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

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,
Alan

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#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.

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

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5021
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.

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

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

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)

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

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9444
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..
_________________________
www.francarango.com



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#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
_________________________
~ ~ ~
Bill

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

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 42606
Fran is correct as usual a LT is a MUST

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

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14928
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,

Gary



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

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

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)

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

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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#92044 - 07/24/05 08:05 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9444
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Yes it does..
_________________________
www.francarango.com



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#92045 - 07/24/05 09:18 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
GlennT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 1774
Loc: Medina, OH, USA
And now so does PG Music's PowerTracks.

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#92046 - 07/24/05 10:02 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Scott Langholff Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/09/02
Posts: 3134
Loc: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Also, if I were traveling with a laptop, I would want the least amount of gear to do a good job. In this case, I definitely would not want an external sound card. Just more junk to haul. I would get this or a similar internal sound card:
http://www.xpcgear.com/aud2zsntbk.html

Scott

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#92047 - 07/25/05 05:06 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5044
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
If you want to step up a notch,this is a most excellent card for a laptop. http://www.zzounds.com/prodsearch?form=prodsearch&q=indigo&cat2=3039

Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#92048 - 07/25/05 05:47 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
K1 & K2 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Rockhampton, Queensland, Austr...
Hello everyone,
Thankyou all for your helpful advice & comments. I can see that the laptop would possibly be the more appropriate way to go for my needs at the present time as well as catering for the future.

What laptop specifications would you recommend for:-
(a) Stereo Recording from the L & R outputs of my mixer.
(b) Multi-Track Recording from my mixer.

Would both situations require a similarly equipted machine?

I notice that some of you mention that you record to Acid Pro & then use Sound Forge for editing & effects. I was wondering about the reason for this. I have installed Sound Forge, Cool Edit Pro, Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 in my home computer.

I have noted all of your comments & these will help greatly in my decision.

Thankyou once again,

Yours In Music
Alan

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#92049 - 07/25/05 06:09 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
wrinkles303 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/24/02
Posts: 371
Loc: worthington ,ohio
should my keyboards fail, i'm lucky enough to have back up keyboards. i use 2 on stage
at all times. plus 2 more at home for
extra jobs.i've had only one keyboard failure (korg pa 50,still in the shop after 3wks)in 12 years and never on stage. since 95% of our songs are done live, we quit using computers on stage a few years back. i only use it for creating and editing styles fot the arrangers when needed.

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#92050 - 07/25/05 10:17 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14928
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Sound Forge links directly to Acid Pro for editing purposes and provides all the special effects anyone could possibly use.

As for the computer, Dell's $499 Inspiron laptop will more than suffice.

Gary

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

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#92051 - 07/26/05 04:21 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
K1 & K2 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Rockhampton, Queensland, Austr...
Hi everyone,

Thanks again to everyone who has responded to my posting. Your inputs have been most helpful & a decision will be made soon.

By the way, are any of the PCMCIA soundcards significantly better than the integrated sound chips used in laptops & also how do they compare with external soundcards.

Yours in Music,
Alan

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#92052 - 07/26/05 04:36 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5044
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Yes, the aforementioned Echo Indigo slides into the slot and has far superior sound. I have the playback only version,but ,the I/O models also have excellent recording capabilities.
Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#92053 - 07/26/05 05:19 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
SemiLiveMusic Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 2189
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Roel:
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)


Roel, please expand on the above. Are you saying you can record on MD and transfer those files digitally to a computer without having to play them back and record them? Once you get the files on the computer, can you convert those files to WAV or make cd's from those files?

I checked into this extensively over the past two years, always came up "no go. can't be done." MD quality is excellent but due to proprietary format, that always killed it for me.


------------------
Me Bill
Yamaha PSR2000
_________________________
~ ~ ~
Bill

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#92054 - 07/26/05 10:18 PM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Scott Langholff Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/09/02
Posts: 3134
Loc: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Hi Bernie

It's good to know that Echo are producing these high quality 2496 internal sound cards now. I have a studio quality Mia by Echo Audio and it sounds terrific.

Sound Blaster cards are of course more widely known, but few know that while they say you can record at 2496, this is not true. There was a law suit over it. Apparently you can edit at 2496.

Does recording at 2496 make a difference in sound? And how! I tested it out, and even if you don't edit, you are able to get more data on the recording so that when you bring it back down to 16 bits for CD purposes the sound is very, very nice.

That's what I did with the recordings on my demo page. Everything is just the way it came out of my Tyros. No editing was done.

For anybody that's interested here is the link to my demos.
http://scottlmusic.com/Listen.html

Best
Scott Langholff

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#92055 - 07/27/05 05:39 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5044
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Hi Scott
I have the Audigy2 nx ext for midi playback,with the $10 soundfont GM soundset upgrade played through Z5500 speaker system. Great sound.I am sure the Mia is better. The midi playback on my laptop using the Echo Indigo into the
Bose PAS is downright awsome.

I am just venturing into recording and don't know much about it,except I am going to live mic keyboard and vocals to a condenser mic. I only have the Creative interface to the computer. Just for two tracks for self criticizm, I might go into my Mackie mixer and into my Tascom Multitracker. The problem is it is tape,and there would be degradation from there to the pc. I would go direct out of the Bose,but I have added a touch of reverb to my vocal channel which wouldn't be present with a direct feed.
Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#92056 - 07/27/05 05:48 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5044
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Scott
I just came from from website and enjoyed your music. In listening to your "Off The Cuff", it is evident you are an old B3 man. I was too,but not that good.
Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#92057 - 07/27/05 06:13 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9444
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Bernie, I don't think Scott is an old B3 man...he's a Steinway guy..
_________________________
www.francarango.com



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#92058 - 07/27/05 07:27 AM Re: Laptop As Back-up & Recording Device
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5044
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Hi Fran
He could have fooled me.I guess when you're good you're good.

Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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