Skip to main content

What would you recommend

Hey, I was just wondering what you thought of my current setup and what you would recommend that would make it better with out putting a huge dent in my pocket.

Computer - AMD 1.0GHz, 512MB Ram, SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit
sound card, Adobe Audition 1.5

Yamaha MG 16/4 Mixer hooked into soundblaster card.

2 junk mics

1 Nady CM90 Condensor

Going to Buy

4 Shure SM57's
Lexicon Omega USB audio Interface
Dell Dimension E510 - XP Home - 1GB DDR2 SDRAM - 250GB SATA -
M-Audio Studio Pro3 Monitors (With in the next few days)

Now is when I need some advice one what I have, what I'm planning on buying, and what you would suggest, such as rack effects, mics, etc. I'd also like to know what anyone thinks about that Lexicon USB.

Thanks, Ron


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 10/25/2006 - 20:10
You get more PC for the money if you buy an Acer machine (look at Best Buy,, Newegg, etc...).

Look for a PC based on the older but EXCELLENT AMD 64 X2 CPU (this is a DUAL core, multi-threaded processor). Put at least 2 gb of ram on it and a SEPARATE drive for your audio files.

The money you save can be put to better use on pres, mics, etc...

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 10/21/2006 - 18:25

Yes, right now it is still just a hobby. However I do want to go and do it for a profession. I'm not in much of a rush though. I mean, I'm only 16 right now. I just got hired at a job yesterday. So I will be able to finally add some new piece of equipment to my list. Most likely a new computer. I'm definately getting a dell, whether I use it as a dedicated daw or not. Anyone that i've know that has had one has had it last them a good deal of time. I also plan on getting some audio interface. I'd like to buy a digi002 (not the rack one) but it'd take me forever to save up for it cause i'm only gonna be earning minimum wage (7.15 in NJ). I'm also wanna get a large diaphram mic for the vocals. Sm57s for the guitars and drums, some nice overheads for the drums, and an akgd112 for basses. after all that i'll get a nice mackie onyx to replace the yamaha i have now. along with a nice pair of monitors, some acoustic treatment, and all that good stuff.

MadMax Sun, 07/23/2006 - 12:49
OK, I'll possibly catch it for slammin' your choice of boxes, but "Dude, it's a Dell"?

Do yourself a favor and look for a real box. Dell (and others) preload all kinds of useless crap on the front end of a consumer grade BIOS GUI that you will NEVER completely get rid of... no matter how much you, or ANY IT professional might try.

Think about it... if you are going to use this as an audio production/DAW, you won't be using it for your accounting, letter writing, AOL, MSN, email or anything that requires that you have all that junk loaded on it... so why buy one that has everything under the sun preloaded on it in the first place?

Find a local builder and have a box built that will actually give you some performance. Tell the vendor to load only a barebones OS.

I'd look for a mobo with SATA drives... get at least two drives... preferably 3 - One for the OS (and NOT XP Home!), One for the paging file and finally, one for your audio files. Look for the fastest/largest cached mobo your wallet can afford. Although, with SATA II's you probably won't need a second paging file drive... as fast as they are, the bus bottleneck is all but eliminated. Generally, I'm still a fan of Intel boards.

Drives are a real head scratcher for you to consider. It seems that everyone is looking to get the biggest drive they can. That has some real issues that you should address. If you get 250Gb drives, be ready to loose 250 gig's worth of data. If the drive fails, you loose the data... unless you have a back-up system in place.

Backup systems are a must for anyone seriouly looking at doing any real work... of any kind... ESPECIALLY audio! The problem is that the more you have to back up, the higher the cost. DVD burners are a cost effective option, but to back up a full 250Gb worth of data is a buttload of DVD's.

I might look at 80 gig drives and a single drive tape backup of 100Gb. You can back an entire drive up on one tape and the 80's are really cheap righ now. Cheap enough to possibly get 3 or 4 as insurance and expandabilty to work on many projects at once.

Processors... gets a bit tricky. I like XEON's a LOT! Good bang for the buck now that duo's are hitting the market. Granted they're server class chips, but audio is server class processing. Same for P4's. You might be able to actually get a small-ish P4/XEON class server configuration for what a new duo will cost you. It'll take some digging, but could be worth the time investigating.

If you can choke the cost, I'd suggest either the biggest power supply you can find, or dual redundant supplies. You're looking at spending many hours with your computer... Why chance your data integrity to a nominally sized supply? With the "typical" consumer supply, you'll have a really hard time finding the typical failed items... cooling fans and voltage regulators. You just can find em'... so you end up having to replace the $upply.

The type of box I'm describing isn't a $600 box, but it's a box that will last you for several years as opposed to the 1-2 years that something like the Dell's and Gateway's will give you.

Of course, the decision is all yours and you know your budget. It's just that I get about a dozen or more calls and consults every year from folks who bought an entry level to higher end consumer grade computer from Dell, Gateway, IBM, etc. The conversation is usually something like this one. About half say they can't afford to go the way I'm talking about... then they end up buying 3-4 computers in the same time frame that those who bit the bullet and got better boxes.

Considering that all of the mobo's that are out there with SATA II compatability are also compatable with SATA and IDE, you could save some money and start out with say an IDE and add a SATA or SATA II later... then move to a second SATA/II at an even later date.

Kinda' funny though, I've got about a half-dozen people who pay me to tell them the same thing year after year...


pr0gr4m Sun, 07/23/2006 - 22:40
I would agree with MadMax when it comes to purchasing a dedicated DAW system. But it sounds like you are either a hobbyist or just getting started. If that's the case, there's nothing wrong with a Dell but I would configure it a bit differently. Of course, get the fastest processor you can afford. I would recommend that you increase the memory to 2 gigs, but you can do that cheaper if you buy the memory from someone other than Dell. However, Dell does have great deals from time to keep your eyes open.

I would also recommend a second hard drive just for your audio. It will help keep everything running smoothly.

As far as mics go, you should mix them up a bit. Maybe get two 57s and tow others. Buy at least one large diaphragm condenser. The Audio-Technica 2020 goes for around as much as a new SM57. There are plenty of other mics that go for that price as well.

I can't really tell you much about the Lexicon unit as I haven't used it...but it looks like a good place to start.

The CD burner is fine. I can't comment about the speakers, but recommend you compare (by listening to them and others) and pick the ones you like the best. If those are the ones, then you're AOK.

Happy recording!