#1
Does anyone have any experience building computers? I think I might want to try building a computer for specifically recording; that means no internet, no games, etc. I figure that by building one from scratch and eliminating the things I don't need I'll save money...

I know some of you might say Macs are better, but PCs are certainly cheaper. I imagine a PC is good as any other Mac when treated with respect

So any advice?

Thanks
#2
You should probably loadup on RAM for plugins (at least 6 GB)
1TB Hard Drive for storage of songs and crap
A fast processor always helps
Other than that it's all up to you. And tell me your specs when you finish!
#3
I built my computer last year with Quad Core CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD (I would have got a TB in retrospect), a motherboard with firewire, and an audio interface.

Looking back I would get 6GB RAM, and TB HDD.

You don't really need 6GB RAM unless you are using a lot of synths, a lot of amp sims, and a bunch of other plugins at once. Your more likely to use up CPU first.
#4
Quote by E7#9

I know some of you might say Macs are better, but PCs are certainly cheaper. I imagine a PC is good as any other Mac when treated with respect

Blasphemer! Macs may be more expensive when it comes to power, but they run a lot smoother because they're not Windows.

So, at least 4GB of ram and 500GB on the hard drive. Preferably 8GB and 1TB respectively.
#5
you will need at least dual core processing, then also as earlier stated like 6-8 gigs of ram or even more. get as much as you can. video processing is really only needed to take a little load off the CPU(s) especially if your gonna run a high screen resolution on your display. Sound card of course needs to be bitchin, i dont remember what exactly mine is but its 5.1 and sounds awesome when im just listening to my mixes before i take them to the car to hear. Then again, whatever interface and monitor combo you get will play alot into how your mixes sound. And last but not least, a good interface, one that will last. Personally im a digidesign loving guy but thats normally expensive and only works with digi pro tools. ive been playing on a digidesign mbox 2 mini for over a year now, through guitar rig 3/4 for my amp tones and while they sound great in the monitors, they loose low end on the speaker system, and ive learned what to EQ before i even waste a step and take it to the car to find out.
#6
oh, and you will definitely want 2 hard drives, i dont even like partitioning 1 drive into 2, one for your operating system, programs, ect. and another hard drive only for holding your sessions. those things take a huge amount of space and a dead hard drive is expensive to get repaired, and theres not even a guarantee that you will get your data back off of it.
#7
thanks for the responses guys .

I guess I consider myself a newb at this, but i figure a good sound card isnt necessary if you had a decent interface (something like the focusrite saffire pro 40)... Actually, isnt an interface and sound card one in the same? Isn't the point of an interface so that you bypass the garbage computer soundcard?
#8
Quote by E7#9
thanks for the responses guys .

I guess I consider myself a newb at this, but i figure a good sound card isnt necessary if you had a decent interface (something like the focusrite saffire pro 40)... Actually, isnt an interface and sound card one in the same? Isn't the point of an interface so that you bypass the garbage computer soundcard?


yes, but if your going to be recording, you have to think of what other people are going to listen to your songs on.

like... i mix on a set of m-audio bx5a's, but while mixing, i have to realize that not everyone is going to be listening to my mixes on something as good as that. that is why I take my mixes on a CD to listen to in a car, where most people listen to music. I think on the m-audios the mids are a little soft and the bass is prominent, so on those, i have to turn the mids up and the bass down. whereas if i were to take that mix to my car afterward, the bass would be way too loud and the mids would barely be noticeable.

its just personal preference, i had a little extra cash so i bought a set of speakers so i wouldnt have to burn a cd(with 1 or 2 songs) go to the car(in whatever weather happens to be outside that day) and listen to a whole song. i can get almost the same sound by crackin itunes open and hitting play.
#9
Just use headphones when you're mixing, you don't need a great soundcard. You can just listen to it on your computer with a shitty soundcard to see how it sounds to everyone else. Also, be sure the hard drive you get is 7200 RPM.
#10
OMG.... I can't believe where this thread is going. At best, there is hardly anything here I agree with. At worst, there is hardly anything here that is correct.

First: My original band recorded our album four years ago on a Celeron 1.7 Ghz machine with less than a gig of RAM and running WinXP. Each song had upwards to 36 tracks of 24-bit audio and the project used plugins as appropriate. Sure, it's always nice to have more power, but nobody is launching space shuttles here. Hell, my *new* studio beast is a machine I got used over a year ago for $200. It is a single-core IBM machine at 2.8Ghz and 2GB of RAM running Win7. It works a champ, unless I load up a program using a ton of virtual instruments.

"You need at least a quad core processor with 8GB or RAM" or whatever... wtf are you recording that you need that? Seriously.

Given what we recorded our album on, and what I am using currently, and given that it works great for as many tracks as most rational people will actually use in a song; and given that you can't even buy a machine like that anymore, then it stands to reason that any machine you buy off the shelf at Best Buy or Costco or whatever will be perfectly fine.

I used to build my computers because it was cheaper. Not anymore. The deals I see on computers and packages now.... I can NOT build for what they are offering - particularly once you factor in the fact that they all come shipped with an operating system, which the ones you build do not.

Sound cards... gaming cards are built to have great outputs. But your Creative Super-Sonic-whatever-the-hell Card Blaster card with 7.1 surround is not built for recording. The inputs are invariably sub-standard.

Interfaces are built for recording. They will usually have preamps built in too, which will run your microphones and that sort of thing. They are built to sound great on the inputs AND the outputs - some greater than others, of course. You do pretty much get what you pay for. If you have a proper interface, you don't even need a sound card - at all. It *becomes* your soundcard. In fact, in order to avoid conflicts and stuff, you might even find yourself disabling any other sound cards or any on-board sound in the bios.

Just make sure that whatever you buy has the appropriate devices to plug your interface into. Most are either USB or Firewire. If you are going to use firewire, many people report that they need to make sure their firewire adapter uses a Texas Instrument chipset.

As far as mixes translating well to other systems... that isn't in the slightest way, really, connected to what sound card you use. What matters many miles more than that is what kind of speakers you are using for monitoring. Do NOT use stereo speakers. Use proper studio monitors, or else you'll wind up back here asking, "Why do my mixes sound kick-ass on my computer, but suck when I play them in the car?"

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#11
Quote by axemanchris

"You need at least a quad core processor with 8GB or RAM" or whatever... wtf are you recording that you need that? Seriously.


Try recording 8 guitar tracks without bouncing anything down to .wav and having a that many amp sims open on top of that a tons of synths because of industrial rock/metal :P

Of course I only have 4GB, but it uses a lot of CPU :P Normally people wouldn't do that :P
#12
Okay, yes.... if you're using a ton of modellers and soft-synths and stuff, then you need extra horsepower.

But for basic recording.... that 1.7Ghz machine was recording 10 tracks at a time of 24-bit audio without a hiccup.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
Quote by axemanchris
Okay, yes.... if you're using a ton of modellers and soft-synths and stuff, then you need extra horsepower.

But for basic recording.... that 1.7Ghz machine was recording 10 tracks at a time of 24-bit audio without a hiccup.

CT

They were giving recommendations dude. If he said he was on a tight budget, they wouldn't recommend all that
I'm selling an ernie ball wah pedal. Buy my ernie ball wah pedal.
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#14
Quote by axemanchris


I used to build my computers because it was cheaper. Not anymore. The deals I see on computers and packages now.... I can NOT build for what they are offering - particularly once you factor in the fact that they all come shipped with an operating system, which the ones you build do not.





this big time.
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#15
Quote by LastSlayerKing
They were giving recommendations dude. If he said he was on a tight budget, they wouldn't recommend all that


Fair enough, but can I use an analogy?

OP - "I'm looking for the best way to get around town and get groceries and stuff. What should I get?

Post - "You should get a Ferrari."

Post - "Yeah, you need at least something with a 5L engine and dual exhaust."

Me - "Ummm....How about something like a Honda Fit or a Toyota Matrix? That would suit most people's needs most of the time. It's not like you're driving the Autobahn or anything."

Post - "Well, the Matrix won't be enough if you're trying to outrun a police cruiser."

Me - "True enough, but if you're just booting around town and carrying a couple of passengers like most people, you don't need to drive 250mph."

You - "They were giving recommendations dude. If he said he was on a tight budget, they wouldn't recommend all that."

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#17
^ with gas prices where they are??!!



CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#18
I can live with 17MPG in city and 26 on highway

I don't travel to city much. I bus to university and work right off the highway. I could be chilling in my Mustang GT no problem at all :P

EDIT: In fact my 1995 3.8L makes almost identical fuel economy lol
#19
I can't believe nobody mentioned the exponential performance increase of solid state drives to hard drives. I know, you pay out the ass for SSDs, from a performance aspect, they're worth it. There's no waiting for the hard drive to spin up the spindle, everything is right there for you to access.

Anyways, I would highly recommend a SSD over a HDD, 4GB of RAM is fine, but like others said you'll be using up a lot more CPU than RAM unless you have a lot of plugs running simultaneously. In that case, 6-8GB would suffice. Quad-core laptops are becoming the norm now, or at least will be. If it's not in your budget, you're not going to hate life using a dual core. I have last years model of MacBook Pro line with the dual core i5 and it runs fine for recording 16 tracks at once with my Tascam US-1641 via USB, not even FireWire.

I dont know why I posted this. Everyone pretty much already touched on all these points. But because I own one now; "Get a Mac, they just work!"
Amps
Mesa Dual Recto 3 Ch
Peavey 6505 Combo

Cab
ENGL E212VH Cab

Guitars
Epi Explorer
Schecter Damien 6
Squier Strat (signed by Rob Zombie!)

Pedals
ISP Decimator
Dunlop Crybaby Original
Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensenble
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Last edited by StillSoundRG at May 27, 2011,
#20
ok... well I actually have a laptop, and from what I read it will work fine.
It's got Intel duo core 2.20 GHz, 4 GB of RAM...
You guys think if I buy a couple of external hard drives my laptop will be ok?
#22
Quote by E7#9
ok... well I actually have a laptop, and from what I read it will work fine.
It's got Intel duo core 2.20 GHz, 4 GB of RAM...
You guys think if I buy a couple of external hard drives my laptop will be ok?

Your computer isn't the best, but it'll work fine for what you're doing. Just pick up an 7200 rpm external drive, maybe 1TB+. They're really cheap these days, I got a 2TB FireWire/USB external from Western Digital for like $115 USD.
Amps
Mesa Dual Recto 3 Ch
Peavey 6505 Combo

Cab
ENGL E212VH Cab

Guitars
Epi Explorer
Schecter Damien 6
Squier Strat (signed by Rob Zombie!)

Pedals
ISP Decimator
Dunlop Crybaby Original
Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensenble
Boss GE-7 Equalizer