oops, Sorry about the double posting guys. Don't know how that happened.
Okay guys, I'm going to be ordering my first DAW system. I'm not the Build-it-yourself type guy, so I am going to have it custom ordered. What DAW manufacturers would you guys recommend to get the best quality, price, and support from? Also, I'm pretty much set on getting a PC. I've been a PC user all my life, so for me it's what I'm accustomed to. My budget is anywhere between $1500 to $2500. Thanks for the help fellows. And happy music-making!
oops, Sorry about the double posting guys. Don't know how that happened.
What you need to do is pick the software you plan on using, then check the software manufacturer's website and make sure what your ordering is compatable. Companies like digidesign are very picky when it comes to computer parts. Some people just blindly buy a fast pc and never figure that it might have compatability issues, so research pick a software, go to the site and make sure whats comptable, then build your pc around that. Other than that you'll get the Intel vs. AMD vs. Mac crap all day long.
Few of us have purchased and tested "one of each", so we could hardly be your guide on this quest...
Far as it goes, as stated, start with your software and go out from there. Any local computer shop can put something together for you that will work fine(And if it doesn't, for whatever reason, they can help you get it right.). It's just a computer, save the sound card/interface, which you will have to decide on, and maybe order yourself(?) and making sure nothing will be running that interferes with your audio - any computer person can "make it so". No reason to pay a penny more or "send away" to anywhere for a "special" machine - unless you want to? If so, read the ads and reviews(Paying particular attention to the tech support the builder/seller offers) and take your choice......
Suffice it to say that the worst computer you could buy would be one that runs it's own version of the operating system(Like almost any "store-bought/mail-order/TV-advertised" computer name you can come-up with...). By default/design, these machines always come with built-in malware, to say nothing about all the "things" that are running and will screw-up your work.
I've been looking into the same thing. These guys are totally right, software first. And the part about the pre-sofwared store bought computers is bang on. The only thing is that you can usually get a better deal this way. What I would recommend if you go with one like this, is to buy a new version of Windows XP Pro. Then format the hard drive and get rid of all that useless crap that came with your PC (or mac, I guess. I'm talking mostly about PC here though, I don't know Mac at all.) then partition your hard drive. Make a 6 to 8 gig partition for windows and install nothing else in this partition. (make sure you leave room for slack space)
Before you start go to google and look up "Slipstreaming Windows" and make a boot disk for Win XP Pro with the very latest (and only the neccissary) updates slipstreamed onto the install disk. Then, once you install XP Pro, disable Windows Update all together and only update when absolutely neccissary. Windows Update can leave a very long and messy trail of uninstall options that you just don't need bogging down your system.
Then google info on tweaking Win XP for maximum performance, there are a ton of resouces on the internet about this, just remember to back up your registry right after the first clean install of Windows before making any changes to it.
Xion -- "Slipstreaming"? I've seen the term but haven't "got it", thus far. I, too, will Google "slipstreaming windows". Thankx!
And, indeed, any 'ol Dell/Gateway, whatever, with the "real and only" MS OS disk(Which you may have to order elsewhere OR which, via mail-order anyway, the manufacturers themselves might provide, if asked(If they want to sell the thing.), can often be made much more usable, even for audio, if the "specs", otherwise are acceptable - generally speaking... I have always assumed that one reason for the low prices on big-name machines was that they also make part of their money by "selling" the "OS disk extras" to those who MAKE the "extras"..? MS does this, too!!! But, they make it alot easier to just install them or not, instead of "building them in" to where they are nearly impossible to get rid of.
Worst part, to me, of buying a "brand name" computer is trying to figure out, modify, upgrade and maintain what's actually "in there"? What IS in there? Often hard to say? When I get it locally, at least the person on the other side of the counter, who put the things "in there", may know what's "in there"... Any "extra" money-spent, buying locally-made, has always been WELL worth it, to me...... An "extra" my local builder offers is a MUCH lower priced OS disk, labeled OEM, which they install as a "manufacturer", which is supposed to mean that THEY, the "manufacturer", the local builder, even if they do them one at a time, are responsible for Windows "tech support". Though I have NEVER had a SINGLE problem getting no-charge tech support from MS, directly, right up to the highest levels - at least for "unusual" problems... Frankly, a phone call to the local person, for most questions, is a whole lot easier anyway.
Only thing I would add to XION's post is - I would add a second hard drive(Or buy it with 2, or more? I have 3 EIDE HD slots on removable drawers) to the machine - my old audio software acutally preferred 3 drives! I would put the OS and any software on the main drive - no partition(Partitioning "may" still be OK, for those that REALLY know computers, but..? HD's are s-o-o- cheap these days!) - and my data(In this case, my recordings) and "temp files"(often needed for audio recording and other types of software) on the second drive. As stated, I have 3 HD positions. My 3rd. is most often used for a "backup drive", for images of the other drives.
By the way: With one "box", I have as many "computers" as I want! I have a drive with, pretty much, just OS and audio software/devices installed(My work drive), and a drive with OS and "other" software/devices installed(Printer, scanner, internet, Office, etc.) plus the "common" "data drive"(Recordings, word docs, photos, etc., in the number 2 position.
For complete backup of all drives, I use Drive Image(No longer available), but Norton Ghost should be very similar(THEY bought DI), as well as several others on the market.
Ya, good points TeddyG. The reason I suggested partitioning is because Windows uses a certain amount of slack space and also something called a Swap File. The slack space should be big enough for a certain amount of Virtual Memory (about 90% of how much RAM you have) as well as usable space for Windows to store files and whatnot. Partitioning cuts down on the amount of slack space which helps when Windows starts to fragment (which is inevidable). This helps immensely in defragmentation and keeping windows running smoothly. The disk is split into smaller portions so Windows needs the HDD to do much less seeking. Also, a smaller partition defragments much more effectively and quicker.
Partitioning is not nearly as hard as it seems. All you need to do is boot your computer with a floppy disc that contains a few key files. I won't list them all, but the list can be found readily online (When you format a disc in windows, there is a checkbox that says 'Copy System Files', this checkbox with get most, but not all, of the files required). command.com and fdisk.exe are the two most important files, both can be found in the C:/Windows/System32 folder. Then you need only to boot with the floppy disc insterted and type fdisk at the c:\> prompt.
This isn't much of a guide, but I'm no computer expert and I haven't had many problems doing this.
Go here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255867/ for a guide by Microsoft
But yes, definitly get a second or third hard drive too. If you want something real fast, look into a SCSI drive.
OK, forget all of that confusing crap.
Check out Sonica labs and ADK Pro Audio for something you don't have to worry much about tweaking and whatnot. With your budget, you might as well have someone else sort out any bugs for you. There may be some other good DAW manufacturers I am forgetting too.
you ROCK :D
Sonica Audio Labs