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Best laptop for recording guitar?

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  • Best laptop for recording guitar?

    For the past 13 years I have used the same laptop to record my guitar with. Although I can feel how old my software is and the laptop (runs on Windows 2000!) I wondered if anyone could advise me on the best laptop to suit my needs? Basically, I am a bit of a new age guitarist. I prefer to only practice on laptops. I would like a laptop that could record although I wouldn't be using any high-end tech like Cubase, mainly simple music recorders.Also, I do a lot of 'live playing' on my laptop because i basically just use it as a amp.

    I would purchase programmes like Guitar RIG 5 and equilivent so ideally this could run it with ease. I am from the UK and my budget is around £1500. Ideally looking for a windows based PC. Also, could you please advise me on the best interfaces and amp modulation software? I mean would guitar rig 5 be the best? I play a lot of metal, rock, and pop.

    Thank you so much


  • #2
    If all you're going to run is Guitar Rig then the laptop selection isn't going to matter so long as the interface drivers are recognized.

    Any of the good software requires you run a DAW program which you don't seem to be interested in. Cubase is or any other DAW program can be as simple or complex as you choose to make them. They have simple basic tools for recording simple basic recordings or you can expand the complexity as much as needed. The analogy being - you can run Microsoft word, type a simple document and print it and never touch any of the higher functions but they are there when you need them.

    I'd suggest you download a copy of Reaper. Its a fully functional demo that doesn't expire and is low cost if you choose to eventually buy a license. This will allow you to download and run hundreds of free plugin effects (and run anything modern you choose to purchase)

    As far as running professionally on a laptop the biggest problem is most only have a single hard drive so the operating system bogs down the more your record. Given the fact you been running an old system anything would be an improvement.

    What you record on has absolutely nothing to do with what type of music you play. The only thing you have to check is the minimum requirements of the software and the operating system. You were severely limited running an old Fat 32 system. Win 7 & 10 run NTFS. Main things you want to shoot for is at least a dual core if not a quad core processor, large hard drive and Thunderbolt if you can get it. Most interfaces have adopted thunderbolt this year and you'll l see the USB 2.0 become obsolete eventually. The larger the screen the better.

    My wife works for HP so I was given one of they're best mobile workstations which I've converted into a mobile DAW.

    It has a quad core, runs 64 bit, has three internal drives (2 are solid state) I can record my wave files to a separate drive, and leave the main drive to run programs. This speeds things up drastically and prevents dropouts. It has USB 2, 3 and Thunderbolt so I can eventually get much higher speeds when I get a thunderbolt interface. The 17" screen is wonderful too. I think they sell between $1500 for the bottom end model up to $3700 for the model I have.

    Its not like you need that kind of power for your situation however. I'd simply check the CPU, Drive size and make sure it has the ports to run the interface you choose.

    Next, you should realize every computer produces latency when you try and use audio plugins in real time. They make interfaces with zero latency monitoring to circumvent the problem. You also have programs like Guitar Rig that mix processed sound with dry sound to make it appear like there isn't latency but that's not how most audio software works. I have Guitar Rig but I quickly concluded after testing it, it sucked big time. Its a huge CPU pig and is highly impractical to run on even high end computers. There are plenty of other plugins that will blow it away including many free ones. Of course they may not look as fancy but who care how it looks so long as it does a great job and sounds good.

    I cant say what hardware of software you should purchase. That's something you should research and focus on cost vs options. I do suggest you get up to speed running a modern DAW and modern Plugins and not be settled running a single program. There's a huge world of options available and you don't have to spend allot of money to try them out and figure out where you want to go. That's also why its difficult to advise you on how you can proceed. You seem to be wanting to use a laptop as a substitute for guitar hardware with some minor recording options.

    If that's your goal buy a modeling amp and hand held or stand alone recorder. If you want to get into pro recording, Tracking to drum loops, running the full array of plugins so you can mix high quality mixes you need to get a modern DAW and its plugins. I'd also forget about running programs like Guitar rig. They are a dead end when it comes to recording. Instead get yourself a multi effects modeling unit and get your amp and guitar tones from a hardware device.

    A unit like this can be used to record direct. you have over 20 amp and cab modeling choices, the entire array of effects you can use and it actually sounds like you're playing through an amp, not a lame plugin. You plug this into your interface and record anything you want and the results will blow the doors off anything you had been using. It even has a stereo output so your leslie cab, chorus, echo, reverbs and chorus produce three dimensional sounds. You'll be blown away by how close it imitates and tube amps pick attack too.

    If you get yourself a 4 channel interface (Tascam and Behringer make them for around $100) you can record a stereo guitar effect and a stereo drum machine at the same time and have them all wind up on separate tracks. Then you can buy the bass version of that modeling box and produce some fantastic sounding recordings.
    Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-16-2017, 08:18 AM.