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My first PC/DAW build ..will these components work ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by thirtybench, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest

    I've never spec'd out a PC before.

    I want a store to build a PC for my teen son - he's been playing electric guitar ( lessons ) for a couple of years now and he'd like to try recording to a PC.

    Although good sound / recording is the priority it'll also be a multi - purpose PC ( some gaming, downloading etc. )

    Would apprecaite it you could take a look at my specs below and let me know if the parts are compatible and if any changes would be suggested.

    I just want to make sure that all the parts ' get along ' and i don't get any sound glitches like pops and crackling.

    Feel free to be set me straight if I'm out to lunch on the spec selection somehow - this is my first stab at doing something like this.

    Thanks !

    CPU Athlon 64 3200
    MOBO Gigabyte GA K8NS Ultra 939
    MEMORY Corsair Value Select PC3200 Kit 2x512MB
    DRIVE Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 160GB SATAII
    VIDEO Sapphire Radeon 9600Pro Adv 256MB
    OPTICAL NEC Double Layer 340
    SPEAKERS Logitech Z - 2300 2.1
    CASE Antec SLK 3000 B
    PSU Enermax ' Noisetaker' 485W
    O/S Windows XP Home Edition

    Other Behringer V Amp 2
  2. Looks good to me. I just purchased parts for a computer. From my research, many of the parts you have chosen should be good performers. There's no guarantee that everything will be compatible, but I'm guessing that you should be fine.

    What is the Behringer for? I don't usually recommend anything by Behringer. The price tag might seem right, but the build quality is usually lacking.
  3. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest

    Thanks - i hope the parts do the trick - AND are compatible.

    On the Behringer V AMP 2 - it was a recommendation I got from another forum - did a bit of follw-up and it seems to be good starter choice.

    Here's how i understand it.

    It features an amp simulator and an effects section thaty you can plug your guitar into that, and from there, the signal is sent to your computer via USB, or you can send the output to the line in on your sound card. - versus recording via a mic ( I hope I got this right, I'm only at the spec stage here - have yet to nail down all the details of the V AMP 2 and EXACTLY how it all ties together with the PC/sound card)

    I understand Behringer has the reputation of stealing other company's designs and selling them as their own, BUT , as you said, they're CHEAP!
  4. shredz

    shredz Active Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    Home Page:
    shoot for the price get a used pod pro...much better than the behringer...
    whats the price on the audio interface?
  5. RTex

    RTex Guest

    I set up my son to record guitar, and his system is much, much older than what you have put together. This was a couple years ago. It has worked just fine for him to start. He progressed to having an interest in synthezier recording and purchased a Korg Triton Le with his own funds as well as a pair of self-powered M-Audio "near-field"monitors. I bought him a Behringer mixer with more than enough inputs/outputs and a set of Behringer studio headphones and B-1 condenser mike and a cheap stand from Musician's Friend online. Finally, I got him Guitar Tracks Pro sequencer software. He records from his mixer (Korg and mike inputs are into mixer) directly into his computer's sound card. He writes and records his own compositions with this simple home studio set up. I tell you all this because I think your computer set up is more than enough to get your son going. And the Behringer stuff is great for beginners. Do you have a mixer? If you don't want to get a Behringer, Yamaha makes a nifty little mixer for arond 100 bucks that some people say is pretty decent for home use. The mixer comes with phantom power/pre-amps for condenser mikes if he wants to sing as well. Consider a decent beginner condenser mike like a Studio Projects B-1 for not much over $100 for this. Also, do you have a recording software sequencer, like Cakewalk's Guitar Tracks or Guitar Tracks Pro? If not, you should get him this or something similar to it so he can have a sequencer (mutli-track recording and composition software) to work with and record with on his computer. He can record and mix from within this software and then burn his music onto CDs if he wants. You might want to look into other Cakewalk software sequencer products as alternatives to Guitar Tracks (like Home studio, or possibly Emagic's beginner offerings, or Steinberg's beginner's Cubase SE (and there are many others- and he may be able to get academic software pricing as well if you do a search on this online (software can be well under $100 this way). Good luck with this. You treat your son well!
  6. RTex

    RTex Guest

    I forgot to mention the following. I noticed your son will likely also use the computer for gaming and online stuff. This is generally frowned upon by "experts" who say your music computer should not be used for other things besides music. However, this is not always practical for kids starting out in music. Nevertheless, you might at least want to consider installing a separate hard drive in the computer or at least partitioning the one you now have so that all programs/applications/internet stuff/operating system goes onto one drive or partition whereas the other one is used strictly for his music recordings/compostion files. You might want to consult a local computer store geek on this. Again, wish you the best.
  7. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    You can run all of your Antivirus/Spyware and gaming stuff on your Audio PC, but total avalible power will suffer. You can easily do a "Dual Boot" OS installation to alleviate the negative effects that Antivirus Software, Firewall, and spyware programs have on Audio performance. And, it's 100% FREE!!!

    I do just this. I have my "main" XP install on the first partition of my system hard drive. This install has everything under the sun. I do pretty much everything on this install.

    Then, when I need to "get serious" (whatever that means), I boot into my secondary XP install on the second partition of my system hard drive. This XP installation has no Ethernet (I disable the Ethernet controller in the Device Manager), so there is no need for Antivirus and Spyware software. I also have this installation "tweaked" for audio performance.

    TBH - I can still mix most of my large projects on my "Main Installation", but I do have less avalible power due to the other stuff running, and I have had a few crashes while running tons of stuff at once (like a 24 track project with tons o' plugs, I was online w/ IE, and I think I also had a Word doccument open, AV and Spybot running, and it locked up on me). My Audio Installation has yet to crash on me (on 2 different PC's too! - That's reliable IMO).

    You can always do the Dual Boot at a later time, but it is a fantastic option for optimizing the performance of the "ever-so-popular-to-hackers-due-to-95% marketshare-Windows PC's" :wink:

  8. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest

    The M-Audio 2496 is about $155 CDN or about $120 US +/- $, new, from a PC shop.

    Sorry, but what is the " pod pro " you noted ?

    Not familiar with it
  9. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest

    Thanks RTex ! - that was a great post on the suggestions for mixing software etc. and equipment options - i've printed it out and will try and educate myself a bit more on the many points you included - much appreciated.

    Good point on the ' blending ' the DAW spec needs wtih gaming / surfing.

    Althought to say experts 'frown' upon it , is being a bit charitble.

    This topic of dedicating the PC only to DAW uses came up on a couple of other Canadian forums and I was TOLD in no uncertain terms from audiophiles that 2 hard drives was THE only option to ensure a solid environment for recording.

    Actually, 2 hard drives , and all the suggestions on how to do it , actually makes perfect sense to me, and i discussed the pros and cons of it at lentgh in these other forums I mentioned.

    At the end of the day though , I decided the prudent thing to do was to go with just the 1 Seagate drive for now and wait and see if my son actually does this recording over the long haul, or whether this is just a whim.

    But, I must say, there was a ton of people that endorsed the 2 drive option, just as you did , so I'm very comfortable adding another drive as soon as it's warranted.
  10. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest

    Thanks - the ' dual boot ' suggestion placed a close second to ' 2 hard drives' among all the feedback I got from a audiophiles elsewhere on other forums ( as I noted to RTex ) in my last post.

    Again, as i mentioned to RTex and I think as you acknowledged, both the ' 2 drive ' / ' dual boot ' options seem to be the next steps that'll be the best evidence my son wants to record for the long term.

    The system PC specs are, in my mind , sort of a Stage 1 in this whole process, just wanted to be in a position to give him a pretty decent recording/ audio experience right off the bat , without any glitches, and be in a good position to quickly upgrade, or re-jig hardware/software as he goes along.

    One question though.

    I noticed you mentioned that the ' dual boot' issue was important because of ' power' ( or lack of it ) implications.

    I'm not clear onwhy this is exactly ?

    I guess it leads me to the larger question of how important the power supply ( watts ) is the entire recording / dual boot scenario -what is drawing all the power ?

    I'd read elsewhere that most mid-level PC''s would be hard pressed to even draw more than 350 watts ( and i'm going with 485 w ) for an extended period of time - or is comparing mainstream PC's to DAW's an 'apples to oranges' comparsosn when it comes to PSU needs ?

    I'm clueless on this topic - could you fill me in a bit more .

    Also, how important is the ' quietness ' of the PSU ?

  11. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    By "power", I meant processing power and RAM avalibility. All the extra Antivirus and Spyware stuff takes a certain amount of processing power and memory allocation to run. This is power and RAM that could be used for your Audio programs. WHen you dual-boot, your "audio installation" is not online, so you can disable all of the protection stuff, and use this processing power and extra memory for Audio performance...

    It is pretty easy to do.

    On the other "power" issue, a 400Watt PS or there abouts should do fine. Look for ones with a single large 120mm fan. The larger fans usually end up running slower and being quieter than a smaller fan running at a higher speed. Same goes for case cooling. My case has like 7 fans, but they all run at minimum speed, so it moves plenty of air, but does so quietly.

    2 HD's is a given, but I have run a small ~16 track project off of a Sony Laptop with a single 5400rpm HD!!! 2 HD's is certainly a great idea for serious users.

  12. shredz

    shredz Active Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    Home Page:
    LINE 6 makes the pod pro...its a rack mount amp modeler plus it has many fx built in...it can do pretty much anything and its well known in pro circles too...new they were $399 but they can be had much cheaper, check ebay!
  13. RTex

    RTex Guest


    Can you provide any links to "how to's" regarding setting up the dual boot configuration? I might be interested in this for my son as he moves deeper into DAW-based recording and compostion. Thanks in advance.
  14. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I'll see what I can find, but it is basically just as easy as installing the OS twice. The one thing different is - when the XP Installer asks where to put the first install, you will want to delete the partition of your main OS drive (backup any important stuff, as the entire drive will be wiped clean at this point). Then, select to "Partition the unused space on C:" - BUT only choose a partition size of like 10 gigs - or 10,000 MB (or how ever large you want this first partition to be). Then, Let the XP instaler format this partition, and install XP as normal. (This will be called the "C: drive")

    After this first install is done, you will do ANOTHER fresh install (for the Audio stuff). This time, you will select the "unused space" from the main drive, and let the XP installer format this "free space", and install the second OS on this new partition. (This will be called the the "D: Drive")

    I would NOT go below 8 or so Gigs for an OS install. 10 Gigs is my personal minimum requirement...

    Then, XP will AUTOMATICALLY setup a "boot menu" that will pop up anytine you re-start Windows. You will want to re-name these to "Main Install" and "Audio Install" or whatever by editing the "boot.ini" file (a text file that tells the PC where to look for the OS's). Then you can select which OS you want to boot from anytime you restat your PC (there is also a "defalt" that will load your desired "Default OS" after a pre-determined time if you don't select either OS).

    All of the files are seperate, so the first OS does not affect the second OS, etc. This also means that any software you want on BOTH installs has to be installed twice. I have all of my Audio stuff on both installs, but JUST my audio stuff on the second install.

    I'm not good at explaining this stuff, so I'll see if I can find any links. I did this by playing around for a few days until it all clicked... The PC forums are also a good resource (it is where I learned most of mt PC knowledge - well that and trial-and-error :wink: )

    Here is one link. I'm still looking...


    and this may be more relevant:


  15. thirtybench

    thirtybench Guest


    Come to think of it, I recall hearing good things about Line 6 before - but, I think it might a bit more than we need quality/ functionality wise at the moment.

    However, I got a recent suggestion from someone that the M- Audio Delta 44 might be a possible improvement to consider over the M- Audio 2496 I had in mind.

    Any thoughts ?

    What is the basic difference between the Delta 44 and the 2496 ?

    I thought ( and was told ) the 2496 was solid ' starter' card for my son, would he gain much functionality that he could use at this early stage by looking at the Delta 44 ? Again, i think he just wants to record his guitar on his PC in his room.

    I assume the Delta 44 / Gigabyte mobo wouldn't pose a ( compatibaility ) problem either ?

    Sorry for the seemingly basic questions, but I'm cluless on thes cards.

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