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Update: What am I doing with the aforementioned $10K?

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  • Update: What am I doing with the aforementioned $10K?

    I'm ordering my dedicated digital audio computer tomorrow (one more addition of a carbon fiber case and a smart media reader today), but once those are priced into the deal, the order goes through.

    I was reading through my post a ways down this page and it was interesting to see how many of you influenced some of my decisions. Your input is much appreciated.

    One unexpected twist was my revised decision to go with Cubase VST/32 5.1. There are many factors that add up to that and surprisingly many have to do with hardware. I know there are many loyal Logic users around these parts, and I was really leaning that way. Buried in a lot of tech specs, compatibility software to software and software to hardware, and in demoing 5.1 itself vs. Logic Platinum, there were several good reasons to go the way I did.

    If anyone is interested, here is what I ended up choosing after my typical insane researching:
    Intel Pentium 4 1.8 GHz w/400MHz system bus
    Asus motherboard
    Intel i845 chipset
    1,024 MB Ultra-Fast PC-133 SDRAM
    Matrox G-450 32 MB video card (supports dual monitors)
    20 GHz Seagate 7,200rpm ATA-100 removable hard drive (for audio O/S)
    20 GHz Seagate 7,200rpm ATA-100 removable hard drive (for office O/S)
    60 GHz Seagate 7,200rpm ATA-100 removable hard drive (for stored audio files)
    Plextor 24X CD-R/W drive
    1.44 MB Floppy drive
    Microsoft internet keyboard
    Optical Mouse
    Smart Media reader
    300W P/S carbon fiber case (3 fans hushed)
    Aardvark Q-10
    Steinberg Midex 8
    Cubase VST/32 Producer Pack
    Cakewalk Pro Audio 9
    Windows ME w/free XP upgrade

    The two 20 gig drives are removable. Which ever one is placed in the "hot" cage can be booted. The one not in use can be inserted in a dummy storage space below. (The audio system will have no extraneous software whatsoever to maintain optimum reliability and speed.) If I want to pay bills or play a game at blazing speed on this puppy, I will need to swap drives.

    I have not settled on a pair of (video) monitors yet. Once I can get up to speed on getting around in this format, I have my eye on other software like Halion, Reason, Acid and Sample Tank. I'm holding on those for now as I have enough learning curve to last me well into next year as it is.

    BTW, I just got a Yamaha Motif 7 and couldn't be more please with it. (I don't know if I'm counting this toward the $10K as I needed to updated my circa late 1980's Korg T1 workstation anyway.) The Motif has a USB interface for the computer (cool) and the onboard sequencer controls can be assigned to remote control up to 16 sequencer tracks on the computer (very cool). For laying down scratch tracks, I can start, stop, punch in, etc. all on the Motif and get it all in the computer simultaneously. I can then screw with the midi or audio to my hearts content, and send the results back to trigger the Motif or anything else (and that is just part of the new benefits).

    Can you tell I'm psyched? The Q-10 comes with software to control a "virtual" patchpay onscreen. No more patching. I should be able to plug everything into the midi or audio inputs between the Midex 8 and the Q-10 and handle everything completely in the digital domain, until I choose to shoot out for some of my rack gear. The preamps on the Q-10 are amazing. The A/Ds and D/As too. The Midex 8 eliminates all the inherent midi latency issues by handling the timing onboard with its own processor, and as you would expect, really works well with Cubase.

    I am going to treat myself to a nice studio console to put it all in (one that will accomodate rack spaces and room for the two video monitors and at least a pair of Mackie 824s), but I won't even come close to $10K. The computer will come in around $4K and even if I get all the other software I'm looking at down the road, I still won't get close. Nevertheless, I think I will have a system that can give me 24/96 over at least 24 tracks with effects, verbs, etc. on every track, with never a blink. Not bad. More than I need.

    Thanks to all who put me on the path, I owe you. Once I get up to speed, I'll be looking at exploring some online collaborating (Stu, I think, and others), and I remain wideopen in the meantime to plugin, software, hardware recommendations to make the most of this new tool.

  • #2
    Sounds nice. Hold onto that Windows ME system disk, and think twice about converting to XP. I'd suggest a DVD burner or an extra swappable hard drive so that you can back up entire projects. If your 60 Gig HD goes down with alot of stuff on it you might get suicidal. Don't put an extra sound card in your machine. I had two and had nothing but problems until I removed one. Where did you get the carbon fiber case? I have this ridiculous metal server case from Boomrack (horizontal rack mount style)that must weigh 20 lbs with nothing in it. I'd like to take my setup to band rehearsal and a few gigs, but I would want to put it all in a rolling gig rack, but the weight of the computer and rack alone will be too much for me to carry up and down the basement stairs.


    • #3
      Sounds like you're on your way, Doc. Congratulations! I was curious, tho... If you wanna spring for the carbon fiber case w/3 quiet fans, why not drop about $180 on a liquid-cooled case with no fans? Absolutely dead quiet, and better cooling to boot.


      P.S. - Glad you went ahead and opted for the gig of RAM. You won't regret it!

      Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bagman:
        Sounds nice. Hold onto that Windows ME system disk, and think twice about converting to XP.
        Oh yeah. There are some beta drivers for some of the stuff, but not all, and I'll definitely wait until someone else shakes out all the bugs.
        I'd suggest a DVD burner or an extra swappable hard drive so that you can back up entire projects. If your 60 Gig HD goes down with alot of stuff on it you might get suicidal.
        I'm going to see about backing up to CDs also, but am considering another (4th) Seagate drive for this purpose. I'm assured it is not necessary, but will remain cautiously optimistic for now.
        Don't put an extra sound card in your machine. I had two and had nothing but problems until I removed one.
        Yep. I was going to put a soundblaster in (because some games just don't know better), but I don't want to risk the potential confusion/conflicts. If a game or something else can't use my Q-10, it doesn't make the cut and won't be on my computer.
        Where did you get the carbon fiber case?
        The custom shop building the computer is supplying it. I believe it is Japanese made (Fuji something) but not sure, I'll ask. I do know it weighs 9 pounds.


        • #5
          Originally posted by fartnokker:
          Sounds like you're on your way, Doc. Congratulations! I was curious, tho... If you wanna spring for the carbon fiber case w/3 quiet fans, why not drop about $180 on a liquid-cooled case with no fans? Absolutely dead quiet, and better cooling to boot.
          I know it may not seem so in some respects, but I did have to draw the line somewhere. Heck, I've never even heard of that. The case and fans that I have is the same stuff that most television and movie studios use in their computer audio systems.

          P.S. - Glad you went ahead and opted for the gig of RAM. You won't regret it!
          I wonder what may have possessed me to do that? Thanks for your advice.


          • #6
            O.K. I'm getting closer. I finally decided on the (video) monitors. Went with two 19" graphics monitors and they have arrived. I'm still waiting on a second shelf so I can place the second one on the workstation I chose (also arrived and assembled but sans one extra shelf as requested). The computer itself is being built and should be tested and ready in a few weeks if all goes smoothly.

            I broke down and ordered another pair of Mackie 824s today (I do 75% of my mixing on my current pair and love them, and as far as I can tell the new ones although now THX rated, [whoopee] are otherwise not noticeably changed--hence I refused to pay more than the going rate was before the THX rating...George Lucas can kiss my a$$). They are promised within a week.

            I did spring for a UPS/surge protector for the computer stuff and a couple of Furmans for the other music gear, and will have to replace the dimmer lamps in the room of course. But just about everything major to do with this computer recording stuff is ordered and most has arrived.

            All that remains are a few odds and ends like the lighting; a nice comfy chair and chair mat, moving a ton of cables around, some acoustic treatment, a helluva lot of cleaning up, and the computer itself to arrive and be wired in.

            So...if you start seeing some particularly dumb questions from me in this forum soon, please understand that I will probably have been laughed off of several of the recording sites I frequent, so please go easy on me. (i.e. Whaddys mean that thingie that pops out when I hit that button on the computer ain't a cup holder?)


            • #7
              Man, that sounds like a killer rig !!



              • #8
                We need pics when it is all done. If you need computer advice, let me know.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FloridaDrummer:
                  We need pics when it is all done.
                  Here's what it looks like so far:

                  I zoomed in to crop out most of the displaced crap now scattered everywhere else. As you can see the second video monitor has nothing to sit on yet, and the Mackies and the computer are yet to arrive. The Vs have a new home by the bay window, (closer to the other gear and to free up some room...you can just see them on the right in the first pic). I'm going chair shopping today and will be ordering some acoustic foam and diffusers, etc., this weekend. I'll get a couple of good pics when it is all set up.

                  Originally posted by FloridaDrummer:
                  If you need computer advice, let me know.
                  Bless you. I will, and I will. Thanks.

                  [This message has been edited by dr. kildrum (edited December 28, 2001).]


                  • #10
                    Hi Dr Kildrum ,

                    Great looking studio set-up . Only just come across this discussion and though it is probably to late and not trying to cause any grief would question the Ardvark soundcard. Think you would be/would have been ,better off with a Hammerfall card and an Yamaha 01v mixer.......or 2 Hammerfalls and the new Behringer digital mixer.Can't quite tell what mixer it is in the pictures , looks good whatever it is !
                    Studio looks lovely and light though you need to banish the exercise gear to the bedroom !!!!????? The only things that need exercise in a studio is ones brain and ears .

                    Good luck and let us hear some compositions when / if you're ready .

                    Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.


                    • #11
                      Hi Bob,

                      I think the Q-10 may surprise you. It did me in head to head comparisons. The pre's are unbelievable. The virtual patchbay is another feature that I love, and the performance rivals anything I have tested. (At one time I was interested in a Hammerfall system from AC, FWIW.) But anyone who knows me can attest that I am a pretty meticulous researcher. If I thought there was a better combo for my purposes out there (with the exception of a full blown Pro Tools type hardware/software setup which is more than I want to cut my teeth on), I would have got it. Much of what I chose has as much to do with the components working together as it does with the individual components.

                      Anyway, many of the decisions to this point have been calculated toward trying to keep everything "in the computer" so to speak. That way, I can objectively evaluate each effect, plugin, synth, etc., in the computer environment unassisted and decide what works as well as the rackmount counterparts and what does not. I am a semi-retired pro with a good bit of recording experience and a ton of gear already. Incorporating the computer (other than my affiliations with some pro studios running Pro Tools) is just a long overdue catch-up for me. I purposefully want it set up on its own without the crutch of my digital mixer, Avalon EQ, etc., etc., for purposes of learning, comparing, and evaluating (for now). In fact, I am not planning on using the 8 bus mixer you see (unless I have to), but will rather be adding a Steinberg Houston or Sak2K control surface (gotta have faders and knobs but still want the mixing actually accomplished on board the PC).

                      I will be testing all things computer and comparing and learning for some time. When I am ready, I will incorporate what makes sense into my workflow.

                      As for hearing my music, it is my sincere hope that you already have as it has been my good fortune to have recorded and toured with a lot of folks over the years. But more on point, as I will soon (its about time) have ready access to converting stuff to MP3s, I will no doubt not be able to resist the temptation to sneak a few tidbits of solo stuff out or answer those compression, EQ, etc. questions with an aural example or two.

                      I am also looking forward to investigating Rocket Network, and who knows, maybe we will work together some time.


                      • #12
                        hey doc -

                        looks very nice. i just picked up a MO6 myself and am having a blast with it. it's a fantastic little workstation. fun for both my very rudimentary piano/theory studies and triggering my acoustic kit from. the drum patches are pretty good!

                        btw, i also went for cubase after trying out logic. for me, it came down to usability and i found that VST was easier to use and move around in.

                        rock on ...


                        • #13
                          motifator is a great site; the information contained therein was very helpful in making my purchase decision. i even registered for my dvd guide - i think i remember you posting somewhere that you thought it was pretty good? i am still learning the ins and outs of the MO and have found the manual to be pretty dense, even for a technical type such as myself. sounds like this video could be useful in that regard.

                          I haven't had time to map the TD-10 to trigger drums in the Motif but I will be doing it, there are some surprisingly nice sounds to be had as you say and the LTB of my Midex 8 allows me to trigger via MIDI with no detectable latency, I'm already having fun with that.
                          very interesting. so you can actually trigger the MO through your DAW and from the td-10 with no noticeable latency? pretty excellent. out of curiousity, what's the advantage vs running midi out the td-10 through the mo into the DAW?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by c. jude:
                            If I want to listen to MIDI that I recorded using the V's say, or even play the V's in real time using sounds from the MO or one of my drum machines (or whatever), I can reroute at the DAW with just a mouse click or two (virtual patching). I (in theory) never have to repatch a MIDI or audio connection and handle everything at the DAW.[/B]
                            this precisely answers my question - why was it more advantageous to have your DAW control all of your MIDI i/o rather then chain all of your midi devices together using MIDI THRU. now i understand - virtual patching!

                            i am a midi novice thus far, and have never used more then one midi device at a time with my DAW so i haven't needed that functionality so far. i soon will, i expect, i and i was curious as to why you took the decisions you did.


                            [This message has been edited by digitsone (edited February 12, 2002).]


                            • #15
                              Hey dr you have a great studio there!!
                              to v or not to v?