#1
I've got an 8 year old laptop (came with Windows Vista, now running Win 8.1). It's 64 bit and I'm running Reaper on it fine, but I think the overall work could go smoother. Using the laptop keyboard, mousepad, screen, all of it seems limiting to me. So I'm thinking about investing in a desktop system with two side-by-side flat screens.

Anyone have suggestions on what to look for or avoid? I'd prefer to avoid bloatware, but I'm not really tech-savvy, so I'm torn on building my own or getting a pre-fab system.

I'm also looking to do this cheaply, in the $500-$1,000 range.

Thanks,

Ken
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#2
I'd say for a recording PC, you'll want at least 8 GB RAM and a reliable high-capacity hard drive. Not sure about the CPU, because I don't know how well recording software takes advantage of multiple cores.

You might be better off asking the computer thread in The Pit, if you haven't already.
#3
this guy is extremely helpful, kind of local too but you'll learn a lot from his youtube series about mixing , recording and all.

this videos insightful too to answer your computer question as the easy answer is either "ooohhhh get a mac" or an extreme gaming computer. But this is a big step in the right direction as everything these days is pretty solderless these days.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uncK2ghtPtQ
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Aug 28, 2015,
#4
Quote by Tallwood13
this guy is a pretentious entertainer
FTFY

The stuff he suggests works but it's hardly good.
He suggests an AMD processor, and AMD processors aren't nearly as good as intel's - their multithreading sucks, they are inefficient, they have compatibility issues with drivers...
A 120GB SSD for $60 will not work good, there's no way around it, it'll either be slow or it will have a few r/w cycles or it will have a very poor controller, same thing goes for a 60$ 1TB HDD.

What this guy's doing is the equivalent of saying "get a pro recording setup for $600".
You will need
-behringer hardware
-behringer stuff
-a behringer audio interface
-a behringer pre
-more behringer stuff
And presto, here's your pro recording setup.

It will work of course, but it won't by any means be good.
Quote by Tallwood13
this videos insightful too to answer your computer question as the easy answer is either "ooohhhh get a mac"
A mac would be better for this tho you know.
Massively.

One might say mac's are overpriced, which is true if you only look at the hardware, but mac's come with mac os and tech support.
Now you may not like mac os' appearance, but you must recognize it does work better.
Better graphic efficiency, better graphics, better file system, hella better stability...

TS you should get a mac mini with the lowest clocked i7, at least 8GB of ram (check if you can add ram in the latest mini's), a 512GB SSD (or 256GB + a decent HDD, or a 1TB or 2TB fusion drive), and whatever monitor you can afford.

Or you could get an iMac with the cheapest graphic card so you'd have a good monitor already.
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#5
I'm running an old Dell XPS 420 at home on my 32-channel Presonus 32.4.2AI. The PC currently has 4 Gb of RAM and a 2.66 GHz quad-core CPU and it runs fine. I can record and play back 32-channels of audio via the Firewire 800 interface easily. I also have a Presonus 16.4.2 that I keep at church and use with my group. I use a Dell laptop to record and playback 16-channels of audio there. I'm running Windows 7 Pro on the home PC and Vista Pro on the laptop. My systems are stable and run fine - I've never had a problem with the PCs locking up or the software crashing.

The point is, you don't need the fanciest new computer, nor do you really need to rush out and buy an Apple. Buy a decent Windows PC with a good quad-core processor and the most RAM you can afford - 4 Gb is good, but as SPAM mentioned, 8 Gb would be even better. Try to get two hard drives installed in it - one for the OS and the other for audio files. Do a search on the internet for optimizing a PC for audio production and you'll be fine.
#6
  • Intel i7 ( minimum it will last you for YEARS to come )


  • SSD hard even a single 64 gig one for you working files are a must and get another for you OS and storeage and make sure your motherboard support SATA3


  • 8 gig of ram ( I would spend more unless you project are filling this up


Stay away from AMD you get what you pay for, & there a tons of benchmark site that prove it. PLUS software is optimized for Cpu's, ALL developers Optimize for intel's standards and library's, some do the extra & Optimize for AMD as well.

But if your software is not Optimize for your CPU the performance will be majorly impaired so it's far safer to get Intel.
Last edited by T4D at Aug 30, 2015,
#7
Nobody even mentioned sound card....?

My understanding is that you need something special to playback and record at the same time, at a minimum.

So, what are the recommendations in this respect?
#9
There are premade audio systems by reputable manufacturers, do a search and see if you can afford it. I saw some of the US based ones have systems around $1k.

AMD is perfectly fine, actually I used that for about 4 years as my main system and it was pretty much without a hitch. I think I had a 3.8 quad systems with 4gigs of ram on XP 32bit and it is rock solid. Now I've moved to Win 7 on laptop running i7 8GB RAM as I do more mobile productions now. That's also been fine. I managed to snag one with expansion slot where I put in a firewire expansion card. From what I see you can very rarely find that now. I think there might be one or two expensive Dell and Toshiba models that still have these cards. My laptop can support up to two external monitors, so far I need only one as I like to run the audio editor on one screen and the mixer on the other, so no need for 3 but it is a possibility. Maybe just get an extra monitor to start with and save up a bit more.

I used Apple laptop for years as well, and that was pretty solid on firewire. I had to ditch as Apple ditched me by stopping support for their older Motorola processors and all the other software makers followed suit.

Mac is a viable option though, I have friends on Mac Mini that do some really cool stuff running Digital Performer or Logic. If you don't want bloatware Mac is pretty good on keeping it simple. There's also a nice comfortable snap and fluidity to their OS that is missing in the Windows world.

It really depends on what kind of software you want to use but all the options are there.

If you go Windows it might be better to find a local PC builder, use an online audio PC vendor or DYI as you can keep the crap software to a minimum. You can also purchase your installation discs so you won't have to beg HP, Dell and the others to ship you one when your hard drive fails. I am saying when as most of the time I notice with heavy audio use the stock drives fail about a year into the life of the PC, just at the right time when your warranty has run out. This happened on my Mac and on my HP. The replacement drives that I've put in haven't failed yet (God Forbid!) but I do system images almost monthly.

I've also noticed that business PCs have less crap than the consumer versions of the same model, so it might make sense to purchase a business PC but these usually come with smaller drives and less ram.

In closing, I'd say that one thing you should invest is a suitable backup solution. I run Acronis True Image Home and it has been great. I usually keep a start image of my machines (think pretty clean factory install, nothing else with all DAW software loaded) and then a current latest image of the system. That way if a hard drive fails mid session I can go back a month and continue where I picked up.

I also usually back up my sessions in their folders as soon as they are finished in the current iteration.
#10
Quote by krm27
I've got an 8 year old laptop (came with Windows Vista, now running Win 8.1). It's 64 bit and I'm running Reaper on it fine, but I think the overall work could go smoother. Using the laptop keyboard, mousepad, screen, all of it seems limiting to me. So I'm thinking about investing in a desktop system with two side-by-side flat screens.

Anyone have suggestions on what to look for or avoid? I'd prefer to avoid bloatware, but I'm not really tech-savvy, so I'm torn on building my own or getting a pre-fab system.

I'm also looking to do this cheaply, in the $500-$1,000 range.

Thanks,

Ken


Much easier to record and mix with a good desktop with dual screen monitors. I use Dell XPS with i7 and 16 GB RAM. Record with the basic PreSonus starter kit, which includes Studio One 2 as DAW and Audiobox USB for interface. Works great. Although the Dell will work well out of the box, you'll need to tweak the settings to get it ready for music production. The manufacturer of the DAW usually has instructions on how to do this. Look for a deal on Groupon. I got the computer for about $850 tax included. Throw in the monitors and an adapter and you're looking at a little over $1,000. Add in the starter kit from PreSonus and tack on $200 more. Budget an extra $100 for cables and accesories and you're up to about $1,300. Very reasonable IMHO since I use this setup for both music and general computing.

Cheers and good luck.