Old 07-27-2011, 06:49 PM   #1
fastlanestoner
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Default Moving to USB

I've been researching for a new laptop and have given up on being able to use my Saffire Pro 40. I have a great desktop that it works great with, which I now realize is hard to find in FW. Now that I don't have to worry about the TI chip for FW I can be a little more flexible in my choice of machine. I just have a few questions. Aside from a great CPU and lots of RAM, what other hardware aspects need to be addressed?

I'm aware that a 7200rpm hard drive is desired.

What about the graphics? I've read that integrated graphics cards (soldered to the motherboard?) are worse if you intend to use the computer as a DAW. It's desired for the gfx to be a separate thing?

As for using a USB interface, does that bypass the onboard soundcard? Therefore the interface becomes the soundcard?

Finding the right interface (again!...damn 1394...) is another issue.

Cheers!
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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depending on what you're doing, latency can be more or less of an issue, but I like the capability of having in the box fx and virtual instruments often running multiple instances . . . without having to go back in the middle of something, reset latency values when adding instruments or effects and/or unticking vst and or muting/ soloing different parts, and hassles such as those. On my old Emu 0404 usb, which was a great interface in some respects, recording could be a hassle because it was hard to set low latencies with several effects running at once. With my new RME babyface I can set the latency at 128 samples, run a ton of stuff, and forget clicking and ticking so as to actually work on stuff. It also has reverb and eq built in the software, so you can use these with very minimal impact on cpu, which could be a consideration with a laptop.

This isn't the thing to get prolly though if you need lots of ins like as in recording a band unless you already have or want to buy some outboard routing stuffola. Good luck . . . hopefully someone else can help you with your other questions.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:56 AM   #3
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Hmmm...yeah latency is a virtual non-issue with my firewire interface. As for what I'm leaning toward...it's the Line 6 toneport UX8. I'll be bypassing the pres so for me it's more about channels.

I have my eye on the Focusrite Scarlet too.

I would really love any help involving my laptop purchase, as that will come first.

Cheers!
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:15 AM   #4
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Yeah I'm kind of in the same boat.. My old interface that I've been using for a few years now (mackie onyx satellite) works great with my old desktop and I love its pre's but I need to get a laptop now and im not looking to spring for a macbook (as it seems those are the only ones that have firewire these days). BUT i've been looking at laptops on amazon and i think a decent solution would be to buy a pc laptop model from maybe a year or two ago... a lot of those at least have an expresscard slot and you can get yourself a firewire/expresscard adapter for about $20. those laptops with decent enough memory and an i5 processor seem to be running from about $550 - 800. Its worth taking a look at least
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:51 AM   #5
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This is what i want: http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_fireface_uc.php
It's supposed to be rock solid and have great pres. If money was no problem i'd go for the UFX which has both FW and USB
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner View Post
I've been researching for a new laptop and have given up on being able to use my Saffire Pro 40. I have a great desktop that it works great with, which I now realize is hard to find in FW. Now that I don't have to worry about the TI chip for FW I can be a little more flexible in my choice of machine. I just have a few questions. Aside from a great CPU and lots of RAM, what other hardware aspects need to be addressed?

I'm aware that a 7200rpm hard drive is desired.

What about the graphics? I've read that integrated graphics cards (soldered to the motherboard?) are worse if you intend to use the computer as a DAW. It's desired for the gfx to be a separate thing?

As for using a USB interface, does that bypass the onboard soundcard? Therefore the interface becomes the soundcard?

Finding the right interface (again!...damn 1394...) is another issue.

Cheers!
If you have the budget, RME USB audio interfaces are excellent.
If you're looking for a solid USB audio interface at a lower price point, you might also want to checkout the MOTU Hybrid units.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:43 AM   #7
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I wish everyone to know that FireWire express cards are even less likely to work for audio. The host controller has to be TI, as does the card, and even then it's still not guaranteed to work.

FW is a fast and beatiful technology...when it works...which is almost never. I got lucky with my desktop and I love my Pro 40 but I need something mobile.

USB it is.

RME stuff is out of my range. I need 6-8 I/O as I track rock bands. I just need this for tracking, as any heavy duty mixing cna be done on my i7 desktop.

Keep the conversation flowing!
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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Sorry, don't know of any interfaces which have that many inputs and cost less than an RME.

Edit: And when it comes to desktops, getting a FW interface to work isn't really a problem. TI FW cards are easy to get a hold of. Laptops are a nightmare :P
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:10 PM   #9
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USB3 is looming. Already have it on my desktop.

There is also a eight I/O version of the Focusrite Scarlet apparently. I have a saffire 6 and it behaves itself very nicely. Se threads on Saffie 6/usb interfaces for mor einfo.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anokah View Post
Sorry, don't know of any interfaces which have that many inputs and cost less than an RME.
MOTU mkIII Hybrid models (have both USB and Firewire connections)

The key to getting a rock-solid Firewire audio interface is to start with a quality TI chipset Firewire controller.
Then... add a proven rock-solid Firewire audio interface. RME and MOTU would be my first two choices.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Roseberry View Post
MOTU mkIII Hybrid models (have both USB and Firewire connections)

The key to getting a rock-solid Firewire audio interface is to start with a quality TI chipset Firewire controller.
Then... add a proven rock-solid Firewire audio interface. RME and MOTU would be my first two choices.
Yes, that is true. And as i said, with desktops, that's not such a big problem. When it comes to laptops it seems like searching for the holy grail. Monty Python-style.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:59 PM   #12
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I think some people are missing the point...FW is out of consideration. Let's talk about what a good laptop needs hardware-wise to run a DAW smoothly.

Rock bands. 8 i/o
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner View Post
I think some people are missing the point...FW is out of consideration. Let's talk about what a good laptop needs hardware-wise to run a DAW smoothly.
Erm... power supply unit?




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Old 07-30-2011, 01:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlanestoner View Post
I wish everyone to know that FireWire express cards are even less likely to work for audio. The host controller has to be TI, as does the card, and even then it's still not guaranteed to work.

FW is a fast and beatiful technology...when it works...which is almost never. I got lucky with my desktop and I love my Pro 40 but I need something mobile.

USB it is.

RME stuff is out of my range. I need 6-8 I/O as I track rock bands. I just need this for tracking, as any heavy duty mixing cna be done on my i7 desktop.

Keep the conversation flowing!
you can check out the Tascam us 600 and us 800 models, they are usb 2.0 and the US 600 has 6 ins and 4 outs and the US 800 model has 8 ins and 4 outs if i am correct. the 600 runs 200 new and the 800 runs 250 new. if you need bigger than that, the tascam us 1800 has 16 ins and 4 outs. you can find one for 300 new.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:09 AM   #15
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The Tascams are out as well b/c they don't interfac with PT9. While it's not my main DAW I will be working with it at school so I need something else.

Right now the contenders are:

Focusrite Scarlett 18i6
Line 6 Toneport UX8

I'm leaning toward the Focusrite b/c I have a Saffire Pro 40 and it's the beeskneez. I don't really need as many pres as channels as I would use outboard anyway...

It really comes down to the converters, and its USB performance/latency.

As far as machines, what are you guys running in your studios smoothly? High CPU/Ram we know, what are some other specs you have?
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:52 AM   #16
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What about Presonus' AudioBox 44VSL or even 1818VSL?
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:56 PM   #17
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I'm not a fan of the pres or converters in Presonus Products. Alesis same, although I will look into it.

I went to Fry's today and ran DPC latency checker on a variety of machines. I was actually surprised to find that many of them performed very well, given a few spikes here and there.

I tried a Samsung that was pretty bad but the HP, Sony, and Dells that I tested seemed great.

Just thought I'd share that nugget. Lenovo tested the best...think it was an ideapad.

cheers!
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Old 07-31-2011, 02:35 AM   #18
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So i'm guessing you're flush with preamps then? Since the Scarlett only has two that is.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:55 AM   #19
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Converters are much more of an issue when it comes to interfaces. Preamps can be bypassed, and if they can't, your interface is so low quality that it wouldn't really matter in the end anyway.

I very much like the pres on my Saffire 40, but find you have to crank the gain, even w/ high SPL sources. I'm sure not much is different in that regard on the Scarlett.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:42 AM   #20
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*bump*
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:52 PM   #21
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I've pretty much decied on either the HP EliteBook 8460p or the Pro Book 4530s. Anyone have experience with either of these models?
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:33 PM   #22
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I use this Acer Aspire with a Tascam US1641 and it cranks right along flawlessly. I've been pretty impressed with it really.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834115984
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #23
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Nice review of HP EliteBook 8460p at AnandTech. Seems good, except the screen.
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Old 08-26-2011, 04:35 PM   #24
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I decided to go with the Elitebook 8560p and the TI express card. It's a BEAST. No bloatware, runs quiet and fast, and most of all WORKS.
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