15 or 17" for Music recording mobile studio


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2003
I want to know if anyone has a 17" pBook and what they think of it. I want to have a mobile studio, as i will only have one computer. I want to do some music production on it. I prefer the 15" size to the 17" but the 17 inch has the digital audio in and out. how important is that, and what is the difference in quality, and if i got the 15" is there an adaptor that could make up for any difference?


macrumors G5
If you are doing a studio in any professional way, you will want an external multi-channel interface of some description. Conventional wisdom is that the minijack audio in and out of a computer is not good enough quality. The Optical connection of course doesn't suffer from that limitation, but, how would you get microphones plugged into an optical input? - you'll need outboard equipment regardless. Look at Edirol, Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU), Presonus, M-Audio, Digidesign. Start reading magazines to bring your self up to date on the technology available - Sound on Sound, Recording, Electronic Musician, Keyboard, Computer Music, Future Music

Go for the 17". You need all the screen acreage you can get for showing the controls of software mixers, eq's soft synths, samplers, etc. Get the Superdrive (DVD-R) model; you *definitely* want to be able to back up projects larger than 700 Mb onto optical media.

Get a Firewire 800 external drive like a LaCie Big Disk Extreme. You will want that room for storing project files and backups. You want to use FW800 for storage both for the improved speed, and to keep the data stream off of the FW400 buss, which you will most likely want for the audio interface.

Dig up some backissues of Recording Magazine and look for Bill Stunt's articles on creating a mobile studio with a Powerbook G4.



macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 7, 2003
i'm not so concerned about the screen real estate, if i got anything less than a 17" i would buy monitor to hook the other up to. I can get everything a 17" has to offer in a 15" execept the Digital Audio port. which is the only reason i'm considering it.


macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2003
Tampere, Finland
i use a 15" powerbook for live foh mixing and it's enough. i'd however wouldn't mind if i had more screen space, but the 15" does its job very nicely. if the money is not an issue, just get the 17" and never worry about it, but if you have to buy tons of other gear too, then you can save some $$ by choosing the 15", which is - to repeat myself - very much enough for pro audio work.

i recommend digidesign/protools daw and focusrite preamps.


Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
London, England
I have a 17" rev A PB, I run Protools LE on it as support to HD systems.

It's a fine machine for mobile tracking, and works very well for editing and arrangement duties, but simply doesn't have the clout for main mixes.

If I need multiple inputs on the move, I hire a 002 desk interface, I find the combination of the Digidesign desk and the PB very effective.

If your not using Protools the choices get wider as mentioned above, Logic would be my first choice as and integrated sequencer recorder, probably with a MOTU 828 firewire interface.

I know several blokes who run 15" for recording and they all wish they had 17"s for the screen size in the move.

Either one will do the job with the right hardware.
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