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OK, locked down new rig, critiques?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Jon Best, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Well, after fighting with myself about a laptop, I have come to the conclusion that I can't cut my performance in half because 'laptops are cool.' :)

    So, here's the new one. It'll be running Windows 2000, with either Samplitude or Nuendo and Wavelab. I'd be happy to entertain anyone's thoughts on the whole setup.

    Supermicro P4DC6+ (the one with built in Adaptec SCSI- I am waffling between this and the P4DCE + PCI SCSI card for a similar price)

    Dual Xeon 1.5g (Foster core, unless someone can convince me that the new Prestonia core will do much for me)

    512megs RDRAM to start with (if the budget allows, I will go to a gig)

    (2) IBM 18gig 10K SCSI drives
    IBM 20g 7200 IDE drive
    Plextor SCSI CDRW
    Sony 52X CDROM
    Maxtor G450 dualhead video
    RME Hammerfall PCI & Multiface interface
    Supermicro full server tower (seems to make sense to buy the case/PS that they build for their own board)

    I just have heard too many stories of really persnickity dual AMD Tyan Tiger rigs, and other companies are just barely coming out with dual AMD solutions right now- I don't want to wait a couple of months for all of those to shake down.

    Plus, I am very willing to pay an extra $500 for the stability of a Xeon system, and this supermicro board makes a lot of people happy in that regard.

    Any constructive criticism welcome!
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Looks like killer system there Jon...As far as going with built on SCSI vs a PCI SCSI card...not sure on that route! I would almost say it's safer to go with the PCI card version as certain SCSI manufacturers will be better than the other..I typically use Adaptec as they are proven to work and the most popular company out there! The general mass usually picks one company over antoher for a reason and not just for trends sake!!! lol
    As far as cores go..At this point it wont matter much, your performance or cooling factor wont be too much of a difference.

    MSI has a dual AMD coming out very soon called the K7D Master(MS-6501) rumored to be under 200 smackaroos!! I think I'm going to go for that when it comes out!! Either that or I'll look into their Dual P4 Server station with seperate Memory board attachment!! Of course with a server tower to boot!

    You are absolutely correct in saying that the Tyans are too persnickity!! Have to have the right PSU, the right memory brand..etc etc..no optimum choice but to go with what they say!! I like choosing my own fate thnk you very much!! lol!!

    Anyways...go for it dude
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Yeah, I wouldn't even question going with a PCI SCSI card, except the built in SCSI is Adaptec anyway. I'm leaning that way, just to reduce the number of seperate things in the box.

    As far as cores go, the only difference seems to be hyperthreading, which the Fosters won't do and the Prestonias will. I *think* that's going to make more of a difference running a server that may need to to six things at once.

    Fosters it is- plus they're bound to be cheaper in a week or two when the 'hot new thing' Prestonias are more in the pipeline.

    I will keep everyone posted on how it's going- I should be able to start in a week or two, when I'm done with the power supply and wiring for the new (analog) mixer in my studio...
  4. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Hey Jon - My last DAW is a Supermicro board, case, and power supply - got my vote on that part - In fact, all the stuff you mention seems pretty killer, although you may have more luck finding a Matrox video card than a Maxtor -
    One of them should have to change their name if you ask me...
    On the "inboard vs. outboard" SCSI - My MoBo was a P6DBU, dual p2-3 up to 600 mHz, with built-on Adaptec U2SCSI - Never had a hiccup on it, other than problems anyone would have setting up a SCSI chain - Once you read everything you can click on about SCSI and its 47 different (occasionally compatible) versions, you finally get things to work and then never touch them again - I ran that system with just a 10 gig IDE and a 18.2 U2Scsi, both 7200 rpm, then used the narrow SCSI header on the board to run the Yamaha burner, a fast Plextor and two 5-disk Nakamichi changers. Gonna move those changers to the new rig - I keep all the tutorial disks on every current piece of music software I own in those changers, so when I get stumped I don't have to go looking for the damn disk, I just click on drive "G" thru drive "P" and read what I need. Drive mapping on that system was kinda cool - CDEF are hard drives, G thru P are library, "Q" is for "quick reader", and "R" is for "Record"....

    Now, my only dis-agreement is with your choice of OS - I know 2k has been around longer, and is more likely to have drivers, yada yada... But HERE'S THE KICKER - How many of the so-called 52 (really 26, probably less) in's and out's on that Hammerfall are you actually planning on using ? 12 ? 16? How about 10 or less, no way to increase it ? Win2k somehow managed to get a really STUPID "blast from the past", in the form of a TEN DEVICE LIMIT on wav in, wav out, midi in, midi out, mixers, etc. There is no known work-around, except a second computer system, second sound card, Word Clock master/slave setup, etc.

    However, WinXP has magnanimously upped that "cast in stone" number to 32. Still marginal, but at least not ludicrous ! This is one of the reasons (besides a lack of time) I am not in a HUGE rush to build my next DAW - The way it's going, I figure by the time I have everything together, there MIGHT be real drivers for the stuff I need. BTW, Win 98 (all versions) have no such limit, the OS is set up so the software programmer decides how many of which goodies to specify.

    On the plus side, at least Win2k will only let you SET UP 10 of each device, where the original "STUPIDO", Win 95, let you find out the hard way. On my first DAW, I had an 8-port parallel MIDI interface (9 MIDI devices, counting the control port) and running Samplitude for audio, Cake for midi, synced internally with 2 copies of Hubi's loopback to talk on. Certain ways of syncing would sorta work, others not at all - no messages, nada . it just wouldn't work. Look in the list of midi devices, and all eleven were listed - Only the first 10 in the list would actually work. I paid Micro-Slop $35 for one tech support call, the call lasted for 45 minutes, the tech was back and forth the whole time, and finally said "sorry, can't help you", and hung up. I finally figured it out myself at about 4 in the morning, raised both middle digits toward Redmond, Wa. in appropriate salute, and went to bed.

    So, nutshell time - You can have Win2k, I'm admittedly more greedy than that - I hate paying for 26 channels of hardware so I can use 10. I'm gonna take my chances with XP (if YOU do too, you'll need PRO - Home version doesn't support multi-procs. )

    Oh, (this is the edited part) I forgot to mention - on MY SuperMicro MoBo, the built-on SCSI shared an IRQ with 1 of the PCI slots, the AGP shared with another one, the USB (Un-believably Stupid Bus, IMHO) shared with yet another, and apparently this is a common thing. I had a Layla and a DSP Factory in that rig, and played musical PCI's more than I want to remember. Finally got everyone to play in the same sandbox, share the shovel, and not throw too much sand in the ugly kid's face. I couldn't find any info on this in the manual, finally got it from a tech who spoke English well enough to follow. Now there's a permanent sticker inside the case that lists who gets what and when, slot by slot. Just a heads-up - I think a lot of this depends on the # of PCI slots, I'm told that 4-slot boards have less (if any) of this crap.

    That's my $.02 , damn I gotta stop workin' so cheap... Steve
  5. cab

    cab Guest

    posted from Steve-
    "Win2k somehow managed to get a really STUPID "blast from the past", in the form of a TEN DEVICE LIMIT on wav in, wav out, midi in, midi out, mixers, etc. There is no known work-around, except a second computer system, second sound card, Word Clock master/slave setup, etc."

    Um, that's interesting...i've been using W2K and before that NT with standard MME drivers with both the Sonorus Studi/o (16 ch) and recently the Hammerfall DSP w/Digiface (24+ ch). I constantly record more than 10 tracks/inputs at a time. Guess myself and a bunch of people I work with are somehow doing a "work around" that you say doesn't exist. Actually, we just plug in the cards and start recording with our respective software DAW's.

    Just wanted to clear up some misconceptions.
  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    The device limitation is a MIDI limitation and not an audio limitation. You can only have ten Midi ports at one time. XP resolves this by allowing I believe 32 devices...but XP is kind of troublesome at this point for some users
  7. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Clint, Opus, Passive Hangers-on - Clint, first of all THANK YOU very much for your post - you're the first respondent that is actually DOING what I understood Micro-Slop to say couldn't be done. After reading your post, I went back to the link Micro-Slop gave me, and guess what - Re-reading the page, I discovered that Opus and I are BOTH wrong (sort of) Here is the link -

    http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/st ream/hh/stream/pcdesign_2jlf.asp

    And here is the part I should have read more carefully -

    "The limitation on the number of device interfaces does not limit the number of devices. A subsystem driver that manages several devices (four MIDI devices, for instance) still requires only a single device interface."

    And here is the part Opus got (sorta) wrong (OK, Opus, MY wrong is bigger than YOUR wrong, and for once that's NOT a good thing...)

    "In Windows 2000, the Windows multimedia functions allow a maximum of ten device interfaces on each of the following APIs: waveIn, waveOut, midiIn, midiOut, mixer, and aux. For example, an application can create up to ten device interfaces for waveIn devices, and another ten for waveOut devices."

    Cliff - If you've been following my posts on this forum, you gotta know there's ZERO chance I don't appreciate your input - There's one less "duck" I gotta keep from stepping out of the row - Please, if you find anything else from me that you think (or, in this case, KNOW) to be bogus, continue to slap me alongside the head, I will continue to take Advil for the pain and thank you.

    Now, here's my flimsy excuse - There's SO much crap to figure out in order to save the $300,000 or so on the equipment the computer is now able to replace, that once in a while (or twice, or ?) you miss something (that's my story, I'm stickin' to it). Besides, I'm tired of having to (literally)get my MCSE, A+ and 2 degrees in computer science; I just wanna MAKE SOME DAMN MUSIC for a change...

    Hey, Passive Hangers-On - I'm sure some of you have valuable input on these subjects, and that some of you have benefited by the half-dozen or so who share their findings - Very few of us bite, and when we do we RARELY swallow, so PLEASE feel free to chime in. My view is that the (very) occasional asshole who can't play nice can go SUCK ROCKS - the rest of us realize that sharing means EVERYBODY wins. (Hey, my soapbox DIDN'T rust away, after all - cool !)

    Jon, forgot there for a minute the first guy I should have apologized to - What can I say? I lied... Sorry, I din' say nuthin', great choices...

    (Embarrassingly, Looking-At-Toes-Of-Sneakers-ly yours,) Steve
  8. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    No reason to apologize!

    Besides, it's hard to bring me down right now, as I'm sending this first message on my NEW CABLE MODEM! Broadband *just* got to the rural half of Virginia Beach (like, three days ago), and I couldn't be happier!

    BTW, I just dropped fifty bucks on the fastest processor my old mobo could handle, a Celeron 700, and that's going to have to handle the (minimal) audio chores I require of a computer until I'm done with my MCSE and can devote the time to shaking down a new system, anyway.

    Back to 2" and big console for a while, oh, dang.

  9. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Yeah, Jon - You've got 2" analog AND broadband access ? Apology rescinded - in fact, screw you...(JK) I live approximately 11 miles from no-freakin'-where, ISP is Compu-Slug, they don't have (and never will have) even 56k access here, can't even get cable TV, much less the rest - What some people will pay for privacy and a killer view (sigh) Plus, living "stickside" doesn't even guarantee quiet for my studio 'cause my idiot neighbor on one side keeps big dogs, leaves 'em outside tied in all weather, they bark at anything, (guess you gotta be smarter than the dog to train it) So I'm still having to build a full-on rooms-in-a-room set-up to be able to use the last 30 dB dynamic range of the new digital stuff which is (see above for reasons) still sitting in the middle of the old control room's floor while I madly cram for "acoustics 101, 202, etc, plus replace the roof (and raise it) in the 36x48 barn everything is going in, and, and... too bad my rich uncle doesn't hurry up and die, so I could hire John Storyk or somebody and just play my guitar 'til he says "it's ready" - Hell, for that matter, if I only HAD a rich uncle... LABTYD, right? Later - (I still hate you)... Steve
  10. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Ahhhh...the love in this topic!! LMAO!!
    Now play nice boys!! lol
  11. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Well, you've got a 36 by 48 barn, which makes up for a lot... :)
  12. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jon, you're right about that - I'm just sometimes afraid to think positive, reminds me of the one that goes "He said smile, it could be worse - so I smiled, and sure enough it got worse..." Actually, I'm probably the perfect choice for long term projects - I sometimes get off on just drawing up plans for a new studio (or anything else, for that matter) and only get depressed BRIEFLY when I realize it would cost $100,000 more than my budget - I totally believe that "if you're not going to enjoy the JOURNEY to the goal, find a different goal." My son lives in town, runs his graphics business out of 4th bedroom, has cable modem - Jon, I'm really happy for ya - "Click/BANG" sure beats the hell outa "click - - yadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayada-FINALLY..."

    Man, gotta quit with this mushy stuff, or Opus is gonna think we're playin' TOO nice...

    Opus - the thing 2 or 3 posts ago ? That WAS being nice, at least for ME - I didn't call "Miss Cleo", even tho she keeps sayin' "call now", and have her put some kinda' pox on Jon's new cable modem, did I? (Don' worry Jon - I'm savin' all my cash and "only half-raped" credit cards fer funny lookin' rolls of rubber dog turds (floated floor), sheet rock, and anything else that might "accidentally" fall off the lumberyard's delivery truck as it's going past my place, so even if I WERE the nasty bastard I pretend to be, there'll be no "poxes on yer boxes" comin' from me)

    What subject did we start out on? Oh, yeah -

    Jon, If you haven't already tried Samplitude, you're talking to a satisfied user - Haven't even looked at Nuendo, me and Steinberg don't get along on principle due to their versions of copy protection - My take on it is: If you don't trust ME, then SCREW YOU - I'd rather pay another $100 or so and be left with CD Key and SN# than have to futz around with adding extra crap to a machine I just got thru giving a major enema so It could run "real time" without getting "mind farts"... I heard a "rumor" (about as direct as you can get) that Samplitude and Logic are looking at some kind of joint venture that would marry Samplitude's audio with Logic's MIDI capabilities - If that happens, I hope they stick to Samplitude's copy protect philosophy, NOT Emagic's (Logic5 is reported to be using the USB "Dung Beetle" approach) too bad, it coulda' been a good product. Second rumor - Dell is reportedly ear-marking up to $30 million for a "multimedia PC", that would include a totally non-MicroSlop multimedia-oriented OS - If it's true, I say "Go, Michael go !!!!!!"

    I noticed the mention of a G450 card - Think I'll go for the G550, and just ditch the wierd "headcasting" crap - If you get there before me (and it sounds like you will) here's an idea I had (smell any smoke yet?) I already have a 21" Idek monitor running on the old DAW at 1600 x 1200 - too small images, but I get most of what I want available without too much monkey motion - So, what I plan to try on the new system is this: 21" on the primary video at 1280 x 1024, then before I spend $800 or so on another 21", feed the Composite Video out of the second channel into a 27" TV Monitor placed farther away (but still in line of sight, naturally) and see if I can live with it at least short term - The TV out of the G550 claims up to 1600 x 1200, I think the 450 (TV out) goes to 1280 x 1024 - If you already have a TV with composite in, it's a free test that could save $500 ($1000 in my case, as I'll have two 'puters in the new setup) Just thought I'd throw that out, see whose dog chews it up -

    Gotta run, today's CCR day (Yeah, I do like Suzie-Q, Keep On Chooglin', etc, but I meant Credit Card Rape) gonna try to get all the stuff for the new DAW ordered, plus a Nanosync, plus see how the back-order status is on the Multiface and ADI-8 DD so my DM-24 can talk to the new DAW. Later guise... Steve
  13. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    I'm the same way with planning- I've got at least a half a dozen studios of different sizes all spread out in Home Architect, modes sorted out and everything.

    Re; rubber dog dung to float the floor... two words... horse mats! Go to a tack shop and check out the 3/4"ish rubber mats they use to line hard-floored stalls. You can cut them with any kind of power saw, and they end up even cheaper than soft hockey pucks, which work really well, too, and end up a lot cheaper than all the acoustic-specific products for floating floors. You may also want to look into cutting the slab and caulking the gap- this may let you avoid floating floors altogether, although the resulting edges won't be very thick, and probably shouldn't support super heavy walls.
  14. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jon, Way to wield that 2x4 - Good thing I buy Ibuprofen by the 55 gallon drum - I have a couple of horse (trailer) mats I cut in half lengthwise for feet-savers in front of several of my workbenches, can you say "Doh!" (I think mine are closer to an inch thick, but so what ? I've got a good cheap source in town for them too, beats the hell outa most of the "snooty" tack shops I see around here. I'm still trying to compare relative pro/con on rubber/plywood/particleboard/gypboard/soundmat/? sandwich floors, or just dogturd/marine ply/3" concrete. The walls will be full separate studwalls, offset studs, dissimilar thickness sheet rock, lotsa insulation, surface mount electrical, etc. ala Mr. Amazin' Freakin' Everest's STC 60+ drawings, thinking about magnetic refrig door type seals, suspended multi-layer ceiling with dual mode absorbers - I should have room above the rooms between the trusses for multi-baffled separate ducts, if the HVAC cats want too many arms and legs I may take a greenhouse air handler fan and change pulley sizes to slow it down; Lotsa other crap to consider, but I figure this part of the plan could take 2-5 years, depending on 'way more things than I care to think about. At least I have a "sorta" room that can tide me over with just one extra wall (mode control) and some Auralex/fiberglas, so I may have that area functional (counting setting up new DAW, new DM-24, new 5.1 surround stuff, new sync-to-video, in 6-8 months. Probably dreaming there too, working completely alone always takes at least 5 times as long as having a cocker spaniel with opposable thumbs for a helper (much less a real person with at least 8 usable grey cells intact)

    Anyway, thanx again for the "Doh", maybe we should find a common file format and pass some drawings back and forth... Steve

    Thanks again for the "cheap shot" -
  15. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    You should check out studiotips.com and the attendant acoustics email list.

    As for the doors, if you're doing the double stud walls, you can do pairs of the $130 Stanley metal doors with refrigerator magnet closures- they're going to be about as good as you're going to get unless you spend a lot more. If you do this, drill some holes or leave space between the doors open to the open space between the studs (does that make any sense?). If you don't, and the doors are a good seal, the air pressure will make them hell to open and close.

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