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Optimal hardware for professional audio recording

Posted on 2007-07-31
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
Can anyone recommend a good hardware setup for professional recording using a Windows box?  I would like to know what balance of resources is best - obviously we will be using a large HD.  Also, if anyone can recommend I/O (USB 2.o vs IEEE1394 & sound card, that would be helpful as well.

Thanks,

Bill
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Question by:billrush2
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MerijnB earned 400 total points
ID: 19606507
IEEE is surely preferable to USB.
IEEE vs PCI is maybe more a matter of taste I guess.

Lynx has very good hardware (PCI). It's expensive, but good. I don't know how much channel you need, but I mean something like: http://www.lynxstudio.com/lynxtwo.html
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by:nobus
nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 19606961
i would use Sata devices, er eSata; much more reliable, and faster !
maybe this helps a bit too ?
http://www.pcmus.com/Best-Audio-Recording-Card.htm
http://www.audioamigo.com/sound_cards.html
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by:CarlosMMartins
CarlosMMartins earned 200 total points
ID: 19608614
I'll focus on some of the other hardware:

You can go Quad-core (Intel just recently dropped it's Core 2 Quad to under $300) - although a Core 2 Duo would also be enough.
2Gb Ram. (4Gb if the motherboard fully supports it - many MB only use up to 3 or 3.5Gb)
Any Nvidia or ATI medium-end graphic card.
the largest LCD you can get (22" currently have the best price/area ratio - but go for a 24" if you can) though you're working with audio, you'll still be looking at the screen 99.9" of the time - and once you work at 1920x1200 you won't want anything less. :)

Mutiple sata Hard disk, so you can stream multiple audio to/from several different Hard disks for better performance.

As for the audio part - there are endless option for professional audio input output... from "affordable" to "sky is the limit"


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by:wlennon
wlennon earned 200 total points
ID: 19609260
This is the one I use:

http://www.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=208&product=14064

Only problem is it has an independent Console, plus an internal PCI card which connects to the console.

USB only:

http://www.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=205&product=9103

Both of these will work for what you want to do, software will give you the best results, I personally use Cakewalk:

http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/DAWs.asp
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by:billrush2
ID: 19609506
CarlosMMartins:

When you refer to "Mutiple sata Hard disk, so you can stream multiple audio to/from several different Hard disks for better performance.", are you talking about RAID 0 or 5?  Please elaborate.

Thx,

Bill
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by:CarlosMMartins
ID: 19617441
Hi Bill,

When streaming audio - either paying or recording (or both) - the hard disk is usually under a lot of "stress", trying to keep up with all the data reads and write requests; though of course, RAM plays a major role in caching as much as possible.

Anyway - and this will also depend on the software you use, though most audio apps allow you to setup multiple hard disks as temporary "scratch" space - the idea is:
For instance, you want to mix some tracks into a final "mix". Using a single disk, the disk heads will have to do a lot of "back and fort" movement - also known as disc trashing -  which severely reduces disk performance.
By using multiple disks, you could use it as to read the data from one disk and write it to the other disc, having a much smoother workflow.
(It's the same effect as copying a large data file from/to the same disk, which will take at least twice as long as copying from a disc to a different physical disc)

Of course, this is only valid for large data/audio files requiring disc cache. If all the audio tracks fit in RAM, it won't be using the hard drives as much.

In any case, having at least 2 HDs is beneficial, as you can set the windows paging file (and any other temporary locations) to the secondary Hard disc.
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by:billrush2
ID: 19618489
CarlosMMartins:

Thanks - so the key here is that the audio software is capable of recognizing and using the additional discs - correct?

Bill
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by:nobus
ID: 19618517
they know all disks - it is a bios feature
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by:CarlosMMartins
ID: 19618675
Hard disks are always recognized by the system - no problem there.
And you can set them up so the Operating System also makes the best use of them (placing the page file, etc).

But yes, those disks will be better used if the "software" intelligently uses the multiple disk.
Usually, memory intensive programs, like photo/video editing applications (Photoshop, Premiere), etc, allow you to set up additional swap files in different disk - effectively bypassing WinXP memory management (hopefully with a smarter one that takes advantages of the different discs! :)

I don't know if this still holds true in Vista.

If not, you can still make use of the discs, by setting up your "workflow" using the different discs in the most efficient manner - though it can be tricky to manage it "manually", depending on what you need to do.

Anyway, it was just a "pointer" for you to consider - getting at least 2 HDs will allow you to set the temporary paging file to 1 disc, while working mostly with the other. That alone will benefit all memory intensive programs.
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by:billrush2
ID: 19619602
Thanks for the explanations

Bill
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