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  • Here We Go Again

    I keep on starting threads like this, and end up doing nothing about it. But I know that eventually I'll have to invest in a DAW



    I have a fairly new laptop. Here are some stats: Intel Core i5-2430M CPU @ 2.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 64-bit operating system. Is this powerful enough or will I need another one?



    There are so many different DAWs out there. Which to get?! And are instructions included? I used Fruity Loops many years ago for a couple of songs. I didn't really know what I was doing but I somehow managed to muddle through



    Are there any instructional books or videos you'd recommend for a n00b like me?



    Thanks
    new album - smoke
    forum - the asylum

  • #2
    Its powerful enough but laptops lack the main thing you need for a good DAW

    which is multiple internal drives. With another internal drive you have two

    sets of read write heads working independantly and can write wave files to a separate

    drive while the main drive heads are running the OS.



    An external drive works as a backup but it doesnt work for writing wave files in real time

    so you're stuck doing all your recording work on the main drive. Its OK if you do a single

    project or two at a time then back then up and defrag the C drive constantly, but when

    you're doing multiple projects the computer winds up being bogged out with the large files.



    Combine that with a USB interface and it can wind up being a pretty poor system.

    Laptop specs in comparison to most PC's arent the same. A PC will usually be 1/3

    faster with the same specs as a laptop. Its likely due to the lower power consumption

    of a laptop and the way the OS services and components are minimized to run with lower power.



    If you're looking to do solo projects or need a portable solution for gigs then a laptop is OK.

    A stand alone may do for gigs too. If you're looking for a dedicated production machine,

    you really need a desktop. It will run heavy duty recording software better if its setup right

    and Its not like they cost allot. I pcked up a used HP dual core for $50 a few weeks ago.

    I had to add an extra drive and increase the memory, but even with that, it was less

    than $100 and I got a real smoker for recording.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you're mostly doing MIDI stuff, yeah, it will do the job. Since you are using Mac, go with Logic Pro. Don't expect to run the Hollywood Strings or other CPU sample hogs though.



      John
      Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

      Comment


      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by MarkydeSad
        View Post

        I keep on starting threads like this, and end up doing nothing about it. But I know that eventually I'll have to invest in a DAW




        Why? What do you need to do that you can't do the way you're working now?








        I have a fairly new laptop. Here are some stats: Intel Core i5-2430M CPU @ 2.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 64-bit operating system. Is this powerful enough or will I need another one?



        It depends on what you're going to do with it.



        Do you need for your system to be portable? The laptop might restrict what you can connect to it. You might want to use a larger monitor than your laptop screen, and a real mouse instead of whatever your laptop computer has. Does your laptop have a Firewire port or ExpressCard expansion slot? How about a USB3 port? A DVD drive? You'll almost certainly want an external hard drive and a rigorous backup program since you'll most likely be doing your recording on the internal drive.



        It might be worth considering buying or assembling a tabletop computer that can grow with your needs, which almost certainly will expand uncontrollably to keep your cash flow on the negative side.



        What are you planning to use for an interface? Is your interface adequate for the way you work? Will you be recording one track at a time or do you want to be able to track a whole band? Or a full drum kit?








        There are so many different DAWs out there. Which to get?! And are instructions included?



        Which operating system? There are usually instructions included but it's likely to be a 600 page PDF that's a good reference but there's not a lot of "quick start" material. A DAW that a lot of musicians seem to like these days is PreSonus Studio One. There's a free version that you can start playing with and see how much you can figure out. Reaper is also popular as a low cost DAW that's loaded with features, but it's constantly evolving with a new version coming every couple of weeks.



        Or maybe you just need a 2-track editor. Good luck. Don't forget to eat.
        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

        Comment


        • #5






          Quote Originally Posted by WRGKMC
          View Post

          An external drive works as a backup but it doesnt work for writing wave files in real time




          ESATA external drives work perfectly for audio use. I can stream a large number of audio tracks while simultaneously streaming and recording a large number of sample files. I've been using an HP I7 quad core laptop for the last 3 years, and one port is a combo USB/ESATA port. All audio and samples are on the external drive, and I've never had a problem with performance.

          Comment


          • #6
            Marky, I just know you, with your irrepressible inventivenness and cleverness, will have a helluva good time with a DAW... once you wrap your head around the fundamentals.
            Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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            Comment


            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by mcmike100
              View Post

              ESATA external drives work perfectly for audio use.




              SADiE LRX2 can stream up to 64 channels to a computer, so if there's a problem with USB disk drives, it's likely to be on the USB-ATA side. Or is it just that people who say that external USB 2 drives don't work for streaming audio is either repeating old info based on USB 1.1 or have something wrong with their system.



              Does it really not work very well or are people just reluctant to rely on it? I've used an external USB2 drive on a pretty lame laptop to record 8 simultaneous tracks without a hiccup. In fact I'm pretty sure I tried the same setup with 16 tracks from a PreSonus StudioLive mixer used as the interface (Firewire), with the recording drive connected via USB2.
              --
              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

              Comment


              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by MikeRivers
                View Post

                Does it really not work very well or are people just reluctant to rely on it? I've used an external USB2 drive on a pretty lame laptop to record 8 simultaneous tracks without a hiccup.




                I've never used an external drive with USB, so I can't comment. I've used a Firewire drive. It was OK, but had some problems. The ESATA drive (which is just an SATA drive in a ESATA/USB case I bought) has been flawless.

                Comment


                • #9
                  But, like for Firewire, you gotta have the port. Few new laptops have an expansion card slot and most have dropped Firewire entirely, so unless the ESATA port becomes more common (and I suspect it'll be superseded by Thunderbolt before it catches on big), it'll be USB 2, USB 3, or the internal drive. I hate to tell people who are looking for a computer for a portable DAW to get an older computer rather than the latest model, but I usually do.
                  --
                  "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                  Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                  Comment


                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny-Boy
                    View Post

                    If you're mostly doing MIDI stuff, yeah, it will do the job. Since you are using Mac, go with Logic Pro. Don't expect to run the Hollywood Strings or other CPU sample hogs though.



                    John




                    Are you sure he's not using Windows? If so, something like Mixcraft would probably be ideal - low CPU, easy to figure out, comes with a bunch of virtual instruments, has very surprising video capabilities, and is super-affordable.



                    But Marky, maybe something like this is better-suited to the way you work...you work fast and don't like distractions, and perhaps a dedicated recording device would be better. What exactly is it about a DAW that you think will help you make music?
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                    • #11
                      If you have a Mac, would the presumably included Garageband work? Always fun to look for solutions that are free and already there if possible.



                      Craig's idea of a simple-to-use, good sounding dedicated recording device is always good to consider as well.
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for your input so far, guys. Food for thought, indeed



                        Mixcraft looks interesting (yes, I have Windows). I don't want anything too complicated



                        I looked at that 24-track a while ago, Craig, but I feel I need to broaden my horizons (and step into the 21st century) by using software-based DAWs more
                        new album - smoke
                        forum - the asylum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          2 cents - Consider a stand alone like a Fostex MR8....walk up, plug in, record....that's what I use..



                          Now while I have an MAudio Fasttrack it's been a nightmare of PC latency issues...hunting down trojans, spyware, page faults, memory issues.....I spent all day yesterday and a part of today dealing with it, and now XP is broken...not even sure I can repair it...



                          That said a PC/DAW with great plug ins, great sound quality is hard to beat, very capable...but I think you really need a dedicated machine with a minimal install to make it work...



                          I am considering an older PC of mine that might go to Goodwill as that project...



                          In the end, I just want to record my playing, and spend less time on the interface and more time on the playing.....I know I am not alone in this...
                          http://sites.google.com/site/bizflyer/

                          Comment


                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by MarkydeSad
                            View Post

                            Thanks for your input so far, guys. Food for thought, indeed



                            Mixcraft looks interesting (yes, I have Windows). I don't want anything too complicated



                            I looked at that 24-track a while ago, Craig, but I feel I need to broaden my horizons (and step into the 21st century) by using software-based DAWs more




                            Stand-alone stuff is 21st century, isn't it? Don't get hung up on that. Simply get the best tool for the job. If you think you'll have to do lots of MIDI or editing and a DAW is better for that, that's one thing. But if a stand-alone recorder is perfectly fine, I say go for it. There's something to be said for flicking a switch and being ready to go, not having to install plugins and updates, etc. etc. There's elegance in simplicity.
                            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                            Comment


                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by Sillypeoples
                              View Post



                              In the end, I just want to record my playing, and spend less time on the interface and more time on the playing.....I know I am not alone in this...




                              Exactly!!!!!
                              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                              Comment













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