I just got a Toshiba laptop at a Staples clearance sale, like 300 bucks and it had *Ugh* win 8. So I had it converted back to win 7, 64 bit. Dual CPU's, 8 gigs of ram and a half terabyte HD.
It cost 100 bucks to convert to 7 and add another 4 gigs of ram (it came with 4). So 400 for the laptop.
Then I looked around for an audio I/O and found a nice deal on Musician's Friend, a big online and inhouse music store.
The box I settled on was the Tascam US 1800, it has 8 mic preamps with XLR connectors and other inputs totaling 14.
It came with Cubase LE5 which worked sort of.
I could not find how to stick the audio being recorded to a second HD or flash card or SSD in cubase LE5 and Cubase and Tascam would not help me figure it out, Cubase people said it was an OEM software set and they washed their hands of it and Tascam said I would have to contact Cubase for help which was clearly not forthcoming.
I did go to a few forums for help and got basically no help there.
Putting audio on a second drive keeps the main HD from whacking itself to death keeping up with the demands of windows, background activities and the audio recording software.
So I chose a 32 gb flash drive as an experiment, there was one on sale at Best buy for 20 bucks. The I/O cost 280 so 300 for that and 400 for the laptop for a total of 700 bucks.
I found cubase LE5 to be pathetic, a weakened version of the real thing.
So I had been using Sonar from Cakewalk since my daughter was going to Berklee college of music in Boston where they had given her Cakewalk 4.5.
She gave me a copy and I have been using Cakewalk ever since, now I am up to Sonar X1, Cakewalk is up to X3 but I have not upgraded yet since it takes win 7 or 8, won't run on XP any more.
That was for my desktop system.
I scrounged up an older copy, Sonar 8, and downloaded it into the laptop (Toshiba) and set up the system for that.
Sonar 8 allows you to chose the path the audio goes to so I used the flash drive, 32 gigs which gives plenty of room for many recording sessions.
I had some problems which I figured out and now the system records really well, records at 24 bits and I choose the sample time, I stuck with 44.1 K just to keep compatibility with CD's.
I also got a copy of Wavelab 6 and that allows editing like cutting dead space at the beginning and end of a recording and lots of other tricks, including being able to line up 20 or more tracks with a set time delay between each track and batch recording them to a CD.
The whole thing with power cords, two mic cables, 6 mics, laptop, laptop cooler fan, US 1800 all in the box the 1800 came in so it folds down into a nice briefcase sized package, maybe a bit bigger than that but pretty small considering what I have packed in that box!
Very pleased with the result, my first serious project was a new tune I composed on guitar a couple of weeks ago and last night adding a mandolin track. The piece had fast and slower parts and I had a devilish time getting the timing right on the mandolin but I got it 95% correct.
So now I am ready to record our little band here in Allentown Pa.
We play civil war era songs, Johnny comes marching home and 50 others.
Right now the weather is killing us, no recording this week but I am in the process of making my own CD, my second home project of that nature.
I have written about 25 tunes mainly on guitar but also a few on mandolin and 5 string banjo.
Have about half the tunes I need for a second CD now so am working on new tunes and some older ones and some Irish and American Old timey ones for CD #2.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it