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  • New Windows Laptop: Need Suggestions!

    OK so it's not a "new" laptop...but my stepdaughter got a new macbook which means her old Windows Vista laptop is now MINE!!! :party: Here's the specs:

    hp 14 dv4 special edition
    Windows Vista 64 bit
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0ghz
    3gb RAM

    I spent the morning wiping it clean and reinstalled it to it's factory settings...it's all set to go. I wanted to use this machine to run software I can't get on my Mac...specifically Bobbotov's Psy-GEN and Ambitron.

    First of all, I need a host. I run Pro Tools...but that won't run VST's and it also requires a dongle so that's out. I've tried Reaper but really didn't like it. I like straight forward DAW's...no fancy tricks or ways of working. Also it can't be too expensive since this obviously isn't going to be my workhorse machine. I just want to mess around on it, make some music, and put it back into Pro Tools and finish it.

    Secondly, I'm wondering if this computer is even powerful enough to run todays VST's. I'm an Alchemy user so I can just download that...and I own almost all of U-he's stuff which covers alot. I'm not going to try to run Diva on this machine but maybe I'll get a better windows machine down the line. What cool software should I download from the KVR database and start using?!

    So let's hear those suggestions!!! I'm all ears.

    -S1gns
    Synphaera Records
    Space | Time | Matter

  • #2
    As far as cheap DAWs for windows, maybe you should retry Reaper. $30 for a non-commercial license is gonna be hard to beat. I have had little issue with using Reaper as a rewire and alone, but things are different for each individual.

    There is a $40 sale for Harrison Mixbus 2 going on right now, but I have never used it so I have no info on it's ease of use.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ontol View Post
      As far as cheap DAWs for windows, maybe you should retry Reaper. $30 for a non-commercial license is gonna be hard to beat. I have had little issue with using Reaper as a rewire and alone, but things are different for each individual.

      There is a $40 sale for Harrison Mixbus 2 going on right now, but I have never used it so I have no info on it's ease of use.
      I thought Reaper licenses were $60 for non-com work.

      Mixbus does not support MIDI sequencing afaik, only MIDI controllers I think.
      Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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      • #4
        Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
        I thought Reaper licenses were $60 for non-com work.

        Mixbus does not support MIDI sequencing afaik, only MIDI controllers I think.
        You know what...you guys are right. I SHOULD give Reaper another go around...as soon as I get home from work I'm gonna download it on to the PC and give it another chance.

        Every DAW deserves a second chance, don't you think?! :lol:
        Synphaera Records
        Space | Time | Matter

        Comment


        • #5
          Well I've been home for 2 hours and so far I haven't even passed the "security" part of getting ready to use this laptop! nonono: Windows told me I had "120" updates available for my system...you Windows users must have gotten used to this by now! Terms like "permissions, security, and anti-virus" are all new to me...Vista makes me feel like I'm just waiting to get hacked...viruses could attack at any minute!!! :maniac:

          Anyway, so hopefully I'll get to making music on this thing...someday. If I get permission from Vista that is. :razz:
          Synphaera Records
          Space | Time | Matter

          Comment


          • #6
            Update: 4 hours and 120+ updates later and I'm finally posting this from my PC!!! :rotf:

            Off to go download Reaper...and re-read the "Windows Only Software" thread on AO for more suggestions.

            Thanks everyone!!! :tu: I'll keep you guys posted.
            Synphaera Records
            Space | Time | Matter

            Comment


            • #7
              Reaper 32 is up and running!!! Oh and guess what? I'm stuck! How do I install .dll files? I downloaded "Aethereal" from Psychic Modulation and all it came with is a .pdf manual (with no installation instructions!!! :maniac: ) and a .dll file.

              HELP!!! :highfive:
              Synphaera Records
              Space | Time | Matter

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by S1gnsOfL1fe View Post
                Reaper 32 is up and running!!! Oh and guess what? I'm stuck! How do I install .dll files? I downloaded "Aethereal" from Psychic Modulation and all it came with is a .pdf manual (with no installation instructions!!! :maniac: ) and a .dll file.

                HELP!!! :highfive:
                I think I figured this out... .dll files ARE the VST's themselves!!! Are they not? I thought I had to install them somewhere.

                When I installed Zebra I didn't have any specific folder where VST's were stored...so I created one in "documents." Is that okay? Mac's have specific paths...such as in the library under "audio" but I can't find anything like that on Windows.

                VISTA noob!!! But still having fun over here.
                Synphaera Records
                Space | Time | Matter

                Comment


                • #9
                  Make sure you install an antivirus and anti-spyware product. I use Microsoft Security Essentials for my AV solution. I am very happy with it. You should probably also install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware as a failsafe.

                  When VST software comes without an installer, and requires manual copying, I use a dedicated directory on my desktop system (D:\audio\synth). 32-bit VSTs that come with installers tend to go to C:\Program files(x86)\Steinberg\VSTplugins (or somewhere similar - I'm away from my machine at the moment.).
                  Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                  • #10
                    Is this a 32-bit laptop?

                    I create a new folder on the C: drive called vstplugins. So it would be C:\\vstplugins, NOT in the Program Files directory. The reason for this is that with Vista and later versions of Windows, the programs themselves cannot make changes within the Program Files directory, so, for instance, Zebra cannot save new presets within the Program Files directory.

                    You'll have to point Reaper to your new directory so it knows where to look for your VSTs.

                    Actually, I have a separate drive for my music software, but if you only have one drive, put your new folder in the base of the C: drive.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by S1gnsOfL1fe View Post
                      I like straight forward DAW's...no fancy tricks or ways of working. Also it can't be too expensive since this obviously isn't going to be my workhorse machine.
                      I'd recommend EnergyXT for simple stuff. Very simple to use and it's modular view is great for experimentation. Cheap too. In fact there's a cut down version on the computer music dvd which may suffice. You can even do cool stuff like just drag a vsts dll file on to the modular view to try it out.

                      Soundcloud were offering a free AbletonLite a while back, not sure if they still have any offers like that about. Runs fine on a core2duo.

                      Secondly, I'm wondering if this computer is even powerful enough to run todays VST's. I'm an Alchemy user so I can just download that...and I own almost all of U-he's stuff which covers alot. I'm not going to try to run Diva on this machine but maybe I'll get a better windows machine down the line.
                      My current laptop is a core2duo and it's not too shabby. Never come across a Reaktor ensemble it couldn't handle. Tyrell N6 runs ok, chokes a bit with some chords/some patches. Have had Alchemy Player running fine on it too (no dropouts unlike Wusikstation or the Harmor demo). You could try SQ8L, a recreation of an ensoniq sq80. Neglible cpu but sounds very good. Charlatan too, basic 'va' but a great sound. Good for simple sounds that then get transformed by 'ambient wizardry'... ;)
                      Latest release: never to be repeated

                      Hearthis | Soundcloud

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Looks like some interesting free synths for Windows here...

                        http://kx77free.free.fr/English-page-vst.html

                        Also, if you're looking for a virtual modular synth for Windows, there's Sonigen Modular:

                        http://sonigen.com/

                        And from Krakli, these look like pure fun:

                        Cygnus

                        http://www.krakli.com/krakli-cygnus/

                        Vurtbox (from the Krakli page..."
                        vurtbox is the brainchild of vurt.. a long time fan of krakli synths and master synthesist. vurt is famous for his synthetic soundscapes and rythmically driven ambient pieces, so it was only fitting that he conceived a synth quite unlike any other..")
                        http://www.krakli.com/krakli-free-synths/

                        Note: I have played around with Vurtbox some and it's a great diversion and truly generates some unusual sounds! This thread almost makes me want to go back to Windows...not...I've gotta get one of these methods of running Windows VSTs on my Mac working!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Oh man, all great suggestions!!! Typing this from the laptop now. GaryG, GREAT suggestions!!! I managed to record something in Reaper last night...definitely going to give EnergyXT a look. Good to know there's still some of you out there in core 2 duo land!!!! Ha! Spoiled by my i7 iMac I guess...just hoping for the best on this side of things.

                          Ho66it, off go download Vurtbox and the rest of Krakli's stuff right now!!! Can't wait!!

                          You guys are awesome. Best part about this laptop so far is having it running next to my mac so I can always have AO open in a browser window!!!! HAHAHA!!!! Oh man, how did I live without 2 machines before? :lol:
                          Synphaera Records
                          Space | Time | Matter

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hmm, never did run Vista, but Win 7 is basically Vista with the kinks ironed out.. first of all, "Yes" the .dll files ARE the actual plugins. Second, what Dax says is true; since you are running a 64-bit version of Vista, I'm guessing
                            there should be two folders on your C: drive; one named "Program Files", which is where all the 64-bit compatible apps would be, and "Program Files (x86)", which is where all the 32-bit apps are. Since Windows introduced its
                            UAC (User Account Control) system with Vista and Win 7, not only can programs not write to the "Program Files" directory, but there will be an annoying extra step in that the OS will ask you Every. Single. Time. if a program
                            "has permission to make changes on this computer", which only means "is it OK to let this program run?" Also helpful to remember: some programs (installers, etc.) will not work properly unless they are "Run as administrator", which
                            can be selected by right-clicking, or more permanently by right-clicking, selecting "Properties", then selecting "Compatibility", which has a check-box for "Run program as an administrator".
                            Again, setting this option will NOT stop UAC from pestering you every time you run a program (though it adds a little yellow/blue shield to the icon), but it does prevent some WTF moments when directories need to be written to.
                            What Dax suggests should work, but some additional suggestions; if the VST comes as an installer, some are smarter than others- there are a few which have default install locations like "Steinberg/VSTPlugins", which may have you wondering where your plugin went, if you don't specify the destination folder...also, some plugins come with separate data files/folders(audio files, presets, etc.), not all have everything neatly wrapped in the .dll file!
                            That's all the yakking/typing I have time for ATM, hope this saves some time/aggravation- for a very thoughtful list of free plugins, I've found this site very helpful ;)
                            Last edited by Duckett; 12-28-2012, 01:22 PM.
                            "Critics can’t stand these records, by and large, because in their search for eternal adolescence, they still want it all to be spunky and manic and witty."
                            -Brian Eno

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Duckett View Post
                              Hmm, never did run Vista, but Win 7 is basically Vista with the kinks ironed out.. first of all, "Yes" the .dll files ARE the actual plugins. Second, what Dax says is true; since you are running a 64-bit version of Vista, I'm guessing
                              there should be two folders on your C: drive; one named "Program Files", which is where all the 64-bit compatible apps would be, and "Program Files (x86)", which is where all the 32-bit apps are. Since Windows introduced its
                              UAC (User Account Control) system with Vista and Win 7, not only can programs not write to the "Program Files" directory, but there will be an annoying extra step in that the OS will ask you Every. Single. Time. if a program
                              "has permission to make changes on this computer", which only means "is it OK to let this program run?" Also helpful to remember: some programs (installers, etc.) will not work properly unless they are "Run as administrator", which
                              can be selected by right-clicking, or more permanently by right-clicking, selecting "Properties", then selecting "Compatibility", which has a check-box for "Run program as an administrator".
                              Again, setting this option will NOT stop UAC from pestering you every time you run a program (though it adds a little yellow/blue shield to the icon), but it does prevent some WTF moments when directories need to be written to.
                              What Dax suggests should work, but some additional suggestions; if the VST comes as an installer, some are smarter than others- there are a few which have default install locations like "Steinberg/VSTPlugins", which may have you wondering where your plugin went, if you don't specify the destination folder...also, some plugins come with separate data files/folders(audio files, presets, etc.), not all have everything neatly wrapped in the .dll file!
                              That's all the yakking/typing I have time for ATM, hope this saves some time/aggravation- suggestions for plugins I'll leave alone for now ;)
                              You rule Duckett!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for all that. I'm definitely considering going all in on the multiplatform train...I think the timing is right and I've got nothing to lose...except for more money for buying software on the windows side!!! HA!

                              Either way, this totally helps. Thanks again! I'll keep you guys posted on my progress...and hey, maybe some actual audio samples from a PC!
                              Synphaera Records
                              Space | Time | Matter

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