Buying a laptop

Duracell

Senior Member
My old desktop rig is about to kick the bucket. Coupled with the fact that I've got some extra cash to spare I was wondering which laptop would be good for:

- recording drums
- running metronome software
- playing music for me to drum along to

Note that right now I'd mainly use it for practice not for recording gigs, though having the option to run fancy software later on would be great. Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Good idea, though it would be a bit of a budget stretch.
Are there any cheaper alternatives?
I wouldn't buy anything computer used. If you're interested in status and can/are willing to pay for it at the home practice recording level, then go Apple. Although I wouldn't.

If you want something that just works well for home recording, I'd look for any HP or Sony laptop on sale. Even an off brand like Acer or Averatec would work well enough. I am using an HP Pavilion laptop for some recording and basic editing and it works well.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
THIS one is a beast at that price. Can probably even run the latest games quite smoothly, and the quad-core processor will greatly help with multi-track recording through an interface.


Fox.
 

uniin

Gold Member
look at the apple refurb store... if you can find a decent one grab it. if you don't know what decent means, you're best off buying a brand new pc.

if you're doing a lot of recording you'll want a lot of ram - at least 4gb, but if you run lots of inserts you may want 8gb. if you've used a windows in the past you could get any windows laptop, just make sure it has at least 4gb of ram, a 7200rpm hard drive (i've got a laptop that has a slower spinning hard drive, and sometimes when i run a lot of inserts it just stops the track, because the hard drive can't read as fast as the computer can run!), an i7 would be nice, but if you have to settle for an i5 that should be fine as well... obviously the higher that the cpu is clocked the faster the computer will run, and graphics card doesn't really matter.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
look at the apple refurb store...
Yeah, he should totally get a Mac because they are more expensive, and uh....

The computer I posted has a great processor, 4GB's of RAM, unbeatable price point. The GPU is just a bonus.


Fox.
 

uniin

Gold Member
he should get a mac because.. uh... they are the industry standard when it comes to anything music, video, and graphic? + the trackpad is unbeatable. i know you can just hackintosh any old laptop with an intel cpu but then you have to feel dirty by puting mac on a windows, when there's no shame putting windows on a mac....
 

Duracell

Senior Member
Nice replies so far guys. Thanks so much!

I'm still a bit confused about one thing though. Macbook hardrives are 5400 rpm whilst I've read several websites where people suggest using a 7200 rpm drive. Also when I look at windows based machines I see that with the same or better stats they cost 30% euros less than their Macbook counterparts. So what am I buying for that extra 30%?

(Crosses fingers and hopes this doesn't turn into a huge Mac Vs Windows debate)

Edit: Just to clarify. This won't be just a Drum/Music recording and practice machine. It should be able to run a game or two. Also when I say recording I just mean basic recording I'm not planning to make any CD's any time soon.
 
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Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Yeah, he should totally get a Mac because they are more expensive, and uh....

The computer I posted has a great processor, 4GB's of RAM, unbeatable price point. The GPU is just a bonus.


Fox.
Word. People like status and shiny things and Apple stuff is shiny and statusy. But a computer is just a wrapper, used to deliver the goods inside.

For what the OP needs a PC will do just fine. If and when he moves up in the world and needs to impress people with his choice of computer hardware, then a Mac may be necessary.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Another one for MacBook Pro. I've been using a Mac since 2006 and they've never let me down.

As for 'any old laptop will do' - yes, well that's technically true but a lot of laptops, particularly cheaper laptops have specific issues with audio recording.

Although this article is significantly out of date (July 2006) and therefore the specifications and models recommended are deeply obsolete, there is still a lot of relevant information here. Particularly regarding ground loops and issues with many PC laptops being badly or incorrectly grounded. This can be a particular problem with external audio devices and quite often a laptop that looks like it will work just fine on the spec sheet will not work well for recording audio.

SoundOnSound said:
One final factor can prove very frustrating for musicians when choosing a laptop: ground loops. Many manufacturers use three-wire earthed power supplies for their laptops, particularly if they feature metal cases, and this extra earth connection is notorious for causing ground-loop problems such as background buzzes, whistles and other noises in your audio, which change during hard drive activity, when you move your mouse, and during graphic redraws.
SoundOnSound said:
For this reason, I generally recommend one of two approaches when choosing a PC laptop for music. The safest is to contact a specialist music retailer (many of whom advertise in the pages of SOS) and discuss your requirements with them, as they not only choose their laptop components carefully for maximum compatibility and minimum likelihood of ground-loop problems, but can also advise on the most suitable audio interface to go with the laptop, depending on what tasks you want to perform.
This advice is still sadly deeply relevant. I see many musicians buying laptops that cannot record audio unless the device is unplugged. I have to say that in the two years I've owned a MacBook Pro this has never been an issue and I run a USB audio interface daily for all of my sound needs. The only issues I've ever encountered with audio from my MacBook Pro were as a result of a poorly grounded amplifier.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'll chime in although it looks like this thread is becoming a "Mac vs PC" thing. I don't begrudge my friends who've decided to stick with their Windows machines but for me it ultimately comes down to how much of an IT guy I want to become. I have things to get done with all the recording I do and contacts I want to maintain and as a Mac guy since 1986, I can tell you the machine just stays out of my way and allows me to get my work done as quickly as possible. My Windows friends always seem to be tweaking stuff to get it to work just right and to me I don't have that kind of time to be improving the tool. It's hard enough for me to maintain what I actually get paid for. I don't want to compound my work load by having to really maintain a Windows machine. So if you complain about spending the extra on a Mac then don't. You'll pay for it in the time you spend learning how to maintain your Windows machine.

I'd rather pay now, instead of later. Good luck with your choice!
 

RollingStone000

Silver Member
Just my added change. For what it sounds like you'll be doing, a Windows rig will probably work fine. What Conga mentioned below about if you want to do more, a Mac would be a better way to go, and the refurb section would be the place to start.

Linux, FTdubbs (just trolling).
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
So what am I buying for that extra 30%?

What it boils down to is you'll probably going to want a MAC someday... though you might need a PC to convince yourself first.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So what am I buying for that extra 30%?

What it boils down to is you'll probably going to want a MAC someday... though you might need a PC to convince yourself first.
Kinda' like all those people who eventually get an iPhone after years of saying their "insert fav brand here" is 'good enough'.
 

simmsdn

Silver Member
Modern Laptop:
Multiple core processor, at least 2GHz per core (Intel i3, i5, i7; AMD Phenom)
4-8GB RAM
200+ GB Hard Drive (eSATA)
BluRay / DVD-R/RW drive (with lightscribe is pretty standard these days as well)

You can buy one that says Apple, HP, Dell, Acer, Sony, and a few other brands. You'll pay more for the Apple, but some people like to pay more and like Apple's Operating System.

I prefer Windows 7, but that's me. I cannot seem to get used to Apple's OS. I think it's clunky and incredibly unfriendly. Of course, I never took the time to learn it. I had a Mac, but got rid of it after a week. I couldn't do 90% of what I normally do on a Windows based computer.

Thing I remind people is Apple is incredible proprietary. Generally the only software that can go on a Mac is something pre-approved by Apple. With Windows, I can install whatever I want and a lot of what I use is freeware. Even software that is compatible with each OS, the Mac OS version is generally more expensive than the Windows version. Apple products will always have you spending more money.

Of course, all of that is what people tend to hate about Windows...it's too open for the user to make changes that cause it to crash (because people go to the wrong web sites that install crap on your computer - be aware, they're targeting Macs now due to the increase in Apple's market share).

If you want the best of both worlds, buy a 17" MacBook, buy Parallels, buy Windows 7 and run a dual boot laptop. You're going to spend $3000 to do it, but you're guaranteed to run anything you want.
 

Fox622003

Gold Member
I'll chime in although it looks like this thread is becoming a "Mac vs PC" thing. I don't begrudge my friends who've decided to stick with their Windows machines but for me it ultimately comes down to how much of an IT guy I want to become. I have things to get done with all the recording I do and contacts I want to maintain and as a Mac guy since 1986, I can tell you the machine just stays out of my way and allows me to get my work done as quickly as possible. My Windows friends always seem to be tweaking stuff to get it to work just right and to me I don't have that kind of time to be improving the tool. It's hard enough for me to maintain what I actually get paid for. I don't want to compound my work load by having to really maintain a Windows machine. So if you complain about spending the extra on a Mac then don't. You'll pay for it in the time you spend learning how to maintain your Windows machine.

I'd rather pay now, instead of later. Good luck with your choice!
LOL, nice way of making yourself feel good about spending cash you didn't need to spend.

Not really sure what you need to tweak on Windows...I've always used Windows and standard PC's. I actually work in IT, and what do you think servers that are up without even a reboot for as much as years run?

Kinda sends your argument crashing down. And what other argument has been presented in paying that extra cash? That it's "the industry standard"? What kind of ignorant comment is that?


Fox.
 
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