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Motherboard recommendations?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:13 am

Motherboard recommendations?

The MB in our Soundscape DAW died last week and we have a large project coming in, in October and they use a specific engineer who only uses Soundscape (no, I don't know why, either!)

It will be Win XP-Pro, Reaper and Soundscape, with mixfarm card and AlphaLink. Any suggestions?
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby alexis » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:24 pm

Hi Red Bladder - Sorry I can't help with your question, but your post raised another one in my mind I was hoping you might help with - why XP-Pro as opposed to a newer OS? I'm only interested because it's looking more likely recently that I'll need to look at a new system.

Thanks -
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:27 pm

Probably because it's known to work with with the current software and he's already got it so won't have to buy a newer O/S


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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby alexis » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:28 am

Great, thanks Martin. That was my guess as well. I was thinking of doing a similar thing with my system, but I didn't know till now whether that was a reasonable approach.
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Goddard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:58 am

I'm confused. Did you mean 'Mixpander card' (rather than 'mixfarm card')?

IIRC (and it has been a good while, ca. late '90s?), the 'mixfarm' card was only for Protools systems, whereas the 'Mixpander' cards were only for Soundscape 32 DAWs (working alongside a Soundscape controller card).

So, could you confirm exactly what cards are in your DAW?

Also, are you able to find any identification (manufacturer/model) of the current mobo, and also its cpu and memory specs? Any other specs you can provide, such as graphics card and hard drives, might be helpful in suggesting a replacement mobo.

There are probably a number of compatible replacement mobo's (with native PCI slots) available secondhand, but without some more info it is difficult to know what might work in your DAW. Soundscape did not require a powerful system, but Reaper runs native and so needs a more powerful system.

And, how do you know that it was the mobo that died? Did something on the mobo pop or burn up?

Finally, have you tried contacting Sydec/SSL?

Sorry to respond to your question with more questions, but...

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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:44 am

RB - If the machine does what you need it too with the current spec then I'd say try and locate another motherboard from the same generation, with the same matching chipset via ebay or some such. Boards comeing out now all have features that were unavailable during XP's reign and whilst I fully expect you to be able to get it working, I've no idea how lucky you'll get in relation to being able to locate a full working driver set. That and you'd need a re-software doing...

In fact you've not really given us much to work with as you've not listed the current spec. Grab Speccy or Belarc and let us know what's in there at the moment Board/CPU/Memory and expansion slot requirements.
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Guy Johnson » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:08 am

Probably a naive stray thought ... why doesn't this person have his own computer set-up? ...

Anyway, hope it all gets sorted, it's a pain when a nice system bloody well goes tits-up.
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:43 pm

Yes, it's got a Soundscape 32 controller card and Mixpander card which link to an Alphalink and the external harddrive set.

I was thinking of just junking the whole thing, as Soundscape is just pants, but my Soundscape guy said that as long as it's working, I can use the whole thing for any other DAW, so I was thinking of sticking the latest PT and Reaper in there with it and junking all the memory and internal drives. I shall have to call the Soundscape tech guy and ask searching questions, but I never use the system ever. With PT and Reaper and brought up to date, it just might be a box worth keeping. It would be a pity to throw that lot in the bin!

I am in a session right now (band's gone to the pub) so I can't go pulling stuff out of the rack in the machine room to see what MB is in there, but the whole box just does nothing. PSU is OK, so are all the peripherals like video card and CD/DVD and floppy drives. I have far too much on my plate right now to footle about with a PC, but when it does not even go into the bios, then it ain't worth my while messing with it.

So what I am really asking, is what MB is suitable for audio and what is to be recommended?
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby robinv » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:32 pm

Hey, we build occasional Soundscape systems for PhaseShiftAV and they always have specific requirements in terms of what works with Mixpander card etc. They might be well worth talking to - http://www.phaseshiftav.com/
The last system we did for them had an Intel DP67BG motherboard and an i7 2600K processor and that was about a month ago. It's older technology but its one we've done for them a number of times and so they can be sure it works. It also ships with only 2GB of RAM - apparently something in the installation goes pear-shaped with any more. Soundscape is beautiful but a bit fussy.

Hope that helps
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:55 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:
So what I am really asking, is what MB is suitable for audio and what is to be recommended?

Ahh right, sorry wasn't thinking. Still need to know whats in there before answering that question. I can tell you that X board is awesome but it's no good if you have a Y chip that only works on Z.
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Goddard » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:05 am

The Red Bladder wrote:Yes, it's got a Soundscape 32 controller card and Mixpander card which link to an Alphalink and the external harddrive set.

Ok, I think what you are describing is that you have a PC in which is installed a Soundscape 32 PCI host interface card together with a Mixpander PCI DSP card. The 'external harddrive set' which you mention is, I believe, in actuality a 'Soundscape 32' DAW unit (a 2U rack unit with drive bays), which connects to the Soundcape 32 host interface card in the PC via a cable. The Alphalink audio interface in turn connects to the Mixpander card in the PC via another cable.

Assuming that what I have described above is correct, and that is the motherboard in the PC (housing the SS host interface and Mixpander cards) which has died, then you should be able to replace the motherboard in your PC with any equivalent Pentium 4 or AMD motherboard with a couple of free PCI slots (hullo ebay?). The SS32 system only used the 'host' PC for housing the host interface and Mixpander cards and running the SS editor software, while all the heavy lifing was done by the externally-connected SS32 DAW unit (in which are installed the hard drives onto which recording is actually done). The Mixpander card was used for DSP mixing and fx and for controlling the connected audio interface. So, actual performance requirements for the 'host' PC were quite modest as it only ran the editor software and provided the graphical interface while everything else was done outside the box in the DAW unit or by the DSP on the Mixpander card.

Now, if you want to move to a natively-hosted system for also running PT and Reaper and utilizing faster SATA drives (rather than the IDE drives in the external SS32 DAW unit), that would probably mean ditching (or re-purposing) the external SS32 DAW unit and host interface card, and building a more powerful PC to host the Mixpander card (with connected Alphalink), along with upgrading to a newer 'hybrid' version of the SS software from SSL. In that case, you should definitely first check with SSL for system requirements. Do be aware that many modern motherboards lack native PCI support, which is something you would probably want for the Mixpander.

Staying with XP is probably a good idea. IIRC, there were a lot of problems with Mixpander cards under Vista.

Hth!
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:08 pm

Sounds like I'll have to talk to SSL. I'm in a CR right now, using an adult system, but I can deal with all this on Monday.

It also sounds as if I shall be footling around with PCs - either that or dumping the whole thing in the bin!

Thanks folks!
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Re: Motherboard recommendations?

Postby Goddard » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:59 am

Glancing at SSL's site just now, looks like there are various ugrade options on offer if you choose to go that route:

http://www.solidstatelogic.com/music/soundscape/upgrades.asp

You might also check with PhaseShiftAV as mentioned above by Robin, as their site ('under construction' when I just checked) indicates they deal with 'legacy' SS DAWs. (Although I'd avoid using any P67 mobo for hosting the Mixpander and host interface cards, due to lack of native PCI support).

BTW, the SS32 was a renamed (rebadged by Mackie) version of the original SS 'R.Ed' HDR DAW as was reviewed by Martin in SoS back in Y2K:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct00/a ... dscape.htm

(Mackie eventually divested SS back to the remnants of Sydec, who were then acquired by present owners SSL, but the hardware remained pretty much the same.)

No doubt you could still find some takers if you do decide to bin it!

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