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recording from a laptop....?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Orco87, May 18, 2003.


  1. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    I have basically one more big purchase that I would like to make before I have to save up for college books for this summer.

    So, I would like to find some means to record the band, and at first I was thinking of getting a boss 8 track. It basically suited my needs, but then I realized that the files would have to go to computer anyway. So I was thinking of just getting a computer. I still might, it depends, but then that would be entirely too expensive. So I'm thinking again of trying to find someway to use my laptop. When I tried to use a small recording program on it, it said that my soundcard doesn't have the ability to play and simultaneously record. I've done some "half-behind" searching for soundcards, but I get frustrated after 20 minutes of not finding the information I would like.

    So my questions are, can one use a laptop for actual recording and musical editing purposes? And, what kind of soundcard would I need if I can record to my laptop? Can I pick up external hard-drives and things like that?

    If any of you highly intelligent fellow bassists can help out, then I'd be much obliged! (that was a lot of sucking up!:D)

    thanks :bassist:
     
  2. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    You can use a laptop, yes. However - what is the spec of your laptop? Presumably it's PC rather than Mac? How fast is the processory? Much memory do you have? How big is the disk?
     
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    www.m-audio.com

    they have loads of great external sound capture/processing devices ideal for laptop recording.

    also

    www.motu.com

    makers of the [expensive] but powerful motu 828 firewire I/O box

    of course, any laptop with an audio line in, will do just fine, if you have a mixer and an audio recording program.

    processor speed shouldn't matter much, you'll want a lot of memory(RAM) and hard drive space.

    if you are serious about laptop recording, then getting a nice I/O box is a must, that will provide you with clean sound and all the inputs you could ever need.

    Sounds like you have an old laptop, but that shouldn't be much of an issue. Just so long as you can upgrade the ram, and maybe get an external hard drive.

    I know www.soundblaster.com makes an external sound card called the extigy, that is a consumer product geared for people with laptops that wish to have the capabilities of their flagship audigy card.
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Actually, I wouldn't say so. Mine has real crappy quality. If you're doing any kind of serious recording, I think you're gonna want a better sound card, something with reasonable A->D converters.
     
  6. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    I think I have bare minimum-to-non-passing requirements for these type of things.
    My little laptop has:

    Intel Pentium II processor
    300 MHz
    64 MB of RAM
    My main hard-drive is 6.03 GB
    I have another drive of 8 GB I believe

    My dad said he had some extra memory chips and he was gonna put them in the laptop. After looking in he noticed that the memory was already maxed out. So, I know for a fact that if I was to record, I would have to either find a real big harddrive to slap in, or an external drive. That's if I had even bare minimums. The 16-bit soundblaster extigy was looking good, but I don't have the minimum requirements to even run that. I need a cd/dvd-rom player, plus 50 more MHZ. :crying:

    I do thank all for the sites shown to me. It helped out a whole bunch and I finally made sense of it all. :D

    Would there be any alternatives I could take that don't cost the same amount of building my own PC, or should I just try to go for the boss digital 8-track deal I saw on ebay? :smug:
     
  7. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I severely doubt that's gonna be enough. I've not really had any first hand experience at recording on a computer, really - but that spec is *well* below what I would expect to be the minimum.

    I think you're looking at around 800MHz, at least, if you wanna do this - and a lot more RAM. You won't fit too much audio on a 6gig drive - assuming that you've gotta fit Windows, all your applications, and all your own files on it - but with that extra 8gig disk, you'll have more space. I guess it depends what you plan on recording.

    If you're looking to make some decent recordings, I think maybe the Boss recorder is gonna be a better option.
     
  8. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    Hmm.....well, I did try to use the items I already have at home. :smug:

    I had a feeling this lil' square laptop wouldn't work, but it was worth a shot anyway.

    Well, I think I can spend a rough 450 on the 8-track I've been wanting for a good 2 years now.

    If anyone is selling a multi-track recorder, please pm me or let me know or somethin! I'd greatly appreciate it. :D

    thanks to all for the helpful info! :bassist:
     
  9. Mandobass

    Mandobass

    Nov 12, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    to be honest you'd be better spending 450 on an up to date desktop, which can be had at that price. computers are dirt cheap, and well worth the expense.

    then all you'd need is a kazza and a little intuition and you could have your multitrack studio going.
     
  10. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    What country are you in?
     
  11. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    Texas, United States

    I guess I should change that lil' part for location.

    Anypoop, I'm willing to go maximum 500. I'm ballin' on a budget! :cool: But if you have something or know of something please give a holla! :hyper:
     
  12. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    Actually, I've just come across refurbished Dell's and they're right in my price range which is very nice. Anyone have any troubles with dell's? I'm very happy. I'm probably gonna pick one up. Wow, this is such a marvelous discovery. I'm fairly happy about this.
     
  13. If you're getting a new / refurbished PC then remember to leave some money over to get a decent soundcard and maybe upgrade the RAM or the hard-disk. RAM and HDD are not expensive so if the standard spec isn't up to much then it's a cheap upgrade. I've been using a 600MHz machine with 128Mb RAM for a while and I've been able to do most things. The faster the machine (and more RAM) the more effects / audio tracks you can use at any one time, and the faster the machine the quicker you can apply changes to 5 minutes of CD quality audio! By the way make sure that your machine has a CDR-W. These are pretty much essential.

    Most soundcards only have one/two inputs to record from at any one time. If you want to record to more tracks simultaneously you'll need to spring for a pretty serious soundcard. Probably the same kind of cost as the 8 track machine. However if this isn't an issue then you could do pretty much everything you want on your PC.

    Check out www.computermusic.co.uk and www.sospubs.co.uk for Computer Music magazine and Sound on Sound magazine for advice on recording and setting up PC's for audio. Computer Music have their own FREE audio and MIDI sequencer complete with VST instruments. Neat!

    Best of luck!
     
  14. Mandobass

    Mandobass

    Nov 12, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    you can't go wrong with a dell. solid computers with a good bios and great technical support.


    i suggest for recording that you stay above 800 Mhz if possible and have anywhere from 256mb->1 gig of memory(it's really cheap now, no reason not to).

    and a good soundcard is a must. you may be able to get by for a lil while with a soundblaster, but if your are at all an audiophile, you need a true 24 bit quality soundcard.
     
  15. Orco87

    Orco87

    Mar 26, 2000
    Texas
    Sorry, haven't been back in a while.

    I will most likely purchase this bad boy after my grad party so hopefully I'll get enough money to have some left over to max out memory and ram and I think that'll be cool.

    In the meantime, thanks to everyone for all the cool info I've recieved. I'll let you guys know how the turn out is! :D
     
  16. japhy4529

    japhy4529 this is only a test... Supporting Member

    Dell PC's are nice. Good decision there. As other's have already mentioned, make sure you max out the RAM.

    I would also recommend picking up a 2nd hard drive (as large as you can afford and 7200RPM). Use this 2nd drive to store all of your audio files. Use the Hard drive that came with the Dell for your Windows OS and all of your apps. If you can't do this immediately, that's okay. Just think about it in the future. Your system will run a lot smoother.

    Also, keep in mind that you will definitely want to purchase a nice soundcard. If you buy a nice PC and end up using a Soundblaster, it will defeat the whole purpose!

    good luck!

    - Tom