Are netbooks a viable platform for mobile music?

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a netbook for a while now. I’m coming around to the view that there is a viable space inbetween my laptop and my iPhone / other portable devices that’s big enough to do something with. But I know very little about netbook OS’s, and I want to avoid going down the XP route if possible, which makes me wonder what is possible with a netbook?

Can you use it for making mobile music? Are netbooks powerful enough, and is there any music software that’s worth running on them.

In some ways netbooks today make me think of my old Toshiba Libretto which I got rid of a couple of years ago. I really liked the device, but couldn’t really find a use for it, and I want to avoid having the same experience with a netbook.

So, what should I go for? Any suggestions, or should I wait for the much fabled Apple netbook which may never ever arrive?

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  1. I know you don't want xp but my eee701 with xp runs many tracks and vsti in reaper. I need xp as I use recycle loads, the eee is great for recording too(solid state disk sooo silent)and you can pick em up now for around £100 used…


  2. I had the original asus EEE 7″. I put a 200mb lite version of XP and ableton7 on it. It was a beast of a machine for the price. There is definitely space in a persons arsenal for a netbook. They take up little space, weigh about a pound, and last for hours per charge. If I was to buy a new laptop/netbook right now I'd also wait till years end to find out what apple does. I got rid of my netbook because it wasn't OSX and now way to make a hackentosh 😦


  3. It's a tough call if you don't want to go down the XP route. There is alot of music software, freely available on Linux which works well but the lack of VST support was a problem. You can use WINE for Windows compatibility but as far as I'm concerned, once you start doing that then you might as well go to XP.

    Having said this, Linux offers alot of very nice operating systems, Ubuntu being the most popular though many others exist. I think many netbooks ship with their own proprietary Linux distributions. The Xandros version of Linux that shipped with the first EeePcs was really very nice but it was also very difficult to download any additional software. All mainstream Linux distributions make downloading software very easy and somewhat addictive!

    Truth be told, I use my netbook that had XP presintalled for everything. I run Cakewalk's Music Creator 4 on my Asus EeePc 901 HA and it works reasonably well. I do notice slowdown after I've loaded 4 or 5 different VST instruments. The processor isn't really strong enough to run effects at the same time, so I often freeze my midi my midi tracks to audio which helps. Also, Cakewalk runs better once you temporarily disable wireless via a keyboard hotkey.

    I've been able to create quite alot of music on my netbook but I can't sugarcoat the fact that it is slightly underpowered for music production. For the hobbyist like me, it's a great option and combined with a Korg Nanokey, its very easy to take on trips.

    I also use my netbook for all my graphics software, from Photoshop to 3D programs to Animation programs. I don't play computer games so I can't testify how well it handles any kind of games, 2D, 3D, online or otherwise.



  4. I think Behringer is offering Energy XT software on a flash drive that can be started up through the usb drive. This seems promising to me as you can run the program on Windows, Mac, and Linux, save any work done on the flash drive, then start it up again on another computer no matter which platform. There is 1GB of space on the drive to save your work. I have yet to use the software/hardware but plan on getting it soon.


  5. I have a lenovo ideapad s9 with 1,6 GHz Intel Atom and 2 GHz RAM. I have tried any Sequencer App I've got: Live, Cubase, Reaper, Dark Wave Studio, Aodix, Guru, Tuna, Reason etc.

    Well, I can run some basic tracks on Aodix or some other lite weighted Trackers, but you cant really work with it. My old 350 MHz G3 PowerMac and my MDA Pro (HTC Universal) both have made it better. Much better.

    I dont know where the leak is. The most apps run allright, the internet browsers or apps like Skype or MSN Live work very well. Even CPU hungry flash games are running ok.

    But every time I try make somthing with audio, it stutters and flutters in the worst way.

    Maybe someone have a solution?



  6. It is difficult to know what's best to do here. If Apple do make something new in that space then it may be an ideal product.

    However, Ubuntu is a good choice for netbooks too.


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