, they seem to have a good price point. haven't been able to find out much about their HD speed though.... what's yours?
  7. ckswartwood

    ckswartwood Guest

    mine is a 7200. I have had absolutley no issue with it (unless i am loading a game of Battlefield , then the kids with the raptor drives always beat me getting into the game :D ) My system is very stable, the problem is that it is only 60GB so i am alwys having to archive a project to save space. Hope this helps--CK

    SONICA-X Guest


    my advice would be;

    1. To buy a laptop with a Duo Core CPU specially if you use Nuendo, Cubase SX or SONAR 5 as they will use both processors.

    2. 1 to 2GB RAM DDR2-667 (laptop must support this bus speed).

    3. Firewire port with the Texas Instruments chipset.

    4. 7200 RPM drive.

    Almost any Firewire interface will do the job but if you like high sampling rates at 3-6 ms latency then check out the RME multiface II with PCMCIA card.


    Guy Cefalu
    Sonica Audio Labs
  9. 7200 internal is great - do not get a 4200 , that really blows. A 5400 can be usable but 7200 is better.

    I run a Dell P4 3.2 Ghz laptop w/ HT, 1 GB DDR Dual channel 400 Mhz, 800 Mhz bus, Echo Indigo PCMCIA card, 60 GB 7200 HDD, Ati Radeon 9700 graphics etc. It rules. The p4 desktop processor in there runs hot and sucks juice so not a great solution for battery work, but it kicks the pants of the core duo laptops that my friends run. Centrino based systems are not really optimized for pro audio or graphics intensive work, they are designed to run cool and long on a battery. Having said that the latest ones are a step forward.

    I use Cubase SX3 - it optimizes the Hyper Threading and with the echo indigo card can get sub 4 ms latencies at 128 samples, 6 ms at 256 samples and 10 ms at 512 samples. The echo indigo is a great card but you can only record 1 input at a time so it might not be the best solution for you.
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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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