[GLLUG] Seemingly Simple Question

Leo Francisco lists at boywithwings.co.uk
Wed Nov 4 15:21:33 UTC 2015

Yep, in fact I also would have to get a USB interface if I wanted to
experiment with audio production under Linux. The Focusrite Sapphire USB
series are all reported to work perfectly under Linux as it's USB2 class
compliant. My friend has one, so I can test it before I get my own and
they have decent pre-amps.

Great advice there on all fronts. I think I'm going to go for T410 and
max it out at 8GB RAM and an SSD like you recommended. It's considerably
cheaper, so I can go for a larger SSD. That should be faster than what
I'm used to, as my Macbook Pro only has a Seagate Hybrid Drive which
isn't a proper SSD.

Is Ubuntu Studio ready to go in terms of audio recording/Jack
configuration? I haven't had the chance to test it yet. The combination
of Jack and a real time kernel has so much potential. Can't wait to play
more with Bitwig studio as well. I use Ableton on OSX, so I could
foresee myself completely moving to Linux for audio some day.


On 04/11/15 10:38, Jan Henkins wrote:
> Hi Leo!
> Legacy does not always mean "bad"! :-) Still, I would seriously
> suggest that you start budgeting for a more modern USB2/3 audio
> interface, and research what works with Linux. Latency over USB (even
> USB1) is not what it used to be, you can get near zero latency with
> Ubuntu Studio on an old 64-bit Linux machine. I mostly use an external
> USB2 (backwards compatible to USB1) ART Tube interface on both my
> Ideapad Z360 (1st-Gen i5, probably the same age as your Apple) and
> much older Thinkpad X200 (Core2-Duo), and I rarely get any XRUNS
> recording at 24-bit 48k. I do get XRUNS on the old X200 (but not on my
> Z360) when I use my Edirol interface and record at 24-bit 96k, but
> that is mostly due to the age and slowness of the USB chipset in the
> old Thinkpad.
>>> My question is mainly, which one do people recommend for my use
>>> case? I do a lot of lugging equipment around the UK (and Europe), so
>>> that would push me towards the X220.
> The X220 is an exceptional machine with reportedly excellent battery
> life [1]. I can remember reading a review of it written by Cory
> Doctorow (SciFi writer/digital activist) where he sung its praises. He
> uses Ubuntu exclusively, so there is no issues with Linux
> compatibility [2].
>>> I've seen the more expensive X220 occasionally for sale with a i7
>>> but the T410 with only an i5. My Macbook has a dual core i5 with 8GB
>>> of RAM and 1TB hybrid drive and has a similar form factor to the
>>> cheaper T410. Would there be a big performance gap between the i7
>>> X220 and the i5 T410? I will go for an SSD in either and a good
>>> trackpad is a must.
> There will be a big difference in performance between the two from a
> normal computing perspective, although the T410 is also a fine
> machine. However, I don't believe that the performance differences
> between the i5 and i7 CPUs will make a massive difference for music
> production, because the real bottle-neck would be I/O related (USB or
> FireWire bus, as well as speed of HDD), and of course RAM. Therefore
> an i5 spec T410 with a decently specified SDD won't neccessarily have
> to stand back to an i7 spec X220 with a "spinning rust" drive. If you
> do only one thing, upgrade whatever laptop you use to the max with
> RAM, so that you get as much in memory as possible. That way you
> minimise hitting the HDD, which is always the slowest part of the data
> chain.
> One last point - as good as your old Firewire audio interface might
> be, it is going to start seriously impacting your future technology
> choices. If getting rid of the Firewire interface is not an option,
> consider getting yourself a cheap desktop machine for home production
> use that is easily upgradable with a Firewire interface card, which
> would mean that you can still use the audio interface for home studio
> purposes. By contrast, USB interfaces are becoming scarily good these
> days, and they are also getting a lot smaller and lighter. My ART Tube
> interface is a relic by comparison, and almost three times the weight
> (as well as twice the size) of it's (sadly non-tube) replacement
> model. Also, USB interfaces are also relatively cheap, you can get
> excellent interfaces between £80-£300 depending on your use-case. How
> many interface channels do you need?
> Last thoughts: Your choice between the T410 and X220 is largely
> academic IMHO, they are both "boringly good". If you are
> price-sensitive, the T410 might be the best immediate choice, although
> the technical excellence of the X220 could be the winning factor in
> the end. I would play a pricing game between the two, pricing up the
> individual upgrade paths and doing a post-upgrade pricing comparison. 

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