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Helping a musician friend - Need advice with DAW.

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Ziggy, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    Greetings

    I have a friend who just built a studio. He bought a used Macintosh because he heard Apple is good for this situation.

    Unfortunately he bought one made in 2011 and has found out the pains of an old computer.

    He now wants to go the PC route. At least I can help him with PCs whearas I am ignorant with Macs.

    His expectation is to be able to have 64 tracks. That sounds like a lot to me on a home system. He talked to someone at Sweetwater and they said that was possible if you weren't using plugins (makes sense) or too much MIDI. (That didn't really make sense to me.) Be that as it may, he doesn't use plugins or MIDI.

    My question:

    How much horsepower does he need? I figure at least 16G of RAM and at least a 6 core processor. I recently built an 8 core Ryzen system which was much cheaper than building an Intel rig. Would there be a problem with Ryzen?

    Of course the HD would be SSD and probably NVME.

    Or would he be better off buying something like a used Dell Precision Workstation?

    He would love Pro Tools but it is out of his budget. Sweetwater reccomended a version of Presonus Studio.

    He is a musician who has spent a lot on this small studio and gigs are few and far between. I am just trying to help him out so any advice will be well appreciated.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  2. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    Did he say which program he plans to use? For example, Pro Tools is very finicky about what hardware you have, and the processor power to do 64 tracks will be substantial.
     
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  3. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

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  4. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's

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  5. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Get something recent like an i7 at 3ghz or even an i5 at 3ghz or higher, quad core minimum, SSD and a fast drive for storage (sound packs etc).
    For ram 64 MB.

    64 audio tracks shouldn't be a problem with what I listed above, it's the VST's that will suck up your CPU, but this can be managed by bouncing tracks to audio once the VST track is done.

    As mentioned you can buy a Tascam with a mixer and inputs that records, in addition it can be used for an audio interface, the Tascam 12 does this.
    One issue with a PC is that generally the fans are too loud, that's one thing Apple does well is make quiet machines.
    But a liquid cooled PC with a ton of RAM isn't much more than the latest iMac.
     
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  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the replies. He was using Garageband because that is all he could afford. It was going fine until he started adding too many tracks. Then while recording a track it would stop and say that the HD was too slow.

    His HD is a Hybrid - Part SSD and Part Mechanical. He took it to an Apple shop and they said the problem wasn't the drive but that GB needed to be updated to a newer version. The problem is that his Mac is from 2011 and you can't install an OS new enough to help.

    I am not a MAC person but this all sounds like bull puckey to me. It acts like an HD issue. But... I guess it is just his system... but this particular Imac has a lot of fan noise. Maybe it needs a good cleaning.
     
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for that heads up about PT. I think he wants to upgrade to PT later.
     
  8. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    What is he going to be recording that would require 64 tracks?

    I don't think I've ever gotten above 24 tracks, and that's with a ton of instruments. Even with a gigantic drum kit I can't see getting to 64 tracks.

    - D
     
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  9. Mr. St. Paul

    Mr. St. Paul Tele-Meister

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    This. Holy moley, if I ever exceeded the capability of the 16 tracks I have available to me, I'd be booking time in a local studio.
     
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  10. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Afflicted

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    If you have 64(!) tracks and a bunch of plugins going, and you need to add another soft synth, it could be tough at that point to record the new track at a low enough latency to not cause crackles and pops on the way in, or crash the DAW. Best workaround would be to create a two-track reduction mix of the whole shebang, fly it into a new DAW template, record the new part, and then fly the new track into the existing 64 track opus.
     
  11. EugeneWeemich

    EugeneWeemich TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    64 stems...well ok. but, even with an i7 processor your going to need to freeze tracks and probably also push latency way back to prevent popping issues.

    if any effects, vst etc are added (and they totally will be) now you're loading that processor even more.

    look into bandlab sonar....it's free and excellent.

    I have and i7 machine running it and have pushed it pretty hard at 45 ish stems, but even then I had to freeze most. this becomes a huge latency thing if you are recording guitar, for example, and routing through virtual effects. in that case the latency makes things untenable.
     
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  12. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    DAW = Reaper

    I fought FL Studio for 3 years, Reaper has much better documentation.
     
  13. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Make sure he gets a separate SSD for his recordings. These days, the speed of the hard drive is the biggest bottleneck in my experience.

    He can run 64 tracks on a decently powered machine. I'm using a computer with an 8-core i7 9700 processor with 16 GB of RAM. (I actually had to check.) The current project I have open is 73 tracks at the moment. During recording, I can easily go over 100, but they're not all playing something simultaneously. He can use plug-ins, but it's a good idea to freeze tracks when you're not actively tweaking them. It makes things run more smoothly. Also, when you're done with a project, it's nice to have the tracks frozen just in case updates to your DAW or your computer have rendered plug-ins inoperable. (Been there!)

    I've already repeated a lot of stuff Eugene said, and I now I'm giving a "+1" to Cakewalk by Bandlab. I was already using it, then they they made it free!
     
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  14. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

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    This is so much different than the how do I record my guitar thread. By the time you get to 64 tracks for playback (how many simultaneous inputs does he need), he is going to need some serious instruction. More than he can get on a forum. While you will get a lot of advice on what Daw to use or mics or plugins ect... The most productive thing I can start with here is to record the audio on a seperate drive.
     
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  15. Pasta Player

    Pasta Player Tele-Meister

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    Which iMac?
    How much RAM?
    What MacOS version?
    What version of GarageBand?

    Merged.png
     
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  16. loudboy

    loudboy Tele-Meister

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    Reaper for a DAW.

    i7 w/at least 16G of RAM, internal SSD for system, external USB 3.0 for audio files.

    Record at 44.1 or 48/24-bit.

    Google "optimize Win 10 for audio recording" and follow the directions.
     
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  17. ieatlions

    ieatlions Tele-Holic

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    64 tracks?! That’s a big ask of any system, let alone doing it on a budget.

    Im still running my 2011 iMac>High Sierra with no issue, but.. granted I’m only ever using around 8 tracks with never more than a few vst’s or plugins running at a time.

    Reaper, Ableton and logic are considered to be light on CPU usage. He should consider those. I’ve tried them all. Logic/GarageBand are my preference.

    I wish him all the best.
     
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  18. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    He may want to learn some DAW basics on bouncing down tracks and freezing fx, etc. Might be chasing what could be a few hours of training for a lot of hardware £/$. False economy.

    what interface / desk he using? I have a 22 way desk / interface and can record all 22 at once.

    On the PC front, Cakewalk is powerful (check minimum/recommended specs). our band have moved to Bandlab in the pandemic and I always have Reaper around for extra tasks.

    SSDs are essential

    i also have a Tascam DP32SD which has very impressive sound but not good for midi - but sounds like what he might actually need.

    D6CBAAEA-C885-4292-B79E-89A099D65CDF.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  19. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    You should freeze tracks, but not bounce, unless your system is limited. I used to make a stereo scratch mix and paste it into a new file to record drum tracks if they were done late in the process, because I was recording 7 tracks at a time. I'd comp the parts, then copy and paste them into the main file. But since updating my system last year, I don't find the need to do that anymore
     
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  20. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    well for certain 64 tracks requires some heavy duty processing but I suspect your pal will not be creating sessions with 64 tracks soon, or perhaps EVER. At least not as a novice user !

    I've never had an issue with Pro Tools being finicky, I have two versions running, PT 8 on an old XP with 4 gig ram and PT 12 running on a WIN 7 PC with 10 gig. Pro Tools however, just like every major DAW , has guidelines on how to set up a PC for max efficiency. IF we follow them we are good, if we don't then maybe we are not good. It is certainly true that if we are asking our PC to do multiple tasks (background) at the same time, something has to give.

    My WIN 7 system is an older Pentium Dual Core, E5400/ 2.70 GHZ processor. Pro Tools 12x runs just fine, no issues and this system was built over 5 years ago from PC parts I had hanging around. I do use SD Drives for programs and an ext USB drive for sessions. This is a NON internet, NO other programs PC. Auto Updates was always OFF as there were times I jumped up on the NET to grab a download and MS was waiting for me !

    My average session track count is +/- 15 but I have been in the 30 + now and then. Even the PT 8 XP machine handled those with a single exception, 4 gig ram could not handle more than a SINGLE OCCURRENCE of the Amplitube Plug in. With PT12 I don't even bother with Amplitube anymore , PT12 has embedded Sans Amp plug-ins, very PT's and operator friendly.

    Pro Tools gets a bad rap for many things, some are warranted others are not.


    If Pro Tools is not in the cards I would suggest Studio One , very similar workflows.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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