New Laptop - Good picks for interface and/or software ?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by A440, Jul 29, 2005.


  1. A440

    A440 Member

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    title pretty much sums it up. considering USB and/or firewire interfaces for easy, quick home recordings. Running WinXP, Centrino processor, etc.
     
  2. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    Digidesign's Mbox.
     
  3. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the Focusrite Saffire is shipping now. Focusrite preamps and 192khz converters looks like stiff mbox competition.
     
  4. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    +1
     
  5. A440

    A440 Member

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    thanks for the heads up on the saffire! I was previously looking to do this on a desktop and was looking at mbox, and similar interfaces by mackie, lexicon & m-audio.
     
  6. fatang

    fatang Member

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    Actually the Saffire isn't shipping for about a month, but looks promising.

    The MBox just dropped in price and is a great option with all the included software. If you need MIDI you'll have to add another piece for that.

    The Omega is kind of a sleeper and as a bonus has a really nice verb plug unavailble otherwise.

    Having MPowered software makes the M-Audio interfaces a really viable option too, though the other mfgs seem more popular.

    Robert
     
  7. A440

    A440 Member

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    thanks fatang, I happened to be checking out your co's website re the saffire. I also noticed the price drop on mbox too, more attractive at this price.

    I don't have firewire on my laptop, but that would easily be added with the add on card. wouldn't firewire be faster than usb as far as latency, etc ?

    I'm open to more opinions. I know there have been a lot of threads on this in past. I'll have to ck history using "search" later.
     
  8. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Having gotten burned on the POS Lexicon Core2 interface years ago, I didn't even consider the Omega when I was looking for a laptop interface. I did very nearly buy the RME multiface with the pcmcia card. But since I already have a 24 track hd recorder, I opted for the Edirol ua-25. It's been rock solid and the bus power makes for a completely AC-free recorder. It has ok preamps, nothing great but with the digital i/o and high bit rate handling, I can bypass the analog side. That's how I use it most of the time too, sending a mix from my digital console to my laptop via toslink.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I just did a remote recording with MBox today and I still think it's one of the best miniature rigs ever conceived. It also has Focusrite preamps, which though not exactly Red series quality are pretty darned good. The A/D conversion is impressive for a little plastic box, too, though today I used outboard A/D and S/PDIF into MBox.

    Seeing as human hearing tops out at about 24k, 192k recording is just a marketing tool, IMO. And in a home rig, forget it - a waste of disk space.

    My only complaint about MBox is that the lowest latency setting, 256 samples, is slightly audible. ProTools now has a software version that's compatible with certain M-Audio hardware. If there's a M-Audio firewire interface that's comparable to the MBox in audio quality, that could be a better bet because it might allow a latency setting of 128 samples, which is like nothing. That's a question for Digi.
     
  10. A440

    A440 Member

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    thanks MichaelK. I like the M-Audio offerings. great laptop interfaces for what I want to do (mostly bass, drums, gtr, vocals and maybe keys).I've looked at Edirol also. M-Audio only bundles Ableton Live Lite. M-powered PT's is separate.

    The mackie interface (spike/traction) also looks cool. The software is supposed to be low learning curve.

    I'm old school and still have my old SR16 Alesis drum machine and 4 track cassette. I also have some of the magix software which I picked up just to get my feet wet with pc recording.

    ps...any guy with my name and from Chelm is ok in my book. I vacation there quite often :)
     
  11. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    There's a Spike in the emporiun.
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Follow-up:

    While editing, I did a side-by-side comparison today of some scratch tracks (spoken word) I had recorded direct into MBox with those I did yesterday using a Focusrite Red pre and Apogee A/D.

    Very, very slight difference in quality, but I mean slight. Not significant enough that I would bother bringing the heavy gear along next time. It might depend on what I was recording... I guess for fine acoustic instruments I might bring it. And I doubt MBox has the headroom the Red series does (which in this case I didn't need). But really, it sounded great just on its own.

    So with all due respect to all other manufacturers... it's all about how this sh*t sounds. It ain't just the specs. (Not meant as a put-down, just a caveat... I haven't used but a smattering of the boxes available).
     
  13. A440

    A440 Member

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    I think the Mbox pre's are based on the focusrite green series. I'm sure it would fit my needs.

    attractive pkg considering the software bundle :)

    only drawback I've heard is that you have to have the interface connected in order to run the PT software (?)
     
  14. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    That's correct. PT LE must see the interface in order to work. And the interface must see PT LE in order for it to work.
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    ...which is my biggest complaint.

    I understand the hardware authorization thing. It's a marketing tool, it's the way they do business and it was my choice to accept the hardware tie-in when I went with ProTools in the first place. But there's no reason why Digi couldn't – or shouldn't want to – make PT LE iLok compatible, or with some kind of dongle-type hardware authorization for a laptop that doesn't require lugging the whole shebang around with you. They could tie in the iLok authorization with the MBox authorization and not lose any hardware revenue at all. They could make the iLok recognizeable as hardware only, completely separate from the software authorization. They could even charge an extra $100 for it and people would pay. I honestly don't understand why they don't do it.

    So put it this way: If it bothered me enough I could switch platforms on the laptop, if I wanted to, in a heartbeat... but I don't.
     
  16. A440

    A440 Member

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    just wanted to revisit. now see the Mbox factory bundle with iLok. would it be worth it to spend the extra $50 to get the add'l software, etc ?

    sorry, stupid question, but what does the iLok actually do?
    I briefly reviewed on the digi website. Something to do with licensing. would this allow me to run PT without Mbox connected?

    still looking at the m-audio/m-powered gear too. firewire solo looks cool.
     
  17. fatang

    fatang Member

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    It's a good idea because that plug-in bundle is otherwise $99.

    The iLok holds authorizations and makes it easy for you to move from one system to another by just pluging in your key. IE: You go to a friends studio with your drive and a plug that he doesn't, add your iLok and you can not only load your session but use the plug in. As soon as you leave, so does the plug-in.

    Robert
     
  18. BSHARP

    BSHARP Member

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    Latency is a big issue with laptops. 256 samples will get you to about 20ms overall delay. The best one I've tried with my laptop is the EMU-1616 that connects to the PCMCIA slot of your laptop.
    By doing so, it frees up one more USB or Firewire port for other devices. The sound is very good and the latency is down around 6ms.
     
  19. MattB

    MattB Member

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    Edirol UA-25 and Sonar Producer 4.
     
  20. A440

    A440 Member

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    the 1616 looks cool. any idea what the diff is between that and 1616M? maybe the software bundle ?
     

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