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Setting up new PC for recording...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by drumandstage, Mar 10, 2019.


  1. I have a new PC on the way. It has (1) 500GB SSD drive and (2) 2TB HDD's.

    I assume that the operating system is on the SSD. My Audio/Video software and files will presumably live on the HDDs.

    Here is where I need assistance:

    I want to use a single disc (a 3rd HDD-if the machine has the internal capacity) for surfing the net, personal files, apps, etc. I would like to have a sign on for this disc.

    A separate sign on would open up the Audio/Software programs and files that would be the only things on the 2TB HDDs.

    Is there a way to pull this off, and how? Is there a better way to set up this machine to optimize the Audio/Video operations?
     
  2. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Windows 10? If so, you manage access to programs and files by assigning permissions to users. You create a user account for each person that will use the computer, then whoever's logged in to computer has access to whatever they've been given permission.

    Win10 also has a feature called "folder locker" but it's not a very straightforward approach and it's really only for restricting access to thing like text files, pictures, and stuff, not to restrict access to available programs.

    As far as having a separate drive for surfing the net - you can't really separate surfing the net from your operating system. The only way you really accomplish this is to have full installations of Win10 on two different discs, then you choose which one you want whenever you boot it up. You can divide physical discs into logical discs, i.e. you can split a drive into sections that the computer will see as separate discs, so you don't have to have multiple physical discs to do this.
     
  3. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I'd put the audio software on the SSD with the OS, use the HDDs to store recorded audio, samples, VSTs, etc.
     
  4. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    No. Not unless you install multiple OSes on the system.
    You can partition your drives any way you want, and store whatever you want on them. Putting the OS on the SSD us the right choice. Just be aware that your system is going to try to install everything on that partition. You need to customize your installations if you want to have them somewhere else. The default location for your VSTs is also in the OS partion (Program Files.)
    If you want to dual boot, you need a boot loader software, and I haven't done it with multiple installs of Win 10. Honestly, it doesn't matter much. Just back up your stuff often so if the OS goes sideways, you don't lose your music.
     
  5. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    This is going to be the most unhelpful but if you want to run A/V software, get a Mac.

    I personally dislike apple. I feel like everything they do is proprietary and it gets on my nerves.

    That being said, I have never met a PC that didn't have a whole bunch of background processes running all the time. Macs just handle my DAW better.
     
    Huw Phillips likes this.
  6. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    No separate boot loader software needed - use bcdedit from a command prompt to configure dual/multi boot in Win10. Similar to editing boot.ini in earlier Microsoft stuff, but more robust.
     
    Slough Feg Bass and socialleper like this.
  7. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Eh, as long as you've got a system with decent horsepower, Windows does fine.
     
  8. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I'm no expert but my experience is that PC has more issues with latency and crashes. YMMV
     
  9. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    That's nonsense.
    Mac hasn't been on top of the audio world for a while. Pro Tools once was the go-to audio system, but now there are dozens of competitors that are just as good, stable, and cheaper.
    The Apple OS is a butchered version of BSD UNIX and the hardware is the same as a PC. They just have a unified driver structure. A Windows based PC is perfectly capable of handing digital audio recording without issues. You as a user just have to know what you are doing, and build a system without a lot of vendor junk on it.
     
  10. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    You obviously seem to know more about computers than I do but man I been to a bunch of studios and seen a whole lot of Macs running pro tools.

    So again YMMV

    EDIT: Apologies for derailing the thread, maybe if the OP expounded on why they wanted to run different apps from different HDDs a suitable solution might be found.
     
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Old habits die hard. Apple used to own the a\v space, and because education has fallen for Apple's marketing, a lot of people get their start on a Mac.
    But this is important for the OP to hear so they don't start second guessing themselves or their purchase.
    If you buy an HP or Dell off the shelf, you will have trouble doing audio. They are full of proprietary parts, bad drivers, and ad ware. In that case, an off the shelf Mac would be an easier road. However, if you are having a system built specifically for this, you can have a great machine. Windows is far less glitchy than it was 20 years ago. They've screwed up the GUI so much that it is nearly impossible to find anything, but Win7 and 10 have been very solid releases.
     
    eJake likes this.
  12. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    I'm going to disagree with having the machine configured for dual-booting, simply because an infection of one OS can definitely affect all the drives in the system.

    What I would suggest you do (and have done on my own system) is run a virtual machine in Hyper-V that you use for Internet access. Don't make any kind of link between the host OS and the virtual machine with saved credentials. That way if you end up with any kind of Crypto malware on the guest OS, the chances of it infecting the host are significantly reduced. If you go this route, I would also suggest once the guest PC is configured and all patched up, make a snapshot of it using the Hyper-V manager, so that if it does get infected, you'll have an easy way to restore it to a clean state.

    Also, since your buying hardware for recording, I'd recommend you add an external disk (USB 3 or better), and make backups.

    @socialleper is right, Mac got the jump on PC when it came to professional audio, and the reason you still see it in studios is because the engineers using it have gotten accustomed to the Mac workflow and interface. PC and Mac are equal in functionality, stability, and results now, with the exception being PC tends to be less costly.

    If you have any questions, send me a PM.
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  13. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    none
    If you run windows 10, the best thing you can do, imho, is a clean windows install using a windows usb stick. This will let you put the OS on your solid state drive, but not have a the bloatware that comes on a commercial machine. Latency is more a product of your audio interface, and will be good with a solid state drive and decent hardware.
     
  14. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Doing a VM is actually pretty good idea. I run VirtualBox on my PC so I can have a Linux distribution running in there. I game a lot on my Windows system and running that through a VM would hurt performance. But yes, using a VM is a good solution. Then the user doesn't have to dual boot, they can just open and close the VM when they need it.
     
    mikewalker likes this.
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    Cancel the PC order and get a n iMac 27"...rock on.
     
    Huw Phillips, grouse789 and DirtDog like this.
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    For a music PC the two best things you can do is get a fast CPU with as many cores as you can reasonably afford and load it up with as much fast RAM as it’ll support on the motherboard. You want at least 16GB if you’ll be running a lot of plug-ins. And Windows 10 is happier having 16GB to stretch out in as well. Most music software is processor intensive and does the bulk of it’s work in RAM if it’s available. So more drive space isn’t as beneficial for that category of application as it usually is for general productivity apps.

    You also will be happier isolating your music environment from the usual desktop productivity environment. So if you set up the machine for the first time with the intent for it to be exclusively for music use, your can add that additional drive later, install it’s own copy of Win10 on it, and boot into that instead of your music environment when you want to do the usual personal computer tasks.

    If you decide to just set up a separate user, that’s better than nothing. But anything that gets installed under the production desktop username will end up cluttering up your OS on the music desktop as well - because they’re sharing the same copy of the OS.

    The way to get around that is by setting up what’s called a multi-boot configuration. What you’ll be doing is setting up a totally separate Windows installation complere with its own users, passwords, and software, that’s absolutely isolated from any other Windows installation on that machine.

    The process of setting up a multi-boot configuration in Windows is easy. Install the additional disk. Then power down and boot off your Windows installation DVD. (You may need to burn your own copy or create a bootable USB key first to get installation media since many PCs no longer ship with physical disks.)

    Once your new disk is in and you have your installation media, boot off that. When given the option for how you want to install it, select the custom option and tell it to install a new copy of Windows on your new disk. That’s it!

    After installation you’ll be given the option of which copy of Windows you want to boot into on startup. Just select your productivity environment and use it as if it were an entirely separate machine with no worries that anything that happens or gets done there will affect your music production environment.

    Sweet! :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    diegom likes this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    My experience is that DAWs and similar IO intensive apps don’t perform that well in a virtual environment. Too much latency gets introduced by mapping virtual IO to hardware IO.

    And VMs can be fussy and a little tricky to set up depending on what you want to do with them. Definitely not a total novice solution.

    Multibooting is a lot easier and less problematic.

    Most of my machines are now primarily running BSD or some flavor of Linux. A few can also multiboot into Windows 10. The reason being that there are some things you will still need a copy of Windows for - even if you’d rather not use it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    mikewalker likes this.
  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Hyper-V is only available on the Pro, Educational, and Enterprise editions of Windows. If the OP has the Home edition (like many PCs ship with) it won’t be available. And the cost to upgrade to Pro is pretty steep just to get that feature.
     
  19. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Kinda, sorta…

    The Mac operating system (and it’s variants) is not, nor has it ever been, a BSD variant. It is its own thing sitting on top of the Mach kernal that was developed at Carnegie-Mellon University. Mach was one of the first true microkernals, and was written to be a replacement for the BSD kernal found in BSD Unix. Mach was intended to be used primarily for research into operating systems. Apple ultimately decided not to use anything from BSD due to conditions in BSD’s license that might have required Apple to share some of its own code with the BSD community. The Mach kernal came with no such requirement.

    As far as hardware goes, Macs share CPUs and various chip and component level stuff with PCs. But Apple’s motherboard, firmware, and architecture is completely different. Just the same as how a gas and an electric car might use the same tires but still be entirely different under the
    hood.

    (Sorry my IT professional and computer geek have reared their ugly little heads. I’m a stickler for all those silly little details nobody with a real life ever worries about.)
    ;):laugh:
     
  20. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania

    Agreed, which is why you use the virtual machine for Internet access and the host for recording.
     
    socialleper likes this.

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