building a 40 input DAW

Discussion in 'Computing' started by 13, Feb 17, 2002.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. 13

    13 Guest

    Greetings all.

    I am working on some suggestions for building a computer based recording setup for recording special events at our church. I will need to be able to record from up to 40 inputs (mostly mic-level).
    So far, I have decided on an AMD based system, and I may even go with a dual processor motherboard. (Mac is not an option - don't even mention it.)
    I have figured out 2 posible solutions for all those inputs...

    1> 2 Hammerfall 96/52 + 5 Swissonic AD24 (or AD8) + 1 Swissonic DA24

    2> 5 MOTU 896 + 1 (or 2) firewire interfaces.

    Are there any other good suggestions?
  2. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Not sure about the drivers for PC (although I will be installing MOTU PCI324 drivers in one this week, so we'll see), but the PCI24 card and two 24I's would give you s/pdif, four or so analog outputs, and 48 line level balanced inputs. One PCI card and two rack boxes might be preferable to a larger number of devices. They won't do 96K, but you'd have to be on crack to try to do 40 inputs at 24/96 anyway... :)
  3. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    BTW, if you really need that much input, and you want it to be stable, don't mess around. Put together a small server-class dual Xeon setup with SCSI RAID (5 or 01) for the audio. Although with the ASUS dual Athlon out now, you may be able to do well with AMD.
  4. 13

    13 Guest

    Almost all my inputs really need to be 'mic level', so the 24i doesn't do me any good without a whole whack of pre-amps. I am trying to make a recording room without having a recording console.
    The FOH board does have balanced direct outputs on each channel, but it is in a totally different location from the recording room. I'd much rather have the recording equipment totally independant of the live equipment.
    I'm not planning on doing 96K any time soon, but in 3 years, when computers are 4x faster, it may be an option.
    The ASUS dual athlon is my inclination right now. I may even watercool it...
  5. Destron

    Destron Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    Not that I own one, but as far as I hear dual processor has almost no effect, even in Logic on a Mac. Your money would probably be better spent on getting a high quality stereo mic pre-amp which you could use on your really important tracks, overdubs, etc...
  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Dual processor machines will help out in the long run on certain applications but to be honest most applications really dont take full advantage of the dual procs efficiently enough.
    A high speed single processor will be better in the long run. The power comes more from the speed of your drives and the conifguration(SCSI or IDE RAID systems) of them.
    If you got two RME 96/52 cards, two AD-16 and two DA-16 Apogee converters your setup would be pretty much complete!
    Get yourself a P4 2.0a or Athalon XP processor with some serious memory and life is beautiful! A 40 input machine would be do-able at that point.I would highly reccomend the RME cards over any MOTU card any day! Converters on the RME card are very decent and the MOTU are just..well, just life to them!
    Anyhue...That's my input on this subject finally..
    sorry that I've been holding back on this one but figured that this discussion relaly fell into other categories that have been discussed before!
  7. 13

    13 Guest

    The software that will be used has not yet been decided, so when that decision has been made, then i'll decide about dual processors...
    I'll probably use an IDE raid for storage, but I like the idea of treating a HD as a 'removeable storage' and just popping a new one in when one gets full. Maybe I'll have to do both- 2 or 3 HD's for raid, and a removeable one for storage...
    As far as MOTU, they are not my top choice, but if I have to go that route, I will.

    HOWEVER, there is now a possibilty of getting into a Roland vm-7000 series for FOH, so R-bus may be the ticket...
    Anyone with any hands on experience with the R-bus/pci cards?
  8. tcastudios

    tcastudios Guest

    Dear Hamm.
    You don´t want a separate mixer you say and you want to record special (occational?) events.
    Are these events done with the livedesk as well?
    Correct my if I am wrong, but if the live desk -is- in use I don´t see any point in not using the direct outputs (pre-fader) from it. (If it´s operator is not asleep or incompetent that is).
    Investing in a multicoresystem from the live desk to your set up seems more logical to me. If I got you intentions right , you will need a multicore/split system anyway if you don´t want to mic everything twice.
    What you have to think of, when not using a mixer, is that you need to have good input meters on your converters. Not a very common thing unfurtunately. Most converters
    offers something like: signal present (-40), -20, -3 and clip. Not very informative when tracking live.

    The only free standing units I can think of right know is Apogee 8000 and Motu 1296 that will give you correct inputreading. Both units will give you first class sound.
    The following statement of Opus2000 is most missleading.
    "Converters on the RME card are very decent and the MOTU are just..well, just life to them!")
    Since you will use -many- inputs it is of most importance that the combined sound is as transparent as possible. A/B testing a single or a pair of converters (or mic-pre´s as well) will most likely misslead you. "A" might sound "better" than "B" on a single sound. "B" might sound "lifeless" on that same sound but more correct if using many of it.
    Spending a lot of time and testing lead me to 2x1296 and a 2408MkII as the only native alternative for multitracking. These are used in combination with a Midas Venice32. Please check this desk. It is small and have very good mic-pre´s.(From the XL3-series desks).
    It behaves like a "big" desk and outperformes anything in it´s pricerange.
    It is -many- steps better than a Mackie. Combining many signals is no problem.
    Don´t let it´s price fool you. I would have paid twice the price and still feel confortable.(Don´t tell Midas that....)
    And if you only are tracking audio and not midi, AudioDesk comes "free" with the Motu stuff. I´m running Logic on Mac thou.

    From my experience , what ever computor you will use, you will need -loads- of RAM, typically 1Gb and a dedicated harddisk system for the audio.

    I used the Swissonic 2xAD/2xDA converters earlier together with two StudI/O-cards with Logic , the second StudI/O was for a AES-interface. Logic supports StudI/O directly and the combination is very solid. They sounded good in my studio under controlled recordings but when doing a choire/piano/doublebass recording in a church they did not cut it right. The Swissonics are prone to get hot and one failed 3 minutes before the gig. So I can not recommend them for "ambient" and complex live recordings.

    If you go for many mic-pre´s the HA-8´s from Yamaha is a very good alternative.
    The are able to drive long cables and are very neutral.

    Lennart Wåhlin
    TCA Studios Sweden
  9. lang_dave

    lang_dave Guest

    Hey - Is this HAMM as in Canned Hamm and Slow?

    If you go with MOTU - be warned - their tech support is bad and the PCI324 card is very very picky about motherboards. I had to try three before I found one with a chipset that worked. Also, there is a CPU and ROM chip upgrade for the 24i that needs to be installed. Once I got it up and running though, I like the sound of the 24i - but that's just me.

    take care,

  10. ceaserin2

    ceaserin2 Guest

    The Motu 24i is no longer in production. So Motu's shady tech-support would probably be worse. As far as mobos go, for Motu think Intel!

    Motu is a very Mac oriented company. Pc's are really secondary to them so they didn't spend alot of time tweaking their drivers to ensure compatability across different chipsets. Intel was and probably will continue to be the chipset of choice for Motu.
  11. 13

    13 Guest

    There is no real need for a recording board because the recordings will be multitracked, and mixed down AFTER the performances. There are some instances when there will be recording only - no live sound - so there will be no live operator to adjust gains, etc. The live desk (It might end up being an A&H ML4000 - if we stick with analog) has direct outs, but I'd prefer not to go that route. Also - the live board is 60' away from the recording room.

    I'm really looking for A/D converters with mic pre's built-in - preferably from a manufacturer that will decently support a PC based recording environment. If I had to buy a recording board as well as the A/D's & computer, the recording aspect of the project would probably be axed.

    Side notes:
    The Midas Legend is ok, but we need to do LCR for the FOH. muckie is not, and will never be an option. I am not a supporter of the 'disposable gear' manufacturers.

    The computer hardware will likely be chosen AFTER the software & audio hardware has been determined.

    and lastly: for the curious... Hamm is my last name. I have no connection to 'Canned Hamm' (not that I'd admit to it anyways...)
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