What's The Best Laptop To Buy
For Playing Backing Tracks?
Let's say you've decided that
you want to use a laptop computer to play your backing tracks
onstage. You probably arrived at your decision because you love
the big screen display as opposed to fiddly little mp3 player
readouts and you probably also like the fact that you can work
on your laptop while you're sitting in the dressing room waiting
to go onstage (hey, if you've got a wireless internet connection
why not ask the audience for song requests and if you don't
have a particular song, download it immediately from MP3 Backing
Trax midway through your gig)!
The next thing you're going to want to know is, which laptop
is best for playing backing tracks?
As far as laptops go, it's really difficult to say what's good
or bad because laptop manufacturers change their models and
specifications almost daily nowadays. Add to this the fact that
a laptop that had a great spec 6 months ago is now like a dinosaur
compared to their newer models, it gets very difficult to keep
The good news is that "as a general rule of thumb"
you can normally do ok by just buying the cheapest laptop you
can find at the time. This is because you can pretty much guarantee
that even the cheapest laptop on the market today is probably
twice as good as a £2,000 laptop from last year.
However, there are a couple of things to look out for if you
need a laptop for a specific purpose or to do a specific type
of job. For example, keen gamers should buy a laptop with a
particularly good video card. Musicians should buy a laptop
with a particularly good sound card.
There's also the operating system to consider.
Many of the cheaper laptops are cheap because they don't run
Windows as the operating system - they run Linux (or one of
the Linux variations). This basically means that you can't run
Windows software on them (well, technically you can, but you
need to be a really clued-up techie and run a virtual Windows
environment on the Linux computer - and that's not for the faint
hearted, I can assure you)!
So if you're not technically minded, my advice is don't even
try it. On top of that, even if you were brave enough to attempt
to run a virtual Windows environment on your Linux computer,
you'll most probably still run in to problems. Windows is famously
temperamental at the best of times, so you can imagine what
it's like trying to run Windows programs on an operating system
that wasn't actually designed for Wndows!
If you really want to run computer programs and get them to
work the way they were designed to work, then use programs that
were designed for the operating system you're using. It's a
bit like buying a petrol car, and trying to get it run on deisel...yes,
it is possible to do it, but do you really need the headaches?
Wouldn't you just be better off buying a deisel car in the first
As the world demands cheaper and cheaper electronic products
from the manufacturers and those manufacturers try to outdo
each other to "be the cheapest", many are now selling
laptops (and desktop computers) with linux pre-installed instead
of Windows. While this does help to keep the price down (Linux
is a free open-source system) the downside is that you may have
trouble doing the things you want to do on a Linux computer.
Don't misunderstand me, Linux is a great operating system (in
fact we use it to run our servers here at MP3 Backing Trax because
it's more stable and robust than Windows server software).
The problem is that for so many years 99.9% of computers sold
have always came with Windows pre-installed and people can be
forgiven for thinking that this is the norm.
So before you splash your cash on that new fantastic spec laptop
with it's incredibly cheap price, super-fast processor, massive
hard drive and loads of memory, just check the operating system...or
you may be in for a disappointment when you get it home and
out of the box!
by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
(all rights reserved)