#1
Currently I have a 2003 Windows computer that seems to do the "blue screen of death" weekly (basically crashes)

Yesterday while recording a song it crashed after I had already spent hours recording, and I lost everything. I know, SAVE! However I used to use audacity and stupidly figured Reaper would have an auto-save or recovery thing as well. (After this happened I found out it does have an auto-save but it's OFF on default!!! WHY!)

That was kind of the last straw, it has crashed way too many times before and it is just plain slow by today's standards. I want to get a new computer or laptop, but I don't know nearly enough about all the different kind of computers and what's needed for great recording so I need your help.

1. Should I get a computer or a laptop? (Also Mac or PC?)
2. What kind of computer/laptop should I get? (Specific models would be good)

I am using this computer mainly to record guitar, bass, drums, and vocals from either my Line 6 Pod X3 or Presonus Firestudio Project. However I also use this computer for general internet use, and if the computer was good I would probably use it a lot.

My budget is undecided right now. Please suggest whatever you honestly think is worth getting. (you don't have to think about my personal budget, what would you, an aspiring musician in a well off financial situation get?)

IMPORTANT: The computer needs a Firewire port because that's what my Firestudio Project uses
#2
Macbook pro. Comes with garageband which, while by no means good, is better than Audacity/Reaper. Doesn't crash often, which is nice... only downside is it is a tad more expensive. But there's a reason that virtually all professional recording studios use macs.
#3
Quote by Tmusician

IMPORTANT: The computer needs a Firewire port because that's what my Firestudio Project uses


Well, this right here just narrowed down your list of Laptop selections down to Macbooks since no current gen PC laptop has firewire. Plus, if you're going to go Mac, its go big or go home. But, you're looking at about $2200 for a Macbook with good enough specs (15", Quad Core 2.2ghz processor, 8gb ram, 750gb 7200rpm HD).

I can build a PC desktop for about $600 that would kick the shit out of that spec wise. The whole PC Vs. Mac debate has been blown way too far out of the water. Hell, my PC Laptop is able to handle all my Pro Tools sessions with no problems and its pretty wimpy spec wise. I'm able to mix full 24 track sessions on my 1st Gen Core i3 laptop with 4gb of ram.
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#4
Quote by scimitar_255
Macbook pro. Comes with garageband which, while by no means good, is better than Audacity/Reaper. Doesn't crash often, which is nice... only downside is it is a tad more expensive. But there's a reason that virtually all professional recording studios use macs.

Hardly.

Reaper is wayyyyy better than Garageband.


Definitely go with a desktop. Unless you need portability for mobile recording, there is absolutely nothing that a laptop offers that is better than a desktop.

Macs are more stable, but also ridiculously expensive compared to a similar spec'd Windows computer. There is literally nothing special about a Mac, they just use the same hardware in all their computers, so they can offer stability across all their computers, because they know exactly what's in all their machines. You can buy these same parts and build a computer yourself, installing OSX on it, for 1/3 the price, and have the same thing, just without the Apple logo on it and the high price tag.
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#5
Quote by MatrixClaw
You can buy these same parts and build a computer yourself, installing OSX on it, for 1/3 the price, and have the same thing, just without the Apple logo on it and the high price tag.


Hackintosh FTW! Never actually got any of mine running though :p
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#7
So what I am reading is that Macbook Pro is perfect but is way overpriced, and that I actually need one? Is there a PC desktop that has Firewire? Maybe I will get Macbook Pro but it's might be too expensive...
#9
**** MacBook Pro. I have an AMD 2.5GHz quadcore processor and 8 gigs of RAM and this it runs 10-input simultaneous recording easily.

Besides, a lot of free plugins don't operate on Macs, so unless you want to keep forking out cash, I'd get a PC.

Also, a Hackintosh is more problematic than its worth.
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#10
Just build yourself a solid mutli-core system, lots of DDR3 ram and a decent workstation/performance graphics card.

i5 or i7 processor and a decent mobo and ram will give you plenty of power.
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#11
The MacBook Pros are good laptops, but there's a reason why pro studios don't use laptops, you're really giving up a ton of performance for portability. I'm also not sure if the new ones even come with FireWire anymore? I know Apple is really moving towards Thunderbolt, which will be even more costly. For the price you're paying for the MacBook Pro, you could get a significantly better desktop, even if you're ordering another Mac.

There are plenty of Windows desktops that have FireWire ports, and even if they don't have one, you can buy a PCI port for ~$20, so its no big deal.

Quote by DiveRightIn63
Also, a Hackintosh is more problematic than its worth.

Not true. As long as you buy parts using a proven build, a Hackintosh will be just as stable as a real Mac. You can't just simply buy the cheapest parts or any old computer an expect OSX to install correctly on it, you need to do research before hand and plan it out.

I built a Hackintosh for a friend recently and I ended up putting together a computer that would rival a $3500 Mac Pro for less than a third that price. Once I sell a bunch of excess stuff, I plan on upgrading my own system and dual booting OSX and Windows 7.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#12
Quote by MatrixClaw
The MacBook Pros are good laptops, but there's a reason why pro studios don't use laptops, you're really giving up a ton of performance for portability. I'm also not sure if the new ones even come with FireWire anymore? I know Apple is really moving towards Thunderbolt, which will be even more costly. For the price you're paying for the MacBook Pro, you could get a significantly better desktop, even if you're ordering another Mac.

There are plenty of Windows desktops that have FireWire ports, and even if they don't have one, you can buy a PCI port for ~$20, so its no big deal.


Not true. As long as you buy parts using a proven build, a Hackintosh will be just as stable as a real Mac. You can't just simply buy the cheapest parts or any old computer an expect OSX to install correctly on it, you need to do research before hand and plan it out.

I built a Hackintosh for a friend recently and I ended up putting together a computer that would rival a $3500 Mac Pro for less than a third that price. Once I sell a bunch of excess stuff, I plan on upgrading my own system and dual booting OSX and Windows 7.


What desktop would you suggest I get? (what information from me would help you determine this?)

(Also the Hackintosh and dual booting OSX and Windows 7 sounds like crazy complex and difficult stuff, how do you guys know this stuff?)
#13
Quote by lockwolf
Well, this right here just narrowed down your list of Laptop selections down to Macbooks since no current gen PC laptop has firewire. Plus, if you're going to go Mac, its go big or go home. But, you're looking at about $2200 for a Macbook with good enough specs (15", Quad Core 2.2ghz processor, 8gb ram, 750gb 7200rpm HD).

I can build a PC desktop for about $600 that would kick the shit out of that spec wise. The whole PC Vs. Mac debate has been blown way too far out of the water. Hell, my PC Laptop is able to handle all my Pro Tools sessions with no problems and its pretty wimpy spec wise. I'm able to mix full 24 track sessions on my 1st Gen Core i3 laptop with 4gb of ram.


This guy is right^^^ you put half the money into a custom build that you would for a MAC of any sort you'll produce at twice as good of a computer. If not better. I been recording on a 2008 Dell Inspiron with FL Studio, Miroslav, Pro Tools and Ableton (depending on what part of which song I'm working on). My computer does wonderful. Could probably use a better sound card which is why I've started my custom build already. But processor is plenty good enough and I run on 3GB's RAM.
#14
Quote by Tmusician
(Also the Hackintosh and dual booting OSX and Windows 7 sounds like crazy complex and difficult stuff, how do you guys know this stuff?)


I have a PhD in Googling
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#15
My opinion since everyone else has put one down:

1) I would go PC, as my workflow is based on a lot of things that don't run on MAC (including my DAW).

2)Really any computer that has these specs will do you good:
-Quad Core 3.0 Ghz (Really you can get away with a dual core around 2.5ghz and probably be fine, i just like the faster CPU and for the price you can get them might as well)
- 1TB Harddrive @ 7500RPM (Depending how much you record this can fill up fast)
-4GB RAM (Depending on the type of music you can easily get away with 2GB, some types of music you can't, personally I am upgrading to 6GB or 8GB soon but I know that is overkill for most people.)
-Firewire port or an open PCI slot for FireWire (well you said this one)

Those are you big factors right there, aside from an audio interface.

So at minimal get a desktop with (This will probably work for basic Rock or Metal):
- Dual core 2.5GHz
- 500GB Hard Drive @ 7200RPM
- 2 GB RAM


The more you spend...the more power you get...the deeper you can go into production...with that said if you not using a lot of VSTi/VSTs you don't need a monster computer...it just depends what you want to do with music...

Personally I like to hit many different genres and manipulate every sound I can at different parts of the mixing process (which means bouncing tracks is unrealistic for me sometimes) I can crash my 3.4GHz Quadcore easily...98% of people don't have to worry about that though lol
Last edited by FireHawk at Dec 14, 2011,
#16
Quote by Tmusician
Currently I have a 2003 Windows computer that seems to do the "blue screen of death" weekly (basically crashes)

Yesterday while recording a song it crashed after I had already spent hours recording, and I lost everything. I know, SAVE! However I used to use audacity and stupidly figured Reaper would have an auto-save or recovery thing as well. (After this happened I found out it does have an auto-save but it's OFF on default!!! WHY!)

That was kind of the last straw, it has crashed way too many times before and it is just plain slow by today's standards. I want to get a new computer or laptop, but I don't know nearly enough about all the different kind of computers and what's needed for great recording so I need your help.

1. Should I get a computer or a laptop? (Also Mac or PC?)
2. What kind of computer/laptop should I get? (Specific models would be good)

I am using this computer mainly to record guitar, bass, drums, and vocals from either my Line 6 Pod X3 or Presonus Firestudio Project. However I also use this computer for general internet use, and if the computer was good I would probably use it a lot.

My budget is undecided right now. Please suggest whatever you honestly think is worth getting. (you don't have to think about my personal budget, what would you, an aspiring musician in a well off financial situation get?)

IMPORTANT: The computer needs a Firewire port because that's what my Firestudio Project uses

For the time being, just wipe the PC and reinstall Windows. You can do a lot with an older PC, as long a you're not heavily into virtual instruments.

I'd suggest a clean install of XP, after backing up all your reaper projects and personal files. Since you legally own a copy of Windows XP i don't see any problem in downloading the disc image from a torrent site and using your licence key (should be on a sticker on the PC somewhere).
Hell, I could even clean/speed up the computer for you myself by taking control over Teamviewer.

Try this:

- hold down the WINDOWS KEY and press R
- type msconfig in the box
- when it opens, go to the STARTUP tab
- Click 'disable all'
- Restart your PC


Anyway, as for a new one, I'd recommend a desktop. Absolutely not a Mac, either.

I suggest finding a good custom-builder. I've heard a lot of good things about iBuyPower, try this system; http://www.ibuypower.com/Store/Gamer_Mage_D245

here's the kind of specs you should be looking for, bold ones are 'ideal' and unbolded are 'sensible minimum'

Sensible minimum / Ideal

PROCESSOR: 2.2ghz dual core / 2.8ghz quad core (i5/Phenom II or better)
RAM: 2GB DDR2 /4GB DDR3
HARD DRIVE: 320Gb, 7200rpm / 500GB, 7200rpm


IMPORTANT QUESTION: Are you into gaming at all?


Here's one I quickly put together on iBuyPower for around $700 (Windows 7 is an extra $70, missed it out!)

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You could go a lot cheaper than that without really suffering, if you wanted to save money.
#17
Meh, if you're going to get an i5, you might as well spend a little more and get an i7, cause it will outperform it significantly. I'd honestly never recommend anyone gets an i5, i3 on low budget is fine (though, you can get a Quad core AMD that would be better), and i7 if your budget is any higher, since the difference in price really isn't that big.

This system I saw on eBay today intrigues me quite a bit:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-xw8600-Dual-Xeon-Quad-Core-E5405-2GHz-16GB-2x500GB-DVDRW-Window-7-Pro/150716136275?_trksid=p1468660.m2000037#ht_4552wt_1139

I doubt you'd be able to install OSX on it with those Dual Xeon processors, but you never know. Windows 7 is just fine though, especially with that much power. A top of the line i7 would probably outperform 2 of the Xeon Quads, but the super high end i7s aren't cheap.

For $700, you get 8 cores, 16 GB of RAM, dedicated nVidia Quadro FX1700 graphics, built in FireWire, and 2 500GB hard drives (so you can run a dedicated one just for plugins and samples).
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#18
Quote by kyle62
For the time being, just wipe the PC and reinstall Windows. You can do a lot with an older PC, as long a you're not heavily into virtual instruments.

I'd suggest a clean install of XP, after backing up all your reaper projects and personal files. Since you legally own a copy of Windows XP i don't see any problem in downloading the disc image from a torrent site and using your licence key (should be on a sticker on the PC somewhere).
Hell, I could even clean/speed up the computer for you myself by taking control over Teamviewer.

Try this:

- hold down the WINDOWS KEY and press R
- type msconfig in the box
- when it opens, go to the STARTUP tab
- Click 'disable all'
- Restart your PC


Anyway, as for a new one, I'd recommend a desktop. Absolutely not a Mac, either.

I suggest finding a good custom-builder. I've heard a lot of good things about iBuyPower, try this system; http://www.ibuypower.com/Store/Gamer_Mage_D245

here's the kind of specs you should be looking for, bold ones are 'ideal' and unbolded are 'sensible minimum'

Sensible minimum / Ideal

PROCESSOR: 2.2ghz dual core / 2.8ghz quad core (i5/Phenom II or better)
RAM: 2GB DDR2 /4GB DDR3
HARD DRIVE: 320Gb, 7200rpm / 500GB, 7200rpm


IMPORTANT QUESTION: Are you into gaming at all?


Here's one I quickly put together on iBuyPower for around $700 (Windows 7 is an extra $70, missed it out!
(Invalid img)
You could go a lot cheaper than that without really suffering, if you wanted to save money.


Wow thanks, I didn't know there was a site where you could make a custom computer. Would you suggest actually getting the example you gave? $700 is an okay price and if that's ideal specs then it should be worth it.

Quote by kyle62

IMPORTANT QUESTION: Are you into gaming at all?


Yes

Edit: I was just talking with a friend of mine who does know some things about computers and he suggests that I just go to a computer store and find one that would do the job, not anything overdone. Games are just an occasional thing too so I don't think I'll get a gaming computer.
Last edited by Tmusician at Dec 15, 2011,
#19
Any off-the-shelf computer will do.

My band did our album a few years back on a Celeron 1.7 Ghz computer with probably about 512MB RAM running WinXP. Each song had upwards to 36 tracks of 24-bit audio, with plugins as required an appropriate. We recorded ten tracks at a time for the beds.

My current setup I bought used for $200 about two years ago. It was a refurb. I've spent maybe another $100 upgrading it to 3GB of RAM, but otherwise, it is an IBM Think Center or something like that. Pentium 4 @ 2.5Ghz (or thereabouts), single core. Win7. It runs my latest projects which are similar to the above.

You can't even find a machine like that used any more - at least not without some effort.

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.
#20
Quote by axemanchris
Any off-the-shelf computer will do.

My band did our album a few years back on a Celeron 1.7 Ghz computer with probably about 512MB RAM running WinXP. Each song had upwards to 36 tracks of 24-bit audio, with plugins as required an appropriate. We recorded ten tracks at a time for the beds.

My current setup I bought used for $200 about two years ago. It was a refurb. I've spent maybe another $100 upgrading it to 3GB of RAM, but otherwise, it is an IBM Think Center or something like that. Pentium 4 @ 2.5Ghz (or thereabouts), single core. Win7. It runs my latest projects which are similar to the above.

You can't even find a machine like that used any more - at least not without some effort.

CT


Surprising. I had a 4GBRAM, 2.5ghz dualcore that couldn't handle multi-tracking into REAPER after probably 14 plugin-loaded tracks.
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#21
Quote by DiveRightIn63
Surprising. I had a 4GBRAM, 2.5ghz dualcore that couldn't handle multi-tracking into REAPER after probably 14 plugin-loaded tracks.

+1, my laptop has a Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, dedicated graphics and a 7200 RPM HDD and it does okay at recording, but starts to really bog down after ~15-20 tracks with 2-3 plugins on each track.

I could see recording 30+ tracks with plugins back when these specs were top of the line, but unless you're using an older version of a DAW and very CPU conservative plugins, I have a hard time believing this is possible on a modern DAW. I run a Quad Core AMD Phenom with 4GB of RAM, (2) 1TB 7,200 RPM HDDs and an nVidia GTX550 and I still find myself wanting more power quite frequently, which is the reason I plan on upgrading to an i7 system with 16GB of RAM soon...
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#22
Quote by Tmusician
Wow thanks, I didn't know there was a site where you could make a custom computer. Would you suggest actually getting the example you gave? $700 is an okay price and if that's ideal specs then it should be worth it.

Edit: I was just talking with a friend of mine who does know some things about computers and he suggests that I just go to a computer store and find one that would do the job, not anything overdone. Games are just an occasional thing too so I don't think I'll get a gaming computer.

Yeah, there's no need to go overkill on it at all, anything of moderate spec will do fine.

However, with a reputable custom company you still get a full warranty, a proper, transferable Windows licence (most off-the-shelf computers come with an OEM version of Windows that's locked to that motherboard only) no preinstalled crapware and 'free trials', and higher quality cooling, motherboard, ram, PSU, case etc.
A $600 homemade PC would generally knock the socks off a $600 big-brand model.

I asked about gaming because you don't strictly need a powerful PC for recording. However, having it double up as a solid gaming PC justifies the cost - even if you're only a fairly casual/occasional gamer.


Quote by AxeManChris
Any off-the-shelf computer will do. My band did our album a few years back on a Celeron 1.7 Ghz computer with probably about 512MB RAM running WinXP. Each song had upwards to 36 tracks of 24-bit audio, with plugins as required an appropriate. We recorded ten tracks at a time for the beds.
Same here; I used to record 24 tracks on a 1.6ghz Athlon XP system. But I think as Matrix is saying, the thing to bear in mind is that as computer specs have increased, plugins have grown to take advantage of all the extra power.
#23
Quote by kyle62

Same here; I used to record 24 tracks on a 1.6ghz Athlon XP system. But I think as Matrix is saying, the thing to bear in mind is that as computer specs have increased, plugins have grown to take advantage of all the extra power.


This is true. Mind you, I think a large variable is what OS you're using. Win7 is WAY more of a hog than XP ever was.

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.