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Starter setup advice required

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Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:55 am
by Guest
Hi there folks.

I have a good pal who likes composing. He records guitar and has recorded it using an old Tascam thing for years and years. He has no computer setup and has resisted upgrading.

He has now decided to get a computer and get more up to date and wants me to suggest a basic set up. But I am bit out of the loop really for starter set ups.

So I think he is gonna have to go the PC route. He doesn't want to spend more than 500 quid on a computer. He has cash for the other stuff, Dunno why he has set him PC limit at 500 quid.

So a few questions if I may:

Is a 500 quid PC doable? If not, have you any good suggestions as to a good basic PC?
Where is a good place to buy audio PCs at that price?
He wants to record guitar - electric and acoustic - so what are the essential items he will need to get going?

I am thinking a mic or two, errr midi interface, cubase? Owt else?

Sorry for sounding a bit newbie here. Suggestions would be most appreciated so that I can pass them on to my buddy who has had a very bad year thus far and I think wants to lose himself in composing for a few years.

Thx

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:03 am
by CS70
For recording guitar he doesn't need that much.

Assuming he has already a microphone and room treatment, budget goes to a used pc with Windows 10, plenty RAM and an SSD; and a USB interface with one or two channels.

If budget is limited the usual suspects (Focusrite etc) work fine. Otherwise an RME BabyFace, possibly used to save money.

As of DAW, Cakewalk is a flagship product and it's free from BandLab, so it's a no brainer.

If he needs plugins, he can download Booty's free set (they're 32 bit, but rock solid with Cakewalk's BitBridge) from the Variety Of Sound website - they sound magnificent.

From there then he'll find out what he needs more.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:26 am
by Guest
Very useful suggestions, cheers!

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:52 am
by The Elf
And don't forget that Reaper is free to start and well supported. Not my favourite, but undeniably economic and capable.

Some audio interfaces come with the likes of Cubase as cut-down versions, which is all he might need. I particularly like the Native Instruments interfaces.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:26 pm
by Sam Spoons
Which DAW do you use Chris? He's undoubtedly going to need some help in the early stages and that will probably fall to you so if he has the same DAW you will find helping him a lot easier.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:57 pm
by Guest
Sam Spoons wrote:Which DAW do you use Chris? He's undoubtedly going to need some help in the early stages and that will probably fall to you so if he has the same DAW you will find helping him a lot easier.

I have Cubase Sam. Be good if he got Cubase I guess then I could teach him but he is all about saving the pennies at this stage. But yeah, there's Cubase Elements isn't there. That would work.

Thanks for the suggestions Elf.

I also have a few bits and bobs in the garage I can donate too.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:31 pm
by blinddrew
I think my PC cost me about £500 nearly 10 years ago, so you should be able to get something considerably better for the same now. And it's still going strong - though occasionally does get a bit stressed on really busy mixes.
Cubase elements does come with a very limited set of plugins but you can download the reaper ones for free and use them (as I understand it). That's a comprehensive starting set (though the GUIs aren't the friendliest).

[EDIT aren't the friendliest! Sorry.]

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:34 pm
by Guest
Thanks!

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:58 am
by Logarhythm
+1 to Drew's suggestion. I'm also using a PC that I built for around £500 a few years ago. I'd planned to upgrade later, but haven't felt the need. You should be able to build something that has enough oomph to have plenty in reserve for basic recording and sequencing purposes on that budget.
If you go for an AI with the free bundled version of Cubase you still get a discount on upgrades (even if it's just to Elements), and you can also exchange projects between you. Just be careful going from full Cubase to the smaller versions, as they'll open the project but disable a load of plugins etc to meet the limits set for the relevant version. (Voice of experience - somehow accidentally opened a project in Elements rather than full Cubase and had a small panic a bit about why all my plugins had been disabled :lol: )

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:44 am
by ef37a
Hi Chris, by "computer" does he mean a laptop?

If so, this time last year I bought my son a really good W10 Lenovo T430. Fast i5 processor, 8G ram and a modest 240G SSD. He runs Samplitude Pro X 3 suite on it no problem.

I got that refurbished from an Amazon supplier for around £400 and it really was "as new" as advertised.

Native Instruments was mentioned and I can really recommend the Komplete Audio 6. Otherwise tell him to look at Mackie and Tascam as alternatives to the ubiqitous F'rites! (they are good but not really any better than others) Whatever he gets, please tell him not to go down the lowest, most basic route. He needs two microphone inputs and MIDI is handy.

Dave.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:11 am
by Guest
I do appreciate these suggestions chaps. Lots of food for thought. Hopefully, he will embrace technology (which scares him alot), joins this forum and in 6 months posts a guitar tune he has done with his new system!

Might drag him along to synthfest so he gets to experience the joyful wonders of synthdom.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:23 am
by Arpangel
ReadySaltedChris wrote:Might drag him along to synthfest so he gets to experience the joyful wonders of synthdom.

I thought you said you were "his mate"...

:D

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:08 am
by Music Wolf
I'm using a desktop pc that I bought from pc world several years ago for, from memory, sub £400 without a monitor. I've since increased the RAM which I did myself without any problems. I'm running Cubase pro, Superior Drummer 3.0 plus various other bits 'n' bobs (almost) without any problems.

When I say almost I mean that every now and again I have to reinstall drivers after a Windows update. Occasionally, after a start up, I find that direct monitoring on my AI is disabled and I have to re-boot. I might just get an audio glitch (say 1 in 100 times). I should point out that, because I use direct monitoring from my Steinberg UR824 AI, I can run with very high buffer size / high latency.

When I decided to go down the PC World route, rather than buy something purpose built from Scan, I did so in the knowledge that it may not work but that, if it didn't, I could afford to write of the £400. I was also familiar enough with Cubase that I could undertake a bit of tweaking to get things stable.

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:35 pm
by Guest
Arpangel wrote:
ReadySaltedChris wrote:Might drag him along to synthfest so he gets to experience the joyful wonders of synthdom.

I thought you said you were "his mate"...

:D

hehe good point! :D

Re: Starter setup advice required

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:42 pm
by The Elf
Don't forget to come say hello to me at Synthfest! :thumbup: