Computer Systems PC

Software is not everything. Computer Systems recording audio still need some hardware......and it has to be excellent!

As consultant and troubleshooter for computer systems in digital recording studios, I come around many studios and see many different problems and solutions. The following is the essence of what I consider performing best (at the moment).

That doesn't mean, that you cannot record your next #1 hit with a computer from the supermarket. In fact you probably can.

But when it comes to native (means without additional processing hardware like DSP cards) mixing, sound effects and more tracks you still need every inch of reliability and performance you can get.

Therefore this is my recommendation for a system with high performance and stability, within a reasonable price range.

  • Case: Get either a 19" Rack mount standard case or one of the new screw-less mini or midi-tower. What should you look for?
    • Enough drive bays for your needs
    • Screw-less / Tool-less for easy opening
    • ATX / Extended ATX support
    • A solid and quiet 300 / 350W Power Supply
    • Nice color ;-) (gray is so boring)
  • Motherboard / CPU:
    If you buy a new main board you should go for the new socket 775 boards with
    the chipset Intel 925x (Alderwood). With these boards you can use the new socket 775 Pentium 4 CPUs.
  • Graphics card:
    If you ever worked with one of the new multi track recording applications you know that a second screen is a must-have.

    Get a card for at least 2 monitors. It doesn't have to be the fastest card around, but it should be fast and powerful enough to relieve the CPU from graphics load.

  • Hard disk:
    Look for high average data transfer rate and if it's cool and quiet (always important in studio environments)
  • CD/DVD-Rom:
    I would choose a separate CD/DVD reader and burner. So you can make direct CD or DVD Copies.

    The reader should be able to grab audio CDs bit-accurate, jitter-free and at high speed. You have to look for that feature in the specs.

  • CD/DVD-writer:

    Look either for a double layer CD/DVD Re-writer or a CD/DVD writer that can burn CDRs at high speeds. You may not need the rewrite feature so you can save money on this.

    It should have a Buffer Underrun Technology built in. Most of the new writers have that already.

If you are interested in mobile recording solutions go to my page about laptop recording.