buying a computer for recording
My band has decided that instead of spending money on going into the studio again we are going to start doing our own recordings. Ive done our demos in the past and they came out pretty good. Im using a Tascam US1800 and Cubase.
When we did the demos my computer would lock up once we hit 12 tracks (we used 8 for the drums alone) so Im looking to upgrade to a dedicated tower for recording.
I have a dell account so thats were I plan on getting the computer from. Can anyone recommend a Dell that will work for our needs ?
The one Im looking at has a 3rd Gen intel i5 proc, 12GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive.
That would be plenty.
Hard drive speed is important, too. Not just size. Get the fastest hard drive that you can. Make sure that your USB controller has multiple "enhanced" USB channels. You said you were getting a "tower" so that's good. Most "tower" computers will have multiple EUSB. But, ya gotta check.
ONE IMPORTANT ADDITION! You should get either an external hard drive, or another internal hard drive and record all of your music files there. Make sure that the speed of the disc is at least 7200 rpm(most of them are) and get at least 1 TB. If you've got the money, by both hard drives and use the second one as a backup for your files. Do not record your files to the C drive! That can cause your system to lock up. You should upgrade your AD/DA converters and get at least 16 channels. I've used the Lynx Aurora 16 since they first came out and they have never had a problem and sound great. Since your familiar with Cubase, stick with it. The past few versions work great!
SSD are great - but max out RAM before you buy one.
Big drives need big backups. Drives are Super cheap these days. Always get a backup drive for any main one you get.
Consider a touch screen. Many DAWs now support them and it's less midi control surface you have to attach. Pull the slider down on the screen. Multi-touch - pull down several at once.
That C:\ drive comment is very true.
For mine, I have 3 physical drives broken into this -
C:\ - Windows Install, Plugins, etc..
D:\ - Sonar X2 Installation, BFD 2 installation
M:\ - Where all the audio goes while recording
X:\ - Where my BFD data files reside (60+ GB of samples) - Also a bunch of loops that I never use
Building your own music machine can be tedious. You have to make sure it's dedicated, so no gaming, internet, etc..
I disabled the on board NIC, speakers, audio etc.. and only use my Focusrite as the audio interface.
Even after all that, I was getting pop's and cracks a lot. I used a program called LatencyMonitor and found my Nvdia graphic card driver was the culprit! I swapped it with a $30 radeon and all is good.
My specs are I think..
AMD FX 8150
16 GB DDR3 1866
Everything else I bought specifically to be quiet including the PSU, fans, CPU Fan, etc..
You might start with finding a DAW software you like, Cubase, Sonar, or whatever. I prefer Sonar as I've used it for 8+ years and can always open old projects. Troll around on their forums, and you will certainly find TONS of topics on building your own studio.
EDIT: The setup Kbone_ATL has is very good.
Drives speed or dedicated drives and all of that will have nothing to do with performance, especially on a system with 12 GB of memory. The writes to the disk are lazy (non-atomic) and the reads and writes are cached on a block level. After writing (even when not finished on the disk) the reads are still from memory. It could be there for a very long time when enough memory is available.
Do some recording and run perfmon. See how little the disk is used.
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