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SirJamsalot
post Nov 19 2013, 11:15 PM
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Well, I went and spent this year's allocation of funds on a new computer. I've been without a reliable machine for about 2 years now after my regular beast gave up the ghost. I should be receiving it by mid December.

http://www.sweetwater.com/creation_station/CS250v3.php

I'm also turning some office space into a home recording studio, so this years is I think a really good year for me in terms of gear and music, not to mention brushing up on my carpentry skills smile.gif

Looking forward to the moment I'm able to get everything situated and begin recording again.

Cheers!


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Bogdan Radovic
post Nov 19 2013, 11:44 PM
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Congrats on the purchase, that computer looks great. I have never seen such custom built computers for audio that are fit into rack mountable case - really clever idea! smile.gif

Which audio interface are you going to use with it?


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SirJamsalot
post Nov 20 2013, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Nov 19 2013, 02:44 PM) *
Congrats on the purchase, that computer looks great. I have never seen such custom built computers for audio that are fit into rack mountable case - really clever idea! smile.gif

Which audio interface are you going to use with it?


I think the rack-mount is what sold the idea to me - I want to be able to bring some sounds onto stage with me at some point. This would make it a lot easier.

I am currently using the focusrite 2i2
http://turntablelab.com/products/focusrite...CFaTm7AodT34Atw

I don't do much multi track recording, so this suits the immediate need.

I also have an EMU PCI Audio Interface that I might use since it has its own internal CPU. Not sure if I'll install it or not. Time will tell.


This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: Nov 20 2013, 12:45 AM


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 20 2013, 04:44 AM
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Great topic!! smile.gif I don't know if you noticed a little further down on the right on that sweetwater page, that they have a laptop line as well in their "CREATION STATION" line. This particular laptop runs WINDOWS 7 and MACINTOSH OSX on the same box and runs both natively. This would allow you to run pretty much any software you like. You can run both operating systems at once even and launch applications accross platforms transparently. smile.gif

The reason I mention the laptop, is that if you are considering racking a computer, think seriously about some sort of laptop, from any reputable vendor, PC or Mac, for the simple reason that if you put an SSD (solid state) hard drive in it, the machine has very few moving parts and will travel well and can be part of your live rig and your home rig and it's got it's own built in LCD monitor and keyboard/trackpad smile.gif

The laptop in the Sweetwater line (Essentially a 13 inch macbook set to boot windows or mac os. I"ve got one of these little laptops and it freaking SCREAMS!!! I"ve recorded 8 tracks at time with no lag or skips.) is overpriced since they pre install windows and some other bits. I'd say skip this and get any laptop you like, PC or Mac and put your own install on it smile.gif

Above and beyond that, you can RACK MOUNT the laptop on a pull out rack drawer!!!!!! smile.gif


and an SKB version for $100

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SKBVS1/

Attached Image


Another handy thing about building a "Portable Studio Rack" is that you can get a great interface and rack it up as well smile.gif

For between $250 and $500 you can get a multiple input rack mount interface in either USB 2.0 or FIREWIRE.

Here is the starting end with the Behringer for $250 ( 4 XLR inputs)

Attached Image

The firewire based Presonus FIRESTUDIO for $399 ( 8 XLR Inputs)

Attached Image

and finally the USB SCARLETT for $499 ( 8 XLR inputs)

Attached Image

So to sum up, IT"S A GREAT FREAKING IDEA!!!! smile.gif I myself have started building a computer based rack system for live use. I staretd with a Laptop and am now thinking about installing a Mac Mini and small touch screen.

You are ahead of the curve on this project and line of thinking, IMHO. smile.gif But everyone else is not too far behind. Already dedicated computing devices like the AXE FX are HUGELY popular. It's essentially a purpose build PC running a single application. Using a generic computer capable of running any application seems like the next logical step. After all, you could control all of your software with a foot controller (as I do) like the LINE 6 MK II and even have wah control in your guitar plugins smile.gif Not to mention you can run a DAW hosting several different plugins and mix the tracks together in real time to create a HUGE sound. I've done this as well and it's sooooooo good smile.gif You are in for a real treat.

And a bit on USB VS FIREWIRE smile.gif



FIREWIRE OR USB?




PROS
In general, FireWire devices support a higher bandwidth than USB 2.0, and therefore can send more data faster. This results in the ability to utilize more inputs and outputs, as well as increased performance and stability. This practically would apply only to interfaces with large numbers of inputs and outputs; the difference in performance between a single or dual-channel USB or FireWire interface should be negligible.
FireWire streams data rather than packets data. This results in more stable synchronization and performance. A FireWire device can stream data in both directions at the same time, while USB requires the sent packets of data to finish transmission before the device can receive more data. While seemingly a minor technical detail, this can impact performance and stability to some degree.
FireWire is typically dedicated for audio/video purposes, and wouldn't be in use by other services on your computer. Your system will most likely have a single controller for FireWire that shouldn't receive interference from other services or hardware on your system in a normal situation. Conversely, USB is used by a wide variety of hardware peripherals, resulting in an increase in the chance that a conflict could occur.
FireWire devices have the ability to cascade or daisy-chain. This means multiple FireWire devices of the same family can be connected together for additional inputs and outputs. For instance, you can connect two PreSonus FireStudio Projects together for a total of 20 inputs and 20 outputs. USB devices cannot be connected together in this fashion.


CONS
USB devices can be used on almost any computer, because almost all computers contain USB ports. Conversely, most modern PCs do not have FireWire ports built-in. One can usually upgrade their computer to support FireWire, but this would require purchasing additional hardware.
There is no form of chipset incompatibility with USB devices. A USB 2.0 interface can be used on almost any USB 2.0 port; however, with FireWire, one must have a supported chipset in order to utilize the device properly. For more information about supported and unsupported hardware, check out this document.
*Certain new computers utilize newer USB technology known as "USB 3.0"; PreSonus USB 2.0 audio interfaces should work with 3.0 provided that you are using an operating system that fully supports the 3.0 architecture, and that you have updated your USB 3.0 drivers.

USB devices typically are at a lower price point than FireWire devices, so they may be more attractive to users on a budget.
Certain computers can not be upgraded to support FireWire. If your computer is a laptop and does not have a Cardbus, PCMCIA, or ExpressCard slot, there is no way to add FireWire to the system. If your computer is a desktop but does not have any available PCI or PCI Express slots, you would not be able to add FireWire without removing another device.





QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Nov 19 2013, 06:43 PM) *
I think the rack-mount is what sold the idea to me - I want to be able to bring some sounds onto stage with me at some point. This would make it a lot easier.

I am currently using the focusrite 2i2
http://turntablelab.com/products/focusrite...CFaTm7AodT34Atw

I don't do much multi track recording, so this suits the immediate need.

I also have an EMU PCI Audio Interface that I might use since it has its own internal CPU. Not sure if I'll install it or not. Time will tell.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 20 2013, 10:54 AM


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SirJamsalot
post Nov 20 2013, 06:55 AM
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Todd, great information as always.
you know, the first thing I checked out was the laptop version of the studio, but the price-point was above my means, and I feel more comfortable with 3 screens in front of me, which the desktop's video card supports. Having the dual operating system is definitely a bonus, but after a lot of consideration, I decided the rack-mount PC was the best choice for my particular situation. It's a bit heaver than a laptop, but as soon as you have 1 rackmount device, it begs for a power conditioner to occupy the second spot, so may as well also install a tray into the 3rd spot for a touch-pad, stick it all on wheels and case it. So +- 10 lbs, in the end, really isn't a dealbreaker given my Mesa head alone is 70lbs...

As for firewire - it's great if your computer supports it (this new one I believe supports it), but it also supports USB 3.0 which I believe surpasses firewire by 2x the speed/throughput. The next version up of the creation station boasts a Thunderbolt port ... would have liked to have had one of those on the PC, but I'm still happy as a clam smile.gif

Cheers!


QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 19 2013, 07:44 PM) *
Great topic!! smile.gif I don't know if you noticed a little further down on the right on that sweetwater page, that they have a laptop line as well in their "CREATION STATION" line. This particular laptop runs WINDOWS 7 and MACINTOSH OSX on the same box and runs both natively. This would allow you to run pretty much any software you like. You can run both operating systems at once even and launch applications accross platforms transparently. smile.gif

The reason I mention the laptop, is that if you are considering racking a computer, think seriously about some sort of laptop, from any reputable vendor, PC or Mac, for the simple reason that if you put an SSD (solid state) hard drive in it, the machine has very few moving parts and will travel well and can be part of your live rig and your home rig and it's got it's own built in LCD monitor and keyboard/trackpad smile.gif

The laptop in the Sweetwater line (Essentially a 13 inch macbook set to boot windows or mac os. I"ve got one of these little laptops and it freaking SCREAMS!!! I"ve recorded 8 tracks at time with no lag or skips.) is overpriced since they pre install windows and some other bits. I'd say skip this and get any laptop you like, PC or Mac and put your own install on it smile.gif

Above and beyond that, you can RACK MOUNT the laptop on a pull out rack drawer!!!!!! smile.gif

Here is one for $50

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SLE1/

Attached Image


and an SKB version for $100

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SKBVS1/

Attached Image


Another handy thing about building a "Portable Studio Rack" is that you can get a great interface and rack it up as well smile.gif

For between $250 and $500 you can get a multiple input rack mount interface in either USB 2.0 or FIREWIRE.

Here is the starting end with the Behringer for $250 ( 4 XLR inputs)

Attached Image

The firewire based Presonus FIRESTUDIO for $399 ( 8 XLR Inputs)

Attached Image

and finally the USB SCARLETT for $499 ( 8 XLR inputs)

Attached Image

So to sum up, IT"S A GREAT FREAKING IDEA!!!! smile.gif I myself have started building a computer based rack system for live use. I staretd with a Laptop and am now thinking about installing a Mac Mini and small touch screen.

You are ahead of the curve on this project and line of thinking, IMHO. smile.gif But everyone else is not too far behind. Already dedicated computing devices like the AXE FX are HUGELY popular. It's essentially a purpose build PC running a single application. Using a generic computer capable of running any application seems like the next logical step. After all, you could control all of your software with a foot controller (as I do) like the LINE 6 MK II and even have wah control in your guitar plugins smile.gif Not to mention you can run a DAW hosting several different plugins and mix the tracks together in real time to create a HUGE sound. I've done this as well and it's sooooooo good smile.gif You are in for a real treat.

And a bit on USB VS FIREWIRE smile.gif



FIREWIRE OR USB?




PROS
In general, FireWire devices support a higher bandwidth than USB 2.0, and therefore can send more data faster. This results in the ability to utilize more inputs and outputs, as well as increased performance and stability. This practically would apply only to interfaces with large numbers of inputs and outputs; the difference in performance between a single or dual-channel USB or FireWire interface should be negligible.
FireWire streams data rather than packets data. This results in more stable synchronization and performance. A FireWire device can stream data in both directions at the same time, while USB requires the sent packets of data to finish transmission before the device can receive more data. While seemingly a minor technical detail, this can impact performance and stability to some degree.
FireWire is typically dedicated for audio/video purposes, and wouldn't be in use by other services on your computer. Your system will most likely have a single controller for FireWire that shouldn't receive interference from other services or hardware on your system in a normal situation. Conversely, USB is used by a wide variety of hardware peripherals, resulting in an increase in the chance that a conflict could occur.
FireWire devices have the ability to cascade or daisy-chain. This means multiple FireWire devices of the same family can be connected together for additional inputs and outputs. For instance, you can connect two PreSonus FireStudio Projects together for a total of 20 inputs and 20 outputs. USB devices cannot be connected together in this fashion.


CONS
USB devices can be used on almost any computer, because almost all computers contain USB ports. Conversely, most modern PCs do not have FireWire ports built-in. One can usually upgrade their computer to support FireWire, but this would require purchasing additional hardware.
There is no form of chipset incompatibility with USB devices. A USB 2.0 interface can be used on almost any USB 2.0 port; however, with FireWire, one must have a supported chipset in order to utilize the device properly. For more information about supported and unsupported hardware, check out this document.
*Certain new computers utilize newer USB technology known as "USB 3.0"; PreSonus USB 2.0 audio interfaces should work with 3.0 provided that you are using an operating system that fully supports the 3.0 architecture, and that you have updated your USB 3.0 drivers.

USB devices typically are at a lower price point than FireWire devices, so they may be more attractive to users on a budget.
Certain computers can not be upgraded to support FireWire. If your computer is a laptop and does not have a Cardbus, PCMCIA, or ExpressCard slot, there is no way to add FireWire to the system. If your computer is a desktop but does not have any available PCI or PCI Express slots, you would not be able to add FireWire without removing another device.



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My Band Forum: http://passionfly.site/chat

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Darius Wave
post Nov 20 2013, 09:36 AM
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QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Nov 19 2013, 11:15 PM) *
Well, I went and spent this year's allocation of funds on a new computer. I've been without a reliable machine for about 2 years now after my regular beast gave up the ghost. I should be receiving it by mid December.

http://www.sweetwater.com/creation_station/CS250v3.php

I'm also turning some office space into a home recording studio, so this years is I think a really good year for me in terms of gear and music, not to mention brushing up on my carpentry skills smile.gif

Looking forward to the moment I'm able to get everything situated and begin recording again.

Cheers!



Congrats on Your new device! I've just did the same and now I'm having this bad "switching" to new age of pc period smile.gif I did most of the things working but still some need a fix. Hope You'll make Yours working pretty soon smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 20 2013, 10:57 AM
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Sounds like the Rack Mount PC will work just fine wink.gif You can run REAPER and whatever Interface you like as well wink.gif Are you going to rack it up? I hate to say it, but if you run a PC, you do need some sort of power conditioner/surge suppressor. You can use a floor version, though. But why get a rack PC if you don't intend to put it in a rack?

Are you going to gig with it? or use it in the home studio only?




QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Nov 20 2013, 12:55 AM) *
Todd, great information as always.
you know, the first thing I checked out was the laptop version of the studio, but the price-point was above my means, and I feel more comfortable with 3 screens in front of me, which the desktop's video card supports. Having the dual operating system is .

Cheers!


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 20 2013, 11:03 AM


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SirJamsalot
post Nov 20 2013, 05:18 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 20 2013, 01:57 AM) *
Sounds like the Rack Mount PC will work just fine wink.gif You can run REAPER and whatever Interface you like as well wink.gif Are you going to rack it up? I hate to say it, but if you run a PC, you do need some sort of power conditioner/surge suppressor. You can use a floor version, though. But why get a rack PC if you don't intend to put it in a rack?

Are you going to gig with it? or use it in the home studio only?


It'll be some time before I come up with a show-worthy production using a computer, so in the meantime, home recording only. I'm already in the market for a Furman Power Conditioner - rack-mount.



QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Nov 20 2013, 12:36 AM) *
Congrats on Your new device! I've just did the same and now I'm having this bad "switching" to new age of pc period smile.gif I did most of the things working but still some need a fix. Hope You'll make Yours working pretty soon smile.gif


Nothing like a challenge! smile.gif Looking forward to hearing more tracks/lessons from you!
Chris


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 21 2013, 12:16 AM
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This unit/system may end up being a bit much for a live rig, but it will serve well as a studio computer and the patches presets you make can easily be transfered to a "live rig" that you may build later out of lighter/smaller bits. Eg. a micro pc like the intel
NUC which is just under the spec as your rack mount but only 4 inches square starting about $260

http://www.pcworld.com/product/1252705/nex...-dc3217iye.html

coupled with a smaller interface like your presonus. Both of these could fit on a single unit rack space shelf. Put a power conditioner in the slot above and in a two space rack you could have a full live rig smile.gif Leaving the heavy lifting mixing/mastering to your dedicated studio computer.

For a permanent installation, putting a furman in that rack is a good idea. Also, I'd suggest, when possible, to add a UPS (doesn't have to be rack mount, but it can be) so that brown outs/black outs/power spikes/dips/etc. don't harm you new pc. A power conditioner (assuming it has a surge protector, not all do) will protect your investment while the power is flowing. But if the power goes out or dips for any reason, the system is allowed to crash and this can be very harmful.

Attached Image

I use one of these as my main studio power but they make much smaller/cheaper versions.

You can get a small 2 port tripplite surge box with EMI/RFI power filtering for under $30. And then plug your other power units in to that. Whatever you get, try to make sure it does EMI/RFI filtering as cheaper units sometimes don't.

Attached Image


QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Nov 20 2013, 11:18 AM) *
It'll be some time before I come up with a show-worthy production using a computer, so in the meantime, home recording only. I'm already in the market for a Furman Power Conditioner - rack-mount.





Nothing like a challenge! smile.gif Looking forward to hearing more tracks/lessons from you!
Chris


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 21 2013, 12:16 AM


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