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buying a computer for recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by AdamR, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    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.
  2. That would be plenty.
  3. 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.
  4. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    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!
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    What's your max budget?
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    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.
  7. Sorry, why don't you want to use the C drive? I'm not sure I understand. Are you recommending not using the C drive in the scenario where he has an external hard drive, because he should save files there? In which case, I get what you're saying. In a single hard drive situation, is there a reason you wouldn't use the C drive?

  8. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist

    Jul 29, 2013
    I've actually heard this a lot too, from experienced sound engineers. I can't remember the exact explanation, but I think it's something to do with having your operating system and DAW running off one hard drive, while the other drive is only holding the recorded audio files. I think it makes it faster for the computer to retrieve the audio files.
  9. Kbone_ATL


    Sep 12, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    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.
  10. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    With the newer SATA controllers, this has become less of a problem. For me at least -- I've recorded single stereo tracks to the C: drive without any issues (3.3 Ghz dual-core, 4 GB RAM, 512 MB video card; Cubase 4.0 LE on Windows 7). Multiples tracks at once? I don't know, but you're right in that it would probably work better to a separate drive, whether that's a separate partition from your OS or a different internal or external drive.

    EDIT: The setup Kbone_ATL has is very good.
  11. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    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.
  12. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

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