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Rating and Reviews: Rain LiveBook A2 Core i7

Run your production software on a laptop that's optimized for making music, with Rain Computers' LiveBook A2, including 8 GB RAM and tons of I/O built in.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Everything I'm used to from my Rain desktop in a portable package!" submitted May 7, 2013

By Justin P in Richmond, VA
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Semi-pro electric bassist w/20+ years of experience.
Music Style: Jazz, funk, rock, experimental
Back to Product Information
Sound: I’ve been using an old pair of Sennheiser headphones that I’m sure would earn me the scorn of many an engineer, but they’ve proven to be nigh-indestructible, so they keep coming with me. Sound through the LiveBook is crisp and clear, provided the proper steps are taken to avoid ground loops and such. I noticed in the other review that the reviewer had a big issue with buzzing, and all I can say is that you have to be aware of your environment and arrange your setup accordingly. I’ve been a bassist for over twenty years and have dealt with every ground loop/buzz/hum there is, so in my gig bag I carry a couple of ground lift adapters and a hum eliminator. Between those and the use of proper cable runs (you are making sure your power and audio cables cross at a ninety degree angle, right?), I haven’t had any problems with my LiveBook. Incidentally, I just checked Rain’s website, and they have a document targeting just that issue. Feature: This laptop has everything I need to do what I do. I opted for the quad-core, which is significantly more advanced than my aging Solstice, so my hope is that I can make this my main recording box and keep the Solstice, which still runs fine, (pro tip: don’t crap up your work computer with non-work software) as a backup, or maybe throw in a new hard drive or two and use it for media storage. Ease of Use: o issues with setup and no bloatware that I could find. I’m still getting used to Windows 8 and I may call the Rain folks up and see how hard it would be to downgrade to Windows 7, but it may make more sense to just get used to Windows 8. Quality: Fit and finish are good, with no obvious defects. The keyboard is full-size, and comfortable enough as laptop keyboards go. Screen image is sharp with no dead pixels. I haven’t thrown a ton of tracks/plug-ins at it yet, but it’s nice and quiet so far. Again, my Solstice is still up and running after...hm...seven years maybe? So I have high expectations. Value: This laptop does what I want it to do without issue and my experience with customer support has been really exceptional, so I think I’m getting a good value here. Manufacturer Support: Over the years I’ve called Rain with a number of questions and I’ve always been pleased with the response. It’s similar to the relationship I have with the folks who built my basses in that I’m talking with someone in the same field who uses the same products and understands the same concerns. The Wow Factor: It’s an understated piece of equipment, so if you’re looking for, I dunno, fancy interchangeable faceplates or color coordinated lighting, well...look elsewhere. The ‘wow’ for me is that I bought a product and it does exactly what I need it to do. Overall: I’ve used a Rain Solstice desktop as the hub of my home studio for years, but I’m traveling a lot more now than I have in the past and needed something portable that could handle the demands of on-site recording sessions. So far, my LiveBook A2 is working out exactly as I’d hoped.
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"Beware. Do not buy." submitted March 7, 2013

By Joseph P in Valley Village, CA
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: 13 years as hobbie. Synths, Eurorack, Ableton Live, Guitar, etc.
Music Style: Dub-Techno
Back to Product Information
Sound: The sound is awful... I use Sony MDR-V700 headphones. When I have them plugged into the headphone jack, I can hear a constant buzzing noise that rises in volume depending on how I move my mouse or what keys I press on the keyboard. When I use an interface I cannot have the power plugged in otherwise I get this noise but amplified at an extremely annoying level. This makes music production practically impossible. Absolutely horrible sound quality for 1600$... The worst ever!!! Feature: I guess the most useful feature is that I can browse Facebook on it... But that's not what I paid 1600$ for... I could have went with a 300$ Acer and got something better... Ease of Use: This laptop does not seem to work well with other hardware or software... I had and still have trouble with Ableton Live crashing in the middle of working on a track. How come this never happens on my nearly 8 year old dual core desktop??? Does not respond well with many drivers... Windows 8 is flat out awful. Their new User Interface is quite possibly the worst thing to happen to a computer... But I won't talk anymore about that, after all, I'm reviewing the laptop, not Windows. Quality: The laptop arrived with the hard-drive cover improperly fitted. I had to go to Home Depot and buy a precision screwdriver kit just so I could fix it. The entire casing feels like very cheap plastic that could easily crack. The camera is awful. Even in a well lit room it looks like a camera phone from 1999. We're in 2013... Cellphones have had decent camera's since 2006, so why can't a laptop?... It's not a huge issue, but really? Value: In short? No! Not even close... This is the most outrageous price I've ever seen for something of this 'quality'... How Rain can get away with selling a computer like this for 1600$ is completely beyond me. I'm sure their little 1 on 1 tech talk with an audio expert is a great value to slap on to this thing, but the laptop itself is awful. I'm really kicking myself for buying this laptop... Manufacturer Support: I don't even want to know what this company is like to deal with... I just want my money back. The Wow Factor: I really tried to like this computer when I first got it. I tried to convince myself that I could get over it's flaws, but in the long run, it's flaws severely affect what I do and what I'm trying to accomplish. I bought this on an impulse because I haven't been able to record anything for months, and the fact I can do payments through Zzounds was great, but when it really comes down to it... This is a 700$ computer at best with a 1600$ price tag. Overall: Please look else where if you want something to make music on. You will be horribly disappointed. This detailed review has no reflection on Zzounds. They were great about changing my order when I mistakenly ordered the wrong model. I strongly urge anyone reading this to look else where for a computer. The value/quality is far too low for it's price tag.
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