Best Laptop for BIAB windows

Posted by: Island Soul

Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 12/24/17 12:21 PM

What do you all think is a fantastic laptop to use with BIAB without the worry of the PC crashing or obtaining viruses?
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 12/25/17 05:40 AM

I've been using ThinkPads on the gig since 2002 and have only had 3 failures. I do one-nighters for a living and they are notoriously hard on gear.

I highly recommend them, they are almost bulletproof.

I keep two on stage, the second one powered up and ready to go, so in all 3 instances (out of thousands of gigs) I just switched over to the second computer and nobody but Leilani and I knew there was a problem.

If you don't want to worry about the PC crashing, get rid of all the apps you don't use for music performance - no office - no browser - no games - no anything else.

My work computers never go on-line and therefore never even need anti-virus or anti-malware software, as they slow down your system and are only a couple of more apps to cause a conflict and crash.

And not having them go on-line is the best way to keep them from getting a virus.

All the files I transfer to them are fist scanned on my office computer with up-to-date Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware apps, and then ported over via a flash drive.

Playing music for a living is a lot of fun, but it is also serious business. Making sure everything runs smoothly and having a booted up backup computer is essential for a "the show must go on" person. And IMHO if you aren't a "the show must go on" kind of person, you shouldn't be in the entertainment business.

BTW the 3 ThinkPad problems in 15 years were (1) CMOS battery -- $5.00 replacement I could have manually set the date and time, but I went to the backup computer because it was easier (2) hard drive making a grinding sound - didn't stop the show but going to the backup computer was the safe thing to do - I replaced the drive the next day (3) Screen went dark - definitely needed the backup computer for that one.

That's my take on it.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: Island Soul

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 12/25/17 09:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
I've been using ThinkPads on the gig since 2002 and have only had 3 failures. I do one-nighters for a living and they are notoriously hard on gear.

I highly recommend them, they are almost bulletproof.

I keep two on stage, the second one powered up and ready to go, so in all 3 instances (out of thousands of gigs) I just switched over to the second computer and nobody but Leilani and I knew there was a problem.

If you don't want to worry about the PC crashing, get rid of all the apps you don't use for music performance - no office - no browser - no games - no anything else.

My work computers never go on-line and therefore never even need anti-virus or anti-malware software, as they slow down your system and are only a couple of more apps to cause a conflict and crash.

And not having them go on-line is the best way to keep them from getting a virus.

All the files I transfer to them are fist scanned on my office computer with up-to-date Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware apps, and then ported over via a flash drive.

Playing music for a living is a lot of fun, but it is also serious business. Making sure everything runs smoothly and having a booted up backup computer is essential for a "the show must go on" person. And IMHO if you aren't a "the show must go on" kind of person, you shouldn't be in the entertainment business.

BTW the 3 ThinkPad problems in 15 years were (1) CMOS battery -- $5.00 replacement I could have manually set the date and time, but I went to the backup computer because it was easier (2) hard drive making a grinding sound - didn't stop the show but going to the backup computer was the safe thing to do - I replaced the drive the next day (3) Screen went dark - definitely needed the backup computer for that one.

That's my take on it.

Insights and incites by Notes


You are using three ThinkPads on stage? I was thinking about just getting one for BIAB and Real Band because I want to just us my iPod to play my backing tracks.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 12/26/17 05:46 AM

Three computers? Leilani uses one, I have two - basically one and a spare - and the spare can work for either Leilani or myself because we have all the data on all the computers.

A iPod is too slow for me, but if I used it, I'd have two. We have over 550 songs and if people are on the dance floor, I want to go from song to song as quickly as a DJ. The computer lets me do that. I can cue up the next song with one hand while the present one is playing, a couple of taps on the keyboard will do, as soon as the first song ends, I can hit "Enter" and the dancers don't have time to think about going back to their seats.

Leilani uses hers for lyrics or music chart. We have over 550 songs, but sometimes you forget the arrangement or the words for a song we haven't played in a while, or if someone comes up and requests something while you are singing (why do they do that?) having a chart helps you get back on track after the distraction.

I use two. One for the same reason as Leilani, and another that does nothing by play the mp3 backing tracks that I make myself. http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html

The music charts and mp3s are on both of my computers plus a flash 'thumb' drive.

I can use one computer for both mp3 and the music chart, but having both up and running makes for a near seamless switch if one gives me trouble.

And with 3 computers loaded in the van, bounced around to the gig location, quickly changing temperature and jiggling on a keyboard stand, then loaded in the van, bounced all the way home, and brought back into the house from 2 to 6 days a year for 15 years running, having only 3 failures is remarkable.

I also use ThinkPads in my studio/office. I recently retired one of my 2002 ThinkPads with one that used to be in my office. It's so old it still has IBM on the case. The screen is bigger and brighter than the old 2002 computer, so it's easier to glance at when needed.

I believe redundancy is the key to "the show must go on". I bring extra reeds, extra strings, have 2 powered speakers so if one fails I can limp through the gig on the other, 3 computers when I only need two, and since the wind synth can cover parts if the guitar, flute or sax breaks, I bring two wind synths and two wind synth sound modules.

I've been playing music for a living since 1964 and I've never had a show-stopping problem.

If you blow a gig, the word travels very fast among club owners and party throwers. The redundant gear is cheap insurance. It will cost much more to blow a gig than it does to bring a spare.

Also note that my on-stage computers have no Internet connection, and no bloatware or unnecessary apps running in the background. No office, e-mail, games, browsers, e-readers or anything else.

I use Microsoft Media Player to play the mp3s and Microsoft Write to display lyrics/chords because they are built into Windows. I use an old copy of Encore to display lyrics (with pdf backups) and I have a old non RealTrack copy of BiaB on the computer with all my fake disks just in case (although I've never had to go there). Since 2002 when I started running the computers on stage, I've never-ever had a single crash.

Playing music for a living is a lot of fun, but I take my commitment to the club, entertainment purchaser, and audience very, very seriously.

I do the same in my BiaB aftermarket business.

My philosophy is to treat my customers the way I like to be treated when I am the customer of another business. When another company treats me right, I learn from that, and when they treat me wrong, I learn what not to do.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: Selinwine

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 06:50 AM

Does it actually matter? I thought that any working computer is a good fit. I mean, I have seen many posts on forums like this one, "what is the best laptop for students/traders/engineers and so on" and thought that people are having too much free time and eventually they get bored and post all kind of stupid stuff. But then, I decided to dive a little bit into this matter and discovered that actually all this questions are reasonable. And because I am an MBA student, I decided to see if there is a perfect computer for MBA students, and look what I found: https://thecursedcrusade.com/best-laptop-for-mba-students/
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 07:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Selinwine
Does it matter? I thought that any working computer is a good fit.
What matters is the quality of the computer. Notes has experience with his choice of brand, and you would want a backup of any hardware needed for your show.
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Island Soul

You are using three ThinkPads on stage? I was thinking about just getting one for BIAB and Real Band because I want to just us my iPod to play my backing tracks.

If you are just using Biab the same was as on the Mac, yes any Windows 10 laptop with enough HD space for the RealTracks/Drums would do the job.
Posted by: Simon - PG Music

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 12:49 PM

Literally any computer running Windows is prone to receive viruses equally to any other similar computer. The only computer you can use that will avoid getting viruses would need to be running a non-Windows OS.

I second Notes suggestion of Thinkpads - I've had many of them over the years, and have never killed one even once. Alternate suggestion would be one of the higher end "business" laptops from HP or Dell - I've had the HP Elitebooks in the past, and they're good too.

Avoid lower end "consumer" laptops. They're inexpensive for a reason. You're better off paying the same money for a refurb Thinkpad than for a brand new anything.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Simon - PG Music
The only computer you can use that will avoid getting viruses would need to be running a non-Windows OS.


That statement surmises that no other O/S can ever be infected with a virus. Surely not.

Please review this article on MAC O/S malware

Linux and Android are all vulnerable, too.

With respect, I believe the statement to be incorrect. Any O/S can and is susceptible to malware. All common Operating Systems have been threatened.
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 04:19 PM

True, apple themselves add viruses to iphones to make them redundant so you by a new model, they have been fined for doing this. They glue batteries in now as users had the nerve to change them and not buy a new model.
Also with Mac every update or upgrade something don't work any more and is a nightmare for developers, hence the delay now in the Mac Biab 21 release. Maybe that's why the user wants to go to the Windows version ???
Posted by: justanoldmuso

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/05/21 04:22 PM

TO THE OP/ALL PG USERS.
heres the SMARTPLAY imho when it comes to computers for serious recording work. total cost around 700 buckies.
FOR TWO SYSTEMS.
1.firstly for background read this excellent advice re desktops and laptops from pete from microsoft who has a awesome recording studio rig imho.
https://devblogs.microsoft.com/windows-music-dev/unofficial-windows-10-audio-workstation-build-and-tweak-guide-part-1/
2. get yourself TWO REFURB SYSTEMS. for a total of 700 bucks.

ONE a refurb i5 laptop with ssd for messing around with while away from your home recording studio. ie roughing out biab/rb song ideas
and also surfing the net at home or away. eg for when your on holiday.

THE SECOND COMPUTER AND MAIN RECORDING STATIC RIG AT HOME.
(that never sees the net)
eg this beast A HP Z REFURB WORKSTATION. (450 dollars !!)
https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/hp-z440-workstation-xeon-e5-1620v3-3-5ghz-4-cores-8gb-ddr4-256gb-ssd-nvs-510-2gb-quad-monitor-support-win10-pro-refurbished/14666686

BE AWARE THEY SELL FAST.
notice loads of usb ports. AND pci if you wanna use a pci sound card unlike a laptop.

IF ANYONE KNOWS A BETTER SOLUTION FOR CHEAP 700 BUKS I'M ALL EARS.lol.

ps. for mac users.
a thread that stunned me this week re apple and daw work. anyone know anything ?
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1347895-audio-drivers-userspace-end-mac-proaudio-era.html
pipeline/simon/mac users , your take on this ?

best
oldmuso
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 03:31 AM

Notes, I've read over your responses and had a look at your process for making backing tracks (thanks for all of the detail on your site).

I would be interested to know which model Lenovo laptops you use. Which processors, how much memory, SSD or HD or both?

I find myself stuck on this question as I ponder how to convert my "studio" setup to a "live" nursing home setup.

Jeff
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 03:54 AM

If you are using it for a show you would be better using a media player and play the SGU that have been rendered to video from a usb stick.
Another light weight way of doing this is open the SGU in C:\bb\BBPlugin\Files\Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin Standalone.exe
File > Save State
Copy the C:\bb\BBPlugin\SavedTracks to your laptop
Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin Standalone.exe
File > Load State

This way you don't need all the RealTracks and Drum on the laptop.
When they add the vol/pan slider in the Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin Standalone should work even better.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 07:57 AM

Originally Posted By: MountainSide
Notes, I've read over your responses and had a look at your process for making backing tracks (thanks for all of the detail on your site).

I would be interested to know which model Lenovo laptops you use. Which processors, how much memory, SSD or HD or both?

I find myself stuck on this question as I ponder how to convert my "studio" setup to a "live" nursing home setup.

Jeff

On stage, I use one old 'hand-me-down" Think Pad that runs Win7. --- And for a backup computer, it's an R30 that I put into service as my main stage computer in 2002.

For the final recording, I'm using a T15 (stock) with a 500G SSD and 16G of RAM. I use either PowerTracks Pro Audio or Audacity to record, depending on the song and the effects I think I might want to use. They both have different strong points.

I used to record audio on a ThinkPad L540, but I've dedicated that one to photography. I've had some pictures accepted on Adobe Stock, so it seems like a way to make a hobby pay enough for more photo gear (GAS).

I make my MIDI sequences on a much older ThinkPad. An R61i that runs Windows XP. Why? It runs the oldest (bug free) version of Master Tracks Pro sequencer.

MIDI is very easy on computers, so there is more than enough 'horsepower' in the R61i

Any DAW with a good MIDI sequencer will do, but I really like MTPro. It's very powerful, has great editing functions, and doesn't do Audio, so it's easy to use. Everything is available with one click of the menu bar and one click of the item. No sub and sub-sub menus.

From there I run at least a half dozen external sound modules and a sampler or two through an analog mixer which feeds an Audio-USB interface into the T15.

I mix to 192k mp3 files. When I started this, memory was limited. I did a blind test with a few musicians through my PA set. At 192 there seemed to be only the slightest degradation of the highest frequencies to listeners with trained ears. In a noisy room nobody I know can hear the difference between that and a WAV file.

I still use mp3s. I have over 600 songs. I keep spares of everything on a USB flash drive that isn't packed with the computers. I also upload a copy of every one of my sequences and mp3 files to a secure spot in the cloud. It's just cheap insurance for me.

By using standard USB interfaces with built-in Windows drivers and also by using Windows File Explorer and Windows Media Player to play the mp3 files, I have no fear of any software conflicts, and since 2002, when I went computer I haven't had a single crash.

It's the K.I.S.S. concept.

And I make my living playing one-nighers, which are notoriously hard on gear.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 08:06 AM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
<...snip...>That statement surmises that no other O/S can ever be infected with a virus. Surely not.<...>

I read CNet, PC World, Ziff Davis and other publications online. I've read articles about both Apple and Linux viruses in the wild -- also Apple ransomware.

https://www.avg.com/en/signal/mac-ransomware-remove-protec

https://www.wired.com/story/new-mac-ransomware-thiefquest-evilquest/

While it's true that Apple and Linux users are a smaller target. However, they have files and identities worth stealing and cracking has become a profit-motivated industry.

Apple people are perceived to be more affluent by some, so that makes them worth the extra effort for some to hack.

Just because you aren't using Microsoft, please don't let your guard down.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Posted by: Simon - PG Music

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
Originally Posted By: Simon - PG Music
The only computer you can use that will avoid getting viruses would need to be running a non-Windows OS.


That statement surmises that no other O/S can ever be infected with a virus. Surely not.

Please review this article on MAC O/S malware

Linux and Android are all vulnerable, too.

With respect, I believe the statement to be incorrect. Any O/S can and is susceptible to malware. All common Operating Systems have been threatened.



We are in agreement then. I stated avoid for a reason and I stand by my statement - I didn't mean you'll never get viruses on non-Windows computers, just that you'll have a much smaller chance. The way the Unix-like operating systems work prevents many styles of virus from being possible in the first place, but "prevent" doesn't mean "eliminate", and security can only go so far - if you click "Yes" to everything that comes up on your computer then it's just as easy to get a virus on anything.

Regardless, as a blanket statement to the OP, any Windows computer has equal likelihood of getting a virus than any other Windows computer, doesn't matter if it's Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer. That same computer running any non-Windows OS has a much smaller chance of getting a virus. The only way to never get a computer virus is to never own a computer.



Originally Posted By: justanoldmuso
ps. for mac users.
a thread that stunned me this week re apple and daw work. anyone know anything ?
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1347895-audio-drivers-userspace-end-mac-proaudio-era.html
pipeline/simon/mac users , your take on this ?


This only affects USB devices, not PCIe or Thunderbolt. USB isn't that great for audio anyway, just like it isn't great for file transfer, networking, peripherals... It's the jack of all trades (pun intended), but master of none.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/06/21 06:22 PM

I think I'm reading a response from a Mac lover wink grin
Posted by: MountainSide

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/07/21 03:32 AM

Thanks Notes, appreciate the insight. Will take a look at the T15.

While I can appreciate your equipment choices and the redundancy of your setup, it may be a bit much for the non-paying "nursing home" volunteer work I would like to do. But it's fun to look!

Jeff
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/07/21 11:41 AM

There is more than one right way to do it.

We play a free gig in the wheelchair area at the nursing home of the VA hospital every year. I bring everything, including redundancy.

But then I already have all that gear for my paying gigs.

Notes

PS If I were you, I'd charge at least $100 for the nursing home gig. They make a lot of money there. wink
Posted by: Simon - PG Music

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 04/07/21 12:16 PM

Originally Posted By: VideoTrack
I think I'm reading a response from a Mac lover wink grin


A few years ago I might've considered myself a Mac lover. I switched to Mac probably 15 years ago because I was sick of fixing my Windows machine constantly, and Mac "just worked". These days I use Windows Mac and Linux about equally as all of those operating systems are far more reliable than ever before.

Personally I still prefer Mac for music making, but that's mostly because I'm primarily a Logic user which doesn't exist on PC. I also happen to prefer BIAB for Mac over the Windows version, but that's just my personal taste.



Originally Posted By: MountainSide
Thanks Notes, appreciate the insight. Will take a look at the T15.

While I can appreciate your equipment choices and the redundancy of your setup, it may be a bit much for the non-paying "nursing home" volunteer work I would like to do. But it's fun to look!

Jeff


The T15 looks to be a great laptop, though I personally haven't used that exact one myself. Any of the Thinkpad T-series, P-series, or most X-series laptops should generally be considered the cream of the crop, just choose whichever gives you the features you want. I'd suggest springing the extra for the IPS screen whenever possible, as they have MUCH higher viewing angles and are easier to see in poor lighting (such as on stage), and generally I'd also suggest springing for as high end as you can go, as it'll last you longer that way.
Posted by: The Soundsmith

Re: Best Laptop for BIAB windows - 05/28/21 03:51 PM

I just mix my tracks and play them from any available device on the gig. Used to be a(and sometimes still is) an iP{ad Pro, so I can also include my GigTracks scores and iRealPro tracks for requests i know but haven't sequenced. Now I can use my iPhone or any of the iDevices I have for backup. PLUS I get to edit out the inadvertent clashes in the guitar or bass channels. Fast edit, everything's 1 or 2 bars.
Then really any WAV or MP3 player will do. Works great for me, although I would love to be able to hit F4 on that third blues of the set...