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Advice for my setup..

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mellowj, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. mellowj

    mellowj Guest

    Hi to one and all,

    this is my first post on this most excellent forum.

    I am a newbie and have decided to take the plunge with using the computer as my main cog in the wheel of music production.

    I am looking into purchasing a PC based system.

    In regards for my uses for the computer, it would be solely used for audio purposes (not for the internet, playing videos, gaming, wordprocessors, image software, etc..).

    Before i continue, i'm sure this question has been posed a zillion times, if there is a post that answers my questions, please direct me to it so i don't waste peoples times with the same questions.

    Okay, back to the program :)

    I am currently working within the urban/electronica genre, so my production is not dependent on recording live instruments at this time (such as guitars, drums, etc..), thus, i don't need to record more than 2 tracks at a time (4 tracks maximum).

    The only thing i'll be recording would be vocals, the odd percussive device, use of turntables for effect.
    So pretty much, everything will be sample-based.

    The software i plan on using is still a toss up.
    I am deciding between cubase and logic (though i'm open to any other suggestions).
    I also would like to use alot of softsynths (which i'm only starting to understand about).

    So, what i'm looking for is low latency, ability to work with 24 tracks or so per song using plugins without major complications to the system.

    So, i'd like people's opinions on what computer system components would serve my purpose best.
    If possible, please include name brands and model #'s.

    But, before i continue on, let me point out what i'm not looking for at this time;

    multiple monitor use, soundcards with more than 4 inputs/4 outputs, 96/24 sound recording is not a priority to me,

    Okay,

    Which of these components would you recommend that compliment each other?

    -motherboard
    -processor (would consider dual processor if cost-efficient and without alot of technical setup required)
    -harddrive (2 hardrives intrigue me)
    -soundcard (no more than 4 i/o, 96/24 optional)
    -cd burner (good quality one)
    -SCSI hardrives or not
    -USB or not
    -video cards (that are least intrusive and taxing on system)
    -O/S systems (win2000 only? or should i try xp?)

    Please feel free to include any other things i've failed to look at.

    Thanx
     
  2. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Yo MellowJ:

    I will try to address a couple of your questions.

    Operating System: Windows 2000, period! Do Not go to Windows XP yet. Lots of problems still with Audio apps. I think Opus and others have it working OK now, but it is not worth the effort imho. Stick with Win 2000...trust me on this one! XP won't buy you anything over win 2000, even if you do get it to work!

    Audio App: Cubase vs. Logic? For a newbie, definately go with Cubase. Logic's interface is difficult to learn, especially if you are new to this genre.

    USB: I find that it works fine. I use the TASCAM US-428 as a control surface, and it works fine. I used to use it as my audio input device, and it worked great as well. This unit will take the place of a sound card, MIDI interface, and control surface. It is a great deal, and I would recommend it highly.

    Hard drive config: IF you have the cash, go with SCSI/160. The ATA/100's are pretty close in speed, and you can save some money, but the performance is certainly higher with SCSI. Also, be sure to go with at least 2 physically seperate hard drive units, one for your OS (Windows 2000) and audio apps (Cubase or Logic), and a *dedicated* one for your audio files (WAV files that you record). There is no doubt that your system will suffer if you don't do this!

    Good luck!!!

    DH
     
  3. mellowj

    mellowj Guest

    thanx for your response DoubleHelix.

    This is what i'm thinking of getting.

    O/S System - Windows 2000

    CPU/Motherboard - Asus TUSCL2-C (Intel 815E chipset)

    RAM - 256MB or 512Gb stick. Someone said that "Crucial" ram works well with the Asus board?
    About RDRAM, what is your opinion on it?
    Can u recommend name brands that work very well with this asus board?

    HARDDRIVE -
    SCSI/160 -- 2 hard drives 40GB & 60 GB (still have to see how much it'll come out to)

    or

    40gig ATA-100 7200rpm (OS) Hard Drive
    60gig ATA-100 7200rpm (Record) Hard Drive
    (does this drive come faster than 7200rpm? is it worth it?)


    SOUNDCARD -
    US428 USB audio/controller, by Tascam
    (I haven't checked to see what type of inputs they have..i.e. XLR, OR 1/4 INCH, OR RCA JACKS..ETC.)
    Again, can i run my midi keyboard controller through this soundcard?

    VIDEOCARD -
    I was told a card that is not more than 32MB.
    Name brands i don't know.
    Someone suggested Matrox video card or the GeForce3. (what's your take? i don't need top of the line, just something that'll do the job)

    CD-R/RW - Any u recommend?

    Software - i'm leaning towards steinberg cubase over logic.

    What do u think of this setup?
     
  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by mellowj:

    CPU/Motherboard - Asus TUSCL2-C (Intel 815E chipset)


    Same motherboard I use...works great!


    RAM - 256MB or 512Gb stick. Someone said that "Crucial" ram works well with the Asus board?



    With the price of RAM nowadays, there is not reason *not* to go with 512 MB. It will make a *huge* difference in performance, for a very minimal difference in price. Crucial RAM works well with most systems, and you can't go wrong with them.


    HARDDRIVE -
    SCSI/160 -- 2 hard drives 40GB & 60 GB (still have to see how much it'll come out to)

    or

    40gig ATA-100 7200rpm (OS) Hard Drive
    60gig ATA-100 7200rpm (Record) Hard Drive
    (does this drive come faster than 7200rpm? is it worth it?)



    The SCSI will definitely be higher in price...but in the long run could pay off in performance. I am using the ATA/100 drives in my system, and they work just fine (2 X 40GB), but on my wish list is a set of SCSI/160 drives!!! Whatever you choose, be sure to defrag (and back them up) them often!!! It amazes me how quickly they become fragged with audio apps!

    There are faster 7200 RPM+) SCSI drives for sure (10,000 and 15,000), and I think there might be for the ATA drives, but I am not sure. There is also a faster ATA specification coming out, but it has to be supported by your system...I am not an expert here, so you'd better confirm that elsewhere...



    SOUNDCARD -
    US428 USB audio/controller, by Tascam
    (I haven't checked to see what type of inputs they have..i.e. XLR, OR 1/4 INCH, OR RCA JACKS..ETC.)
    Again, can i run my midi keyboard controller through this soundcard?



    Great choice!!! :) The 428 has four XLR inputs (but *no* phantom power), and also has an additional two 1/4 inputs for channels 1&2 (they are hi-Z for guitar/bass...). Channels 3&4 can be setup for digital-ins as well...

    There are also MIDI inputs and outputs, and *yes* you can run your keyboard quite nicely though the 428!!! :)



    VIDEOCARD -
    I was told a card that is not more than 32MB.
    Name brands i don't know.
    Someone suggested Matrox video card or the GeForce3. (what's your take? i don't need top of the line, just something that'll do the job)

    CD-R/RW - Any u recommend?

    Software - i'm leaning towards steinberg cubase over logic.


    Video card...definitely do *not* go over 32 MB! Good advice from whoever told you that! Pick a good brand name...Matrox or Appian are good choices. I wish I had gone with a dual-monitor setup now...a lot of DAW programs (including Cubase) support dual-monitors now...and with all the junk that you need to put on your screen, it makes real sense to have a dual-monitor setup. If I could do it all over again with my new system, I would have bought a dualie. Even if you only have one monitor now, you may decide to buy another one in the future... (you can get some used 15" or 17" monitors pretty cheaply now)...it is worth it...again it is your choice, but take my advice if you can afford the *small* extra cost of a dual-monitor card (Appian seems to be the choice here)...

    As far as CD-RW's...there are so many choices here...I am using a Sony that I love, but there are many, many choices. Make sure it supports CD-RW and disk-at-once options. I'm not sure what else to tell you here...

    Cubase is a great product, but so is Logic. As I mentioned earlier that for someone just starting out, Cubase is *much* easier to learn, and the qualities are the same in most people's opinion. They are big-time competitors, so they each try to outdo each other with each new version! They are pretty equal feature-wise, and as I mentioned, Cubase is much easier to understand and use. And maybe it is just my imagination, but I would say that there are lots more Cubase users around, which means that there are many more plug-ins and virtual MIDI instruments available for Cubase, which is a very good thing...especially for a keyboardist!

    Whew! I think that is it! Best of luck with your new system, and welcome to the land of milk and honey!

    Cheers!

    DH
     

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