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My Introduction, and unique setup..

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Mark 2112, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Mark 2112

    Mark 2112 Active Member

    Hi my name's Mark, and I'm into recording at home on a very low budget.

    Back in 1996 I built my first PC..It ran with the typical windows 98. The cool thing about windows 98 is it records with no latency on playback. Soon after I found this cool add on sound card with a special interface (mounts in an unused CD drive Slot) A "Live Drive" by Creative Labs. for $99 or something like that.

    It has a stereo jack input, with its own preamp. a midi in/out and spdif in/out. I've never used either of those, But I use the stereo input regularly.

    For software I found this cool program way back then, at a Mediaplay store. It was called 'Music Center' by Data Becker software. For only 29.99 I got a virtual 32 track recorder. I can record Midi tracks, and analog tracks and works with all the same functions a basic multi track mixer would have.

    Anyone else ever heard-of or use this software?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Mark, what do you find unique about your setup? I mean it's unique in that you have a total investment of under $100. And you have so far recorded how many rock 'n roll bands? Right.

    Yes there are those of us that have heard of that software. And what would you like to know? Do we use it professionally? Hell no. Do we use anything that costs 29.99? Hell no. Would you want to pay somebody $80 per hour to record on your computer? $100 per hour? They charge you more than $300 to tune up your car or do you do it? Do you know why you posted this? I'm sure you're thrilled. Yes, the line level inputs on your little toy Creative Audio thingamajig is good enough for making bad demos. Good enough for archiving your old car cassette tapes with. Even good enough to record an old scratchy stereo 33 1/3 RPM record, with, no question about that. Perfect for the best of the worst.

    Software? What kind of software do you think we use? Some of us use software that costs no more than 29.99 and it's completely professional stuff. Not intended for children. Scaled-back versions of the 300-$800 versions of the same thing.

    When it comes to the audio going into and out of our computers, we all stay very far away from Creative Cataclysms like that. Great for kids in elementary through high school. So, you built the computer back in 1996? And it's still going strong? Even for my first computer, I put a soundcard in the cost me $750, in 1996, when that first computer had a 1 GB hard drive in it but also cost $1000 by itself. Not including the computer. Because you see, I'm a professional audio guy and I can't have computer audio toys. They're fine for personal enjoyment. I hope you're enjoying yours?

    Now do you have a question you'd like to ask?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    I have a question here... You say you built your first PC way back in 1996 and it was running win98. Well was that a beta-version of win98? Strange post and very unique setup that is only believable to a newt. I mean come on man this thing is probably running a processor at 500 megahertz and you have about 32-128mb of ram. Wow!!

    Also, I would love to know your source information regarding "records with no latency on playback" comment. That is if you don't run out of memory!! Hope your loving the blue screen stop error generated by your kernal too! It seems you might want research your comments better and research what API's do for buffering to minimize latency. I am not sure there will ever be anything that does not have a tiny bit of latency, but I assure you it won't be coming out of a win98 box!
  4. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Heck...I still use a PIII with 128MG RAM, with Cakewalk 9 and Win98...but only for MIDI control of all my outboard keyboards and modules. Why? Because it still works well for that.

    The reason I have built several audio computers in the meantime is that I wanted to record audio, and that puny '98 machine wasn't up to the task of recording 20+ tracks. The first one (P4, 2GB RAM, XP) is relegated to, basically, a MIDI-sampler playback device, and the most-recent one is the audio one, which is master to the others as slave.

    They just all do their own thing...together.


  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Mark... all digital audio has some latency. There isn't any digital audio that doesn't have latency. Digital audio does not go as fast as analog audio does which has no latency. That's because, any kind of analog to digital, digital to analog conversion, along with the sampling scheme, all takes time which equates to latency. The latency may only be a couple of milliseconds but it will still be a couple of milliseconds which is still, latency, which will happen, with any computer and with any and every operating system ever made. That's because while the electrons can flow at 186,000 mi./s, computer chips would burn as hot as the sun. So if you want to bathe your CPU in liquid nitrogen, you might be able to reduce the latency a little bit? But there will still be latency.

    Yeah, I had no problems recording 24 simultaneous tracks, into a Pentium three, with 128 or was that 256 MB of RAM? And it wasn't until 10 years ago that I got my first Pentium four. All of which exhibit latency regardless of operating system.

    Have you considered taking some courses about how computers work? Even the fastest ones, compared to analog, are moving in super slow motion. The next great advancement in computers has as yet to happen. And they've just about pushed our current technologies to their absolute limit that physics has to offer. This latency issue may yet go away, when we get organic computers? And I'm not holding my breath for those. So you just have to figure out how to deal with this latency. Others manage to. It's manageable and it's correctable. But you have to understand enough about your computer, the operating system and your hardware in order to be able to manage this. You can do it. I know you can.

    I have confidence in you. Don't let me down.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Mark 2112

    Mark 2112 Active Member

    Hello again. I've read the replies, thank you for the input.

    First, I feel the need to apologize for misspeaking. Sorry! Hope I can be forgiven. :). Let me try to clarify what I meant, from some of the phrases that I initially typed;

    "My Unique Setup"..
    It seems it would have been better to type... "my humble/ beginners / zero budget setup".
    I apologize, I didn't mean to imply that I have something super-special here. It's possibly 'unique' by the fact that, maybe no-one else here would try to run stuff this cheesy and basic. Let alone, share these facts with anyone else, lol.
    Not trying to record the next college radio hit here, - Ha, I'd like to think I'm doing that, but I clearly understand that I'm simply just getting some humble & home brewed musical idea's saved for instant replay, development, remix, and demonstration purposes.

    About the "No latency" comment.. Let me clarify..

    What I meant, or should have said is... ''no *detectable to my laymans ear* latency" (beyond a typical guitar-effects-amplifier setup).

    I understand to a reasonable level, the physical / mathmatical and acoustical properties of Latency, and how it applies to recording through a PC. I also have a basic but useful understanding of PC hardware and software.

    What I meant was.. I can plug in my guitar, and jam, and then hit record, and have no problems hearing what I play with no more latency in the sound from plucking a note, to that note's sound registering to my brain. No different than my regular guitar amp.
    Thus, I find it pretty easy to get my primitive musical idea's recorded, from guitars, keys and drum machines.
    For example, when I have a drum track playing, I don't have to make any adjustments at all in my playing.. I can record onto another track and upon replay, it's all exactly as I played it/ heard it.

    As opposed to when I tried my to use my XP powered laptop with 512 ram. That had a very detectable (to my ear) and annoying delay in the sound. To say what I know about it all in a few simple sentence's: this is due to a change in how windows processes input's. A change made after win98.

    The only other person I've ever talked to so-far, about home recording, made a big deal about 'latency' and all the things he was doing to manage it.. so that made me feel it was something to mention here in my introduction..

    So a little bit more about me. I'm 40 years old. I'm from Western NY. Rochester, to be exact. I've been playing guitar, like millions of others, since I was 16 or so.
    I'm really into music, and lately study theory constantly, but it was only in the last 2 years that I got into theory. I just like to always evolve as a musician.

    I began recording musical idea's on and off, in a very casual home setting, a few years back. I aspire to make things I can share with other musicians. Or at best a demo, needing a professional make-over.

    Why did I come here?

    People to talk to with similar set-up's, or in similar situations. Encouragement, knowledge, cool musicians & studio engineer's / producers to meet and exchange idea's with.

    Not to brag or try to prove anything anyone.. Hope I can be forgiven me for possibly popping into the wrong thread, and of course my poorly worded introduction. My sincere apologies.

    I'm always looking for forums that involve the things that I take interest in. My project car, favorite bands, railroads, ect,ect..

    The other day I realized I should hunt down so forums that have to do with music creation, and more specifically Home recording.. So here I am.

    If I'm in the wrong place, and you can suggest a better thread or ultimately another forum, please be kind and advise.. :) thanks all!

    Thanks again for the replies..
  7. Mark 2112

    Mark 2112 Active Member

    Sorry double post.
  8. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Glad to have you aboard MarK!!! At first thought you were too unique to be true but here you are jumping out of the shell!!

    To be honest it is fun recording on anything to see how far you can push it. Sometimes I would spend countless hours recording on really bad systems just to see how good/decent I could make something sound. Yup a pro forum or not that is interesting to all engineers. If you can make something sound good on a piece of crap then you are making good progress.

    I thought you were a bot by your first post lol!! sorry! Keep introducing this thread further I am curious to see where it ends up. Good luck and welcome.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    There's actually many of us that enjoy making good recordings on rather marginal equipment. It actually presents a much greater challenge which actually helps to improve your own engineering knowledge and technique. So you've definitely come to the right place. People like myself that have been doing this professionally for over 40 years get somewhat confused when people misspeak jargon and technobabble are as in the case of a Gary Larson cartoon... blah blah blah Fido blah blah Fido. LOL your lovely detailed explanation was obviously picked up and misinterpreted by me? Because I took it as some kind of technical question or commentary?

    And I have to apologize... I had brain surgery seven years ago and I guess I have not completely and totally recovered from it? So sometimes the brain hits a roadblock, the synapses disburse and I become Temple Grandin or something? LOL

    While most of us loathe Creative Products Audio thingamajig's... I have found that their line level inputs are at least marginally adequate. Don't even think about using the microphone input. But from an entry-level standpoint if you feed a small mixer or preamp, that is external to the computer, into the line level input, you'll get reasonable results.

    As computers have progressed, the motherboards and chipsets, have progressed like the CPU's. Earlier chipsets were rather slow and would cause huge latency time delay echoes. And we're almost impossible to deal with that way. Even changing and lowering buffers could provide some marginal relief from long latency delays. Even still, frequently, not enough. So at least it sounds like you have your machine configured well enough so that you could enjoy your own personal recording endeavors?

    And so, I have set people up, with no budget whatsoever, utilizing that standard computer internal sound card thingy while feeding their Creative audio device from a small mixer such as a Mackie or Behringer. And then utilized " MSconfig ", from the " Start ", " run ", so as to be able to disable the startup of unneeded background programs running. Less programs running means less latency. So you strip down the operating system and how it starts and runs to provide maximum resources for recording purposes. The computer needs to pay full attention when it is recording and playing audio. Computer programs and operating systems instill an almost Attention Deficit Disorder, to the computer, slowing it down and suddenly distracting it when a program or the operating system suddenly wants to start looking for an update to a program you're not even using. And that's why also in the schedule control in Control Panels, you should delete all scheduled items. It then becomes up to you to look for program updates and not up to your computers programmable software alarm clocks. They're almost like children when you want to tell them to sit down and shut up. LOL. I was never a parent and so I guess I find myself beating my computer into submission.

    Bad BAD Computer! Are ya listening to me while I'm talking to you!? Otherwise... you're going to be turned right off and no electrons for dessert. Now close your lid and go to sleep.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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