Author Topic: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio  (Read 1894 times)

Julio Di Benedetto

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Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« on: May 26, 2012, 08:06:55 AM »
Im about to start a major studio downsizing to a more mobile rig and Im looking for suggestions regarding laptops, power, size, screen options etc.

Im running logic pro 8 on a G5 2.5 quad core 16g ram system currently so it has to be a Macbook Pro as I dont want to switch Daw's.

I would like to hear from PC users as well because regardless of platform I imagine the positive aspects of a laptop and their pitfalls would be somewhat universal.

I plan on using soft synths...something new for me and limited hardware.   I already have my interface, a Metric Halo uln2.

Also any thoughts on hard drives.....SSD?   External Drives....Thunderbolt?   New or used Macbook.  OSX?

Lots to consider.

Thanks...Julio

mgriffin

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 11:07:08 AM »
I love my Macbook Pro but... you can't put 16GB RAM in the current models. Max RAM is 8GB. Also I have a 17" model and rumor is that nobody's buying 17" any more and they'll discontinue soon.

There are rumors Apple is going to do something more like the Macbook Air for the replacement to the Macbook Pro line. Lack of an optical drive is no big deal, and I'm sure Apple realizes there are pros who need a powerful machine.

I think an SSD drive makes a difference in terms of quickness, but it's too expensive (in my opinion) to use for regular storage. I have an SSD in my Mac Pro for the OS and user/system folders, and store all my documents on a regular ATA drive. This is a pre-Thunderbolt model or I'd consider getting external Thunderbolt storage. Firewire and even USB2 are pretty quick though. I also have two network drives for backups and bulk storage, and while you wouldn't want to try to record multitrack digital audio over ethernet (short of gigabit), you could certainly do so over  Thunderbolt, Firewire, or USB2 or 3.

Used Macbooks hold their value well, which is good for the seller but means that for the buyer, they're not really a great option. You can usually get better, newer tech for not much more than last year's tech. If you want a 17" screen you may want to buy a current model rather than wait for an update. Of course, I could probably do just as well with a 15" considering I'm usually connected to an external monitor anyway. Given the pixel density of the 17" screen, I actually have more screen real estate (more pixels, if not more square inches of screen) on the laptop screen than on the external 23" monitor next to it.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

LNerell

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 12:06:59 PM »
From my experience with a MacBook Pro and live performance.

1. Get the fastest model you can afford.
2. Get the largest screen you can afford.
3. SSD drives are great for speed but are still rather small and expensive.
4. Using Logic live was ok, but I found it hard switching from different instruments on different channels. For SoundQuest Fest I ended up only using Logic for midi. All my instruments were in a custom setup I made in Main Stage. That worked out quite well for the most part. I had several softsynths, samplers, and hardware synths all mapped out across my keyboard, I also had backing tracks running in it along with looping software. Logic just sent patch change info to my various devices (including Main Stape) and midi timecode to Main Stage so everything stayed in tempo when needed.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »
Thanks Mike & Loren for your insight.  Nice glimpse inside your live setup Loren.

Heres a link to a recent 16 gig ram setup from OWC I came across today for the current Macbook......painful sticker price.  Their 8 gig option is almost $100 cheaper than apples 8 gig option http://www.macrumors.com/2011/03/09/16-gb-ram-upgrades-for-new-macbook-pros-now-available/

SSD is expensive.....I have almost 2 tb of glyph firewire external storage.  I will stick with that and install a SSd drive in the laptop as you did Mike.  What size SSD do you have installed Mike?

It will be a challenge going to 17" Screen after using a 23" apple display.  Im hoping that as one works much closer to the screen it wont be so bad and there are different resolution option that give more screen space.

Any thoughts to the anti glare screen macbook pro?  Cant say Im fond of the glare that comes of the new Imacs when I had the chance to use one.  I like the look of my current brushed aluminum 23" lcd apple display.  No glare from that.

El culto

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2012, 04:20:25 AM »
Keep in mind that with OSX Lion (any new Mac has this installed) itīs not possible to run anymore Logic 8! You have to upgrade and pay for version 9.

Cheers,
Tomas

mgriffin

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 02:57:25 PM »
Thanks Mike & Loren for your insight.  Nice glimpse inside your live setup Loren.

Heres a link to a recent 16 gig ram setup from OWC I came across today for the current Macbook......painful sticker price.  Their 8 gig option is almost $100 cheaper than apples 8 gig option http://www.macrumors.com/2011/03/09/16-gb-ram-upgrades-for-new-macbook-pros-now-available/



The sticker price is painful because that announcement is old. OWC sells the same thing now for about 1/10 the price!

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Apple_MacBook_MacBook_Pro/Upgrade/DDR3_1333MHz_SDRAM

Didn't realize the RAM limit in these was just a matter of no 8GB chips available at the time... thought it was a true maximum. Still, 8GB is serving me OK.



Quote
SSD is expensive.....I have almost 2 tb of glyph firewire external storage.  I will stick with that and install a SSd drive in the laptop as you did Mike.  What size SSD do you have installed Mike?



I have a 120GB SSD in the Mac Pro. It's enough for the OS and apps, but really not much else. You have to move all documents and downloads and everything else to another drive. That's no big deal with a Mac Pro, with 4 internal drives and 4 more external ones connected all the time, but with a laptop it makes it tough. If (when) I put an SSD in my Macbook Pro it'll be larger, probably 256GB, so I won't have to worry about that any more.



Quote
It will be a challenge going to 17" Screen after using a 23" apple display.  Im hoping that as one works much closer to the screen it wont be so bad and there are different resolution option that give more screen space.

Any thoughts to the anti glare screen macbook pro?  Cant say Im fond of the glare that comes of the new Imacs when I had the chance to use one.  I like the look of my current brushed aluminum 23" lcd apple display.  No glare from that.


Really when I sit with my 17" screen in my lap it seems large enough, from so close... not as large as the 30" ACD I have upstairs but probably equivalent to a 22-23" monitor at a normal distance. Higher pixel density makes the 17" Macbook Pro screen pretty nice.

I wouldn't buy a glossy screen, personally. All my screens are matte or "non-glare"
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 06:54:30 AM »
Keep in mind that with OSX Lion (any new Mac has this installed) itīs not possible to run anymore Logic 8! You have to upgrade and pay for version 9.

Cheers,
Tomas


Thanks for the information Tomas, I did not know this......Logic 9 is on my software upgrade list.




The sticker price is painful because that announcement is old. OWC sells the same thing now for about 1/10 the price!



Thats a huge difference in price...something to consider.


Really when I sit with my 17" screen in my lap it seems large enough, from so close... not as large as the 30" ACD I have upstairs but probably equivalent to a 22-23" monitor at a normal distance. Higher pixel density makes the 17" Macbook Pro screen pretty nice.


Good to know....thanks!

LNerell

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 10:16:08 PM »
Really when I sit with my 17" screen in my lap it seems large enough, from so close... not as large as the 30" ACD I have upstairs but probably equivalent to a 22-23" monitor at a normal distance. Higher pixel density makes the 17" Macbook Pro screen pretty nice.
Good to know....thanks!

When I used my 15" Macbook Pro for my live performance I used a program called Spaces (its in System Preferences) which allowed me to put different apps on different screens. So Main Stage was on screen 1, and Logic was on screen 2. It made a big difference and I could easily move from one screen to the other by just using my arrow buttons. Not quite as nice as two monitors but it worked for me as I only needed to see Logic to start it at the beginning of the show but could easily switch to it when needed.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Laptop & other suggestions for mobile studio
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 02:05:44 PM »
I have had my new Macbook Pro for a few days.....17" i7 quad core w/8 gb of ram and I installed a 240 gb SSD

Now the fun part......updating all software & drivers  :o

Thanks for the guidance