View Full Version : Composing on a laptop...

Peter W
2009-02-24, 14:21
Hello everyone!

I need a little help finding a good laptop for a music project i'm starting. It's going to be used for music composing mainly. Renoise will be the musical tool of choice. The project is for beginners and they will learn the basics of composing in renoise. They will use soft samplers, softsynths and vst effects.

The criteria are the following: Fast (able to handle the normal stress levels of heavy usage of vst's and such, 4 gigs of ram, and preferably a big enough screen to work with. The computer is not going to used for gaming so an expensive graphics card is out of the question ofcourse. ;)

Suggestions are more than welcome, and also if someone out there composing on a laptop from time to time maybe even using renoise please if you have any ideas let me know what you think.

Thank you!

2009-02-25, 20:26
I have a HP pavilion dv5 . 2ghz dualcore 3mb ram 300gbharddrive and that works really well,the screen resolution only goes up to 1280*800 widescreen, not much, wish it could get higher. So a good grafic card in the laptop is pretty much a need i think if you want to get high resolution :P
And renoise have support for dualcore so that is really great :D

It has vista and not xp but that does'nt change anything when running renoise :D

It costs 9000:- when I bought it, There are better laptops but I don't know the price on those and what price you are willing to go to :D

Peter W
2009-02-25, 21:23
Yes I was thinking about a hp laptop and around that pricerange as well. I was thinking to go for this maybe. Tell me what you think. http://www.komplett.se/k/ki.aspx?sku=362876

Max Levin
2009-02-25, 22:20
My Acer Aspire 5930G geforce 9600gt 4gb ram 320gb hdd was pretty cheap(about 600) and works a charm with Reason 4.

Peter W
2009-02-26, 09:23
Yes, that looks very interesting. Perfect price range and has all the goodies I need. Screensize is enough too. Thanks! I will do some in depth research of it and if it satisfies our needs i'll go with this one. :)

2009-02-26, 11:39
I'd say get a quadcore processor, but those aren't out for laptops yet, are they? :p If you use VST synths, processor speed is very important, and should get priority over everything else when deciding what to buy.

The laptop's integrated soundcard is probably going to let through all kinds of noise (and suck in other ways as well :p), so you're going to need an external one. Get one with a physical output volume knob, so you don't have to tweak it with mouse like I have to do with my U46.

Also, if you like to keep the laptop on your lap (or if you do live gigs), get a notebook cooler. (An example here http://www.antec.com/usa/productDetails.php?lan=us&id=75004 but any similar product will do.) They cost something like 30€, and make using the laptop a lot more comfortable since you'll always have a flat, cool surface under the laptop and your balls won't boil when CPU usage gets high.

Peter W
2009-02-26, 17:05
Thanks, really good advice. This means I have to do a lot more research. :D

2009-02-26, 17:49
Yeah soundcards in laptops are generally bad so look for a good external one with ASIO :D
And do have a BIG look around first before you decide, ones you have bought it it's no turning back :P
Good luck :D

Peter W
2009-02-27, 08:56
Indeed, I will choose wisely and do some extensive research. Thanks for all the help, I have a good enough idea on what to look for now. :)

2009-02-27, 10:15
I'd recommed You some PCMCIA or PCI-e stuff, there're some constantly appearing issues with USB and FireWire on Windows. I personally have EMU1616 and it works perfectly with my laptop and with my desktop as well (connected via PCI-PCMCIA adapter).

If You'd like to not have problems with sound card, just pick the MacBook with any FireWire interface :). At D16 we purchased a Phonic FireFly 808, and it's impossible to connect it to Windows - we checked that on all our computers around :), but after connecting this thing to MacBook, it has started to work like a charm and allows to run with 64 samples length buffer - not ASIO needed on MacOS, only native CoreAudio.

2009-02-27, 11:42
A Macbook is not a bad choice either, no. Renoise works just as nice under MacOS. You can pop over to my place and try it if you like, Peter. :)

Peter W
2009-02-27, 12:24
I fear the mac... it's the unknown.... :eek: What if I start liking the alien computer? ;)

2009-02-27, 16:11
hehe :), MacBook is basically a PC, You can use Apple Bootcamp to run both; MacOS and Windows systems.

2009-03-01, 16:12
I disagree on the whole "Firewire doesn't work in Windows" thing. I'm running my Focusrite Saffire LE on Windows with no problems whatsoever, but I made sure to have a Texas Instruments Firewire chipset in my machine, because I know they work best.

2009-03-01, 16:44
Yes. But does it really the way how the compatibility issues should been solved (finding right controller)? Texas instruments is best for Focussrite maybe, but it didn't run with Fireface in our case, for RME VIA controllers seem to be the best :) That's why I mentioned about FireWire, audio interfaces and windows. Lottery.

2009-03-02, 06:13
I do a lot of sound editing on a notebook, I only have a 3GHZ proc and a gig of RAM, it works well enough, when running the more RAM intensive processes, I get to kick back for about thirty seconds while it processes everything. I use a Creative PCMIA card, I can't recall the model offhand, I also use a DAC, a headphone amp, and a pair of Grado SR325i's, I'm sure it all gets bottlenecked due to the soundcard, but it beats running a 1/8" cable straight out of the notebook soundcard.