Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones??

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Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones??

Postby Synthetech » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:58 am

I've decided to switch gears (pun just fell in there..) in the continual saga of my noisemaker collection and begin to head towards DAW.

I'm a complete n00b when it comes to all this virtual synth/sampler software, but have been trying out some nice softsynths/DAW's and I like what I've tried so far (sans the limited CPU power I currently have).

So far I've tried out a couple of Korg plugins like MonoPoly and the M1.
I've dabbled in Kontakt 5 just enough to see it load old Akai sounds/programs and play very well.

FL Studio 11... this one blows my mind what it can do. I have not even begun to dig into it's capabilities. It is also the one that has maxed my CPU out if there's more than about 5 tracks going on at once.
The demo's it came with sound very modern and wicked, especially the electronic glitch hop songs.



I realize to get FL and other softsynths to come thru cleanly, I need as much CPU HP's as I can afford to get.
Right now I have an old P4, around 3ghz and 1gRAM. onboard sound. It can handle very limited amount of virtual instrumentation... not to mention FX plugins as well.
But when it can handle the load, it comes across sounding very nice for a stock sound interface hooked up to a home stereo.


My current stock of hardware gear is (and approx. value)-

Akai S2000 with 32mb RAM, 100mb zip drive, scsi port connection in PC for MESA use and a couple dozen CD images to load sounds into it via MESA or Translator. It's scsi fuse has been replaced with a "polyswitch" resettable fuse so in the event there's another scsi short, it can reset. It also has an internal scsi idc 50pin connector added to the main board.
Maybe $175 on a good day? I may have a CDROM for it too if I'm not careful.
It would be hard to part with it, but after using Kontakt a few times.. I'm convinced that's the way to go.

Roland MT300- Basically a SoundCanvas with a built in sequencer and 5 track mute buttons that are very similar to a Alesis MMT-8's track mute buttons (or like on a MC505/D2.) They go for around $80. I'd like to keep this.. mostly because of those track mute buttons.
But honestly, I have used it very little.

Yamaha DJX IIb- it wont be missed and not worth much. Maybe get $35 USD out of it if I'm lucky.

Roland JX-1- Have not used it's internal rompler sounds much, if at all. Mostly I use it as my controller keyboard since it is 61 keys and has quick program change buttons on it.. the roland combo pitch/mod wheel comes in handy too.
I'd let it go for a better controller. Might get $100 for it.

Korg Poly 800 with HAWK800 firmware mod- I wont be letting this go for quite some time. It's got sentimental value to me and it's very unique.
My guess is it's worth at least $300 USD if it were to be sold though.

Roland D2- A slimmed down MC505. I hammer on this alot.. not ready to sell yet. But worth about $120
Roland SP808- I love this machine, in spite of the zip drive. Wanna keep it! Gotta love the Dbeam and built in FX on this thing.. even if the zip drive is a tad noisy. Fully expanded. Worth about $150.

Additional support gear is-
ART FXR Elite FX unit. $45 on a good day.
Alesis MidiVerb III. Also ~$45
A simple 8 channel mixer. Not worth more than $25ish.
Fostex 2016 Line Mixer. A very nice rack mixer with two stereo Aux. sends. Probably keep this for any hard synths I might add in later.
MOTU TimePiece Mk1. I bought this at a good price about a month ago.. havent even used it yet! Might come in handy later on though.




So with what I have and willing to part with, what do you suggest I get rid of and/or keep?
Of course I'd like to get as much CPU power as possible, but I dont really see me spending more than around $400 on a CPU upgrade and USB audio interface.

I'm still trying to catch up to the times since my last go around with gear (back in late '90s). The world of audio has changed so much since then due to CPU power and it's not easy to catch up on it all.
Hell, I had no idea what FL studio was until today.
So I'm looking for opinions/advice on where to go from here.
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:47 am

whats your existing PC config?
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Synthetech » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:42 am

Ashe37 wrote:whats your existing PC config?


it's this PC

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,18 ... ?tab=Specs


if that's the info you were after..

I'd like to have the new PC to use for both a PC and a DAW.
I really don't want to change to linux box or anything like that. Just after the correct amount of power to get into DAW's and VSTi's.
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:53 am

Ok you were asking about this on KVR as well, yeah any softsynths are going to run that down, one core on the cheapest i3 machine is going to be faster...
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby cgren72 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:07 am

I would get at least an i3 with 4 gb ram. I currently use an i7 based setup and have not had many limitations. I am a FL user, and I used to hit limitations quite often with my other computer which has an i3. The i5 is probably the best choice though. You should consider updating the power supply, depending on its condition. 10 years is kind of old for a computer power supply and it might not be the safest, or most efficient. The price of the cpu and mother board, along with the ram and possibly power supply will very well likely use up the budget. I would stay away from AMD.
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:41 am

Well, he's also going to need more hard drive space, a newer PSU just because a new mobo isn't going to use quite the same power connections, etc... I'd just look at what is recommended for a $600 gaming system on most computer enthusiast sites and build in that direction, along with getting some tips from places like KVR.... and that unfortunately leaves him selling most of his hardware. But my point is, i don't know if *anything* can be salvaged from the old Sony that he isn't better off replacing. The S2000, Poly800, D2 and JX-1 would give you a functional budget. The track mute functions on the MT300 can be replaced by any number of MIDI controllers that have buttons that can be used as track mute buttons (the Novation Remotes come to mind just because i have a Remote Zero.)
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Hugo76 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:22 am

I would recommend getting a fanless video card, those buggers can be quite noisey!
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:13 pm

From what you wrote, dump all but the D2 and Poly 800...hang on to the JX1 until you're ready to spring for a new keyboard.

Good luck!
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Synthetech » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:25 pm

I hadnt really priced an i5 system before.

looks like they can range from 400-600, depending on where/what you get.

I figured I was gonna have to dig a bit deeper. I did not intend to upgrade the Sony. Just flat out purchase another box.
I have a few HD's I can add in. One is 1-terabyte. The other a 350GB.
Both of them are in the sony at the moment. Seems HD's are not very expensive compared to the actual CPU.

Funny you mentioned a Remote Zero, Ash... I've been looking for one for a few weeks now.. they are not easy to grab up at a decent price.
Initially I was just going to try for a Zero, but I may look into a version with a full set of keys.
The JX1 works for now, but it's not the best set of keys to be hammering on.

I'll check into KVR for more info also. It seems to be the place for DAW's.
I just thought I'd start here since it's where I got convinced I should head down that route from here on out.
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby garranimal » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:08 pm

I've perused this thread lightly. I built my machine in 2002 w/ an AMD Athlon and 2GB RAM. In addition to upgrading your processor to max possible, definitely add more RAM. As mentioned 4GB would probably be better. The computer uses the ram to load up multi-track recordings and some sample data. Another thing when using a computer to run sample playback, most apps read the first bytes from RAM as a buffer and takes the rest from the hard drive in real time. A 7200RPM speed minimum hard drive is required to accomplish this. And obviously defrag your hard drives so any sample reading goes smooth as possible.
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Re: Must liquidate hardware for more CPU power. Which ones?

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:47 am

I got my Remote Zero when Novamusik was blowing them out...
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