Desktop Computer Advice?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by RFord04, Jan 31, 2013.


  1. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    Okay, so I tried a few searches and didn't come up with much specific advice, so I'll try starting a new thread... Sorry if this has been beat to death...

    I'm thinking about buying a new desktop computer when I get my taxes back for the main purpose of home recording. It's been a few years since I've done much recording, and I always just used my Tascam 2488 to do most stuff. Nothing too serious, mostly for fun, but now I'm looking to get back in to it, and I'm trying to get a little more serious about it.

    My plan, at this point, is to continue using my Portastudio to record the raw tracks with, but then I'll transfer the files over to my desktop computer to do editing, mixing, and mastering, and I won't be doing much, if any, recording directly to the desktop. Seems like a reasonable thing to do, but if anyone thinks that's not a good idea, let me know...

    I'm not really sure what I should be looking for in a desktop for this purpose though. I figure on-board memory is definitely an important factor to consider, and the processor speed as well, but it's been a while since I've payed much attention to this stuff, so I'm not exactly sure what would be sufficient in these areas.

    I also realize that some of these decisions I have to make will be directly affected by which software program I choose to use, and the system requirements of those programs. Any suggestions on software are also appreciated. The only program I've used years ago was Cubase. Not sure if that's still used as widely as it used to be. I'm a little leery of going with a pro-tools setup, as I'd like to avoid having to spend a lot on required hardware interfaces, etc. Maybe I'm off-base with this line of thought... again, let me know if I am, please.

    Any suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. wcoffey81

    wcoffey81

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Location:
    S/E Michigan
    i suggest starting with a small local builder who will be there if you have issues. tell them what you are doing and they can build you a system based on your needs. it sure beats having someone in korea, china, or india tell you what they need you to buy. plus you don't end up with a hard drive filled with $3000 worth of "free" software that ends up being nothing but a bunch of useless 30 day free trials
  3. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    If it's affordable, I might give that a shot, though I think that for my budget (around $500) I might not be able to afford it. I guess I should have included that bit in the OP as well.
  4. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    Also, I should add, I have a 1TB external hard drive I plan on utilizing as well, for storage.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    If you are using it for music then get a m-audio sound card. Most sound cards are desinged for playback and not import. Even some of the high end sound cards are designed for playback. They will import but not at the same quality as m-audio.

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile2496.html
  6. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    I'll be using my Portastudio to record the tracks and I'll be transferring the files from the Portstudio to the computer. Playback will be much more important than importing I think.
  7. Beersurgeon

    Beersurgeon

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Location:
    Denver
    I'm using a Tascam us-1800 with a Dell Latitude D610 that is a 1.7 GHz processor (I think, at work at the moment) with 2GB of ram. I run Cubase 5LE with it. I have had great success with this set up and it's small enough to make it portable. I run all sound thru the 1800 with no delays or issues. In fact, my mixing board died last night and out of desperation, we ran the vocals and keys thru the 1800 and used with the PA with recording 7 channels simultaneously.

    So my old, beat up laptop is able to handle a big load of recording 7 channels with having 3 live feeds running from the 1800 as if it's a mixer.

    I think most computers can handle most software these days. The only thing I upgraded in my laptop was the RAM. I went from a GB to 2 with awesome results. I suggest finding the software you want to use and then build you computer around the software. If you are only going to use your computer for mixing and play backs, a good, quality sound card will be your biggest expense.

    Hope this helps!!!
  8. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    What I'm gathering is that most any new computer will be capable with the right sound card or USB or Firewire interface? If so, that should definitely make the search a pretty simple one.
  9. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Speed-wise anything not labled celeron or other decaf CPU(low cache) will do. Modern computers are very fast relative to the requirements of simple recording. Memory-wise just make sure it has 4 slots (or 6 for socket 1366) on the mainboard.

    Doing better is hard with pre-made PCs since the important questions - what mainboard and what power supply are in there - are generally not answered in the specs.

    If you want to run a bazillion effects all the same time you can make any CPU be too slow but I guess you are a way off from that.
  10. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    My advice: Don't advance money to the government.
  11. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    Shinfo.
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    You asked.
  13. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    For advice on a desktop computer for recording, not for your opinion on how to handle my taxes. Thanks.
  14. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    This is what you asked:

    :)
  15. Hawkbone

    Hawkbone Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    I'm a fan of the Samsung laptops, especially if you can get a good deal on one with a SSD or at least a SS boot disk.
  16. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    Okay. I'll clarify for those who have no common sense: I'm not interested in opinions on how I handle my personal finance.

    Any non-trolls have anything to add regarding software?
  17. aasti3000

    aasti3000 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    DO NOT BUY WINDOW BASED COMPUTERS. They get sluggish over time and it effects the rendering. Get an Apple or a used Apple. I do sound engineering and PC laptops were ALWAYS A PROBLEM for me and my other friends with studios. If a budget is a concern then go to 'gainsaver.com' and look for the apple products. They are refurbished Macs and have been tested to death to the point that they are better then buying a new one. They even allow you to build it to your needs like what size hard drive, how much ram, etc. DAW's work absolutely great on Macs. I've converted a lot of people to Apple from PC's with gainsaver.com and haven't had any complaints. If you look in all of the major studios, 95% of them use Apple.
  18. Hawkbone

    Hawkbone Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Reaper is a good choice for software.

    I can't argue that Windows based machines are better than Macs but if you get something like I suggested you should do fine. The differences between Macs and PCs have been eroding over the past few years. If you can find a decent Mac in your price range though, go for it - they do seem to be the choice for studios.
  19. RFord04

    RFord04 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Flint, Michigan
    Looking on the gainsaver sight, I am finding some good deals on iMacs for around $500, but most of them only have 256 MB or less of memory. Is memory less an issue with macs?
  20. aasti3000

    aasti3000 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    You can add more on the site but the price will adjust as you add. That's just the base. You can even add a larger hard drive. Or, get the 256mb and if you know a place to get ram at a better price then just get the ram from there. They are easy to install or if you have questions they have plenty of installation videos on youtube. But try to max out the ram if you can for better rendering and faster processing.

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