Checking PC Setup Appropriateness + Sound Card Questions

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by HateDread, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. HateDread

    HateDread Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Hey all,

    Currently got a PC running XP SP3 with;

    - E6550 2.33ghz Core 2 Duo
    - 2 GB DDR2 RAM

    (And other unimportant parts).

    Can anyone see any issues arising from this? Namely the OS and RAM, for example. I'm not sure how limiting my hardware in fact is, after all, so I ask you all. I use Cubase AI 4 at the moment, with the Komplete 7 sample pack, and I'm wondering if an OS upgrade would be sensible, and compatible with all that? I plan to upgrade to Cubase 6. Does it function better with a newer OS?


    Unrelated to the above, I'm wondering whether a sound card would be a good idea, as opposed to the current on-board sound, if I'm to be producing music with this PC - I will eventually be recording audio, possibly, but the real focus is MIDI work. Would the final sound produced, as well as the quality of sound heard through studio monitors, depend heavily on the sound card? If so, are there any industry standard cards I should aim to purchase?

    Thanks for reading the hogwash of questions above!
    - HateDread.
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    The computer should work with what you have there....somewhat limited. But XP is a very stable 32bit OS. It's getting old now but it still can do the job. If your just doing MIDI tracks with Komplete VSTi instrument tracks in Cubase AI and learning your way around the software it is certainly adequate.
    Using the onboard computer sound card is your weakest link along with your RAM. Adding 2 more Gb to your system would max out your RAM with XP and everything would speed up as a result of that one upgrade. Pretty cheap upgrade right now with the price of DDR2 RAM under $30!!
    You should get a better audio interface either Firewire or USB and get off that internal sound card stuff. Not the best quality sound...fine for gaming and computer speakers but not actual studio monitors or recording audio....most have no inputs for recording anything anyway!
    I think Firewire interface units are better for audio recording only because most computers users have a ton of peripheral stuff plugged into those USB ports and that can cause problems if you tack on an audio interface. The Firewire units are more dedicated and as long as you have the correct compatible firewire card/port on your computer they seem to have less hiccups and run more smoothly than the USB stuff. Especially if your using MIDI thru USB...just too much stuff on one bus to not end up with problems....
    There are all sorts of FW audio recording interfaces out there, you need to figure out your price range and then read reviews on ones that fit your bill. Look for the best bang for your buck online, Sweetwater, Amazon, ZZSounds etc....all have sales and good deals...but read all you can after you've whittled it down to a few good picks.....they all have decent preamps for any microphone you might get (Shure SM57/58 are great mics BTW...can't go wrong) and look for the ones that have an "instrument input" for guitars along with headphone jacks and MIDI...they all have come in 2, 4, 8, 16 channels of inputs and outputs so if your just doing a couple tracks at a time on your own get one with at least 4 channels, but if you can afford or want more than that go for the 8.
    Don't bother with any PCI card type....get the external box types with their own power supply....most of the internal type sound cards are no better than what you have now...
    So....down the road into the future, I would go with a new computer, Intel i7 Sandybridge 2600 with Windows7 64bit and minimum 8Gb RAM which is really the next tier system for sure but with the computer you have now and only 2Gb of RAM....Win7 will be waaay too much for it and not a great idea with Cubase6 either...moving up to Cubase6 you want to be full 64bit with plenty of RAM. If you buy a decent new interface just make sure it can be used for your future 64bit system.
    Most of the new ones will be 64bit compatible but it's just another thing to put on that list of features you should put on your wishlist....Santa is just around the corner!
    Hope that helps!

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