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I ordered a laptop yesterday. An Inspiron 6000 because it was $450 off the regular price. Now I’m wondering what kind of sound card to get for it.

I’m planning to use it for recording and for playing live if I can get over my paranoia of spilling beer on it or it getting stolen or some sound guy stepping on it. If anyone knows anything about that stuff, please let me know.

Posted on - March 2, 2006 [at] 2:36 pm by Brad
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10 Comments on this post

victor on Laptop purchase
March 2, 2006 at 4:49 pm

this is about spilling beer:

and how to recover

I’ve been doing music on a laptop pretty much exclusively for a year, part time for many years. I use an outboard m-audio box.

craig on Laptop purchase
March 2, 2006 at 6:29 pm

i’m 100% laptop now as well, using a MOTU traveler. it is fantastic.

Nick on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 12:14 am

Creative’s notebook Audigy rocks, and is getting more affordable everyday.

Heuristics Inc. on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 12:25 pm

I’ve got the Digigram VXPocket440, which is pretty good. It was pretty fiddly to get it set up, though, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it. Also there’s this heavy pigtail of cables hanging off the card, which is “making me nervous.” ;)

SexyJosh on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 1:42 pm

Yeah, I agree with Nick. The Notebook Audigy is what your looking for.

johnsonic on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 3:08 pm

What about a firewire interface? I just made the shift to a laptop setup and got the firepod for my laptop because of the 10 inputs and the ability to mic the whole band in one shot.

Brad on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 3:55 pm

I’ve been thinking firewire might be the way to go. That way I could get a firewire card for my desktop and just go back and forth.

The firepod’s real sexy looking. 10 channels would be nice but I have a feeling I’d be using 1 or 2 of them 99% of the time so I’m not sure I can justify the cost. The M-Audio Firewire 410 is looking nice:

IreneRos on Laptop purchase
March 3, 2006 at 6:52 pm

I use an m-audio Audiophile USB and it’s been behaving pretty well so I’d recommend it for a really simple and lightweight setup.

pHluid on Laptop purchase
March 5, 2006 at 8:27 am

Brad if you’re paranoid about damaging your laptop at a show, the laptop you need is a Panasonic “Toughbook” Manufacturer site:
We’ve used these things at shows and they’re practically indestructible (as in submersible in water while open, drop it 6 feet onto concrete without damage, etc). You can get docking stations for them that let you plug in full-size PC cards, which would let you use just about any sound card you want. Toughbooks come up on eBay all the time ranging from $200 to $5000 depending on the model. Good ones start at around $1000.

Scott Lamb on Laptop purchase
March 22, 2006 at 7:46 am

I can’t say I agree with the people suggesting audigy cards – Creative Labs make acceptible consumer-grade products, but they’re not all about, or amazingly good at the music-creation side of things. I used to love ’em, but once I bought my first M-Audio card, I realised how restricted I’d been before (sound quality, robustness, latency, connectivity).

I hear good things of the M-Audio firewire devices, and I personally use an Edirol FA 101:

10 ins, 10 outs, well designed and flexible. From what I see, the M-Audio equivalents look and perform much the same.

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