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Audio computers v regular
Old 2nd December 2006
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Audio computers v regular

Hi

I want to by a new computer that I can use solely for music production. I will be running Samplitude Pro (version 9) and I will be recording songs comprising just acoustic guitar and voice. I have a Focusrite Saffire LE audio interface.

Looking around, there are music stores which sell computers which are claimed to be much more suited to recording music than regular
computers -- but they are a *lot* more expensive.

Aside from the provision of a quiet cooling fan (and good sound card), what exactly is the extra money for? And, is it worth it, or is there a healthy dose of hype here?

DCW
Old 2nd December 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Sugarnutz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A recording computer is really just a computer that only has apps for recording on it, usually no internet. A lot of the installed apps from someone like Dell or HP really bog the machine down. A recording machine usually has more ram and multiple physical hard drives. I just built an AMD 64 dual core for a friend with 2 250gig SATA drives, 2 gig of RAM, 512meg video and built in firewire that would probably make a good recording machine. Parts cost on this machine was about $1100. PM me with your email and I will send you a Neweeg shopping cart with all the parts so you can get an idea of what to look for.
Old 2nd December 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCW ➑️
Aside from the provision of a quiet cooling fan (and good sound card), what exactly is the extra money for?
Absolutely nothing.

Basically, you're paying for "peace of mind," since you can feel confident that your "audio computer" will always work. In reality, this is far from the truth, but there is something to be said for a "proven Pro Tools system." Since you're using a recording program that is actually stable, you should have no worries.

You can build a $2500 recording computer for under $500 (that includes the monitor.) It's total mark-up B.S. (compatibility "research" mark-up.) If you have a lick of computer knowledge, this is the way to go. If you've got money to burn and don't want to worry about turning off system restore points or disabling visual effects in Windows...oh, who am I kidding, who has money to burn? Just build it yourself or find a buddy who can build it for you.
Old 2nd December 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I don't know about the US but in England you are getting phone support for the liftetime of the computer, which for some customers can be pretty useful, + some plugins and stuff bundled and the fact you can get OEM software which could save you about Β£150
Old 2nd December 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Hey guys -- thanks for the advice!
DCW
Old 2nd December 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
RusRant's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The only thing I can add to this is the "audio computers" sold by Sweetwater are the quietest I've ever heard. Really sounds like it's not on. Doesn't make them better, actually they contain a few sub standard parts IMO, that I wouldn't use myself. Mainly power supplies. But with care you can build something just as good and as stable for no were near the $.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis ➑️
Absolutely nothing.

Basically, you're paying for "peace of mind," since you can feel confident that your "audio computer" will always work. In reality, this is far from the truth, but there is something to be said for a "proven Pro Tools system." Since you're using a recording program that is actually stable, you should have no worries.

You can build a $2500 recording computer for under $500 (that includes the monitor.) It's total mark-up B.S. (compatibility "research" mark-up.) If you have a lick of computer knowledge, this is the way to go. If you've got money to burn and don't want to worry about turning off system restore points or disabling visual effects in Windows...oh, who am I kidding, who has money to burn? Just build it yourself or find a buddy who can build it for you.

bullcrap
you can not build a 2500 pro audio computer for $500

if you priced one of our computers (or Sonica) and then all the parts apples to apples you would save between 300 and 400.
and thats with warranty and a guarantee

maybe rain or sweetwater would be closer to that much diff. (over priced) and even then i dont think so .

Scott
ADK
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
HI,
to answer the original question

and this mostly depends on the daw builder as not all are equal

1) chipset (motherboard) tested for compatibility not just audio interfaces but also Powercore and UADs

2) powerful yet 100% stable (some are still selling older technology)

3)SUPPORT, depending on the dealer you get support (or not) for you audio gear and software, not just the computer.

4) guaranteed compatibility.

so if your a studio that makes money from your daw and cant be messing around or be down then a daw builder is a wise choice.
if your a hobbyiest then build your own.

Scott
ADK
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
I will have to chime in on crying BS on the $500 for a $2500 computer as well... I just bought a computer and had the company do a little bit of custom work, and it cost about $2500, but I got it with a 32" flat screen. The best price I could find for the motherboard and processor together are over $600 online. I elected to have two 250 gig drives set up in RAID 0 so that I would not have any issues recording or playing back high track counts. It was easy to have the company do this, and they did not charge me anything for it. The drives are $100 each online. I also told them that I wanted them to re-install xp on the system without any of the extra software that would normally come with their systems and they did that free of charge as well.

I could not be happier with this system, and if I had done it myself I would have saved only about $200, but I do not know anyone that is familiar with seting up drives in raid format, or who warranties their "DIY" computers.. The warranty is 3 years parts, 6 years labour, and once a year I can bring it in for cleaning and diagnostic checks for free.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
statikcat's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
We have some old 2.4 Carillons here at work. Not sure how much they were. The hard drives are encased in some foam enclosures inside the case. Pretty quiet but a huge pain to swap out a hard drive.

I would rather spend the $$ on a sound box for the comp or ext cables to put it in another room.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Scott is right. You can not build a $2500 computer for $500.

Let's take a look apples to apples at a $2004 pro audio system built by a leading DAW company.


Intel D975XBXLKR MOBO bundled with E6600 $549
Supertalent DDR2 667mhz pc5300 1gb x2 $200
Antec case $90
Coolmax 550B power supply $65
Seagate 80g $44
Seagate 320 $95
XFC Video Card $50
Pioneer DVD/CD Burner 111B $32
Win XP Home $90
Logitech cordless mouse/keyboard $50

Total = $1265

The difference is $739. Now in all fairness, the DAW builders almost certainly get better prices than I can get at New Egg or Tiger Direct. So, there is probably a tad bit more difference than $739.

So... What do you get for your $739? You get a system that is professionally put together and guaranteed to work. You get support after the sale. You get their expertise.
What do they get? Ok... figure labor to assemble, benefits, advertising, facility overhead, etc. I'd bet they net around $3-400 on this. This is America. That's what they are supposed to do... make a profit.

Is the $739 worth it to you? I'm guessing that most folks will say yeah. If you are a computer geek (note to self.. look in mirror) Maybe not. Maybe you just like messing around with puters? I'll bet I've got four or five torn apart at the momentheh I just might get them back together someday!

Thanks to Scott for all that he does.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I didn't buy and ''Audio computer'', but I'm happy to know there are people selling some... Nearly lost my mind doing it myself.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I'm all for the DIYr's (I'm one myself)... but just buying a decent pro audio card alone, can easily put you over $500.

Then there's everything else that goes into your dream machine, including the huge block of time required to thoroughly research all the components (I'm assuming that you don't want any known device driver, hardware, and software incompatibility issues to surprise you).

And while it isn't mandatory, being able to get knowledgeable tech. support & warranty replacement parts within a reasonable time, is very attractive to anyone whose time is valuable.

Building your own systems can be a great way to learn... or save a few bucks if time isn't a factor. But there can be a lot of trade-offs, and some vendors really are worth the extra money that you might 'save'.

Sure there are companies who don't give you any extra bang for the buck. So if you want to get good value and not have to become an IT expert yourself, you should research which vendors are worthy of your business and buy from them. Those who value their customers, will pay you back with excellent customer service and efficient technical support.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
HI Steve,

thanks man!

but as to newegg, there are some products they sell that are less than i pay.
(remember Newegg used to be a distributor, now rouge retailer)
other items they might be a few dollars more than my disties.

also make sure retail vs oem, does the dvd-rw included win dvd and nero etc.

also i buy all processors thru legit disties. (as in listed on Intel or AMDs website)
not grey market. so my processor price costs are 20-30 more.

also if you remove the $150 express warrnanty, that brings it down to $589.

our basic rule is $250 build fee, $10 profit per part. (plus we have to add shipping costs to us)
net profit to the company is consideraly less than 3-400.

but yes no way you can build that system for $500, cant even buy the processor and mobo for that price!


thanks for the back up
Scott
ADK
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild ➑️
bullcrap
you can not build a 2500 pro audio computer for $500
B.S. B.S. B.S., eh?

Hmm, let's see here...

AMD Motherboard...$45
AMD 64-bit processor...$55
2 gigs of Corsair RAM...$200
Power supply...$50
Video card...$30
Mouse and keyboard...$10
19" CRT monitor from the dump...$10

Now that's what...$405?

A friend of mine has built this exact system for many people who do pro audio (and pro video, with a better video card.) He is in charge of supplying many of the computers for the U.S. Army, Navy, Ft. Knox, and the Olympic Games. If you want the exact system specs/model numbers, hit me up (I'll have to dig them up.)

Does it have the same components as the over-priced, mostly-proprietary crap in most pre-built systems? No. Is it as powerful? No, but it easily can be; We're still $95 under my original $500 quote, so you can add processing power with that. It will all ready run more plugins than you should need. Does it work just as well? Yes. Does it have support? Well, that depends on who builds it for you. I used to build computers for a living, so it's a no brainer for me.

If anybody tells you otherwise, they're selling these pre-built money traps, or just don't want to be bothered with computer engineering and have bought one themselves for "peace of mind." Either way, it's all good. Peace.

Last edited by AlexLakis; 4th December 2006 at 08:58 PM.. Reason: Sorry, forgot the power supply...of course, you could just use the one from your old system...
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
thanks for the back up

No problem...



Oh... please send me a new DAW.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Listen to JSCchild. I listened to him a while back when it came to building my DAW, and the thing is rocking.

And there is no way you can build a powerful DAW for 500. I think 1100 is a much more realistic expectation.

Alex is right too..but the DAW he is suggesting is not as powerful as what you are going to end up needing very soon if you are into mixing with a lot of plugins.

Also you forgot a real quiet case and good harddrives. thats another 3-400 if you want to do it right.
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis ➑️
B.S. B.S. B.S., eh?

Hmm, let's see here...

AMD Motherboard...$45
AMD 64-bit processor...$55
2 gigs of Corsair RAM...$200
Power supply...$50
Video card...$30
Mouse and keyboard...$10
19" CRT monitor from the dump...$10

Now that's what...$405?

A friend of mine has built this exact system for many people who do pro audio (and pro video, with a better video card.) He is in charge of supplying many of the computers for the U.S. Army, Navy, Ft. Knox, and the Olympic Games. If you want the exact system specs/model numbers, hit me up (I'll have to dig them up.)

Does it have the same components as the over-priced, mostly-proprietary crap in most pre-built systems? No. Is it as powerful? No, but it easily can be; We're still $95 under my original $500 quote, so you can add processing power with that. It will all ready run more plugins than you should need. Does it work just as well? Yes. Does it have support? Well, that depends on who builds it for you. I used to build computers for a living, so it's a no brainer for me.

If anybody tells you otherwise, they're selling these pre-built money traps, or just don't want to be bothered with computer engineering and have bought one themselves for "peace of mind." Either way, it's all good. Peace.
and WHO is selling that old POS system for $2500?
sure aint none of the Daw builders i know of.

sincd that is what you stated!

Quote:
You can build a $2500 recording computer for under $500
marketing hype? compatibilty hype?

really? next your going to tell me that your $100 mobo cpu combo will work with UADs/Powercores!

oh please oh wise one kindly do tell me what board and chip is that?

oh its its Sata controllers will work with Sonar and M-Audio PCI cards?

oh and its gonna work with GIga as well right?

that its compatible with echo cards ?

how about presonus firebox?

Scott
ADK
Old 4th December 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
tuRnitUpsuM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
DCW


Im not going to get into Pre-built DAW vs DIY DAW .... as there are pros and cons to both.... is really up to you to determine your fortitude at an attempt into DIY....

ALL these "ideas" of potential systems have been threwn your way ....yet....nobody has asked some important questions....

1) How many tracks are you planning on running?.... do u plan on doubling tracks? vocals perhaps.... guitars.... softsynths.....etc... You'll have plenty at your disposal within SAM 9.

2) Do you intend to run many Plug-ins? .... reverbs? compression? EQs?...etc.... Reverbs tend to become CPU hogs.... especially the convolution type.

You are entering the twilight zone.....do not adjust your set.........................IM SERIOUS....... the computer industry are on their TOES..... Todays hyper-performance top-o-de-line systems are next weeks DEll entry level interknot dwellers systems. Within the next 4-5 months.... heads will be spinning....MoBos will be hurdled ... and bargoons-o-plenty... e6600 systems will be found in librarys... HA .... ya never know.


MY point to all this .... well i have none...i just work here..... JULES may i have a cigarette break. :P ....somebody please call the labour board..


Answers to questions 1 and 2 are due before the end of the class...........


..... seriously though.... you mention vocals and acoustic guitar....which are two inputs.... but as WE all know.....over-dubbing and the likes can add up too quite a few tracks.....and once u realise u have spare power to unleash from whatever system u choose/build...... u might venture ino the world of soft-synth , sound design......will ur system handle the extra load?...... basically DCW....what is the biggest picture you and ur comp going to paint?????

once you let the cat out..... myself and many fine fellow slutz could be more of an assistance..... as they have already been.

cheers
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
DCW.....
my personal view is that jcs and sonica and the other daw builders fulfill a need in the market.
its up to you to decide the route you wish to take.
its no different that some big corps i worked for in the past.
some chose to install "turnkey" systems...ie..as the name implies...
you just push the button and everything is done for you.
others chose to buy the hardware and have their people fine tune/test it etc etc..
before puffing it out to end users.
there are plusses to each approach.
if your not willing to get "your hands a bit dirty" so to speak then maybe the
turnkey approach is for you. its a very competitive biz i'm sure ......ie...
turnkey daw building, and given the daw builders do things like... like to eat and feed their families etc...i doubt they are makeing oodles of money on their builds.
also the daw builders like jcs and sonica i'm sure have various biz overheads.
thus i think we should be fair to the daw builders....because they also bring to the table a certain degree of expertise and knowledge imho.
through haveing built many systems.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #21
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis ➑️
B.S. B.S. B.S., eh?

Hmm, let's see here...

AMD Motherboard...$45
AMD 64-bit processor...$55
2 gigs of Corsair RAM...$200
Power supply...$50
Video card...$30
Mouse and keyboard...$10
19" CRT monitor from the dump...$10

Now that's what...
a piece of ****...

an intel 2.66 dualcore 2 is $500 for the cpu alone.

but i could have saved you $10, i GAVE away my CRTs.

i wouldnt spend the $500 on the machine [ahem, doorstop] you put together there.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
True North's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I recently built my own rig but I am a bit of a geek and I actually, to a degree, enjoyed researching the parts etc..

If I had to do it again I would definitely go with a prebuilt system. I feel I could have acheived similar performance at a about a $300 premium. In the end someone with experience in building these rigs can save you money if you make some of the wrong purchase decisions. It also saves you the hassle of setting up the hardware and the software for the first time.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
statikcat's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis ➑️
B.S. B.S. B.S., eh?

Hmm, let's see here...

AMD Motherboard...$45
AMD 64-bit processor...$55
2 gigs of Corsair RAM...$200
Power supply...$50
Video card...$30
Mouse and keyboard...$10
19" CRT monitor from the dump...$10

Now that's what...$405?
No one said you can't build a computer for 400-500 dollars. For some people it may be fine (while outdated..). If you think there are not tons of people doing medium to heavy work that need a faster computer you are mistaken. I could price a 2-2.5k computer and push it. If I were to use the computer you just spec I would kill it easily. Plus when buying a computer you want to look at longevity. No one wants to buy a new comp and reinstall their studio every year or year and a half. I am not sure what your point here is.. everyone knows a computer can be made for 400-500..
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #24
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
in all honesty, you can buy a better Dell for $500 then he assembled. still wont be a good workstation machine.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
There is no magic. The difference in cost can usually be attributed to better spec'd systems. Listen to Scott. He's one of the best builders around and he just laid out his profit (which surprised me quite a bit). The fact that he does it everyday and researches this **** constantly should be worth the tiny bit he makes given the work involved. And look... he's here all the time helping. I would never build one myself. With the breakneck speed in which new components hit the market, there is too much to screw up. Scott and the others (Sonica, for one) know about compatibility - they're paid to. And the very reason that PCs get **** against a Mac is that there are too many combos out there that will be trouble. A PC builder takes that off the table and you end up with a better machine than a Mac.

Worth the freakin' $300 to me.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #26
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
definately NO magic in it... but LOTS AND LOTS of research, then lots of testing... then more research...


and fwiw, macs are no better than pc's [at least the pc's i use and build]... in fact my pc has been more stable than my mac lately, and oddly enough im running a beta Vista on it. go figure.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
De chromium cob's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
What it comes down to is time and knowledge. You can save money by building it yourself if you don't count your time as a commodity. But if you're like the majority of people I know, you probably value your time and want to spend it making money instead of wasting it trying to save a buck or two.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschild ➑️
HI Steve,



our basic rule is $250 build fee, $10 profit per part. (plus we have to add shipping costs to us)
net profit to the company is consideraly less than 3-400.
Sounds more than fair!... I was raised in a store and those are numbers i hear all the times... But some people will never get the business side of things... unfortunately that's how it is...
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #29
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustacheVerra ➑️
But some people will never get the business side of things... unfortunately that's how it is...
you wouldnt believe what people pay me when they get a virus on their machine.... or their network goes down.
Old 5th December 2006 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
tuRnitUpsuM's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
De chromium cob


Quote:
What it comes down to is time and knowledge. You can save money by building it yourself if you don't count your time as a commodity. But if you're like the majority of people I know, you probably value your time and want to spend it making money instead of wasting it trying to save a buck or two.

Definitely understand where you're coming from here..... but keep in mind....to some..... creating stereo/5.1 magic isn't always about the moola.... shouldn't be anyhow..... are SERVICE providers.....guess it boils down to how much you (not you personally) enjoy PROVIDING the service... really isn't wasting time saving a buck or two.... more along the lines of opening ones mind .....should he DIY....but ADK and Sonica etc do provide a valuable service to those looking past the learn factor and NEED to just get things done. I make no qualms about that fact and provide no arguments....i agree with u...to the extent expressed.

Alas there are some...(Scott).... building the systems... whom are more so open about their agenda than the rest of the kit "builders" that will run on said system..... to that ....thumbsup...and yes premiums are fair.

alphajerk

thx for the chuckle....

Quote:
you wouldnt believe what people pay me when they get a virus on their machine.... or their network goes down.
ummmm...yea....... the distribution block.....on the 33.3 volt rail in your network router seems to be the culprit...not to mention stray algorithyms in the software generator IRQ bottlenecks that Sun microsystem personally sent me an email regarding....easy fix but quite time consuming....i could be here all day....but ill have your redhat XP version 2.0.3.1 system up in no time...heh

just teasin brother.


cheers


p.s hiya manning...
πŸ“ Reply

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