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Author Topic: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.  (Read 3964 times)

chris harwood

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laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« on: January 09, 2013, 10:21:36 pm »

Looking for something bottom feeder, as I will only record tracks and then bring them back to the studio to work on.  So the laptop will just act like a tape recorder...figure an i3 or something. 

Also an interface... with at least 4 in/out  min.

figured a laptop would be overall more useful and no more expensive than a stand alone recorder, which would be out of date as soon as I bought one.  Already have everything else from mobile speakers to snakes to mics...   So no Tascam 24 track hard disk recorders.... if those aren't already out of date.

8 ins would be luxury and not looking to break the bank.  ...  $6 or 700 total maybe??

realistic goals?... and suggestions, especially the cheapie interface, since there are so many to plow thru.
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Jared Koopman

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 01:14:23 am »

Looking for something bottom feeder, as I will only record tracks and then bring them back to the studio to work on.  So the laptop will just act like a tape recorder...figure an i3 or something. 

Also an interface... with at least 4 in/out  min.

figured a laptop would be overall more useful and no more expensive than a stand alone recorder, which would be out of date as soon as I bought one.  Already have everything else from mobile speakers to snakes to mics...   So no Tascam 24 track hard disk recorders.... if those aren't already out of date.

8 ins would be luxury and not looking to break the bank.  ...  $6 or 700 total maybe??

realistic goals?... and suggestions, especially the cheapie interface, since there are so many to plow thru.

I use a Lenovo T60p laptop to record 32 tracks over USB just fine. It has a Core2 Duo processor and 2gb ram

An i3 should be plenty of processing power for recording 8 tracks. Get aas much ram as you can and if there is an option for a solid state hard rive, it will help, but not required.
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Mark ☻Bass Pig☻ Weiss

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 02:00:42 am »

I use a Lenovo T60p laptop to record 32 tracks over USB just fine. It has a Core2 Duo processor and 2gb ram

An i3 should be plenty of processing power for recording 8 tracks. Get aas much ram as you can and if there is an option for a solid state hard rive, it will help, but not required.




After eight excellent years of service, my MOTU 896 Original died around Thanksgiving last fall. MOTU no longer repairs these, so I was left with no choice but to buy a newer model. Angry at the abandonment of my investment, I looked at competitors products, but found nothing with 8 phantom powered XLR inputs in an affordable under $2K package that could do 24/96 sample rates.


Now this system worked perfectly with my Sony GRX560 laptop for eight years. No problems with firewire at all. Ever.


Reluctantly, I came back to MOTU with my tail between my legs, and bought the 896mk3 Hybrid to replace my Original.


Problem: the Sony laptop didn't even SEE this new MOTU, so although the driver's installed fine (after updating Windows XP to SP2 and then SP3), the MOTU acted like it was not connected. I spent 3 weeks on that problem, reinstalling everything, trying different service packs, etc. Something is different with the firewire on the new MOTU, as it is no longer detected on the laptop.


So I decided, since that laptop was getting long in the tooth, I bought a Lenovo W500 to replace it. Optimistic that my problems were over, and this having Windows 7 Pro 64-bit installed, I merrily installed the MOTU drivers, which went without a hiccup, plugged in the MOTU 896 mk3H and waited.. but nothing happened. No MOTU devices found. :-( I spent weeks on this little problem, but to no avail.


Finally, I gave up on the firewire and tried the USB capability. MOTU detected and fired right up! But I soon discovered the weakness of USB for realtime audio. The recordings it made had dropouts every few seconds. Even the pass through echoed audio was dropping out! I spent a week researching Win 7 tweaks for audio, and disabled everything. The biggest help was disabling ACPI Battery Device. That reduced the dropouts by 50%. But I was still getting dropouts.


Now my ancient Sony laptop with probably not 1/10th the processing and disk speed of the Lenovo was able to record multi-hour 8 channel concerts at 24/96 with never a dropped sample, ever. So why couldn't this brawny dual CPU core laptop with a drive that reads and writes 108MB/sec record without dropouts? I figure it must be the USB ports. I researched the issue and found that USB, unlike firewire, does not go directly to RAM--it passed through the CPU and a bunch of other stuff along the way. CPU background processes can disrupt the audio stream and samples get dropped.


I found that I could only minimize, but not completely eliminate the problem. I've gotten it down to one dropout per hour, but this is still unacceptable for classical concerts synched to multiple HD cameras. It's a very frustrating search to find a box that works well. Maybe the best thing is to buy a used MOTU 896 Original and go back to what works.
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Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

http://www.MWHDvideo.com
http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair
http://www.ampexperts.com

Sam Feine

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laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 08:47:13 am »

Sounds like you could use a roland 8 track stand alone recorder or even a zoom r24 to do what you want without a laptop, the zoom can even act as an interface if you feel the need to record to a laptop.
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Mark ☻Bass Pig☻ Weiss

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 10:53:51 am »

Sounds like you could use a roland 8 track stand alone recorder or even a zoom r24 to do what you want without a laptop, the zoom can even act as an interface if you feel the need to record to a laptop.


I have Zoom products and granted, they make nice cheap recorders, but the 96K functionality is no good because the actual response starts to roll at 22K and the s/n ratio is no good for what I'm doing.


Last fall, Google came up with nothing suitable while I searched for alternatives to MOTU. I was angry with them for abandoning my 896 and refusing to repair it due to it being almost ten years old (that's "old"?) and I looked for a competitor's product, but could find nothing with more than four XLR phantom powered inputs. So back to the 896 mk3 Hybrid.
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Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

http://www.MWHDvideo.com
http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair
http://www.ampexperts.com

Tom Burgess

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If the band sounds great, it's because the band IS great, if the band sound like crap, it's the soundman's fault.

Opinions expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily that of the company for which I work.

http://www.gilliammusic.com - Full line retailer featuring musical instruments, sound systems, and print music.  Items range from Hohner kazoos to Steinway pianos.  (How's that for a selection? :) )

chris harwood

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 07:17:46 pm »

Sounds like you could use a roland 8 track stand alone recorder or even a zoom r24 to do what you want without a laptop, the zoom can even act as an interface if you feel the need to record to a laptop.

I'll check it out, but I've found most recorders of that nature only record 2 tracks at once.  I'd like at least four and hopefully 8.
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Stephen Gregory

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 09:27:08 pm »

I'll check it out, but I've found most recorders of that nature only record 2 tracks at once.  I'd like at least four and hopefully 8.

If you are looking for USB connected interfaces, you could start here: http://tweakheadz.com/audio_interface_usb2_comparison_chart.htm

If you want reliability, go for RME, but they are probably out of your price bracket.  The M-Audio Fast Track series are OK, and probably more what you're looking for.

We use a two-channel Lexicon at our church and it is OK but not great.

I can recommend that you buy a decent laptop, though.  We have tried cheap ones and been driven insane by their inability to handle the simplest audio or video tasks.
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dick rees

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 10:08:27 pm »

I can recommend that you buy a decent laptop, though.  We have tried cheap ones and been driven insane by their inability to handle the simplest audio or video tasks.

You expect us to take the advice of a crazy person? 8)
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Tim Perry

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Re: laptop and audio interface for mobile recording.
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 10:37:56 pm »

I'll check it out, but I've found most recorders of that nature only record 2 tracks at once.  I'd like at least four and hopefully 8.

I submit for your consideration the Roland Octa-capture.  Tt's at the High end of you budget (I got mine for much less then the general asking price) http://www.rolandus.com/products/details/1127

The drawback is it requires AC power. 

Absolutely thumbs down on the fast track (driver issues from hell)  The mobile pre's are great ( i have used 2 simultaneously for 4 TK recording. 

Thumbs down on anything from Line-6  (driver / software from hell)

.... Juts one guys opinion.
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