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Current recommended computer specs for multitrack recording?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by islandmusic, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. islandmusic

    islandmusic Active Member

    Dear all,

    I'm in the the process of researching the currently recommended specifications for a computer running a DAW.
    I'll likely be using a ZED R16 with Firewire, and I'll be wanting to record all 16 tracks simultaneously.
    Right now I'm thinking of a entry level workstation class machine with 6BG RAM, a 1TB Raid0 external SATA drive for the audio and a quad core Xeon. Is that overkill?
    I do not want to be hindered by lack of resources later, and I want to be free to stack plug-in and software processors as needed.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you are simply recording, then 16-18 channels (18 includes the 2-track mix) via FireWire is no problem for even a medium-spec PC, as long as you record to a disk that is not physically the system drive. However, you indicate in this and in your other thread that you want to use the PC also as an effects unit, and for that you need a considerably higher processing spec than for just recording.

    If the recording is the priority function, I would not compromise it by loading the recording PC with effect plug-ins. The R16 has ADAT I/O on all 16 channels, so you could employ a separate simple PC or an Alesis HD24 for recording the direct outputs of all channels. That leaves the FireWire I/O free for whatever effect processing you would want to try on the high-spec PC.

    Personally, I avoid using PC-based effects in real-time, as the delays are too unpredictable for live work.
  3. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    I think you'll find that the term "overkill" never applies when discussing recommended hardware for an operating DAW. Theoretically; the faster the processor, the lower the recording latency; and the quicker and larger amount of RAM, the more plugins and resources that can be used before encountering problems with glitches/dropouts etc.

    I'm curious what others will recommend as I'm about to purchase a new laptop for the purpose of recording my grand piano that's in a separate part of my home away from the studio, and I'd like to know what others will recommend. I'll probably go with one of the new "i" series Intel processors.
  4. FlyBass

    FlyBass Active Member

    If you are thinking about using ProTools 9 definitely go with an Intel i5 or above for your processor.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you want to know what is recommended, then go visit the DAW builder websites: Rain, PC Audiolabs, ADK, Sweetwater's Creation Station.
  6. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Now that sounds like some good advice! I'll check out their websites to get an idea. I've basically grown up on Cubase starting way back with VST 3.7 and was thinking of trying out Reaper on the laptop. I'll probably go for Windows 7 64 bit since I believe that it's the wave of the future. Intel i5 also sounds like it'll end up being my choice.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Reaper is great and super speedy. For raw multitracking I don't know anything faster. Keep Cubase around though. Win7 64bit is the only thing I install nowadays. I posted some i5 i7 comparison links over in the computers forum. Check them out.
  8. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Okay, so I have a question now. I intend on using this new laptop for recording raw wav files and then transferring them onto my studio DAW for processing. I would like to go Windows 7 64 bit on the laptop. My studio DAW is Win XP. Will I encounter any conflict problems if I record on a 64 bit laptop and transfer the files onto a 32 bit system to work on them? I'm thinking that it should be okay, but I want to be safe here.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    As long as each hun of audio file is less than 4MB (not likely unless the track is several hours in length) then you should be fine. And most DAW programs work around this anyway.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Umm, actually 4GB.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    oops. mea culpa. I'm only on my first cup of go juice (coffee) yet this morning.
  12. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    John, thanks for the confirmation and especially the related education.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    As long as Boswell is around to clean up after my addled noncaffeinated statements, we should be good.

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