Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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ned rush
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Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by ned rush » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:35 pm

Hey folks.

I'm looking to start a mobile recording setup. I've done plenty of large projects in Live and plenty of recording but I haven't done any hardcore realtime multi track recording in Live with a laptop. The setup I'm looking to build will be 8 tracks simultaneously at least so I'd like to hear anyone's experiences doing this.

I've already done research into the hardware, really I'm just keen to hear people's comments on Live's performance in his context, and anything I'd maybe want to consider when choosing a laptop.

Should I consider a MacBook, Mac mini, rack mount pc?

Should I record straight to the computers hard disk or to an external drive?

What type of external drive?

How is the drive connected?

These are my questions.

Cheer
Ned

scheffkoch
Posts: 498
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by scheffkoch » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:31 pm

...that's a tuff question because it really depends on your budget...my 2c:

- besides the computer the most important piece of equipment is the soundcard...reliable drivers help a lot...with a good and stable soundcard (with low latency) you can kind of compensate a not-so-good computer...i can absolutely recommend rme in this regard
- with today's ssd harddisks it's not important anymore if you do your recording on the internal or an external hd because they have such a high bandwith...
- i like laptops...so i have my whole setup based on one...i started working with ableton live on a late 2011 mbp and now i have the new late 2016 mbp...on both i was able to play softsynths (arturia, maschine and komplete) on 8 tracks with various midi and audio effects while recording the whole session on 12 (8 synths, 2 return, 1 fx, 1 external audio) audio tracks...and this with a buffer set to 256 samples (with the new mbp i could go down to 128)...
- the new mbp is awesome...both cpu and gpu run much much cooler now so that i haven't heard the fans yet..

maybe that helps a bit...
macbook pro late 2016, osx 10.13.6, rme multiface via sonnet thunderbolt expresscard adapter + thunderbolt to usb-c adapter, ableton live 10.0.1, push 2, komplete 9, maschine 2.7.6, touchable

ned rush
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Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by ned rush » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:57 pm

I've currently got a MOTU 828 mk2 and was considering adding either an 8 pre or 896 hybrid to it as the soundcard setup.

Computer wise I was just gonna pick any MacBook that's not more than five years old.

You think a laptop with an internal ssd might be a good way to go?

scheffkoch
Posts: 498
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by scheffkoch » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:35 am

...yes!...
what kind of recording are you thinking of? "just" recording external instruments or recording while playing live?...i'm asking because if you're just recording then latency is not a problem and you don't need to set up ableton with a low buffer size...
macbook pro late 2016, osx 10.13.6, rme multiface via sonnet thunderbolt expresscard adapter + thunderbolt to usb-c adapter, ableton live 10.0.1, push 2, komplete 9, maschine 2.7.6, touchable

ned rush
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:45 pm
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Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by ned rush » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:19 am

scheffkoch wrote:...yes!...
what kind of recording are you thinking of? "just" recording external instruments or recording while playing live?...i'm asking because if you're just recording then latency is not a problem and you don't need to set up ableton with a low buffer size...
It'll be recording real things, bands, instruments, whatever, a mobile studio in the traditional sense.

ned rush
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Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by ned rush » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:23 am

I'll consider a MacBook with a large ssd then.

And what of connectivity between the laptop and the interface? Any performance difference USB, FireWire, thunderbolt? My MOTU 828 mk2 is currently running on a FireWire adaptive into the thunderbolt on my iMac.

scheffkoch
Posts: 498
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by scheffkoch » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:32 am

....performance wise usb, firewire and thunderbolt differ in the maximum possible track count...for "normal" bands an usb interface is absolutely ok (i reckon you'd run into problems if you tried to record a 100-piece orchestra on 100 tracks though) since you don't need to run on a very low buffer set up...if you plan on buying a new interface i wouldn't invest in a firewire one since firewire seems kinda "dead" but if you have a firewire interface that works then keep it, it should do the job!...if i had to buy a new interface for my mbp i'd choose a rme babyface pro but there are also other reliable interfaces on the market...
macbook pro late 2016, osx 10.13.6, rme multiface via sonnet thunderbolt expresscard adapter + thunderbolt to usb-c adapter, ableton live 10.0.1, push 2, komplete 9, maschine 2.7.6, touchable

Stromkraft
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Re: Multi-track recording with Live and laptop.

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:03 pm

ned rush wrote: Computer wise I was just gonna pick any MacBook that's not more than five years old.
MacBook Pro with 15-inch display is what I'd recommend as those come with Quadcores since 2011. AFAIK none of the 13" has that.
But at the same time I'd assume that you could record 8 audio streams even on a duocore as that is merely recording is not that taxing on the CPU provided you have a good audio interface with stellar drivers. I've only done recording two audio streams at a time plus a few MIDI streams so can't vouch for it though.

I think a 5400rpm hard drive could record 8 audio streams even internally, but SSDs are much faster. Remember that you need to keep at minimum 20% free space on any drive in order to have optimal operation.
Make some music!

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