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 Post subject: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:13 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 254
Hi everybody, i would like to hear from experienced users what type of laptop do you use (mac & pc), which runs Ableton 8, absolutely solid as rock for live performances, with no strange pops or unwanted surprises on stage.

Only 'I have', not 'I think', thanks! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:31 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:52 pm
Posts: 100
Macbook Pro and a decent USB/Firewire interface. Sorted.

I wouldn't even look at PC laptops personally, unless you want to really splash out on a custom built machine specifically for audio.
Off-the-shelf PCs are a mess these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:36 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 254
Thanks, do you mean whatever macbook pro, including the 'cheaper' 13": 2,4 GHz?


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:55 pm
Posts: 134
Location: B.....
TheDriller wrote:
Macbook Pro and a decent USB/Firewire interface. Sorted.

I wouldn't even look at PC laptops personally, unless you want to really splash out on a custom built machine specifically for audio.
Off-the-shelf PCs are a mess these days.


Bullshit. Any Laptop costing as much as a Macbook is a decent machine. I go with Thinkpads T-Series (T500 actually, but its 3 years old) and an RME Interface. No problems even in hot and steamy cellar clubs.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Posts: 3397
Location: Europe
Macbook Pro aint pro enough for me. I use 3 bus powered usb devices. And stick to 12" to 13" laptop sizes, becausexof the overal weight and size. I can get all the gear with me as handluggage, on flights. But even the Macbook Pro 15" aint cutting it for me. You need the 17" to get 3 usb ports, and thats just ridiculous!

If I was forced to I could get a 15". But I prefer 12", and 13" if theres no 12". Currently I still use my Lenovo X61, 12". Rock solid after 3 years. But you need to keep your system clean. Its easy: install a dual boot, and do all your freaky shit on the one, but keep only your DAW and essensial plugs on the other. Never ever had a single problem. On any platform, mac or pc, its always a good advice to test run plugs before using them on critical systems.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 254
Yeah, mac got flaws too, the usb issue is a very important information.
Please write the complete model name of your computer, since a brand can have many of them with minimal differences.


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm
Posts: 677
I've used pretty much every version of DOS, Windows and Mac OS (not to forget Atari ST) over the years. I use a MacBookPro at home and I'm prepping a Toshiba Satellite (WinXP) for some upcoming gigs.

Macs are more solid out of the box. Windows machines require you to do some setup work to make them rock solid for live music applications. If you're uncomfortable with uninstalling or disabling stuff in Windows get a Mac.

Live runs on both OSes, but if you plan on adding lots of VST plugs there are many more available for Windows, esp. free ones.

My only other advice is to get the fastest machine you can afford, hard drives and RAM can always be upgraded later.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:12 pm
Posts: 1852
Location: Orange County, CA
TheDriller wrote:
Macbook Pro and a decent USB/Firewire interface. Sorted.

I wouldn't even look at PC laptops personally, unless you want to really splash out on a custom built machine specifically for audio.
Off-the-shelf PCs are a mess these days.



What are you even basing this on? The old P4 laptops that some companies still sell for a couple hundred obviously aren't for music production and I'm sure nobody would consider buying one of these if they were any bit serious about production or performance.

The HP Envy line, which you can buy "off-the-shelf", is a great system. Not only does it look pretty, but even their cheapest quick ship versions have 7200 rpm hard drives and dedicated graphics cards. Some of them even have mSATA SSDs included.

I'm about to pull the trigger on a HP Elitebook Workstation laptop for $2800 after tax. I'm custom building it with the same i7-2860qm that Apple has available. I'm adding 16gb of ram and (2) 750gb 7200 rpm hard drives for plenty of sample/library storage for Live and Komplete. It's also going to have a workstation AMD M5950 graphics card and a 17" full HD anti-glare display, dvd burner multidrive, webcam, bluetooth, 3x3 wifi, backlit keyboard, express card 54 slot, smart card reader, sd/mmc reader, firewire 400, (2) usb 2 and (2) usb 3 ports, esata/usb2 combo port, display and vga ports for external monitors (up to 5 monitors if I use the Advanced Docking Station). It also includes a 3 year warranty. And while you may not need all of these features, keep in mind that I'm paying $500 less than you'd pay for a fully upgraded 17" MBP that would still only have 8gb of ram and only (1) 750gb hard drive plus no workstation graphics card, no usb3, no card readers.


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:24 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 254
A computer (mac or pc) is shaped on personal needs about extra vsts, midi gear and extras.

I don't want a pc-mac fistfight battle, only to know your positive feedback about the computer you're happy with.

For my needs i think i will connect to it a 25 keys keyboard and/or a device like novation launchpad.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:47 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Posts: 3397
Location: Europe
filter_7 wrote:
Yeah, mac got flaws too, the usb issue is a very important information.
Please write the complete model name of your computer, since a brand can have many of them with minimal differences.
Lenovo Thinkpad X61. I dont know whats the equal Thinkpad now, but at the time X61 had almost the size of a macbook air but with keyboard light and spill proof keyboard, 3 usb ports, equal cpu as the fastest macbook pros, and it was even sturdier built, for almost 50% of the MBP cost.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:14 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Posts: 3397
Location: Europe
filter_7 wrote:
A computer (mac or pc) is shaped on personal needs about extra vsts, midi gear and extras.

I don't want a pc-mac fistfight battle, only to know your positive feedback about the computer you're happy with.

For my needs i think i will connect to it a 25 keys keyboard and/or a device like novation launchpad.
I had a Power Book in 2002, similar to the current 15" MBP. And at the time it was the nicest laptop I ever had. The OS is great, and the hardware is of cource top notch. The large multi finger operation track pad on the MBPs are uniqe to the macs, and great for operating Live. But there are some limitations both in software and hardware. However more and more typical PC vsts start to go multi platform, like synth1. To my use and budget, Lenovo Thinkpads are the better choice, because I need 3 usb ports in a small format. And I need to economicaly be able to replace it if stolen or lost. I love my iPad and iPhone, but on stage I use Thinkpads for Live, and sometimes the iPad or iPhone with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:15 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:50 pm
Posts: 1253
Location: UK Midlands
If you need to ask, get a mac.


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:30 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:17 am
Posts: 3397
Location: Europe
twisted-space wrote:
If you need to ask, get a mac.
:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Posts: 9626
Location: Seattle
FYI USB ports on laptops do not all have their own busses that address the system independently, they have a single bus for it all.
There is no real difference between a decent hub and extra USB ports. I run at the least 4 USB devices, most of the time 5, so a hub is a necessity even though I have the three USB ports onboard. The best way to buy an Apple laptop is always to get the least hard drive and RAM you can and upgrade it yourself.
Your warrantee is not voided if you do this.

I've had the same dual 2.4ghz Macbook Pro since 07, so I would recommend it for sure. I would go with OSX for this reason alone, in almost five years I've never clean installed my system, not once, and have no performance issues doing so. In fact the thing beats out it's average score for this machine benchmark in Geekbench's speed tests. For stability nothing beats a solid state drive on either platform. Same with getting at the very least 4GB RAM, and a 7200rpm HD if you don't go with an SSD. <-- I do that with any laptop I get.

As of now, I would go with the four core 2.2ghz 15" Macbook Pro. Speed is cool, but the fastest is generally the loudest, bang for buck it' not that less powerful than the 2.5 17" model and a lot cheaper. Again get a good hard drive and RAM from New Egg or Other World Computing, much cheaper.


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 Post subject: Re: Best laptop for Ableton Live - on stage performance
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:50 pm
Posts: 1253
Location: UK Midlands
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.


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