Wednesday, October 27, 2004

OK, an overview of the effort and key pieces

I have what's called a "desktop replacement" type notebook. What this means is that it's a little too heavy to carry comfortably on one's shoulder for any period of time, and I have also come to see that this means that it will fry your thighs if you try to use for any amount of time holding it on your lap. But that's fine, because the ultralight aspect is not key.

What is key is hard disk speed, RAM, processing power, DAW features with some mobility, and value for the price. So I went with an AMD64 3400+ (1MB L2 cache) based notebook with a 17" WXGA TFT LCD and ATI Mobility 9700 Radeon Graphics chipset w/128MB SGRAM on board, 1 GB of RAM, 3 USB 2.0 inputs, 1 1394 IEEE (Firewire) input, 3D stereo enhanced sound system w/compatible SoundBlaster Pro (which will not be used so much for music production, the Tascam US-122 and M-Audio MobilePre will be the audio devices for that). The disk drive is 60GB/7200 RPM, which is smaller and slower than might be ideal for a full desktop style DAW, but it is faster than the normal laptop/notebook drive and the option of some mobility is why I went this way. Also, for additional storage, I have a Maxtor 120GB external USB HD which transfers data very quickly over the USB 2.0. For connectivity there's a Realtek Gigabit NIC, 802.11b/g wireless card, and a 56K modem.

For audio disc creation there is a NEC DVD RW. The system came with Nero for disc layout, I will use that.

Now, I had thought briefly about going with Linux, but the production apps I really like are on Windoze, so OS is Windows XP Home. I had read that XP Pro was a little overkill as far as networking oriented features which would not be central to my use, and it saved some money to not go to XP Pro.

Ableton's Live 4.04 will be what I use primarily for production, and I've also got Cubasis as part of the Tascam's software bundle. If you want to read about the assemblage of musical instruments go to Utenzil's garageband page where you can also download some free MP3s.

I've got a bunch of VSTs for effects and MIDI instruments, many freeware, some came with the interface bundles, and I bought the Voxengo Soniformer for multiband compression.


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