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westhemann

recording equipment

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If you're not going 64, it's probably because you're budget-conscious. Therefore, the 3200+ doesn't add bang for the buck. I'd just go right down to 2800+ and get bang-for-the-buck, but that's just me.

Or a flavour of XP-M (2500+ is cheap), because even without the overclocking you'll get a cooler system, which means you can bring the noise levels of your DAW down a bit.

Seriously, you don't need extreme amounts of processing power unless you're running several virtual instruments at a time with complex effects. For mostly audio (ie. guitar, bass, vocals, and drum loops if you're using loops), ANY system you can get will handle it. You can go to the local computer shop and say, "Give me the most power you can for $500" and you'd have a more than capable machine.

As for motherboard... if you do any sort of search at all, the first thing they'll tell you is "for Intel Pentium processors" or whatever... in your case, it'll say, "built for Athlon XP processors."

Greg

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Of course it's as good! It's substantially better!

Think about this, though--

Let's say you want to record... oh... I don't know... 24 tracks of audio with some effects and a virtual drum machine or two. A modest (but modern) system can easily handle 24 tracks.

So, you get a system that is twice as good and can handle 48 tracks of audio, all with effects, and some drum machines or other virtual instruments. But... you're still only recording 24 tracks.

Was paying 2.5X the price ultimately worth it, or are you accomplishing the same goal?

Honestly, even horribly old systems can handle that much audio-- it's the effects and virtual instruments that put a hit on your CPU. There are 2 solutions-- either render (bounce) the track to pure audio (so that the effects aren't being processed in realtime) or get a faster machine. And it's not like you have to render ALL your tracks, just the really consumptive ones.

Don't get me wrong... we'd all like a better machine with the best software. What you have to understand in order to get anything out of my posts is that I'm not -recommending- a lesser machine, I'm just trying to get you to evaluate your needs so that your money is well spent. If you discover that your needs are not met unless you have the fastest, then by all means go for it. No point cutting corners if you don't have to.

If the machine will also be used for 3D gaming and high-end multimedia, then you have other reasons to get a powerful machine. But if it's only as a substitute for a BOSS 8-track machine, for example, why pay $2,000?

To your other question, though--

The motherboard spec will tell you if the CPU is compatible or not. If you buy it online, you can either get the mobo and CPU as a bundle (to ensure compatibility), you can check the 'recommended items' that show up when you select a processor, or if the site doesn't have those things, just do a quick bit of online research.

If you buy it in-person, the guy will sell you the right motherboard to go with the CPU. With a bit of effort, you'll get the right match.

Greg

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Hi guys. Instead of desktops, for the mobility reasons i've been looking at laptops recently to record music and stuff. It would be a work/internet/music recording laptop.

The specs of one I found are below:

Acer Aspire 1522WLMI

AMD 64-bit 3000+ processor which hyper threading or whatever they call it

VIA chipset, cant remember exact number, K8N800 or something like that

512mb RAM DDR 330 upgradable to 2gb using SoDIMM modules

60gb HDD, possibly 7200 rpm but not sure

64mb nVIDIA GeForce FX Go5700 or something like that graphics card

1x firewire port (IEEE 1394 or whatever number it is)

about 4x USB 2.0 ports

other standard laptop ports

Windows XP Home

I was for quite some time interested in a desktop, but in terms or transporting it to uni, and back home during breaks etc, I think it might posibly be hassel? The mobility of a laptop may be good, i help organise and run school discos, so I may like to try recording one of these events (a desktop would be hell to bring around places and set up etc). I may also like to record a friends band too, once again, a laptop rather than desktop is more apropriate. I don't know, i'm trusting the response of you guys and very much appreciate advice and input.

As mentioned by a recording tech i emailed, he said I may need a second HDD for audio work. Ideally a SATA 120 HDD. but this is impossible for laptops. What would the pros and cons be of having an external HDD that connects through USB 2.0 if I went down the laptop route? I understand that an external HDD, going through USB 2.0 (or firewire if I baught a firewire hub) would not be suitable due to speed, for recording. Is this true? If so, could I record a track on the built in 60gb drive, then transfer it to an external for editing, mixing, mastering etc. Or is this idea blown out the water by the fact that all audio work should be done on a seperate HDD?

Thanks for any information guys. I appreciate any help.

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HDD on a laptop is only problematic if you're running multiple apps and tracks at a time. Most laptops come with 5,400 rpm drives by default, which is considered fairly slow for audio.

I know of people using Firewire devices for streaming samples, so I don't see why it wouldn't work as your audio drive, though I have to admit that I don't have any specific information to back that up.

USB drives, however, share resources with other components and may "hiccup" if you plan to use them for audio. I'd stick to firewire if I were planning to buy an external drive for anything other than raw storage.

Greg

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HDD on a laptop is only problematic if you're running multiple apps and tracks at a time. Most laptops come with 5,400 rpm drives by default, which is considered fairly slow for audio.

I know of people using Firewire devices for streaming samples, so I don't see why it wouldn't work as your audio drive, though I have to admit that I don't have any specific information to back that up.

USB drives, however, share resources with other components and may "hiccup" if you plan to use them for audio. I'd stick to firewire if I were planning to buy an external drive for anything other than raw storage.

Greg

He's right. Dell actually uses 4200 RPM drives (really slow) in their laptops. B)

I use a Firewire audio interface and have been happy with it (on a laptop)

Firewire hard drives have only about half the bandwidth as one directly on the PCI bus but other than that is your best bet.

You really don't want to use USB for anything but MIDI I/0 units and dongles.

The laptop you've described should be able to handle quite a bit, especially with lots of ram and a good drive. But for what you will have to pay for it, you could have a desktop unit that kicks severe hiney. :D

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You'll get more bang for the buck with a desktop, but since you want portability, I see nothing wrong with the specs on that laptop. If you're investing that much money already, you'll want a firewire audio interface, too, which adds a chunk of change. That can come later, though-- use ASIO4ALL (Google for a link) as your driver and you'll get decent results with the on-board sound, provided your sound chip works well with it.

Greg

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Yeah i would ideally like a laptop, as im going to uni etc too.

Whats that PCMCIA on laptops like? I think its some form of PCI. Would any HDD connect through that?

It's such a hard thing to decide on, so many different opinions flying in from everywhere.

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Most of the IBM-platform noteboooks are too weak or too slow.

Mac's G5 notebooks seem to be fairly dependable for remote-loaction recording, but they're still not as good as a "desktop" model. (I put that in quotes because mine wouldn't fit very well on my desk. That's why it's sitting next to the desk, and is mounted on casters.)

D~s

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i am going to be recording much more extensively soon, at uni next year - will study music or music technology, i just love recording. i just got a laptop for this, a 1.7GHz centrino Toshiba Satellite i think. 512ram 60gb disk, and in a few weeks i will by buying somehting like the edirol ua25 usb interface. http://www.edirol.com/products/info/ua25.html it seems very good.

i have read many things about the m-audio quattro and firewire 410 cards, 14 pages of people saying the quattro is cr4p put me off it!

anyone used edirol?

i have heard that centrino's are good for recording for some reason or other, cant remember why!

i will let you know how the recording goes with the new interface if you are interested. it will be 1st week in feb tho! birthday on the 3rd :D

well, cyas later!

Mike

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Ive recentlly sorted out a new computer for recording stuff to and have about 15 mins ago ordered the sound card and a shure SM57

spec on the computer would bore most of you but it runs Doom3 at nearing full spec so basically it will eat audio processing without breaking a sweat.

heres a link to a picture of the breakout box for the sound card

http://www.soundslive.co.uk/product~name~M...dio~ID~1577.asp

basically all that just plugs into the sound card which sits in the PCI slot. it has 4 inputs and 4 outputs for standard 1/4" jack inputs, 2 XLR mic inputs with phantom power, an external FX loop, headphone outputs and a few other nifty things. basically its all im going ot need for recording for a long time.

its mainly for me and a friend who are startingsomething resembling a band (we prefer the term "noise project" since band conjours up images of talent") and if i need to get a new mic for his vocals then ill just do that

once i get everything sorted and all my software then ill put up some sound clips for you guys

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What are the specs? Is it a laptop or desktop? I can't go with a Mac because they are a little more expensive plus compatibility issues with programs I already run. To be honest, it's just the HDD issue at the moment. I noticed this:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=75

But again it is USB 2.0. This apparently won't be good enough. Especially since a mouse will also be used and sharing the USB 2.0 resources. Plus, I said above that I noticed an AMD 64-bit 3000+ processor in an Acer laptop. However, when looking at two UK sites that build audio laptops for you. They use Intel processors. Yet I have heard bad things about them in terms of heating and other issues. Ok, they are incredibly fast, but would I want to consider an Intel laptop, or stick to considering this Acer AMD 64-bit laptop (even though it is a mobile 64-bit processor and I don't know what they are like compared to desktop 64-bit processors)?

Thanks for anymore suggestions. Plus can anyone clarify how audio quality would be affected if I did get a firewire hub and connected an M-Audio device and a HDD through the hub into the one firewire laptop port?

Sorry for all the questions but I do appreciate everyone's generous support and advice. Thanks guys.

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ok the spec for my shiny black box of audio editing goodness is thus

AMD Athalon 64 3200+ (winchester chipset if that makes any difference to you, supposedlly better for overclocking)

1 Gig of Crucial Ballistix PC4000 DDR RAM, very nice RAM. a gig as all you're gonna need really, even if your doing some heavy editing it'll be fine

Motherboard is an MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum. not much to say, its a motherboard and it fits all the stuff lol. it has onboard soundcard, 2 network card connections, 4 USB ports a firewire port as well as an optical out on the soundcard. a few other nifty things but basically its just a nice mobo

hard drive is a 160 gig Serial ATA Seagate Barracuda 7200. ide recomend this brand as they well priced and extremelly quiet.

the case i got is the antec sonata. its designed to be a quiet case and is very well designed. its a bit pricey but i cant recomend it enough.

thats probablly all that would be important with regards to audio. youve seen the sound card that im ordering.

also you will never have problems with space on this MOBO, it has 4 SATA sockets, so if you really wanted to you could have 4 SATA hard drives which would give you 800 gig. i dare you to try and use that much space up lol.

as far as i know USB hard drives are perfectlly fine to use. with hard drives i wouldnt worry too much about it being slow since the majority of the information youd be playing with would be loaded into the RAM anyhow.

desktop vs laptop debate id go desktop but thats just personal; preference. my mates brother has his laptop as a recording studio and its good enough to run a prefessional studio off.

i bought all the stuff for my desktop off overclockers.co.uk and built it myself. one place worth checking out for prebuilt audio computers is redsub.com. i had a look there but decided i could do better myself lol.

all in all my desktop has cost me £700 for the basics. i then spent £200 on the GFX card and a nifty wireless keyboard and ive spent £330 on thesound card and a mic.

with regards to the firewire hub buisness as far as i can tell it wouldnt compromise the audio quality one bit. the signal is converted to digital in the M-Audio device so it traveling through the hub etc wont do anything to it

hope all thats helpful. if you really want i can give you a full rundown of my computer but i think thatd do more for polishing my ego than actually being useful to you lol :D

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First of all, nice computer.

I have to go laptop really because i'm going to uni in another years time to do music technology.

Apparently it does matter about speed of HDD because of the speed in writing and reading to and from the drive when recording etc.

It's not the fact that signal is going through a hub. What I want to know is what effect it will have on audio quality with using one firewire port for two devices. A HDD and an M-Audio Audiophile? They are both going to be sharing the firewire bandwidth.

Does anyone have any comments as to whether Intel processors are good for audio despite their noise and heat. They are incredibly fast, thats one thing going for them. Im specifically on about the P4 range and possibly centrino, but mainly P4.

Or would I be better going for the mobile AMD 64-bit?

Anymore comments are appreciated. Thanks. :D

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if you have a laptop then heat is going to be a bit of a problem regardless of what processor you get. my computer knowledge comes from the forums on overclockers.co.uk where i lurk and obviouslly they're more closelly geared towards gaming and over clocking. the athalon may run cooler but the difference in a laptop isnt really going to be much. i wouldnt recomend overclocking it obviouislly but i wouldnt worry about the temp either.

i see what you mean about the speed of the hard drive for direct recording but look at it like this. the dat transfer rate for USB 1.1 is about 50 Mbps i think. the average WAV file is about 50 meg for a 3 minute song so for direct recordsing you'll have no problems. (incidentlly the transfer rate for USB2.0 is over 100 Mbps i think so again, no trouble)

with regards to bandwidth on the firewire connection. its designed to have things daisy chained on it and the data transfer rate is well over 100 mbps so zero trouble even if your running an external HDD thats being used alot and the audiophile.

one thing to remember if your using mics is that you'll want a mic preamp and posablly one thats capable of phantom power. that could cost you a bit so id have a look around. it does of course entirelly depend on how you're recording.

one last thing with regards to the processors, in truth it doesnt really matter just so long as its fast. data processing is data processing and while one may be able to do it a bit faster, as long as they're good they'll both be fast. as for noise and heat again, it'll depend on the design of the laptop and how they have the heatsinks and cooling done.

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Ok, the bit about the firewire being ok for daisy chaining is reasuring. And the fact that external HDD through firewire at 7200 rpm being ok is reassuring too.

I would be using this mixer (obviously the setup wouldnt be the same):

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.ph...15&hl=recording

scroll down to Dugz Ink's post with the picture.

For audio device, I would be using this M-Audio device:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_gb/Fire...phile-main.html

Although something has just occurred to me which may need me to re-think a few things if the answer to my next question is no.

Is that firewire audiophile device a sound card like the PCI version. As well as being a audio/MIDI box for connecting mics, guitars, mixers etc through?

Ok, thanks for the info about the processors.

Oh one question about USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 that occured to me after reading back in this thread. apparently USB 1.1 caused latency problems. Would USB 2.0 devices cause latency probs, just wondering, although as long as it is a sound card too, i am pretty fixed on the firewire audiophile device.

One last question, laptop memory is easilly upgradable right? Just so I could go to 1024 from 512 at a later date if required.

Thanks guys for being patient with my bombardment of questions. I appreciate everyone's support!!!!!

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i see what you mean about the speed of the hard drive for direct recording but look at it like this. the dat transfer rate for USB 1.1 is about 50 Mbps i think. the average WAV file is about 50 meg for a 3 minute song so for direct recordsing you'll have no problems.

That's fine if all you want to do is stream a single audio file. But if you're doing mix-down with lots of audio tracks simultaneously, you'll want the fastest HDDs you can lay hands on.

My audio guru friend has a Mac G4 tower with dual 100M SCSI hard drives running @ 15,000 rpms; these are the fastest I've heard (yep, SCSI still has more bandwidth than Firewire). The dude can stream 24 stereo tracks (16 bit 96kHz) all day without a glitch. I'll try to remember to ask him what kind of HDD they are.

Edited by erikbojerik

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Ok, thanks. Well i'm going for the firewire HDD at 7200 rpm so that should be fine.

Is that M-Audio firewire audiophile also a sound card as well as a audio/midi interface? Or do I need a seperate sound card (kinda hoard in laptops)?

I take it laptop memory is easily upgradable?

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Is that M-Audio firewire audiophile also a sound card as well as a audio/midi interface? Or do I need a seperate sound card (kinda hoard in laptops)?

I take it laptop memory is easily upgradable?

Getting it to term abuse, the AudioPhile is an 'Audio Interface'. A sound card is also an 'Audio Interface'. The difference, the audiophile uses firewire, a sound 'card' is a 'card' that goes into a 'card' slot.

So, you can turn off the cheezy AC97 internal audio on the system, the AudioPhile will replace it.

Laptop memory is typically easy to change out, usually the only limitation is how much it can handle.

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i would seriously review getting the m-audio stuff after what i have read (well about the quattro, and firewire 410) the usb 1.1 sockets m-audio uses cannot handle separate tracks at once, and bottlenecks. the drivers for m-audio are woeful as far as i have read. i wont be spending money on them... ever, lol! edirol will be taking my money, as i have read that they are fantastic interfaces.

out of interest, will my next interface - the UA25 (link in my post above) replace my nasty AC97 codec? because the midi is terrible on it!

Mike

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i would seriously review getting the m-audio stuff after what i have read (well about the quattro, and firewire 410) the usb 1.1 sockets m-audio uses cannot handle separate tracks at once, and bottlenecks. the drivers for m-audio are woeful as far as i have read. i wont be spending money on them... ever, lol! edirol will be taking my money, as i have read that they are fantastic interfaces.

out of interest, will my next interface - the UA25 (link in my post above) replace my nasty AC97 codec? because the midi is terrible on it!

Mike

there have been reports of people having problems with the 410 but I've had no problems with my AudioPhile Firewire. I also suspect, many people that have problems, simply don't understand the technology very well but I could be mistaken.

I'll say it once again, depending on USB, especially for large amounts of audio tracks will be a regret eventually. Midi it's fine.

Yes, the UA25 would replace your internal sound and midi. Actually it looks very much like the M-Audio Firewire Solo that came out not too long ago.

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Ok, thanks for that. Just out of interest too, how much are laptops upgradable? I seen pics from someone on the AMD forum who took his laptop apart slightly and got under the keyboard (I think it was, might have been the back) and took photos of the motherboard. I didn't realise this was possible?

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Sure it's possible, most often the vendor will provide directions on how to open the box. But if it's under warranty, this will void it.

Also upgrades are highly dependent on the motherboard unless you change the actual motherboard itself.

Unfortunately anything involving a current laptop is expensive because it's specialty. Even a processor upgrade costs twice of the equivalent desktop processor typically.

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