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Recording with an Asus 1001p??

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  • Recording with an Asus 1001p??

    I was given an Asus 1001p with 2 gig upgrade. I am new to recording. I also have a zoom r8. Can this be enough to do some home recording
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  • #2

    The laptop has a single 1.66GHz processor. It will work but you will be limited on the type of DAW program and number of plugins you can run. Most of your better programs need closer to 2G for a single core CPU or a Dual or Quad processor. I've gotten older versions of Sonar to run on single cores but when you get to say version 8 its going to freeze up constantly.

    I suggest you run a program like Reaper. Its light on CPU resources and you'll at least be able to do some mixing. The DAW program doesn't use allot of resources tracking. If it loads it will multitrack. Its when you're mixing, adding effects and bouncing down to a stereo track when you'll realize you need a better CPU, especially on a laptop which is always slower than a desktop with the same specs due to a laptops lower voltage consumption.

    I'd Max the memory out and optimize the crap out of the thing. I'd remove all unnecessary programs and make sure you go into MSCONFIG from the run menu and shut off all unnecessary programs from running in the background. You can visit the Black Viper website and find additional optimization items. Be sure you do screen shots of any settings the thing currently has before you make any changes. Some Services are interdependent with another and have hidden purposes. Be sure you set any of those to manual. Only disable services that should never be left running because of safety issues like remote ports that allow others to gain access to your computer.

    As far as the Zoom goes, I'm not sure you can use it as a direct interface for the laptop. It has a USB port for connecting to a laptop, but you'll have to read the manual to see if that's for transferring files or whether it will stream binary data like a normal interface. If its for moving files, then all the recording will be done on the Zoom and you have to move it to the laptop into the DAW program for mixing.

    If this is the case, you may want to think about getting an interface for the Laptop. You can buy Lexicons as low as $50 that come packaged with Cubase. Since the Zoom only records two tracks at a time, a budget interface will do the same thing allowing two channels at once. If you want to be able to record more channels at the same time, then the interface will be more expensive. Since that Zoom has a built in drum machine you may want a 4 channel interface. This would allow you to play back the Zoom analog output into the additional two channels of an interface. 2 is solo, 4 channels is pretty minimal and 8~16 is better if you work with other musicians. You'd have to make those decisions yourself.

    The advantages of recording directly to the laptop is you wont be limited to 8 channels like you are on the Zoom. You can bounce on it but on a computer you can multitrack as many tracks as the CPU can handle. The mixing, the visibility, and the speed at which you will be able to mix your tracks is also going to vastly improve. You wont have to deal with memorizing sub menus or digging out the manual every time you want to do something new like you do with stand alone's. Everything is right there in front of you and if you can't figure something out, you simply hit the help menu and the documentation is right there to search.

    The one thing that does take some getting adjusted to is not having the hands on tweakability with sliders. You will be having to mouse everything unless you get a controller, but even there you can get budget Korg controllers as cheap as $50 these days so its no big deal.

    The other item will be that laptop will require high latency settings. You can forget about using programs like guitar rig to get your sound in real time tracking. You may be able to apply a guitar processor mixing but even there, it will likely freeze trying to load. All your guitar tone will need to come from a miced amp or using hardware effects processors prior to tracking, or you can record clean and apply effects mixing to dirty up the sound.

    Be sure the interface has Zero or near Zero latency monitoring. The high latency settings you'll need for recording/multitracking will cause big delays between what you play and what you hear if you try and track with processed sound.

    (Processed sound is when the signal gets routed through the interface, converted to digital, sent through the processor, through the DAW program, Back through the CPU, Back through the Interface and converted back to analog before its amplified so you can hear it. That round trip on a high speed computer may only take 10 milliseconds and the delay may not be noticed. On a low speed computer like yours latency needs to be increased up to 1 second or more to prevent the CPU from crashing, allow the data flow to fill the buffers, and prevent pops and clicks when its buffers can't keep up so the digital audio flow studders like a poor internet connection does playing back video.

    With direct monitoring, the input signal is split. Half goes directly to your headphones/monitors so you hear yourself playing in real time, the other half goes directly to the hard drive. You don't need to hear the processed signal till its time to play that track back, and when you do, its automatically synced to whatever new track you're recording so there is no delay or track shifting. You can Max out the latency setting if needed to buffer the CPU load. The most you may get is sluggish controls and meters that move before you actually hear the sound.)

    I suggest you run this small program on your laptop to get an idea of its ability to record audio.

     http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

     

    Most single core computers should give you a steady 100ms or so. If you have big red spikes, you have to optimize the computer to prevent the DAW program from dropping out. Dual and quad cores can get down to 10ms or so and allow for near real time processing for a few tracks but even those can benefit from higher latency settings so they can run high quality/high CPU consumption plugins. 

    If you still have red spikes after optimizing the laptop, I suggest going into the hardware manager and disabling the network card and on board sound. You wont need those when you're recording and it frees up allot of resources. You can always turn them back on if you need to access the internet or use the laptops built in sound again.

    Lastly, you need to defrag the crap out of the C drive. All your work will be done recording on the internal drive so lowering access time to the wave files is essential. I even suggest creating a small partition to store junk you don't need to use every day like photos, MP3's, backup programs. This will get them off the C drive so the OS runs mean and clean.

    Most use an external drive for backup of projects once they are done. Makes no sense to keep more than a single project or two active on the C partition at a time. It only makes the heads in the Drive work harder getting around that data. Once the drive is more than 50% full you'll see how the performance drops off and causes crashes. My DAWS usually have about 10% or less data on the operating system drive and I get steady maximum performance. I do have multiple internal drives where the wave files are written and stored. I don't have to worry about the C drive bogging down.

    Also don't try to write data or open projects from a partition. The hard drivers heads can't be in two places at once. If the drive has a partition where a project is stored, move it to the C drive first. The heads can't jump from the partition to the main drive and run the project from that partition. It can from a second internal drive because you have two sets of heads operating independently.

    Once you get going, if you run into issues, post back and we can help to refine why you're doing. Good luck.

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