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no flames...pc vs. mac

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  • no flames...pc vs. mac

    hi, I'm serious this post comes from ignorance and im curious if there is an advantage to using one or the other for recording my vdrums on to a computer (actually want to use a notebook....hard drive speed a concern?).

    I dont think I'll be doing anything fancy for a while, just want to lay down some beats compress to mp3 and send to my bass player via email.

    please post anything you think will be helpfull, possibly adding info on why i shuold steer one way or the other if i choose to get a little more into it then just recording straight tracks.

    A few thoughts:
    will any decent soundcard work I.E. sounblaster...
    Minumum hard drive speed....
    ram requirements....etc

    I personnally think since I've used a pc I'd like to stick with that format...but at the same time, if mac's are better geared for this sorta thing I'm willing to take a dive....

    thanx in advance

    [This message has been edited by hotstixx (edited November 25, 2001).]

  • #2
    hotstixx -

    i am in the process of building a notebook-based DAW myself. unfortunately, this is relatively unexplored territory in the digital recording realm as the first real notebook-based products are being released right now. if you can use a stand-alone computer, you will likely spend less money in the long run for a better recording setup. portability is an essential feature for me, so i am sticking with a notebook.

    the traditional PC vs MAC debate becomes a bit more murky when applied to notebook setups. the reason is that a quality recording tool requires a much better audio interface then the standard creative labs type soundcard you would get with an ordinary computer, thus it is much better to invest in a pro-audio soundcard. for the most part these interfaces has been created as PCI cards that will only work in a desktop workstation. only recently have audio products geared towards laptop use come to the market. these, however, are much more expensive then a desktop equivalent.

    certainly, the mac is the platform of choice of working audio professionals and the great majority of audio software was originally written for the mac. while some applications may continue to perform better in a mac environment, the pc has made considerable progress in the audio space. there are many people who have great success with PC-based recording setups. however, there are also a great many who have major trouble getting everything set up and rue they day they decided against a mac. macs have a reputation for offering much better off-the-shelf compatibility when it comes to doing pro audio.

    i would spend a little time thinking about what your specific needs are. do you want to record MIDI or just audio? how many simultaneous audio tracks do you need? etc etc ... if you do decide to go the laptop route, i would suggest checking out the following links:

    hammerfall dsp: http://www.rme-audio.com/english/hdsp/index.htm

    echo layla/mona: http://www.echoaudio.com/Lap%20Top%20Products.htm

    MOTU 828: http://www.motu.com/english/motuaudio/828/body.html

    dell inspiron 8100: http://www.dell.com/us/en/bsd/produc...inspn_8100.htm

    mac titanium powerbook: http://www.apple.com/powerbook/

    ps: i decided on a dell inspiron 8100 with the rme multiface interface and either logic platinum or cubase vst. i found a great deal on the laptop from dell refurb and expect the entire setup, including software to come out at just over $2K.


    • #3
      Originally posted by hotstixx:
      I dont think I'll be doing anything fancy for a while, just want to lay down some beats compress to mp3 and send to my bass player via email.
      digits has given a very detailed response, and I'm not intentionally downplaying it, but it seemed to me that something more basic may be what the post was after. For instance, if hotstixx already has a laptop, and wants the least expensive or simplest working solution. Anyway, not sure exactly what is sought and digits gives some good info for the kind of DAW that will serve current and future needs well, but here are some things to consider if hotstixx (or others) are looking at the other end of the spectrum (real cheap and cheerful type solutions).

      ProTools has a 48 track software package that is free and pretty damn good for that price (called ironically, Pro Tools Free). There are free utilities available in several places to convert various file formats to and from MP3. A soundblaster card or the like already in your computer may work, and there are very inexpensive ones that work better as well. There are several web sites out there that can give you an idea of minimum requirements. For instance http://homerecording.com/digital.html gives some brief insight and provides some good links to freebies and inexpensive options, as well as a utility to test your computer's potential.

      Now if you start thinking about adding in effects, VST plugins, doing real time work, worrying about latencies, doing time stretching, etc., your needs for horsepower increase. If you want, progressively better sound quality, ditto. Just adding another point of reference here. Between this and what digits describes, there are tons of other options. Decide what your needs are now, and what you think they might be in the near future. Do a little more homework, and happy hunting.


      • #4
        indeed, if it's the case that you are looking for something even more low-key then what i outlined, i would definitely go PC and use one of the many great editors out there.

        i may actually experiment tonight with recording directly into my laptop soundcard (testing out software) in which case i will be glad to post a sample of what the best sound quality i can get it.


        • #5
          thak you both very much.

          let me explain whats going on. my friend michael is hotstixx, we posted this together from my pc. i know a bit about pc's and he's the musician. he came to me and asked if i could help him pick out a notebook, and if i could help him see if a mac platform was more what he needed. well not knowing diddly about macs i couldnt help him. so i went to this site to look at the vdrums he has (pro td-10? is that right michael?) to see if you could just connect into the line in or use the midi or what.

          he wants to do alot more then just record music....email, dvd, cdr, download tunes apps etc. all of which i know can be done on a mac notebook, but there a lil more money then say the vaio. we looked at the dell 8100 and the vaio p3 1gig....both have comperable specs, my biggest concern for mike was/is the 4200 rpm drives, are they fast enough and are the soundcards that come with most laptops up to the task, if not, what would the upgrade cost be and are we back into the realm of a powerbook as far as cost goes. vaio is 1635.00 for a 1 gig p3 256mb ram 20 gig hardrive , dvd/cdrw combo, 2usb and firewire and a 15 inch tft screen....seem like a great deal to me! apple was quite a bit more

          so tu sum up, this will be a new adventure for hotstix and so far it seems like going pc for now might be the better option.....again, neither of us knowing anything about how far all this can go it is hard for us to post something more substanative ....ie, plugins, stretching, etc etc

          hotstixx' bass player will be in mexico for a spell and he would just like to email some samples of stuff hes working on and burn some stored beats for later on.

          hope this helps a bit for further posts, and do please update us on your recording sessions into your notebook.....thanx a million everyone

          ps this will be my last post, as i too am leaving town. mike will be going to the library to stay up to snuff on this thread and probably be posting further questions

          peace, john


          • #6
            we've recording our band at reheasal using an older Mac Wallstreet G3 Powerbook, a Magma chassis housing the digi 00l, and an external hard drive....managed to get around 16-18 tracks w/plugins...its a simple setup, it works....

            try to keep it as simple as possible...I've heard some good things about the USB audio interfaces...just don't expect the same kind of performance as you would get from a PCI card...

            PC laptops are tricky propostions for audio..
            with laptops in general, your sound card options are limited...unless you get a Magma chassis, and they aren't cheap...

            PC's in general are much tougher to get stable to run audio but it can be done...


            • #7
              this is hotstixx.I just wanted to say thanx to digitsone,dr.kildrum and captain 54 for all their input.It is all very helpful and it's also a lot to digest,I've got some homework to do regarding the whole laptop/recording issue