Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Topic Options
#2879727 - 09/16/17 09:33 PM What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage?
MorbidMonsterMax Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/14/16
Posts: 140
Loc: MN, U.S.
In your experience, what has been the best laptop for both recording and live usage?

This is the first list that I found: http://www.sysprobs.com/10-best-laptops-for-music-production-and-recording

Is this list at all accurate?

Thanks!

-Max

P.S. I searched using the "site: ..." method, but didn't come up with anything quite like this question.


Edited by Mighty Motif Max (09/16/17 09:33 PM)
_________________________
Yamaha: Motif XF8, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, MSR100, PSS-470.

Titano Virtuoso Converter accordion, Resident Audio T4, Casio CT-370. Kimball Valencia/Broadway organs, Shure SM-57

Top
KC Island
#2879728 - 09/16/17 09:37 PM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: MorbidMonsterMax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 5273
Loc: USA, greater NY area
Pick your DAW and or your VST/AUs and performance host. Then worry about what specs you'll need to run them well.
_________________________
Live: Yamaha S90ES, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k

Top
#2879729 - 09/16/17 09:54 PM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: MorbidMonsterMax]
Phreakay Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 2630
Loc: Australia
A better approach might be to decide on the OS first, MacOS or Windows, then select a laptop.

Browsing that list it seems that all machines have an i7 CPU, but variable RAM, SSD storage and screen size.

If MacOS is your choice then the MBP's listed would be good choice.

I would get as much RAM and SSD storage as you can afford. Sample libraries are getting to be huge and can quickly eat 500GB if you are not selective.

Of the Windows machines I currently use a 15.6" HP ProBook. Solid support, flexible machine spec options, e.g upgrade to 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD through the supplier we use.
_________________________
MainStage | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P
"He helped me onto the bottom rung as a musician, from which, I might add, I never ascended" Glyn Johns - Sound Man

Top
#2879774 - 09/17/17 07:19 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: Phreakay]
BurningPianoMan Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 889
Loc: SE NC marsh
Check out the MacBook Pro that's for sale on this forum. Looks like a great price on a machine that should meet most musician's needs for many years.

Top
#2879776 - 09/17/17 07:25 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: BurningPianoMan]
CEB Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12490
If you don't know and you want the best then I would let Jim Roseberry build your first one. You will get what you need as long as you tell him exactly what you want to do.


http://studiocat.com/opencart2/index.php?route=common/home


Edited by CEB (09/17/17 09:14 AM)
_________________________
"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!
So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

Top
#2879794 - 09/17/17 09:09 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: MorbidMonsterMax]
waygetter Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/11/07
Posts: 339
Loc: Sausalito, CA
Originally Posted By: Mighty Motif Max
In your experience, what has been the best laptop for both recording and live usage?

This is the first list that I found: http://www.sysprobs.com/10-best-laptops-for-music-production-and-recording

Is this list at all accurate?

Thanks!

-Max

P.S. I searched using the "site: ..." method, but didn't come up with anything quite like this question.

I think your header and your link are two different things?
Header: recording and live usage
Link: production and recording

The link is discussing activity that commonly takes place in a controlled studio environment.

So, not sure what you mean by "live usage".

Edit (adding content)
Also - the link is to a site that's discussing a broad range of laptop uses, such as gaming, photo editing. And some of these 'best of' type lists might be written more for hobbyists and non-musicians. Not that they don't contain interesting or useful info, but you might get closer to what you need by researching more music and recording focused sources, i.e. Sound on Sound.


Edited by waygetter (09/17/17 09:16 AM)

Top
#2879796 - 09/17/17 09:37 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: waygetter]
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 2122
Loc: NYC area
Any decently speced laptop less than 5 years old should work fine for both recording and live usage.

Top
#2879913 - 09/18/17 03:53 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: Reezekeys]
hardware Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 1059
Loc: Nashville, TN.
I still use an old ADK Pro with an Express 34 Slot on occasion taking 2 x XLR Outs from the snake into XLR Ins.
It's still streaming all of my instruments and playing Omnisphere and Zebra2 HZ.

I'm seeing lots of really bad ass laptops in automated venues, even the Operating Engineers in showrooms seem to have these Getac Military models.
They top out at 3GHz for the X Server model but the connectivity is insane with customizations and options.
5500 USD and a 3 year warranty.

Think I'll keep my ADK 9000.
_________________________
Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic

Top
#2879923 - 09/18/17 04:44 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: hardware]
RABid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 12092
I have an ADK Pro. A few years old. Still going strong. Helps that even back then I was able to get 32GB memory for it.
_________________________
Skate to where the puck was 5 years ago.

Top
#2879964 - 09/18/17 08:35 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: RABid]
hardware Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 1059
Loc: Nashville, TN.
Originally Posted By: RABid
I have an ADK Pro. A few years old. Still going strong. Helps that even back then I was able to get 32GB memory for it.


Love Scotts stuff.
I can't live without the Express 34 slots.
My PCI Connector card is HDMI.
Nobody builds them anyone, not even ADK.
Getac does but I purposely leave the ADK around and update it like a spare.
I can't spend 5 large for a laptop......
_________________________
Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic

Top
#2880087 - 09/18/17 06:22 PM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: CEB]
mcgoo Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/03/07
Posts: 2263
Loc: Indianapolis
Originally Posted By: CEB
If you don't know and you want the best then I would let Jim Roseberry build your first one. You will get what you need as long as you tell him exactly what you want to do.


http://studiocat.com/opencart2/index.php?route=common/home

+1 for anything Jim Roseberry builds. I just took delivery of my 4th system from him. Quality work, great advice/service.
_________________________
Somehow I manage to con people into paying me to play with toys that make noise.

Top
#2880119 - 09/18/17 09:39 PM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: mcgoo]
hardware Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 1059
Loc: Nashville, TN.
Rack Slave on his site is sweet and priced fairly.
Not a laptop in his Site though.
Love to seen one.
_________________________
Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic

Top
#2880132 - 09/19/17 01:20 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: MorbidMonsterMax]
BRW Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 281
Just get the best Macbook Pro you can afford. A large-enough SSD (at least 1TB), the maximum RAM, the fastest processor. You're going to need it. Your own needs will grow as time goes by, as do software requirements.

Top
#2880207 - 09/19/17 08:32 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: BRW]
burningbusch Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 7586
Loc: Ghost Planet
If you go the Windows route, try to find one that's convertible (hybrid) from a laptop to tablet. Many are. Most new Windows machiens have touch screens. If you have any intent on using it on stage, a flat touch screen is a more useful format, IMO, than a laptop. A laptop look like a computer whereas a tablet is more discreet. The soft synths aren't optimized for touch, but if you want to have the computer accessible for monitoring purposes and occasional changes, touch can work. Don't lock yourself into a laptop-only device unless it's unavoidable.

Busch.

Top
#2884607 - 10/12/17 08:11 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: burningbusch]
AnotherScott Offline
10k Club

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 11109
I agree with Busch. For live use, the only reason I'd look at a Windows laptop is that it can also function as a tablet, whereas if you go with a Mac, you'd probably want to add an iPad if you wanted a display/control surface with better ergonomic placement options, better on-stage appearance, and/or touch operation. If none of that matters and you're going to have the device completely tucked away and essentially invisible anyway, I'd stick with the Mac.
_________________________
Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!

Top
#2884748 - 10/13/17 04:47 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: AnotherScott]
BuckW Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 87
Ordered an ADK.

Top
#2884752 - 10/13/17 05:16 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: BuckW]
hardware Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 1059
Loc: Nashville, TN.
ADK Pros are nice and made for audio.
They would be similar to Eurocoms like this i7 8700k.

https://www.eteknix.com/eurocom-announces-three-coffee-lake-based-laptops/
_________________________
Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic

Top
#2884761 - 10/13/17 06:34 AM Re: What is the best laptop for recording AND live usage? [Re: hardware]
Theo Verelst Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 3618
Many different approaches exist to make a "pro" grade note book. In scientific cases, besides a gruesome amount of processing power and maybe insane amounts of memory, it's important the processor and the whole mother board can keep up with continuous strains of computations, without erring or getting in a twist. Also, and that is one of the most important hard-processing issues for note books, there's the singular matter of overheating, and the resulting wear of the parts that heat up. It's a main design criterion: if you run programs that actually use your processors and/or graphics cards power. how much will there be a need for hard spinning fans and will you burn your hands or fry some parts a lot earlier than needed, and when will the "thermal control" take over an throttle your processor threads down because too much juice has gone through the power lines.

Then there are the actual processing power elements: how fast will your I7's (or smaller) threads actually run in practice as influenced by many, many hidden factors including, but certainly not limited to, memory bandwidth, cache size and filling strategy, multiprocessing efficiency and external factors such as effective (!) disk and network speed for the applications at hand.

All these issues are similar for audio use when running a sequencer/audio recorder/multiple plugin host, except when running a disk eating compile or a all-cores simulation at full CPU blast probably there's more continuous use of power than most audio apps ever do. The effective bandwidth to disk and processing power required to do a 24 track 96k/24bit real time audio read and mix are almost negligible compared to serious bandwidth tests or full out computations. The time to process and hand from (or to) USB of one package of simple audio data is close to negligible as well. So what causes you to search for the fastest processors and SSDs anyway > The way software is written, essentially. Which is more limited by crappy kernels (windows), unwillingness to specifically server the audio market as of old (Macs), or general usability being limited because "popular" software isn't available and the audio infrastructure hasn't even been targeted to be optimized for specific semi or quasi hip types of modernistic audio software (linux).

So often if a guy (or gal) can tell you "this major software runs great on this particular machine" it might be of more use than learning about paging registers and Translation Look aside Buffer constructs or having refined taste in instruction pre-fetching control, even through those topics get a hell of a lot farther in explaining the real reasons for big lag and drag in PCs/Notebooks.

I recently updated a half a decade "old" Notebook I maintained (keep a bit dust free at times, make sure nothing breaks, new disk clone once, new fan once) and used almost every day for hours with Fedora 26 / 64bit (a recent power Linux) to find out a lot of things were hard, not perfect and a bit infantile (by lack of a better summary), but OTOH there was support for the Optimus structure (using graphics from the I7 and a dedicated good graphics chip), better control of the processor's clock and throttle control (8 threads from 800MHz to 2.9GHz makes a lot of temperature difference), and the general efficiency of the kernel made some heavy (streaming) audio processing possible it couldn't do thus far, so after a lot of struggling it runs a very serious part of a 3 I7 networked audio path setup. Most people won't ever do that, but, honestly, that might change!

T.

Top


Moderator:  Grave Bryce, Stephen Fortner