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Need advice on what pc for live recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Kijuer, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Hello there! I'm planning to build a small mobile studio for live recordings and the first thing I need help with is: what computer (PC) to choose? I'm looking for a small size one (well, big enough to be able to see every tiny button on the screen) with no bella and whistles. It just had to manage a DAW and the Behringer X Air Edit suite running together. CHEAP :)

  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    By PC I assume you don’t mean a Mac.

    A lot depends on what DAW software and interface you plan on using as well as whether you want a rack, laptop, or minibox form factor.

    And unless you know what you’re doing when it comes to specifying hardware, it might make more sense to just purchase an already configured music computer from somebody like Sweetwater or SlickAudio. The price difference between configuring and building your own and buying one preconfigured for music apps isn’t that much these days. Plus a specialty dealer can provide tech support and a warranty.

    Best bet IMO is to give a few of these specialty PC dealers a call, tell them what you want to do, and get their advice.

    In general terms a music PC needs to be very quiet (i.e. no loud fans) and pack a powerful CPU (i7), plenty of RAM (16 Gb or more) and ideally have two fast HDs (a pair of SSDs or one SSD plus a very fast HDD) and have plenty of ports available.

    To do it right, figure on spending around $1700-$2000 all in.
    Kijuer and bholder like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    a large monitor would make any PC 'readable'.
    40Hz likes this.
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Yep. Mirroring via DVI cable out to your 40” hi def TV screen plus a wireless keyboard and mouse will let you use your DAW and read its console from across the room. :thumbsup:
    JRA likes this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Additional note: hardware is only part of the equation. You also want to optimize your operating system and devices for real-time or near real-time operation. That means tweaking and tuning, sometimes hunting down alternative or specialty device drivers, possibly installing with an alternate OS kernel, and generally stripping out anything not essential to the task at hand, which in this case is providing the fastest CPU response and I/O speeds possible. This is definitely in geek and gearhead country and not for the faint of heart or the computer novice unless they have the time needed to get up to speed on “the technical stuff.”

    So depending on the user’s timeframe and level of technical knowledge, DIY may not be a practical or desirable route to take first time out.

    But that’s for the would be user to determine.

    Like the inscription at the temple for the Oracle at Delphi so aptly said: Know thyself.
  6. I own a Behringer X Air X18 and record all my bands' shows using it. I run Reaper and X Air Edit on a cheap Windows 10 refurb laptop that I purchased off of New Egg for about $250. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD. It runs flawlessly for both live sound management and multitrack recording. I use the laptop for nothing other than this purpose. I've done 16 simultaneous tracks with zero issues. Reaper is a powerful program that's very light on resources. I tend to import the captures to my desktop with a bit better specs to do all the heavy lifting post production. The band and myself are delighted with the results.
    Kijuer likes this.

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