PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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larrylevan
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PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by larrylevan » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:23 pm

Any good experiences with this? I mainly use Live 8 built in plugins + Korg M1 + Sylenth.

yur2die4
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by yur2die4 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:02 pm

Depends how you want to use it. There are a lot of factors at play.

Hard drive space, CPU, size/portability, resolution, touch or not, RAM etc.

Do you want this device to take on the go? Do you already own a laptop of any kind? If you have one already, are you looking for similar features or features unique from it? The biggest trade off with ultrabooks is the processor limitations. I mean, they're not limited compared to say, a computer from 3 or 4 yrs ago, but they are kind of capped with the m4500u processor. Or the Mac Air has another similar processor.

I haven't used Sylenth, is it a bit CPU intensive? How many tracks so you usually use? Also there is a CPU performance thread on this forum somewhere that is kind of handy, but I don't think it has any ultrabooks.

I had my eye on the Yoga 2 Pro for a while haha. I eventually went with a standard laptop. But it definitely doesn't feel so portable.

larrylevan
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by larrylevan » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:03 pm

My productions are usually quite simple. Up to 6-7 tracks. Maybye 3 instances of Korg M1 and 2 Sylenth tracks.

I've heard good things about Sonys Vaio range.

yur2die4
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by yur2die4 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:28 pm

I think a nice Ultrabook could work.

I've never really looked at the Sony ones so I don't have much advice on that. The next step would be to go to Best Buy and really put a model through its paces. Use the touchpad all over the place. Open and close the lid. Use key shortcuts, get to grips with all it's advantages and shortcomings. Use the keyboard in a document. Shut down and start up (if it is fast at this, it might impress you so much you'll be tempted to buy it on the spot haha). And then of course look at your favorite sellers, plus the manufacture site to see which specific options you do and do not care for.

littlepig
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by littlepig » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:32 pm

I am using Korg M1 and Wave Station plus NI FM8 on a netbook. Mainly I use the netbook when I am on holiday, just take a little keyboard.

I didn't install Ableton because the screen is quite small but I have Audiomulch.

It runs fine as an occasional set up, wouldn't want to use it for long periods.

Moosebear
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by Moosebear » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:18 pm

I came near buying a Sony Vaio Pro 13. Ultimately I found the screen res. too low, even though it's 1080p the screen doesn't look as sharp as a 1080 Zenbook or what I ended up with, a Macbook Pro.

It sure is light and small though.

993redcarrera4
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by 993redcarrera4 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:40 am

I just recently bought a used 2 year old Acer Aspire One (AOD270) for 75 bucks (known henceforth as MasterBlaster :D ). I wasn't expecting much but I am now able to get it running my dj set (1 hr set time) reliably. It starts to crackle at around 80% cpu usage, but normally I have it runnign at 50-70% (still a little too close for my comfort, so more optimization needed). I am able to reliably play 9 tracks (1 of which is a Phoscyon 303 emulation VST and another is the Glitch2 VST).
That said I upgraded MasterBlaster with some computer parts I had lying around...namely a 4GB RAM and a 64GB SSD. Unfortunately, it only recognizes 2 of the 4GB (I suspect it might be Windows 7 Starter).
Now although it runs Live quite reliably, the moment I try to multitask (ie. pull up a browser) or even pull up the Desktop, then it totally freaks out.
I guess it is a bit of an idiot savant, but I am thinking of trying this out for my gig this weekend!

A number of things I learned about using a tiny netbook for live performance.
1) get the OS out of the way as possible (i.e turn of UAC, turn of ALL notifications and updates)
2) turn off your antivirus
3) turn of wireless, blue tooth and any other ancillary services
4) get an SSD (it is soooo worth it)
5) don't let the cpu usage go past 80%. It seems to be a magic number for MasterBlaster....it crackles like mad if it goes beyond that number, and it won't go away until you reboot (this is a real caveat fr live performance)
6) the onboard audio is crap. Use a USB soundcard instead.
7) set your Asio4All to a fairly high latency (interestingly this has not affected my live performance)
8) on the Windows Startbar, only pin Live and only Live (that way you don't accidentally invoke other stuff...rememmber a netbook is like a kid with ADHD..it can't multitask well (or at all, in my case)
9) turn OS sound off (we don't want the OS trying to access your soundcard)

I'm still running some field tests but so far it can continuously play my set for a good hour or so without issue.
Hope this helps
I am considering installing a Linux variant to free up some RAM and performance

ilya.soloviev
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Re: PC Netbook/Ultrabook for Ableton Live?

Post by ilya.soloviev » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:28 am

http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/X550LC/

this one (i7 model) gives me 21% of cpu load in Live Performance test. And everything is very stable.

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