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Gerbil In Training
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2002 7:00 pm

Tue Jan 15, 2002 11:57 am

Hey everybody,
I'm a musician and my hobby is building up my little home recording studio. Instead of buying a preboxed multitrack recording system like the Mackie's or Tascam's out there, I was wondering what you guys think would be the best processor and mother board for some serious audio multitrack number crunching? I hear that AMD has some hiccups when it comes to audio processing under Windows? Any truth to that? What kind of system do you think I should set up? I do have experience with PC's but I havent really been keeping up with all the latest and the greatest!!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Phoey on 2002-01-15 10:58 ]</font>
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 7:00 pm

Thu Jan 24, 2002 10:25 pm

I recently built a rig for a musician friend using parts he had previously did extensive research on. The most important thing he requested was the Creative SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum. The software package was next in importance -- Steinberg's Cubase VST, Wavelab, etc. (geeze, the software alone almost cost a grand!) Otherthan the Plexwriter 24/10/40A, everything else almost seemed unimportant. In case you're wondering, the other hardware were -- 2 Ghz P4, 512MB Rambus memory, 60 Gig Hardrive, and incase he ever wanted to play games, a Geforce Ti500.
Lao Tze
Gerbil First Class
Posts: 165
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2001 7:00 pm

Thu Jan 24, 2002 11:29 pm

I built a machine for a friend of mine, I used a Guillant "isis maxi-studio" card, it includes a mixing board and seperate box for 8 inputs, I used an athlon 1.33 with 512MB DDR. He is very pleased with it's performance. This system would be low end for recording(no offence, but SB for recording is considered sacrilege) I definetly wouldn't use SB for ANY semi-serious recording. Try for more information about sound cards.
As for my recommended system:
Athlon 2000+
a non-via motherboard (I like my kg7) maybe a KR7
512+ DDR
I would recommend the guillant card for price/performance, you can spend thousands on pro-soundcards...
big+fast harddrives
and periphrials of your choice
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 7:00 pm

Fri Jan 25, 2002 2:46 am

I'll be the first to admit that music and soundcards are not really my field; but are Sound Blaster cards really that low end? I'm starting to feel bad because I took part in installing it into my friend's system. Even if he did insist on it, I then should've been knowlegeable enough to steer him right. He got me so convinced that I went out and got one for myself (a lower model though). Perhaps price was a concern (only $180-$200 for the Audigy Platinum). The specs sure seemed impressive which included 24 bit sound and a decent 100db SNR. The kind of imputs he had were firewire, optical, and the usual bunch.
What is the cost and what kind of specs does that Guilant card that you recommend come with?
Gerbil Elite
Posts: 572
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany

Fri Jan 25, 2002 10:21 am

As a musician and hardware enthusiast myself, I have to reply to two things that were stated above about AMD and SoundBlaster.

I have chosen the SB Audigy and I have no complaints. Going as far as saying that Soundblaster for audio editing and mixing is "sacrilege", is SILLY. 24-bit, 96kHz digital-to-analog converters and 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio is high quality. What was previously stated is like saying that a shirt bought at Target will not cover your back as well as a Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren because you paid less. Pretentious BS, that's what I say. is for just that--"semi-pro's". Go to for professional gear and software. But then take a look at the ridiculous prices for some of the sound cards they carry. Compare specs with the SB Audigy. Hmmm...

There is also no technical reason that can be given for why an AMD CPU would cause "hiccups," as opposed to an Intel CPU. If someone can offer one, I would love to hear it. If anything, that would be a chipset issue. If you go with a VIA chipset motherboard, go with the KT266A chipset. It's the most up-to-date and most mature for DDR SDRAM. If you are hesitant about VIA, get the AMD 760. It's a little slower, but very stable.

Get a lot of memory and a LOT of HDD space. Multi-track audio takes up a sh*tload of storage space.

Get a fast burner. I've heard that TDK is about to launch a 32x CDR that can store 2.1 GB on a CD-R (cheap media!), and that will cost about $199 USD on launch. Pretty cool, if you ask me. Or you might want to wait till DVD-R is a bit cheaper/faster, up to you.

If you want more processing power and money is not really an issue, consider the Tyan Thunder or Tiger (AMD 762MPX chipset) or the MSI K7D (my recommendation) and run two Athon XP's on a dually set-up(and yes, XPs *will* work just like the MPs). The MSI K7D is starting to appear at retailers and is ATX form factor (which is key). It has an onboard networking adapter and also has two 64-bit PCI slots in case you do go for an extremely high-end audio card.

Also consider getting a video card that will support two monitors. Most audio editing software takes up a lot of screen space. The only Nvidia card that has dual monitor support (Twinview) is the Geforce2 MX 400. But if you go with that card, you'll be screwed in the gaming department, but you're in it more for the music than you are for gaming. You might have to consider an ATI card if you want dual monitors and relatively fast gaming.

If you get the Soundblaster Audigy Platinum, don't expect the bundled *software* to be any good, because it's not good for recording by any measure. The digital sound processing is kinda' sketchy too. Go to and look at their mixing and recording software, but I'm sure you already know about software since you were only asking about a MoBo and CPU.

On the Audigy Pt drive, the front 5.25 drive is great and has a front MIDI port, S/PDIF in/out (good if you use Sony Minidisc), and RCA inputs. It comes with a remote control too. Another cool thing that I found is that the Audigy has a port where you can plug in an electric guitar (standard lead) and use that as an interface to your PC. Sweetwater sells a similar, separate MIDI interface by Korg for about $300.
Last edited by jsbach11 on Mon Aug 12, 2002 6:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Gerbil First Class
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2001 7:00 pm
Location: pimpin the ATL

Fri Jan 25, 2002 10:23 am

The SB cards are pretty low end for serious recording.

One thing in audio: the specs are rarely truthful.
Gerbil In Training
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2002 7:00 pm

Mon Jan 28, 2002 9:45 am

Thanks for the help guys.
Regarding AMD and hiccups, I have read in some recording books that Cubase and Cakewalk have problems using AMD's infrastructure while recording audio. It was a brief blurb but it still concerned me non the less. It was a while back when I was browsing through the recording section at Border's.
Another question is would hard drive speed pose a significant change in performance? Should I shoot for a 10,000 RPM scsi drive if I can afford it? I see Seagate has some nifty 18 GB scsi drives on pricewatch for $130-$160.
Thank for the help again!
Gerbil In Training
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2002 7:00 pm

Fri Feb 01, 2002 6:31 pm

Crock is right, Sb Lives/Audigy are very poor for any semi to serious DAw``s ( DIGITAL aUDIO wORKSTATIONS)
The Sb range have improved by having ASIO drivers (NOT the SbLive only Audigy) And the major problem is that they can ONLY record at 48khz, not 44.1k that is normal for most samples and other audio apps (soft synths, .Wavs, etc) so you have to mess about with all sorts of down sampling, especially in Cubase VST, from 48k to 44.1 (CD quality)
Sb`s also have rather poor A to D`d ans D to A ( Digital to analogue convertors) these are very inportant for recording to a serious degree.
The best bet at around the same price, maybe £50 more about £200 for a card with 4 ins and 4 outs (analogue0 + some digital, don`t know the exact details) with low latency ASIO drivers.,
----ARE M-AUDIO DELTA 44 and DELTA66.---You can also get some really cool adons for these cards like a OMNI I/O with Aux`s for external effects, mic pre amps, in-line mixers, etc for about £180.---

I have a Terratec EWS88MT and a LUNA card, about £1200 worth but worth every penny!
So Sb`s are for BEGGINERS and NOT to be touched by any one using your PC for serious music production. They also only have a stereo in and out, no multi tracking. Very poor, no busses or aux`s.
ALWAYS GO FOR A CARD WITH 24BIT/ UPTO 96K IF POSSIBLE, AS these cards are getting cheaper all the time and lower latency.
Anyone who doesn`t want to pay rediculas prices for Audio Apps, go to this newsgroup for TESTING only if you know what i mean.=
Alt.binaries.sounds.utilities. request anything you need.
DON`t BUY A SB Live or AUDIGY, THEY ARE poor. i know i have on in my second PC for Games Only! I fell into the trap from all the hype for Sb Lives. Beleive me they are purely Gamer sound cards.
on the CPU front AMD `XP`s are much faster than P4`s and Xp`s have a really good floating point, they can have overheating problems, but spend twice as much on a good FAN and this problem is irradicated. P4`s are good with Rimm memory and are very stable, but in my experience, go for Xp if you want loads of plugins and synths/samplers running at the smae time on loads of channels ( 30+) with a XP1.8ghz. Unless you go for the new Northwood P4 ( very expencive)
AMD `XP`s have loads of humph, P4 are stable and slower for the same speed (1.8 Xp is 30% faster than a P4 1.8, goto TOMSHARDWARE site for details)
If you opt for the XP get a AMD chipset(< preff) or the newer VIA with the latest driver set.Abit Kr7a or somthing like that.
Sorry for any typing errors, im very stoned! hehe. Thanks for the ramble too!

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: PhatbeatS on 2002-02-01 17:49 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: PhatbeatS on 2002-02-03 15:36 ]</font>

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