Laptop Recomendations

Posted by: Musical704

Laptop Recomendations - 12/18/02 07:30 AM

I will using it primarily to store midifiles and styles. I would also like to archive and store music from cd's. I want quality not necessarily cheap. Any particular brand that is super reliable? 256 vs. 512k ram? Quality soundcard for midifile playback? Processer speed? What type if any do you use in your music life?

Thank you!
Posted by: Uncle Dave

Re: Laptop Recomendations - 12/18/02 07:36 AM

Get as much RAM as you can afford. It's NEVER wasted.
With wave table software like the Roland Virtual Sound Canvas, the sound card can be made to sound great with midi playback. Get at least a 40 GB HD to store MP3 data and get a backup drive (external) or ethernet connection to a desktop for transfers.
I use a very modest PIII 600 Mhx gateway with a 20 GB HD and I have over 4000 audio files and over 10,000 midi files on it.
Defrag often and "baby" it during transit.
WIN98se is still my choice for O/S because XP is still not compatible with all music stuff. I'm waiting for "slam dunk" reviews before I upgrade a system that works flawlessly.
Posted by: Clif Anderson

Re: Laptop Recomendations - 12/18/02 11:36 AM

While you are not intending to use your laptop as a sound module (driven by an external MIDI controller), you may find yourself wanting to in the future. In that case, the latency between when a sound is triggered and when it is heard is important. In this case, you do not want to use the built in Windows sound drivers, but ASIO drivers. I don't know of any laptops that come with ASIO drivers. However, there are many PMCIA, Firewire, and USB devices that come with ASIO drivers (bypassing the laptops internal sound card). Maybe the cheapest is the Echoaudio "Indigo", a $99 PMICA card with two stereo headphone outputs (which can also be used to drive powered speakers).
Posted by: Musical704

Re: Laptop Recomendations - 12/18/02 11:59 AM

Thanks all! Keep the suggestions coming

Any opinion on compaq vs. dell as far as reliability? I.E. It won't break on me in a a year.
Posted by: The Pro

Re: Laptop Recomendations - 12/18/02 12:07 PM

There are quite a few USB audio/midi interfaces from that can reduce or eliminate latency. However if you only use the laptop for playback or mixing and not programming/recording then latency isn't a real concern. I like the Yamaha SYXG-50 softsynth over the Roland virtual Sound Canvas but that's my tastes... you can download demos of both and choose for yourself or go with an outboard module.

Also, consider Windows 2000 for an OS instead of XP because it is widely compatible with older Windows music applications. I use it on a laptop with Sonar 2.1, Reason 2.1, Band In A Box v11b, Master Tracks v6.8 and more with no trouble.

Toshiba laptops are pretty good buys these days. You can likely find one under $1000 at that'll serve your purpose. Also, check out the sexy subcompact P-series laptops by Fujitsu that are available from While they are not the fastest laptops available, they are small, packed with features and would more than handle most MIDI duties.
Posted by: B2

Re: Laptop Recomendations - 12/20/02 06:57 AM

I too think the Toshiba's are a good buy. I just picked up a Compaq 906, 20 GB hard drive, Windows XP, 1.33 MHZ, CDROM/DVD recorder. I use it for storing MP3's and playing them during the DJ portion of the evenings. I have musicbox software and play it through the standard soundcard that the computer came with. Pumped through my EV speakers, it rocks...and not a glitch or delay and the sound quality is quite good. Around $900 bucks after the rebate. Try the Dell or HP web pages and go to the refurbished or special deal sections. Also, I bought mine with no interest for a year/and no payments. There are a zillion good deals to be had with a little research Good Luck!!!