I'm genuinely thinking about buying a laptop and Ableton. Talk me out of it


I’ve been looking at laptops for a few weeks now and I can get a very decent, top spec windows laptop (don’t tell me to get a Mac, I’ll kill you) for a bit over £600 and Ableton for less than £400 at the minute. I don’t really need much else right now, as I can use Syntakt as an interface, though I’ll probably end up getting a MOTU M4 eventually. I’m not really looking for buying advice, I know what I need.

I think I’m bored of the constant limitations of hardware, hence the constant buying and selling. Also, I don’t have enough free time to fuck off into the back room for a couple of hours, the idea of being able to work on tracks whenever and wherever really appeals, and a laptop is the only really good way of achieving that.

Now as a lot of you know, I’m not really a computer lover, this would be the first laptop I’ve bought since Windows 7 was new. I guess my question is how annoying are laptops to use these days? I remember sacking Ableton off because I was just sick of ASIO drivers, buffer sizes and the constant Windows bullshit. Has all that got better, or is it still a pain the the arse?

I’ll still keep a few bits of hardware, as I’m not completely unhappy with hardware, apart from just not having the time/convenience to go and use it. Just asking those who know me well enough to tell me if I’m asking for trouble really…


I’m not talking you out of this. Buy the shit, realize your brain don’t like it and sell it.


Hardware taught me how useful, flexible and customizable software is. Have fun. But set boundaries to not get overwhelmed by the infinite choices it offers


As someone who just had their highend laptop shit out for no apparent reason (went into sleepmode and froze, I then shut it down and it will no longer boot) and now I have been dealing with customer support for a full week, they even made me post a video online of me trying to start up the broken laptop. After all that they are finally sending my case over to warranty replacement :confused: honestly it should have taken like 15min to get me taken care of but redtape and nonsense support. Happy my music gear is up and running and I can pull out my old laptop in the meantime.


I think there’s your answer really. No great leap forward for Windows since you last used it. Having said that, I’ve been running Ableton on there for a decade without ever really figuring out what everyone was complaining about


I don’t do memes, but there’s a popcorn one, isn’t there?


Can I ask why not a Mac? A new M1 and Ableton and you would be flying and the experience would be effortless IMO.


Head in the lion’s mouth


Get a mac. Please don’t kill me.

But seriously get a mac. Windows is a shitshow right now and seems to get worse with every update. Then again it has a history of making a mess then fixing it so maybe the next version will be better. I’m not a fan. MacOS is super. Also mac hardware is just better. There is no PC equivalent in laptops, they’re all garbage. Whatever 600 thing you’re looking at is shit and will run hot and slow and have shit battery by comparison to an M1 Mac air. </rant>

I wouldn’t expect weird driver or latency issues. Everything seems to just work these days, maybe unless you try to run Linux (which you should if you buy a PC).


I don’t have a rational answer for that, but I just don’t like them. I did go and have a look at one the other day. Just not for me.


Laptop and Bitwig is the better idea


Use your upper brain to shed your bias and choose rationally because rationally the mac is better :smiley:


Totally respect that. I’ve been using Macs since 94 and I’ve no experience of PC so I’m out :slight_smile:

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Bitwig has a Linux version!


Another person here for death row. All the qualms and problems you speak of don’t exist on a Mac, system management is basically removed, and all the head wall bashing.

Buy a Mac, install Ableton and Elektrons stuff, get making and you’ll never have to really think about it again.

Or, buy and hate your PC and give up.


ableton + a new mac will avoid your having to deal with drivers at all. i don’t want to tell you what to buy, of course. all i know is that i’ve made tracks on planes, trains, in backs of cars, sitting on the floor, outside, poolside, at the beach, at my mother-in-law’s house, in waiting rooms, on my couch, sitting on the floor stretching my hammies, on my porch, and probably a ton of other places precisely because my go-to tools are my laptop and ableton. hardware’s great. most of the time, i don’t have time to set up any hardware, mess with patching, cabling, and recording, so the flexibility of having a full studio in the size of a magazine, ready to go any time, is pretty amazing.


This is why I use a laptop now as everything - sequencer, recorder, sampler, synthesizer. When I have time to use hardware it is nice, but it HAS to have USB audio (one exception is modular).

Hardware is great when you have time, which no one with young children does.

I use Macs and haven’t had to fcuk with anything related to drivers in years. Kill me if you have to. :blush:

Do it.


I have been running Ableton on Windows PCs and laptops for years and have never had any problems. Absolutely no need to buy a Mac.


I can’t help much because I’m a multi-decade Mac user, and the day I fired up Ableton Lite on one (got it free with some cheap MIDI controller), it felt like a piece of PC software from the '90s. But lots of people here are happy with it on Windows.

My sense of Windows, from having owned a travel laptop in the '00s, and having helped my FIL diagnose issues with his, is that the problems stem from having five zillion hardware configurations. Apple locks this down severely, and you have to buy into their vision. But it does make for better stability and ease of use.

My sense of you is that you might get annoyed or bored with it quickly, but I know you only from reading this forum, so that’s a facile judgment. I might suggest an iPad. The software is much cheaper, the touch interface is nice, it’s even more portable. It’s one of the few pieces of equipment I’m going to initially take across the ocean shortly.

[Edit: I’m also taking the latest MacBook Air M2, but that’s my work machine. The only musical software on it is Pigments, and even that is more like an emergency backup.]

Wouldn’t dare talk you out of it!
Hardware is great but its so worth having a laptop for recording and mixing ideas at the very least.
Even if you just want to slice out a few drum hits for variety or re-pitch some high hats here and there or side chain a couple of things together instantly
It just allows you to add that variety that is harder in hardware without spending $$$$

I have a small modular and do everything else in a DAW and love it

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