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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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DAW Questions

Hi

I am a singer/songwriter guitarist/vocalist and have been procrastinating for 2 years about jumping into recording with a DAW. I have a KORG D8 stand alone unit that I record with but really want to use a computer as I know firsthand all the benefits you describe very well in your articles! I have ACID PRO 6 and can actually record audio with this version but have not done that yet. I have used prior versions of ACID PRO to create drum tracks and bass lines but have never recorded audio into my computer.

I have never built a computer but have switched out power supplies, added memory and replaced hard drives and fans in desktop computers. So I think I could build a DAW but know I could end up frustrated with latency problems or pops and clicks and being frustrated and clueless as to the cause or what I may have done wrong in putting everything together!

I did a lot of research over the past few months and about 2 months ago purchased the Presonus Firebox that has Cubase LE. I think I made a good choice on a good quality audio interface. The Firebox was part of a package deal including some half decent mics, stands, monitors, cords etc for under $500. So I have pretty much all I need now except a designated DAW. I will only be recording 3 tracks at most, at a time so I am sure the Firebox will be great for my usage. I also know I don't need some top of the line, super fast computer to be able to do this basic type of audio recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. I don't care if my DAW right now is a desktop or laptop.

I do have a year old laptop. It is a HP Pavilion AMD 64 Mobile Tech. ML-32 1.58 Ghz with 1 GB RAM with Windows XP Home with a 4-pin firewire connection. I use it for work and personal stuff but have not tried to use it as a DAW because I am not sure I would have good results? Not sure if it is worth loading the software and hooking up the Firebox to this and try?

Do you think I should try using this laptop as my DAW and tweak it by turning off processes that can slow it down? I could get a nice 250 GB Glyph external hard drive that has enough speed to record my audio onto for a little over $200.00


Should I move to using Vista? I saw that this summer the Firebox will be compatible with Vista.


For audio recording do you have a preference for AMD or Pentium processors? If so, which and why?

Is it hard to modify a store bought computer? Is it worth doing? Prices for off the shelf computers continue to drop and make that alternative very attractive, but I know none of them are put together with DAW usage in mind.

I just want to make the right decisions as I move into the world of recording with a DAW. Your expert opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 07:12 PM
Rip
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Pa
Posts: 396
Re: DAW Questions

When i co-owned a "pro" recording facility back in the day and the
fastest computer I could get my hands on was a 900mhz I didnt have
any issues recording full bands.
I used an outboard mixer for sending headphone feeds pre-computer so I didnt have to worry about latency.

My point being is with a 1.5ghz (AMD, which is what? somewhere in the 2 something ghz pentiums) you shouldnt have any issues what so ever
recording 3 tracks. (with low latency monitoring)

Just be careful of the memory hog plug-ins like high end verbs and such.

Im not sure of your harddrive speed in your laptop but you might be
totally fine just using that.

I've built from scratch at LEAST 15 (or more) computers in my time (the last being last week) and for the last number of years ive been using AMD
for the sole reason of more bang for the buck.

You wont have any issues running either.

If you DO put together a new computer the most important thing you do is
start with the processor you want to buy and work your way backwards.
Do the research online to see what motherboards seem to like that chip.

Then see what memory seems to work best with that motherboard..
which video card works best with your chipset on your motherboard...etc.etc.

Since you already have all these things in your posession I dont see
why you wouldnt try them out before you buy something else.

And as far as Vista, i'd stay away. A lot of prog's wont work with it yet..
and it uses a lot more resources to run it that you could be
using in your audio program.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Smile Re: DAW Questions

Rip,

Thanks so much for lending your expertise! I am going to try using my laptop. i just did not want to waste my time if it would never work to begin with
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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Re: DAW Questions

you should get three tracks with a ton of plug ins out of almost any computer! We were getting up to 32 tracks out of my ancient G4 400 using ProTools LE 5.1 - had to print some reverbs and compression to track towards the end of the process, but still, 32 tracks of audio.

Give it a go - I'm sure you'll get good results.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Hi guys. My internal hard drive is 100 GB and only 4200 RPM.

I could get a Glyph 250 GB 7200 RPM external hard drive for just over $200

Is that necessary?
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Well, generally you'll find that anyone who uses PC/Mac based recording will highly recommend you use a fast EXTERNAL drive - one which is purely dedicated to track recording - again if you are only doing three tracks, I'd definitely at least try the existing hard drive - see how you go, though the Glyph drive will become pretty much essential for backing up onto in any case.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Dave,

2-3 tracks at a time at the most is what I will be recording during one take. However, a song may end up having 20 tracks.

I just wanted to make it clear that a song will not have only 3 tracks to edit or mix down.

Does this change what you are telling me?

Last edited by crisbd; 07-15-2007 at 11:42 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 11:50 PM
Rip
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by crisbd View Post
Dave,

2-3 tracks at a time at the most is what I will be recording during one take. However, a song may end up having 20 tracks.

I just wanted to make it clear that a song will not have only 3 tracks to edit or mix down.

Does this change what you are telling me?
yes 20 tracks does change things.
You're going to need a faster drive.
And i wouldnt exactly want to run that slower drive as my system drive (running the actual program)

Depending on how effect happy you get 1gig of ram could be
straining your resources.

You can always render your effects which saves the tax'ing cpu power
but its time consuming.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2007, 12:41 AM
 
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Re: DAW Questions

My advice: Don't upgrade to vista (not yest at least), buy the hard drive you are telling us about, and if it allows it, put more ram to your laptop. But you should be fine, also be sure to set it up for audio recording, turning off anything that could use resources you will want for audio processing
_FR0D0 is offline  
post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2007, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Thanks Rip!

That is why I am asking all this stuff. I don't want to make the mistake of setting up my existing laptop, starting to record, having problems, getting frustrated etc. Only to end up having wasted so much time and effort because all along I should have had a DAW capable of doing what I want to be able to do.

Rip do you build desktop systems for people?

Last edited by crisbd; 07-16-2007 at 12:47 AM. Reason: added to
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2007, 09:21 AM
Rip
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Personally I'd still set it up with your existing system before anything.
You'll get a better idea what you need to buy.

I mean we are talking about installing one piece of software and
one driver, not reformatting the computer.
hit ctrl,alt,delete to close unneeded programs.

Yes I do build systems for people I know, but sorry I dont do it for people not around me.
Goto the cubase forums as im sure there are 100 threads talking about which computer to buy, hardware to use..etc.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 12:52 AM
tri
 
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Re: DAW Questions

If you do go vista for future programs go with the AMD chip. Intel has had many boot problems I hear. Plus more bang for the buck again.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 08:55 AM
 
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Re: DAW Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by tri View Post
If you do go vista for future programs go with the AMD chip. Intel has had many boot problems I hear. Plus more bang for the buck again.
ya'll are wrong when it comes to the AMD vs Intel. Intel recently came out with the Core 2 Duo, a processor unlike any others. It SMOKES any AMD processor of the same price range and above. The 1.66ghz one is a very good value for money. Remember, it's two cores. meaning, you're basically running at 3.3 ghz. BUT, it's even faster than regular pent 4 running at 3.3 ghz. why? because of the new technology in the chip, which makes it even faster. Intel has shown the world that the clock speed doesn't always say how fast the chip is. It's HOW they make them. and right now, Intel's chips own. Get a Core 2 Duo, they'll smoke your mom's bras right off!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 10:17 AM
tri
 
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Re: DAW Questions

that's good to know but how does vista hold up on the chip?
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 12:12 PM
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Re: DAW Questions

very well i think. But i would wait until service pack 1 comes out before getting vista. Get XP in the mean time. XP and core 2 duo OWN together
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