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Gigging PC


StandYourGround
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hey guy, was wondering if anyone knew of a decently priced laptop (£600<) that would be capable of running something like Pro Tools/Ableton? Big ask, I know.

I only use Pro Tools for editing/recording and not in a live situation. I also tend to mix down to audio a lot, so I'm not using a load of plugins at once.

I was hoping to be able to gig with Ableton though. Not that I'd be doing anything particularly challenging. Playing backing tracks/click tracks, sending MIDI commands out to external gear etc. I wouldn't be using any heavy VSTs (at least not live). Although I would have all of the tracks, Audio and MIDI, within the one session for the entire set.

 

I've seen laptops like this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-Envy-14-2nd-Gen-Intel-Core-i7-QUAD-Core-8GB-Ram-Win7-/110930418778?pt=UK_Computing_Laptops_EH&hash=item19d3f7dc5a#ht_7776wt_1042

 

But its at the top end of my budget and I'm not sure how stable it would be in a live situation.

 

Note: I'll not be relying on the internal soundcard, instead using USB interfaces for both audio and midi.

 

Side Note: I've done some light research into rackmount computers (desktop flexability) but haven't been able to find anything of use. Since the plan is to have a POD HD rig controlled by MIDI commands coming from my computer which would also act as a host for backing tracks and clicks, making everything rackmounted would make everything so easier.

Ableton would be controlled from something like a launchpad/apc40. Also, does anyone know how to set up a MIDI controller like the Ground Control in a rig like this? Would you simply just put the controller in between the computer(midi interface) and the POD?

 

 

Sorry for lengthy post. It probably has lots of typos too but its 6:15am here. Help appreciated!

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i wouldn't trust a HP for gigging, i have not seen any quality notebooks from them personally

 

thinkpads all the way

 

i'd rather get an used T61i with it's ibm genes than 99% percent of the newly produced laptops. some dell latitudes are cool (metal everywhere) and some thinkpads are still good but lenovo is slowly lowering the bar every year, soon thinkpads will be like every other shitty notebooks out there.

 

(btw i own a dell atm but it is not comparable to my (now passed, i soaked it in 1,5l water) thinkpad quality wise)

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I wanted to do a rackmount PC but couldn't find an appropriate case. All the server cases seem too slim for my ancient hardware. I think Karnivool gig with a rackmount PC running pro tools, with digidesign rack underneath. I did ask them about it but was wasted

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do not buy a hp, and do not buy anything that says "beatzsszz by dr.dre/lady gaga/biebert." or if you do, find a high bridge, with concrete under it, and throw.

 

I got my current laptop, based on a Clevo P150HMx Barebones from pcspecialist.co.uk . They've a great range of prices, and offer a lot of customisability. You get a lot of stuff for your money, super-quick build times, quality is phenomenal, and lead times are really short. Also, when I was buying mine, they came in a bit cheaper than competitors for things like SSD Hard Drives, which I know is a big advantage if you plan on using your laptop for recording.

 

In anycase, I couldn't recommend pcspecialist.co.uk high enough. They're fucking ace.

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I wasn't going for the beats one thinking it would be better by the way haha. Its just I know where to get one cheap. I was going to use an external soundcard.

But yeah, what would you guys suggest for the £600 mark? As I say, my DAW needs live are very limited. Some audio tracks and some MIDI commands (no plugins live).

I looked at that PC specialist website. They still seem pricey though and I can't configure it in such a way that I'd have a great processor/RAM/HDD etc without having to take dedicated higher end video cards which are awesome but expensive.

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not really. Like I said, I tried to find a rack case to build my latest machine in to, but I couldn't find one deep enough with the right form factor for my MB. Ebay is generally pretty good for PC components (if you don't care about the quality IE cases, optical drives)

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All seems like a huge hassle. Is there no cheaper laptop that can handle basic DAW functions and is stable enough for basic live operations?

I'm not trying to build a mobile studio. I just need something for backing tracks and MIDI commands.

When it comes to recording, I won't be doing massive projects and even if I am, I work almost exclusively with audio, mixing down from MIDI constantly so as to reduce the number of plugins running live.

I mean even my old HP DV6 could cope with Ableton and it was hardly a professional machine.

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I would just use an Alienware or a Macbook. Y'know? Something reliable. That's one of the most important things you need to look for it you're buying a laptop for gigging purposes.

 

That_6934bd_864413.jpg

 

The fact that you even suggested Alienware just sickens me.

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So I've been researching the Thinkpads and the best i can come up with is this:

 

http://www.onestoppcshop.co.uk/e420s.html

 

Which out of my budget and less powerful than the HP. Why is everyone so anti-HP? Seems you get more bang for your buck.

 

(the edge is not a "real" thinkpad, it is probably not much better than a hp)

 

The least difficult part of making a good notebook is buying the fancy stuff (cpu, vga, ram, hdd) from other manufacturers which looks good on spec sheets.

The actual difficult part where the real differences (which needs real costly r&d and engineers) are between different notebooks is everything else.

How hot the stuff gets in actual use? Can you see the screen with the light and stuff on stage? How strong is the wifi antenna? Can you spill your coffe on it? Can you drop your laptop without loosing data? How stable the drivers are? Can you actually type on the keyboard or it have a messed up layout? Placement of the ports? How silent the fan is? Can you service it yourself after the warranty gone? What about replacement parts etc.

 

The stuff i listed here will be much more important in real life use than the ability to open up your browser 1 second faster.

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(the edge is not a "real" thinkpad, it is probably not much better than a hp)

 

The least difficult part of making a good notebook is buying the fancy stuff (cpu, vga, ram, hdd) from other manufacturers which looks good on spec sheets.

The actual difficult part where the real differences (which needs real costly r&d and engineers) are between different notebooks is everything else.

How hot the stuff gets in actual use? Can you see the screen with the light and stuff on stage? How strong is the wifi antenna? Can you spill your coffe on it? Can you drop your laptop without loosing data? How stable the drivers are? Can you actually type on the keyboard or it have a messed up layout? Placement of the ports? How silent the fan is? Can you service it yourself after the warranty gone? What about replacement parts etc.

 

The stuff i listed here will be much more important in real life use than the ability to open up your browser 1 second faster.

 

Right ok, I see what you're saying. What would you suggest for my budget then? Cause im really struggling to find something that will actually suit my needs.

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the consumer line of HP has really crappy build quality, maybe the pro-line is better, haven't tried myself. Same problem with most of them in that to get to a super low price point they've sacrificed things along the way and you end up with a crappy plastic thing that can barely handle a knock.

 

If you're wanting it for gigging you'd be wise to spend the extra on good build quality

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I just think that in general, laptops are less reliable than pcs, and less easily repairable. I built a very good PC for £300 recently, and if you could get that in a rack case it'd last you for 10 years of gigging.

 

this. chedda's right about what he said earlier. You'd be better off investing in a nice rackmount case and build it. with the budget you have there, you'd end up with a right beast of a machine.

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