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computer spec for mastering and recording

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computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby dennisgamalej » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:07 am

Hello,
i have a question. Im looking for a computer to master and record bands,solists,big bands...... i will use cubase 9 and a lot of waves plugins. I want a computer just for this work. My budget is not high( about 800euros.
Thank you for help!
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:29 am

Hi Dennis,
if you want the top chaps here, Pete, Hugh et al, to help you they are going to need a whole raft of extra information. I can start you off with a few ideas.

1) Do you want a Desk Top or laptop computer? Bang for buck and for future proofing the DT would be best IMHO.
2) Do you have an Audio Interface at the moment? If not the matter needs AS much serious thought as the PC. How many microphones might you use at once? Do you need blindingly low latency? You would not need low latency for instance if you were just "grabbing" six or eight mic channels to hard drive then processing later. That has repercussions on the cost of the interface. Very low latencey means moving into RME territory. ULTRA low latency will need Thundebolt or Ethernet.
3) Is the budget just for the computer? What else do you have in terms of monitors, high quality headphones and a good, well treated room in which to use all those pluggins?

You seem to have made up your mind about some things? Cubase 9 for instance is great I guess but expensive. Might be better to put the bulk of that money into hardware and use Reaper?

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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby dennisgamalej » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:36 am

i want to buy a tascam us-16x08. Its low latency. For drums i want to use all mics. Better is laptop because sometimes they need to record something at school. Monitors i dont have yet. Why you reccomsnd reaper? is it a good software? what about quality and is it easy to understand?
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:59 am

dennisgamalej wrote:i want to buy a tascam us-16x08. Its low latency. For drums i want to use all mics. Better is laptop because sometimes they need to record something at school. Monitors i dont have yet. Why you reccomsnd reaper? is it a good software? what about quality and is it easy to understand?

Ah! The 16x08 comes with a light version of Cubase I believe? That being the case it makes sense to use it. I don't know how many tracks the DAW version gives you but there is a discounted upgrade path. Even so, Cubase 9.5 is going to be a lot more money than Reaper ($60 US?) . Reaper gives nothing away to the "big boys" in terms of quality and facilities and upgrades are free forever AFAIK. I have bought it, hardly ever use it because I have used Samplitude for so long but if I did not have a Samplitude "muscle memory" Reaper would be my choice.

The 16x08 is an excellent AI by all acounts and has been the core of countless hom m'track setups. You might however look to the future in that maybe 8 mics might not be enough? You could use those up just on a drumkit. Something with ADAT expansion?

Monitors are vital as is getting the room treated for quality sound. Apply yourself to the SoS back issues and learn! The "Studio sos" series of articles should be your first port of call.

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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby dennisgamalej » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:28 am

thnx for reply! which laptop you recommend?
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:46 am

dennisgamalej wrote:thnx for reply! which laptop you recommend?

I don't! Not my area of expertise. OTTOMH I would look at a late model i5 or i7 processor and 8G of ram. Definitely want an SSD hard drive and if cost is a problem go for a smaller drive and save for an external USB 3.0 drive (or caddy) to dump tracks to to keep the internal drive free.
Small caveat. I have just bought my son a Lenovo T430. Cost was an issue so I went with a 14.1" screen. This i3HP lappy I am using is a 15" but the difference is startling! Unless you have REALLY good eyes don't go smaller than 15" or budget for a monitors/small FSTV!

(actually, look for a S/H 22" or bigger telly anyway. You won't want to spend much time editing even on a 15incher)

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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:06 pm

+1 for Reaper, I had used Cubase but gone back to hardware for a number of years before returning to a computer as my recording device. I decided that, as I would be starting from scratch learning a DAW (it had been so long since I used Cubase) I would try Reaper and I have been a user for several years now.

WRT laptops, I have become a Mac addict and would recommend a MacBook Pro but that may stretch (or completely destroy) your budget.
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby dennisgamalej » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:11 pm

can you send pls and example what you made in reaper. A recorded band ..... thnx i just like to know i know mastering is how every person do it but i like to know it) thnx
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:36 pm

I know this cover version (made by The Bunk on this Forum) is all recorded in Reaper. Not live drums, but everything else is played. You can even see Rearer running in the background in some of the video shots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK8ROvmS9pk
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:13 pm

TBH dennisgamalej you will learn nothing about a DAW by listening to a track produced in it. All the mainstream DAWs are capable of producing release quality recordings, the differences are in workflow and the bundled plug-ins. A friend of mine dislikes Reaper because the GUI doesn't (to his eyes) look as refined as Logic (his DAW of choice). As Dave says, the Tascam will have a 'lite' version of a DAW included (Cubase?), and they all have freely downloadable demo's. Most are crippled in some way but Reaper's demo is the fully functional software (time limited to 60 days but I'm not sure what happens at the end of the demo period, when I tried it all that happened was a nag screen every time you started the program). Get your laptop and audio interface and download some demos, have a play for a couple of weeks and decide if Cubase is worth the extra £200+ over Reaper. You may even find the bundled 'lite' version does all you need.
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:24 pm

dennisgamalej wrote:can you send pls and example what you made in reaper. A recorded band ..... thnx i just like to know i know mastering is how every person do it but i like to know it) thnx

I could be wrong but I get the impression that you are worried that the actual sound quality will be different/worse if you use other than a "famous" DAW?

This is not the case. It is my understanding that DAWs just "handle the numbers"? There might be tiny differences with complex renderings but I doubt it. Over the years I have dabbled* with all the major DAWs save PT and from the basic and free Audacity to the full fat Samplitude Pro X 3 I have never noticed a smidgeon of quality difference.

Much the same can be said of modern interfaces. The Tascam you mention will make recordings WAY better than could have been done in the Beatles day and spending 5 times the money on a top end interface would make virtually no difference. (also find The Great SoS Mic Pre Shootout!)

*For technical interest only. No musical skill.

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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:59 pm

Hi Dennis, just a few thoughts to back up what's already been said above (speaking as someone who also works at the cheap end of things).
1) Reaper vs other DAWs. You won't hear any sound quality difference, I promise you. Reaper is a very powerful piece of software, highly configurable, and comes with a good set of plug-ins. But it can take a while to learn how to use it - though this will depend on what you're used to. It's excellent value for money with a $60 licence lasting throughout a major release cycle. It's also regularly updated and has a useful and active user/support forum.
2) Tascam us16x08. Lots of inputs for the money. The mic pre-amps aren't going to compete with the high-end stuff but I doubt you or I would notice, they're perfectly acceptable for my needs. Only 8 of the 16 channels have mic-pre-amps so you'll have to think about other options if you're going to be recording using more than that; I made up some sniffer cables and used my mixer and the DI inputs for to get 16 tracks. Latency isn't an issue if you use the headphone out or the direct out via outputs 1&2, but if you start routing through your DAW when recording you might find this an issue pretty quickly.

For a bit of reference, here's a set of recordings I made using a US16x08 into Reaper:
https://thesouthernwild.bandcamp.com/al ... lost-roads
These were recorded in an untreated room(s), with budget gear from start to finish and mainly using the free plug-ins from Reaper (with a handful of others from SoundToys, Waves, Izotope and Focusrite - again, cheap or free).
The single most important thing that has made these recordings something that I'm happy with has been the advice and guidance from people on this forum.

At the level I'm at, the kit (even beginners stuff) isn't really that important, knowing how to get the most out of it (or who to ask!) makes far more difference.
:)

[EDIT P.S. Mods, link above is, I think, strictly relevant to the discussion, not intended as dodgy self-promotion but feel free to delete if you disagree :) ]
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:31 pm

Very nice Drew :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:02 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Get your laptop and audio interface and download some demos, have a play for a couple of weeks and decide if Cubase is worth the extra £200+ over Reaper. You may even find the bundled 'lite' version does all you need.

And if you already prefer the Cubase layout.

https://reaperblog.net/2015/07/eyssina- ... or-reaper/
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:28 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Very nice Drew :clap: :clap: :clap:
Thanks Sam, not quite a silk purse from a sow's ear but not far off. Hopefully a good illustration to the OP that it's not about the kit, it's about how you get the most out of it.
Or in this case, how you get the most out of this community to get the most out of it! :D
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:03 pm

Definitely a silk purse whatever it's beginning. I've bought it :thumbup:
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:04 pm

Thanks Sam, that makes you part of a very select group! ;)
I'll pass on your compliments to the band.
:)
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby The Bunk » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:51 pm

Drew - the "Lost Roads" is lovely!
And thanks to Wonks for the nod on my one; I will add, without endeavouring to self-promote, that everything on my Youtube page is done on Reaper. Wherever it hasn't quite been nailed, that's down to me, not Reaper!
I'm glad that the other question that's been in my head has been answered - i.e. that the DAW itself won't make any difference to sound quality.....I always wondered about that but figured that it shouldn't be the case....although might I be right in thinking that the plug-ins associated with each different one might?? (and by the way that's not suggesting I can find anything wrong with Reaper's plug-ins).
I've also had Reaper for several years and I think I've even been through a new version cycle without any additional charge, but of course I've also had the regular updates as well.
And, yes, the support forum is very good; but I've come to realise there's plenty of people on here who know more than enough about it to offer advice when needed.
Can't fault it here.
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:55 pm

Reaper is very good indeed, and certainly a very economical DAW, but (and I say this as fully paid up user of both) it is not as slick to use as Cubase.

If the OP has experience of Cubase, and can justify the cost, then I would not dissuade you from choosing it.
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Re: computer spec for mastering and recording

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:22 pm

The Elements version of Cubase is more than sufficient to start out on. The Pro version is only really worth it once you've got to grips with all the fundamental principles of the DAW.
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