I absolutely love recording on my laptop. My lovable Apple MacBook is small & portable, which means I can record from anywhere. (Which is great when I've been cooped up in my office just a weeee bit too long!)
I've recorded in hotel rooms, at my folks place . . . even at Starbucks!
PC laptoppers can have just as much fun.
However, there are a few hidden pitfalls to laptop recording you'll want to be aware of when you're ready to take the plunge!
NOISY INTERNAL SOUND CARDS
Your sound card is a device that lets you plug in a microphone and record digitally to your hard drive. There are two kinds of sound cards -- internal cards (you may already have one) that are built-in to your computer. And external sound cards - that look more like hard drives than cards -- that sit outside your computer.
The problem with internal sound cards on a laptop?
Well, it's the very thing that makes your laptop so convenient -- its size!
Because there's so little room in your laptop's innards, you can get a lot of noise and interference on your recordings from all the tightly packed circuitry -- yuck! Your desktop computer actually has a lot of empty space inside, so its not an issue.
But with your jam-packed laptop? No such luck!
This won't be a problem with EVERY laptop. But it can destroy the quality of your recording.
The easiest way around this is to do what I do -- use a USB microphone. They plug into the USB port which most laptops built in the last four years have. And they completely bypass your sound card.
I haven't read about this ANYWHERE, but its cost me hours of recording time. For some reason, even when I'm using a USB mic, when I record on my iBook when its plugged into the wall, I get a really annoying, constant buzz.
Let me rephrase that -- I don't get a buzz -- my recordings do! (Whew!)
The only way I've found to get rid of it? Unplug the power cord and run off my battery when I'm recording. Since I can get a good 3-4 hours off a charge, this isn't a problem.
Now there's no telling if your laptop will have the same problem.
My recommendation? Do a short 2-3 minute recording connected to the wall outlet. If you don't get any buzz, you're fine.
If you do get interference, try a similar test running off your battery. If you don't get a buzz - and I believe you won't - record off your battery from then on.
It's a real pain to have to re-record a program (especially when you've aced it!) because of this interference.
Save yourself the agony. This simple five minute test can put your mind at rest and ensure a great recording.