Cheap Home Recording Computer

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by DanR, Mar 29, 2005.


  1. DanR

    DanR Member

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    Is it realistic to try and use a computer, such as a cheap Dell ~$400, with appropriate specs, such as 512 mb RAM for home recording? I don't plan on using MIDI. I would like to get around 24 tracks (guitars, bass, drums, vocals). I only have about $1000 to spend on a computer, interface and software. There's a lot of stand alone recorders in that price range, but it seems as though computer recording is more flexible. I'm just stuck at a particular price point. I am also wondering if I could get one built specifically for recording (I'm not saavy enough to build my own, though) but I don't think I could get it done cheaply enough. I've seen DAW computers on the web in the $800-$1000 price range.

    Also, is it absolutey essential to have 2 hard drives if my particular recording requirements are not that taxing?

    DanR
     
  2. DanR

    DanR Member

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    Thanks cpokay,

    I went to the Alvio.com website and there were a number of options that seemed to fit in my price range. One issue that confuses me, though, is the choice of motherboards and chipsets. There are numerous options in each price range. Are there any particular specs or parameters that I need to have? Or am I OK as long as the processer (P4) is adequate?

    DanR
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I think with PC recording the most essential part is the sound card you buy and what kind of capacity it has for recording. Some say a decent soundblaster will get you started, but if you want to get into higher quality recording you'll have to get something a little more specialized. I started doing some research about it a while back, but I haven't gotten very far with it.

    I'd say for the PC spend more money on quality RAM and a lot of it (like 1024MB of DDR 3200+ or better), a decent processor (AMD64 or P4 greater than 3Ghz. try to get a 1MB or greater cache on any processor you buy). Most importantly, I would say from experience, is a fast hard drive. Don't worry about capacity. If you get a 15GB 10K RPM SATA Raptor (Western Digital) for just your OS and applications and then a larger 7200RPM/8MB buffer HDD for raw storage, your system will really rock. You'll pay around $75. for that 15GB hard drive, but that 10K RPM will really pay for itself ---so fast.

    P.S. Check out newegg.com and zipzoomfly.com for comparing prices. Pricewatch.com is good too, but make sure you look up all the vendors on resellerratings.com first, b/c there are some really bad scammers and crummy vendors there too.
     
  4. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Oops..my bad. They don't make 15GB, only 36 or 72. and I've gotten the 36 for as low as $109. It's been a while since I've priced PC gear.
     
  5. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    The Intel 865PE or 875P motherboards/chipsets ( or variations of them) are your best bet. The 84xx and 85xx were known to have bottleneck issues with certain configurations.
     
  6. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I'm not familiar with these interfaces, can you elaborate some? I'd like to get a few recommendations of units to check out.

    Thanks for any tips.

    Dave
     
  7. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the reply cpokay. I'll have to check those out. I think I'd go with the USB2.0 unit....it's so radically faster than the previous USB spec.

    Tomo has been using one called Mbox that he likes. I was checking it out briefly and will have to find out more about it (might be a Mac thing, I'm not sure). I definitely need something I can use to record to my hard disk. I don't want to buy an archaic technology like a cassette deck.

    I had another question. You mentioned "digital artifacts", is that some type of digital jitter on the track? Is that a risk of recording digital?

    Also, how much disk space did that 12-hour jam session occupy? I'm guessing approx. 6GB, but I'd like to know what it really was.
     
  8. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks again for another thorough reply. I'll post back my results.

    Cheers!

    Dave
     

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