music producers have many, many choices on the market today. from DAWs, to software plugs to hardware, etc...
the first and foremost consideration in starting your studio is the basis of it all... WHAT MACHINE are you going to use.
there are those who work primarily in their studio, at their desk, with the monitors, treated walls, synths and everything all there in one place. then there are those of us who are mobile... literally mobile. we need the ability to work here, there and anyway. on top of that, some of us, like myself, need the ability to use our workstation to play live.
i'm sure rain recording offers nothing but the best in breed in terms of desktop machines. but to this, i will not speak. what i am here to write about is my absolutely incredible hot-rod of a machine, the Rain Recording Livebook.
being somewhat of a laptop junkie, i have had quite a few. i have run through two top-end IBM thinkpads, core duo and all the related specs that make the kiddes in the crowd go rawr. and, too, i must admit, IBM support is no joke. even the slight thing breaks and there is something on site within 24 hours to fix it. not bad.
of the other notable machines i have used for music production is a top end x64 sony vaio. moving on.
it got to the point where what i needed what a PROFESSIONAL audio workstation. one that would never fail me, not live, not on the road, not in my studio. one that could handle the insanity i threw at it and one that had the appropriate level of support. and so began my search.
i was reading KVR one day and i heard about this company called Rain Recording. a small company based in Jersey (of all places). i added them to the list of companies to look at, but based on reviews of their machines at the time, wasn't really considering them an option.
as i diligently search through all of the options, custom made alien-ware laptops, samsung, acer, azus, msi, hp... i was lest than satisfied. they all had most of what i wanted, but it just felt too similar to what i already had.
then i started looking at more specialized companies like MusicXPC, ADK, sweetwater custom built. looking good but not great. then i looked back at that list and decided to check out the rain livebook in more detail.
let's be honest here... the rain recording livebook is not the cheapest machine on the market. but if you are serious about buy a machine for professional audio production, you should have long since left the expectation aside that you 1300 lenovo was going to do the trick.
once i started down the rain path, there was no turning back. first of all, the system specifications quite simply met every expectation i had (apart from the lack of a third USB port, which they have now included). the display is of the most stunning i have ever seen on any laptop up to 1680X1050.
the intel T4900 core2 duo at 2.GHz was pretty much top of the line at the time of purchase. with firewire, expresscard, usb and especially ESATA (sorry rain, i know you love your storm drives, but my glyph gt 050Q is indispensable). there is no device i own that i cannot connect to my rain without it functioning as expected (firewire drives, firewire Audio Interfaces, USB Audio interfaces, usb everything, the glyph drive via esata, expanable firewire 600 express card, which comes in the box, expresscard sound cards, damn the echo indigo i/o is amazing, HDMI out so i can have digital quality on ANY lcd interface, including monitors, TVs, etc).
now, let's get into some more of the intangible details. i am not one to just whip out the CC and fire off a purchase without fully understanding what i am getting into. hence the start of my communications with the rain team. Kevin Jacoby, owner of an illustrious hairstyle AND CEO of rain recording was unbelievable helpful and responsible to each and every question i asked. once i started down the spec'ing phase, the support team worked with me each step during the way to ensure the machine would be custom configured to meet my exact needs. even after a slight mishap in the configuration, Kevin generously offered a completely free of charge modification on their part, which was no short order.
now, once i received my livebook, the true fun began. out of the box, this was by far the most beautiful machine i have ever owned. you think that's underrated? ask the 200 mac users out there what THEY think. cool is cool, there is no qualms about saying that.
but aesthetics aside... i loaded the software i needed (sonar and related tools, in my case) and suddenly, i have 16 tracks of midi/audio, all with a host of fx and buss sends, pumping out through my plug and play audio interface without a CPU spike, glitch or pop. the machine is by no stretch of the imagination an absolutely BEAST for audio production. do i even need to say anything more than that?
yes, i do. no machine is without it's glitch along the way, and, as previously started, being a bit of a computer geek i will admit many of those glitches were my own fault. i installed a bigger and faster hard drive, more RAM, windows 7 x64, new audio interfaces, new software, etc, etc...
as problems arose, and listen to me very clearly, if you are buying a PROFESSIONAL audio production workstation, don't be silly and not by the support that comes along with it, in this case, raincare; i had the easiest time in the history of technical support getting my issues resolved. the technical support team, and especially my absolute main man Jami McGraw. i cannot tell you the pain i've put this poor man through... and the solutions he has provided me have not only been instantaneous, but have exceeded all expectations in their resolution of any issue i have come across.
in short, i can say nothing by positive, glowing, phenomenal things about my experience with Rain Recording. my only issue now is watching the new products be released and having problems keeping my tongue from wagging.
small price to pay. when i am ready to upgrade, i am sure i will get nothing short of the best audio mobile workstation on the market, as i believe i have now.
the beautiful rain in action:
thank you rain.
(FYI, i am in no way affiliated with Rain Recording. i am a music producer on the Vermin Street label, as you can find out from my profile. also to note, i never released one song before i purchased my livebook. hmmmm.)
btw, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.