Skip to main content
Content Management System

New to this need some help with software/hardware

Next week i will buy a laptop fully dedicated to recording projects at my house. What this post comes down to is i don't know what specs i need in a computer to run a program like cubase with 32 tracks and multiple midi tracks. besides the laptop what else will i need to buy. This is not anything professional and i dont need top of the line. i dont have the finances to spend outrageous. Right now i am looking at the tascam US-122 as i will mostly be tracking individually (vocal, acoustic, midi). (later i may get an 8 cahannel mixer for drums and mix them down and send them to one channel through the tascam). will the us-122 and a duo processor 1024 MB RAM laptop run well, and not give me any delay or gltiching when recording so many tracks? do i need more? should i get a external hardrive to store once i'm done with the songs or can i fit 100 songs on a 100 gig hard drive, with the cubase and multi track recording? basically i need to know what would be a good cost-efficient inital setup for me to record myself in my house. i still want it to sund good and need a good mixing program. i also want something similar to ampfarm so i can get any sound when i plug my guitar/midi keyboard into the tascam. if you've got this far please help me. i'm a beginner and am totally captivated. i have recorded with a tascam on my friends computer before and really enjoyed it. stayed in a room with it for about two days and had 1 damn good song. what do i need!?

things i'm looking at (is this good for a startup):
64 bit turion duo processor laptop w/ 1024 ram 80-100 gig hardrive
1 sm57
1 sm58 w/boomstand
tascam us-122

Firewire stuff?? (need more info) is it faster, better than usb, pricier?
midi keyboard compatible with prgoram that will give me any sound (what program do i need for this? will cubase give me any sound i want for a midi keyboard?)
ampfarm style of program for all the guitar cabs (drop that name cause its what we used in the studio when i was with my band)
external hardrive (necessary at this point?)
sound card?

this is as far as i can go. do i need more, if so what. please and thank you for your help.
much appreciated


RemyRAD Sun, 05/14/2006 - 21:23

If I were you (and I am not) I would invest in one of those Mackie 1640 FireWire enabled mixer with their "Onyx boutique microphone preamplifiers and British Perkins equalization". Under 2 grand. That along with a Sony, Hewlett-Packard Dell or other popular Intel or AMD, based, even single processor laptops with an additional external USB 2.0 or FireWire 400/800 port for your storage/recording hard drive. You would have a very powerful and incredibly versatile 16 channel/tracking recording and playback system with everything else you need in your little laptop box. i.e. software

That along with a six pack of SM57/58 and a couple of large diaphragm and small diaphragm condensers and you're cooking with gas!

You'll be cutting the rug in no time!
Ms. Remy Ann David

JoeH Sun, 05/14/2006 - 21:56

Everything that Remy said, plus: Crack a book or two, willya? ;-)

Seriously, this is a good place to seek advice, and I certainly understand your enthusiasm, but you're blowing in here asking for the sun, moon and stars in your initial paragraph. Among other things, you say you don't want to break the bank financially, yet you're ready to blow bucks on a dual processor computer. (Which is beyond what many on here can afford anyway.) Think about what you're asking for here: a free pass to jump in and play at the same level as those who've been in your shoes, but have done their homework.

Nowadays - with the web, online periodicals, free exchange of info, etc. - there is absolutely no reason to be as clueless as you think you are. You're already asking the right questions, and you've come to the right place, so you're off to a good start.

Firewire vs. USB is another good case in point. USB2.0 is a bit faster, but Firewire 400 is more universally accepted for audio devices, with FW800 on the way. You can get Hard Drives in either configuration (USB or FW), and it's good to have BOTH features available, but it's like comparing apples and oranges at this point. You need to do your own research into interfaces, and like Chevy's and Ford's, you have to decide what's best for you. USB2 tends to be more for keyboards, mouses, cameras, RAM-based storage devices, while Firewire tends to lean more towards audio devices and Hard drives. (But not always. Ha!)

I'm not picking on you, and i'm really happy to read your enthusiasm, but please don't expect to be spoon-fed here on "What to buy". That's not how it works around here. What you - and only you - must do is take the time to learn your craft, spend some time understanding the gear, how it works, and what your options are when it's time to buy. You'll find a LOT of company in that respect here, with similar souls who've been in your shoes.

So dig in, read everything you can get your hands on - here and elsewhere, and get ready for a really FUN ride.

mud5150 Mon, 05/15/2006 - 06:02

I would definately agree, spend less on the pc and more on a decent interface. the tascam is great for coming up with ideas, but i wouldn't play back anything recorded on it to someone you want to like your music. Dual processor is overkill. No one is going to say, man what a great recording, it must have been recorded on a dual athlon.

Jedi Mon, 05/22/2006 - 02:03

basic setup

Hi guys ,

i think i'd put less on a pc and find a good audio interface with 2 good preamps.

pc :single pentium 4 but well customized only for audio.

a good external hardrive ( are internal drives on laptop still at 5200 /min?) for audio at 7200/min

soundcard : rme for instance with pcmcia no?(also adat input if you want to add some inputs later)

2 good basic preamps like groove tube the brick.

(don't know them but good reviews...)

2 x sm 57

2x audio technica large condensers at 40 series

1 x 421

headphone +amp

soft : cubase sx , logic, nuendo etc

just some thoughts