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Serious DAW PC?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Reon636, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Reon636

    Reon636 Active Member

    Hi guys! I'm new here, and I want to ask your opinions about this.
    I'd like to start produce seriously, at the moment I'm using a Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 (a nice PC, with Windows 8, it isn't bad but sometimes it haven't got enough power to run Traktor or FL Studio well) as a portable recording PC, but I'm thinking about buying an ADK 9000x, a powerful portable DAW with a 6-core i7 3930K, 16 GB of RAM, backlit keyboard, firewire 800, usb 3.0/2.0, Full HD display, 3GB Video Card, Tweaked Windows 7 PRO.
    I occassionally play on my laptop so it would fit very well for me. It costs about 3000$ (about 2460€), a lot, but i pay so much for something that will least for a lot of years.
    What do you think guys? I read of people that uses Alienwares for DAW (also why not a Razers :D?), they don't have tweaked OS (that I think is very important) but they are very cool and have nice graphics (yeah I'd like a PC with good design, but nice specs first!).
    In my opinion, I should pay so much once for all, but for a right reason (I know I'm going to become poor xD).
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Element VFX - 3D + Graphics Workstation | Rain Computers

    this is something similar. also sweetwater creation stations are nice machines. and if your inclined you could probably save a grand by just copying the components in one of these and putting it together yourself. dunno if your dead set on a pc, but the new mac pro is gonna be a beast, and the older ones are affordable, and 8 core w/ decent ram is in the 2k range.

    the thing w/ gaming geared pc, is that while they have good processing, your paying for superior graphics, that you probably wouldn't need.
  3. Reon636

    Reon636 Active Member

    Yeah I know that Macs are a good solution, but they can't run FL Studio... And I think that a lot of the power of the Macs comes from their OSX, so installing Windows on them would be a bit useless...
    You linked me a Desktop, but for the moment I need a laptop. Thanks for the help
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    The only advice I could give - and there are people here on this forum with far more knowledge than I have when it comes to the technical aspects of computers - is to do everything possible to get a machine that will hang in there with the blazingly fast advances in our industry.

    It's kinda like looking into a crystal ball and seeing what will be happening a year or two down the road (and really, for that matter, for as fast as the advances are occurring in audio production, it could be as little as six months)...

    My main recommendation, with whatever machine you end up with, would be to not base your purchase on the "minimum requirements" of your various programs. Many of the audio production progs will give you these minimum requirements, but these don't include the other additional tools that you might want to run in conjunction with the program - things like like virtual synths, processing plugs, sample libraries, etc.

    So, try to not look at what you are doing now, but instead consider what you may want to be doing a year from now, is all I'm saying.

  5. Studio86

    Studio86 Active Member

    $3,000 sounds like way to much money for something with the specs that you just described. I just spent about $900 on an AMD 8 core machine with 16 Gb of RAM and 2 TB of hard drive space and all the ins and outs I could need for the next few years. $3,000 should get you an incredibly fast machine.
  6. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I think you should build your own. There are several advantages:

    1. You'll learn much and know it inside-and-out. Very valuable skills for doing your own studio.

    2. You'll save a boat load of money!

    3. Some of the components can be kept forever. I have a nice tower case, a keyboard, mouse, and monitor I bought in 1999 and they are still in full use on another system.

    4. As for #3, I could have just kept on using them in my main studio computer if I wanted to (long story don't ask).

    5. Your system will be completely customized to your needs. Saves even more money (no need for an expensive video card), and spends money where it is needed (hard drive space, inputs/outputs, etc.)

    6. You'll feel real smart afterwards.

    7. Referring to #3 yet again, you'll only need to upgrade core components every now-and-then. My last core upgrade was in 2009. That was the motherboard, CPU and RAM. But get this: Prior to 2009, the previous core upgrade was 2003, and the one before that was 1999! IOW, you don't have to buy or build a WHOLE computer every time you only need a simple upgrade to some doohickey in the box.

    Give it some thought. We'll advise you on matching up the components if you like. Just remember to buy "OEM" to save even more money.
  7. blaumph2cool

    blaumph2cool Active Member

    Years ago i needed a laptop for my mobile rig and i didn't quite want to shell out the extra hundreds (or even thousands) for a true audio/video machine from one of the companies that custom build.

    So after doing a TON of research, i decided on a Sony VAIO in there PRO line.
    even after all this time i can run everything that i need without glitches or trouble. I was worried how my laptop/Firewire would perform when i upgraded to Cubase 7. again, i still have no problems maxing out my inputs from my mobile rig (10 inputs) and i can mix with a reasonable amount of plugs.

    If you buy one from the major manufacturers, do not get a bottom of the barrel machine. in fact, if they let you customize, go that way. There are tutorials online to help you tweak your OS for audio. Also, depending on your interface make sure the machine has Firewire/Thunderbolt compatible.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Modern current prebuilt manufacture laptops do NOT have either a FW port or an Express Card expansion port. If the goal is FW (either 400 or 800 or 1600) and a laptop, you are looking at a custom rig or something with a Thunderbolt connector and a FW adaptor.

    $3000 is not out of the question for a machine that has ZERO compatibility issues and is already tweaked with custom BIOS (which you cannot build on your own) and the benefits of all the latest research on stability.

    I personally, will not likely ever build another desktop machine unless I were to go back to a studio situation. As a mobile recording engineer, it is laptop or stand alone recorder for me and zero issues.
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Here's an exemple of company that makes specialised DAW computer : Recording Computers, Pro Audio DAW Computer PC, Digital Audio Workstations
    I'd like to try them!
  10. Nosirrah yrag

    Nosirrah yrag Active Member

    I built my own, Fractal designs super quite insulated case, with 6 fan ability, and special designed low noise air induction (it's real quite. I can record with my condenser mic within 4 ft and not get any noise.
    gigabyte mother board, with a 3.8ghz , 8 core, I7 (need that for hyper threading, DAW utilize hyper threading muli-cores). 32 gig ram, corsair enthusiats 750watt power supply, installed for super quite 200mm fans.
    So far I've mixed 2 23 track sessions, and a 36 track session, loaded it up with plug-ins, and VSTI's.. hasn't even hardly moved the processor usage meter.
    i'm running 3 black lion 2408's mkII's, 24 bit @ 48hz, with the pcie 424 card. super low latency,

    Computer price $865.00 from a bundle kit @ Micro Center.
  11. naomi_beats

    naomi_beats Active Member

    You should get a way better PC/DAW for $3,000 especially if that's not including the software. My friend built a beast for half that, with more ram, a better processor, etc...Pre-built is not the way to go, custom is<<<
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    My main job is IT consultant, specialised in computer/server support and I'm recording at home for the past 20 years. I agree that a Prebuilt Dell, HP or other brand name is not the best choice. They often have smaller motherboard and lacks of expension capability.

    BUT building your own computer, if it is an easy thing for a gamer or a standard user, a recording computer is a very different beast !

    There is many company that build DAW computer and If I would consider changing my system today I'd go with one of those.
    Why ? there is so many thing that can go wrong with a pc. I'd rather take the recipy of somebody else and enjoy the stability.

    Over the years I had all kind of problems with my clone PCs. Latency problems came from many parts and drivers and it is very frustrating when you loose 2-3 weeks of searching for an answer. (chipset-video-bus-memory compatibility, then drivers versions and so on was my modo for a long time)

    My current system took me 3 weeks to make everything in order for a recording session (which force me to pospone a few sessions with customers)
    I made so many tests, at the end you could forget what was the magic clue !! (me who swore not going to win8 had to do it cause latency was terrible in win7 with the liquid saffire 56)

    So as the PCs offer a lot of possibilities, one must be very carefull entering the adventure of creating is own DAW computer..

    Search online for DAW computer, you'll get a feel of what they choose as stable solution...
  13. naomi_beats

    naomi_beats Active Member

    That's a good point. another benefit of getting it from a retailer/business is a warranty or protection plan which you probably won't get building your own. You might be able to buy protection plans on individual parts but it's a lot more of a hassle then just contacting a company and getting any issues straightened out
  14. Bassdog

    Bassdog Active Member

    I am a newbie at DAW. My computer bogs down when I load more than a couple of tracks of Sampletank 2.5 sounds and eventually Reaper crashes. My computer is a cheap Dell with a i3 processor and 6gb of ram.

    My guess is the computer can't keep up with the high CPU....(someone please let me know if I'm on the wrong track with my thinking)...... And I saw a custom built PC on Craigslist for $650 with the following specs:

    Intel Core i7-3770k CPU - Amazon.com: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K: Computers & Accessories $309
    Corsair Carbide 200R ATX Case- Amazon.com: Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact ATX Case CC-9011023-WW: Computers & Accessories $60
    Gigabyte Z77 UD5H - Amazon.com: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H: Computers & Accessories $180
    Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600 RAM - Amazon.com: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10): Computers & Accessories $149
    Corsair CX500 PSU - Amazon.com: Corsair Builder Series CX 500 Watt ATX/EPS  80 PLUS (CX500): Computers & Accessories $57
    WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD- Amazon.com: Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Desktop 3.5" Hard Drive: Electronics $83
    TP-Link Dual Band Wireless NC - Amazon.com: TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless N900 PCI Express Adapter,2.4GHz 450Mbps/5Ghz 450Mbps, Include Low-profile Bracket: Computers & Accessories $42
    Generic DVD drive

    It has an apple OS but I would want to put Win7 on it. The price is right for my budget.

    Does this computer have the necessary power to allow me to use 5-10 VSTi sounds and the usual effects plugins for any given song?

    Thanks for any responses!
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Your i3 and 6g of ram should handle several instances of samples without issue. As a newbie you need to understand a hard drive does NOT have two way traffic. That means if the computer has to both read and write to the same hard drive one or the other has to wait a turn. In an ideal situation you have only your operating system and DAW program on the main drive usually labeled C:/. Then you need another drive that pretty much only houses the samples. Then you should have a third drive that holds only the recorded audio or is the destination for the live recorded audio. Sometimes you can get away with the samples on the main drive if the computer is tweaked for recording and it very fast and latency isn't an issue.

    Your first step however is to make sure your computer is optimized for audio. There is a sticky at the top of the recording computer forum with links that describe this. Step two is to make sure that if you are using 32 bit plugins you are using the 32 bit version of your preferred DAW. Reaper usually doesn't care but you are having issues even if I think it is because you don't have multiple hard drives. Step three is to get multiple hard drives. If you have a desktop then get firewire drives and a firewire adapter or just several SATA internal drives. If you are on a laptop you likely don't have firewire so a USB drive is your only option.

    These are your first steps.
  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    And really if you needed help with your own system you should have started a new thread.
  17. Bassdog

    Bassdog Active Member

    K thanks TJA, I will take those steps with my current PC. As for the other, is it a good idea to buy a second PC to use as a dedicated recording computer and use my old one for regular computing/internet stuff?
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It always better if you have a dedicated recording computer. A recording machine will only maximize it's latency issues if it is not used for surfing the web or playing games or anything to do with MS Office. Certain prebuilt mobos are better than others but for instance, my mobile recording laptop is a 2003 Dell D820 that is tweaked running Win7 and 4gb ram and has two internal hardrives as well as firewire expansion. I can record 16 tracks at 96k sampling rate for two hours without glitches.

    Caveat: recording is not mixing. Mixing with many instances of samples and fx would require more bandwidth on the main bus than that computer can provide even tweaked. It would do some but not many at 16 tracks. A workaround is to pre-render your fx and samples and this can get you by until you can afford a dedicated machine.

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