n-track on a laptop ?

Hi folks,

has anybody expirience to use a laptop with n-track (recording) and an external soundcard like the Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro (PCMCIA) ?

I would like to buy a laptop but i’m not shure about the system-requirements.

Can anybody help me?


I used ntrack on a pentium 2 and had no problems,I loved it but it just depends on what you want to to do there are limitations


Quote (Litmus @ Mar. 20 2005,02:47)
I used ntrack on a pentium 2 and had no problems,I loved it but it just depends on what you want to to do there are limitations


Hi Litmus!

I just want to record some tracks without effects. The mixing an finishing of the songs (with effects) would take place on a "normal" PC.



Laptops work great, no worries! The biggest problem with a laptop is that you can’t install PCI cards, of course. Many folks point to the limitations due to the (usually) slower disk spin rate (4200 & 5400 RPM are typical). I recorded about half my CD (see my website below) using a 750 MHz P3 laptop that had only a 4200 RPM drive, and my testing showed that it could handle plenty of tracks regardless of the low drive speed. (Regardless, try to find a laptop with 5400, or better yet, 7200 RPM drive.)

Also, I got great results using the built-in line inputs. And there’s no need to transfer everything to a desktop for mixing (other than convenience), unless you need lots of tracks and lots of very CPU-hungry effects. n-Track itself is very CPU-efficient; it’s the effects that soak CPU power. Also, note that n-Track worked just great back in the days when 1GHz was a fast machine. Sure, it eats more CPU now than it did then due to constant improvements, but it still runs great on my current 1.8GHz P4 laptop.

You should expect to get great results using an Audigy 4. The biggest limitations will be your skill at recording and mixing, not the quality of the tools. (Well, I assume you’ll have a few decent mikes and mike preamps, plus half-decent monitors to listen through while mixing.)

No doubt, some laptops are better than others for recording – mostly due to MOBO and software issues. Search this forum for “laptop” because there have been several threads on various brands & models.

One more little thing - SoundBlaster cards are functional value-for-money products but they have some quirks. For example, some work internally at 48kHz, which means some additional processing (in the card) to input and output at 44.1kHz, causing delays. Therefore savvy n-Trackers with Soundblaster cards often work at 48kHz until it’s time to burn a CD. You can also work at 96kHz but this uses more CPU resource, and I for one can’t hear the difference. If you look at other external USB devices I recommend that you avoid the M-Audio Audiophile USB because it can cause trouble. The other M-Audio external boxes and those from Edirol, Tascam etc. should work fine with most laptops. I just got a Tascam US-122 and it’s very good, more suited to music production than the Creative units.
Cheers, and happy recording
TusterBuster :;):

I’m not sure that’s true with the Audigy cards. They support sample rates up to 96kHz.

Thanks a lot for your help.

The sampling rate is not a problem. Even 24 KHz would be enough for me, 'cause I’m really not a professional.

It’s just good for me to know, that n-track should work fine on a notebook with a “normal” performance.

I will buy the audigy for PCMCIA an test ist on my company-notebook


nice intruducion (Recording Tips) on your Homepage. At least I found something really easy to read! If I find a little time, I will make a german translation…


Glad you found it helpful! Yes, please feel free to do a German translation, and if you post it somewhere, let me know so I can cross-link. I guess I’ll have to start putting version numbers or dates on the pages, though (ugh! Version control!)

BTW, I recommend you stick to 44.1kHz as the lowest recording rate. Below that your results will suffer dramatically, plus it’s unusual and might confuse some plugins. Also, if Audigy IS a card that’s 48k internally, then be SURE to do all your work at that rate because using other rates causes serious trouble, pulling of hair, gnashing of teeth, and loss of quality time with your spouse or significant other!

So, we need to wait to hear from someone who really knows for sure whether the Audigy is like SBLive regarding the internal rate. It was a very important point for Tuster to bring up, since it is a possibility!

I do all my work on a Sony Vaio laptop (PIII) with an external soundcard (Creative USB SoundBlaster MP3+ External Sound System with CMSS) hooked up via USB. It works very, very well for me. I don’t do anything real advanced or complicated, but so far this is very efficient.