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laptop/firewire question

 
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Bo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 4:28 pm    Post subject: laptop/firewire question Reply with quote

I've been looking at laptops for my portable 'on the road' for nearly a year now. I'm narrowing it down to a Toshiba Satellite, but I was just told yesterday that I need "firewire". I don't think the toshiba I want has that. Now the guy that told me this does 'multi tracking music stuff' on his laptop, and I of course will be doing just basic voice-over with Cool Edit. So, firewire.......what is it, do I need it? and...while I'm at it:

Laptops: any preference?



Thanks!



Bo
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Charlie Channel
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Joined: 08 Feb 2005
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Location: East Palo Alto, CA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:50 pm    Post subject: Re: laptop/firewire question Reply with quote

Bo wrote:
I've been looking at laptops for my portable 'on the road' for nearly a year now. I'm narrowing it down to a Toshiba Satellite, but I was just told yesterday that I need "firewire". I don't think the toshiba I want has that. Now the guy that told me this does 'multi tracking music stuff' on his laptop, and I of course will be doing just basic voice-over with Cool Edit. So, firewire.......what is it, do I need it? and...while I'm at it:

Laptops: any preference?



Thanks!



Bo




I think the answer is: Depends on your rig and how you're going to do what you're planning to do. I'm assuming you will not use the sound card in the laptop. Most built-in sound cards may not be studio quality.



If you use an external sound card (M-Box, Audigy, M-Audio, etc) it would have to communicate with the computer someway. Firewire or USB are data communications channels used for data communication through ports located on computers. Many external sound cards communicate through a USB (latest standard is USB-2 which is faster than USB) port. Some communicate through a Firewire (1384) port. Firewire is faster than USB. USB-2 is supplanting USB, because it's fast (almost) as Firewire.



If you're just thinking about recording a demo or something and using the laptop's audio (as the audio circuitry may be built into the motherboard of the laptop), then that's all you'll need. Just plug a mic into it the laptop. You can also plug in headphones.



You can also use an iMic (cost about $40) and plugs into a laptop through the USB port. Cool Edit comes in the package and works with the iMic, even if your laptop has an internal soundcard. It works. I bought the iMic from a Mac store.



CoolEdit is a software application. It does not require firewire to work. It work with the hardware, like SoundBlaster, Audigy, M-Audio, iMic, etc.



To answer your question: Do not buy a laptop that does NOT have firewire capability, regardless of what you're going to do with it. If you do, you're buying something that is, probably, out of production or so feature poor it may not be a very good investment.



Good luck!



CC
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Bo Hudson
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charlie, very useful information for me!



So, I'll make sure to get firewire. Once I have the laptop I'm sure I'll figure it all out. I want to travel with very little since I'll be going out of the country this summer, and I do NOT want to take my mixer with me. I'd like to get everything I need as compact as possible...



The iMic, sounds good.



I do need to record high bit rate MP3's though, at least 128. I do dry voice only, ususally mono. No music mixing. Will that $40 mic allow me to get enough quality? Hard to believe it would, but that would be grreat if it did!

Gracias, Bo
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Charlie Channel
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Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 356
Location: East Palo Alto, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bo Hudson wrote:
Thanks Charlie, very useful information for me!



I do need to record high bit rate MP3's though, at least 128. I do dry voice only, ususally mono. No music mixing. Will that $40 mic allow me to get enough quality? Hard to believe it would, but that would be grreat if it did!

Gracias, Bo




Yep. The sample rate for the iMic is 44.1 khz, which is CD quality. You have the ability to swith it between a "line" input, to digitize CD's and tapes and stuff like that which may already have been recorded in another medium, in addition to swtiching to microphone input. For $40, how can you go wrong?



Make sure the machine you have has XP on it and you'll have no problems:



http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imic/



The thing works with PC's as well as the iMac, but it was primarily targeted to address a deficiency in the Mac's. That's what the reviews are all about.



And another little one from M-Audio. You've got choices: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Transit-main.html



Wild stuff.



MP3 is a different question. 128 kb for MP3 is a function of your MP3 codec. It's a converter that will convert the WAV file (assuming you buy a PC based system, versus a Mac [which is AIFF]) to MP3. Just make sure you get an mp3 converter that does 128 kb as a sample rate. Normally, it's a small application you can purchase online; Google that, i.e., "MP3 converters." BUT . . . Perhaps the sound editing software (Cool Edit Pro or something) already has a converter built in. I'm not up on that. Pro Tools does.



Make sure you also check out M-Audio and Edirol products. They're pretty good for portability, too. Pro quality. And, not that expensive (and probably sound a bit better than the iMic).



http://www.edirol.com/products/info/ua25.html

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.list&ID=mobileinterfaces



Here's the toy I'd take on a trip. All I'd need to find is a high speed Internet pipe and somebody's elses computer with a USB port. I'd just take this toy, it's software driver CD and a EV-20 microphone (and maybe a small preamp/mixer) and call it a day.



http://www.edirol.com/products/info/r1.html



Enjoy.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm...I was typing a note and the whole thing went blink, burrrp, hiccup and wheeze....and then it was all gone!



Here is a site where you can download a free copy of the Razor Lame mp3 converter which is said to be the best of the best:



http://www.soft32.com/download_20152.html
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Bo Hudson
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Charlie, been out for a while from this board and just read your posts.



Thanks!



Ok: I jsut ordered a top of the line Gateway, has everything on it, firewire, 4 USB ports, and lots of power! yes, I am very excited and can't wait to try 'er out. It's like waiting for Christmas in March :P



So, on the other topic, I already have two MP3 converters, and my Cool Edit will do any config of Mp3's I want. So, have that covered.



Now, back to that little dandy iMic, I'm likin that idea!



Humor me here as I ask another dumb question oK?



So, my mic would go into the iMic, then that goes into the computer?

So it would be:



my Mic>iMic>USB on laptop?



What about phantom power? I just have a Sure mic, that now goes into my mixer, into my PC.



Would it be better for me to get an audio interface like a UA 25 or 30 ?



Since I ALWAYS just record voice, and never do any music of any kind, I'm thinking a UA 25 or 30 may be overkill...more than I need . If the phantom power is adressed maybe I can get away with the iMic for just a few weeks out of the year when I travel. I of course would use my own stuff at home.



Best,



Bo
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