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to digi or not to digi

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Locash, Feb 6, 2001.

  1. Locash

    Locash Guest

    im looking into upgrading my existing home studio
    i currently own the steinberg producer pak (cubase 3.72 and Wavelab 3.0)
    it was my introduction to home recording. ive been somewhat happy with it.

    we are looking at buying a new pc (1.2 thunderbird chip...lots of ram and a couple fast ide drives etc etc)

    ive been holding off from upgrading to vst 5.0...for a few reasons. (its upgrad price is pretty good ....$200 canadian)

    the digi001 has caught my eye and the desire to get into protools is there (my buddy is an engineer at a local studio and the idea of sending him tracks on his bigtime protools setup and him sending stuff back is very attractive)

    then the nuendo hype is starting to grow.
    it looks interesting and their might be a cheaper upgrad route to nuendo seeing i have a vst.

    the home studio will be mainly for myself and band and a few other projects from time to time.

    right now i have a lowend pro sound card (midiman dman 2044)(4 i/o) (20 bit) we would definately look to upgrade that.
    the nice thing about digi001 is that we wouldnt have to. the digi001 would seem to meet all my needs.
    what are your thoughts (nuendo? digi001? upgrade to vst5.0?)

    my priorities
    1. recording in my basement (guitars, vocals drums etc)
    2. sampling and using loops
    3. a system i can take to live shows to record our gigs and make live albums (mix it later etc)

    ive enjoyed reading the threads here.
    would appreciate your thoughts
  2. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    The thing about LE is that you can take basic tracks back and forth to a TDM system, but you can't port plug-in settings, since theplug-insare imcompatible. This is an important hitch, and not everyone realizes it before buying into a system. The other key consideration is that there is no upgrade path from the Digi001 system. If the basic porting capability is so essential to your workflow, this might be the only way to go, short of a TDM system.

    I don't get a clear sense of why you need to upgrade, short of being unhappy with your sound card. The options are numerous there, and some might be excellent choices for the software you already use. A Lexicon Core 2 card or the forthcoming TC Works card could offer high quality i/o with additional DSP power to take some strain off of the native processing, for example. I'm seeing very good deals on the Lexicon, too, and might get one myself after a few paychecks, pending investigation.

    For loops and use as a composition tool, you might be best off just upgrading to Cubase. The system is easy enough to allow functionality and to not trip up creativity, and it performs pretty well. You may want to port tracks into another DAW if it isn't meeting all your tehnical needs, though. I can't comment, though, as to whether it is the best DAW for tracking a whole band at once.

    I don't know of anyone who uses a desktop DAW for live recording, although it doubtless happens somewhere. Maybe renting and MDM and having a soundcard that lets you dump sessions into your DAW is a better solution.

    da Bear
  3. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    Gotta agree with Bear regarding upgrading the 001. There's nowhere to go. I have 001,
    it's my first DAW, and I'm now looking to
    upgrade. I can't afford a mix system. Nuendo
    is another host-based system, so it would be
    like dumping $10k into a glorified 001...not
    for me. My main consideration right now is
    Soundscape R.ed32, but I'm waiting to see what happens with the Mackie buyout.
    From where you are now, I doubt that 001 would be much of an upgrade, and I think you would grow out of it quickly. If you are very limited financially, you would probably do best by upgrading the weak links in your
    current system until you can afford 10 or 15
    grand to get into a major upgrade. By the time you save that much cash, you'll probably have many more, less expensive choices.
    As far as recording live events...it would be foolish to transport a full computer system to record, unless you plan to do a very professional 'live album'. If you really want to just get a very good recording of all of your live performances,
    it may better suit you to get a 4, 8, or 16
    track all-in-one unit. Korg makes a great
    little 16 track for about $1200!
    Hope this helps...
  4. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    Locash - You should also consider a MOTU system and Digital Performer.
    IMO it's most likely the hottest host based DAW out there. I have Cubase 5.0 and DP 2.7.2 (DP sounds better and is more solid, but Cubase is more advanced with V. instruments).
    I'm using the MOTU 1224 and the audio resolution is outstanding as far as digital audio goes.
    Also, it is one of the few host based systems which bends over backwards to be compatible with PT. And, DP3 will be out in a couple of months giving a major overhaul to the program. Some the new features will be more advanced file exchange with PT, multiple surround sound options and some good looking surround sound plugs. Happy hunting..
  5. Bear wrote: << The thing about LE is that you can take basic tracks back and forth to a TDM system, but you can't port plug-in settings, since theplug-insare imcompatible. >>

    You are correct ... but only for the next week or so. PT 5.1 is due out on the 15th Feb. One of the new features for TDM is the ability to use RTAS plugins as well as the TDM plugins in the same session. In theory then, you will be able to take your 001 mix to a TDM system and have it load up all the plugins and their settings. Providing of course that the TDM system user owns all the plugins used by the 001 user.

    Locash, Digi 001 would be a definate upgrade from your current system. Obviously it is 24bit as opposed to 20bit and the ADCs of 001 are of good quality.

    The other point to remember is that PTools is specifically designed as audio recording/editing/mixing software. Cubase, Logic, DP, etc., are basically MIDI sequencers and are not as good for mixing audio as PT.

    I'm not saying that Digi 001 is definately what you need. You should, if possible go somewhere to demo a Nuendo system, possibly the MOTU and R.ed systems too. Make sure if you look at 001 that it is the PT 5.1 software, as opposed to PT 5.01.

  6. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    Sorry Greg,
    I respectfully beg to differ with you on this point : "The other point to remember is that PTools is specifically designed as audio recording/editing/mixing software. Cubase, Logic, DP, etc., are basically MIDI sequencers and are not as good for mixing audio as PT"
    I'm not familiar with Logic but I have heard it is more sequencer oriented, however what you've said here is true of Cubase but not quite for DP. In fact DP has many audio features that it shares in common with PT. I would venture to say DP is more geared up for recording/mixing and sequencing, unlike most programs. I will admit however for editing PT
    still rules.
    MOTU has developed dedicated hardware for doing great midi AND audio recording.
    I should also note, many DP users work with digi hardware so they don't have to worry as much about CPU overloads.
  7. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Dec 25, 2000
    I am very experienced with a lot of these cheaper host based DAW systems. I have to say that in my opinion, when all is weighed out, you will gain nothing but loose plenty going with the PTLE/ Digi 001 system.

    What will you gain? more inputs? I dont think so. The ability to buy overpriced plugs that are not currently ( and dont hold your breath when it comes to digidesign) compatiable? Loss of ability to use Direct-x and VST plugs? Less tracks? No MIDI?

    PTLE is NOT pro tools, give up the hype, I would call this bait and switch.

    But in a well configured system it DOES work as advertised, which is more than I can say for many.

    If you really need to get your tracks to PT for your buddy's studio, remember you can use apps like Waves' convert pro, from almost any app on the market to a format that PT will recognize.

    Like Greg says, I use TASCAM DA-x8 tape recorders and then later * digitally * transfer the tracks to a PC thru a TDIF compatiable soundcard( soundscape Mixtreme PCI ) into my PC app of choice. Lately I have done a few experiments with willing bands to record straight to the PC in Vegas video 2.0b. On balance it was better than using tape as the way punches are handled is a lot more forgiveing. But there were some crashes, and i am beefing up my PC to handle this better for the nextr time I get to experiment. For now it will still be tape first though.

    If you find cubase to your liking, you might want to give nuendo a try, but in my opinion, it is not sufficiently better than cubase in any immediately recognizable way, to not just stick with cubase. It is still just as clunky and clumsy an app, and still seems like cubase to be born of a midi sequencer rather than an audio recorder/editor.

    To give a different audio based app a try, look at Samplitude 2496 or samplitude's upcoming Seqouia. Or sonic foundry's Vegas. And everyone ought to have a copy of Sonic foundry's Acid. this is just such a handy app.

    Whatever you do, keep wavelab, as it is a great editor for many things, as sound forge is in anyplace where wavelab isnt.

    You may just need more I/O is all. If you like the service you get from midiman, their 1010 is cool, and comes with vegas 1.0 I think. I LOVE the soundscape stuff, but maybe you dont want to get into converters and such. RME makes some KILLER cards too.
  8. Locash

    Locash Guest

    thanks guys
    ive been doing lots of asking and research in regards to this (mostly peoples opinions)
    anyways heres my thoughts

    i have been highly recommended the motu digital performer...but its only for mac I want to stay in the pc realm. (way cheaper and more...stuff)
    the new pc we are getting is quite beefy (1.2 thunderbird chip, 512ram, udma100 HD...etc etc)

    i feel if i go digi001 im going down a one way street...no exits. i tried the free protools software and i didnt like the way things worked (or looked)(i know it would just take time...im too ADD) ha

    i know cubase i like it somewhat and the upgrade (32bit 5.0) looks great with the new patches. and its only $200 canadian. and halion (new sampler from steinberg) is coming in a month or so.....it looks crazy (good). plus i can keep all my plugins and use vst and dx etc etc...and wavelab. nuendo seems like overkill for me.

    So i figure all i need is to upgrade my soundcard. Was looking at the layla 24/96 (8i/o) or the midiman 10/10...that one looked good and i like midiman. but the layla had the optical out which i could take to my buddys studio and i guess i could dump my audio to adat (8tracks at a time?) and i didnt know that protools could convert my audio for it to recognize.

    digi001 = $1500
    cubase upgrade
    new soundcard = $1500

    i think my desire for the digi001 was excitement to be like the big boys and get into protools (maybe digidesign is trying to make guys feel like me feel that way ?)

    cubase5.0 and new soundcard for me

    what do you guys think?
  9. I own the 001, and would advise you to look at all your options and not succumb to the "if its not pro tools its no good" myth.

    The fact is the digi 001's a/d/a converters arent the same quality as ones by aardvark,echo,midiman,rme etc. and neither are motu's. For starters the digi 001's a/d/a is on the actual soundcard(wich is bad) unlike the midi man 1010 or aardvarks stuff.Motu's stuff is good though, I think if your interested in midi dp has a good balance.

    I think if you bought the fastest pc you could find and got one of aardvarks soundcards wich has a dsp processor to eliminate latency(its below 3 ms.) then buy nuendo. In the coming months there will be dsp cards released for a modified vst format MUCH cheaper than digidesigns cards(much, much cheaper)
    and supposedly not less powerful(but we'll see it when its here wont we)

    the combination of aarvarks dsp with ,its minimal latency, a vst dsp card and nuendo is something Id look to buy in the coming months personally.with aardvarks soundcard wich is FAR superior to the 001 there may be no need to get either the 001 or a tdm system.You see, this is a big change in daw's with all these new dsp cards springing up for low prices.

    And if you want a more expandable system check out rme's soundcards, or the soundscape mixtreme wich offer that same dsp latency(around 1.5ms) and further options for using high quality a/d/a such as the ones by rme,lucid, or apogee(of all these rme is the price performance leader)

    With vst dsp's similar power as pro tools MUCH cheaper, flexable dsp based soundcards with enhansements for mixing and latency and overall flexability with similar performance at lower prices I think It would be best to avoid digidesign if you cant afford a pt mix+. If you can afford it hoorah, but its performance edge is on the verge of getting diminished a bit by these new options.

    And I only say get a pc because of amds machines.Their cpu's are now outperforming macs and intel machines by a considerable margin for host based systems.

    Actually, do whatever you want.BUT bear this in mind, you may be able to get situated with a better sounding system then the 001(or any of digidesigns a/d/a) for much less. And as you do this the power of dsp will become accessable to the rest of us.Of course thats when digidesign will come out with new hardware(this summer) so I'm not saying pro tools is doomed or even in trouble, just that its not needed as much as it was perhaps even 3 month ago.

    I for one will buy logic audio and use it with the powercore or another dsp on my 001and it wont be like whatever digi's new hardware coming out is(or even their current stuff) BUT it will be a big step up for plug ins and soft synths(especially when used together) at a modest price.

    I love technology
  10. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    I'm usually not like this but, when someone doesn't give accurate info (even on an indirect reply) after I have made a recommendation on something that I believe is of sound and founded opinion, it kind of bugs me.

    "The fact is the digi 001's a/d/a converters aren't the same quality as ones by aardvark,echo,midiman,rme etc. and neither are motu's."

    I had the 1010 and sent it back. Sounded too cold for my liking.
    I know that going by specs does not always give the real deal, but, in this case I believe it does apply.
    MOTU 1224 = A/D's -a weighted 116 db S/N 8 and D/A's main outs.
    Midiman 1010 = A/D's a weighted 109 db S/N and D/A's 108db S/N .
    I absolutely heard a difference. Perhaps you were thinking of the 2408. The 1224 IS a serious contender as an industry standard in the realm of digital audio. Oh yea, don't forget the MOTU 2496. BTW Motu audio hardware is now PC compatible I believe.
    Anyway, couldn't help it........ Peace :cool:
  11. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Dec 25, 2000
    Here is some stuff to consider:
    To me manufacturer support is VERY important. I get scared when ABSOLUTELY necessary updates do not happen in a timely manner.

    MOTU is only now putting out win2k drivers for their PC cards. I know a LOT of people running 2408's that LOVE them, however, when it came time to use a dual CPU system, they were out of luck. A new Windows version, XP, is to be out very soon, are you prepared to wait another year to use the suff? If you are happy in 98, and/or can wait for a while for dual CPU's, then this stuff is great, as the MOTU has all the normal I/O formats, and is quite a nice piece of kit, the manufacturer however, I dont trust to operatwe in a timely manner, and in the case of some of their MIDI interfaces, NEVER made updates.

    Almost al of the above applies to the Echo cards such as Layla, etc. Im still waiting for real win2k drivers for my gina.

    Also I am waiting for drivers for my Aardvark TDIF card. They say these are coming, and Aarvark tech support will bend over backwards to help you, so its almost woeth it

    Contrast this with RME and Soundscape, who both had win2k drivers BEFORE the actual release of win2000. Check around. While my midiman midisport has gotten working win2k drivers after the win2k was out for only a few months, they still do not fully work.

    Also be careful that a lot of problems and incompatiabilities are had by people running AMD's on the VIA chipset...check around very carefully, as this will save some frustration.
  12. furball

    furball Guest

    Cubase 5 is not a bad route, however, there is alot of stuff going on with bugs and updates and such. I recorded a 10 song album on 3.7r2 and upgraded to 5 before mixing and I didn't really run into any show stopping situations, just some minor annoyances. If your good with computers, it's a great way to go, and your already familiar with 3.7. I run it on a 700Mhz Athlon and was able to get 48+ tracks with inserts and effects. No problem. A 1.2Ghz Athlon would definately kick ass. Be careful with the sound card though, when I put this system together, I went through three different manufacturers before something would work. I think VIA might have cleared that up by now with their chipsets. Not sure.
  13. Just a quick note, as everyone ele here has good advice.


    Check Digi's site for system requirements and compatibility before you buy.
  14. cdp

    cdp Active Member

    Mar 13, 2001
    Home Page:
    Just a quick note on something mentioned above.

    One of our systems had serious problems when we installed our Motu 24i on it. I liked the thing, though, and we ended up investigating instead of looking for something else. Turns out that the VIA chipset was the problem. So, here's another bad VIA experience.

    Take care,

    Charles Di Pinto

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