Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
ze2be
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Mos Eisley

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by ze2be » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:39 pm

twisted-space wrote:
ze2be wrote:
twisted-space wrote:If you need to ask, get a mac.
:lol:
I wasn't joking, think about it.

A mac will pretty much work out of the box.
A pc can work, but you need to do some research to ensure you choose one suitable for low latency audio and possibly do some work to configure it correctly.

The OP's question suggests, to me at least, that they either can't or don't want to do the required research, so the best option for them, imho, is to get a mac.
I was thinking about it.

A Thinkpad will pretty much work out of the box.
A mac can work, but you need to do some research to ensure you choose a low latency audio card and possibly do some work to configure it correctly.

The OP's question was regarding experiences from experienced users, mac or pc. So the best option, imho, is to figure out what suits him best.
? ? ? ? ?

twisted-space
Posts: 1252
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:50 pm
Location: UK Midlands

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by twisted-space » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:18 pm

Kim, that's cool.

You recommend a thinkpad, I recommend a mac. Either will do the job.

Thing is, the thinkpad (or any pc for that matter) simply won't do low latency audio out of the box. You have to have an asio sound card (or asio4all).

A mac will, though an decent audio interface will of course improve it.

What's more, I've yet to see a windows laptop that's ready for audio without doing some work. I'm a windows sytems engineer/admin, I've seen a lot of new laptops over the years. Very few have good DPC latency as shipped (not talking about custom stuff like Rain, ADK/SCAN, etc).


And just to be completely clear, I use a Dell myself.

ze2be
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Mos Eisley

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by ze2be » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:19 pm

Personaly I really dont think its that much work at all. Downloading the latest drivers for the soundcard takes a few minutes. You have to download drivers for a mac too. Graphic cards, printers, and so on.

I wouldnt recomend anyone using the built in soundcard that comes with any mac or pc. But if one have to, yes for a pc: download and install asio 4 all. Takes 2 minutes, and your done for good.

If you learn to use a PC, you can use 95% of the computers in the world. A mac is slicker, but not that much slicker imo. Win8 will make the differences even smaller. The OP needs to figure out what works best for him, economically, estetically, and functionally.
? ? ? ? ?

MacGuffin
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:20 pm
Location: suburban nightmare
Contact:

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by MacGuffin » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:48 pm

I don't get these "out of the box" comments, my focusrite usb interface worked great as as soon as I plugged it in and installed the drivers, I don't see how that's different on a Mac. Sure there are a few tweaks to make Windows 7 perform better, but I'm sure you can adjust some automatic things on OSX to make things smoother on a Mac too.

Thumbs down for PC though, I recently realized that the firewire chipset on my Dell is a lame Ricoh and that doesn't work properly with firewire audio interfaces. I bought my laptop to play live and DJ, so it didn't matter at the time, but now I'd like to record more than 2 channels at once and need the firewire interface. Fortunately, I can buy an expresscard with a T.I. chipset, but I mean... wtf Dell? Why bother putting a firewire port if it can't do anything.

Bottom line for me, a Mac will already have a good firewire chipset (and probably a few other small details like this), with PCs you better check that out, it's not obvious.

Rotter3
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by Rotter3 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:11 pm

Lenovo Thinkpad W520, rock solid with a minimal amount of tweaking

Sage
Posts: 1102
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by Sage » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:16 pm

A mate recently got a new MBP and has had nothing but headaches with it. Apple seem to be falling into the old saying "If it has pro in the name, it's not professional" with their current laptops.

JuanSOLO
Posts: 3236
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:21 am
Location: Shreveport LA, sometimes Dallas/Ft Worth TX

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by JuanSOLO » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:40 pm

I thought this was pretty funny, however I do use a Mac for Audio work.

Image

Hermanus
Posts: 1648
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:47 pm
Location: Belgium

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by Hermanus » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:11 pm

well windows7 has turned my dualcore laptop into an audio war machine.
Bye bye latency :lol:

So now mac vs pc is just valuable in terms of expense/money drop.

I would prefer a pc laptop with a powerful i7 for less than a macpro ubber model.
The cons about pc laptop, Firewire is becoming rare...very rare, it's amazing how cruel it is.
Usb3 everywhere but no expresscard anymore and no firewire... what a shame
Just for this only reason, they really push musicians to mac.

H20nly
Posts: 15844
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by H20nly » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:12 pm

another +1 for Lenovo T500 series here. i've never had a single crash in almost 3 years. i did have some bugginess when Live 8 was still around 8.0.5 but that was Live not Windows 7.

if your audio interface has poor latency and shady drivers and you have to install ASIO4All (which lets face it, is easier than installing a VST since the installer does all the work) then maybe its the audio interface you should blame. either way the solution is cheap and almost as easy as installing a google toolbar... in other words, you can do it while you're installing something else.

andrewbrewer
Posts: 596
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:01 pm

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by andrewbrewer » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:57 pm

Lots of thinkPad love here! Is it just a better price/ feature sweet- spot, compared to other Pc laptops and macs?

H20nly
Posts: 15844
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by H20nly » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:20 pm

it just works.

oh wait... :x

it just works anyway.

morbid
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:58 pm

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by morbid » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:41 am

ME : I have a Vaio

OTHER IDIOT : Ha! You bought an Overpriced piece of bloatware junk! Ha, you dick!

ME : I did a fresh install of Windows 7

OTHER IDIOT : Ha! You could have bought a Macbook for the same money, they work out of the box you know

ME : Its half the price of the Macbook and twice as sexy. The install took 1 hour, I don't have any latency, my machine boots in 9 seconds, Live loads in 3 seconds, did I mention the SSD performance.

OTHER IDIOT : Once you go Mac you never go back!

ME : Sorry I don't drink in Starbucks mate

morbid
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:58 pm

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by morbid » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:45 am

Hermanus wrote:windows7
Hermanus wrote: Bye bye latency :lol:
Man knows!

Piplodocus
Posts: 791
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:48 pm
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by Piplodocus » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:59 am

JuanSOLO wrote: Image
Not entirely true...Physicists love macs cuz they're unix based.
e.g. http://www.apple.com/science/profiles/briancox/
Basically use the best tool for the job within the confines of the budget.

I just got a new Lenovo for work. Good computer. Regularly crashes at the moment running Office though. So I could recommend it as it's a good machine, but can't always recommend MS's coding. Can be fine. Can be an inescapable nightmare. Your mileage may vary.

I'm happy with my 1.5 year old 17" macbook pro. It's my everything computer so i like how it does everything it's supposed to without lots of tinkering, or me having to disable stuff that I might want when I'm not doing music production. If it's a dedicated music machine then you can probably save a few quid with a PC. But I still couldn't use the trackpad to swipe back and forth between Live and other software, or do 2-finger scrolling around live in all directions. (Yes, you can enable some of that functionality on this Lenovo - not Expose or Spaces though, but I can't fathom how it's possible to make it SO inferior to Apple and so turned it off and use a mouse else it just annoys me).

Basically, if I'm gonna buy a £2k laptop I'll wait til the newest macbook is out and buy that when it's best value for money. If I had a cheaper dedicated machine, or wanted to spend less then I might well consider a PC but would do a lot of research on it first.

noland
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:55 pm
Location: B.....

Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance

Post by noland » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:09 am

andrewbrewer wrote:Lots of thinkPad love here! Is it just a better price/ feature sweet- spot, compared to other Pc laptops and macs?
H20nly wrote: it just works.

oh wait... :x

it just works anyway.
They are just long living, high quality laptops. But i would avoid the Thinkpad Edge Series, unfortunately they are far behind thinkpad standards. Go with T-Series or W-Series.
give a man fire and he will be warm for the night
set a man on fire and he will never freeze again

Post Reply