Hello all,
Due to a recent self-evaluation, I decided that I want to build a recording studio in the near future. Today I've already went up to sam ash/guitar center to learn what all i'd need for actually everything going into the computer, but that leaves me stuck. I don't know what I want/need computer wise.
I've decided i'm going to be using Ableton Live & Record/Reason to start off, if that matters.
I want to be able to record an entire band playing, along with the drum set being fully mic'd. All that fun stuff going on simultaneously in real time and what-not.

I don't want a mac, and I'm open to idea of building a computer. I'm just curious as to what i'd need to buy/replace in a computer to support this workload.

Also, i read somewhere that USB can be alittle laggy, is that true?

Any input/advice would help. I'd give myself a budget of 1-3k on the computer it self, though I'd like to build it myself for learning purposes.
This totally depends on what you want, i can give you my personal point of view...

I am currently using a computer which is like, 6 years old and it has got windows XP on it. It runs smooth as hell. I have to add to this, i have a very decent RME soundcard which has build in memory, so i dont use the CPU memory when using VST/Effects etc. I would certainly advice you to get an audio-card with this function. Because of the memory used by the audio card i dont have latency

Personally i dont like USB, but again... this is totally personal. To me an usb is just another thing in between the computer and the source. Instead of spending so much on the cpu i would invest like crazy in a soundcard. Oh and one thing to add... NEVER and i mean NEVER install anything newer than XP. Even XP uses resources you want to be free, but anything later than XP is using half your CPU for useless stuff.

For me, i use cubase always, for anything. If you are into dance kinda music probably your gonna like reason, or using rewire to use reason within cubase. If you like a cubase rip-off your gonna like Ableton. Ok,, it is way cheaper and got pretty much the same stuff, grand it.

So yeah, lots of options. But one thing is key and that is the soundcard. I have an RME HDSP 9648 on top of my head and i would highly reccomend that one. Than i record through an preamp which is an Univeral Audio solo610 which is a tube pre-amp and is great. Next to that i record my guitars and sounds through an Neumann TLM103 mic... But again this is totally personal.
Last edited by ridicilus at Dec 14, 2011,
Almost any port you use will introduce some latency to your audio. This only becomes a problem if you're monitoring real-time, of if you try to punch in for some precision editing. Some audio interfaces have gotten around this, by some clever designs. My Tascam US-2000, which is a USB 2.0 interface, has almost no lag at all. It's also a rackmount unit. I have a photo of it in my equipment photos.

What do you need for a computer? The best you can afford. Seriously. If you've got a $3000 budget, it would be real easy to use every bit of that to build or buy the PC.

- Fast motherboard
- Fastest/most RAM you can get
- Fastest hard drive with most capacity - 2 would be better. 1 for operating system and 1 for music.
- Quiet system for obvious reasons
- Wide range of interfaces - USB 2.0, 3.0 Firewire...

Remember, you're not building a gaming system, so an ultra-fast video card isn't important, but you still need a good one. Hope this helps.
Get a soundproofed case, I know the the fractal R3 is a good choice (The fractal XL is the larger brother but it has a slightly deeper hum). Get a quiet CPU cooler, quiet PSU (Fractal also make some good ones with a 5 year warranty) and card readers/CD drives and fan controller if you want more cooling with additional computer fans.
quietpc.com have a lot of stuff you'll need (I've bought from there and it's been good so far). A 64 bit operating system and lots of RAM. A dedicated internal soundcard. A core i5 will be adequate performance but if you can, get an i7.

If you're going to record a band, you might be better off getting a good mixer that connects with USB. USB is fine as the mixer will be doing all the work. Mixer to record>PC to edit. You can easily buy a music comuter <£1k which will give a good amount left for decent hardware.
You won't be needing dedicated graphics, but any passive graphics card will do. I think the i5 an i7 have inbuilt HD graphics anyway.
There's a good chance that what I've written above is useless and if you take any of the advice it's your own fault.
I want to add.... Get decent speakers. And i mean studio speakers! Next to that, make sure to treat your room properly!!!! You can have a 100.0000$ studio, but without proper treatment it is not worth very much
honestly you COULD approach it like a gaming computer because most gaming computers have high end specs anyway. Just a high end audio interface instead of video card. Although I'd still get a mid range card anyway. I wouldn't worry about trying to buy soundproofed cases and such. As long as you get a good aftermarket CPU cooler I think your case will be VERY quiet anyway. just my .02

i would also go AMD instead of Intel. More bang for buck processors at the moment.
Building a machine is definitely the way to go. The consumer markup is insane. You get an immeasurably better piece of kit when you build one yourself. While the normal high RAM and fastest CPU specs are important, there are much more important issues with a DAW pc.

DPC latency is THE biggest killer of audio and if yours doesn't comply you simply won't be able to work. The good thing is that most components now-a-days (people still say that, right?) have a perfectly fine DPC latency for most non-intensive sessions.

I'd say build good components, and know what type of interface you'll be working with and you should be quite pleased with what you build

I'd love to offer some more advice hit me up!
Audio Ecstasy Productions!

Guitar/Backline Tech in the Los Angeles area and on tour!
Custom guitar pedals and cabling for stage and studio!

I set up DAWs and tweak computers to record audio. Hit me up @ audioecstasyproductions[at}gmail.com