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Re: LAPTOP recommendations for LIVE LOOPING?

At 11:56 PM 3/31/2003 -0800, Rick Walker/Loop.pooL wrote:
>I am in the market for a laptop computer so that I can
>record, use Ableton's LIVE as a realtime performance enhancer
>and use real time USB/Midi control over soft synths.
>I anticipate using a Digi Designs M-box to get audio signal into the
>What have you bought that you dig in terms of a sound card.
>It needs to have USB 2 and midi/in out (and preferably SPDIF if that's 

I'm having pretty good luck with M-Audio's Quattro card.  Currently, I'm 
using it on my Titanium PowerBook 667, but in the past I've also installed 
it on my old Sony Vaio & Dell Latitude C810.  It provides 4 channels I/O 
16/24bit & 44/48/96k sampling rate + Midi In & Out.  24bit/96k is only 
available on 2 channels (either in or out) simultaneously, and it also 
features zero-latency monitoring for recording.  I usually have mine set 
with quad-outs at 24/48k, which does me pretty well since I'm 
using VSTi's (you mention above that you're planning on using an Mbox for 
input, so you'd probably end up with a similar config).  Unfortunately, 
it's only USB 1.1, but I've never noticed any problem.  Also, no S/PDIF.

I'm using the Quattro with an Oxygen keyboard and getting latencies in the 
~5-9ms range.  I'd recommend (if you haven't already considered it) 
a laptop with multiple USB ports, since too much data could clog your pipe 
on a single interface.  If possible, see if the multiple USB ports are on 
different data busses, although that may be too much to ask on a laptop.

M-Audio originally got some bad reactions to the Quattro's initial 
because there was a groundswell of interest at it's initial announcement 
they brought it to market a little prematurely.  Since then, they've put a 
lot of development time into getting the drivers right, and they've good 
stable releases on Wintel, OS9, & OSX.

As for other possibilities, it also sounds like you've checked out some of 
the specs on the new Emagic 6|2 -- USB with 6 ins, 2 outs, MIDI I/O, and 
S/PDIF.  Wish I could tell you more about it, but I've not laid hands-on 
myself.  I can say that over on the Laptop Mozart list, no-one's ever said 
a good word about its sister card -- the Emagic 2|6 -- which evidently 
really shows configuration and latency problems.  Also, given the way that 
Emagic has treated PC users in the wake of its purchase by Apple, I just 
don't trust 'em on that platform.

In addition, the Edirol card has gotten good reactions from users as long 
as you factor in the extra budget to buy third-party drivers.  Evidently, 
the original drivers which Edirol provide suck.

Anyway, hope that helps some....


"i want to reach my hand into the dark and *feel* what reaches back"