Laptops for recording/mixing/etc

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Anquished, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Anquished

    Anquished hhnice!

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    Hey guys/girls,

    So I'm moving places soon and looking at getting a Laptop for university work anyway, but I've been thinking about ditching my desktop setup and just using a Laptop for everything. I know it's not really optimal but the main reason is I probably won't have a lot of space for a full blown desktop set-up anymore.

    Does anyone here use their Laptops for everything? What Laptops do you use? Any recommendations?

    I highly doubt it'll be used for anything potentially more intensive (not really a gamer anymore) and my budget can stretch fairly high. I have no idea how much power I'll really need but I've already been looking at a few such as the Razer Blade Stealth, Dell XPS 15, etc.

    I apologise in advance if this is a really dumb question, I'll take a roasting if it is. :lol:
     
  2. Politics of Ecstasy

    Politics of Ecstasy OG Shredder

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    If you are ok with windows, as long as you have these three key factors, you can get an amazing machine for under $1000

    Only by HP, ASUS or Lenovo - avoid Dell at all costs

    I7, quad core - 7th gen or higher, 8th gen or 9th even better
    8-16gb DDR3
    256gb SSD

    You can use it for nearly everything except maybe high end 3D rendering gaming

    If you got an i7-quad 9th gen, 16gb RAM, 512SSD, you can pretty much do anything you want, but that’ll run you probably $1500 min

    Forget Mac, that’ll run you over $2500 for those specs, unless you get a used MacBook Pro, which is another desktop replacement, but go for HP, they are great quality and have a lot of sales

    I use my laptop for everything, which is basically ONLY music (meaning it is a machine i only use for my music. Its not super powerful but enough, its an i7 with 16gb ram, and i also put in 2 SSD, one samsung evo, and it runs my DAW without ever any issues or crashes......only issue i ever had was overheating from the summer and running too long but my laptop is the DESKTOP for me)

    I use my iPad Pro for EVERYTHING else in life, like internet and bullshit
     
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  3. Anquished

    Anquished hhnice!

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    Awesome, cheers man.

    I'm pretty happy with Windows and haven't had much experience with Macs so I was leaning more towards a Windows machine anyway.
     
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  4. Crescendo

    Crescendo Surgical

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    Also avoid Acer laptops. Confirmed, ASUS is great.
     
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  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    General advice - If you're going to be using amp sims, go for a CPU with as many cores as you can
     
  6. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Number of physical cores and clockspeed is more important than the name like i7 or whatever. I would not recommend HP i have 3 elitebooks from work and they get batteri issues and other things. They do a great helicopter sound effect though.
     
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  7. Politics of Ecstasy

    Politics of Ecstasy OG Shredder

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    Thats right, avoid Acer too

    And as i said, a quad core i7....if possible....if not, an i7 with 2 cores and 8 threads is fine too, if hes trying to lower cost. *7th gen or up...*( you have to get a GOOD HP, notthe cheap ones.HP is excellent, they use ASUS parts, the better ones anyway)

    If you gimme your budget i can find you something to look at for references
     
  8. Anquished

    Anquished hhnice!

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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    For reference I'm currently using Cubase 6 but probably going to move onto Cubase 10 at some point, I don't have a clue how intensive that can get.
     
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  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Realistically, I don't think the brand matters all that much at this point. They all have their good and bad models. I've got a Dell laptop right now and it works perfectly fine. The worst laptops I've had were HP and Acer, but I've also had good HP laptops. Look for a good combination of the specs you want/need, the quality of the build, and a keyboard that doesn't make you hate using it.
     
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  10. coffeeflush

    coffeeflush SS.org Regular

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    Not to derail thread
    But is a Surface pro 6 i5 (passively cooled version) ok for recording ?
    I find that laptops with coil sounds tend to bleed into vocal recordings, so a passively cooled laptop is dream.

    OP, look into used Thinkpad Carbon X1's or a new one.
    Replacable battery and parts mean that it will last you longer.
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I think in terms of noise from the machine itself, being a laptop shouldn't be much a difference - use your mic placement and arrangement in the room to deal with noise things.

    I'd be worried that the more you move into weird compact form-factors, the more compromises might have been made to get them into that shape - and you can be sure that they weren't keeping low-latency audio in mind while making said compromises. Driver issues and strange behaviour strike me as more likely to happen the farther you stray from a traditional desktop computer. My laptop, for example, while it works great 99.9% of the time, there are quirks that I can't rule out as being something to do with being a laptop. For example, I get a significant amount of extra latency (that doesn't seem to be reported to any software I'm using) if I power on the interface before the laptop, but if the interface is powered off and back on again while the laptop is running, I go back to the standard behaviour I expect from it. I have no idea why this happens, and it's minor, but things like that can trip you up.
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Can't speak much for the state of laptop technology today, I've been using desktops exclusively to record for the last 15 years and I haven't bought a laptop for longer than that. The only thing I'd add is that I'd assume solid state hard drives are ubiquitous for laptops these days, but if not, that'd be the other thing I'd want to prioritize.

    The two things I can chime in on, however:

    * If you actually plan on using this as a mobile solution, then you're also going to want to prioritize an interface that is designed to be portable and moved quickly and easily. I have NO idea what the options are like that these days, I've got everything rackmounted in my studio, but make planning for an interface you can move around with easily as well a big part of this process.

    * Similarly, monitoring will be a challenge. Your best bet might be some sort of hybrid setup where you have monitors on a desk you can hook your laptop up to while it's there, but also a pair of good headphones you can toss in your laptop bag along with the interface while you're on the go. This is definitely a compromise, though.

    Beyond that... I have an iMac (and, if you're more comfortable with Windows, don't switch, but seriously, mine's now 7-8 years old and still handles everything I can throw at it without skipping a beat, so they come at a premium price but they hold up VERY well over time, so if you're open to a OS switch don't let the price scare you off) with a 28" monitor, and as far as taking up space, it's basically just a thicker monitor, with a keyboard and mouse. I honestly don't know if PCs have adopted a similar form factor, but I don't really feel like I'm giving up space having it, especially if you were thinking of getting a monitor to run with it in your dorm anyway (and the bigger screen is definitely a help in a busy mix). If you're not planning on having it reside in primarily one spot, though, then yeah, laptop, but also make sure you have mobile monitoring and interface options, too. You don't want to have to tell your laptop to use a different device every time you unhook it from your interface, go down to the library with a set of headphones, and work on a mix.
     
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  13. MSS

    MSS SS.org Regular

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    +1 on the mac but you should use whatever you are comfortable with. Macs get skewered on price. People forget that the hardware is expensive but the software is cheap. Generally, the reverse is true for PC. I bought Logic and Final Cut years ago and have gotten many great and useful free upgrades. I currently run a new, DAW dedicated, Mac mini but prior to that I ran a Hackintosh, then a Macbook Air. The Air surprised me since it was only going to be temporary but...it just worked.
     
  14. coffeeflush

    coffeeflush SS.org Regular

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    Few things
    1: Using a cheap Behringer UMC22 interface , got it for 40 Euros. Sounds and works better than most 100$ interfaces on USB power.

    2: The newer macs (ones released after 2013) have serious reliability issues

    3:
    This is an issue , for me its mostly handled by disabling my network driver while using my daw. The other part of this issue is difference between cache of laptop and desktop chips. Clock speed of the processor itself has rarely been issue. With SSD's commonplace now, reliability is not a problem anymore.
     

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