Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Updating recording setup: seeking advice

Last response: in Home Audio
Share
Anonymous
July 28, 2005 3:48:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi,

Quite a few years ago, I set up a recording studio in my home with the
following components:

1) Kurzweil K2000 workstation
2) Roland VS-880 hard disk recorder
3) Cakewalk: Used for sequencing only (not digital audio)

At the time, the K2000 was the state-of-the-art workstation, and
Cakewalk and the K2000 was a powerful combination.
I would like to upgrade my setup to make it more computer-centric, but
I haven't kept up with the technology, and I would appreciate the
answers to a few questions:

1) I have heard rumours that all the functionality of modern standalone
keyboard workstations like the K2000 (including sample playback,
oscillator-generated sounds, and effects like reverb, chorus, etc.) can
now be found in computer software. Is this true? Can I essentially
replace my K2000 with a computer program and get the same amazing
variety of instrument patches and sound quality as the K2000? If this
is true, what is the class of application that provides this kind of
functionality, and what kind of hardware does it need to function?
Obviously, I would need some kind of MIDI controller (i.e., keyboard),
but what kind of peripherals do I need to connect to my computer? Do I
simply need an I/O card that does D/A conversion or do I need something
with onboard effects? Are there effects algorithms that live totally in
the software without the need of hardware support. If so, are these as
high quality as dedicated hardware effects? Any actual brand name
recommendations are welcome.

2) I would like to replace the VS-880 with a laptop computer. I am
planning on using Sonar (since I already have experience with Cakewalk)
for the digital audio recording and sequencing. What hardware do I
need to connect to my computer? I obviously need an I/O card that does
Digital/Analog conversion. Are there certain brands that are more
compatible with Sonar than others? Do these cards do anything else
other than D/A conversion? Does Sonar provide high quality built in
effects (reverb, etc.) or am I better off using dedicated hardware for
my effects?

I realize that these are a lot of questions, but the world of home
studio recording has changed quite a lot in the last ten years or so,
and I need to get back up to speed.

Thanks in advance!

--JB
Anonymous
July 28, 2005 5:58:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

When I look at the Sonar promotional material, the only digital samples
it seems to mention are "loops."
I don't see anything about sample playback, so obviously if there is an
application out there designed to replace a dedicated hardware synth,
it is not Sonar.
Do you have any idea what this application would be, or if it exists?
July 29, 2005 12:24:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

#1: Don't buy any computer hardware before you google its effectiveness in a
DAW. I can't stress this enough. Not all motherboards, processors, memory,
etc. are created equal with respect to any given soundcard. DAW software
pushes computer hardware to the limits of what it can do, and weaknesses
that don't affect a computer's effectiveness as a word processor can render
it useless for serious audio work.

#2: Be prepared to hear lots of seemingly contradictory opinions on the web
with respect to #1 above. Consider the source of each opinion you read
before you take it as gospel.

#3: Start with the website of the manufacturer of the soundcard/interface
you choose. Usually they'll have a hardware compatibility guide to tell you
what works

#4. Also check the sofware manuf. websites for discussion groups; you should
post a query about what hardware configurations are working well with that
company's product.

There, I just saved you several thousand dollars and hours of frustration.

You'll get my bill. :) 

malachi



<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1122576527.072324.148600@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Hi,
>
> Quite a few years ago, I set up a recording studio in my home with the
> following components:
>
> 1) Kurzweil K2000 workstation
> 2) Roland VS-880 hard disk recorder
> 3) Cakewalk: Used for sequencing only (not digital audio)
>
> At the time, the K2000 was the state-of-the-art workstation, and
> Cakewalk and the K2000 was a powerful combination.
> I would like to upgrade my setup to make it more computer-centric, but
> I haven't kept up with the technology, and I would appreciate the
> answers to a few questions:
>
> 1) I have heard rumours that all the functionality of modern standalone
> keyboard workstations like the K2000 (including sample playback,
> oscillator-generated sounds, and effects like reverb, chorus, etc.) can
> now be found in computer software. Is this true? Can I essentially
> replace my K2000 with a computer program and get the same amazing
> variety of instrument patches and sound quality as the K2000? If this
> is true, what is the class of application that provides this kind of
> functionality, and what kind of hardware does it need to function?
> Obviously, I would need some kind of MIDI controller (i.e., keyboard),
> but what kind of peripherals do I need to connect to my computer? Do I
> simply need an I/O card that does D/A conversion or do I need something
> with onboard effects? Are there effects algorithms that live totally in
> the software without the need of hardware support. If so, are these as
> high quality as dedicated hardware effects? Any actual brand name
> recommendations are welcome.
>
> 2) I would like to replace the VS-880 with a laptop computer. I am
> planning on using Sonar (since I already have experience with Cakewalk)
> for the digital audio recording and sequencing. What hardware do I
> need to connect to my computer? I obviously need an I/O card that does
> Digital/Analog conversion. Are there certain brands that are more
> compatible with Sonar than others? Do these cards do anything else
> other than D/A conversion? Does Sonar provide high quality built in
> effects (reverb, etc.) or am I better off using dedicated hardware for
> my effects?
>
> I realize that these are a lot of questions, but the world of home
> studio recording has changed quite a lot in the last ten years or so,
> and I need to get back up to speed.
>
> Thanks in advance!
>
> --JB
>
Related resources
July 29, 2005 2:52:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I think Sonar comes bundled with a software sampler that is supposed to be
pretty good. I stopped updating my Sonar with v. 2.

I've used Sonar since it was known as Cakewalk Pro Audio. This year I
decided to switch to Pro Tools LE with a Digi002r.

I've found Pro Tools LE to be somewhat less user friendly than Sonar, but
the bottom line is that I'm much happier with the sound quality of my mixes.

I have also found PTLE to be more stable on my machine than Sonar was, but
I'm sure you could find computer configurations where the opposite is true
too.

Like I said, you have the whole internet to draw on for advice, use google,
read the hardware and software sites; ask people what computer
configurations they are using with what hardware. It's well worth the
effort 'cause it's extremely easy to end up with hardware and software that
just plain don't like each other.

Here's my setup:

Pro Tools LE v.6.9
Digi002 Rack
Computer:
Mobo: DFI Lanparty UT 250Gb (Hey you over there! Yeah you! Stop
snickering and rolling your eyes, it works great, I swear.)
CPU: AMD 64 3400+
Memory: PC3200 512mb X 2 (1Gb Total)
System Drive: Maxtor 80Gb 7200rpm SATA
Main Data Drive: Maxtor 250Gb 7200rpm SATA
Backup Data Drive: Maxtor 250Gb 7200rpm SATA
Misc. DVD-R drive
Misc. 3.5 floppy
All wired up in a real purty heavy duty rackmount server case.
And of course, bunches of plugins, etc.

I'm happy with this setup, I'm sure it pales in comparison to what the pros
in here are using, but it meets my requirements handily.

malachi



<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1122584322.571788.137700@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> When I look at the Sonar promotional material, the only digital samples
> it seems to mention are "loops."
> I don't see anything about sample playback, so obviously if there is an
> application out there designed to replace a dedicated hardware synth,
> it is not Sonar.
> Do you have any idea what this application would be, or if it exists?
>
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 1:21:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks for the replies.

Does anyone know if there are any PCI sound cards out there that rival
the variety of sounds and sound quality of the K2000.
In other words are there any professional recordings being done with
PCI sound cards, or are dedicated hardware synths still considered the
gold standard for MIDI recording?
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 3:44:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1122584322.571788.137700@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> When I look at the Sonar promotional material, the only digital
> samples
> it seems to mention are "loops."
> I don't see anything about sample playback, so obviously if there is
> an
> application out there designed to replace a dedicated hardware synth,
> it is not Sonar.
> Do you have any idea what this application would be, or if it exists?
>



Reason, SampleTank, and GigaStudio off the top of my head. Probably
many others. Reason and SampleTank are easy for pickleheads like me
because they play nicely with Pro Tools. I have no idea which would be
best suited to use with Sonar.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 9:56:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

That pretty much goes without saying.
You could say the same thing about a dedicated synthesizer...a computer
cannot do anything without software.

However, the samples that play back from a dedicated synth (e.g. K2000)
are stored as ROM. Therefore they are very much part of the hardware.

Are you saying there are no professional sound cards that have sample
rom built into them?
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 10:03:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

So you're saying that Sonar can mimic a synthesizer with sample
playback?
Does it come with a decent sample library?
What about waveform synthesis (or patches that combine sample playback
with waveforms) can it accomplish that as well?
Can I just plug in a MIDI controller keyboard and start playing, or is
it more complicated than that?
Anonymous
July 29, 2005 11:23:08 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com wrote:

> When I look at the Sonar promotional material, the only digital samples
> it seems to mention are "loops."
> I don't see anything about sample playback, so obviously if there is an
> application out there designed to replace a dedicated hardware synth,
> it is not Sonar.
> Do you have any idea what this application would be, or if it exists?

I use Sonar 1.33, which is rather obsolete. However it does support
software synthesizers using the DXi standard. The other chief standard on
win32 is VSTi. It is possible to obtain a converter which will allow you
to use a VSTi synthesizer as a DXi instrument, and thus run it in Sonar.
Later versions of Sonar (v3?) come with a VSTi->DXi bridge, I think the
latest version has native support, but I don't know.

My personal opinion (which many consider heretical) is to keep everything in
hardware wherever possible. One day Win32 will be as dead as DOS is now,
whereas 240v AC and MIDI will almost certainly outlive it.

Somehow I can't shake the feeling that switching entirely to software is
like exchanging everything you own for a sack of gold which will turn to
dust when the clock strikes midnight. (And there goes my credibility!)

Of course, I'm not running a professional studio, so my goals and
motivations may not be the same as yours.

--
JP Morris - aka DOUG the Eagle (Dragon) -=UDIC=- jpm@it-he.org
Fun things to do with the Ultima games http://www.it-he.org
Reign of the Just - An Ultima clone http://rotj.it-he.org
d+++ e+ N+ T++ Om U1234!56!7'!S'!8!9!KAW u++ uC+++ uF+++ uG---- uLB----
uA--- nC+ nR---- nH+++ nP++ nI nPT nS nT wM- wC- y a(YEAR - 1976)
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 2:59:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Does anyone know if there are any PCI sound cards out there that
> rival the variety of sounds and sound quality of the K2000.


Except for consumer "toy" sound cards, the card doesn't generate the
sound -- software does. The card is just a conduit for getting sound in
and out of the computer.

You connect a controller keyboard to the computer via a MIDI interface.
Some sound cards include a MIDI port, most don't, so that's another
device you need to add. You tell the software to take it's control
information from the MIDI port, and to generate a sound. You tell the
software to route the sound it generates to the sound card output.
Voila! Noise!

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:08:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> That pretty much goes without saying.

WHAT goes without saying? Are you responding to my post? It's really
hard to know what you're talking about when you don't quote any of the
post to which you're responding.



> Are you saying there are no professional sound cards that have sample
> rom built into them?

Not that I know of, though maybe there's something I'm not aware of.
The samples reside on the hard drive and are played back from RAM.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:08:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>>Are you saying there are no professional sound cards that have sample
>>rom built into them?

Almost by definition. Pros want to be able to select and edit their
samples, so they want 'em in RAM and hard disk.

There are professional sampler _instruments_ which come with a set of
samples preloaded for instant-on convenience -- but even those are often
kept in some replacable form, not least because pro sample sets often
require a lot more memory than the versions used in amateur synths.

(Take a look at the specs for Gigasampler; its big feature was that it
was (one of?) the first to be able to efficiently handle sample sets
without keeping them entirely in RAM.)
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:31:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> So you're saying that Sonar can mimic a synthesizer with sample
> playback?
> Does it come with a decent sample library?
> What about waveform synthesis (or patches that combine sample
> playback with waveforms) can it accomplish that as well?
> Can I just plug in a MIDI controller keyboard and start playing, or
> is it more complicated than that?



I still don't know if you're talking to me or someone else (PLEASE quote
the relevant sections of the post to which you're responding), but if
it's me, I said no such thing. I said I do NOT know which applications
work with Sonar. I said Reason and SampleTank work well with Pro Tools.
I don't know anything about Sonar.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:31:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Lorin David Schultz wrote:
>>So you're saying that Sonar can mimic a synthesizer with sample
>>playback?

Sonar, like most DAWs, accepts software plug-in components. Depending on
which version of sonar you get, it comes with larger or smaller sets of
these. Some of those plug-ins operate as MIDI instruments; Sonar comes
with one that's a sample-driven synth and one that's a programmable
synth. It's adequate and comes with an adequate sample library;
obviously you can spend more money on more libraries, or on
higher-powered soft-synths like Gigasampler.

>>Can I just plug in a MIDI controller keyboard and start playing, or
>>is it more complicated than that?

Pretty much. Set up a MIDI track, route its input from your controller
and its output to the desired synths (sofware or hardware); route the
synths' output to your mix. (Or to an audio track if you want to record
the audio for output to a CD, for further processing, or to save CPU
cycles when you're working on a lot of tracks at once.)

I believe Sonar supports ReWire, so you can also record complex control
sequences for synths. I still haven't tried plugging my trial version of
Reason into Sonar, but it ought to work.
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 2:33:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1122684994.517084.35420@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com writes:

> Are you saying there are no professional sound cards that have sample
> rom built into them?

It depends on what your "profession" is. Roland made a series of sound
cards through the '80s and '90s that had fairly high quality (for the
day) sounds built in, but once general purpose home computers were up
to the task of being sample players, that became the preferred way of
working. You can get much higher quality sounds, and of course it
offers another market path (new sounds).



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 4:34:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 29 Jul 2005 17:56:34 -0700, jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com wrote:

>
>Are you saying there are no professional sound cards that have sample
>rom built into them?

None that I know of. The Soundblaster/Audigy range have a GM set in
hardware, and a SoundFont player. Moving up-market to cards more
suited to multitrack recording no-one bothers much with such features.
That, and more, can easily be done in software on today's computers
anyway.
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 4:36:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 00:20:05 -0400, Joe Kesselman
<keshlam-nospam@comcast.net> wrote:

>(Take a look at the specs for Gigasampler; its big feature was that it
>was (one of?) the first to be able to efficiently handle sample sets
>without keeping them entirely in RAM.)

But if you DIDN'T have enough RAM to buffer a high proportion of the
samples you wanted to use, it was a very good idea to run GS on a
separate computer to your audio sequencer :-)
Anonymous
July 31, 2005 10:30:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Joe Kesselman wrote:>
> >>Can I just plug in a MIDI controller keyboard and start playing, or
> >>is it more complicated than that?
>
> Pretty much. Set up a MIDI track, route its input from your controller
> and its output to the desired synths (sofware or hardware); route the
> synths' output to your mix. (Or to an audio track if you want to record
> the audio for output to a CD, for further processing, or to save CPU
> cycles when you're working on a lot of tracks at once.)
>
Thanks...now I'm starting to get the info I was looling for.
So I'm starting to get the idea that if you want professional sound
quality and ROM-based samples, you need to go with a rack-based synth
instead of a PCI card. I sort of surmised that was the case, but I
remember reading awhile ago that Turtle Beach came out with a sound
card (might have been called the Pinnacle) that had the Kurzweil sound
set.
Honestly, if Kurzweil wasn't going under, I would upgrade to the K2600
series because all I really want is the K2000 sound set with an
improved effects processor, but now I'm not too keen to invest in
Kurzweil products because I don't think they're going to be around too
long.

Here's another question for you:
What's your opinion on computer-based audio recording with Sonar versus
a dedicated hard disk recorder like a Roland VS-2000CD (pros and cons)?
Anonymous
July 31, 2005 3:34:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com wrote:
> So I'm starting to get the idea that if you want professional sound
> quality and ROM-based samples, you need to go with a rack-based synth
> instead of a PCI card.

Why do you care whether the samples are ROM-basd or not? Bits is bits.

> What's your opinion on computer-based audio recording with Sonar versus
> a dedicated hard disk recorder like a Roland VS-2000CD (pros and cons)?

Haven't used the dedicated recorders enough to have a valid opinion.

In theory, the main advantage and the main disadvantage of a dedicated
box are identical: It's a dedicated box. Every function in it is on a
pushbutton on the panel, but that's _all_ it does. It may or may not be
physically ruggedized and survive travel better; that may or may not
matter to you. It may comes with better customer support because there's
less functionality to support -- but if anything breaks they're likely
to tell you to ship it back rather than working with you to debug it
yourself. On the other hand, you're less likely to damage it by
installing unrelated software or picking up a virus. (On the other other
hand, you ARE pulling backups of your PC on a regular basis, RIGHT?)

I think the answer depends on your budget and your technical savvy and
your patience. Which means it's the same answer as using a PC for any
task that you could also get a dedicated box for. The dedicated box may
in fact be essentially the same software and hardware in a different
case, but you interact with it differently on many levels, and that may
be either an advantage or a disadvantage.
Anonymous
August 2, 2005 8:17:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Joe Kesselman" <keshlam-nospam@comcast.net> said that

> Lorin David Schultz wrote:

No, I didn't. I responded to the person who asked the questions you
attributed to me.

Not a big deal, but be careful with quotes. This stuff gets archived
and I don't want to be associated with comments I didn't make.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
August 3, 2005 3:10:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 31 Jul 2005 06:30:20 -0700, jb_in_marietta@yahoo.com wrote:

>I sort of surmised that was the case, but I
>remember reading awhile ago that Turtle Beach came out with a sound
>card (might have been called the Pinnacle) that had the Kurzweil sound
>set.


The Pinnacle was a very nice card in its day. The on-board Kurzweil
sounds were as good a GM set as I've heard. But its day was a long
time ago. For a start, it fits an ISA slot. And no chance at all of
low-latency drivers.

I've got one here. Can't quite bring myself to put it in the bin.
But it's good for nothing else that I can see :-(
!