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Ohh!!!! Noooo!!! another newbie!!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dudlew, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. dudlew

    dudlew Guest

    Hello all,

    I am yet another newbie on this great forum.

    I have been recording on computer for about 4 years off and on, and I think its time that I move up in quality.

    I started out on a pII with fruityloops 2.71, N-Track Studio and Cool Edit pro 1.2, with acomputer mic.

    here is my current setup:

    P4 1.6 ghz
    PC Chips mother board
    512 Mb DDR Ram (some of the older slower ones that my mobo can handle)
    80 Gb western digital hard drive
    SoundBlaster Audigy MP3+
    PNY Verto 128mb video card
    Generic DVD rom drive
    Khypermedia DVD burner.
    Shure SM57.

    I think my sound card was causing some conflicts which I could never figure out( high CPU useage in FL Studio which was not a problem on my friend's computer) and is now dead, and because of how it seemingly died I can't uninstall it or its drivers properly.

    In light of this I am thinking of a new system geared towards audio. Do I go for something like a Dell or Sony Vaio? Has anyone had good results with their more affordable options ($1000 - $1200)? Or do I try to go to a company like ABS Computers where I have a more detailed choice of hardware options?

    I am not looking for the fastest system around, I use CEP and FL Studio. In CEP I may have multple tracks open at once (upto 16) I also would like to do this in N-Track, as the plugins are live so to speak, but it has been buggy of late so I dont use it much.

    I only record and plan to record one track at a time though, so even I may work with multiple tracks, I only record one at a time (mainly vocals).

    So here are my thoughts:

    I am looking at a Dell or Sony at 2.8 GHz
    512mb ram
    120 - 160Gb 7200rpm Hard drive
    DVD rom drive and DVD burner
    on board sound/cheap sound blaster for gaming
    EMU 0404 for recording and audio
    M-audio superDAC 2496 (already owned)
    M-Audio Audio Buddy or DMP3 mic pre Or STudio Progects VTB-1
    Shure SM57 and Audio Technica 3035/ Studio progects B1
    And Monitors to be determined.


    Tell me your opinions and suggestions and remember this is in a bedroom and its for demo/ self mixed/mastered music of me and a couple of friends' music.

    You can also tell me to just reformat my hard drive and start over if you think my PC is up to snuff for my tasks and just add the sound card.

    Oh and also bear in mind that I live in a place where only the real cheap and crappy stuff (both computers and pro Audio) are sold at exhorbitant prices and the good stuff is non existent. Hence I cant listen around, so your opinions really count for me.

    ALL ADVICE IS VERY WELCOME!!!!!!

    D

    PS. Sorry for the Long Post! :(
     
  2. DON'T buy a name brand machine (Dell, Sony etc) for audio use! They often use cheap chipsets on the motherboard that will cause you conflicts and headaches for audio, and you will also pay more for extra parts/software etc that you don't really need. If you can order from somewhere online where you have a choice of parts you will get a much better deal. Make sure you go for either an Intel chipset for Intel processor or an Nvidia NForce chipset for AMD.

    I'm going to put it in big caps...
    NAME BRAND MACHINES ARE NOT THE BEST QUALITY OR THE BEST VALUE!
    Especially for audio... They are good value when you want to buy 1,000 identical machines for your company or if you have no idea about computers and want your hand held while you email photos of the kids to their grandmother...

    Order only what you need, don't go overboard on the video card, quality over performance. It doesn't matter how fast your PC can potentially go if it doesn't go, if you get what I mean. It sounds like you're well aware already how frustrating a machine that crashes and causes problems can be...
    Be excessive on quality, not speed or features. Buy as much high quality RAM as you can afford, rather than the cheap stuff. A stable machine with 256Mb is more productive than a crashing machine with 1G. Make sure you get a decent case with a good power supply, you are what you eat after all... Get 2 hard drives, 1 for system 1 for audio. Not really necessary these days for speed, but nice for security and keeping things sorted...
    Apart from stability of your machine, it sounds like warranty will be an issue if you're living in the arse end of nowhere, so quality will pay for itself pretty soon..
    And get a sound card that is made for audio recording, not gaming or 'mp3'!! It doesn't have to be fancy, just aimed in the right direction...
    You're not in my part of the world (are you in anyones?), so maybe someone closer to you can recommend a good online store to order your machine from...
     
  3. dudlew

    dudlew Guest

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do live in a part of the world where I would have a problem ordering parts that are affordable. I am checking out aberdeen inc. to see what they have. I have also contacted 8th street music and have checked amazon where I can get both the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 or the EMU 0404 cards. I already have an account on Amazon so I can consider ordering from there.

    I Understand fully about what you mean when you talk about not getting the fastest PC. I agree fully. I definitely don't want a speed demon, just a good stable demon. Imust admit however that the pc would not be strictly for audio. I cant afford a computer for that purpose only, so its going to be also for surfing and some light gaming as well, a function that I am sure what ever computer I get would beable to handle.

    Does anyone have any ideas where else I may beable to order computer parts from? Living outside the US is a pain as sites like NewEgg wont even spit on me because of this!!

    Thanks for all the suggestions!!

    D
     
  4. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    I disagree. As long as you know a little about computers, and you disable alot of the onboard crap then they are steady as a rock. I should know - my Dell Optiplex (a slimline business machine) has been running fine for the past 2 years - even under Win 2K!(although a P4 2.0Ghz its starting to look dated - but then again I am only running Cubase 1.06). I added some more memory and another hard drive for dirt cheap.

    There are some good savings to be had on the larger names, Dell at the moment have huge savings and the outlet store is good vfm.

    G
     
  5. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    possible source

    A great place to turn to for your computer is Advanced Design (http://www.advanceddesignky.com) They built mine and have provided great service. The build with audio in mind and know pretty much about how to make the stuff work.

    I know a lot of guys here go it alone (which is cool too) but for me, it was nice to have a partner to work through all my questions with.

    Jim
     
  6. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Don't listen to this, Mute Transports had it right. A custom PC is the only way to go, audio or not. Store bought (compaq, HP) and mail order houses (Dell, Gateway) are not great deals if you examine what your getting. The MOBO's and cards in these machines are manufactured for them using cheap components. The only thing in these machines that is equal to a custom is the processor (P4, Athlon). However the chipset on the MOBO and the cards drag down the performance. So your paying for a 3.2Ghz but getting the perfromance of a 2.4 or 2.6. Hardly a deal. Just look at the benchmarks and see for yourself. Customs can actually cost less if you shop smart. Thanks Mute you saved me alot of typing. I've been buying most of my components from Aberdeen for the last 10 years and am a very sastified customer. I hope they will ship to your country.

    :D Good Luck!
     
  7. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    I think there is a balance to be had here. If we are talking newbies - not pro studio then budget is always going to be a factor. I know this because I build PC's. For family and friends and myself - I have been doing it for over 10 years now. IT is my business - music is what keeps me sane.

    When I decided to invest some money in a studio I had a limited budget. Best bang for the buck was the Dell - hands down. Yes maybe the components are made in bulk - 3rd party and custom supplied will always be of higher quality, but the Dell components are reliable. They *have* to be of a reasonable standard otherwise they'd be inundated with returns!

    I chose Dell and was able to invest in some good mic pre's and mics, some better outboard and Cubase SX. I built a PC a year after I started my studio and was stunned how much everything cost me.

    As a said - there is a balance - for newbies get the pc you can afford.

    G
     
  8. dudlew

    dudlew Guest

    Hi Guys, I got a quote from aberdeen.


    http://www.aberdeeninc.com/abcatg/KIT6761.HTM

    It nicludes the above kit with the following:

    - Seagate 80GB 8.5ms 7200rpm SATA/150 8mb HD
    - extra 256MB DDR 400 CL3 PC3200 OEM SDRAM
    - Plextor PX-708A 8 in 1 DVD+R/RW CD-R/RW
    - Mouse and keyboard
    - Winows XP pro OEM
    - 17 inch CRT Monitor (I think I will try to upgrade this to a 17in LCD)
    - the case replaced with a quieter case/power supply combo


    All This for $1204 shipped (this is with the CRT)

    I think it sounds like a good deal. I am thinking of getting a loan to buy the PC so I think I can go up to $US1500.

    oops!!!! I just realised that there is no video card!!! :p

    I will write back Aberdeen now and get a new quote including the video card and the upgraded monitor. But your opinions on this system as it is so far will be greatly appreciated.

    D
     
  9. radioliver

    radioliver Guest

    Whats the processor? MOBO? Chipset? This is the important stuff.
     
  10. dudlew

    dudlew Guest

    Its all in the link!! I provided A link to the Barebones system from Aberdeen Inc. and then put the other stuff that would be added to the system. But I will list the components of the Barebones setup now:

    -Asus P4P800-E Deluxe
    -Intel Pentium 4 2.8Ghz
    -256 MB DDR PC3200 400 Mhz Ram (another 256 was added as in my previous post)
    -Teac Floppy Drive


    This is the barebones system. Add to this the stuff in my previous post and you have the system.

    Oh and there is a video card an Asus card based on the ATi Radeon 9550 with 128Mb DDR Ram.

    And the CRT monitor is replaced with a 17" KDS flat panel.

    The price has hence changed to just over $1540

    So now the whole system is listed, tell me your thoughts!!

    D
     
  11. cyclonus5150

    cyclonus5150 Guest

    1.25 Ghz G4 eMac
    160GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive
    Superdrive (CD and DVD burner)
    Built-in 17" CRT display
    1GB of SRAM DDR333 from Crucial - $195.98
    Mac OS X - built with the audio pro in mind
    iLife 04 suite - including GarageBand
    2 Firewire 400 ports
    5 USB ports

    - $1294.98

    Logic Express 7 - $299 or $160 if you are a student (even if it's just one class)



    Grand Total of $1593.98 - if you go with Logic and pay full price. If you have your own software, just go with that, ditch Logic and you're paying a little more than $1200 for a machine and OS that was built for the "creative class".

    If you don't want a CRT, which is understandable if you are going to be recording guitar direct at all, go with the iMac G5.

    http://www.apple.com/emac
    http://www.apple.com/imac

    You can also find some really good deals on eBay for G4 dual processor towers under $1000. Apple is selling a G5 1.8Ghz tower now for 1400. If you have your own monitor already, that would be a good route. The firewire ports are sweet.

    I've used both PC and Mac for recording and my experience has been that the Mac works alot more smoothly given that the OS and the hardware were built for each other. You don't have driver problems like you do in the PC world. You just plug in and start creating music and it all just works. The Core Audio component of the Mac OS really goes a long way towards optimizing audio tasks. The stability of OS X is really key for me. I've had a windows box crash on me in the middle of a project before. The blue screen of death never looked uglier. You don't get blue screens in OS X and the advanced memory management & protected memory features go a long way towards ensuring optimal stability. One application will not crash your computer - each process is assigned it's own dedicated block of memory.

    It's really a matter of preference. If you don't mind having to put up with a little bit of maintenance and tweaking and aren't afraid of viruses, driver problems and system crashes, go with the PC. With some effort (very little or alot depending on what you are trying to accomplish), you will be able to get what you want out of it.
     
  12. dudlew

    dudlew Guest

    I have heard this about the two systems before, and I really do appreciate your advice. I am just so accustomed to a pc and so unwilling to learn something new( Lazy and time, as I work 7-5 mon-fri and 7-12 on saturday on the good days, later on the bad days, in a semi labor intensive job) when I already am accustomed to my pc. crashes and all. I must admit that I have worked on mainly crap PCs though and am trying to get a good one mainly for this hobby (hopefully make some cash too. not as a studio but to create a good demo of me and my friends to kinda sell ourselves)

    I think that if I decide to go commercial studio after gaining lots of experience (at least 5-6 years) and knowledge from practice, study and you guys, and see it as a way to make cash by recording other groups and bands and artists then I will go Mac. But for now, and with the software I generally use (FL Studio, Cool Edit Pro) I get very few crashes. So I can live with that for now.

    Thanks cyclonus5150

    D
     

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