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a question for the techies of the forum - i have experienced some issues with my laptop lately, basically some keys stopped working suddenly (caps lock, both shifts, both ctrls, 2, 3, up and left arrows), i thought it was a faulty keyboard  (no spillage or whatever, it just stopped working) but didn't have any time to bring it to the shop so just used external keyboard for a while. however, that stopped working today too, it looks like usb ports are dead now as well. so anyway, i'll be bringing it to the shop next week after the chinese new year, but was just wondering if anyone has any idea what could it be. likely motherboard issue? should i be mentally prepared to throw the fucking thing into the wall and get a new one instead?...

@Rab @Mel81x @Berserker (or anyone else) :( 

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Bad motherboard most likely, you can expect things like your audio output to stop working next. Best to be ready to replace it yeah, and it's probably cheaper than to replace the motherboard.

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1 hour ago, Berserker said:

Bad motherboard most likely, you can expect things like your audio output to stop working next. Best to be ready to replace it yeah, and it's probably cheaper than to replace the motherboard.

Yep what he said. I'd start backing up anything you have off the machine and just prepare to trash it.

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4 hours ago, nudge said:

a question for the techies of the forum - i have experienced some issues with my laptop lately, basically some keys stopped working suddenly (caps lock, both shifts, both ctrls, 2, 3, up and left arrows), i thought it was a faulty keyboard  (no spillage or whatever, it just stopped working) but didn't have any time to bring it to the shop so just used external keyboard for a while. however, that stopped working today too, it looks like usb ports are dead now as well. so anyway, i'll be bringing it to the shop next week after the chinese new year, but was just wondering if anyone has any idea what could it be. likely motherboard issue? should i be mentally prepared to throw the fucking thing into the wall and get a new one instead?...

@Rab @Mel81x @Berserker (or anyone else) :( 

Not much of a techie I will be honest but do recognise the frustration.. putting my fist through something is normally my first thought when things stop working at those vital moments... Fair to say I have zero patience with some things... I would have suggested that maybe you could have given it a blow out with compressed air as bits get stuck under some keys over long periods of use but if you are having the same issue using an external keyboard then sounds more serious... Could be the ribbon cable is on its way out or indeed the motherboard.. How old is the Laptop?? If it's fairly old then might be worth you taking the hit and investing in a new one anyway... If it's not financially viable right now then maybe they can fix the issue for you for much less.. Still, as has already been suggested would start backing up anything important just in case.. 

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10 hours ago, Berserker said:

Bad motherboard most likely, you can expect things like your audio output to stop working next. Best to be ready to replace it yeah, and it's probably cheaper than to replace the motherboard.

 

9 hours ago, Mel81x said:

Yep what he said. I'd start backing up anything you have off the machine and just prepare to trash it.

 

cheers to you both, i thought it was a dodgy motherboard, so i'll bring it to the shop on monday but won't keep my hopes high... although the bloody usb ports are working today, and the external keyboard is playing up on a different computer, so there's still a glimpse of hope xD will look for a new laptop just in case though, if i let them change the motherboard they will just put another dodgy one in most likely haha... oh and i'm constantly backing my stuff up to external drives and cloud, so no worries there! meanwhile, you all will have to cope with me not being able to type capital letters xD 

 

7 hours ago, Bluewolf said:

Not much of a techie I will be honest but do recognise the frustration.. putting my fist through something is normally my first thought when things stop working at those vital moments... Fair to say I have zero patience with some things... I would have suggested that maybe you could have given it a blow out with compressed air as bits get stuck under some keys over long periods of use but if you are having the same issue using an external keyboard then sounds more serious... Could be the ribbon cable is on its way out or indeed the motherboard.. How old is the Laptop?? If it's fairly old then might be worth you taking the hit and investing in a new one anyway... If it's not financially viable right now then maybe they can fix the issue for you for much less.. Still, as has already been suggested would start backing up anything important just in case.. 

i'm a very patient person in general, but some things just make my blood boil, and this is one of them xD i seriously get so annoyed that it takes a lot of will power not to throw the malfunctioning thing into the wall, or use a hammer on it xD the laptop is pretty old, so it's not a big deal in general, and repairing it certainly wouldn't be worth it,  especially considering the quality of repairs here... just like the quality of computers/laptops sold in the shops in general; a lot of dodgy ones around. i will just get a new 11.6 inch asus or something similar if need be, as i only use it work work, browsing and music/videos, so don't need anything fancy anyway, and prefer the smaller lightweight ones as it looks like i'm set to move around a lot in upcoming years...

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Ended up remapping my keyboard keys, so my tab is now my shift and my caps lock is my ctrl xD At least that allows me to work normally until next week.

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2 hours ago, nudge said:

Ended up remapping my keyboard keys, so my tab is now my shift and my caps lock is my ctrl xD At least that allows me to work normally until next week.

Think of it this way. Imagine the keyboard was not working at all and you had to use the on-screen keyboard. TGIF.

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24 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

Think of it this way. Imagine the keyboard was not working at all and you had to use the on-screen keyboard. TGIF.

Doesn't sound too bad, as then I would just turn it off and spend the whole weekend in a pub instead xD

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11 hours ago, nudge said:

Ended up remapping my keyboard keys, so my tab is now my shift and my caps lock is my ctrl xD At least that allows me to work normally until next week.

Just turn the keyboard around. :ph34r:

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No new thread required can use this one, have purchased a new laptop which is soon to arrive. Are you the old way of thinking? Where you charge it for 24 hours before use? Or is this a complete myth?

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33 minutes ago, MUFC said:

No new thread required can use this one, have purchased a new laptop which is soon to arrive. Are you the old way of thinking? Where you charge it for 24 hours before use? Or is this a complete myth?

All depends on the individual, me and the wife only start charging our laptops when a small icon appears at the right-hand bottom of the screen saying 5% charge left and that's when we charge it and wait until it says fully charges 100%, just like your mobile phone really. 

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5 minutes ago, CaaC - John said:

All depends on the individual, me and the wife only start charging our laptops when a small icon appears at the right-hand bottom of the screen saying 5% charge left and that's when we charge it and wait until it says fully charges 100%, just like your mobile phone really. 

Just that I read that charging a brand new laptop for x amount of hours, helps battery maintenance long term, just looking into the truth of this.

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13 minutes ago, MUFC said:

Just that I read that charging a brand new laptop for x amount of hours, helps battery maintenance long term, just looking into the truth of this.

download.thumb.png.e909fad51cbb36d04a66e5cacd4a84ef.png

371303477_download(1).thumb.png.abb875859c53db9e0be8df4acf1b0edb.png

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Lol i play a lot of games on my laptop so its charging most of the times 

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When I switch my laptop off at night time then I will also switch the charger plug off at the wall socket, I have always done this and it's never harmed my laptop or the wife's, I prefer leaving the charger plugged in any way as the screen lights up better. 

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Hey I'm going to bump this because I have a laptop question... and I don't want to make a new thread.

@Mel81x, @Eco (since now I know you work at Dell, I'm going to assume you know anything about computers), @Berserker (don't know if you'll know the answer to this question but @nudge tagged you... also now she's going to see that I've tagged her and get a notification and then click on this and think "why the fuck did he need to tag me in this??" so sorry about that!)

I want a laptop that I can use for recording my guitar tracks and fucking around with production - I've got an actual desktop computer for it, but I want something mobile. And my laptop is too much of a piece of shit for that (not enough processing power I think). So I'm aware I'm going to want something with a decent processor... but if you wanted to keep this laptop as cheap as possible, what would you go with?

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What program(s) do you use for recordings and productions?

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7 hours ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Hey I'm going to bump this because I have a laptop question... and I don't want to make a new thread.

@Mel81x, @Eco (since now I know you work at Dell, I'm going to assume you know anything about computers), @Berserker (don't know if you'll know the answer to this question but @nudge tagged you... also now she's going to see that I've tagged her and get a notification and then click on this and think "why the fuck did he need to tag me in this??" so sorry about that!)

I want a laptop that I can use for recording my guitar tracks and fucking around with production - I've got an actual desktop computer for it, but I want something mobile. And my laptop is too much of a piece of shit for that (not enough processing power I think). So I'm aware I'm going to want something with a decent processor... but if you wanted to keep this laptop as cheap as possible, what would you go with?

Long Post

This is a very hard question but the good news is that there's a lot of options for you out there. Essentially there are two paths, from all my research that you can take and it all starts with the software you choose and the type of setup you want to have. I'll list two of the most popular ones I have seen and then try to list the pros and cons. At the end I have listed a truly mobile experience but it has very limited usage and is a bit cumbersome if you're set on a laptop path.

The Logic Pro Route
This is arguably one of the most common if not the industry standard route when it comes to mixing, mastering and recording instruments. You could go as simple as plugging the FX processor directly into your machine of choice (ill list them below) or you could even do the FX into the Audio-Interface (also listed below) and then directly into the DAW/Computer setup you have. 

Machine Choices

  • Macbook Air (i7 only as the i5 chokes on things like adding layers and you'll want that if you plan to play rhythm lines and push some leads and phrasing lines above the rhythm line)
  • Macbook Pro (i7) - This is probably the most future-proof choice if you're going to get together with friends and want multi-channel lines open via an audio-interface like a FocusRite 8i8 or something of the sort
  • Mac Mini (i7 Quad / i7 Hex) - This is not mobile but imo this is the most cost-efficient long-term solution for home-recording as it offers the best bang for buck value. It also has the smallest footprint of all the other devices offered with good port connectivity and a very good on-board capacitor/audio block for processing
  • Mac Pro - Pointless unless this is your business in which case I say this is a must-have but you already know that 

Pros

  • Wide variety of instrument/accessory manufacturers spend good time optimizing stuff for Logic and there's a wealth of online knowledge and help on getting setup. Case in point, I bought a MIDI keyboard and couldn't get it to work in Ableton but do a search for a Logic solution and theres so many people helping with mappings, etc
  • Easy to use and quite an intuitive use interface. You'll have to spend time understanding some terms and getting to understand the channel interface but its pretty simple and easily doable
  • Decent library of patches and a very good master block for audio-mixing and cutting. 
  • No fuss about setting it up since its all Apple proprietary

Cons

  • If you want any exotic stuff like a SONAR card for better digital processing you cant since they are Macs and the only one in that range you'll want to touch is the Mac Pro and at that point mobility gets thrown out the door
  • Extending the library of sound patches can get a bit expensive if you start looking for specific patches but I suppose thats true of any proper DAW
  • Its Apple so buying peripherals for music can go from being ultra cheap or quite expensive based on your budget. To give you a stupid example of this, I wanted to hook my Mac up to my ultra-wide monitor for more work-space. The cheap solution is to go with an HDMI cable directly from the computer to the monitor but thats has limited throughput and sometimes causes screen jitter so that forces me down the Thunderbolt path. What should have been a 10 unit purchase turned into a 110 unit purchase (multiplier) and yes it does get that expensive but there are always cheaper alternatives. 

The Ableton Route
When Ableton first hit the scene it was primarily for DJs and EDM music but fast-forward a couple of years and the things this does put it at par with Logic and in some cases even surpass Logic for features like sound-splicing and mastering components that are customizable. 

Machine Choices

  • A good midrange i7 should do here with some great options actually being gaming notebooks since they use better capacitors on their audio-interfaces. An SSD is a must and since they are so cheap most manufacturers actually put good ones in anyways. 
  • MSI makes a whole slew of good machines for this with my personal favorite being the GS65 as its thin and packs a good punch for what you want to do and its future-proof as well. Think the older model is lower in price too

Audio Interface Options (You can go wild here if you want but there's two I have seen over the years that easily beat the competition)

  • FocusRite Scarlett - So many variations so many options for what you want to do. Simple mic and guitar placement? Entry level is very good. Want to jam with an entire band? They've got an affordable option here too.
  • Presonus Studio/Quantum/AudioBox - The AudioBox is the one I see most people going for as they don't need most of the power/efficiency of the others but its very good and priced around the same range as the FocusRite lineup. Same notes from above apply, its just an audio-interface at the end of the day and can fit in a bag along with a laptop as its so small.

Pros

  • Extensible - You can literally add anything you want if you dont go the laptop route. Want a better sound-card? Swap it out and get one with better digital input/line coverage. Want a faster SSD setup with backup redundancy? Put in a RAID controller and use that instead.
  • RAM extensions for bigger projects - Sometimes you'll get creative and want to do more than 6 layers so having a bit more RAM can help in these cases as it can get pretty hungry for it
  • Wide-variety of setup choices ranging from splitting the DAW into VMs and then doing more exotic chain setups for DAW to DAW (which Apple makes you pay a bomb for but is budget friendly in the PC space). Note: This is a very weird but useful setup for musicians collaborating.
  • Cheaper with more options. 

Cons

  • You can sometimes run into issues where products dont work as expected out of the box and then spend hours trying to set them up. This is not to say you cant eventually get them to work but if you're the kind of person that wants to open an item plug it in and then get running this may not always be the case.
  • Working with windows for audio-processing isn't where it needs to be yet. Sometimes I have run into issues where i'll get noise in the line and its not from electricity but due to poor driver support on the device. If you're the kind of person that wants to hear exactly what you're playing then this can be a bit irritating and the worst part is that the driver issues will bleed into your recording so that is something to take into consideration.

Things I wish someone had told me

  • Invest in good cables - I cannot stress how important this is. I have seen people plug in skinny unshielded cables and it creates such terrible recordings
  • Always put yourself in live monitor mode - Probably seems silly to mention this but any audio-interface (with the exception of very high-end ones) come with latency. It may be a few milliseconds but when you're busy putting it down with a really good lick or playing away and run through the DAW you can get delay so the interface helps or an amp/cab if you're going that way
  • Adding layers after recording, same rule as above applies but its a bit more trickier as you can miss parts if you're not using a powerful enough rig and then the lag kicks in. good news? you can learn to shift the track and solve all these problems after-all its just a matter of staying in time
  • Spend a lot of time learning Signal Chains and how they affect your sound. It may sound great on an amp or Studio Monitors then you record it and the chain can have a totally different feel when you hear it recorded but you'll have to do this no matter what path you choose

In the end, I'll say this, it doesn't matter which path you choose because both are fantastic. One is a more recognized industry standard and is easier to share with (from what I have seen over here - Logic Pro) and the other is not very far behind and can create just a stellar results if you're trying to go pro or just mucking about. Ask friends and people you're going to record with or play with what they use and follow that route because its all about how easy it is to expand on what you're doing and if people are playing and recording in something and you're working with them its just easier to add to the harmony of things. I don't know if you've seen the iRig stuff but its great for getting started, plugs into your phone and can make some great recordings, they have an HD version too now and you can use it on an iPad as well.

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irig2/

My Setup

  • Macbook Air (i7 - 16GB RAM) / Mac Mini i7 - 16 GB RAM
  • Logic Pro X
  • Guitar Pro 7 - Purely for transcribing
  • FocusRite Scarlett 8i8 + 2i2 - I take this to sessions so we can record and hear ourselves later
  • Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones - I'd love proper Studio Monitors but my neighbours would find a way to make my life miserable
  • AMP DI back into Audio Interface for testing sound with the Pedalboard before putting it into the Audio Interface back into Logic Pro
  • Upvote 3

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11 hours ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Hey I'm going to bump this because I have a laptop question... and I don't want to make a new thread.

@Mel81x, @Eco (since now I know you work at Dell, I'm going to assume you know anything about computers), @Berserker (don't know if you'll know the answer to this question but @nudge tagged you... also now she's going to see that I've tagged her and get a notification and then click on this and think "why the fuck did he need to tag me in this??" so sorry about that!)

I want a laptop that I can use for recording my guitar tracks and fucking around with production - I've got an actual desktop computer for it, but I want something mobile. And my laptop is too much of a piece of shit for that (not enough processing power I think). So I'm aware I'm going to want something with a decent processor... but if you wanted to keep this laptop as cheap as possible, what would you go with?

I'm not an expert but have found gaming laptops to be fast as hell no matter what you use them for.

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8 hours ago, Mel81x said:

Long Post

This is a very hard question but the good news is that there's a lot of options for you out there. Essentially there are two paths, from all my research that you can take and it all starts with the software you choose and the type of setup you want to have. I'll list two of the most popular ones I have seen and then try to list the pros and cons. At the end I have listed a truly mobile experience but it has very limited usage and is a bit cumbersome if you're set on a laptop path.

The Logic Pro Route
This is arguably one of the most common if not the industry standard route when it comes to mixing, mastering and recording instruments. You could go as simple as plugging the FX processor directly into your machine of choice (ill list them below) or you could even do the FX into the Audio-Interface (also listed below) and then directly into the DAW/Computer setup you have. 

Machine Choices

  • Macbook Air (i7 only as the i5 chokes on things like adding layers and you'll want that if you plan to play rhythm lines and push some leads and phrasing lines above the rhythm line)
  • Macbook Pro (i7) - This is probably the most future-proof choice if you're going to get together with friends and want multi-channel lines open via an audio-interface like a FocusRite 8i8 or something of the sort
  • Mac Mini (i7 Quad / i7 Hex) - This is not mobile but imo this is the most cost-efficient long-term solution for home-recording as it offers the best bang for buck value. It also has the smallest footprint of all the other devices offered with good port connectivity and a very good on-board capacitor/audio block for processing
  • Mac Pro - Pointless unless this is your business in which case I say this is a must-have but you already know that 

Pros

  • Wide variety of instrument/accessory manufacturers spend good time optimizing stuff for Logic and there's a wealth of online knowledge and help on getting setup. Case in point, I bought a MIDI keyboard and couldn't get it to work in Ableton but do a search for a Logic solution and theres so many people helping with mappings, etc
  • Easy to use and quite an intuitive use interface. You'll have to spend time understanding some terms and getting to understand the channel interface but its pretty simple and easily doable
  • Decent library of patches and a very good master block for audio-mixing and cutting. 
  • No fuss about setting it up since its all Apple proprietary

Cons

  • If you want any exotic stuff like a SONAR card for better digital processing you cant since they are Macs and the only one in that range you'll want to touch is the Mac Pro and at that point mobility gets thrown out the door
  • Extending the library of sound patches can get a bit expensive if you start looking for specific patches but I suppose thats true of any proper DAW
  • Its Apple so buying peripherals for music can go from being ultra cheap or quite expensive based on your budget. To give you a stupid example of this, I wanted to hook my Mac up to my ultra-wide monitor for more work-space. The cheap solution is to go with an HDMI cable directly from the computer to the monitor but thats has limited throughput and sometimes causes screen jitter so that forces me down the Thunderbolt path. What should have been a 10 unit purchase turned into a 110 unit purchase (multiplier) and yes it does get that expensive but there are always cheaper alternatives. 

The Ableton Route
When Ableton first hit the scene it was primarily for DJs and EDM music but fast-forward a couple of years and the things this does put it at par with Logic and in some cases even surpass Logic for features like sound-splicing and mastering components that are customizable. 

Machine Choices

  • A good midrange i7 should do here with some great options actually being gaming notebooks since they use better capacitors on their audio-interfaces. An SSD is a must and since they are so cheap most manufacturers actually put good ones in anyways. 
  • MSI makes a whole slew of good machines for this with my personal favorite being the GS65 as its thin and packs a good punch for what you want to do and its future-proof as well. Think the older model is lower in price too

Audio Interface Options (You can go wild here if you want but there's two I have seen over the years that easily beat the competition)

  • FocusRite Scarlett - So many variations so many options for what you want to do. Simple mic and guitar placement? Entry level is very good. Want to jam with an entire band? They've got an affordable option here too.
  • Presonus Studio/Quantum/AudioBox - The AudioBox is the one I see most people going for as they don't need most of the power/efficiency of the others but its very good and priced around the same range as the FocusRite lineup. Same notes from above apply, its just an audio-interface at the end of the day and can fit in a bag along with a laptop as its so small.

Pros

  • Extensible - You can literally add anything you want if you dont go the laptop route. Want a better sound-card? Swap it out and get one with better digital input/line coverage. Want a faster SSD setup with backup redundancy? Put in a RAID controller and use that instead.
  • RAM extensions for bigger projects - Sometimes you'll get creative and want to do more than 6 layers so having a bit more RAM can help in these cases as it can get pretty hungry for it
  • Wide-variety of setup choices ranging from splitting the DAW into VMs and then doing more exotic chain setups for DAW to DAW (which Apple makes you pay a bomb for but is budget friendly in the PC space). Note: This is a very weird but useful setup for musicians collaborating.
  • Cheaper with more options. 

Cons

  • You can sometimes run into issues where products dont work as expected out of the box and then spend hours trying to set them up. This is not to say you cant eventually get them to work but if you're the kind of person that wants to open an item plug it in and then get running this may not always be the case.
  • Working with windows for audio-processing isn't where it needs to be yet. Sometimes I have run into issues where i'll get noise in the line and its not from electricity but due to poor driver support on the device. If you're the kind of person that wants to hear exactly what you're playing then this can be a bit irritating and the worst part is that the driver issues will bleed into your recording so that is something to take into consideration.

Things I wish someone had told me

  • Invest in good cables - I cannot stress how important this is. I have seen people plug in skinny unshielded cables and it creates such terrible recordings
  • Always put yourself in live monitor mode - Probably seems silly to mention this but any audio-interface (with the exception of very high-end ones) come with latency. It may be a few milliseconds but when you're busy putting it down with a really good lick or playing away and run through the DAW you can get delay so the interface helps or an amp/cab if you're going that way
  • Adding layers after recording, same rule as above applies but its a bit more trickier as you can miss parts if you're not using a powerful enough rig and then the lag kicks in. good news? you can learn to shift the track and solve all these problems after-all its just a matter of staying in time
  • Spend a lot of time learning Signal Chains and how they affect your sound. It may sound great on an amp or Studio Monitors then you record it and the chain can have a totally different feel when you hear it recorded but you'll have to do this no matter what path you choose

In the end, I'll say this, it doesn't matter which path you choose because both are fantastic. One is a more recognized industry standard and is easier to share with (from what I have seen over here - Logic Pro) and the other is not very far behind and can create just a stellar results if you're trying to go pro or just mucking about. Ask friends and people you're going to record with or play with what they use and follow that route because its all about how easy it is to expand on what you're doing and if people are playing and recording in something and you're working with them its just easier to add to the harmony of things. I don't know if you've seen the iRig stuff but its great for getting started, plugs into your phone and can make some great recordings, they have an HD version too now and you can use it on an iPad as well.

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irig2/

My Setup

  • Macbook Air (i7 - 16GB RAM) / Mac Mini i7 - 16 GB RAM
  • Logic Pro X
  • Guitar Pro 7 - Purely for transcribing
  • FocusRite Scarlett 8i8 + 2i2 - I take this to sessions so we can record and hear ourselves later
  • Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones - I'd love proper Studio Monitors but my neighbours would find a way to make my life miserable
  • AMP DI back into Audio Interface for testing sound with the Pedalboard before putting it into the Audio Interface back into Logic Pro

What a fucking post lad!

Thanks!

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8 hours ago, Mel81x said:

Long Post

This is a very hard question but the good news is that there's a lot of options for you out there. Essentially there are two paths, from all my research that you can take and it all starts with the software you choose and the type of setup you want to have. I'll list two of the most popular ones I have seen and then try to list the pros and cons. At the end I have listed a truly mobile experience but it has very limited usage and is a bit cumbersome if you're set on a laptop path.

The Logic Pro Route
This is arguably one of the most common if not the industry standard route when it comes to mixing, mastering and recording instruments. You could go as simple as plugging the FX processor directly into your machine of choice (ill list them below) or you could even do the FX into the Audio-Interface (also listed below) and then directly into the DAW/Computer setup you have. 

Machine Choices

  • Macbook Air (i7 only as the i5 chokes on things like adding layers and you'll want that if you plan to play rhythm lines and push some leads and phrasing lines above the rhythm line)
  • Macbook Pro (i7) - This is probably the most future-proof choice if you're going to get together with friends and want multi-channel lines open via an audio-interface like a FocusRite 8i8 or something of the sort
  • Mac Mini (i7 Quad / i7 Hex) - This is not mobile but imo this is the most cost-efficient long-term solution for home-recording as it offers the best bang for buck value. It also has the smallest footprint of all the other devices offered with good port connectivity and a very good on-board capacitor/audio block for processing
  • Mac Pro - Pointless unless this is your business in which case I say this is a must-have but you already know that 

Pros

  • Wide variety of instrument/accessory manufacturers spend good time optimizing stuff for Logic and there's a wealth of online knowledge and help on getting setup. Case in point, I bought a MIDI keyboard and couldn't get it to work in Ableton but do a search for a Logic solution and theres so many people helping with mappings, etc
  • Easy to use and quite an intuitive use interface. You'll have to spend time understanding some terms and getting to understand the channel interface but its pretty simple and easily doable
  • Decent library of patches and a very good master block for audio-mixing and cutting. 
  • No fuss about setting it up since its all Apple proprietary

Cons

  • If you want any exotic stuff like a SONAR card for better digital processing you cant since they are Macs and the only one in that range you'll want to touch is the Mac Pro and at that point mobility gets thrown out the door
  • Extending the library of sound patches can get a bit expensive if you start looking for specific patches but I suppose thats true of any proper DAW
  • Its Apple so buying peripherals for music can go from being ultra cheap or quite expensive based on your budget. To give you a stupid example of this, I wanted to hook my Mac up to my ultra-wide monitor for more work-space. The cheap solution is to go with an HDMI cable directly from the computer to the monitor but thats has limited throughput and sometimes causes screen jitter so that forces me down the Thunderbolt path. What should have been a 10 unit purchase turned into a 110 unit purchase (multiplier) and yes it does get that expensive but there are always cheaper alternatives. 

The Ableton Route
When Ableton first hit the scene it was primarily for DJs and EDM music but fast-forward a couple of years and the things this does put it at par with Logic and in some cases even surpass Logic for features like sound-splicing and mastering components that are customizable. 

 Machine Choices

  • A good midrange i7 should do here with some great options actually being gaming notebooks since they use better capacitors on their audio-interfaces. An SSD is a must and since they are so cheap most manufacturers actually put good ones in anyways. 
  • MSI makes a whole slew of good machines for this with my personal favorite being the GS65 as its thin and packs a good punch for what you want to do and its future-proof as well. Think the older model is lower in price too

Audio Interface Options (You can go wild here if you want but there's two I have seen over the years that easily beat the competition)

  • FocusRite Scarlett - So many variations so many options for what you want to do. Simple mic and guitar placement? Entry level is very good. Want to jam with an entire band? They've got an affordable option here too.
  • Presonus Studio/Quantum/AudioBox - The AudioBox is the one I see most people going for as they don't need most of the power/efficiency of the others but its very good and priced around the same range as the FocusRite lineup. Same notes from above apply, its just an audio-interface at the end of the day and can fit in a bag along with a laptop as its so small.

Pros

  • Extensible - You can literally add anything you want if you dont go the laptop route. Want a better sound-card? Swap it out and get one with better digital input/line coverage. Want a faster SSD setup with backup redundancy? Put in a RAID controller and use that instead.
  • RAM extensions for bigger projects - Sometimes you'll get creative and want to do more than 6 layers so having a bit more RAM can help in these cases as it can get pretty hungry for it
  • Wide-variety of setup choices ranging from splitting the DAW into VMs and then doing more exotic chain setups for DAW to DAW (which Apple makes you pay a bomb for but is budget friendly in the PC space). Note: This is a very weird but useful setup for musicians collaborating.
  • Cheaper with more options. 

Cons

  • You can sometimes run into issues where products dont work as expected out of the box and then spend hours trying to set them up. This is not to say you cant eventually get them to work but if you're the kind of person that wants to open an item plug it in and then get running this may not always be the case.
  • Working with windows for audio-processing isn't where it needs to be yet. Sometimes I have run into issues where i'll get noise in the line and its not from electricity but due to poor driver support on the device. If you're the kind of person that wants to hear exactly what you're playing then this can be a bit irritating and the worst part is that the driver issues will bleed into your recording so that is something to take into consideration.

Things I wish someone had told me

  • Invest in good cables - I cannot stress how important this is. I have seen people plug in skinny unshielded cables and it creates such terrible recordings
  • Always put yourself in live monitor mode - Probably seems silly to mention this but any audio-interface (with the exception of very high-end ones) come with latency. It may be a few milliseconds but when you're busy putting it down with a really good lick or playing away and run through the DAW you can get delay so the interface helps or an amp/cab if you're going that way
  • Adding layers after recording, same rule as above applies but its a bit more trickier as you can miss parts if you're not using a powerful enough rig and then the lag kicks in. good news? you can learn to shift the track and solve all these problems after-all its just a matter of staying in time
  • Spend a lot of time learning Signal Chains and how they affect your sound. It may sound great on an amp or Studio Monitors then you record it and the chain can have a totally different feel when you hear it recorded but you'll have to do this no matter what path you choose

In the end, I'll say this, it doesn't matter which path you choose because both are fantastic. One is a more recognized industry standard and is easier to share with (from what I have seen over here - Logic Pro) and the other is not very far behind and can create just a stellar results if you're trying to go pro or just mucking about. Ask friends and people you're going to record with or play with what they use and follow that route because its all about how easy it is to expand on what you're doing and if people are playing and recording in something and you're working with them its just easier to add to the harmony of things. I don't know if you've seen the iRig stuff but its great for getting started, plugs into your phone and can make some great recordings, they have an HD version too now and you can use it on an iPad as well.

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irig2/

My Setup

  • Macbook Air (i7 - 16GB RAM) / Mac Mini i7 - 16 GB RAM
  • Logic Pro X
  • Guitar Pro 7 - Purely for transcribing
  • FocusRite Scarlett 8i8 + 2i2 - I take this to sessions so we can record and hear ourselves later
  • Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones - I'd love proper Studio Monitors but my neighbours would find a way to make my life miserable
  • AMP DI back into Audio Interface for testing sound with the Pedalboard before putting it into the Audio Interface back into Logic Pro

Well done. 

Better said than I, as I hate Apple products and don't do anything on my laptop in regards to recording and mixing. 

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8 minutes ago, Eco said:

Well done. 

Better said than I, as I hate Apple products and don't do anything on my laptop in regards to recording and mixing. 

TBF to them they have pretty sub-standard development expansion options compared to Windows laptops for things that are purely Microsoft-based and I don't do much development on them myself but for music I am yet to find something so easy to get into that they offer. There's so many varying levels of music entry and they pretty much have you covered from just fooling around all the way to become a professional. The only kicker is their insane prices but no matter what route you take Apple vs PC you're going to start shelling out mad money at some point.

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Yeah I don’t really like Apple computers but I guess for music production it’s the better option, so I shall force myself to learn to like one. Sadly keeping it cheap will be tough with a Mac (except the Mac Mini), but I’ve also got a FocusRite Scarlet (the smallest one) and have messed around just a bit with it on my PC (using Reaper as my DAW) and I think I just couldn’t figure out how to get rid of that noise issue with the PC and thought it was something to do with my guitar. And I think that put me off it a bit (although last night I just used the Helix straight into the DAW and I didn’t notice it, but that was my first time trying to record myself in a while). So if I can avoid that with a Mac then great.

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1 hour ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Yeah I don’t really like Apple computers but I guess for music production it’s the better option, so I shall force myself to learn to like one. Sadly keeping it cheap will be tough with a Mac (except the Mac Mini), but I’ve also got a FocusRite Scarlet (the smallest one) and have messed around just a bit with it on my PC (using Reaper as my DAW) and I think I just couldn’t figure out how to get rid of that noise issue with the PC and thought it was something to do with my guitar. And I think that put me off it a bit (although last night I just used the Helix straight into the DAW and I didn’t notice it, but that was my first time trying to record myself in a while). So if I can avoid that with a Mac then great.

The problem with Scarlett's is like a hit and miss thing. I have a 2i2 that I have used for years now and never had any issues but my friend's just seems to always create this strange buzz when you go past 12 oclock while mine doesn't do the same thing. I think its the internals honestly but if your Helix is working with no issues I'd just use that instead. The only big preference for me and the Scarlett is the size because it fits in a bag and can be taken around. Plus USB lines and Motherboards are a big factor here too.

I will only say this about line disturbances, its a big fat rabbit hole. The more you do the more you spend then you spend and realize you need to spend on other things like shielding, etc then you go out and get better cables then you go out and fix coil hum then you'll fix the line power jack input by fiddling on your PC only to realize that you need more power so you'll get a DAC (internal preferably) then when its all done you'll want some more power on the line into the DAW from the instrument. I try and keep it simple but its a very slippery slope this line fuzz thing.

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15 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

The problem with Scarlett's is like a hit and miss thing. I have a 2i2 that I have used for years now and never had any issues but my friend's just seems to always create this strange buzz when you go past 12 oclock while mine doesn't do the same thing. I think its the internals honestly but if your Helix is working with no issues I'd just use that instead. The only big preference for me and the Scarlett is the size because it fits in a bag and can be taken around. Plus USB lines and Motherboards are a big factor here too.

I will only say this about line disturbances, its a big fat rabbit hole. The more you do the more you spend then you spend and realize you need to spend on other things like shielding, etc then you go out and get better cables then you go out and fix coil hum then you'll fix the line power jack input by fiddling on your PC only to realize that you need more power so you'll get a DAC (internal preferably) then when its all done you'll want some more power on the line into the DAW from the instrument. I try and keep it simple but its a very slippery slope this line fuzz thing.

I think it could be my Scarlett's one of the older ones and the guitar I like best right now has active pickups... and apparently the older Scarlett's and high output pickups don't mix well. I tried it on my SG which also has high output pickups and it was actually noisier, but with the Jackson it's alright. But I figure now I have this fancy fucking modeler in the Helix I can just use that as an interface.

I'd still like something portable though. And looks like all of my friends here that do this use Logic Pro so if we do want to share tracks, that'd be the easiest way. So thanks to your input I have an idea of what I'll be looking at. Unfortunately, it's more money than I wanted to spend - so that's a bit shit xD

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4 hours ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I think it could be my Scarlett's one of the older ones and the guitar I like best right now has active pickups... and apparently the older Scarlett's and high output pickups don't mix well. I tried it on my SG which also has high output pickups and it was actually noisier, but with the Jackson it's alright. But I figure now I have this fancy fucking modeler in the Helix I can just use that as an interface.

I'd still like something portable though. And looks like all of my friends here that do this use Logic Pro so if we do want to share tracks, that'd be the easiest way. So thanks to your input I have an idea of what I'll be looking at. Unfortunately, it's more money than I wanted to spend - so that's a bit shit xD

My mantra ever since I started on the road to understanding the use of Logic Pro X. But you're right about the Helix just use that instead and I think you're sorted. Looking at the discussion around guitar gear you'd think its grounds for its own thread haha and this is from the conversation in here and the conversations in that other thread.

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52 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

My mantra ever since I started on the road to understanding the use of Logic Pro X. But you're right about the Helix just use that instead and I think you're sorted. Looking at the discussion around guitar gear you'd think its grounds for its own thread haha and this is from the conversation in here and the conversations in that other thread.

I thought about making a thread just for us to talk about guitar shite, but I think it'd just be you and me and maybe @Happy Blue 

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10 hours ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I thought about making a thread just for us to talk about guitar shite, but I think it'd just be you and me and maybe @Happy Blue 

Go for it, might be other players on here we don't know about  ..or new members might play  ...i'm thinking about doing a thread for machine gun owners but think that just be me xD

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