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new computer

Discussion in 'Recording' started by salicious, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. salicious

    salicious Guest


    I'm new to the forum, and This seems to be just what I'm looking for. Since I've been on my own with recording for the past 5 years, I've had little information from others and have done lots of reading. The question I have now is about getting a new PC. I've got the $2K set aside for a new dedicated DAW and the Protools LE/digi001, however that's as much as I've decidewd on to upgrade my current set up. Here's what I have so far....

    Kurweil K2000 & K1200
    Alesis Nanoverb, 3630 compressor, and RA150
    Tascam 202MKIII
    Rode NT-1 condensor
    Mackie 1202 VLZ
    Cakewalk v.5.0
    Dinosaur 166mhz/32ram/2.5Ghz clone
    Acoustic 3311 monitors

    That's probably pathetic, but it's all mine and now i'm looking to spend. The objective is just better quality recordings and the thing I've been missing, full duplex capability, and something with multi-channel effects for depth and better imaging, currently my rig can only do global effects, since I'm working with MIDI to a large extent. Beforehand, I've been adding vocals using the Nanoverb and a one shot approach for laying down the mix of MIDI and vocal.

    Here's the questions I have, one, what are the minimum needs for the motherboard, CPU, RAM, Harddrive, DVD/CD/RW and other internal components as well as any additional peripherals that are helpful once you have the Digi001/PTLE setup? I want to get lots of editing capability in there, so I'm sure RAM needs to be around 512, and I'm looking at a minimum 1.5 Ghz Pc, and 40G hard drive.

    The second question, since PT seems to be a little lacking in the MIDI editing department, is it relativelely easy to import MIDI files from my old Cakewalk program into PT?

    That's it for now, any help will be appreciated!
  2. ednaroma

    ednaroma Guest

    Welcome to the forum Frank!

    Sorry, can't help with PC recommendations, I'm a Mac man


  3. salicious

    salicious Guest


    I'm not opposed to going with a Mac setup, but I have little or no background with it. Perhaps you can recommend a URL that does a pros/cons comparison between the two platforms in the audio realm?
  4. dpasch

    dpasch Guest

    I too had no Mac experience. Hoever, I currently run a G4 466 w/ Oasys and the Digi 001. This rig is great. I talked to all my friends in the buisness and it was "Mac...Mac...Mac". Just so you know I have an 2" 24-track studio in storage since I closed the studio and have reverted back to a minimum set up for home recording. Of course I kept the outboard here. The biggest reason I can tell you to buy a Mac is......McDSP. These are the finest plug ins ever and they don't come for PC. The fact is alot more plugins are available for Mac. If you buy WAVES Gold Bundle you get like 5 more killer audio analyzing tools. A 733 is going for $1295 at Mac Mall and you would need a $100 additional drive. Add to this the Digi @ 650 or so off Ebay and POW! Later the Oasys @ $299 GC price.Yeah you still have to wait to get the good plugins but $1500 later you will be real happy. I know it adds up but, I had 10 times this in a board and it didn't do nearly the work. Or sound as good, or look so good, or not need maint. as much. The only concern you should really have going this route is latency for host plug ins. The Oasys eliminates this to a degree but, with only 4 stereo FX. You still need your CPU to address track EQ and Comp. Desert Island ---> Comp=Compressorbank EQ=Filterbank. I can run EQ/COMP on every channel(25)/ 24 tracks (stereo or mono audio), 4 Stereo FX, Oasys Virtual Instuments that are amazing!,and still be hitting the CPU @ 50%. Then I go play with the WAVES. I love this system and can't imagine on a 733! God!

    Can't recommend a better system and I am new to the Mac. It kinda like 95' but, better.

    D :)
  5. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Frank, before you plunk down that kinda cash on a Mac, I suggest you go up and see what's going on in the Computing forum here. In particular, check-out the ANUS system that guys are building. It'll blow away a G4-933, at less than $1000! Then, two years from now when a Mac 933 is a dinosaur, and you can't do a damn thing about it, you can upgrade your PC to the latest technology for a few hundred bucks.
  6. The Mac versus PC power debate is a lot like judging audio gear by numbers.

    If you've spent any time in the studio you know that specs on a mic, a pre, or any component, don't mean $*^t if it doesn't sound good. Numbers are not a good way to describe sound, thankfully.

    Macs are intuitive, eloquent, stable and offer tremendous power. PCs claim more power for the money according to some.

    I work in studios that run both PCs and Macs, I've done so for several years. The quailty of experience isn't a result of power or bang for the buck, it's a result of the which ones crash and which ones just keep tracking, dubbing and mixing. I'll take a Mac studio over a PC any day.

    Unlike the adomant PC devotees, I really don't care which box is in the machine room as long as it keeps running. The day that's a PC I'll be advocating PCs.
  7. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    It's all a matter of cost for me. I run a rock solid (has not failed me once in 8 months) Athlon PC system that is capable of running 24 audio tracks plus more plugin than I'll ever need.
    That said, if I could afford a Mac I'd swap. The simple problem for me is that here in Australia you can get a great PC for around $2K, and to get equal power in a Mac it's more like $5-$6K. That's $3-$4K I can spend on mics, pre's and plugs and be way in front.
  8. salicious

    salicious Guest

    I can definetely relate to the cost issue, the $2K is for the PT/digi001 and the computer, so whether I like it or not I have to go on available cash. Still, to get an equivalent MAC to what I can afford in a PC is a big question mark for me since I'm in Atlanta, Georgia rather than Australia. If the comparison is the same in the US then I'll be going with the PC.

    Mark, can you give me some stats on your Athlon PC like Ram, CPU, HD size etc.? It's such a gauntlet to be chasing down the latest and greatest, since that only last a few nanoseconds. What I want is something that will be useful for a long time. With the PT setup their web site talks about minimums and recommended hardware, but what are the real world numbers?

    Dogfood, man, you've got a better handle on this stuff than I do, I saw the pricing you quoted on the Mac for a 733, is that comparable to a 1.8GB PC? I'm only guessing based on something I heard a long time ago, but if your pricing in the US is good then Mac is back in the ballpark. Tell me about expansion capability for a Mac, apparently SonofSmawg thinks there's a problem there. Really though, I don't want to fire up a debate about which is better I just know this next purchase is going to have to last me a while 'cause I haven't got any more furniture to sell!

    Thanks for the input all of you, I value your opinions!
  9. ednaroma

    ednaroma Guest

    Re: clock speeds, it is basically pointless comparing Mac and PC clock speeds given they are totally different chips. I used to be told you multiplied the Mac speed by 2-3 times to get the equivalent PC speed, but that isn't that accurate.
  10. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member


    I'm running an Athlon XP1600 on a GA-7ZXE mobo. 512mb PC133 ram, 30gig 7200rpm system drive and numerous drives in removable caddies for audio.

    You can do better than that though. I think the Asus A7V266E seems to be thes best mobo at the moment for the Athlon CPU.

    It's also worth checking out companies who specialize in supplying ready to go DAW systems. You will get a computer and Digi001 all installed and ready to record out of the box from the one company. It will cost a bit more, but it could save a lot of hassles.

    Good luck
  11. Frank,
    You might want to look for a used Mac. They are the faster more reliable machine.(You could probably run a battleship on the right set-up) Many folks are upgrading to 733's from 533's. I have a G-4 dual 533 with a 120 gig raid H D.& a gig of ram. I know Digi doesnt support the raid, however I have been running this configuration for a little over a year and never , never had problem. I can run tons of plugs with very little lag time. As for editability in Midi, play with it a little. It will do what you need it to do. All you have to do is tell it the right way. ;)
  12. salicious

    salicious Guest

    Holy cow......

    All this information is a lot to digest. Apparently the Mac/PC coldwar is alive and kicking. Dougal, I appreciate you saying something about the MIDI editing on Mac, Having used Cakewalk for so long I'm in need of some specifics. Can you do slide functions, groove quantizing, music staff editing and score printing, and what's the tick resolution, do you have a choice in most of these areas or one size fits all? (I tried downloading a PT free, but I didn't have the HD space or RAM to run it! pitiful!!) I spend most of my time in staff view in cakewalk and do arranging, and composing in MIDI, so I'm a little concerned about the PT interface, even though you say it can be fenagled if you just do it the right way. Surely you can dump standard Midi files into PT.

    Mark, I've heard that PT runs best on Pentium processors, but apparently your not finding this to be true running it on an Athlon setup. It was great to get some motherboard specifics from you too.

    As I'm reviewing all the responses on this string I'm getting a definite Mac vibe and so I'm leaning towards it now. Kirk, what you said about reliability seems to be the opinion of the masses, and so it's weighing heavily on my mind too. Sonofsmawgs reply still has a lot of clout though, If I can't upgrade with relative ease down the road with Mac, I better get a second job to pay for new computers every two years. I didn't get any comments on Mac upgradablity, what's the scoop on it?

    I also wouldn't mind getting a few links to Mac DAW turnkey sites. I've been to the Audiocomputing.com site and they have PC DAW's for around $2K built around PT/digi001 which seemed like a great option, but when I looked at the specs, the processor and RAM were pretty mediocre.

    Thanks for all the input, I'll be watching for whatever else comes to this string.

    still undecided, but narrowing in,
  13. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    DAW Box is another well respected PC DAW company.
  14. LEV

    LEV Active Member

    I would check out Digidesign User Conference and this thread in particular: Best System for Digi001 for under $900.00 .


    :) Lars
  15. LEV

    LEV Active Member

    Ooops! I hit the button twice...

    :) Lars
  16. dpasch

    dpasch Guest

    Sorry buddy didn't mean to start the PC/Mac war. This has been beat to death and is about as usefull as teh analog digital argument. I only meant to share my experience with you. As far as pricing goes the Mac does cost more. As far as performance, I have seen PC's as reliable as Macs. These things are all a matter of taste IMHO. Where I think the seperation lies is in theplug-ins McDSP make the finest plugins period. They take time to insure the code is effiecent from the get go. They only come for Mac. And even a mainstream company like WAVES makes more plugs for Macs. I hate to think of all those PC guys that bought the gold bundle and payed the same price I did to get 5 less plugins. WAVES doesn't put that on the outside of the box. Hell The 5 extra plugins are the main WAVES plugs I use. On a PC I would have to paint with 5 colors. On my Mac I get 10.

    Finally, Don't waste your money on any BF plugins. They are WEAK!!! Totally designed for people that think fancy skins sound good. Don't be a sucker. I already did it for you!
  17. dpasch

    dpasch Guest

    One more thing........

    If you are asking the question "What is the best system for $900?" You are really asking. "How can I comprimise and accept something I know I shouldn't be buying?". If money is the issue then save more before you buy it will always be rewarded and you will get what you want. When I first got in this buisness I needed lots of gear to start tracking bands. I said I have X dollars and need ten times X dollars worth of equipment. I ended up wityh a bunch of stuff I have been replacing for the last 10 years. If you want to be a pro act like one and buy what they buy! Don't cheap out.
  18. I'm a PC guy. I was raised on PCs (literally, I'm only 18) but if you decide that Pro Tools is what you need DO NOT BUY A PC. And this is not because of performance but because of the evil empire known solely as Digidesign. There is no Direct Connect for pc (which allows for the use of soft synths and samplers) , there are very fewplug-ins no video support, and basically they just treat us PC users like a lower class.
  19. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Give Digi a little bit of credit dBrian.
    They were a Mac company for years and have only just recently started supporting PC. They are catching up, and now have a Windows team whose purpose is to bring the PC side up to par. The XP version with Video support and more is beta testing and should be out with in the next couple of months (we hope).
    Don't wipe them off yet ;)

  20. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    OK, I really hate to do this to you, but I'm going to throw you another curve...
    I've been on RO since its' beginning (see my user#). If you do just a little digging through the archives, you'll see that I've posted about what I'm about to tell you several times. I am not posting this to confuse you, but just to warn you, enlighten you, and perhaps give you another perspective.
    First of all, let's get this out of the way ... yes, 001 runs better on a Mac ... ummm, IMO ... WHO CARES?!
    I didn't get into digital recording until Feb 2000. Since I didn't know $*^t about DAWs, I went out and spent major bucks on what the advertisements said was the greatest thing since sliced bread, digi001. My G4 and digi001 was just a few bucks shy of $2500, not to mention SCSI card, SCSI CDRW, monitor, yadayadayada...
    After a few months, I came to the stark realization that 001's front end sucks, and that the 24 track limitation sucked even worse. As for Digidesign's treatment of their customers ... LOL ... just ask around, or visit the digidesign user's group. Then when the new Macs came out, I discovered that I can't upgrade the CPU on my Mac, period. You can upgrade the CPU on SOME Macs, but have you priced them? You really should ...
    In a nutshell, I discovered, very quickly, that I'd bought-into a totally dead-end system ... with very little room for upgrade.
    Therefore, I'm going to give you advice that I wish I would have been able to get when I was in your shoes ... LOOK FOR A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SYSTEM!
    And now you're asking, "How do I do that if I'm new to this and don't know what to look for?".
    Stay with me here ...
    Go to the top of this page and click "DAWworld Forum". Once that loads, click on the link to the first forum, "Computing". Once that loads, click "New Topic". Once that loads, in the subject field, type, "OPUS, PLEASE HELP". In the message field, type, "SonOfSmawg sent me here to have you help me design a DAW built around the "ANUS" computer. I have $2000 to spend and need the best bang for my buck.". Then, enter the gear that you already have. I GUARANTEE you that he will hook you up with a DAW that 001 owners will be drueling-over.
    You can either ignore this post, or you can try it and see what happens. It's up to you. I am only telling you from the point of view of a person who's had to live with his very expensive mistake for over two years.
    As for my future ... I'm now saving for my Soundscape R.ed 32 system ... hehehe ... I did my homework this time!

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