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laptop recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by matito, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. i have a pretty good laptop that my band wants to turn into a portable recording studio.

    i already have audio recording and editing software like cool edit pro and sound forge etc. i just need hardware

    now what hardware recommendations do you guys have to be able to plug in instruments like mic's and guitars' into to record onto my laptop?

  2. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    You have two audio editing programs, but no hardware?

    Well, there are a lot of options, but it would help to know how much of what you're planning to record. Recording 9 mics at one time puts you in a real predicament, but recording 3 acoustic guitars and 1 mic is pretty easy.

    That doesn't mean that your laptop will handle 4+ tracks at once, but we have no way of helping you figure that out because we don't know what "pretty good" means. Celeron? P4? G5?

    A few more details would make it easier for us to give good advice.
  3. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    No such thing as a G5 laptop, the powerbooks are G4s.

    System requirements for laptops are the smae as desktops, the main difference is interface. USB doesn't cut it for recording multiple tracks, and barely cuts it for doing 2. You will want Firewire and a Firewire interface. Beyond that you need the same stuff you need for any studio: a good mic, a decent preamp, probably a mixer, etc.

    Detailed specs on the laptop would be helpful, as well as exactly what you plan on trying to record.
  4. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    Requirements are the same, but the computers aren't always. Some of the laptops have slower hard drives and/or smaller caches. That will cause serious problems.

    I've heard some people say that they've had decent results with USB interfaces on Powerbooks... but Macs handles USB better than the PCs. If it's a PC, then I would agree; it has to be Firewire.

    Is there any reason why they don't have one out by now?
  5. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    G5s are too big and eat too much power. There will never be a G5 laptop, this is the #1 reason that Apple is switching to Intel designed chips. Intel's mobile technology is vastly superior to IBMs.

    That said the new 1.67ghz G4 laptop is nothing to sneeze at. It can be equipped with 2 gigs of RAM and a 7200RPM 100GB hard drive. That would have been a bleeding edge Pro Tools or Logic rig not too far back. Still nothing to sneer at now.
  6. ok well i don't know why i said pretty good laptop, coz its not pretty good considering whats out now but

    my laptop is a tohiba satelitte: centrino 1.5MHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 60gb HDD. and it has firewire.

    we'll be recording singing, guitar, bass, drums.

    not all at the same time.

    so the max amount of mics used at once will be 4 for the drums really.

  7. BulkHead


    Oct 14, 2005
    Manassas VA
    Look for MOTU products, and then look for a Presonus firepod, depending on your budget- these things are the hardware you need.
  8. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    From everything I've read, the "Centrino" it will outrun a Pentium that has the same gHz rating. 512 of RAM is usually good enough for running 4-8 tracks and some effects, so that shouldn't be a major concern... but a Gig of RAM would be great.

    The Toshiba "Satellite" models appear to come with 4200 rpm and 5400 rpm hard drives. The former is too slow for live audio, and the latter usually has trouble with more than 2 tracks. You should try what you have, but don't be surprised if you have drop-outs. If you have problems, look for a faster drive.

    MOTU products are usually expensive, but worth every penny. The 828mkII is a proven workhorse, but the Traveller might fit your needs better due to the number of inputs that have pre-amps.

    The Presonus Firepod is new, so they're still working out some software compatibility issues, but it's getting good reviews. The system requirements aren't bad, so it could work with your laptop. And it comes with Cubase LE, which is a better sequencer than the one in Cool Edit. (But you could still use Cool Edit for editing and processing WAV files.)
  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Because of my laptops slower hard drive I use an external 160GB driver at 7200rpm's. Having your audio files on an external drive is always a good idea.
    As for firewire interfaces I would recomend the Presonus Firepod. It is very clean and the drivers are very stable.
  10. Hi I am new to the recording thing, but I recently bought an edirol ua-101 audio interface and its been great. Still havent been able to use it to its full potential, but for what I have use it it has work perfectly. I know its a usb inteface and for most people that means it would suck, but that wasnt my case. I highly recomend it. I am using it with an inspiron 9300 laptop, the only issue I had at the beggining was some ground loop problems, but that was becouse of the laptop, and it was easily solve.
  11. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I have been there and done that (and answered this question on Talkbass more times than I care to count.. doesn't anyone use the search function anymore?)

    I use the MOTU 828 with a Powerbook G4 as well as a desktop PC. I like it, and recommend it. I've got a friend who uses a Firepod + PC laptop. He likes it, and recommends it. As far as firewire interfaces go, it comes down to this:
    - If you eventually might need to expand beyond 10 channels using existing gear or do an equal mix of digital and analog, get the MOTU 828. This is because the 828 has the capability of adding an extra 8 channels via ADAT. The Firepod will not do this.
    - If ten channels is enough, get the Firepod. Its Windows drivers are more solid than MOTU's "we wrote it for Mac and eventually got around to making it work with Windows" stuff and it's got somewhat better mic preamps than the MOTU gear does. It also has eight preamps built in vs the 828's two, which will save money in the long run.

    For me, the lack of expandability with the Firepod was a deal-breaker. I need to go beyond 10 if I'm doing a field multitrack recording of a band and the ability to hook two Firepods to a single machine was in beta the last time I checked. There are other ways around it, but because I bounce between OSes and hardware, firewire is really essential to me. An 828 and a Presonus Digimax is a rock solid 2U setup.

    For what it's worth, I really like Presonus as a company and I think that the Firepod is a better product. But both pieces are great.