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Thread: OT: Building a recording computer...

  1. #1

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    OT: Building a recording computer...

    Headline says it all. What should I look out for? Any special sound cards you guys prefer? What about RAM? Anything you guys know would help.

    JP7 Fully loaded, Egyptian Smoke born 5/03/07

    My old band, Partikal
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  2. #2

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    Get a Mac.

    Pearl Red Burst JP6 fully loaded born on 5/24/07.
    White Luke w/ Matching Headstock born 10/11/07.

  3. #3

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    Get a mac. Your going to want more than 2g+ ram.
    Get a good audio interface.
    Get a good Microphone.
    Get logic studio.

    I posted this before, this is my first attempt at recording using the above.
    It is easy to get a hang of the basics but it has a huge and painfull learning curve.

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    Last edited by Lew; 12-05-2007 at 07:36 PM.

  4. #4

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    Do I really need 2g+ ram?

    I intend to buy 20" iMac with 1G ram to use with PreSonus FIREBOX 24-bit/96kHz FireWire interface. Just for recording video clip , play along with the backing track.

  5. #5

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    Totally, totally, totally...
    get a mac.

    RAM is cheap so get at least 2GB. Get a second firewire hard drive for audio and get a good firewire interface or a Line-6 USB interface with the GearBox software.

    I know many think macs are expensive but think about the total cost of ownership and ease of maintenance. Logic is no longer a big learning curve. Logic Studio is great but Logic Express is a great value. For that matter GarageBand is where I usually start writing and getting ideas down - then I go to Logic!

    The Line-6 software sounds really good. Seriously.

    Macs are pretty brainless. You won't be sorry.
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  6. #6

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    you really need to work out what your needs are going to be for recording first. Will you need enough inputs for drums etc? How experienced are you with recording? If you plan on using a lot of soft synths plugins etc, you may want to invest in more ram. My recording computer is 4 gig and I use Pro Tools. The whole pc verses mac doesn't hold up anymore as they are so close in terms of performance. Remember computer technology is rapidly changing and fast.

  7. #7

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    a mac
    protools mbox
    valve mic Rode ntk/K2
    good headphones beyer dynamic dt990
    good speakers spend at least over a thousand dollars or u will just get rubbish
    Pod line 6
    and your on your way
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  8. #8

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    Seriously mate, I recently upgraded all my hardware.

    Make sure you pick up a mac pro. or G5. (Mac OSX seems to feel quite music orientated)

    Ram should be about 2gb.

    Get Logic Pro

    Pick up a cheap mixer (I find behringer UB1204) is fantastic value and has some great effects on it.

    Get good monitors. Yamaha HSM 80's are like the industry standard!

    Also pick up (if you can! toontrack DFH Superior) it has some increadable drum sounds on it.

    As for guitar tones a Line 6 XP, Sansamp GT 2, or if you are an obsessive like me pick up a Palmer PGA 04. Its a piece of rack gear that lets you plug your amp head direct into the desk. (WITHOUT A CAB!!!)


  9. #9

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    PC or Mac? Really, it's personal preference despite the arguments each side present for why their platform is "better"... I work in the IT industry and I've been hearing the debate for decades . Let's not start the debate here! Bottom line is that great recording has been done on both platforms. The latest PCs and the latest Macs -- and their corresponding operating systems -- have little between them in terms of ease-of-use/functionality/power ... despite what the advertisers/manufacturers tell you. My advice is to use the platform you are already most familar with. By avoiding changing platform you will take some of the learning curve out of the equation.

    But RAM: get as much as you can afford, especially if you intend to use plug-ins (effects, samplers, soft synths). I've seen recording software fall over (on both Macs and PCs) with less than 2 Gbs RAM once you start pushing it. 4 Gbs isn't as over-the-top as you may think.

    Hard drives: If you can afford it, try to get two physical drives. One for operating system and software, and a second for actual caching/recording. If you start to use addons like BFD or other sample libraries, you might want to consider yet another physical drive to store the samples. Use multiple physical drives rather than partitioning one big drive; there is a big difference. When you partition a drive, the heads can only be in one partition at a time, which increases the risk of latency and drop out problems. Different physical drives can prevent this because they operate independently. Some people find that Firewire and USB drives are also subject to latency/dropout problems...but you'll find other people who swear by them.

    Sound cards: A good quality consumer-level sound card will get you started. Obviously, avoid the $10 no-name variety and consider something like a SoundBlaster Audigy or better. However, if you want multiple concurrent inputs and higher fidelity, mulitple MIDI inputs/outputs, you're going to have to look into some of the pro audio cards that might cost 4x the cost of an SB Audigy.

    Software: Logic Pro for Macs is hard to beat; Sonar Producer for PCs is excellent. Pro Tools is an industry standard, but expensive.

    Other things you'll need: mixer, mikes, cables, pre-amp, good monitors....once you start, the list of "must haves" will never end!

    I've had good success recording guitar via my Boss GT-8 (without amp). Not everyone's weapon of choice, but the GT-8 (and some of the third party patches I've found for it!) has served me well.

    Just my 2 cents...your mileage may vary.

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  10. #10

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    FWIW I bought a mac to exclusivley use Logic. My preference actually leans toward PC's.

  11. #11

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    Thanks for all the help, now I will clarify a bit since I was a little short before. I intend on using DFH and a PodXT for my drum and guitar sounds, so multiple inputs and a mixer are probably overkill [for now anyway]. Basically I want to be able to record without getting a few tracks done and being slammed by the blue screen of death. As for effects, I dunno how much I'd be using, besides Wah and Whammy. At most, at least before I get the hang of everything and start getting more serious, I'll probably only use a little reverb and maybe some delay, but I do want the room to be able to experiment, because I know there will be things in the future I'll create that will slay whatever I'm thinking up now. I'm probably going to stick with PC just because I'm used to it and I have a small budget.

    As for experience, I'm about as clueless there as I am here. I do know a few basics about arrangement and keeping mics in phase [although that'll be doing me no good], but luckilly I'm pretty cool with an amazing engineer and I could probably learn from him if I needed to. I'm more worried about learning how to operate the recording software than I am about getting good recording sounds.

    Im also thinking about getting a DI, how useful is this and how difficult is it to use?
    JP7 Fully loaded, Egyptian Smoke born 5/03/07

    My old band, Partikal
    New stuff

  12. #12

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    Ok, so it sounds like you're aiming for a basic setup on Windows. You don't really need much to get started. I'd keep it as cheap as possible- then if you want to move up you can spend the money when the time comes.

    As described, get as much RAM as you can and fast disks.

    If you're using your Pod you won't need another sound card (for now). You->Pod->USB in and you're set. If you keep this arrangement there's no need for a DI, either, since the Pod effectively performs that function.

    Down the road if you want to record more simultaneous tracks get a decent USB/Firewire recorder (I'm currently using a Lexicon Omega and I'm quite happy with it), mic pre-amp, etc.

    For software you have a ton of options. A great freeware one is Reaper written by the guy that wrote Winamp. You can buy it or use it for free, full featured, and very lightweight. I'm using EZDrummer via Reaper and I'm pretty happy.

    There's about a million ways to skin this cat, so I'd just say don't go nuts right away. Spend as little as possible to get going and upgrade when you're frustrated with something.

  13. #13

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    if you're having budget issues, and are a pretty competent builder... why not just build a mac?

    its going to be cheaper.
    its going to run faster.
    you can spec. it any way you want (within the compatibility chart).
    you dont care it wont be a slick looking case/box, b/c its under the desk, and tucked away anyway.

    get the stability of OSX and the lower cost of hardware... if you're able to read some wiki instructions, its not really that hard.

    worst case scenerio: you build the computer, it won't run osX......... just slap windows on it, and it will still be a kick ass copmuter

    dont believe me? check out Main Page - OSx86
    Last edited by wagnerite; 12-09-2007 at 11:31 AM.
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  14. #14

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    For the Guitar stuff I would go for a Toneport GX and the "Gear-Box Plug-in" software. Together they should be around $150. The plug in means that you can record your track dry, and then experiment with whatever amp, cab and effects you want to use AFTER you've laid the track down. If you go with the XT, you're stuck with whatever tone you used initially.
    FWIW mate.
    2010 Black Silhouette Special, Maple Board, Trem, SSS.

    And that'll do......

  15. #15

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    It's $199 additional to add the plug in to any device. XT can reamp the signal via its USB driver, not entirely convenient, but it does work. If its not right, I just replay it, but there are instances when reamping could be useful.
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