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Thread: What laptop to buy? (Audio v. important)

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    What laptop to buy? (Audio v. important)

    My girlfriend has finally agreed to let me buy a new laptop (it's with my own money - yes, i am in charge of my own destiny ) for the primary purpose of it being the DJ at our wedding this summer. I did consider buying an ipod, but i think i'd prefer a new laptop at this point (i really want one for general use, maybe very light gaming too).

    Have already organised mixer / speakers etc, and am in the process of setting up various playlists etc etc.

    So that leaves the laptop. Size & weight not that important, i dont think battery is either as it'll be plugged in.
    The audio port however needs to be decent - not a £1000 audio connector, but my ears can tell the difference between regular on-board and my soundblaster audigy 2, so i'm looking for something with at least this level of fidelity.

    Can anyone recommend anything? Or at least point to any online tech reviews of on-board sound chips?

    My budget is in the £500 price region (it is my own money!)
    I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that macbooks have good audio connectors / chips etc. Is this true? I can buy a refurb macbook for £550, and then dual/triple boot (am fast developing an ubuntu fetish ).
    Cheers in advance

    Edit: My first idea is this Acer that comes with a fairly vague "Sound Blaster Pro, High Definition Audio".
    Last edited by MSIC; 12-03-2007 at 10:19 PM.
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    Creative audio is good.
    You could always get an external soundcard.

  3. #3
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    most laptops claiming decent sound cards come with creative pcmcia audigy card in my experience..

    Try Rock for good all rounders at fairish prices.

    Pegasus 665 sounds like it might fit the bill.

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Thanks so far.
    The Rocks look to expensive for me to be honest.

    I like the idea of an external soundcard and have been reading up about the XMod thing, which gets some positive reviews (although I particularly like this one that says "It’s an X-Fi in the way that a Honda NSX is a Formula One car. Some elements and ideas are there, yes, but it’s not the same." )

    So a £400 bog-standard laptop plus £50 on that might do the trick...
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    radix lecti dave87's Avatar
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    Jus don't go with a dell - they use express cards, which is completely different to PCMIA, and not likely to have an audigy for it anytime soon.

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    The Xmod is probably the closest you'll get to an x-fi on your laptop for that price.

    DON'T buy celeron processors, get at least 1gb RAM, try get a laptop with a dvd writer on it.

    This way you should have all your bases covered, and it'll last you ages.

  7. #7
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DecomposingStar View Post
    DON'T buy celeron processors, get at least 1gb RAM, try get a laptop with a dvd writer on it.
    Agreed, and i've found a few already with 1 Gig, dual core and widescreen as well as under 3kg for under £500. I'll look around for a few weeks i think then take the plunge.

    Cheers chaps & chapesses
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    let us know before you buy and we'll have a scrutinise.

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    I have a sony fe series laptop (fe41e) which has decent built in sound, reguarly have it hooked upto my decent stereo (million miles better than any wedding PA system) and the sq is fine. Without comparison i'd say its almost as good as my CD player which was about £500 a few years back.

    So perhaps any built in sound card will do a good enough job?

    BTW the sony has very reasonable built in speakers, they create a really wide soundstage

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenW View Post
    I have a sony fe series laptop (fe41e) which has decent built in sound, reguarly have it hooked upto my decent stereo (million miles better than any wedding PA system) and the sq is fine. Without comparison i'd say its almost as good as my CD player which was about £500 a few years back.

    So perhaps any built in sound card will do a good enough job?

    BTW the sony has very reasonable built in speakers, they create a really wide soundstage
    He's quite right, it's usually the speakers you use that let the laptop sound down, but the soundcards are usually alright.

    An Xmod wouldn't hurt though, and you could get alot more from it in terms of bitrates and samples.

  11. #11
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenW View Post
    So perhaps any built in sound card will do a good enough job?
    Thanks for the reply, but (without the xmod as above) no no no.
    I am hiring a very expensive bit of kit, and there is a huge difference between different on-board sound processors / connections etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by BenW View Post
    BTW the sony has very reasonable built in speakers, they create a really wide soundstage
    Are you proposing that i dont bother hiring any external speakers?
    This will be in a marquee for 200 people. Is the Sony really that good?
    I'm commenting on an internet forum. Your facts hold no sway over me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC View Post
    Thanks for the reply, but (without the xmod as above) no no no.
    I am hiring a very expensive bit of kit, and there is a huge difference between different on-board sound processors / connections etc.

    Are you proposing that i dont bother hiring any external speakers?
    This will be in a marquee for 200 people. Is the Sony really that good?

    Haha no.... Not going to happen...

    Have a look around, i know there's a SB card for your Card Bus slot.

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    i'll echo what other people are saying - if you *really* want high-end audio on a laptop, then get an external board - be it pcmcia or usb

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    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    Well, despite the original heading about audio being no. 1 priority, i have taken a leap and bought (and since collected) from ebay a new laptop:
    Compaq Evo n410c.
    1.2 Ghz P3m
    256MB RAM (PC 133) (in one slot)
    Mobility Radeon M6 (16MB)
    30GB hard drive
    1.5 kg!!!!
    It also comes with an XP Pro licence...
    Cost....£150 (no delivery, i collected).

    This thing is sooooo light! Beats the heck out of the macbook for size and weight.
    So..... i have bought the docking station (seperately, as it has no optical drive) for £10 and paid £32 for a 512MB stick of PC 133 for the empty slot.

    So far am putting XP and all programs etc on it, and am very happy so far. I will certainly need to buy the XMod as above for good quality sound, but am very happy with a great laptop!

    Cheers for all the help.
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    That'll do for you, as long as you're happy with it. Obviously don't expect much from it but it'll do all the menial tasks.

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    get an external USB or Firewire Audio card if it's that important to you on a laptop.
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