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#92034 - 07/24/05 12:07 AM Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
K1 & K2 Offline

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Rockhampton, Queensland, Austr...
Hi everyone,
After reading various postings, I have decided that we need a back up for our live music should our keyboards fail.
I am leaning towards a laptop for this purpose. It would be required to:-

1. Record our live performances as a stereo wave file using possibly Sound Forge, then I'll arrange the tunes into a some sort of order on the hard drive. This would take quite a number of performances to record all of our tunes but would be the most efficient method as far as time goes.

2. Record our live performances as above from time to time to give us an indication of how we are sounding.

3. Record our live performances in multi - track format using possibly Cool Edit & an external soundcard box to handle 2 mic. inputs & 6 keyboard inputs. I plan to use the external soundcard box also with my home computer.

I was looking at the multi-track option as another possibility should I go the laptop way this making it a multi purpose unit. I'm looking for a unit to cover as many bases as possible.

Other options I've looked at include a Mini Disk Recorder/CD Player & CD Recorder/Hard Disk Recorder.

Your input, suggestions & comments would be most welcome.

Yours In Music,

#92035 - 07/24/05 01:16 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
chony Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 1247
Loc: New York
You need some good software for editing, mixing and mastering your tracks. I'd suggest Cubase for professionality or Logic for an all-in-one program. Chony.

#92036 - 07/24/05 02:51 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
abacus Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5118
Loc: English Riviera, UK
Hi Alan
Get an external sound card that will record at 24 bit resolution, forget using the internal sound chip as unless you buy the very expensive laptops the quality is not that good.
Get a laptop with a large hard drive, (or add an external one) as Wav files take up a lot of space, particularly when you record at 24-bit resolution.
The choice of software is up to you, but please remember that Apple bought up Emagic (The makers of logic) and so it is now only available for Apple computers, although for the time being they are still providing support for PC users.
Hope this helps.

English Riviera:
Live entertainment, Real Ale, Great Scenery, Great Beaches, why would anyone want to live anywhere else (I�m definitely staying put).

#92037 - 07/24/05 05:05 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Roel Offline

Registered: 06/24/99
Posts: 1232
Hi Alan,
At first I would NOT go for a laptop as a backup incase your keyboard fails.
For this purpose the MiniDisk is a very good/inexpensive option. It is small, easy to handle, selecting songs is fast.

For multi-track recording and sound-editing the PC or MAC is a good choice. As Chony wrote, the software depends on personal taste and requirements.

External soundcards :
Firewire types work great. M-Audio, Protools, Firebox.... etc.
(Try to avoid brands like Creative and Terratec)

#92038 - 07/24/05 05:45 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9673
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
I disagree with most of the above negatives..
With my band, not only do I use a laptop for backup but also for main performances..

The quality recorded to a laptop is fine for live..Use a mixer to get the settings you need ..volumes, EQ etc.

I use Acid Pro to record and Sound Forge If I need to add effects ..

After recording I save the wave as MP3, at 192 bitrate..

Advantages over mini disk ,etc...You can read a page of tunes at a time on your explorer view..and just click on a named song...I use Winamp as a player..The combination is unbeatable..

Go for the laptop..
I'll bet you will soon depend on the laptop for primary use and not just a backup..

#92039 - 07/24/05 06:13 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
SemiLiveMusic Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 2189
Loc: Louisiana, USA
IMO, minidisk is not the way to go. The files are proprietary and incompatible with other file types.

Me Bill
Yamaha PSR2000
~ ~ ~

#92040 - 07/24/05 07:07 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 43635
Loc: USA
Fran is correct as usual a LT is a MUST

#92041 - 07/24/05 07:20 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15101
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
The laptop is the only way to go. Not only do you have the ability to use it as a full backup system if the keyboard were to fail, but you can do many, many things with a laptop than cannot be done with a stand-alone recorder. Fran outlined just a few.

You can play MP3s, WAV and Midi files with a laptop, and have complete control over everything. Selection of any format is instantaneous with the click of a mouse or the touch of a key.

You can store huge quantities of the above files, categorize them in separate folders, and if neccessary, record and modify them using Acid Pro. And, when the program is linked to Sound Forge, the editing possibilities are endless.

You can also store massive quantites of lyrics files, display them instantly in MS Word or any other word processing program, which also allows for editing. You can download those lyrics from a host of Internet sites, therefore you don't have to type a word. Try that with an external recorder. You can also store huge numbers of style files, edit them, and some keyboards will actually allow the transfer of those files directly from the laptop using certain types of software.

Lots of possibilities and options with the laptop, especially for OMB entertainers. And, the cost is constantly coming down. $499 for a brand new Dell in the newspapers this past week.

Good luck on whatever you decide upon,


Travlin' Easy
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

#92042 - 07/24/05 07:44 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Roel Offline

Registered: 06/24/99
Posts: 1232
When needed as a backup for just the keyboard(s), simply record the keyboard-parts (thru separate subchannels) during performing live.
You can do this with either an MP3-, MD-, laptop- or Harddiskrecorder.

Me Bill:
What you say about MD is tru but I consider the MD to be not a computer that handles files, but as a recorder/playback device. There is a way to transfer songs in a digital way. (SPDIF)

I myself would never use an audio-file player on stage for accompaniment, but on Alan's question about 'keyboard backup' my choice could very well be MD- or MP3-player. (no moving parts)

#92043 - 07/24/05 07:16 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Vquestor Offline

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 554
I agree with Fran and Travlin'easy,
I would also suggest Cakewalk Home Studio or
Sonar since you can have audio with Midi tracks
should you need that.

Fran, BTW, does Sound Forge do time stretching
like Acid does?

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