Revised 7-3-2009, changes are in red.
For over two years I've been completely laptop based and loving it. Here are some notes on the three configurations I run with my latpop.
First, I'm running an HP DV6500T running Vista, Ableton Live 8 Suite, and various vsts (Alchemy,Sylenth1,NI Massive/Absynth 4,Gladiator 2,Dimension Pro, Morphine...)
I run in one of the following states:
1 - Laptop Only - Laptop alone with Ableton Live + VSTs. I use the qwerty keyboard and touch pad and do composition and sound-design on the go (or from the couch).
2 - Laptop + Korg Nano - Sometimes I want more control or want to user velocity sensitive keys when I'm on the go. I then add a Korg nanoKey or nanoKontrol to config #1.
3 - Laptop Docked - Last year, my awesome wife and kids re-vamped my studio space as a birthday gift. Besides painting and swanky new furniture, they created stand to hold all my gear by cleverly using the old Ultimate Support Apex column I used to gig with and attached two permanent shelves (painted black and attached with brackets). Shelves are 15 3/4"x 47 3/4" and I believe were from home depot. The footprint for this rig is 26" wide from the wall to the outside edge of the bottom shelf, and 47 3/4" wide. Underneath all this is a dock with tons of USB ports that all the gear plugs in to. The laptop is sitting on a mesh filing box turned upside-down that I picked up from Target (see last picture in post). This setup is pictured below. All I have to do is plug the laptop into the doc and the following comes online:
- HP Notebook Quickdock
- External Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster 930b
- Novation Nio USB sound card
- M-Audio Studiophile SP-5B reference monitors
- Bamboo Touch Pad
- Wireless Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard with built-in touch pad
- Akai APC40
- Novation Remote SL 25
- M-Audio Trigger Finger (Still lovin it after all these years. After touch on drum pads and seamless integration with Ableton drum racks are great).
- Rode NT-1A on an a broadcaster's boom which is fed into Behringer UB802 Eurorack which is routed to the Nio. I mostly use this for voice overs, recording voice related samples, and vocoding. I also record video tutorials through this mic.
- Sometimes a Korg TR via USB is added to the mix when I want that "triton" sound or want to play a controller with more keys on it.
For me this strategy is simple, elegant, has a small footprint yet is extremely powerful and flexible. With Ableton Live and VSTs accessible in every configuration I can jump in and out of projects in any configuration. I find the combination of the APC40, Remote SL and Trigger Finger to be perfect for just about everything I do.
The APC40 has made this a dream setup really and has almost completely eliminated mousing for me. I'll close with a few photos of the APC40 in my studio setup.
Just a fun shot in a dark room.
The APC40, Remote SL 25, and a Trigger Finger fit perfectly on the bottom tier.
Using the APC40 as a Lite Brite - "M" plus pretty colors :^).