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Thread: Best Laptops for a Studio?

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    ProdaGee is offline Newbie
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    Lightbulb Best Laptops for a Studio?

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    Hi Everyone, I need Newer, better, fast Laptop, I Currently have a desktop computer but its old and slow. so im saving already for a good Laptop. Im used to Microsoft computers but I know Mac's are good for music programs but the Cheapest is at LEAST $600..

    What would be the cheapest, good performance laptop for Beat Making ?

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    No one can really answer that without more information.
    Newer, better and faster than what?

    What software do you intend to use?
    Intensive packages like guitar rig, addictive drums etc?
    On average, what kind of track count would you be dealing with, and how is that broken up? (vst vs audio)
    Are you heavy on the effects?

    What IO do you require? USB only? Firewire?

    I'm afraid I wont have an answer for you cos I'm not really up on current laptops, but anyone answering will need this info.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?

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    MrWrenchey's Avatar
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    Allow me to do a blanket answer, due to (as Steenamaroo said) a vague question...
    According to you, $600 is expensive. The CHEAPEST Macbook is $999 (Macbook Air) without any discounts from being a student or any other garbage like that, so those are apparently out of the question. Macs aren't actually any better for audio than PCs, as they both use the exact same hardware, and they both use the same software (unless you're using Logic, Garageband, or Sonar... But we'll assume based on your budget, you're using Reaper or Cubase or some other multi-platform DAW).
    Moving on...
    I guess I stand corrected. Macs TECHNICALLY are better for audio, assuming the PC you use has an AMD processor. AMD is designed for working with numbers in different ways than Intel is, and Intel is the preferred brand for working with audio. So if you buy a PC, stick with Intel, despite AMD being cheaper.
    I'd suggest at least an 8GB RAM laptop, if you're doing this semi-professionally. 4 GB will do in a pinch, but 8GB isn't much more expensive, and it'll give you a lot more to work with.
    As Steenamaroo said, you need to know if you're doing USB or Firewire.
    If you want better equipment, Firewire interfaces are the higher end ones (unless someone jumps on a USB 3.0 interface anytime soon), so I'd make sure you had at least one IEEE 1394a port on there (also called Firewire 400).
    Obviously, higher track counts means you need more RAM and more plug-ins means a faster CPU, etc. etc. If you're going PC, I suggest HP as the brand, as they're well known and their tech support hasn't sucked for anything I've needed so far.
    Anyhoo, if you want a shorter answer, be a wee bit more precise, and I'd be willing to help out. =]

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    I've had the HP DV6 for 3 years now and it hasn't failed me yet. PC World magazine STILL ranks it as #3 in the "Best Laptops for the Price" list It's like $800.
    Cubase 6.5, mehh laptop, tascam 1641, ga pre-73, sputnik/mk4/re320, KRK rp6g2

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    You can always look into the mac minis. Love those things!

    I realize it's not a laptop, but it's better than most base level macbooks, has multiple USB ports, Firewire, and Thunderbolt, and is more than capable of handling audio processing.
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    i5 / 6GB RAM / 1TB hardrive / pink

    That will do pretty much anything you want. Make sure you get a pink one... they go faster.
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    The trouble is going to be that laptop specs (particularly Windows based ones) change so quickly that the advice today isn't necessarily valid tomorrow. A minor change (say a different video card with different drivers) can have a knock on effect that causes dropouts in your DAW.

    However, some general advice:

    First, you don't need a Mac. Fans say Macs are more stable but, if that's true, it's only because Apple control the hardware and software being used. You can make your Windows machine just as stable by not loading it up with every bit of free junkware out there. You'll certainly get more bang for your buck with Windows.

    Second, get the fastest/best processor you can afford. Frankly, the hardware has now caught up with DAW software and even my 4 year old laptop can do fine mixing up to 30+ tracks with effects--but it's still worth getting the best you can afford if only for future proofing.

    Third, get as much RAM as you can afford. RAM makes a big difference to how much you can process at once. 2 gig is a bare minimum; 4+ gig is better; 8+ better still.

    Fourth, ask about the disk speed. A lot of laptop disks spin at 4800rpm. This limits throughput with things like audio tracks. 5400 should be your minimum, 7200rpm is better. Faster again is even better but very unlikly you'll find it as standard. However, you may find that you can circumvent all this by using an external hard drive.

    Fifth--and very important--check the laptop has the right connections for your planned interface. Pretty well all have USB these days. Make sure it's USB2. Maybe you can get USB3 but not likely for your budget. If you have any idea of using a Firewire interface or external drive, you're going to have a very limited choice of laptops.

    Sixth, and a favourite of mine, look for a laptop that supports a second monitor display. DAWs like screen space and as soon as you get into serious mixing, you'll want to add an extra big screen monitor.
    The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The optimist sees it as half full. The realist just drains the darn thing and gets a refill!

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    the best is home built. Easy and you will be satisfied with results.
    Have no fear, it takes 1-2 hours to assemble and 2 hours to install OS..

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    Quote Originally Posted by amelie12 View Post
    the best is home built. Easy and you will be satisfied with results.
    Have no fear, it takes 1-2 hours to assemble and 2 hours to install OS..

    Er, you did notice that the OP wants a laptop didn't you? I don't recommend working on something that fiddly unless the person has a fair bit of experience. I've been working on electronics for more than 40 years now--and still sweated a bit when I dis-assembled my laptop to clean the heat sink a couple of weeks back.
    The pessimist sees the glass as half empty. The optimist sees it as half full. The realist just drains the darn thing and gets a refill!

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