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computer newbie

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computer newbie

Postby forumuser828680 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:17 pm

I've been recording at home about 12 years. I know the basics of getting a good sound. Ive been using a digital CD recording station which has finally given up.
I need to get my head around doing things a different way: computer recording

I have good monitors, mics, etc...

I need a dedicated computer, DAW, interface (thinking of Focusrite) to get started. I use Windows for the home computer but I'm thinking MAC might be a better platform for music creation?

Yes I've seen a lot on the internet/youtube: Presonus, Reaper, Ableton, Protools and on... confusing to say the least

Just get something and get to work? Good advice but with finite funds need to be cautious.

Lets say $2K - $2500 USD

SOS is a place I come often for reliable true information.

Please give me some ideas?

Additional question: Will I need an internet connection with any platform?

Thanks a lot. jb
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Re: computer newbie

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:35 pm

Macs have always been popular with music-makers but the cost of entry is quite high and, if you're not already a Mac-user there's a new learning curve to master the operating system.

If you're already a happy Windows-user I'd stick with that. That way you only have to learn about the DAW and not how to set up and use the computer as well!

There are lots of DAWs to choose from, but they all basically do the same things in slightly different ways. However, some DAWs are more suited than others to different types of music or ways of working, so it might be worthwhile saying something about the kind of music you want to make so the illuminati here can offer some guidance.

If you collaborate with musical friends there might be an advantage to using whatever DAW they use so that you have a handy support service nearby! Otherwise, I'd suggest Reaper as one of the most powerful, versatile, and highly cost-effective DAWs available.

It would be worth taking a look through the specific DAW Notes pages in a few back issues of the magazine online to get a feel for what the different DAWs offer and how they work -- you might take a liking or dislike to a particular brand!

As for the hardware, if you're after a dedicated music PC it's worth finding a specialist PC builder who will be able to specify components best suited to the application and set up Windows appropriately. In the UK a lot of us rate SCAN very highly, but I've no idea of the equivalent companies on your side of the ocean I'm afraid. A bespoke PC is more expensive than an off-the-shelf HP or Dell or whatever, but it will still be (slightly) less expensive than a Mac and it will be upgrade-able! ;-)

When it comes to interfaces, Focusrite are quite respectable... but personally I'd specify RME just because the specs are exceptional, TotalMix makes life so easy, and the drivers have amongst the lowest latency and will be maintained through several generations of OS updates more than anyone else! The initial outlay on RME interfaces is higher than some other brands, but the product will last rather longer so it's probably more cost-effective overall...

As for the internet connection... not necessarily, but life is a whole lot easier with one. Most software and plugins needs some form of online registration at the very least.
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Re: computer newbie

Postby BJG145 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:42 pm

*disclaimer* I typed out a quick reply before Hugh posted.

forumuser828680 wrote:I need a dedicated computer, DAW, interface (thinking of Focusrite) to get started. I use Windows for the home computer but I'm thinking MAC might be a better platform for music creation?

Doesn't matter, whichever you prefer.

Yes I've seen a lot on the internet/Youtube: Presonus, Reaper, Ableton, Protools and on... confusing to say the least

Just get something and get to work? Good advice but with finite funds need to be cautious.

...again, it comes down to personal preference really. Reaper is popular, capable, cheap. "Cakewalk by Bandlab" is free and also pretty comprehensive.

Lets say $2K - $2500 USD

Price is completely elastic; you could spend tens of thousands, or next to nothing. There are many aspects. You'd need a decent microphone if you're recording acoustic sources, and a decent recording space; perhaps you might need some acoustic treatment. You'd need a good pair of headphones or monitors for mixing, or you might need some good VST synths or sample libraries. It all depends what you're working on and what your expectations are.

Additional question: Will I need an internet connection with any platform?

An Internet connection is the least of your worries. ;)
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Re: computer newbie

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:46 pm

After 7 or 8 years using early Cubase on Win 95/98/XP to record I switched over to using an all hardware rig. A few years ago I bought an old G5 Mac and settled on Reaper as my DAW. The G5 has since gone to the great server in the sky and been replaced by a 2008 Mac Pro.

But, any decent modern PC or Mac will run as many Reaper tracks* as most of us could ever use so don't be too worried about the specifics of the computer.

Cakewalk is free and fully specified but is Windows only, Reaper is free to try, the trial is fully functioning and does not run out but if you like it a licence is $60 + local taxes (just under £60 in the UK) so no excuse not to buy one. To echo what you said, I "just got something and got to work" and have never regretted choosing Reaper.

* It's VSTis and processor heavy fx like convolution reverbs that eat up the computing power, straightforward tracking and mixing of 'real' instruments is not going to strain most machines even with pretty high track counts.
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Re: computer newbie

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:08 pm

I'd say pretty much the same as above. I will also echo the advice about RME - TotalMix alone is worth the price of entry, as it takes a lot of the pain out of monitoring and routing.

Although Reaper is very capable, I couldn't personally live with it as my one and only DAW. All I would say is to take some time getting to understand what you want from a DAW, and maybe that will help to narrow things down.
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Re: computer newbie

Postby forumuser828680 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:32 pm

Thank you...

"(so it might be worthwhile saying something about the kind of music you want to make so the illuminati here can offer some guidance.") Americana/soft rock. All done by me overdubbing vocal, acoustic, electric instruments however drums must be looped together, created.

"You'd need a decent microphone if you're recording acoustic sources, and a decent recording space; perhaps you might need some acoustic treatment. You'd need a good pair of headphones or monitors for mixing," I do have all that

yes, straightforward tracking and mixing of 'real' instruments this is what I do with the exception of the drums . Ive been using Mick Fleetwood Total Drumming for years.

Would I be able to load The Total DRumming tracks into the DAW?

These platforms come with drum sets as sections for beats, rolls, crashs that I can string together to make a believable track? Very important

If you're already a happy Windows-user I'd stick with that. That way you only have to learn about the DAW and not how to set up and use the computer as well! I dont know how happy I am with Windows I just use the very basic functions ...

Then of course Ill need to print CDs of the music to check mixes ...like in the car for example. Guess I'll need additional hardware too.

Whew!

jb
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Re: computer newbie

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:48 pm

Pasting drum loops into any DAW should be simple enough, I don't think you would be best advised to use a loop based DAW like Ableton though as most of your instruments are 'real'.

WRT Windows/Mac the basic functions are, really, all you'l need outside of learning your chosen DAW.

And bear in mind, optical drives (CD/DVD drives) are an optional extra with many computers these days, TBH I can't remember the last time I burned a CD....
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Re: computer newbie

Postby BJG145 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:09 pm

forumuser828680 wrote:If you're already a happy Windows-user I'd stick with that. That way you only have to learn about the DAW and not how to set up and use the computer as well! I dont know how happy I am with Windows I just use the very basic functions

I'd stick with Windows unless you have a good reason to change.
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