Surface and Music Production

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro' started by Pettor, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Pettor

    Pettor New Member

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    Hi!

    I am thinking on buying the Surface Pro. I have a great desktop computer that I use for game, music production, programming and all of that but need a computer that is very portable and the Surface got my attention. Not only do I like the support for Wacom Pen (I like painting) but was thinking it would suit well as a device for creative purposes. The tablet part of the device can utilize music apps like MorphWiz, Grantophone and hopefully more to come and on the desktop there's more powerful tools like Cubase. I often travel and would like a device where I can record my ideas and work with Cubase projects and also record (using USB) from different MIDI-devices.

    Does anyone have any experience using this device for music production? My biggest concern is the screen size, it's small with very high resolution. Also, I wouldn't allow high latency from any recording devices, but I assume this shouldn't be a problem.

    I also do a lot of programming and would like to have a device for that. Is the type cover good for programming?

    Any comments regarding these subjects would be very useful!

    Best regards,
    Petter Gustafsson
     
  2. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    Welcome Petter. I think the Pro would do everything you are looking for. The type cover is just like a regular keyboard so programming with it shouldn't be and issue (and if it is you can use another keyboard of your choosing via usb or bluetooth). You might want to have a look at these couple of posts starting with this link for music production http://www.surfaceforums.net/forum/...post-pictures-your-surface-pro.html#post18059.

    JP
     
  3. Sojum

    Sojum New Member

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    Similar Needs

    I purchased the Pro with a similar setup and goal. I use Cakewalk, not Cubase. You've hit the main challenges - screen size and audio latency. Latency will apply to virtual audio generated by your app too. The sound on the Surface isn't built for performance. I have an external audio DAC that could solve the problem, but it's not something I'd want to lug around with me and it would still require headphones or speakers. I haven't had the Surface for more than a week, so I'll try to remember to follow-up. But I'm also not kidding myself on the limitations of a portable device like this versus my desktop workhorse.

    The type cover with the mechanical buttons seems to be pretty decent. No number pad though if you use that a lot in your programming.


     
  4. dleuen

    dleuen Active Member

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    Thanks to J515 for posting pics of my music setup. I have had a great experience using the surface for exactly what you describe. I do use Sonar rather than Cubase. I think your issue with Cubase will be that it requires the stupid dongle so you would also need a usb hub. And some audio interfaces do not work as well through a hub. Aside from recording I've also been using Reaktor and the on board sound card with asio4all. That works fine for giving things a quick listen when you don't have your audio interface. The small screen is a bit of a problem and does require some different thinking and management of the space you have. but it is do-able. The track pad on the type keycover is a bit of a pain too because sometimes it jumps around or is unresponsive. But overall I'm very happy with the Surface Pro for music production.

    I'm also a software developer and have used eclipse a bit on the Surface but not enough to give a fair assessment. I don't see any issues so far. I'll be out on the road next week so I'll know more after that. I think I'll throw my Korg Nanokey in the bag with it.
     
  5. reptilian

    reptilian New Member

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    dleuen, I just got my Surface Pro, which I plan to use for Photoshop and video editing. It should be fully capable for audio, except for said USB/dongle issues and high resolution. I use Sonar at home but don't plan to record much with the Surface. Anyway, I just wanted to chime in because I wrote on another thread about how I noticed a difference in the track pad on the type cover versus the touch cover. You are the 3rd person besides me who I've seen notice this. It is the reason I bought the touch cover although I wanted the type, the track pad seems glitchy on the type cover. Anyway, just wanted to say I'm glad you noticed and it's not just me!
     
  6. Pettor

    Pettor New Member

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    Thank you for the answers.

    What is the latency on the device when recording from an external device, like a MIDI-synth? I have seen plenty of artists using music apps on an iPad in a live environment which made me assume this device would handle that just as well (even better because of the extra power). I would be ok with 5ms (ASIO) and down I guess.

    dleuen, using ASIO4ALL (what a great driver btw), what ASIO latency do you use?

    The Cubase stick is an annoyance but I already have a hub where it's working so I hope to use the same strategy here :)
     
  7. dleuen

    dleuen Active Member

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    The overall latency I am getting using asio4all is 16ms when using the built in soundcard. Input latency is 8ms. This is using the 128 samples. I have not messed with it more than that. I have not connected a USB midi keyboard to measure that either. When recording guitar I use my focusrite interface which I believe is in the 10ms range. One other thing to add is this is all with the balanced power settings while on battery power.
     
  8. Pettor

    Pettor New Member

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    Thank you for the answer, this is very useful for me! 8ms input latency isn't to bad, should actually work pretty good.
     

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