Posted in : Forum : Computer Problems, Advice, Recomendations
Discuss anything to with computer problems, best set-ups, computer hardware problems and recommendations etc. Mac, Pc, Unix or whatever is your flavour.
So, I'm not an expert when it comes to this topic but I need advice on having a PC that produces good quality for recording music.
So far in my "research", I have found that RAM is important and I guess getting a sound card and more hard drive space would also help? I also want a good graphics card and I know you're thinking "A pc for recording and gaming is not good" but in all honesty, I only have ONE pc game.
Besides RAM, a graphic & sound card and hard drive space, what other hardware would improve what I am looking to do?
Well have a fast CPU is important as well, and depending on the software you use, multicore CPU may be helpful as well. A large hard drive is nice if you plan on recording lots of audio or collecting a lot of samples. I personal would ignore that sound card, and get a decent audio interface instead. You will have much easier and better results with a good interface. Graphic cards can make a big difference in some audio applications.
I guess my biggest regret with my studio computer is the lack of expandability/upgradeability. It's one of those slim desktops. There are only PCI express slots, and I needed some USB 3.0 connections. I got a hub card for the PCI express, which called itself "small form factor"... I had to use tin snips to make the panel even smaller to make it fit.
Also, having a strong power supply can make a difference, especially if you want to expand with peripherals. That's another weakness of my computer.
It all really depends on what you want to do musically. Virtual instruments and effect can sometimes add a lot of CPU strain to your DAW's base usage. If you get an audio interface, and start recording at say 24 bit/96 Khz, then you will find the audio eating your hard drive very fast. If you plan to work with video, or use graphic heavy plugins, then a good video card will make a difference in performance.
One last recommendation... don't buy DELL.
Thanks for your feedback :) Since I will using an USB mic, do I really need an audio interface, since the interface doesn't have an input for the mic? Or would a sound card be suitable for my type of mic?
Also, what are the prefer specs to have? I know that I need 8GB of Ram (I think) and also multicore CPU... But what about the other specs?
Get the audio interface, you won't regret it. At some point, you will get a better mic that'll need the phantom power, or maybe you need preamps and so on and so on. I can hear from the songs you've done so far, that this is gonna be a major hobby so you might as well get a decent setup.
Remember to get a 64-bit PC if you plan to have all that RAM. 32 bit systems max out at 4GB (unless you're comfortable with workarounds). Multicore would be ideal, but I'm quite alright with an i5 CPU 3.1GHz. And pretty much everything mentioned by Spiv (he's a bit of a legend here, if you didn't already know). And since you do a lot of vocals, definitely get a large HD to store all those takes.
Thanks Zee :) I appreciate the feedback!
To be honest, I work with only 4 gig of ram lately on a 64 bit OS, but I like knowing that I can increase to 8 if I want. Just been spending my money on other things.
You will not need an interface to record with your USB microphone of course, but like ZeeHipHop mentioned, you may want to get into other things later on. I don't think I would ever buy a USB microphone, due to all of the poor reviews and sounds that I have heard from them. Aside from recording, you want to consider your playback options. A good audio interface will have a nice headphone amplifier built in, as well as line level stereo outputs to power monitors. When you get seriously into mixing, both of these options will be very helpful. Another benefit to good interface, especially when recording vocals, is that you can use an ASIO driver so that you can easily monitor what you are recording with your backing track. Then there is the latency... most average sound cards tend to have a delay on the input that you will record. Even if you use a generic thing like ASIO4ALL with your DAW, your input will probably be delayed considerably. It is pretty tough to get a decent performance when you hear your vocals quite a while after you sing them. It also requires more editing, since the actual recorded audio will be late compared to your backing.
I'm actually in the market for an expanded interface, so I've been shopping around. There are some good values out there now, as long as you avoid vaporware. Obviously with your current set up, you would only use the headphone output, but you will have the option to record other kinds of microphones or gear, and you could easily get some quality monitors set up.
Obviously my bias is from the point of having more hardware sound sources and effects than I can hook up at once, so it is different from what you're doing right now. I'm assuming you at least mix your vocals with instrumentals or virtual/loop based backing tracks though... quality playback is really helpful for this, and that's where an interface would benefit you most. Using basic computer speakers or headphones connected to a standard soundcard will yield less satisfactory results.
I have made an album with a soundblaster, though it was about 15 years ago, and it was way harder than it should be. Even then I was working with some instruments like guitar, bass, synths, and drum machines though.
Really the "bottleneck" of my set up is the CPU and the expandability. I had to get an external hard drive for backing up my projects and samples as well, since the harddrive seemed to start to corrupt a few files lately. You never know when it's all going to fail, so the security helps with stress.
Haven't priced computers lately, but I'm sure you'll find something that fits your budget and works fine for simply recording vocals.
Thanks for all the help. I think since I really need an audio interface, that I'll buy a non-usb mic instead. I do however enjoy the sound that the Rode NT-USB gives but at the same time, I rather want to buy a proper mic then and also an audio interface at the same time.
Adding the my previous reply... The Rode NT-1a is the XLR version to the Rode NT-USB it seems.
I have another question. The shure srh440 is basically I seem to see in reviews about headphones for recording. Any opinion on these headphones? And I see it's a few years old, is there an upgrade?
I am not exactly a headphone purist. If I want the best reference I will use my monitors. I know shure is a reputable brand, and I do use one of their dynamic microphones. I'm currently using approximately 40 year old quadrophonic headphones as my main reference for quiet situations... so not anything recent... ha ha.
Alright thanks anyway :)
Ignoring what everyone else has said because I didn't read it, I play games and record music on my PC, so who cares? One, you need to make sure you have a good motherboard, otherwise the upgrades you are making will not make a damn of a difference. For example, my motherboard only supports 4GB of DDR2 RAM, and only has a CPU socket for AM2, not that great. For a motherboard, I'd suggest something that is capable of at least DDR3, maybe 8GB of that, and an Intel CPU socket. It should have at least two to three PCIe sockets for your GPU and Sound Card(s) as well as the FireWire interface. Some Sound Cards have FireWire integrated with them, so look for one of those, if you want. I don't have a professional sound card because I don't do audio recording, but if you do, find a sound card by Sound Blaster, very excellent audio, and get a FireWire interface for any audio equipment you would use, instead of using USB. For a mic, find something more professional than a regular mic. A stand Mic or something along those lines are optimal. USB tends to have interference from the fan, the cpu, and other things. A CPU capable of 2.4 GHz with 4-8 Cores will be excellent. Don't go for an NVidia card, those are shit, they will burn out. Go for an ATI. Radeon HD 7000 series or higher will be good. Lastly, for all of that good stuff, make sure you have around a 700 Watt Power Supply Unit. They are a little pricey, but so is everything else. Make sure you are getting the right kind of PSU, as well, as not everything will do. It needs to have plugs for Peripherals (those would be your PCI/PCIe slots) as some sound cards and most Newer GPU's will require another power source than just the power from the PCIe. Since you're not looking at serious gaming, DON'T OVERCLOCK ANYTHING. This will be more than sufficient for your Music Production.
:) Hi there
Maybe this will not realy help and maybe it´s a little out of topic
I love to make music.
I love to work on videos
I love to play games - mostly 3D games :)
and i love to waist my time in forums and on the net :)
It is not evil to do diffrent things on one computer
(if i had all the money of the world, i would by a PC for each thing)
But i am a poor familyman and have just one cheap 32bit 4Gb double core AMD 2.80GHz PC
and in fact i never had the biggest problems on/with my PC with working/makeing on/with audio. This modern 3D games and the modern video editors kicks me mostly in the ass when it comes to - low ram/space/speed/grafic/OS problems.
So i bet that a modern (and maybe expensive) gamer computer would do all you need to start :)
They have endless space and the quickest CPU, oversized RAM
and USB 3 and a cool soundcard that plays cool sound when playing games in 9.1 and and and :)
if you then connect a microphone to it, you will certainly have no really bad recording - (i bet)
LATER, if you get maybe realy realy deep into music makeing, recording and produceing, then you can buy exactly what YOU need, cause then you will KNOW it :)
But in fact i would say
Connect a mic on YOUR PC that you own right now and start with what you have. See what happens and if you got any problems, THEN think about a solution .......
Dont get me wrong but for me it looks a little like you just start with music on PC and believe you need something special to start but thats not right. Just start and you will see what YOU need to satisfy YOURSELF :)
What do you have for a pc? I have 2 Emachines desktops, 2.7 ghz cpu, 4 gb DDr2 RAM (upgradeable to 8gb), lexicon alpha audio interface ($50 new), 450 watt power supply in one and a 750 watt power supply in the other. Both work great for music :D 3 hard drives in each. one hard drive runs the operating system, one the music/video production programs and the 3rd for Loop library and recording audio, I also have external hard drives for storage. To upgrade a cpu, assuming you're comfortable opening the case, first look up whats compatible with your pc's motherboard, you can find some good deals on them on ebay. I got one for $10 :D On you tube you can find step by step instructions on installing a new cpu. Undo 4 screws, clean the heat sink paste from the heat sink (aluminum block with fan attached) unclip, remove old cpu. set new one in place, close clip. apply heatsink paste to heatsink and reattach, simple procedure. Compatible cpu your pc will boot right up and be faster :D Incompatible it will do nothing. From my research, audio interfaces are the way to go vs a soundcard. The more RAM the better. RAM can be expensive so I've been fine using 4 gb. I notice no difference in hard drive rpm speed (7200 vs 5400 rpm) indata loading. bigger gb equals more storage. Have fun and good luck upgrading :D it gets addictive!!
Ok, so now you got the hardware, time to optimize the software :p http://www.tim-carter.com/index.php?t=Optimize+Your+PC+For+Music+Production&Menu=1&SubMenuId=22&ItemId=9
Thanks to everyone that contributed to this thread. You all made it easier for me to go out today and buy (what I think is the right PC and Hardware. I will list the things I got but don't expect me to type in detail, as I am not pretty familiar with all of this, hence me starting this thread. And yes, I bought stuff and upgraded it as well.
PC: Dell Vostro, desktop. Probably the latest model of it. (Sorry,to the guy that told me not to buy Dell!)
RAM: We installed two 8GBs = 16GB of RAM, 1600MHZ DDR3 (so it says).
Hardrive: My pc came with 1TB but I bought a 3TB of 7200RPM, so in total it's 4TB.
Then I also got this "dual fan cooling". It says "GDDR5 2GB Memory and DX11 lifelike graphics".. So, I think this was the graphics card and cooling fans? Lol.
Lastly I got a better power supply.
^ The above is the stuff that I upgraded. The box itself is Dell but the monitor is a Samsung 24' (59cm) and it's a curve screen. The Dell monitor (not a curve) was out of stock, so I had to get the Samsung.
Also, I already ordered my XLR mic and an audio interface, which will hopefully come sometime in this upcoming week. All I need to get is headphones to record with. Thanks again, all!
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Looper Time : 2018-12-10 08:44:45 | Version l-318