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Powerbook powerful enough? 192khz...
Old 30th April 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Powerbook powerful enough? 192khz...

Could go in a lot of sections, but I chose this one...

I'm putting together a portable rig to try my hand at location recording around the Austin, TX area (its really open season...I've only heard of/seen one other guy who does it around here semi-professionally). Based on budget constraints I'm (sadly) going to be using a Motu HD192 as the core for the system. This will be hooked up much like the "portable pro tools rig" through a Magma C2BS (2 external SCSI drives attached) and a Powerbook G4 1ghz (hopefully the 17" superdrive model). Mogami cable should dominate the entire thing...and i'm searching for a cool rack to store it all in.

I've done my reading and I'm well aware that the AKM chips aren't exactly supposed to be running at 192 (for maximum audio performance), but I figure if I've got it, flaunt it. Also the plan is going to be to record entire live show DVDs via a nice DV camera or two...AG-DVX100s look sweet (drool).

My question is, using a completely native setup, am I going to be able to trust the power of my computer (1.0 ghz, but only 1 processor!)/motu to reliably record 1+ hour shows? I'd imagine most of the actual work will be placed on the massive amounts of data flowing into the HDs - and I'm confident the SCSIs will handle that.

Also, anybody have suggestions for software? I've never done audio production on a MAC, and I figured Digital Performer or Logic looked like they would incorporate into the DVD video side of things well.

Oh and P.S. - Should I expect sync issues when trying to dump the DV and line it up with the audio?

Oh and P.P.S. - Pricing... Thoughts, suggestions? I'm leaning towards $250 to record the entire set (audio only) and mix it at home to some degree. $500 to bring the cameras and produce a DVD. When I look at the work involved that seems incredibly cheap. But when I look at the abundance of dirt poor bands around here (and my apparent lack of experience) it seems about right. On the positive side, I've already got some folks very interested just from demoing what I could do with a CD-RW2000 hooked directly to the house feed. Another perk is, I'm not running into any problems with having to pay to "use the board." The engineers have been very friendly/helpful.
Old 30th April 2003
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hmmm...just reading more stuff, building the system.

Any opinions on the new FireWire 800 drives? There's lots of confusing numbers floating around for this lovely box...
http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10019
From what I've read i'm ASSUMING that the the internal transfer rate is 800 MB/S (wow?), the burst transfer is 100 MB/s, and the max sustained transfer is around 55 MB/s. That hangs with Ultra2 SCSI pretty well (and obliterates it on internal transfers). The seek is still about 10 ms though, which of course is horrid compared to SCSI.

SCSI U320 hasn't even caught on yet and it requires a fully PCI-X enabled motherboard (expensive! server level stuff!) to even utilize its full 320MBS speed. Not to mention you need a controller card and the drives cost every bit of 500+ for 36GB.

Lacie gets you:

250 GB drive.
16 hours of DV video. Ok, WOW.
$599.00
Plug and play.
Rackmountable.

But is this more of a storage system and less of a harddrive you want to be relying on to track in realtime?
Old 1st May 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I want to clarify some digital audio usage foundations for you:

1. Firewire 800 provides a 800 MB/s of BANDWIDTH. The device(s) attached will not neccesarily use that bandwidth in full. A single ATA/100 drive inside a Firewire 800 enclosure will only use about 30 MB/s of that 800 MB/s bandwidth.

2. For a stereo 192 khz 24 bit track you will need 1.1 MB/s of bandwidth. So If you plug in a Firewire disk, you'll be able to record and/or play back about 20-25 tracks simultaneously. You'll need to keep a few extra MB/s of disk read headroom because any edits will SEVERELY cut down on your max track count.

3. One minute of stereo 192 khz 24 bit will consume 66 MB of diskspace. So if you want to record thirty minutes of 4 stereo tracks, you'll need 7.9 GB of storage space.

4. For your band's type of loud in your face sound, 192 khz recording would be inappropriate, especially in a live environment. 44 khz 24 bit would do you just fine, and you wouldn't have to worry about running out of diskspace, SCSI or Firewire transport bandwidth, or the difficulty of working with extremely large files.


For more information you can look at these webpages:


http://www.digidesign.com/compato/drivereq.html

http://www.pcrecording.com/harddrive.htm


All this is pretty basic DAW stuff. Look around on the internet. Try homerec.com too. Have fun.
Old 1st May 2003
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Fae.

Sidenote: this isn't for my band. As I mentioned - location recording...no telling what I'll run into. I'm thinking I want to record at 96 khz for a balance of quality/space but I'd like to try the 192 a couple of times for fun. 12 Tracks will be my max, so I can pull the bandwith easily with an ATA drive...but yes, storage is a pain. I won't exactly have a lot of active projects, nor will I need to keep anything after the product is delivered. (i'll probably back up zipped stereo files). If/when the backup directory reaches 4.7GB I'll be quick to make the "Backup: Vol. X" DVD (and delete the dir).

Really I wasn't so much concerned about the disk's performance as I was the CPU - especially for mixdown. I've decided to switch to a normal, rackmounted G4 PowerMac anyhow. The extra 50 lbs won't raise the joy of recording...but the expandability, power, and money saved justifies it. No friggin $1,000 Magma fuuck

I'll post up once i've gotten the rig...got a fun thing or two.
Old 1st May 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox

Really I wasn't so much concerned about the disk's performance as I was the CPU - especially for mixdown. .

ACTUALLY the CPU is a minimal constraining factor for track playback and recording at ANY sample or bit rate. Track playback capability is pretty much 100% dependant on the speed and access times of your hard drive.

You could record 100 tracks of 192 khz 24 bit using a 100 mhz G3, if you had enough disk bandwidth!

The CPU is only used for DSP functions like plugins, sampling, and track processing. Of course, it does run all the algorithms and math that makes a DAW work, but that stuff really isn't very intensive at all.
Old 1st May 2003
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes yes, this is what I meant - would the Powerbook be good enough for actually mixing and DOING something with the recorded works.
Old 1st May 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In general, any G4 powerbook will do you well unless you're a total plug freak like me. If so, then NO powerbook or native system will be good enough for me I mean you.

What do you record with now?
Old 2nd May 2003
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Current comp is a 1.7ghz P4, 512 DDR, 7200 RPM with < 8.4 ms seek..it can handle 20 or so tracks with a decent amount of plugs before it starts bombing. I actually find it bombs mostly when their are multiple overlapped tracks (like a 10 track drum dub-in). I do plan on throwing a UAD card in the new PowerMac...I'd get 2, but as I said my track count won't be above 12 for the live stuff. Eventually I plan to build onto the system with a great sampler and 2 juicy mic channels to start recording hip-hop stuff. And after that, i'll be building on to record rock stuff (2 CS Spiders). Of course by the time I can afford 2 Spiders there may be something better out (DSD Spiders???).

Not planning on becoming a constantly booked studio or anything, its just something to do.
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