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The Nikanoru

New Laptop for Music Production

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Hello, OCR!

I have a friend outside of OCR who recently fried his soundcard. After much raging about the cost of a new soundcard, he has now decided to buy a new laptop to avoid replacing the soundcard. Go figure. Anyway, he asked me what he should look at and I figured this would be a good question to ask here (forgive me if this question has been asked thousands of times before).

What would OCR recommend for a laptop in the 1K-2K range that would suit a composer and production artist who mostly plays, records, and mixes rock and sometimes metal?

  • He currently uses a dual-core PC with the stock soundcard (which is now fried). He said he was looking at switching to a MacBook Pro, but can't afford the $3500 asking price.
  • He told me he's looking at brands or packages - he is completely unwilling to build. Once again, go figure.

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I would strongly urge (smack if need be) him to reconsider.

A USB audio interface is far cheaper and smarter than replacing a whole computer that still works. How exactly was he recording beforehand? This may explain the fried soundcard...?

Anyway, if he does get a new laptop (desktop is still lightyears better), any stock PC dual/quadcore laptop with around 8 gigs of RAM is more than enough for rock/metal production as the most taxing plugins usually used are drum VSTis, amp sims and time-based effects. Like, I just went to Best Buy's site and right on the homepage, they have a $499 laptop that meets exactly those specifications... 

 

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Thanks for the reply, ACO. I have passed this info along.

2 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

I would strongly urge (smack if need be) him to reconsider.

I actually did both before I posted this. :)

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There's a lot of factors to consider, but as a music producer, I'd recommend looking for something with a proper Intel Core i7 processor, *WITHOUT* the "U" designation after it. 8-16 GB RAM, SSD if he can afford it, spacious 7200 RPM HDD if not. ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Razer and others make good gaming laptops that would also double as production laptops effectively, or he can look more on the enterprise side of things (Dell, HP, Lenovo make decent workstation laptops, as long as you avoid their consumer grade stuff). There's also some manufacturers that do custom laptops--something like this: http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8171-clevo-p670rp6.html might do the trick. 

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 I know OCR is a pretty PC heavy community so Im gonna be the Apple advocate in this thread and say that if he wants a macbook he should look into buying something thats not the current model. A 2015 model is going to perform pretty much exactly the same as a 2016. Much like many things in life, its just marketing to get you to shell out more cash. Why buy a year-old brand-new mac when you could buy a current gen pc? Well, you wouldnt, unless you wanted a mac! If he is visually impaired and somehow a 13 inch screen is too small, then youre gonna  have a hard time finding anything newer than 2014 that is reasonable in spec and price. Fortunately, despite what the gear elitists will say, plenty of people make whole albums on 13 inch screens with no problem. 

Here are some examples using Appleinsiders deals guide page: 

-a  NIB 2015 13 inch macbook pro with 3.1 ghz, 8gb ram and a 512 ssd is $1824  

-a  NIB 2015  13 inch macbook pro with 2.9 ghz,  8gb ram and 512gb ssd is $1540.

That said, PCs will probably always be cheaper for the same or similar specs. I just wanted to provide some perspective, afterall we live in a world with lots of choices, and some people find macs to have good longevity and ease of use. 

 

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My friend chose to go with an Acer 3.0 GHz dual-core laptop, with 8GB RAM and a 2TB 7200RPM HDD from Best Buy - final price, about $750. He is also looking at buying an external audio interface in the somewhat-near future.

Thank you everyone who replied. All the advice was much appreciated.

Special thanks to @Esperado for the Apple plug. My friend liked this response, even though he eventually ended up with another PC. 

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