Computer/ OS requirements

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by mscheiman, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. mscheiman

    mscheiman Member

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    I'm a complete moron when it comes to anything computer-related. I really have no business trying to do recording at home. But I spent a lot of time watching youtube tutorials on Pro Tools and was able to get a lot of the basics down. I added the BFD2 drum software. When I started interfacing the two programs simultaneously, the system kept freezing. Super frustrating. I have a PC (thinking of finally biting the bullet on a Mac), and its an HP I purchased 12months ago. It has 4GB of RAM. Is this enough? Should I add more? Is there a recommended computer that can be had for less than $800? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you guys have. This forum is an extremely generous resource!

    Mike
     
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Mike, Pro Tools is notoriously picky. You have to have rather exacting specs to make it work. I had a colleague who couldn't get it to work and after many calls back and forth with Avid they determined the chipset was not right and PT simply wouldn't work with the computer he had (a Lenovo, no wonder). I can remember checking the PT website to run with an older system I had and it was like PT 6.3.5, 6.3.6, 6.3.9 and 6.3.11 would work with my system.

    In other words, the first thing to do is check the Avid website and look and see which version of PT is compatible with your system. You may need to update PT, BFD, and/or your OS in some combination to get them all to the correct version numbers. Somtimes, it's a simple as just updating PT or BFD to the latest version, so that's where you should check first.

    Good Luck,
    Steve
     
  3. mscheiman

    mscheiman Member

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    Thanks very much Steve. I'll check into that.
     
  4. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    This, I think, has far more to do than just running updates on your software. Though compatibility is obviously important. 4 gigs of RAM may not be enough to run BFD2 drums as a VST. You also need a audio card that supports ASIO drivers.

    What are you current PC specs? You may have a powerful enough PC, but since this is new you, there could be some basic stuff you are missing. There is a lot to learn and you will definitely need to become PC literate to a degree. But it’s worth it. Especially once you start recoding. Plus it's not as hard as it seems.

    Just because your system, is only 1 year old means nothing. I have to tell my customers this all the time. It has to do with the specs. If you bought an under spec'ed PC a year ago, you just have.... a 1 year old under spec'ed PC. I have to remind my customers/clients that its not car. Age means nothing in PC world. Chances are, due to your self admitted lack of PC knowledge, you probably do not have a very robust system for recoding. It may be fine for day to day uses. But the needs of a DAW are far different than the needs of a general PC. Plus, there are things to do to make it more efficient to run audio, as PC's out of the box are configured for personal use, not DAW use.

    Without going into a book length diatribe on what you need (which I may confuse you more), do some Google searching for DAW's spec's. A really good website is KVR. They deal with all things DAW recoding wise. Kind of like The Gear Page but for DAW’s and software synths (some hardware stuff too).

    For example, I just built a DAW and the specs' are as follows (this is more robust than what you need):

    Intel i7 (2nd generation) 2600k 3.4 GHz Chip
    ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 PCIe 3.0 Motherboard
    Corsair Vengeance Blu 8 GB PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory
    XFX ATI Radeon HD6670 1 GB DDR5 Video Card
    Focusrite Sapphire 212 USB Audio Card
    M-Audio Delta 44 PCI Audio Card w/breakout box
    Other additional components (Drives, Firewire PCI, etc)

    Now this is a pretty top of the line DAW, you probably will not need, or want, anything that powerful right now. But by "rolling my own" it only cost about $700. Buying it through Dell or HP, if you could even spec that exact DASW (which you can’t) it would be far upwards of $1,000.

    But you could build pretty much the same system for the $800 budget you have. And it will SCREAM…
     
  5. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    BFD2 is a resource hog, but it sure sounds good! I have found that getting the drum track down and then rendering/freezing it works best on my system (MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo/8Gb RAM), otherwise the CPU meter hangs out just below the redline and things get fussy.
     
  6. Scott Whigham

    Scott Whigham Member

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    critter74 gave you some great info. I'd add two things to this thread:

    (1) Why Pro Tools? You can totally run Reaper on 4GB and have a good time. Pro Tools is going to be expensive in that you'll need a new computer.

    (2) I just built a top of the line DAW PC for about $1100 but (a) I already had monitors, (b) I already had backup storage drives (1TB 7200 SATA drive), (c) I already had the case (you need a quieter-than-most case for DAWs in the same room as mics), and (d) I already had the license to Windows 7 + disk. This drove my cost down by at least $700 if not $1000.

    The specs I went with are:
    Intel i7 2600K CPU
    ASUS Z68 DLX mobo
    16GB of Crucial RAM (maxed out specs)
    (1) OCZ Vertex 3 SSD for OS + programs
    (2) OCZ Vertex 3 SSD for Pro Tools/audio/samples
    (1) 1TB 7200 RPM drive for files/backups (already had it)
    Case
    Seasonic 760W psu
    Cooler Master CPU fan (the $45 one)

    All of that cost me around $1100. If you want to save money (to get to $800, for example), I would make sure to go with the best possible CPU you can afford, and maybe skimp on the RAM or SSDs now with the intent to upgrade those later. You can easily upgrade all components on a PC except the CPU - I find upgrading CPUs to be a PIA!
     
  7. mscheiman

    mscheiman Member

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    Thank you guys for this info. This is a great jumping off point for me. I only stick with Pro Tools because I've spent so much time learning that software. I know that the time I spent is a sunk cost, so maybe I'll look into Reaper. A friend of mine uses Reaper and really swears by it. Its nice that they don't require the proprietary interface. I liked the point mentioned in one post discussing the different demands recording places on a computer, and the age of the machine is rather irrelevant. It's not just checking emails and excel spreadsheets anymore. I'll see if I can expand my budget a bit. It looks like you can build a flamethrower tower for under $1500. This is a real eyeopener for me guys, thanks again.
     
  8. mscheiman

    mscheiman Member

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    And I'll keep those specs that Scott W and critter mentioned. I have some friends who can probably help me put something together when the time comes.
     
  9. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Mike, ProTools has a specific hardware/software compatibility list. If most of the hardware doesn't meet the criteria PT is looking for, it'll give you problems.

    I built my own PC and haven't had a single problem with Windows 7 or Studio One Pro running in my machine. Here's what I used:

    So this is what I currently have installed in this box:

    ASUS P6X58D Premium
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Intel Core i7 930 1366 CPU
    12GB of Corsair XMS DDR3 1600 RAM
    2xXFX ATI Radeon HD-5770 Single Slot in crossfire mode
    1 Dell 2408WFP Monitor
    2 Viewsonic VG-2230 Monitors
    Corsair AX-1200 PSU
    4 160GB Western Digital Caviar Blue HDD's (in RAID 10)
    2 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDD's (SATA 3)
    2 DVD drives
    Corsair Hydro H70 CPU Cooler
    6 Cooler Master case fans
    Scythe Kaze Master Pro Fan Controller
    Corsair 800D Case

    I'm planning on making the jump to an SSD in the near future but, as of now, the machine works without any crash or latency problems and I can record as many tracks as I need to.
     
  10. mscheiman

    mscheiman Member

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    Very cool Jimmy. Are you running any heavy plug-ins in real time with the PT? From what I gathered in the previous posts, the BFD2 drum software is using a lot of the RAM and causing some of my problems. These specs are very useful. I'm planning on starting from scratch with a new machine in the next month or so.
     
  11. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Hi Mike, I'm actually not using PT at the moment. I'm using Presonus Studio One Pro (v1) with this machine. You're correct in your observation that your vst drumming software is using a lot of RAM. Regardless of the type of DAW you use, most VST's will tend to use a lot of resources in order to function.

    Depending on the version of Windows you're using, you might or might not be able to add more RAM to your machine (32-bit vs. 64-bit). Feel free to ask any other questions you might have. :)
     

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