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Old 10-05-2018, 05:47 AM   #14
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Re: Help ! Laptop For Ableton

My 2 cents.

I have used Ableton for about 4 years, starting on Windows 7 on a Dell Alienware M11xr3 laptop, then I moved to a using Ableton on a powerful Hackintosh desktop I built and most recently I installed Ableton on a Macbook Air 11" for working on Ableton on the train ride to work.

When I started with Ableton, using the Windows laptop, at home I hooked my laptop up to a pair of large monitors (Ableton has two screens), added a full sized keyboard and mouse and some studio speakers. Hey presto a "desktop" system, then when I left the house, I unplugged the laptop and took it on the road with me.

Of the three systems, the 2 Mac's are superior. Mainly due to the flexibility of the Apple native audio system "core-audio", which runs rings around the ASIO4All dodgy sound methods of Windows. The native Windows audio is very poor with Ableton, you are virtually forced to use ASIO4All to improve latencies.

I also had many many driver problems with Windows and my music hardware. These problems evaporated once I went to Mac.

I also had many latency issues with the Windows machine, which although a i5 8GB machine, had too many random background services that stole processing availability away from Ableton. The audio latency constantly varied, I could never set it and forget it. I had to stop the song and adjust every outboard recording time wise before I could replay the recording in time with the song.

On my Mac I have a 59 millisecond latency permanently set to my external MIDI controller, it rarely needs adjusting, my external hardware to Ableton recordings are consistently & instantly replayable without needing time adjustments.

The Macbook Air I use is the early 2015 edition 1.6GHz intel Core i5, 4GB memory, intel HD 6000 graphics running MacOS High Sierra. I got it second hand on eBay cheap, it is small and light, runs the current Mac OS, it runs at 25% processor use when playing projects in Ableton, the battery lasts well, even though I have added an app to prevent sleep mode. I'm very happy with this little Macbook and Ableton, they go well together.

I use both the Macbook and the Hackintosh daily. One out of the house, the other permanently connected to my outboard rig in a small studio. Ableton's licencing allows you to install the same licence on a number of devices.

So Mac is my recommendation, portable is my second recommendation, as music ideas happen away from home often.

Lastly, the Hackintosh I built - if it was a real Mac of the same specs, it would cost at least 2 grand more to buy, so if you want a powerful Mac for your production rig but have half the money needed, build one yourself, I did, it's not that hard.

The Alienware laptop is for sale by the way!

Last edited by padbury; 10-05-2018 at 06:32 AM..
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