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2 simple questions

One: My laptop seems to be doing really well so far but i need to know if i need to upgrade to a differ computer or just MAX the RAM out? The CPU seems to NOT be taking that much of a beating, keeping an eye on the cpu meter. I actually only have 3GB because Windows takes 1GB of that alone to run least that is what the meter is saying. Gateway has a Gateway LX 6810-01 with the Intel Q8200, 8GB RAM for. $185. Maybe this is worth the buy.

The Specs on laptop HP G71: Intel T6600, 2.2 Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM installed: 8GB max.

Second: How do you suppose the preamps in the Focusrite USB 6 and Scarlett compare to the M-Audio DMP3. If the DMP3 sound more natural is less noisy, i will buy. If they compare the same, i will just buy a DMP3 for my Tascam US-122L. If the Tascam paired with the DMP3 is no where close to the Focusrite preamps, i will ditch the Tascam and get the Scarlett.

Please, what are your thoughts?

DAW: Reaper 4 (Pro Tools was a little over-rated compared to Reaper)


TheJackAttack Fri, 10/28/2011 - 21:34

Reaper 4 is most excellent choice. PT will be a better choice when it finally gets to 11 or 12.

Dump the Tascam. It is not doing any favors for any preamp. The Focusrite is superior to the M-Audio in all ways that matter but the lower end Focusrite is still not a money maker IMHO. Usable. Scarlet definitely should be the better option provided your track count stays low and moderate.

If you are going to jump to a new computer you need to skip all the old generations of processors and memory controllers. That means all Core 2 Duo and successors (Q####, T#### etc). For the puny amount of money needed, you should be jumping to i5 or even second gen i7 laptops. If you can fine one with a second hard drive internal bay (even if empty but with header) that is even better but not a deal killer.

Lenovo actually is a dark horse for consumer off the shelf solutions. The key is to do a complete reformat and ONLY install what is necessary from the manu to run the machine ie special keys, chipset, expansion slots etc.

assemblethelight Sat, 10/29/2011 - 15:41

I believe in a very natural production. Audio production seems really processed and fake sound these days so i try to keep my mixing to sound near natural as possible. The early years of production just seemed more real and natural to me and all they had was weak cpus and small amounts of RAM compared to today.

I am only looking to do small recording here in my house with lite drums and acoustics so...i am just looking for a very nice preamp/usb combo.

I think my T6600 can handle a good 20 tracks with out freezing using minimal.

I mix tracks for my church's live recording coming off the Presonus StudioLive. I mix all 16+ tracks using this T6600 and the cpu starts to hit the 75% usage around 16 tracks with plug-ins. My RAM stays around %75. Just get confused as to if i upgraded my RAM to 8GB..would it take more load off my CPU?

I hear that even the i3's are great for recording. This true?

TheJackAttack Sat, 10/29/2011 - 16:09

20 tracks with no plugins maybe. Your real issues are the 5400rpm hard drive (primarily), the memory controller and the fact that the processor itself is not a high performer even in it's class. As to whether you can access 8 gb of ram, the answer is yes if you are using Reaper 64 bit but your VST plugins ALL have to be 64 bit as well to utilize the ram. In fact probably the only reason you get away with 20 tracks is because of Reaper. It is a great DAW. Reportedly the Studio Live "Capture" software is excellent as well but I have no hands on knowledge of it.

The i3 was a hell of a step up from the Core 2 generation and it's successors in the Q generation (which is still basically a Core 2 Duo in architecture). The i5 however ran circles around it and indeed the i5 kept up very well with the i7 until the 2nd gen i7 came along. Now the i7 is the clear winner but an i5 gives very good results. Much of this improvement is realized actually through the vastly superior memory controller for the new chipsets X58 and newer.

In any case, you will want secondary hard drives for destination audio even for mixing pre recorded tracks to maximize your computer resources. As I said, most pro grade hard drives use multiple ports on the enclosure so you can use eSATA, 1394 (Firewire), or USB at your discretion. In your case eSATA would be the hands down winner and then if you needed a third drive for cache or samples or just whatever you can daisy chain with your interface.

Tascam and "high quality" don't exist in the cheap USB interface genre. Really. The only strictly USB interfaces I think highly of are the ones from EMu and I still recommend PCI when possible; and the RME Fireface UFX and Babyface. Yes firewire interfaces tend to be more expensive but it is a better protocol for audio overall. I have no experience per se with the Scarlett either but I am familiar generally with the Focusrite gear. The cheapest stuff is ok and I'm sure better than the Tascam while the high end stuff is great. I am interested in the new Rednet series for instance but don't know what I think about the Dante interface at this time.

assemblethelight Sat, 10/29/2011 - 16:30

Thanks for all the info Jack :)

I just help to think about how did they produce such great audio even in the late 90's early 2000's? These computers had to be Duo Core of lower ha?

Yes, i am using Windows 7 64 bit.

I do not know if my plug-ins are 64bit though. I am mainly using Reapers plug-ins which work very well.

I just need a affordable tower with the i3 or i5. QVC seems to have great offers.

TheJackAttack Sat, 10/29/2011 - 19:10

Are there two drives physically connected to your computer while you are mixing?

As to the 90's, there weren't even Duo Core cpu's. What we did have were DSP cards which essentially was what PT Excel and PT HD systems were. Also, we had to fully strip down the op system to bare bones and tweak the services. We also had to make sure pci cards were in certain slots which was a complete PITA. I'd bet you haven't tweaked win7 much if any. Enjoy.

assemblethelight Sun, 10/30/2011 - 07:00

TheJackAttack, post: 378300 wrote: Having two hard drives-one for audio and one for operating system/programs-is absolutely the best way. Preferably 7200rpms. Single drive setups are problems waiting to happen. Like mayhem from the Allstate commercials.

I am guessing that while "mixing" it just makes the system more stable. I did not realize that the hard-drive made a difference in sound and accuracy during the mixing process.

I talked a studio friend of mine you had this the say about the E-MU 0404 vs the Focusrite Scarlett.

"E-MU = product that has been retired or is giving retailers problems they don't want to deal with anymore. Do not attempt to buy now. Try to find out what the issue is. The A weighted mic input noise figure is better with the E-MU than the Focusrite, at 112.5dB vs 109dB, which is not but 2.5dB of difference. Which at this level, it is maybe only a little bit more than a hair on a gnat's behind worth of difference. Sound? I'll bet it would be extremely hard to tell which one was which in a true, controlled, double blindfolded test. The clocks are similarly rated and the pre's on both are super quiet and very low distortion."

TheJackAttack Sun, 10/30/2011 - 17:19

It would appear that EMu has been purchased by Creative which is the parent company of Soundblaster. That will give me pause in recommending them in the future, but that may also explain why "dealers have problems" with EMu-at least during any transitioning time. Prior to this I have never heard of dealers having any issues at all with EMu. It wouldn't be the first quality product to get hosed by a corporate sale.