Sweetwater.com Creation Station PC's...What do you think?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by musicman68, Aug 19, 2005.

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  1. musicman68

    musicman68 Guest

    Hey all...

    What do you think of the creation station series PC's from Sweetwater.com?

    Im thinking of this one......

    I really need stability and quiet in a computer. The PC i have custom made is nice but not quite powerful enough and definitely not quiet enough.....plus I use it for other things such as internet, mp3s etc and want a dedicated DAW...

    Im using Sonar 4 PE and Tascam FW-1884

    I look forward to hearing what you all think
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    It's funny.. I worked at sweetwater(in fact it was there that I came across RO! ) as a PC technical support guy and they hated PC's completely and wanted to avoid them like the plague.

    About a year later they announced they've been building PC's for the last 10 years in an advertisement in their catalog. I laughed so friggen hard I could barely breath!

    Personally you pay a lot more for a service that can be done by people such as Sonica Audio Labs and get a better system than Sweetwater.

    I guess it's my biased opinion having worked there and knowing the inner workings of the company.

    On paper it looks good but I wouldn't trust Sweetwater for a custom built machine.

  3. Digger

    Digger Guest

    I don't know much about Sweetwater PC's but that would not be my first choice for a PC. I would go to a company that only builds PC's as opposed to a jack of all trades.

    I also wanted a properly configured / stable PC - I ended up choosing Carrilon (sp?) and while the PC itself is well built and quiet, I have some issue with their service standards and got stuck right in the middle of their transition when they closed there US office. I ended having to wait an extra 6 weeks to get my PC from the UK - all of which was horribly communicated. So while they make decent PC's I am not an overall fan.

    I just saw a company (that is new to me) in the back of mix magazine called Zalman (http://www.zalmanusa.com). I don't know anything about the company but their PC's look SWEET!! No fans , they claim it to be absolutely noiseless. I would check those guys out, they seem to be one of the few Audio PC builders doing anything truly interesting. As for me and my next PC I will probably work with my IT guy and try to build my next PC to save a little coin and probably build a better PC.

    I just did a little more research on Zalman and they don't configure custom PC's but they do make a really cool (but friggin expensive) computer case (TNN500AF). It is worth checking out.

    Hope that helps, cheers!

    SONICA-X Guest

    Thank you OPUS2000.


    since you user SONAR look into a "Dual Core" system. SONAR will take advantage of dual processors.

    A dual core system will deliver the performance of a dual processor system at a single processor cost.

    The problem with the Sweetwater system is that it is built arround the ASUS P4C800 Deluxe board. This board uses the 478 socket which stops at a clock rate of 3.4GHz and is not compatible with the new 64-BIT version of Windows XP. In other words, the computer has no upgrade path.

    The best solution for you will be a "Dual Core" system which will be 64-BIT ready and will allow you to do more at lower latencies.

    My best.

    Guy Cefalu
    Sonica Audio Labs
  5. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    :wink: anytime

    Opus :D
  6. musicman68

    musicman68 Guest

    thanks for the replies guys.....

    I checked out the Sonica PC, looks very good.

    Does anyone have one of these or know anyone who does? I'm looking for some firsthand testimonials.

    Thanks again!
  7. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    Sep 29, 2004
    I have one of Sweetwater's CD Rack machines and I believe it to be very well-made. Could you build one for less? Absolutely. I'm using it at a radio station and it was worth it to me to to pay the additional cost vs building it myself.

    I'm running PT LE on it, FWIW.
  8. twenty5south

    twenty5south Guest

    If I had the extra cash right now Id have one of the creation station racks in my setup to run plug-ins...... I cant find anything that has had more thought put into it, after all i was designed for music.

    just my $0.02
  9. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Then you weren't looking hard enough.....

    Opus :roll:
  10. twenty5south

    twenty5south Guest

    you may be right..... but ive got more important things to do than worry over minute details that in the end will make minimal differences....... but opinions are like butt holes.... everybodies got one!!!

  11. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    and they stink too! lmao :p

    Opus :D
  12. twenty5south

    twenty5south Guest

    LMAO..... my opinion also! :cool:

  13. The Sweetwater PC has pretty good specs - it doesn't specify which audio card it uses and therefore it will probably be some dire onboard system, so plan on allowing a couple of hundred extra bucks for a decent soundcard with recording capabiities.

    Upgradability could be a concern in future, but as for now in Windows land, Intel have yet to launch 64 bit processors for the mass market and they will no doubt be buggy and not well supported for some time after the launch. Most PC users will still be using 32 bit processors and applications that are only optimized for this for some time (and power to those who are optimizing for AMD 64)

    and - without wanting to provoke a debate, there are also Mac solutions you could consider - I use a PC P4 3.2 Ghz system with Cubase as my main DAW, but many people like a G5 PowerMac and Logic. Although with Apple moving from the IBM produced G5 chips to Intel processors soon, you might want to wait b4 considering this as an alternative.
  14. arbiter

    arbiter Guest

    Hey Opus,
    How long has it been since you've been past Sweetwater for a visit? You worked there back in 2000, right?
    Things have changed here quite a bit actually. We're actually selling almost as many PC's as Mac's these days.

    I think things really changed around the time Logic went Mac only.
    Several of the software companies who had lackluster PC support really stepped things up to try to embrace that section of the market.
    Since then a lot of good new options have made it easier for people who want to do recording on a PC. (of course it was possible before...but not as easy for a novice)

    I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding about that ad you mentioned. I don't recall us ever claiming to have been building PC's for 10 years. I think I remember that ad...it said something about the number of "turnkey computer recording systems" or something like that. Anyway...we've been doing turnkey systems, and installs on both Mac and PC for years, that's what it was referring to.

    I think you'd be suprised if you actually saw everything that went into the Creation Station machines. We've now have a team that is here full time, just working on PC's. We have experienced people designing, building the systems, doing installs, and handling phone and remote assistance tech support.

    If you're ever in the area again, give us a ring, I'm sure you'd be suprised how much we've improved things since you left.


    You asked about the audio card on the Creation Station line?
    We left the choice of a audio interface to the customer, since everybody's studio is a little different, and there is no catch-all interface that'll work for everyone. All the CS machines do come stock with onboard integrated audio (the chipset varies between the models). It's disabled by default, as part of our system tweaking, so that it doesn't draw system resources if you don't need it. If you do want to use it, it's easily enabled.

  15. Thanks for the info Sweetwater, I appreciate that and agree that people have differing needs, making it difficult to choose an audio chipset.

    I wasn't trying to be offensive Sweetwater about onboard soundchips that reside on your PC's just generally making the point that onboard sound is OK for playing back CD's etc. but I have yet to see an integrated solution sound good and perform well on a PC(maybe I haven't looked hard enough).

    The onboard sound on my Dell Inspiron 9100 (a "top of the line" sigmatel (if such a thing exists!) with 20 bit sound and sp/dif acc. to specs) is OK for playing CD's/mp3 etc. but has a latency of 85 ms on Cubase - (using Wuschel's Asio4all driver it hits a 'mean' 69 ms) and it sounds longer than this (making it unusable for VSTis etc).

    The Echo Indigo I/O can record 24/96. has virtual inputs and a latency of 4-7 ms. depending on settings. Plus a noticeable difference in playback quality of audio too through headphones.
  16. arbiter

    arbiter Guest

    Oh, absolutely understood...I was just lurking about and thought I'd try to be helpful. :)

    We do discourage people trying to use onboard sound for "pro" purposes.

    Some people want to be able to use the onboard sound when they don't have all their hardware running, like if they have a Firewire or USB interface they move from system to system. Some just use it for listening to MP3's or CD's or system sounds or whatnot. I know we had at least one game developer company that used integrated audio as a real world check of how their sound effects and soundtrack would sound on the average gamer's computer.
  17. PhiloBeddoe

    PhiloBeddoe Guest

    I noticed that Sweetwater is now offering dual-core systems.

    I'm shopping around for something to replace the boat anchor I have now.
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Hey Philo, how is Clyde doing?
  19. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I go down the street(OK, about 10 miles down the street) to a local computer builder. I tell them what I want to do and let them suggest options. Of course, if I "know" something I want I ask for it, or install it myself(Like my Lynx soundcard). They are always glad to go as far as I want, order anything I want, install anything I want(It's my money), but most often "off the shelf" parts are fine. They also make sure to turn-off things I DON'T want - like the onboard sound card, etc., which can be tricky.

    I, too use my machine for everything. One can argue the best motherboards or fans or cases or whatever, but, all are pretty much the same and I generally buy what the local folks stock and they back it up if it breaks. Over the years, they know me, I know them, they ALWAYS put in the "price-break" stuff - all the features, none of the gold-plating. I have had very few problems - No problems with any particular piece of hardware. My builder even has a guy who went to college for "audio recording". At least he's "interested" - a good thing, but not neccessary.

    One thing I did do on my own is install removable HD drawers($20 bucks at CompUSA), and get some extra drawer inserts. Now, for internet and other screwing around I just put in my "play" drive with OS and all software and devices(Like printer, scanner, etc.) installed, which are NOT on my "audio" drive! In every way, when I replace the OS drive I have two completely different machines(Or more if I like - a "test drive" for instance?.). I DO use the same second drive for data and temp files and a third drive for backup of all other drives - 3 possible drives running at the same time. NO "special" HUGE power supply or neon lights needed.

    On the other hand, most of the dedicated audio pc's I've seen are just that. One trick ponies, not meant to be all-purpose and rather "inflexible" - and they can certainly be more costly. Plus, again, when my machine goes bad, it's just a short drive to get it fixed, by the folks who built the thing.

    Bottom line. If you really need a dedicated audio machine, have at it, made by one of the custom builders if you like(Hope you don't have to send it back when the fancy-looking custom front panel cracks, or when it needs an upgrade! I can't afford the downtime.). People like Sweetwater, while they may be fine folks, are just jumping on another "sales opportunity" bandwagon - it's what they do - and that's a good thing. But, if you just want to do audio as well as any other machine plus anything else computeristic, at least go down the street and have a chat with a local builder or two, before sending your money to anywhere else...

    Sad to say(?), it's just a PC.


    Note on "fans": Buy the biggest, best, quietest fans you can, sure(I admit I wouldn't do any "cutting" of the case without knowing more..?), but, in any event, try cleaning them once or twice as they get noisey(The VERY BEST will soon get noisy, they can't help it. ) plan on replacement of ALL fans rather often. They're all cheap. I just have a "normal" complement of fans and EVEREST says everything is cool - nearly room temperature(Replacing the older 30 gig MAXTOR HD's with new 40 gig Seagates really helped. Those MAXTOR'S, at least after a couple of years, ran HOT!!!).

    Note on cleaning: Use a vacuum, not a spray can. Sorry kids, a can of air both drives the dirt down in further and throws what's left up in the air - until it falls back down on/back into the stuff... Get the Shop Vac "small attachment" cleaning kit. It has an adapter(Mine is for the 1.25 inch hose) and several gadgets to help clean lots of tiny things. Works great. MAKE SURE to ADJUST THE AIR FLOW on your vac!!! You can do that by turning the little hickey-thing on the hose. Don't want to suck the procesor right out of the machine, ey..? Buy the "sweeper bags for your Shop Vac! They will keep your vac(And the air) much claener... On third thought, consider springing for a small Shop Vac JUST for this type of cleaning? Worth it...
  20. PhiloBeddoe

    PhiloBeddoe Guest


    Clyde died when he was pulled out of my truck by his arm when a passing truck snatched it. He could never keep his damn arm inside.

    He inspired me to get out of fighting and instead direct critically acclaimed feature films.

    Back to topic:
    Having shopped around a little and attempted negotiations with Sweetwater, the Creation Station is simply overpriced. I wasn't looking for low bid at all, but if you care at all about your money you can do much much better. Keep the money and buy some microphones or something.

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