When I last tried SmartMusic on a netbook, it was version 2010, and it didn’t perform so well. By the time version 2011 came out, I was already using the TC1100 full time. 2010 ran okay on that machine, and 2011 improved, running playback nearly perfect even in the most complex accompaniments.
Recently, there was an Ubuntu hour near the studio, and I wanted to swing by after teaching. Naturally, I wanted to take a machine running Ubuntu, but hadn’t gotten around to putting it on the LE1600 yet. Both my Cr-48 and Archos 9 are dual booting, and being the overpacker that I am, I really wanted to take both. The Archos 9 is running netbook remix, which is just really nice to use on a touchscreen tablet, and the Cr-48 is just neat. But add in a studio tablet to all that, and I’m carrying 3 machines.
Then, I remembered that I don’t really need a big screen in the studio, just SmartMusic and OneNote. As the performance of SM improved on the TC1100 after the upgrade to 2011, I thought I’d give it another go on the Atom based netbook guts of the Archos. Sure enough, it’s smooth. It will crackle a bit loading some of the full orchestra accompaniments, but it you give it time to load completely, playback is fine. I already have OneNote on it, as I use it as my smaller, pursable, electronic notepad, so I just had to add the Teaching notebook from my SkyDrive and all my teaching records synced over. While the resistive screen is not as nice in OneNote as an active digitizer, it works. 9” is small for music, but with the way SmartMusic scrolls as it goes, it seemed worth a try.
I also took the Cr-48, which turned out to be quite useful for typing emails between students, but the Archos did everything else. The practice charts are not quite as pretty, having been inked on a resistive screen, but they are readable.
The Archos even managed to bail out a student who forgot a book. He should have had the piece memorized anyway, but when he didn’t, I pulled up SmartMusic and made him read it with the accompaniment. While SmartMusic was up, I made him do some of the sightreading exercises also. The Archos kept up nicely with everything, including assessments in the sightreading. At only 9” and under 2lbs, it was really nice to use. I don’t think I’ll rely on it regularly, but it’s nice to have the option if I want to travel light.