Recommendations for a portable Cubase 5 DAW (laptop-based)

Hi everybody,

I’d just like your 2 cents when it comes to a portable DAW running Cubase 5 (for now, but I might consider upgrading sometime soon if I feel the need to). By portable, I mean it should be laptop-based. I’m open to the possibility of going Mac, but I need to be looking at prices first and foremost. I’m considering sticking with a laptop running Windows for now however, considering I do things OTHER than music production (part-time, work-related stuff for income) and need to keep this in mind (the fact that a laptop running Windows might be better suited towards this than a Macbook running OS X). I also might want to play the odd game or 2, so I think that should also have to be kept in mind (I hope this won’t clash with its use for sound however).

Regarding what I’ll be doing, for starters, I’ll mainly just be recording, editing and mixing guitars for the time being (hobbyist). IDEALLY, I’d like for this system to be quite FLEXIBLE however (in case I need to do work (whether paid or unpaid) of various kinds; basically anything ‘sound’, portable and non-portable). So I should be able to expand upon the “only being used for guitar recordings for now”, possibly in the near future.

I know there are couple of threads that have dealt with this question in the past, but I’m not always sure they’re concurrent with the latest technology that is out there at the time of this writing.

Any advice perhaps? Or articles? Recommendations?

Any help would be MUCH appreciated!


Which audio interface will you be using with it?

I still have an old Novation X-Station 25 lying around somewhere in my garage (it’s basically and audio interface, MIDI Keyboard (dead board) and hardware synth). I’ll be using that for the time being, outputting to a pair of KRK VXT6 speakers (and headphones, if required) on separate outputs (for both the speakers, and the headphones).

One thing you have to keep in mind is that I want to keep things basic for now, and that I am operating at a beginner’s level essentially!

For old devices like that, check if there are 64-bit drivers available for the current popular operating systems. (windows 8 or 10, and the latest mac OS).
Any new laptop you buy will most likely be 64-bit and the 32-bit drivers older audio interfaces come with will NOT work.

Other than that, suggestions will rely heavily on your budget. Macbooks perform well but they’re very expensive and many games don’t run on them, so also check if yours will!

Hmmm… very good point. Thanks for pointing that out (the driver issue)! :wink: Novation’s X-Station range has been out of production for VERY long, so I can only HOPE that it’ll still be compatible with current hardware, OSs (especially 64-Bit) and DAWs.

I know Mac is the way to go, and while I have the money for one (MacBook Pro for instance), it need a little bit more flexibility at the moment (which a Windows-based laptop will be able to offer me for now I rate). Once I get a bit more serious, I might consider going Mac (strictly for audio production). Keep in mind that I’m only doing production as a hobbyist on the sideline at the moment, might want to play the odd game or 2 and will MAINLY be using this for freelancing work for which I MUST HAVE Windows as an OS, considering the software is ONLY Windows-compatible (unfortunately). And I’m not too cued up on how well Macs run Windows (and Windows applications) when using virtualization programs such as Boot Camp. I also know there are other third-party software doing the same, but I’m not to sure about their performance either. Is it worth a try perhaps? :question:

Let me go find out from the Novation guys if this X-Station will still be compatible. I’m gonna be very mad :angry: and sad :cry: at the same time if it won’t be. I really love this all-in-one unit of theirs…

Also, I’m not sure if a BR drive is necessary however. And it should be able to output to a projector (this is for freelancing work I’m doing at the moment, which is NOT audio production based WHATSOEVER).