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Re: Using a laptop onstage: Dominic Frasca's take is misguided

Travis Hartnett wrote:
> If anyone out
> there is doing all their signal processing and looping on a laptop,
> I'd love to hear the specs of what they're using.

I run a 12" Powerbook, 1,5 GHz, and could do ca. 10 times more than the 
rig you described in your example. (I'd build all what I need in 
Max/MSP) The display is small compared to a 17", but shows also 10 times 
more than any of the small displays of the hw gear all together. (And 
would sit a bit higher and easier to watch than the average looper 
displays, be it rack or footpedals.)

> Someone else has already answered regarding the lower cost of a
> Windows laptop, which isn't surprising, but I'd want to be sure that
> this is a proven-workable configuration for the audio tasks at hand. 

I have not seen any windows based computer which could compete with a 
mac mini in size and price. Attach a transportable flat screen and 
you're still lower in price than the cheapest powerbook.
Apples do not drop in price that much as PC's either, I just sold a 
completely broken 5 year old 15" Powerbook (literally nothing was 
working) for more than 200 Euros. For what you need to replace any 
average hardware rack you'd be fine with a previous generation modell. 
(Though I'd not recommend it.) With that in mind and just considering 
not needing to carry the racks it pays off very well for me. I still 
have that huge rack I used to schlepp back in the 80's, its in my room 
and was not moved for many years, I am very glad about that.

One point to outdated gear: I transferred all my sets thru several OS 
transitions. From Apple II's DOS to CP/M to a Gepard (a german product 
which was not long around) to Atari to Mac OS 6-9, to OS X. The only 
concern I have with software is the danger, that the company which sells 
the software might die. (This is actually worse with hardware, because 
even if the company does not die, it might not be willing to deliver 
replacement parts). The solution for the future is open source software 
which (very/too) slowly move towards usable tools.

There is Pd as alternative to Max/MSP already quite impressive, there is 
Ardour as alternative to ProTools (not quite as usable yet, but its only 
a matter of time), there is Audacity as replacement for various audio 
editors... These tools canot die. Even in a far future, it would be 
possible to compile a running version on a future processor/OS.
But if you use them now, you need some extra time to get deep enough 
into them, but you do not need to pay any introductory or upgrade ever 
in terms of money.



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         Stefan Tiedje
     Electronic Composition

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