The usual "What do I need" type question.

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Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Member Since: Jun 24, 2004

Ok, having skipped into my "studio" (pronounced - garage) the other night, turned on my BR532, and was greeted by NOTHING. Oh, the tracks were still recorded, but all reference to them was trashed. Recorder itself in fine form, except for deleting all my drum "programming." Nice. Kinda took some of the wind out of my sails.

Sooo, I need to bite the bullet and delve into PC land (hooray, I hear).


So, e-Machines have some cheap deals right now.
2.6 gig, 512 ram, 80 HD, card readers, XP, and (gasp) integrated sound. Under $500.
Sound card'll have to be cheap too! How can I avoid the dangers here? Don't want to end up with the dreaded Sound Blaster. Do I have to have a kicked up video card?
Musician's Friend are doing the LE version of Guitar Thingy at $69.00. Is that better than Kristal or MultiTrack? No midi here [and no real plans], so not bothered about that too much. Want audio tracks, and as many as possible (to pick and choose, not necessarily get a "wall of sound").

Oh, help me Obi Wan dB. You're my only hope.

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Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 13, 2004 11:15 am

Ah, Young Jedi, you've learned so much, yet have much to learn...

No, For the love of all that is sacred DO NOT get an E-machine. These are built with the cheapest components available, assembled by cheaper people and will cause you nothing but frustration. Emachines work fine for grandma that wants to check her email, or grandpa that want to check his stocks, but it will not cut it in a studio environment. Seriously.

You are far better off, in the long run, spending a few extra bucks to get a better machine, because if you don't, you WILL spend the money later upgrading when the Emachine drives you nuts.

You may, if you or a friends has any experience, be much better off building one, it could cost less and be a very simple system to upgrade in the future and not have to work around integrated components and the like.

As I recall you are a one-man band (or at least record one instrument at a I correct? If so, the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 is about $150 and is perfect for you.

Regarding applications, I would suggest using Kristal to get your feet wet, it's free, it kicks butt and it's free...oh, ya, did I mention it's free? AFter playing around, and getting used to the whole PC recording thang, download a demo of MultitrackStudio, Cakewalk, Tracktion or whatever, and just see which one fits you best.

Nothing doesnt give me gas
Since: May 25, 2004

Jul 13, 2004 01:15 pm

Yes, the e machines are garbage. My kid saved up to buy one, and things almost immediately started breaking dow. The cpu fan went bad, some ram went bad, and then the video went bad.

I think even grandma needs a better one.

My ex wife DESERVES one...... hehe
Check out the prices at

thats where I got the components for my last 4 machines.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 13, 2004 01:19 pm

I feel the force.....

Ok, so the e-Machine thing's a bad idea. Gotcha. Bad Tallchap....
Have too look for something else. I can handle myself inside a mini-tower, so I'll have to look into something I can afford (her-indoors is going to LOVE this) and shape it together. Long nights of rebooting, methinks.

The M-Audio card looks luvverly. Thanks so much for the pointer. One man band, yessir. Might record some live drums at some point, but drummer himself won't notice that he's simply "stereo."

" you give it more kick?"
"Nope, kick it harder! Well add some EQ."


I've played about a bit with Pro-Tools, Steinberg, and Guitar God (or whatever they call it), so I'm not a total loss on that front. The Kristal "method" (couldn't resist...) sounds cool. It seems to be a winner accordng to all on your very v. cool site.

Hope to up and running soon. I promise to share the fruits of my labor once I'm set.

Thanks again dB-Wan.

...bringing sexy back
Since: Jul 01, 2002

Jul 13, 2004 01:28 pm

lol - deebiewan!

Nothing doesnt give me gas
Since: May 25, 2004

Jul 13, 2004 01:30 pm

What do you call people that hang around with musicians??

Drummers..... HA!!!

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 13, 2004 01:39 pm

don't start another joke thread, the official joke thread is here: www.homerecordingconnecti...d=1124&frm4 :-)

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 13, 2004 04:28 pm

Hey Guitwizz, I got an ex-wife too. That's why I'm on a budget! [Rhymes with "itch"]

New wifey will likely go for a relatively modest initial outlay, but not for a bunch of "Oh, I need this...and one of dem....and a coupla dese...."
That's why I was thinking package deal on the PC. Any PC "deals" out there worth considering?

Trying to keep it under $700 including sound card.....



Nothing doesnt give me gas
Since: May 25, 2004

Jul 14, 2004 12:12 am

hmm.... 700?? rotsa ruck Tall cool one. Did you try the yet?

A machine for 6 or 7 isnt unthinkable, but including the sc is pushing it way far I think, even with the audiophile card.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Since: Jan 28, 2003

Jul 14, 2004 12:13 pm

I bought my machine off some guy for $350. Added delta 66 for $150 (used). Added 500mb RAM ($40 after mail in rebate). Added 120 GB Hard Drive ($60 after rebate). Added second CDRW drive (free after rebate). Voila my music computer is ready to go for about $600.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 14, 2004 02:33 pm

What of the other package deals? eMachines is out (Thank you dB, Guitwizz et al), but what of HP? Compaq?

Just thinking bang-for-the-buck here.

$600ish tends to get a pretty good processor (circa 2.6GHz), 512 ram, plus other bells and whistles (CD-RW etc.). I'll add the sound card and I should be sailing, right?

I know an extra $XX will get me a better anything (works for all purchases), and I really can't affort an a la carté machine......

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 14, 2004 02:38 pm

For something as specific and as demanding as a recording studio I generally strongly steer people to build one to avoid all the integrated components and such. And it really is not as expensive as it sounds.

As far as name brands go, in my experience as an A+ certified tech for a couple years, as well as years of "Hey Dan, my computer is goofy, I'll buy beer if you check it out"...I would have to say of the name brand systems, HP and Dell are among the best of them. Microcenter, if you have one near you, custom builds system under the PowerSpec name and they are decent as well and you can more specifically build it to your liking.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 15, 2004 03:26 pm

Okay, dB-wan. I've been doing my homework (should have been working, but there's my priorities for you).

Whichever way I slice it, building a PC to specs is going to be about $750 before I get to the soundcard. I've looked everywhere, thank you. Don't send me new links...

Admittedly, I've been adding additional hard drives (40 for OS etc., 80 for audio), and tweaking a bit, but it's a swings-and-roundabouts kind of thing. Gain here, lose there....

'Her indoors' probably won't go for it being that much to start out (although she's happy enough with her $1200 laptop....). Office Max have a cool system (HP or Compaq) for around $600. This is less sound card, so I'll need to be on best behavior as it is to get my M-Audio card as an add-on.... };oP

Could I possibly get away with Compaq or HP?
I know you advise against the modular things, but it's better than nothing (or the 266 door-stop on my desk at home - which equates to nothing).

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 15, 2004 03:36 pm

Of course, it WILL work. The issue is, if you really do dive into this PC recording stuff, and get to the point where many of us are, which is totally tweaking out your system and start to be much more discriminating of what goes into it, then you will hit a brick wall.

Also, one of the worst things about many name brand PC's (Compaq, last I saw, was the worst offender here) is all the crap they put in their OS image that runs all the time. Look at your desk top, down in the corner by the clock, all the little icons down there, the speaker is for the sound card, and many people have anti-viruses, instant messengers and such down there too. What some PC makers do is put a bunch of crap down there because they have some deal worked out with that software maker. Things like RealPlayer, AIM, Some anti-virus (which isn't bad), a child-surf safely app, maybe some hardware monitor app, all kinds of crap like that which you are better off not having on there at all, then they make it hard to uninstall sometimes...

Same with hardware, sometimes even if the comonent is not integrated, pulling it out will cause probs (used to be much more of a prob then it is now) and actually, with some eMachines, for example, you CANNOT disable the onboard audio card, and you can't pull it out cuz it's built in, so you are screwed. Some other makers do this to. HP is pretty good about that stuff, and since Compaq ins now owned by HP I am hoping thier business practices have improved, because 3 years ago or so, Compaq did some very lame things to their builds such as the above mentioned.

Yes, it will work, but know your enemy.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 16, 2004 09:23 am

Sage advice. I totally see your point.
I'm somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place. What I can afford, and what I need....

Hmmm. More homework necessary.

I have OS and other software, so I may be a able to save money that way.

Ok, here's one (hopefully) last question that will help a lot. What is the minimum RAM and HD I will need to sucessfully run, say, Kristal?

Perhaps I can start slow, and be very nice to wifey to upgrade in future.

I've tried to get maximum RAM and HD for my $$, which was why I considered the package deals.

Ok, so one more....(SORRY).
Any problems with Windows 2000?

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 16, 2004 09:33 am

The exact requirements of Kristal I am not sure about, but I know flame ran it on his machine and was a little 300mHz or something like that.

Windows 2000 I personally hate, but no, there is nothing wrong with it, that more boils down to what is wrong with me. It's kind of doggy on the boot and getting around in, XP is much quicker it seems. They are both very stable tho.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Since: Jun 24, 2004

Jul 16, 2004 02:54 pm - nice!

Should be able to piece something together here....
I have Windows 2000 so there's a savings there. Monitor I have, and I can upgrade later. I work with WIN2000 all the time, so I know my way around it quite well. I was more worried about it being incompatible with the multitracking software out there.

The stuff on the above website seems to be the kind stuff I can mix and match and upgrade as necessary as time goes on. It'll be a bit of a Frankenstein, but I think it'll work.

Anything that I simply couldn't live without?
Maybe not a necessity, but something you've learned to love?

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 16, 2004 02:59 pm

Every PC I have is a frankenstein.

Don't skimp on things like cooling fans...seemingly small part, but very important. If you have a rack for gear, get a rackmounted PC case, they are awesome.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jul 16, 2004 03:04 pm

I'm using win2000, and it seems decent. I've had a few glitches with drivers for my 1010lt, but back-revved the driver, tweaked a few settings and it's working again. I keep the DAW clean though, no extra anything.

' it's a clean machine '

As far as krystal, i haven't checked it out, as i've been running ntrack.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Jul 16, 2004 03:14 pm

Here's a cheap run I just made (in the link above). I would take off the video card ( the web page wouldn't let me ) and get a matrox dual head instead. 25-30$ on ebay. Then I'd get a audiophile 2496 for 150 (probably less off of ebay)

That would be close to 500.

{begin snippet of PC build}

New Customize Created !!!

Net amount: $344.94 - You do not need open paypal account to pay thru paypal.
You can use your credit card at paypal site.
This price is net. We can not give 5% discount in customized systems.

Case : Standard Case Mod 711 + $17.99
Power Supply : Standard Power Supply 400W - $0.00
Motherboard : Motherboard Biostar Without Processor (M7NCD) + $53.00
Processor : Athlon 2200+ + $59.99
CPU Fan : Standard CPU FAN + $5.99
Memory : 512 Mb 333Mhz DDR - $79.99
HD : HD 80GB - 7200 RPM + $63.99
Floppy : Black - FLOPPY 3 1/2 - 1.44 - $6.00
CDRW : Black - CDRW 52X + $25.00
DVD : NO DVD $0.00
DVD Burner : NO DVD Burner $0.00
Video : ATI 64 MB WITH TV + $32.99
Audio : Onboard - $0.00
Modem : On Board $0.00
Lan : OnBoard - $0.00
Keyboard : No Keyboard - $0.00
Mouse : No Mouse - $0.00
Speakers : No Speakers - $0.00
Monitor :
Scanner : NO SCANNER - $0.00
Printer : NO PRINTER - $0.00
No Break : NO UPS - $0.00
Webcam : NO Webcam $0.00
Second Fan : NO Second Fan $0.00

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