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Chromebook recording apps and interfaces

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by sevenyearsdown, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    So I got a fancy new Chromebook for christmas. Actually there's nothing fancy about it which is what I love - goodbye Microsoft!

    I'm just curious if any of you guys/gals use a chromebook for home recording? What apps are good? What interfaces are good to get the music into the box? I have high quality mics and DI's, but nothing to convert them to a USB output.

    I'm not looking to make the next Dark Side of the Moon at home or anything. Probably just some demo ideas, practice recordings, and maybe some online collaborations.

    What say you talkbassers?
  2. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    I'm a Chromebook user for the last 3 years. There is good news and bad news.

    My wife and I use our two Chromebooks (a smaller Samsung and a larger Toshiba) for most web-surfing, shopping, forum participation, etc. They are GREAT for that purpose and I really enjoy the aspect of having something that requires no thought to use.

    I tried a few of the Chromebook "apps" for recording, and they were OK, but transferring everything you are doing to cloud storage seriously impacts its ability to be very useful. You can add a large flash drive to your Chromebook, but ALL applications require on-line streaming, since by nature there's nothing actually installable on your machine that would handle actual recording.

    I keep a PC set up for anything serious that I want to do, but use the Chromebook to upload work to the net. I keep a couple of flash drives handy for transferring from PC to Chromebook for uploading.

    If you want to avoid hassles normally associated with PC recording you might want to consider my setup.

    I do all my recording using either a Zoom or Tascam recorder; some stuff is done on a lowly Tascam DR-05 (an excellent little handheld) or my Zoom R24, which I've done complete live band CDs on. If you want to do smaller scale solo multi-tracking I'd highly recommend either the Zoom R8 or the Tascam equivalent if you only need two simultaneous tracks.

    Anything that is actually serious work gets transferred to the PC for editing in Reaper, including video stuff.

    I purchased one of the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of almost-new desktop PCs available from lots of on-line retailers for around $100 that are part of business replacement programs. I bought one with the specifications I wanted, and set it up to never be connected to the internet. It also is used for serious CAD work.

    Finished work from the PC goes on a flash drive and to the Chromebook for uploading (mp3 stuff) or to Youtube, in the case of video.

    To sum it up, the Chromebook is great for web surfing, leave it closed and record with almost anything else.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    sevenyearsdown likes this.
  3. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've been thinking about getting one of those tascam multi-trackers. I have one of the handhelds, and to honest - if you have good mics you can record really good sounding demos on them.
  4. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    Chromebooks have the ability to run linux side-by-side (not dual boot), I think(?). With a linux OS I think the biggest limitations the chromebook might have is power/speed, memory, and storage. Maybe that with a linux-friendly lightweight DAW it would be adequate. LMMS - LMMS • Home - comes to mind. I would like to know myself. I have a pretty high tolerance for Windows in general. But Windows 10 in particular is just gawdawful.
  5. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    Yes, you have the ability to boot with Linux or also to run in Chrome's "developer" mode, bypassing the safety that's built into the operating system. While it might be a work-around for a few users I think that recording should be as free as possible from having to put effort into hardware or software. I think it stifles creativity when you have to do work with the hardware or spend much time using software.

    A huge plus for a stand alone recorder like the Zoom R series or Tascam offerings is having a recorder set up with a mic and headphones and going from flipping a switch to multi-tracking in about 30 seconds.

    Another advantage of solid state recorders is that they are totally noiseless. Once you record in a noiseless environment you realize just how much noise a small cooling fan adds to a track. When I used to record directly to PC occasionally I added a poke-through to the wall behind the desk and placed the PC on the other side of the wall.

    I now only edit or mix with the PC so it doesn't matter that it's in the same room.
  6. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    That's kinda what I was thinking about trying to record with a chromebook. I'm familiar with linux, so it would be less of an issue from that standpoint. I'd be more concerned about power, speed, and storage.

    On the idea of a standalone recorder... I like how convenient and straight forward that makes for tracking. But it's one more device to purchase, use, and maintain. Laptops and tablets are not only good portable options, most people have them already. They are already quieter than a desktop, and with SSD becoming the norms, I suspect noise will just not be a significant issue from here on out. I prefer to use a desktop for editing, but it's not really necessary for most projects. Anyways, with dropbox I can share project files and tracks to multiple PCs and laptops in the house.

    That being said, if chromebooks are either not powerful enough or require too much configuring to use a DAW, I agree that a standalone recorder is a good option.

    I use my desktop currently because it's there. At this point I'm not sure I'm going to replace it when it's dead or becomes otherwise unusable. Laptops and tablets are increasingly the norm.
  7. Mcgiver69


    Sep 28, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    Ulf_Hansson and sevenyearsdown like this.
  8. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    That is what I have been thinking about as well - not replacing my PC with Tracktion, but having a really simple and lightweight Chromebook with Android apps for using on the road. I'll look for potential solutions when in LA next week.

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