VDL 2 and Laptops

I've been looking into getting a good laptop for college, and when I read about VDL 2 on drumlines.org, it prompted me into building a laptop that meets the requirements of VDL 2.

I was just wondering if this is practical, or if VDL 2 would be better suited for use on a desktop. Thanks!
it really depends on how extensive you plan on using it. post some examples of what you want to do. generally--yes--you should be able to use it on a laptop--i have done that in the past, but for higher end arranging so on and so forth a desktop might better suit. just remember the one key term......RAM.............lots of it, the more the better. I would highly recommend at least 1 Gig. but will operate on 512 MG.

chris
I have looked into Dell. I was just messing around I built a laptop with a Mobile Pentium� 4 Processor 518 w/HT Technology (2.80GHz, 533MHz FSB), 1GB,333MHz,2 DIMMs Memory, and a 60GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive for under $1500. Not really sure what all that means.
When I first started using VDL:1, I was using it on a laptop. It ran slow with Kompakt and all the sounds loaded and Sibelius, but that was because of ram issues.

Like CMAC said, the biggest thing you need to worry about is memory. If you're just running VDL:2 and only using 8 sounds at a time, 512 should work fine, but if you start to run multiple instances of Kontakt Player with all the sounds loaded, it will drain your resources quickly.

At PASIC, Jim was using Sibelius, Kompakt and some of the VDL:2 sounds on his Mac laptop and didn't have any problems.

So, long story short, overload on memory and a good processor.
And if you plan on recording you work as big a HD as possible or a dedicated HD just for audio. One minute of mono audio is equal to 5MB of disk space. Now that may not seem like a big number compared to your 60GB HD but think it through.

You have a 3 minute tune, 4 battery parts each of these is 3 minute thats 12 total times 5 equals 60MB. Add in your front ensemble sounds at three minutes (15MB) per part plus all of the winds and brass (this is where it kills) and it will add up. Then you may want to process the sounds to give a better balance and blend. That is just one tune.

Figure it out for a 10 minute show (4 battery times 10 minutes times 5MB equals 200MB, plus 5 pit times 10 minutes times 5MB equals (250MB plus 200MB equals 450MB) plus 10 winds & brass times 10 minutes times 5MB equals (500MB plus 250MB plus 200MB equals 950MB). That is almost a gig of memory for one show.

Sorry I let the audio geek out.


Ted
[quote="PercussionistBug"]I have looked into Dell. I was just messing around I built a laptop with a Mobile Pentium� 4 Processor 518 w/HT Technology (2.80GHz, 533MHz FSB), 1GB,333MHz,2 DIMMs Memory, and a 60GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive for under $1500. Not really sure what all that means.[/quote]


honestly, i would try to get at least 3.0 GHz processor, possibly with a faster FSB. you should be good with 1 gig of RAM, but like Bill said, it all depends on how much you plan on doing at once (i.e. multiple instances vs. just one instance and so on). keep in mind that you will probably be running your notation program as well. all this combined and you are chewing your system's memory way down. and Ted is also right about the HD. surely you will use your laptop for more than just storing audio files. you could go with the 60 gig to start out, and see how it goes, then later buy an external for your audio files. or you could upgrade now--that's all about your budget though. whatever you do, just don't short your RAM and your processor. good luck.

chris
Couldn't I just burn all my audio files onto a CD-RW, and store them that way?
Firewire external...your best bet for audio recording.
[quote="PercussionistBug"]Couldn't I just burn all my audio files onto a CD-RW, and store them that way?[/quote]

For storage and back up you will want to do this. But for actually recording the files this is not the best way to record audio without a mixing console. Just running a notation program and VDL with its host will get you playback. Attempting to record this will result in a low quality recording. What program would you use to record your audio?

David is correct about an external firewire drive. You can also partition your internal drive to have space just for audio.

This is my set up and remember I'm on a Mac.

iBook G4 1.33ghz processor
60GB Int. HD (no partitions)
180 GB Ext. HD (3 partitions in this order- audio recording/sound library/backup)
MOTU 828mkII firewire audio interface
Tascam 4-track portastudio and Denon 790R stero tape deck
LaCie firewire CR-RW

Software includes:
Finale 2004 soon to be 2005
Sibelius 3
Reason 2.5 (I load VDL into this)
Digital Performer 4.12
Peak and Toast

Remember, if you're making demos to get work or sending out work you never want to say "well, it's a bad recording but you should get the idea".

Ted
So, I'll need something just so I can record my compositions?
You can record your compositions in a variety of ways.

I think the main point is that simply having 60GB on your internal hard drive will be fine for running your main programs, operating system, etc. But, it's definitely not a bad idea to consider an external firewire drive for storing large amounts of data. Digital audio files can eat up space in a hurry, and frankly, using a 7200rpm external drive would be more efficient for storing data, backup, and moreover streaming samples from.

Back to the question of recording - Ted's system sounds great, and would be one illustration of a "power user". This doesn't necessarily mean you have to go out and purchase all that type of gear to create simple recordings for yourself. It just depends how technical you want to get, and how detailed you'll eventually get in the recording process. Many current users have been satisfied using cheap or free shareware audio recording utilities that simply record the output of your playback. Hit "record" in your audio utility, hit "play" in your notation program, and let it do its thing. This isn't necessarily the most versatile way of recording, however it's suited many folks who are just getting started with this sort of audio/sampling technology. If you decide you want to get more "pro" hi-end gear and sequencing software, it's always an option down the road - but certainly not a requirement to get some great benefits out of VDL2.
[quote="Jim Casella"]
Back to the question of recording - Ted's system sounds great, and would be one illustration of a "power user". This doesn't necessarily mean you have to go out and purchase all that type of gear to create simple recordings for yourself. It just depends how technical you want to get, and how detailed you'll eventually get in the recording process. Many current users have been satisfied using cheap or free shareware audio recording utilities that simply record the output of your playback. Hit "record" in your audio utility, hit "play" in your notation program, and let it do its thing. This isn't necessarily the most versatile way of recording, however it's suited many folks who are just getting started with this sort of audio/sampling technology. If you decide you want to get more "pro" hi-end gear and sequencing software, it's always an option down the road - but certainly not a requirement to get some great benefits out of VDL2.[/quote]


You're right Jim about the degree of sophistication involved in recording compositions on a laptop or a desktop for that matter. My primary point is that if one expects to be able to produce a 'high end' product on a 'low end' budget, it will be difficult to say the least. Decide what you final goal is then plan to build over the long term. It has taken me 10 years to build the system that I have and along the way it was very basic for a long period of time. My first recordings were done using my general midi keyboard output recorded into my home stereo cassette deck.

Ted
Too bad there is not an emoticon to show how far this is all going over my head. But y'all all are good with this stuff, so I'm glad there is a message board to help people like me.

I think it might be best if I explain exactly what I want to do with VDL2, when it comes out, to give y'all a better picture while helping me through.

First off, I'd really like to have the ability to move VDL around with me, and my writing program for that matter so I can work on it in multipule places, like school and home. A laptop would really help a lot, but it is not a necessity.

Secondly, I'd like to be able to make higher end recordings of my compositions, which more than likely will always be percussion only, (I might get into wind composing more in college.)

Huh, I thought there would be more than that, but that I guess that's all I really want to do, VDL wise.

Whether I get a laptop or desktop, I'd still like to be able to make DVDs and CDs, and watching DVDs, but my main purpose will be using VDL.

This really looks like I'm going to need help first determining what I really need in my computer to do all these things. Then the programs and other things I'll need to use with VDL. Or, I guess in other words, I'm gonna need someone to hold my hand through this whole thing. :oops: . Kinda makes me wish I had taken some computer classes in High School.
for the higher end recording part that you say you want to do, you will need a mixing/editing/recording program (i.e cakewalk or cubase or something like it) cakewalk has different programs for different levels and budgets. i personally am about to buy cakewalk sonar 4 studio edition. that will run about $250 at educational pricing (you are a student right?) if you don't want to spend that much, they also make what's called "home studio" which is significantly cheaper. but remember--you get what you pay for.

you can definetly build a laptop that will suit your VDL needs and your other computing tasks and desires. just remember that when you are running your notation program along with VDL, and then a recording program, you are really draining your systems resources--much more than anything you've ever done on a computer (most likely). so get a good FAST processor (i.e. 3.0 ghz or higher with at least 800 fsb), then load up on as much RAM as your motherboard can support and/or how much you can afford. (1 gig bare minimum). i know that i sound like a broken record on this string, but i just can't emphasize these things to you enough. have fun and good luck.

chris
I do what you've described using the following setup.

Portable (around the house and at work): G4 Powerbook at 1.33GHz (1.25GB RAM), Finale, Kontakt, and Peak LE.

At home I usually use the same software setup but on a G4 Dual-1.25GHz PowerMac (1.5GB RAM).

I've never seen a slowdown anywhere that hindered recording or playback. I've just been recording to the internal drive on the PowerBook and to a second IDE drive on the PowerMac. I've even recorded with GarageBand on the PowerBook. It works fine.

- David
Hey Jim while we are on the subject of setups, if I wanted to make recordings like yours, what kind of setup/software/etc would I need...?

Thanks!
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