Which make of laptop for live audio recording

Discussion in 'Computing' started by jonny9720, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. jonny9720

    jonny9720 Guest

    Ok so I’ve kind of had the Mac or Pc question answered and decided to go for windows because it has loads of software that is compatible.

    But what make of computer do we go for? Dell, hp, alien wear or any others you can think of.....

    Would be great if you could tell us what you use..I haven’t a clue where to start to get the best price and the most reliability.....

    Our budget is around £1000 maybe a little over depending on what we get.....

  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I have been very happy with our Sony VAIO laptop for doing live recordings and we have never had a problem with it.
  3. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    There are opinions all across the board on makes and models.

    (Alien? Meh. I would get an M-Tech instead, if you are going along those lines. Check them out.)

    But whatever you get, you want it to be configured optimally. There have been several threads here, and there is info online elsewhere about configuring your operating system, etc.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
  5. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    I got myself a Lenovo Laptop. It is in my sig if you want the specs. It has worked flawessly for me.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Hi Jonny; Happy to tell you, you're in a buyer's market now. Laptops have never been cheaper, nor had more features for the price.

    It's Sony Vaio all the way here; I've used them for years and years, and aside from some screen issues early on (back in the 90's), they're great. (Screen issues seem to be long gone now, haven't had any troubles with them in many many years.)

    The biggest thing I like about them is plenty of USB connectivity (for Hard drives, dongles, mice, etc.) and firewire ports. (They often come with the 4-pin i-link, which is the firewire 400 spec, but without power on the 6 pin. (Fine w/me anyway.)

    Like anything else, you have to set them up properly, and treat them right, same as you would a mic or valuable instrument. (Never move them while they're ON, for example. ;-) ).

    Regardles of what you buy: As soon as you fire up a new one, strip out all the bloatware and tweak windows for maximum performance. Use Windows control panel to remove and delete any programs you know you'll never need. Ditto for "Trial versions" and LE versions of crapola software that's not critical to what you want to do. Turn off all the bells and whistles you won't need either, like power savers and time-outs for inactivity. (You don't want your sytem shutting down to save power in the middle of a session or mic change!)

    Get rid of all the spyware and virus protection (except for windows defender) and basicaly stay off the web with it, for anything but the most basic of email. My own personal favorite to get rid of is all Norton AV products. If you ever DO need their stuff; fine, but hopefully you wont need it, and if you do, you'll cross that bridge when you're forced to.

    Once you've got a clean system with all your drivers and software loaded, you'll be thrilled with it, regardless of the manufacturer. These days, dual Centrino and Pentiums are dirt cheap; it's a buyer's market.

    Don't pay for features you don't need or won't use, like All-in-one-AV systems, web-cams, DVD and surround players, and most importantly huge internal hard drives - you'll want to record to an external HD anyway; they're faster at 7200 rpm, (That's what those USB ports are handy for!) 120-200 gig internal HDs will do ya just fine these days.

    Tiger Direct (and many others) have great deals on laptops; I recently added a second live recording rig with another Vaio; this time I got the VGN-NR240E/S for $599 from them. (most places are selling these for $699). With a Dual-Core Pentium T230 runnig at 1.6ghz, 1 gig of ram standard and a 200 gig internal HD, it's more than comparable to my "old" vaio that I bought last year for $1200.

    Look at it this way: You're really just looking for a reliable, well-behaved procesor that will let you do live tracks without any fuss. The mics, pre's, files storage and monitoring is being done outside the box anyway. Prices are finally dropping low enough to make this a simple, painless process, if you buy smart and get the brand - and features - you really need, not some "all in one" consumer-based toy.

    And they're finally cheap enough that if something DOES happen to them, your files are safe elsewhere, and your biggest worry will be to fix it, or simply replace it.
  7. JackHenry

    JackHenry Active Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    South Australia

    Panasonic 'Tough Book'

    Although I don't have one of these, I have had a good play with one.


    They are designed to be tough and abuse proof when used in the field. They have the handle etc built into the case so that it is an all in one unit.

    Not sure on the pricing though.

  8. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I recently picked up an ACER 5920 at Office Max - $650 for a Core 2 Duo 1.83G with 3GB RAM and a 250G disk - plus firewire, card reader, super ultra everything DVD writer, WXGA 15" display - Vista Home Premium.

    I recorded a 6 track choral concert to the system disk using the onboard firewire and an Echo Audiofire12 - 88KHz 24 bit. The only record errors I had were from when the screen blanked. Once I changed the power settings to NOT blank the screen the recordings were clean.

    The one thing I've noticed with this is that it interferes with my headphone amp when close, and I picked up some noise in the wireless mics - the receivers were VERY close to the laptop for the shows. Never used other laptops for recording, so can't say if this is typical or not.

    For the price, the horsepower of this machine is great. Once I get XP on it, things will be even better I'm sure.

  9. kjfarley

    kjfarley Guest

    I do IT for a living, supporting 60 or so laptops for usability consultants in the field. We standardized on Lenovo T series (now at T61).

    Lenovo T61s are Very well built, also Sony Vaios (very reliable)

    For Recording, I got a MacBook Pro/Logic (what software is not compatible? You can run Audition under wine, and that's the only recording sw not directly available for Mac that I know of...

    Dell's cheapened out in build quality... Lenovos are much better, but they install a lot of IBM "helper" apps that slow the machines down greatly; I can help you remove them...

    Gateway has terrible support in my experience.

    Do Not Get Vista! XP is Much faster. You can order Laptops with XP at CDW.com. Max out ram, and don't use recording laptop for internet if at all possible (spyware, virii)

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