Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

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ktk9
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Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Wed May 11, 2016 2:26 pm

Years ago I picked up a few recording classes at the local Community College. We're talking late 80's... About 5 of us took the courses. They had a studio 16-track 2" Ampex, 12 Neumann mic's, a few EV RE20's and PL20's, a few Sennheiser condensers, etc. Good stuff from the 70's, an EMT reverb, Eventide Harmonizer, a few Urei Compressors, and a Audiotronics 501 ("Son of 36 Grand"). A basic old school 70's studio, but what I would call extremely high end for a Community college. The rooms were odd shaped, with high ceilings. A great place for an 18 year old to learn about recording, and the guy who ran the program, gave us keys to the studio and said,"Have fun, but don't blow anything up." and we were on our own.

Fast forward to 2006 and I am bck at the same college... all that old school gear was auctioned off, and a new digital studio was put in using Logic Pro on a Mac G5 with a Mackie (actually, EMU at the time) 24-channel control surface.

I learned that I didn't know anything about Mac's or recording on a PC at the time. :oops:

So, this last week I ordered Mixcraft Pro 7 and it arrived today.

I currently have a Dell Inspiron 660s (Pentium G2020 2.90Ghz, allegedly a dual core processor) but I'd rather just keep this for my Net PC. I was told I can upgrade this PC to an i5 CPU.

Now, here's where this gets tricky... What do I actually HAVE to have as far as a PC.
I know I am going to stick with Intel for a CPU.

Do I have to have a Quadcore, or would a Duocore with twice as much Ram work(i.e., an i3 with 16 Gigs of ram, versus an i5 or i7 with 8Gigs of RAM)



I have a MOTU 2408 MkII interface with a PCI card. Never used it. I bought it used because I have Tascam DA38 tape machines, and this interface will let me connect them to a PC. So, I would like to be able to use this device.


Thanks,

Tim

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by Rolling Estonian » Wed May 11, 2016 4:44 pm

The general rule is get as powerful of a system as you can afford. I'd sure go i7 with 8gb over i3 with 16, don't think an i3 could really even handle 16gb. It also depends on what you want to do, if you're just a few tracks with a few plugs, you won't need as much. If you want to do many tracks with loads of vst's you'll want more.

Other things to think about is do you want a desktop with a couple monitors? Laptop? Are you budgeting for other stuff like monitors, virtual instruments etc.

Again, it's really about your budget and what you envision doing.

M

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by Mark Bliss » Wed May 11, 2016 5:01 pm

Rolling Estonian wrote:......It also depends on what you want to do, if you're just a few tracks with a few plugs, you won't need as much. If you want to do many tracks with loads of vst's you'll want more..............
...........Again, it's really about your budget and what you envision doing.
Exactly the first question to consider IMO. Odds of being left wanting more are always higher though.

FWIW: An i3 doesn't appear to be much of an upgrade. i5 is a possible economic choice, depending on your useage. But then not all i5's are created equal.
A machine based on a higher end i5 quad with 8 gigs will do a lot IMO. Will it be enough? Will you soon wish you had opted for more?

Depends.
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by msnickybee » Thu May 12, 2016 12:56 am

ktk9 wrote:What do I actually HAVE to have as far as a PC
Tim, your story sounds ace! Well jel (as they say)!
But seriously, the old "want" vs "need" thing lol...
I recently bought a new PC. My old one was frighteningly expensive, but, you know...noisy! Spinning hard drives, 5 fans blah blah.

So for me, the priorities are my eyes and my ears.
You don't need fancy graphics cards, onboard will do, but dual hdmi might be handy. And, I went for M2 and SSD drives, and an aluminium heat sink case, no fans at all...BUT I'm a geeky type who works in IT with a load of guys who talk about this stuff, and I can convince them it was their idea (it was mine).

So what do you actually have to have? I'd say i5 minimum, and i7 can be overkill, and a lot of extra heat, so I went for solid state drives which I think was a better speed and noise boost.
After all, most systems are IO bound anyway.

I know you have that PCI card, but I went for a system with USB3 and TypeC for future proofingness.

(ok, I've bored myself now but hope helped!)
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ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Thu May 12, 2016 7:33 am

Here's the thing. Once I set this up, the system doesn't need to grow. I'll probably NEVER use more than 24 Audio tracks... actually, maybe never more than 16 unless I start putting individual drums on their own tracks.... heck for playing out live, I built a 4' long Microphone Y-cable, and began wiring my two kick drum mic's together, right there between the two kick drums, that way I only took up one send on the snake, one channel of noise gate, they both got the exact same EQ, etc.

So, once I get the system where I can use EQ, Dynamic processing, Effects, and all of that on 24 Audio tracks, plus all my virtual/MIDI tracks - The system won't need to grow any larger than that. This is mainly a songwriting tool. I have a guitar player who is my oldest friend, and he just bought Mixcraft 7 a few months ago. I figured I would go ahead and buy the Production version while I had the money. He lives about an hour away from me, so we are setting this up so that we can swap files while we are writing songs together....it also lets me start practicing playing drums again with a click track so I can tighten my playing up, since it has been a while since I played.


If a Higher speed i5 will work, then I can swing the PC this week, I think.
SSD's are definitely going to be used.


What I don't know is - do I need a regular soundcard, since I'll have the mic Interface?
I still don't know enough about the monitoring end of recording on a PC.
I just bought a 27" Samsung monitor last night.

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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by mick » Thu May 12, 2016 9:20 am

I have an i5 quad core ... but, when I look at system specs it says 2 core / 4 logical ( must look that up) running @ 3.2 ghz with 7gb ram and one extra HDD 7200 rpm used for sound library instruments. Graphics is an ATI Radion 500 mb and sound is on board with ASIO4 all. The MIxcraft demo tune "ME" takes 18% cpu at odd places and about 8% the rest. I can run 50 midi tracks with 4 effects and 10 audio all running simultaneously, and cpu demand varies between 40% and 50% with about the same for the system demand.
Usually the system or cpu is just ticking over, @ anything from 2% to 15%. I get no audio hiccups or glitches even with 60 tracks running, probably due to the second HDD taking care of the midi instruments. 8)

ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Thu May 12, 2016 4:25 pm

Mick,
Thank you!
That helps immensely.

I'm pricing out a new PC build using a Core i5 6600K CPU (4x3.5Ghz), an Asus H170 Pro motherboard, a 120Gig SSD (plus a 1TB Regular drive for the audio files) and 32Gigs of RAM.

I was trying to keep a new PC under $500 but I really couldn't do it.

Tim

ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Thu May 12, 2016 9:35 pm

I'm going with the following :

Core i7 (6700) It says it is 4 x 4.0Ghz.
16 Gigs of Ram (Kingston DDR4)
Asus H170Pro MB

120Gig SSD
500Gig Sata drive
CD/DVD writer
Antec Case with a 700 Watt Cool Max power supply

Windows 7 Pro


$989.00

A lot more than I intended to spend, but I believe this will set me up for quite a while.

Any suggestions? For now I'm just going with internal sound card and video card.

mick
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by mick » Fri May 13, 2016 2:49 am

Nice! :D

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by Mark Bliss » Fri May 13, 2016 3:55 am

That should be a hotrod. Especially compared to those of us still in the dual core world!

To clarify my earlier statement, though I admit I don't fully understand the implications: "Not all i5's are created equal" (This could also apply to some i7's)
As of a few years ago, it was my understanding that some of the lower priced processors actually functioned as dual cores, not quads, and that you had to buy the higher priced ones to get true quad performance. And the term "unlocked" cores always bugged me, as it implies you have to "pay to play" in some way.
But my real point is that you need to read the fine print and know what you are getting. Some of the lower priced units seemed almost deceptive in their classification when I was last researching this.
Stay in tune, Mark

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ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Fri May 13, 2016 11:46 am

Mark Bliss wrote:That should be a hotrod. Especially compared to those of us still in the dual core world!

To clarify my earlier statement, though I admit I don't fully understand the implications: "Not all i5's are created equal" (This could also apply to some i7's)
As of a few years ago, it was my understanding that some of the lower priced processors actually functioned as dual cores, not quads, and that you had to buy the higher priced ones to get true quad performance. And the term "unlocked" cores always bugged me, as it implies you have to "pay to play" in some way.
But my real point is that you need to read the fine print and know what you are getting. Some of the lower priced units seemed almost deceptive in their classification when I was last researching this.

That's where I'm lost. A friend and I used to build PC's, and back then, you had to buy two processors and had a true "Dual Processor PC.

I was looking at an i5, with the same motherboard, and the jump to an i7 was from $312 to $383 just for the processor change of an i5 6600K rated at 3.9Ghz to an i7 6700 rated at 4.0Ghz. IS the price/performance difference going to be justified? I don't actually know. I keep hearing that i5's are really Duocore processors by users but they are advertised as Quadcore processors by the manufacturer and builders, and I don't know who to believe.

But, I figured the price jump definitely puts me in the Quadcore realm.

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by Rolling Estonian » Fri May 13, 2016 12:30 pm

That machine is sweet! I would just say to try to get your 2nd hdd 7200 rpm. Or, wait awhile and swap it out with a 1 or 2 tb 7200 later, or another ssd.

M

ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Sun May 15, 2016 12:56 pm

I decided I am going to wait a few weeks to buy, I think. I am now considering a Rackmount case. That way I can rack all this stuff.

Right now I am at $998 with the following buying everything from New Egg, and I upped the ante to 64Gigs of RAM.

Intel Quadcore i7 4 x 4.0Ghz
Kingston HyperX Fury 4 x 16G Memory sticks
ScanDisk 3 x 128Gig SSD 2.5 Drives
Asus H170 Pro MB
Samsung 24X DVD writer
iStarUSA 3U Rack case
Kentek 700 Watt Power Supply

Now, here is what I need to know about:

Liquid Cooling.
Anybody use these and how does it work?

I also need to get fans.


I just bought Windows 7 Pro OEM version for like $75 from Amazon.


Thanks!

ktk9
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by ktk9 » Tue May 17, 2016 9:23 pm

Here we go.

I just pulled the trigger on this PC build. It was roughly $1,300.00 :shock:

CPU : Intel Core i7-6700K Quad 4.0Ghz
MB : Asus H170 Pro
Memory : Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB DDR4 RAM
3 ScanDisk SD8SBAT 128G SATA III SSD drives
1 4U Rack Case
A Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
1 Samsung 24X DVD writer
A Pair of 80MM Fans

I still can't believe I just spent that much on a PC for recording. I hope this is a hobby that I enjoy once again. LOL

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Totally new to PC recording..sort of...

Post by Rolling Estonian » Wed May 18, 2016 8:43 am

Sweet! Congrats! That machine is a beast! Any concerns about the fan noise? If it is noticeably noisy you can move it far enough away so it doesn't matter.

Either way, that machine should carry you far. Now you just need.......... lol

M

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