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Computer Hardware Audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, control surfaces, MIDI controllers & USB MIDI keyboards (not motherboards or system components)

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Old 7th September 2008 , 02:20 PM
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Default looking for help on computer gear

Hey, i want to build a computer suitable for music production and i was looking for the specifications not examples of gear although if you can provide both it is also welcome . I already have a soundcard the delta 10/10 lt and ill use reason for beatmaking and program for recording audio. I have most of the processors and effects i'll use so i won't use much VST although i might in the future Many thanks in advance.
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Old 7th September 2008 , 05:24 PM
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so you need to know the components right? if so best thing to do is look at the specs of companies selling pre made audio pc's and use there components
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Old 7th September 2008 , 05:51 PM
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Thanks i will look on that But i would also like to learn what do the specs do on the computer in terms of audio .
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Old 7th September 2008 , 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-vinyl View Post
Thanks i will look on that But i would also like to learn what do the specs do on the computer in terms of audio .
from what i learnt in building pc's back in the day that they do what they are ment to do. the key is that the overall package of chosen components work well together and dont conflict with eachother. you will get fluctuations in performance differances through different brands or even the same brand as 2 identical pc's can have differances but often only ever so slight. so just take note of what most Pc's use and they will often be the most compatible
e.g
mobo: ASUS
RAM: corsair/OCZ
cpu: Intel imo
HDD: seagate

evryone has there own preferances so just keep doing your homework and you'll be fine
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Old 7th September 2008 , 06:49 PM
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nice one thanks a lot
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Old 7th September 2008 , 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sureno View Post
from what i learnt in building pc's back in the day that they do what they are ment to do. the key is that the overall package of chosen components work well together and dont conflict with eachother. you will get fluctuations in performance differances through different brands or even the same brand as 2 identical pc's can have differances but often only ever so slight. so just take note of what most Pc's use and they will often be the most compatible
e.g
mobo: ASUS
RAM: corsair/OCZ
cpu: Intel imo
HDD: seagate

evryone has there own preferances so just keep doing your homework and you'll be fine
Indeed ASUS/Intel/Corsair and Samsung combo has always been a winner for me.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 12:49 AM
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e-vinyl - although I'm writing this on a home-made PC which has gone through more upgrade processes than I care to remember, this is not a path I would suggest you take unless you really know what you're doing. The days of making massive savings by buying parts and self-assembling are long gone - you might some saving, but it will not be that much. If you don't buy all the parts in one place, you'll get hit with multiple carriage charges, and by the time you add up the cost of all the parts and an OS (you were going to buy an OS I presume ) There will be very little saving over buying a built machine.

The big advantages of paying the little extra to have someone else assemble it, are (i) if anything screws up, it's their problem, and (ii) they ought to know what they're doing and put together the appropriate parts which will achieve a well balanced system.

On the other hand, if your decision to self-build is more about the thrill of doing it (and you do get a certain kick every time you switch it on, and think "I built that!"), then by all means get right on and do it!

As far as the specs are concerned, your starting point should be the recommended specs from the software vendors - take the recommended - not the "minimum" spec. (Minimum usually means you can just about get it to boot up and work - doing anything useful is another story )

Although I use an ASUS m/b I wouldn't get hung-up on vendor - same applies to all other parts. The company I work for used to buy nothing but Seagate drives, based on their reputation, but after having a few failures, we tried other brands and have found that they generally are better value for money, and equally good performance. I'm running with Maxtor, Western Digital and Seagate drives in my machine now, and I wouldn't fault any of them. Any good SATA2 drive will do your job - my external SATA (a Seagate Barracuda)has a 78 MB/s maximum sustained data transfer rate - more than enough for anything I throw at it, including real-time rendering of multi-track video!

I'd suggest you look at some of the motherboard reviews in PC magazines as a starting point. You can get pretty good value in "bundles" - buying your m/b, processor, cooler, and RAM together. That way, you know they are definitely compatible, and very often tested as a complete set before being dispatched to you. One thing worth investing in is a quiet running power supply - the standard one which came with my case was driving me mad, but another upgrade forced me to up the spec. of the PSU, so I paid the extra for a quiet one - great investment!

As far as OS is concerned, the general concensus seems to be to stay with Windows XP unless you really have a burning desire for the bells and whistles of Vista.

Good luck with your project, whichever route you go for.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 07:14 AM
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+1. Well said Stagesound!

I had considered building my own PC in the past but when I say some of the purpose built machines for audio, I thought there was little point. I'd prefer to get something that I know works for the job that spend time tweaking and getting things to work. Too much time can be lost in the process - time that would be better spent making music instead of fighting with technology.

A mate of mine had his new PC built by another mate who works in DELL. This guy does this stuff as a hobby but knows his stuff. However, he doesn't really "build". He takes an existing new DELL and modifies it or upgrades it according to what the user wants.

I would recommend you look at the audio built PCs.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 07:29 AM
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Thanks for all of the advices. On my experience the only assembled computers i find in my city and such are for gaming, and if bought online i assume the sipping would be alot of expensive.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 07:51 AM
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see on the contrary i think building your own pc is a good experience and learning curve and if you where going to build a top end pc you would save money but then a friend of mine did say to me you want to be a musician not a pc tech so the point is valid either way. at the end of the day the decision is yours, i think shipping would be more on building your pc as all the components would add up and possibly be greater than just ordering a pre made unit. have you looked into buying pre assembled?
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Old 8th September 2008 , 08:59 AM
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If you plan on using a firewire audio interface, then do check the firewire chipset used - it seems not all are created equal when it comes to multi-channel low lanetcy audio use.

Ive generally found TI (Texas Instruments) and NEC parts are good and the rest are not - especially avoid VIA firewire chipsets. Similarly with laptops, most now use the Ricoh firewire part - which seems to have problems with many audio interfaces. Of course they are fine for what most other people do - connect hard drives and video cameras...

I think mnost motherboards around at the moment are using the VIA chipset (Ugh!), last time I checked I think of the main motherboards manufacturers for intel chipsets, only gigabyte had a TI part.


Every PC I have had has been a self build - originally because it was cheaper and later because I got to choose exactly what went into it, and it was the way I was used to buying a PC. As stagesound suggests - there is little or no money to be saved building your own now - actually I think it can work out more expensive. I guess in reality it still saves me money because I dont have to buy everything new - I'll often only buy the case, motherboard, PSU, CPU, RAM and maybe grahics card, with the rest being pull over from my previous PC to start with, then upgrading other bits as needed as I go.

For audio use then my primary concerns are the case (for quiet+cool operation - I dont need something that sounds like a hoover in my studio) and of course the firewire and core chipsets used. for any given chipset there are tiny difference in performance due to various manufacturer tweaks, however for relaibel audio workstation use, about the first thing I do when powering up is to switch off all such tweaks in the BIOS - I prefer consistent performance.

Its also often tempting to get yourself a really good graphics card as well - go for good-enough even if you play games on you audio PC - then I wouold suggest you avoid the temptation to go for some power hungry monster of a graphics card - they normally comes with equally noisey high speed fans to dissipate all that power, which means using a sensitive large diaphram microphone even in the room next door without good sound insulation can be an issue.

Most noise from PC comes from resonant vibration of the case and not from the direct sound of the fans and hard drives etc, so look for a case with damped mountings and damped panels etc. The case I have (Antec P180) has 5 120mm fans in it, 4 hard drives (two of which are 10000 RPM WD Raptors) a huge 100mm fan on the CPU. You have to stick your head right next to it to realise its even on because all the hard drives are mount on soft silicon dampers and the case is damped with a soft rubbery plastic material, also 120mm slower spining fans tend to be alot quieter than a small fast fan shifting the same amount of air.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 11:03 AM
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The firewire chipset is a good point to raise, but to clarify, you can't really make a blanket recommendation for the chipset.

In my experience the Agere chipset is becoming far more common on motherboards. But regardless of this, the compatibility of the firewire chipset is going to vary by what you intend to plug into it. This is all dependent upon which chipset were mainly used by the programmers who wrote the drivers for the firewire device in question. Although there is a Firewire spec (IEEE1394) it is open to a certain amount of interpretation, and so hence we have the situation where different bits of firewire kit work better with certain host chipsets.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 11:09 AM
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Not my place to be 'salesy' at all, but worth checking here for a possible solution.. dv247.com - music-computers
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Old 8th September 2008 , 11:41 AM
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I recently built one myself. Do you require a silent case? What will you mainly be using it for? Do you need two monitors? Will you be gaming (sssss!)?

I went for an Asus P5K mobo, with 4gb of Corsair Memory, Seagate Barracuda drive, and a Dual DVI Graphics Card to run two monitors. My case is a Antec Sonata III in Piano Black.

And a retail Intel Q6600 quad core.

It runs like a dream - it's ridiculously fast, and perfect for what I need.

I'm basically running a lot of external hardware, lots of VSTs and fx, and I rarely see any movement above the minimal CPU usage.

In addition, I got an Arctic Cooling AC-FRZ-7P Freezer 7 Pro Socket 775 Processor Cooler which is silent and keeps it all very, very cool indeed.

The one thing I would watch out for is the fan on the Graphics Card. Mine is very noisy and is a bloody nuisance when the rest isn't! That is if you need complete silence.

The MOBO has eSATA and Firewire, and my main audio interface is Firewire. I've noticed no issues whatsoever with latency, recording artefacts and so forth. Runs like a dream, as I said.

I personally found that it's possible to read yourself into oblivion and scrutinise every tiny detail of each component you're getting, etc. etc. but I didn't do this. I avoided it quickly as I saw myself nose-diving into PCWORLD Tech Forum style detail.

Instead, I simply looked at the best rated products in my price range on various computing sites, and didn't delve too deeply, as I find it extremely easy to get too drawn in.

Ask yourself honestly the level of recording, usage, and what you realistically want out of it, and then go accordingly.

If you want to record a top ten album using it, scrutinise away. But if it's a hobbyist machine for demo'ing at home, don't blind yourself with science too much!

Hope this helps.
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Old 8th September 2008 , 11:43 AM
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Quote:
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I recently built one myself. Do you require a silent case? What will you mainly be using it for? Do you need two monitors? Will you be gaming (sssss!)?
Yes; music; no; i hope not yet again i can't control myself when it comes to games

I forgot to mention that i already have hard drives.
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