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Musician's Computer

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August 16, 2004 5:54:34 AM

Would like some advice from you guys. My friend is a musician and is looking to build a computer that will go in his room that he will record stuff with. He wants to be able to play dvds since its in his room, and he said an occasional game might sneak onto it because of his brother but he will never play games on it. He does use Pro Tools or whatever its called, I'm not familiar with it so I don't know how demanding it is as far as memory/processing needs. He was looking at Macs but he said they are too expensive for him so here is what I priced out (suggestions will be helpful):

- AMD 3200+ Barton (I have a spare I am donating to him for free)
- MSI "K7N2 Delta-L" nForce2 Ultra 400 (Need suggestions)
- Corsair Value Select 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-3200
- Seagate 120 GB
- AHANIX "X195 Black Knight" (comes with 2x120mm fans)
- Aspire 420 watt PSU (Spare I have laying around for free)
- Lite on 52x32x52x16
- Creative Labs Sound Blaster ZS Platinum (would like suggestions here)
- Geforce FX 5200

The whole project with my freebies thrown in comes to around 900 bucks with a new Windows disk, keyboard and monitor. I got the Geforce 5200 because its the cheapest 128 card I could find, but I didn't search very hard. The soundcard is just the best that Creative has, and that was his only request was that it had a "really good soundcard". It looks like it has some studio mic ins so I think that will help with his recording. Lemme know if I should make any changes. Thanks.

AMD 64 3400+
MSI K8N Neo Platinum
1 GB Kingston HyperX PC3200
ATI AIW 9600XT
WD Raptor 74GB

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August 16, 2004 6:56:27 AM

disclaimer: I know next to nothing about audio&computers. however, I have heard (I admit, mostly through AMD PR, but still) that if you start mixing studio quality audio on the PC that you may need TONS of memory. Having more RAM therefore seems like a good idea, and since the guy had the budget for a MAC, you could also consider building him a A64 2800+. Maybe someone more experienced in this field could clue us in as wether or not there is any truth to AMD's "64-bit for audio editing" claims..

Of course that would increase the budget somewhat, and won't rid you of your spare cpu..

Also on the soundcard, while I have an Audigy myself, and really appreciate its soundquality, I hate Creative to death for their worthless software and crappy drivers. I would suggest anything but Creative, but will let others suggest a specific product :) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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August 16, 2004 12:26:36 PM

If this guy is serious about audio quality (he should be if he's using Pro Tools) then don't go for a creative card, in fact don't go for any of the consumer cards. Check out proper musicians cards (start with Yamaha, turtle beach, etc,etc).
Yes ton's of memory is needed, and very fast disks (preferably raid with lots of cache)
August 16, 2004 9:13:55 PM

i wouldn't bother with retail cards for music recording at all, instead get an external firewire based A/D convertor like the Motu 828 mkII, it has 8 inputs and outputs and processes everything in 24bit 96Khz

it'll beat a creative with 1 line in :) 


plus my computer is quite adequete for music recording, well that's what i do on it, and it's speedy enough, so with what you have suggested speeds should be great :) 

I use Cubase SX, but ProTools is good too, it's all about what you feel comfortable with

--------------------------------------

my computer :) 

Athlon 1900+ (Palomino)
Soltek SL75-DRV2 KT266A mobo
768Mb RAM
GF4 Ti 4200 128Mb <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by FiL on 08/16/04 10:16 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
August 16, 2004 10:28:10 PM

id agree that if he is after high quality sound, look into a mroe high end solution like from m-audio. if you just want a basic sound card, choose any card with the via envy chip, it produces much better music and dvd sound quality then the audigy cards. you can look at the m-audio revolution 7.1, it uses the via envy chipset and its an exclent card.
August 17, 2004 7:31:05 AM

shows what I know, I woulda thought a musician woulda been much more interested in a harmonica than a PC

amd 2000+
gigabyte ga-7va
512mb samsung pc2700(2x256mb)
maxtor 60gb 7200rpm
LG cd-r/rw 48x24x48
soundblaster live 5.1
BBA radeon 9600xt 128mb
antec 550w true control
August 17, 2004 1:59:47 PM

If you want to play games, go with Creative. If you want crystal clear recording and playback and scalable sampling rates you MUST go with M-Audio. They've a line of products at all price points and levels, you will not be disappointed. I use them myself.

Da Worfster

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
August 19, 2004 9:42:06 PM

There are a few things I would recommend for a musicians PC. First off is lots of memory, at least 1gig. Second is a fast, preferably SCSI HDD as main OS and APP drive and a second for storage.
Do not, ever, ever, ever go for a Creative Soundcard. Check out M-Audio, Terratec and Aardvark for decently priced cards. The M-Audio 1010 lite seems like the best performance/price ratio at the moment. Even a cheaper card from these manufacturers are better than Creative.
Noise is also important when recording, so go for quiet parts, more fans at less speed or passive cooling.
Also have him invest in decent studio monitors. They run about 400 at the nearest Sam Ash or Guitar Center, but makes a world of difference when mixing.

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I want my epitaph to be: "Moved to /dev/null"
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