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Re: O.T. Computers

First, of, let me say: Don't be intimidated by the complicated sounding
advice you are going to receive on this topic. It is complicated, but 
due to the number of choices available, not because the choice are going to
make or break your system. You can put together a PC today more powerful
than you will ever need, for a pittance (say under $500-$1,000).

> If you want to use it for all things musical, here are some highlights to
> look for in your future "Hog":
> If you're doing digital recording, editing, you'll want a hefty amount of
> processor power, what's hefty? anything over 1GHz.

Music hobbyists are the only 'home user' who still need more power from
their PCs :>

I am running a PII 400 in my home studio. Antiquated and under powered, 
but very adequate for ~16 stereo tracks of audio plus as much midi as I
want. From the sound of it, that's more than you will need for a while :> I
can run three or four nice plugins, and a couple of light virtual
instruments at once - say, 8 voices of sampler and a synth.

A lot of what you purchase will depend on what you want to do with the pc.
'Make music' could involve a wide variety of requirements. How much gear do
you already have? What do you want to do with the pc.

I'm in the process of adding an 8 input expander to my pc, so I can have
friends come over, jam, and record everyone separately, simultaneously.
Then, when they have gone home, I going to put together music by combining
and mutilating their play - DT Splattecell style. While laying down the
basic tracks (8 tracks simultaneous record) would work on my current 
it would be much smoother with something faster. The 'remix' portion of the
work, however, probably needs more power, since I will need an eq,
compressor on most tracks, and lots of effects, so I'm going to have to

(John Wagner, Mark Sottilaro, please stand by...)

> 1GHz of RAM should cost you around 75-100 bucks, a mere pittance these
> so load it up with RAM, you can never be too thin or have too much RAM.

Avoid the P4 running the cheaper, older memory - you're buying a super fast
cpu that will be choked by cheapo memory. A number of virtual instriment
makers, such as Native Instruments recomend staying away from the AMD stuff
too, though I have no firsthand experience of this.

> You'll also want a fast disk, preferrably SCSI 10,000RPM disks, this will
> allow you fast reads and writes to all of that good musical data.

Don't bother with SCSI - it's days are over. ultraATA 66 or 100 is is as
fast and about 1/5 to 1/10 the price. SCSI used to be the only game in town
but is no longer relevant in studios that don't require terabytes of 
and have their own IT department.

> CDR is a must.

Yes. Especially if you want to share stuff with others, and send out demos.

> Go stripped down  on the applications that it comes with, get an OS, the
> rest you can either download, pirate or purchase.  A lot of times
> manufacturers (like compaq) load these machines with 100's of funky
> applications that sound neat on the showroom floor, but you'll never use
> "Ultra-Low-Fat-Magic-Colored-Disco-Roap-Map-Maker, with the iron-on
> printable sheets!"

Yes, stay away from the 'brand's - dull, hewlett-craphard - the higher end
is over-priced, and the low end ie (e-machines etc), are very poor quality.
You are better off purchasing a kit machine, though the dell are pretty
quiet, which is a good thing for audio work. Is it worth a x2+ premium

Here is my favourite supplier - http://www.pixelusa.com though mainly
because they are local to me.

Here is a 'build your own' guide. I wouldn't recomend doing that if I'd
never owned a computer, but someone else miught find it useful.


Good luck.