#1
So right now im recording with an hp dv7 laptop which has been working well for me for the past two years, but my mom is going back to school for her masters and she said she wanted a laptop so i made a deal with her that i would give her my laptop if she would buy the parts for me to build a desktop. the budget is $500 so if you guys have some home builds that you have done that work well for you let me know, any advice is appreciated. Im also planning on installing windows seven and im open to either intel or amd processors, but i plan on it being at least quad core.
#2
Check out Newegg.com. You're going to want a processor in the $175-200 range. (The CPU [aka processor] will be your most expensive part.) Get 16GB of RAM. You'll want Make sure your motherboard is compatible with 16GB of RAM and your processor type. (For instance, an Intel type processor is only compatible with Intel type motherboards.) You'll need a 500W power supply, a mid size case, and an optical drive. Of course, I assume you know you'll need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

So, get on newegg.com and find all of that within your budget.
#5
Do you need monitor, mouse, keyboard or operating system?
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#7
It used to be true that you could build your own for cheaper, but not now. Just go buy something off the shelf. Seriously.

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.
#8
Quote by axemanchris
It used to be true that you could build your own for cheaper, but not now. Just go buy something off the shelf. Seriously.

CT

Actually, you're still better off building your own. You can get the parts you need and not have to pay for all the other shiny stuff that you don't need. You could probably build a good computer for recording for $600, assuming you didn't also want to play newer games on it.
#9
$500 is pushing it for a quad core processor when you're also asking for peripherals. You may have to forgo a dedicated GPU and just use the onboard graphics, which are not too bad either. It would be ideal to shoot for at least $600-700.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#10
@Xiaoxi:
Well, if he's never going to use a dedicated GPU, then he might as well not buy one.

Even so, $500 is pushing it, I agree.
#11
Heh...

For less than $300, you can get a brand-new off-the-shelf computer with Windows 7 Home Premium (which costs $229 on its own...) already installed that will beat the specs that my computer has, and for the most part, will beat the specs that anybody almost anywhere was using four years ago for recording, and who was doing so perfectly well.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/acer-acer-aspire-x-ax3950-desktop-computer-intel-core-i3-540-4gb-ram-500gb-hdd-windows-7-ax3950-eb20p/10208828.aspx?path=08c0e176190bfe685be274d72563ad99en02&SearchPageIndex=1

My computer is a Win7 AMD Athlon 64 dual-core (Windsor) - somewhere around 2Ghz - with 4GB of RAM. I have never run out of tracks or processing power for basic audio recording, and I work at 24-bit/44.1khz with projects upwards to 36 tracks sometimes. When it starts getting pecky is when I have a lot of VST instruments happening. I got mine used for less than $200.

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Mar 28, 2013,
#12
^Same specs here. Recording without vsts at all, just your usual plugins, takes little CPU. When you add amp sims, vst drummers etc AND need low latency then it's getting tougher. To be honest RAM is never a problem for me. 4 GB is enough, even for using multiple VSTs. But it's cheap anyway.
#14
Quote by axemanchris
Heh...

For less than $300, you can get a brand-new off-the-shelf computer with Windows 7 Home Premium (which costs $229 on its own...) already installed that will beat the specs that my computer has, and for the most part, will beat the specs that anybody almost anywhere was using four years ago for recording, and who was doing so perfectly well.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/acer-acer-aspire-x-ax3950-desktop-computer-intel-core-i3-540-4gb-ram-500gb-hdd-windows-7-ax3950-eb20p/10208828.aspx?path=08c0e176190bfe685be274d72563ad99en02&SearchPageIndex=1

My computer is a Win7 AMD Athlon 64 dual-core (Windsor) - somewhere around 2Ghz - with 4GB of RAM. I have never run out of tracks or processing power for basic audio recording, and I work at 24-bit/44.1khz with projects upwards to 36 tracks sometimes. When it starts getting pecky is when I have a lot of VST instruments happening. I got mine used for less than $200.

CT
If you use a lot of effects (like I do), a dual-core processor with 4GB of RAM will start to fail you. Another thing is, if you try record 2 instruments at once, it will probably lag on you (which is why I'm building a new PC). Quite simply, a $300 PC does NOT have the processor power or RAM to do anything beyond the basics.

Also, how many tracks do you run? If you can't run 25+ (with several VSTi's and effects on many of them, as well as VST drums), then there's no point, to someone like me, in buying a $300 PC.

Quote by Sethis
^Same specs here. Recording without vsts at all, just your usual plugins, takes little CPU. When you add amp sims, vst drummers etc AND need low latency then it's getting tougher. To be honest RAM is never a problem for me. 4 GB is enough, even for using multiple VSTs. But it's cheap anyway.

On top of amp sims, I also have saturation plugins and a gate plugin. It all adds up to ridiculous amounts of lag. The main thing is processor power, but more RAM does speed things up.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 28, 2013,
#15
i appreciate all the info. i think im gonna save up a couple hundred more to throw in on the build. i do need something more powerful because i run a lot of tracks that have chains with multiple plugins and i also run a lot of custom plugins made with max. i mostly make ambient music so i use a lot of effects and custom built plugins for realtime audio manipulation.
Last edited by zosomagik94 at Mar 28, 2013,
#16
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
If you use a lot of effects (like I do), a dual-core processor with 4GB of RAM will start to fail you.


I don't use a ton of effects. I use what I need. No more... but no less. It hasn't failed me yet. Ever.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

Another thing is, if you try record 2 instruments at once, it will probably lag on you (which is why I'm building a new PC). Quite simply, a $300 PC does NOT have the processor power or RAM to do anything beyond the basics.

Also, how many tracks do you run? If you can't run 25+ (with several VSTi's and effects on many of them, as well as VST drums), then there's no point, to someone like me, in buying a $300 PC.


I can record 16 tracks at a time with no lagging, though usually, I don't do any more than ten at a time. Most of my projects are around 16 tracks or so, but I've done a significant number that have been upwards to 36 tracks. No problem.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

On top of amp sims, I also have saturation plugins and a gate plugin. It all adds up to ridiculous amounts of lag. The main thing is processor power, but more RAM does speed things up.


Gates are nothing. Saturation isn't usually that demanding either. The most demanding plugs are reverbs. "Best practice" suggests that you don't use a bunch of different reverbs on a mix, but instead, one reverb (mostly at least) so that your music is placed into one kind of physical space, and set up via an aux send/return.

What I would suggest for you is getting a better interface that supports zero-latency monitoring. It sounds like, with the way your system is set up, that you're using your processing power inefficiently. You shouldn't have to work your system as hard as it sounds like you 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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Mar 29, 2013,
#17
My old machine had a dual core 2.7GHz AMD CPU with 4GB RAM... at times I found myself mixing in up to four simultaneous project files within Reaper to allow my PC to keep up, there was no way it could process all that in real-time. Now I'm running a quad-core Intel i5 2500k overclocked to 4.5GHz with 8GB of 1600MHz memory, running on an SSD, and I've still had it pushed to the limit at times. I suppose it simply depends on how you mix, but by no means out of the question that somebody could need more power than is offered by a machine with 5 year-old technology, even if some do get by with that.
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#18
You can build an AMD 6 core Phenom FX-6100 based computer with 8 gb of RAM, a 1tb HDD and Windows 8 for like $350. Then add a decent sized monitor for $100 and a keyboard/mouse bundle and you have a computer that almost benchmarks as high as my Core i5 system with 16 gb of RAM and a SSD. I just built that exact rig for my parents for Christmas and that thing has some serious horsepower at the price I paid.

I'd never buy a dual core computer anymore. No point really when you can get a quad Athlon for like $70. My old laptop with a Core 2 Duo is pretty depressing when it comes to using any of my newer plugins. The computer was top of the line back in 2008, cost $1500. Now the little $350 quad core AMD laptops slaughter it in performance. A quad processor with 8+ gigs of RAM is ideal. Unless you're running stock plugins with no real GUI, you'll need the processing power, and especially the RAM if you're running things like Superior Drummer, Slate VTM/VCC/FG-X, etc.
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#19
Quote by axemanchris
Gates are nothing. Saturation isn't usually that demanding either. The most demanding plugs are reverbs. "Best practice" suggests that you don't use a bunch of different reverbs on a mix, but instead, one reverb (mostly at least) so that your music is placed into one kind of physical space, and set up via an aux send/return.

Amp sims are A LOT, on the other hand, especially since I'm also using LeCab2 to run 3 "cabs". Keep in mind, I'm also recording 2 guitars at once on 2 tracks at once. It gives me a very full sound.

But I quite simply cannot record long songs. It's quite tedious to record and then have to run over to Soundcloud to hear if it captured what you want. I need more processing power and more RAM. End of story.

I still practice recording on this machine, but it's not what I need to record a good sounding demo EP, which for the forseeable future is my goal.

What I would suggest for you is getting a better interface that supports zero-latency monitoring. It sounds like, with the way your system is set up, that you're using your processing power inefficiently. You shouldn't have to work your system as hard as it sounds like you are.

1) It's 32 bit, so the PC naturally uses RAM inefficiently. 2) For what I'm doing, yes, you would have to have a lot processing power and more RAM. It's great that you don't need all that much power. I DO!

Btw, I use a Sapphire 6, which does support zero-latency monitoring, iirc.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 29, 2013,
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Amp sims are A LOT, on the other hand, especially since I'm also using LeCab2 to run 3 "cabs". Keep in mind, I'm also recording 2 guitars at once on 2 tracks at once. It gives me a very full sound.


True enough. Amp sims can be demanding. I think anything that relies on impulse responses is.

Now, your method...

So, are you plugging your guitar directly into your interface, and trying to monitor through an amp sim in real time? Using two different guitars and three different cabinets? At once?

Okay, my computer would doubtfully handle that. I don't know. I'm just curious about your methodology.

I'd use a DI box (assuming I wasn't just going to just mic my amp and be done with it...) to tap a clean feed from my guitar into the computer for either running through a sim or reamping later. The other output of the DI box would go to either a little practice amp or a Pod/V-Amp or whatever for monitoring. Once I have my clean guitar tracks in the computer, I can fiddle with them all day long if I want to, using however many amp sims and cabs as what pleases me.

Perhaps this is why.... \/

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

But I quite simply cannot record long songs.


So, am I inferring correctly that, even despite the significantly more processing power you have, your computer will eventually start dropping out because it can't keep up with it all... you know.... sooner or later? If so, the above solution (or something similar) would really help you take a load off.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

It's quite tedious to record and then have to run over to Soundcloud to hear if it captured what you want.


Huh? You can't just play it back in your DAW through your amp sim plugins??

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

Btw, I use a Sapphire 6, which does support zero-latency monitoring, iirc.


Of course, as soon as you're trying to monitor through plugins, there is no such thing as zero-latency monitoring.

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.
#22
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My new desktop build...I'm looking at throwing this in it. So, 4 cores and much more power. I'd rather not get a kit, as I'm custom building my new desktop for both recording and games. It'll cost me about $650, but it'll last me quite 5 years probably (without a significant upgrade). And since it's a desktop, I can always just upgrade as needed.


Quote by axemanchris
True enough. Amp sims can be demanding. I think anything that relies on impulse responses is.

Now, your method...

So, are you plugging your guitar directly into your interface, and trying to monitor through an amp sim in real time? Using two different guitars and three different cabinets? At once?

I don't generally monitor with the amp sims/cab sims in real time. But I get the lag as soon as I turn them on. I have zero issues recording both guitars clean; that works just fine.

Basically, after getting the initial recording, I turn on the amp sims/cab sims for 2 guitars at once and try to play back, which then lags. If I add drum tracks and bass tracks, it obviously lags even more. In order to get decent play back, I actually have to render the track and throw it up on Soundcloud (or a similar site).

Okay, my computer would doubtfully handle that. I don't know. I'm just curious about your methodology.

I'd use a DI box (assuming I wasn't just going to just mic my amp and be done with it...) to tap a clean feed from my guitar into the computer for either running through a sim or reamping later. The other output of the DI box would go to either a little practice amp or a Pod/V-Amp or whatever for monitoring. Once I have my clean guitar tracks in the computer, I can fiddle with them all day long if I want to, using however many amp sims and cabs as what pleases me.

I use studio headphones for monitoring. Other than that, my methodology is pretty much the same as yours.


So, am I inferring correctly that, even despite the significantly more processing power you have, your computer will eventually start dropping out because it can't keep up with it all... you know.... sooner or later? If so, the above solution (or something similar) would really help you take a load off.

No, no...you misunderstand I think. My current PC has very little processing power. It uses a shitty Intel corei3. Look up the i3-2310M, if you wish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i3_microprocessors

Also, keep in mind, when you only have 4MB of RAM (of which, only 3.16MB is used because it's a 32 bit OS), you don't have a lot of speed.
I even have issues running games like Skyrim at times, which I suspect is mainly due to the RAM. Not that I mind, because I can usually run Skyrim (on low graphic settings) with no issues, but there are times where it lags briefly.

Huh? You can't just play it back in your DAW through your amp sim plugins??

As soon as I turn on those plug-ins...instant lag. It will not play back in the DAW with plug-ins and without lagging.


Of course, as soon as you're trying to monitor through plugins, there is no such thing as zero-latency monitoring.
Well, true. But I generally monitor through studio headphones, as I said. I also use the headphones for playback, if that makes any difference.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 31, 2013,
#23
I get some real crap lagging on my lappy i5 (same as a desktop i3) when I have more than 2 guitar tracks with TS-999, HyBrit, and LeCab with 1 impulse, and 2 bass tracks (1 with a low pass at 300 in ReaEQ, the other with TS-999, B.O.D v1, and ReaEQ with a high pass at 500)

Yet here I am with my desktop and I only get lag when I try to modify stuff in real time during playback. And I have 80 tracks and 100 effects (according to REAPER's count) and I'm using a Phenom II x4 and 8GB RAM.

I don't know how I could mix on a weaker system.
#24
@crazysam - So the lag only occurs on playback, then. Have you tried increasing the buffers? If you're using direct monitoring (or zero-latency monitoring), then the buffer size doesn't induce latency.

Also, can you "freeze" the track (that's the language in Cubase... render the track, then turn off - but not remove - the VST effects) to improve processing power.

And - absolute worst-case scenario - render the song to a single stereo track and play it back using Win Media Player, or iTunes or whatever. I mean, why do you have to upload it to soundcloud just to play it back to hear what it sounds like?

Your i3 processor should be faster than my AMD x64 Windsor processor, and my system is 32-bit too, so my 4GB of RAM is under the same limitations.

@chatterbox - 80 tracks and 100 plugins?! What the hell are you recording? The next Def Leppard album? But really.... holy crap. That's not 80 separate tracks of audio is it? I can see how a 24-track project can quickly get upwards to 40 tracks once you factor in aux buses for drums, an aux bus for your main reverb, a couple more aux buses for parallel compression, and then your rhythm tracks assigned to a group track, etc. But 80 actual tracks... what are you doing?

And how do you find room in a mix for 80 tracks without them all stepping on each other and choking each other out? (yeah, I'm assuming you'll have some double-tracking, and some other things like layers and stuff... but 80 tracks... I can't imagine.)

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Mar 31, 2013,
#25
Quote by axemanchris
@chatterbox - 80 tracks and 100 plugins?! What the hell are you recording? The next Def Leppard album? But really.... holy crap. That's not 80 separate tracks of audio is it? I can see how a 24-track project can quickly get upwards to 40 tracks once you factor in aux buses for drums, an aux bus for your main reverb, a couple more aux buses for parallel compression, and then your rhythm tracks assigned to a group track, etc. But 80 actual tracks... what are you doing?

And how do you find room in a mix for 80 tracks without them all stepping on each other and choking each other out? (yeah, I'm assuming you'll have some double-tracking, and some other things like layers and stuff... but 80 tracks... I can't imagine.)

CT

A Mayday Parade cover I got of Ultimate Metal actually. I'm in REAPER so all my folders, busses, etc. I just call tracks but I'll break it down.
01 Reverb Master
--02 Ambience (a fairly small room reverb)
--03 Room (a larger reverb)
04 Vocal Master
--05 Verse Vocals Master
----06 Verse Vocals 1
----07 Verse Vocals 2
--08 Chorus Vocals Master
----09 Chorus Vocals 1
----10 Chorus Vocals 2
--11 Verse Harmonies Master
----12 Verse Harmonies 1
----13 Verse Harmonies 2
--14 Chorus Harmonies Master
----15 Chorus Harmonies 1
----16 Chorus Harmonies 2
--17 Chorus HIGH Harmonies Master
----18 Chorus HIGH Harmonies 1
----19 Chorus HIGH Harmonies 2
--20 Chorus Woah
----21 Chorus Woah Right
----22 Chorus Woah Left
--23 Call and Answer Vocals
24 Guitar Master
--25 Acoustics Master
----26 Acoustic 1
----27 Acoustic 2
--28 Lead Master
----29 Lead 1
----30 Lead 2
--31 Clean Master
----32 Clean Guitar 1
----33 Clean Guitar 2
----34 Clean Guitar 2nd Verse Harmony
--35 Chorus Octaves Master
----36 Chorus Octaves Left
----37 Chorus Octaves Right
--38 Rhythm Guitars Master
----39 Rhythm Guitars Left Master
------40 Rhythm Guitar Left Main
------41 Rhythm Guitar Left Double
----42 Rhythm Guitars Right Master
------43 Rhythm Guitars Right Main
------44 Rhythm Guitars Right Double
45 Bass Guitar Master
--46 Bass Clean Low End
--47 Bass Dirty Midrange
48 Drum Kit Master (This is mostly bounced SD2.0)
--49 Hats/Overheads
----50 Hi Hats
----51 Overhead bleed
----52 Overhead Crash 1
----53 Overhead Crash 2
----54 Overhead Ride
--55 Toms
----56 Mounted Tom 1
----57 Mounted Tom 2
----58 Mounted Tom 3
----59 Floor Tom 1
----60 Floor Tom 2
--61 Snare Drum
----62 Snare Reverb
----63 Snare Bottom
----64 Distorted Snare
----65 1176 Snare (or at least that's what I believe SD's SnareFX track is)
----66 Snare Top
----67 Sampled Snare 1
----68 Sampled Snare 2
--69 Kick Drum
----70 Internal Mic Clicky
----71 Internal Mic Lows
----72 Subkick
----73 Sampled Kick
--74 Ambience
----75 Brauner Ambience
----76 Bullet Ambience
----77 Far Ambience
----78 Middle Ambience
----79 Near Ambience
--80 Drum Sample Host

Usually I wouldn't split the overheads but I thought I'd try it this time so I did (and ended up foldering it all and treating it like 1 stereo track anyway). It doesn't seem quite as ridiculous when you look at it and see things like 32 being drum tracks, and every vocal part being split into two tracks and foldered under a third.
I rendered out all the amp sims except the 2nd verse clean guitar, so most of the effects are just instances of ReaEQ, and Audiocation AC1.

It's probably just that I like to have everything nice, neat, and organised in my DAW so I folder everything. That way when I say the drums need to be louder I go to the drum master and turn it up, or when someone tells me the verse vocals are very nasal sounding (this actually happened) I can EQ out some 1kHz on those.

Here's a link to the final (as of now) mix/master of it if you want to hear how 80 tracks fits in a mix (or if you feel kind enough to give me feedback): https://soundcloud.com/brad-ezard/when-you-see-my-friends-v2-5
A bunch of my previous mixes of the same tracks are there too, it was pretty hard to work with when I started it but after a week and a half of back and forthing between people for crit, and adjusting and tweaking it started to be a bit more manageable.
Last edited by chatterbox272 at Mar 31, 2013,
#26
^This is not a good way to mix

More tracks and isolated parameter does not necessarily mean better control of the mix. Professionals working with a more complex mix have less tracks and effects than you do. There's a point where it becomes counterproductive, and your setup is way past that point. There are so many tracks and DSPs in there that can be compacted and routed more efficiently.

Your tracks are so unwieldy and clearly, it negatively affects the result. From the soundcloud, the "more tracks = better mix" idea is not reflected at all. In fact, I hear a poor mix with guitars fighting for space against vocals and other things, and drums that are weak and buried. Not surprising, seeing as how convoluted the setup is. You need to completely rework your approach to mixing.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 31, 2013,
#27
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**Explanation of why I should mix differently

I don't know, I think I could explain it out but I don't want to threadjack too much. I think I might make a new thread and see what everyone thinks about it (including full explanations of why it's foldered like that).