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Powerbook 12 or 15 for use with Ableton/Reason/Logic

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by bellang, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts or experiences with using either a Powerbook 12" or 15" with music software. I really like the size (and price) of the 12" powerbook but wary that the screen may not be big enough.

    Has anyone used music applications on the 12" and found it to be a problem or not a problem? Any thoughts appreciated.
  2. macrumors 68040


    I use my rev c 12" for Ableton Live all the time (including playing in clubs etc).

    no probs with the size of the screen so far. in fact i'm struggling to justify buying an external monitor (i'd like to get the 20" acd).

    one thing you might want to consider if you play out with the laptop is that the 12" doesn't have a PCMCIA slot for housing an indigo (dj or io) card but that really is the only drawback....and that is compensated for by the portability of the 12 compared to the 15.
  3. macrumors member

    Thanks for the info, sounds like a 12 could do just fine....

    Out of curiosity, how do you connect it up externally, just using a normal phono cable?
  4. macrumors 68040


    I use a Maya 44 usb audio interface (two stereo outs, i can pe-listen to stuff before i play it on the main outs). I do find though that the audio hardware on the powerbook is probably sufficient (low latency, sounds ok) and i don't really *need* to pre-listen. everyone has their own preference with these things.

    i should add that i use the software mainly for "djing" rather than production (at the moment at least)
  5. macrumors member

    Great, thanks for the detail. Sound like it should be enough for my requirements at the moment too. I believe the sound card in the 12 is the same as the 15 so latency etc. should be the same.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Just forcing in my 2¢. I have the Powerbook in my sig, and it runs Reason nicely. If you use the NNXT a lot with large samples, then 2GB of ram would be essential.

    I only use the 512mb my PB came with PLUS 1GB of crucial, and they play well together.

    Reason 3 runs a tad slower on a Mac than PC, however Props have just released the 3.0.3 update which includes 'performance tweaks' so it should be a bit faster.

    I'd say go for the 15" 1.67GHz, the .67 GHz wont make much difference, but the 128mb VRAM might help to future proof it better.

    Either way a PB is a great machine for Reasoning on the go :D
  7. macrumors member

    It looks as though this is what its now between:
    12" PB
    15" PB 1.67 with 128mb vram (as you say, futureproofing).

    Only reservation is spending more money (which is always inevitably the case) and then finding out a new model comes out next week. Though thats another story.....

    Also, hadnt realised that Reason ran slower on a mac, would have thought mac would have been the darling of Reason since they always demo on that.
  8. macrumors 65816


    I'd say go for the 15" for the extra screen real estate. You dont necessarily need it for reason, which is fairly fixed, but if you ReWire it to Logic or Live, you'll be grateful sooner or later.

    Unless of course you plan on running an external monitor, which the the size becomes less of an issue. If ultra portability is a concern obviously the 12" would be the way to go, having said that the 15" is still perfectly portable (I carry it to work everyday so I can do some wonderful things during my lunch break).

    As emotion mentioned, the other advantage of the 15" is the PCMCIA slot. While this wont be much of an issue when you are using it at home (the core audio drivers with OSX are low latency), should you decide to take your tunes on the road, or if you decide to get some good quality monitors (the speaker kind, not the visual kind) you'll maybe want something like the Indigo. The advantage of this is that it frees up your Firewire ports for External HD's and the like.

    Another note on portability is the keyboard you are going to use. I recently bought an M-Audio O2, which I think perfectly compliments my Powerbook. Its only a little wider than the PB, and a touch deeper (excluding the protruding knobs of course), and once you get used to the pitch bend and mod wheels, and the reduce travel its great.

    Hope I havent rambled on too long!

    :EDIT: forgot to actually respond to the previous post! Yeah Reason runs a tad slower (havent tried the 3.0.3 update yet), but it still does everything you want, and you get the bonus of OSX!

    I think its safe to assume you can spend the extra money and not have a new Powerbook come out soon after. Even if there is a new one, there'll only be a slight bump in speed. Its highly unlikely there will be a G5 Powerbook before the switch to Intel. Either way you'll still end up with an awesome machine. I bought my Powerbook recently, and I really dont care if a new one comes out tomorrow - mine does everything I want it to, and I couldnt be without it while waiting for a new one! I know someone who still uses his 1 GHz 512 MB Ram Powerbook with Reason/Cubase SX/Live.
  9. macrumors 68020


    correction man, .67ghz isn't the difference, .12ghz is :)
  10. macrumors member

    Thanks pulsewidth, really informative post. I think you've swayed me.

    must admit, hadnt given a lot of thought to rewire etc, so yes, the real estate could be beneficial especially as i dont intend to use another monitor.

    ps. not too sure where the .12ghz increase comes from, cant seem to work that out from the available numbers.
  11. macrumors 65816


    My bad. Although shouldnt it be .17GHz going from 1.5 - 1.67? eh eh?! Unless the sneaky 1.5 is actually a 1.55 GHz.

    bellang - it would make more sense if you use the PB like I use mine. Yes its more money, but now when I look at a 12" PB it just seems too small.
  12. macrumors member

    Sold, to Pulsewidth!

    Just ordered my first mac.... 15" with 128mb and combodrive rather than superdrive (to make up the difference)!

    cheers for all the advice. very much appreciated.

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