What is the best type of laptop for Bitwig Studio? Take a look at the gear I use and then make up your mind.
Everyone will tell you differently. They have the best kit for producing music and it’s really good. Everyone will tell you what to buy because they have it and anything else is rubbish. Well let me tell you now, the right kit for you is three things.
3 tips to choosing the right gear
- Gear you want to use
- The gear you can afford
- The gear that is right for the job
Anything else you might aswell forget about because its no good for you. The sooner you get out of kit envy, the better. Let me explain.
Tip #1. Choose gear you want to use.
Simple and obvious I know, but how many times have you heard about a piece or hardware or a music plugin which everyone is using but you. If you are getting along fine with a piece of kit then keep using it. Is it doing the job? Have you tried the latest fad everyone is talking about but still can’t seem to see the big deal? Well maybe try a demo of the software. Sites such as Plugin Boutique allow software demos to be downloaded and installed. You can normally get a trial version for 30 days. For hardware demos, take a trip to your local music store and try it out in the shop. The folk in there are normally really good and will give you some sound advice (pardon the pun).
When it comes to Mac vs PC, well thats a whole new debate isn’t it. I’m not going to start that on here! I think it’s fair to say if you are a PC lover, then go PC. If you prefer Mac, then go down the Mac route. I have used – and still do – use both. I do all my mixing and production in Bitwig Studio on the PC. However mastering my tunes (if not using a professional mastering service like Chris Pavey Mastering ) then I prefer to do in Logic on the Mac. The beauty of Bitwig Studio is that it runs on both Mac and PC.
Tip #2. The gear you can afford.
Simple. It goes back to the 5 Golden Rules of the site. If you can’t afford it then don’t buy it. The logic goes that if you can’t afford do have a hobby and you don’t have the money to fund it fully, then you have to find a way to do that hobby by a means you can afford. The problem with music software is it’s all well and good getting a loan or a credit card to buy something you really want now but chances are you will be paying it off long past the time it has served its purpose. Maybe not so much in a professional capacity where money can be made by using gear which is too expensive to purchase out right but this site is about hobbyists. If you really want something, save for it.
Tip #3. The gear that is right for the job.
Only pick the right tools to do the job you want. This kind of goes back to what I was saying in tip one but following trends for something is not the best approach. If you are trying to record an acoustic guitar then it might not be the best thing to buy a midi keyboard. You re probably best outlaying for a decent microphone and audio interface and a cheap midi keyboard. But if you wanted to meet half way, get a keyboard with an audio input which your microphone can go into thus saving money on a seperate audio interface.
The other 2 reasons why people tell you to buy stuff
People will tell you to buy something for one of two reasons.
Reason #1. There is something in it for them.
Affliate links, sales techniques and other such methods are all ways in getting a consumer to buy a product. If it is in the interest of someone to get other people to buy a product then it is quite obvious that they are not going to say how bad it is. This is where being tactful and have the ability to sniff out tripe comes in to play. The tips all link together and you need to make a call on your own judgement as to what to buy and what is right for you. Take advice, but you don’t have to listen to it.
Reason #2. They have already bought it.
If you buy something you are not going to tell someone you have wasted your money on some crap. You try and justify the outlay you have spent. When people buy things with their own hard earned money they need assurance on their purchase. This can be from telling other people how great it is. No one really will be truly honest if they’ve bought something duff but will silently learn for next time not to make the same mistake again!
I think the main points to take from this part so far is to pick and choose what you want to use. It takes time to build up a collection of hardware and software. As with most hobbies, start with the basics and build up from there. My first piece of home studio setup was a demo of Bitwg Studio 1 running on my Macbook Pro 15″ mid 2012 model. To this day I still have that Macbook for the mastering pieces I do in Logic Pro X (which was a purchase down the line. In fact, kit is linear as it comes and goes in cycles. I wonder if I can list all my kit I’ve ever had:
Macbook Pro 15″ 2012
Bitwig Studio 1
Akai Mini 25key midi keyboard
Beats by Dre headphones – a mistake!
Cheap and Cheeful £4.99 microphone from ebay
Line 6 UX2 Audio interface (wish I’d kept this)
Eris E3 Studio Monitors
Logic Pro X
Novation Launchpad Mk2
Bitwig Studio 2 (didnt like Logic for production!)
Novation Launchkey 25 (replaced the Akai Mini)
Korg Nano Kontrol2
Roland JD-Xi (replaced the Launchkey 25 and the Line 6 UX2 Audio interface)
Dell XPS Inspiron laptop (MacBook replacement but realistically it runs along side of)
MPM100-microphone (replaced the ebay special!)
Unnecessary luxury purchase – LG Ultrawide Monitor
Wow – thats a lot, and frightening to think what has been spent on it all. None of that is plugins either, too scared to go there an work that one out! However, I enjoy it and I have done for many years and all that above is probably over the course of 6 or 7 years too. There is also kit which I have sold in order to purchase all this (some of which I wished I hadn’t! – Keyfax Phatboy was one – will never get that back.)
My Current Gear (as of 2019)
My setup is a Dell XPS laptop.
It’s an Intel Quad Core i7 with 16Gb RAM
I run Bitwig Studio 2.3.5
Other bits of software I have are Native Instruments Komplete 10, Waves Gold plugins.
I also have some outboard kit including:
|Roland JD-Xi Synthesizer|
Roland JD-Xi Synth
Novation Launchpad Mk2
|Korg Nano Control|
Korg NanoKontrol 2
My “on the road” kit
I do a lot of working away from home and so I have to have a mobile studio for when I’m in the hotel rooms (I mean what else am I going to do – go to the gym??!) This means its not so easy to take a full studio around so my choice of kit I take on the road is my XPS laptop, the Launchpad and my trusty Samson 850 Studio Monitor headphones. These allow me to get a good hold on a track and get some stuff down when inspiration hits. I think it’s really important to have a hobby which is enjoyable to take part in but also have a creative aspect to it too.
Taking kit on the road can also be quite daunting. Not just from having to carry it all about but also from a security point of view. Making sure the kit is fully protected and in good protective casing is a challenge but taking some time and careful consideration it is quite easy to have a mobile setup complete. Take some time to shop around and take a look at some bags for your PC which are deep enough to fit in a midi keyboard and also a pair of headphone monitors. Carrying a full speaker system is not going to be a manageable task but decent quality headphones will give you a ball park idea when it comes to mixing. One tip to try is to try and reference your speakers and headphones in the same session when in your home studio. This will allow you to find the nuances in the headphones which cause the mix to not sit right and therefore know how to correct it when listening in headphones.
Regarding security then don’t forget to look at the tips on securing your computer for music producers. This hints and tips for IT security mean that your data will be safe when on the road or out and about.
The last thing to get in your travel bag if you can is a notebook (or just use your phone to make notes). Ideally if you get a tune or a track idea when on the road its a fine way to make that note so that you remember when you land later on. Sometimes it just isn’t convenient to make notes so a pad or a phone recording will do just fine. Keep all that together as a go to grab bag before heading out the door on a business trip or even a holiday. Keep the inspration flowing and you will find a workflow that works for you when out and about around the world. Some of the big name DJ’s and producers travel and produce. There is no reason why you can’t do this too.
Conclusion (…so what is the best laptop for Bitwig Studio?)
Hopefully after reading this article I would like to think that you know the answer to this one now. The answer is that if you are using Bitwig Studio, then you know the laptop that is right for you is the one that you choose, it fits your needs, it is in your budget and as long as it meets the necessary software requirements for Bitwig then it is right. These tips can apply to anything in the music world whether you are buying a new guitar or choosing a new plugin. Keep in mind it is a hobby so only do what is right for you.