Helpful ReplyThoughts on Laptops as Primary

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Sanderxpander
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/08/28 20:03:22 (permalink)
There are laptops for much less that would work easily well enough for mobile recording. There are also laptops for less that would do well enough for people with more modest production needs. But if you're talking "desktop replacement" feel (like my laptop has a desktop CPU, room for four harddisks and three video outputs) then I think that's about where you're at.
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Jim Roseberry
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/03 16:54:43 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abacab 2017/09/03 17:38:11
Starise
Many of the videos Cake has put out use laptops as demo units. When they go to NAMM or similar they seem to be using lappys. Maybe they see a trend away from  desktops?
 



Keep in mind that it's a whole lot easier to carry a laptop on plane... and to/from a trade-show.  
 
If you're used to the performance of a well-configured i7-6850k (or better), you won't find that in any laptop.
Our clients who compose for TV, Film, Video Games (pushing performance limits)... are all running fast desktops.
 

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Pragi
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/04 06:36:27 (permalink)
Another reason for running desktops is the price .
The cost for a compareable lappys are  higher ,that said
the sales of (decent )desktops are getting lesser in market share-
could be that laptops are getting cheaper as desktops cause of that in a while.
 
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Sanderxpander
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/04 09:37:57 (permalink)
If you only need one system, yeah. If you need a laptop anyway, it might be cheaper to invest in a really good one and forego the desktop altogether.

Of course Jim is right, you can't put something like an 6850K in one. For absolute top notch performance, desktops are still king and I think they always will be, simply because of heat dispersion and component size. But any modern quad core i7 can run any DAW comfortably for all but the most cutting edge needs. An i7 6700 (non K) is plenty of power for me for some time to come and that works great in my laptop.
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abacab
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/04 12:51:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/09/06 14:51:30
Laptops are all about convenience, rather than cost effectiveness.  If you need that, great!  But they are mostly disposable items.  Like a smart phone.
 
The absolute best way to a decent cost/performance ratio is to build your own computer.  That way you buy exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less.  Old parts can often be re-utilized, such as cases, drives, and power supplies.
 
Think about it, every time you upgrade to a new laptop you decommission the old case, power supply, keyboard, and monitor.

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Sanderxpander
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/04 13:14:32 (permalink)
That's true, and you pay for it. At the same time, desktops aren't as "upgradeable" as they might seem, with Intel changing sockets and chipsets so often. And I've been migrating hard disks and interfaces between laptops for years. But there are definitely trade-offs.
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abacab
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/04 13:31:22 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2017/09/06 14:51:55
Yup, I think that Intel just changes the sockets to force more motherboard replacements. 
 
I understand that there are generational changes that will make this necessary, such as adding support for newer faster memory, I/O ports, and buses.
 
I pretty much accept that a desktop upgrade will require at least these two items:  CPU & motherboard.  And sometimes RAM, for example if moving from a DDR3 to a DDR4 based board.
 
But often bundle pricing deals can be found for these three items, and all you have to do is swap them in, and everything else can usually stay put.  With Windows 10, you can even do this without re-installing the OS! 

Cakewalk: Sonar Platinum x64 2017-10; X3e; Dimension Pro; Rapture, Z3TA+2  Other: Akai VIP; AIR AIEP 3; BIAB; Ignite; Iris 2; SampleTank 3; SONiVOX; SynthMaster; Syntronik; VocalizerPro; Tracktion Waveform OS: Win10 Pro x64 1703 System: Homebuilt Asus; i3 3.4Ghz; 8GB DDR3; Intel HD Graphics; Dual Monitors; Samsung EVO 850 SSD, 250GB; WD 1.0TB 7200rpm; PCIe FireWire  Audio: M-Audio FW-410;  Controllers: A-300PRO; Alesis VX49; CME Xkey  Hardware: Roland JV880; JV1080; XP-30; Alesis QS-6; Casio CZ-1000; Mackie 1202
#37
Starise
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 14:56:40 (permalink)
While I can appreciate all views on this subject, there's  one other option for the portable user that can potentially replace a laptop in a live recording situation. -Portable recorders-
If all an engineer is doing is capturing remote audio for future editing, simply use a decent portable recorder and later dump the tracks to the studio computer. You can buy these for much less than a laptop.
My old Zoom has two mic inputs with phantom power and two on board mics.

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#38
Jim Roseberry
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 15:50:55 (permalink)
Though not an inexpensive audio interface, the Fireface UFX supports direct recording to its USB port.
Perfect for capturing remote multi-track audio...

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
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Sanderxpander
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 17:08:55 (permalink)
Fair points, but going back to the original post the question wasn't so much what affordable options for on-site recording are but whether laptops in general can replace a desktop as primary DAW. Answer: mostly yes, with some caveats.
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Jim Roseberry
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 17:56:55 (permalink)
The answer is a definite... "it depends".  
 
 

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Starise
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 18:10:39 (permalink)
The "mostly yes" is an interesting answer. 
 
I think if I had a high spec'd laptop and used it every day for say a year with no problems, in exactly the same way as I do now with zero issues I might start to like it. I don't see that happening though. I have too much fun when it come upgrade time for the desktop. 
 
More to the point which I was drifting from. If we are going to get specific here, then specifically commercial studios or studios doing intensive mix work DO NOT use laptops on a regular basis as their mainstay computers. Anyone hoping to either enter that business or duplicate it won't use a lappy either. There are good reasons for that. I hope this doesn't come off as condescending. This is just a simple fact. It doesn't mean laptops aren't ok for the home studio. 
 
Since we are being specific and to the point, in that case laptops don't make good replacements for desktops. This is one reason why I think so many who have come from that background will use a desktop whenever possible. 
 
It isn't as difficult as seems implied to make the kinds of hardware changes necessary to a desktop to keep it updated. It's actually a less expensive way to run a studio if one chooses that route.
 
 

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#42
abacab
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 18:32:59 (permalink)
I think one of the other major attractions for laptops, besides the portable studio aspect, would be using it as a live performance gig machine, rather than as a recording studio.
 
If you watch the promo videos for various DJ/beatmaking software, they usually show a laptop as the centerpiece of the producers kit.  That may lead to many assuming that's all that it takes...
 
Which may be true, but still it depends on your needs.
 
I am aware that some Sonar users have laptops for live situations, but would bet most of them also have a desktop as well.

Cakewalk: Sonar Platinum x64 2017-10; X3e; Dimension Pro; Rapture, Z3TA+2  Other: Akai VIP; AIR AIEP 3; BIAB; Ignite; Iris 2; SampleTank 3; SONiVOX; SynthMaster; Syntronik; VocalizerPro; Tracktion Waveform OS: Win10 Pro x64 1703 System: Homebuilt Asus; i3 3.4Ghz; 8GB DDR3; Intel HD Graphics; Dual Monitors; Samsung EVO 850 SSD, 250GB; WD 1.0TB 7200rpm; PCIe FireWire  Audio: M-Audio FW-410;  Controllers: A-300PRO; Alesis VX49; CME Xkey  Hardware: Roland JV880; JV1080; XP-30; Alesis QS-6; Casio CZ-1000; Mackie 1202
#43
Jim Roseberry
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 19:25:00 (permalink)
FWIW, I was recently looking at a laptop to take out (running Ableton Live) for live triggering of samples.
Wanted to be able to trigger those samples at ASIO buffer size smaller than 64-samples (for super tight timing).
 
No laptop would deliver the level of performance I was after.
Built a large Cube using a 6850k.  Performance power to burn... and no limitations.
Only downside is size/cartage

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Jim Roseberry
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Sanderxpander
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Re: Thoughts on Laptops as Primary 2017/09/06 20:46:34 (permalink)
I can do that at 48 samples with my Fireface UCX. But I don't usually need to run in sync with other hardware or something and for live playing of softsynths 128 samples is just fine.

No, big budget commercial studios don't use laptops but
1. They don't need to be mobile because people come to them and
2. The discussion here seems to focus a lot on the role of "engineer" (whether it's in a big budget studio or doing mobile recording, bringing the recordings back to a big studio)

There is more in the world than home studio or big budget commercial studio. I'm a professional. I produce a lot. On many locations. And unless it's a live gig or rehearsal I'm recording, it's always been the case that I do some editing (a quick Melodyne?) or mixing (can we get an mp3 of what we did today etc) so it is really useful to have powerful laptop rather than something that just records. And when your laptop is powerful enough, there is simply no need to have a powerful desktop too. Yes, desktops "max out" at way higher specs. But I didn't even need to go for the overclockable K version of my i7 6700 - I simply don't max it out. I don't do extreme productions like orchestral movie scores but as a keyboard player I use lots of softsynths and I don't like to freeze any of them generally. I have a ton of 3rd party plugins that I use liberally. I believe my needs are probably above average, if not at the top of the spectrum. For that kind of use, a good laptop can absolutely function well as primary DAW, and doing so comes with perks as well as drawbacks.
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