The UMPC may not have caught on with the masses, but the idea is terrific: a full-featured Windows PC in a space only slightly larger than a smart phone. Loyal followers continue to love their UMPCs, especially when they’re as tiny as the Raon Digital Everun. And as we predicted when Intel first announced the UMPC, this is a workable little music machine. After all, just a few years ago computer musicians would have described these specs as “high-end”, and there’s USB for input.

To prove the point, Steve Paine, from UMPCPortal.com writes in with video evidence: a clip from him running a vintage version of Fruity Loops from the late 90s, plus another featuring an M-Audio Ozone keyboard plugged into an Everun hosting a synth and sequencer in the not-very-old Cakewalk SONAR 4.

First up, a little Fruity (now FL Studio):

And thanks to Sophocha from the UMPCPortal forums for this SONAR clip:

It’s clear how beneficial it is in this case being able to run full-blown Windows, and take advantage of the USB port and stylus interface, to boot.

Any other UMPC lovers out there, or people working with other micro-PC models?

UMPC News : Electronic music tools on-the-go with the Everun UMPC [UMPCPortal]

  • Adrian Anders

    I wonder how useful UMPCs are for music production. From what I've seen most are way underpowered for the price point. Most decent devices are upwards of $2000+ which one could spend on a much more powerful laptop that has many more features, can do a whole lot more without choking, and has a screen size that will be able to display most plugs and hosts without making one squint.

    Now I am a fan of mobile music making, but only when the price-point is reasonable like in the case of palms, NDSs, GBAs, PSPs, etc. But with the price that UMPCs go for these days one is better off with a full-spec desktop-replacement laptop.

    Of course if you need a UMPC for other reasons such as office work, school, and business needs then by all means load up some music progs too for the downtime on the subway, bus, or traffic.

    ATA

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I think the Everun is much cheaper than that — like $700-900 in US currency, though that's assuming you can find one in the US. Aren't they still Korea-only? And once you start getting in smart phone territory, you have a totally different formulation. Not to mention, these could last longer than a smart phone, without the service contract … then just use a dumb phone for, you know, talking.

    And I guess that's the point, my sense is that the price difference isn't so great in other parts of the world. (In the opposite direction, this also means that some of the Mac vs PC price debate also depends on country … here there isn't the gap that there is in, say, Germany.)

    As it happens, I believe we have other parts of the world reading here. So tell me, other parts of the world, what's the scoop?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Here you go — I had no idea that Best Buy was hooking up with Asian importer Dyanism. But US$800 is a lot more down to earth.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=848

    I mean, let's see, instead of one of those weird $800 phones, you could get this and opt for the free phone from your carrier (which might have better talk quality anyway). And that's even assuming prices don't continue to come down.

    But yeah, assuming you don't need this portability, you could get similar computer specs used… saw some great older-generation ThinkPads for around US$300-400. Even better deals with SFF PCs / desktops. It's just a matter of mobility and size and how much you care.

  • Adrian Anders

    Okay, yea that's not so bad. But still a 400MHz processor? What is this 1999 all of a sudden?

    I mean it's cool and all in theory. I like the idea of WinPC music tools designed around the UMPC form-factor (ala electroplankton), but trying to run full-fledged DAW software on a device that small and underpowered is not worth the price you're paying if that's all you're going to do with it.

    ATA

  • Adrian Anders

    One thought tho. DJs might like the form-factor of UMPCs better than laptops due to their size and longer battery life. Lighter DJing progs like djdecks and earlier Traktor versions might work quite well for this. 30GB is plenty of space for most DJ's digital crates assuming MP3 encoding. Not to mention along with the audio interface and various cords/accessories the whole thing might fit into a single reasonably sized bag.

    So there you go. That's one way of making good use of a UMPC.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh, I'm not necessarily advocating UMPCs for this purpose alone! But if you have another need for them, then running Fruity Loops is a nice extra! And I think it's all about buying exactly the hardware you need — so UMPC is less than other hardware, true, but if it happens to fit your needs perfectly…

  • https://kclau.com KCLau

    This is an amazing gear. But I hate it that we need to hold a stylus to use it. Imagine we are doing recording with it playing the keyboard. When we to take up the stylus to stop recording

  • http://pianologist.com Pianologist

    This thing is just slightly bigger than my PDA.

  • http://www.umpcportal.com Steve Paine

    Hi all. This is Chippy (the one that did the FL demo)

    I agree that these devices are quite low processing power but its not all 1999!

    The Everun runs up to 600Mhz processor but its got a faster memory bus and much faster drives than before (16MB buffered write speed on the drive) The battery life is amazing (min 4hours with Wifi on. Max 12 hours with extended battery) and you can get it with SSD (rugged, lower power, quieter, less interference, cooler)

    For higher power UMPCs, Sony are starting to introduce Core 2 Duo-based UX devices at 1.2Ghz.

    I agree, for high-end music work, it might not be powerful enough. But for a long train journey, flight, tour-bus even, its a very flexible tool indeed.

    If there's anything you guys specifically want to ask, fire away.

    Regards

    Steve / Chippy.

  • K-Supreme

    1. Connect a usb audio interface

    2. Connect a usb midi keyboard (CME UF8 Via a usb hub perhaps)

    3. kick start Minimoog V (Or maybe lounge Lizard)

    4. Preform Live?

    Thats how i see a grate use for this device…i mean you could have all the VSTis you'd like and it wouldn't need a truck to carry them…

  • wuntun

    What about using an OneLaptopPerChild XO? runs at 433mhz, tiny light. No windows yet of course, but surely only a matter of time…

  • JG

    I have a Samsung Q1 and have been using it successfully to control Logic pro running on an iBook by using RealVNC on the Q1 and OSXVNC on the iBook, so the Q1 is just "viewing" Logic, but the pen/tablet input is great for controlling the transport, scoring and editing in the midi matrix.
    http://www.samsung.com/uk/products/mobilecomputin

  • Kyran

    @ K-Supreme: if you can carry a CME UF8 with you, you can most definitely carry a laptop. That thing weighs about 23 kg and doesn't fit in my car.

    A realistic use for this is indeed on the train with a pair of headphones. Nice video's!

  • http://toilville.com Peter

    This just in: A PC runs fruity loops ;)

    Let me know when the pc as studio concept (cubase et al) meets the small portable device as instrument (tenori, monome, lgpt) at a price point thats reasonable.

    Seriously why HASN'T roland hired The Bhajis loop guy to make a music PDA? Palm + br-micro + line6 pod x piggytracker midi out, mass produced for $499.99 would be a no brainer for me.

  • K-Supreme

    @Kyran:

    ok so i didn't know it was that heavy, but i still think it would be a nice use of the UMPCs..

    if you'd use a evolution keyboard… is that ok then? :)

  • Kyran

    Whatever floats your boat :)

    It's just that I don't know of a midi controller which wouldn't limit the portability of this thing (if I have to bring a bag to carry the controller, I can also bring a laptop, which is more powerful)

    Maybe a wii mote would work, it's something that fits in a (large) jacket pocket :)

  • http://www.cornwarning.com kent

    Roland would want to louse it up with a baffling user interface and incomprehensible manual.

    Seriously why HASN’T roland hired The Bhajis loop guy to make a music PDA? Palm + br-micro + line6 pod x piggytracker midi out, mass produced for $499.99 would be a no brainer for me.

  • http://xfader.com edwin moses

    Check this out
    http://www.directron.com/hpab20256.html

    500mhz would be enough to run an older version of Logic (5.1/5.5) in order to be creative on the road.

  • Chuck

    This is great and I hope one day UMPCs will indeed be powerful enough to run current day music apps.

    Also, there's a New Jersey based group of hip hop musicians called DALEK, comprised of MC Dalek and producer Oktopus. Their sound is very rich and layered, heavily based on electronics and for all you genre purists, they are often dubbed "avant-noise" ;) Anyway, in their myspace profile (link at the end of this comment), in some of the pics you can see Oktopus using a Sony UX (also a UMPC) along with his setup of a mixer and an AKAI MPC 1000. Maybe he's running some music software on the UX? His live setup is usually a mixer as well as a Powerbook.

    Check out the photos under PICS, and enjoy their music.

    http://www.myspace.com/dalek