I'm looking for details of any UK companies who build and pre‑configure music PCs from scratch. I'm interested in possibly getting a new system geared primarily to the recording, production, mixing and remixing of different styles of dance music. While I have been a keyboard player for many years, I'm new to PC MIDI + Audio recording and editing. The PC I currently have is fairly basic — Pentium processor, 32Mb RAM, 2.4Gb HD, AWE32 soundcard, and a 16x CD‑ROM drive — and was thrown together a few years back by an old work colleague using bits which I cadged off numerous friends. This time I guess I am looking for someone to hold my hand through the setting‑up process, so I can get optimum performance from a system which has been purpose‑built for audio recording.
Assistant Editor Sam Inglis replies: There are many companies who now specialise in putting together PC systems for music, using combinations of motherboard, hard drive, graphics card and soundcard that they've tested and know to work with the relevant software. You'll probably end up paying a little more for such a system than you would if you went to PC World, but we always recommend that people use a music specialist, especially if they are just starting out in PC recording. The main advantages are that your system should work well straight out of the box, and that you will receive knowledgeable technical support on music‑related issues (which I can guarantee you won't from a major box‑shifter) and the sort of advice/tuition you're after. Check out the adverts in SOS from companies such as Red Submarine, Millennium, Carillon, Area 51 and Academy Of Sound. I can also recommend a book, The Perfect Music PC, available from the SOS mail‑order bookshop (see the mail order pages in this issue).