Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

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Pivot_Glissant
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Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by Pivot_Glissant »

Hi,
i am a young guy running his laptop on Windows 8 ( but with a linux mint double boot ). I'd like to bulid my own computer for composing music but with a internet access, to get samples or plugins. The problem is that i don't really know about computer and parts and processors and.. etc and i would like get on linux to compose music and produce beats with good audio quality.
The purpose is to assembly a computer and make it run on KXStudio or Ubuntu Studio, with a Presonus AudioBox audio interface, without losing the freedom to use heavy virtual instruments or heavy plugins (like addictive drums) which need a lot of resources from the RAM or from the processor, or recording audio parts like guitar or voices.
So this is call to all of you guys, to anyone who could help me ( even just a little bit would be great ) in my quest for the components which would be adapted for my setup (cheaper as possible for sure (young and moneyless right?) :lol: )

Thank You,

Pivot Glissant (sorry for my english i hope i have been comprehensible)

singforme
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by singforme »

Try to get an Intel processor with at least 5000 pts on cpubenchmark.net and at least 8 gb ram. That should do the trick. Usually PCs like that are available on the 2nd hand market for around 100 dollars/euros. And then also try av-Linux: it's faster because it's based on debian not Ubuntu :wink:

GuntherT
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by GuntherT »

Keep in mind that if you are planning on using a large amount of plugins and virtual instruments designed for Windows, you are best off using Windows for your operating system. Some Windows software can be run on Linux, but it is not a simple process and doesn't always yield optimal results. Anything that requires a dongle certainly won't work. It is just something to keep in mind...is it worth all the time and effort to get only some of your applications working under Linux? Wouldn't it be better to have all of them working under Windows, especially if you've paid for them? You were not specific about which plugins and instruments you were hoping to use, but you mentioned Addictive Drums, which as far as I know has no native Linux version. Maybe Reaper under WINE can host it, but maybe not; I don't know. I'm not trying to be discouraging, just realistic. Have you tested things out on your Mint partition to confirm your plugins and instruments work as expected?

Pivot_Glissant
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by Pivot_Glissant »

Alright so first, thank you both for your answers.

singforme -
Try to get an Intel processor with at least 5000 pts on cpubenchmark.net and at least 8 gb ram.
I found that processor : AMD FX-6300 3.5Ghz http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00137881.html. That is not an intel but it has more than 6000pts on cpubenchmark and it is cheaper than an equal intel cpu (basing on specs). What do you think about it?

GuntherT - My goal is to make music (not to experiment things as a nerd) on linux the same way i do on windows, not with the same plugs but with softwares that makes sounds with "equal" quality. I did mentionned Addictive Drums because it is the plug that i work with on windows but i'll probably work with drumgizmo on linux, you know what i mean ? i don't really want to work through WINE or something, just want to use native tools, but the ones which sounds really good.
Because i'm just a beginner in producing music with linux, i've only tried this week to work with linux, and that was hard job. In fact connecting softwares and hardwares through JACK, and deal with all the problems that happens (maybe because of my distribution(?), will it work better on a dedicated distribution like AV linux or Ubuntu Studio or KX Studio??) is pretty hard for a newbie, so i have to work on it.

GuntherT
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by GuntherT »

AVLinux and KXStudio are your best bets for a distro that is pre-configured for audio use, in my opinion. Mint is an excellent example of a polished Linux desktop, but it requires the user to intervene and set up a working JACK/realtime audio environment, which can be a bit a tricky for someone new to Linux.

If you are willing to spend the time needed to understand the interworking parts of Linux Audio and get it working for you, Bravo! There is a lot of excellent software out there, Drumgizmo being one example. You've got a road ahead of you. It isn't easy, but it is free.

Regarding your processor choice, I can't imagine the AMD being any sort of bottleneck. Linux Audio doesn't demand the latest and greatest processor. Something recent with a decent amount of RAM should do just fine. Drumgizmo just implemented disk streaming in a recent update, so its RAM requirements have actually decreased, if I understand things correctly.

Pivot_Glissant
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by Pivot_Glissant »

Okay, so if i did understand well, i won't have to setup every software and every hardware if i use a distro like AVLinux or KXStudio (Plug & Play ?..), and that's what i want now because i really to make make as soon as possible, because i'm currently on holidays so, Let's Play Music ! :D

I would like to understand how does linux Audio work but I want to make it work first, and make music with it quickly as possible.

So will this AMD CPU with 8GB of RAM in my setup be fine?

GuntherT
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by GuntherT »

You will have less to setup using AVlinux or KXStudio, for sure. The AMD along with 8gb of RAM should be good.

glowrak guy
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by glowrak guy »

I would recommend a fanlesss nvidia videocard. These will have
a large heatsink, but the fewer fans the better for a daw computer.
Powerful audio apps have fewer issues when a good videocard
handles their complex gui's.

Hydrogen drum machine is grid and pattern based, so it's easy
to make custom patterns, create loops from them using Audacity editor,
and Hydrogen drum-kit samples can be replaced one-by-one with your favorites,
and the kit renamed and saved accordingly.

zynnaddsubfx and yoshimi are different expressions of a great
16 part multi-timbral synth/fx project, so your beefy cpu
can be put to the test with deeply layered parts.
One of the worlds best sounding synth engines,
and has a built-in effects system.

The Calf effects collection is excellent, and also includes
three good, if unheralded synths.

Rakarrak is a great multi-fx panel, and it's parts have
been liberated as separate plugins hosted by jalv.

Guitarix and the related plugins keep getting better and more
numerous, great variety with high quality.

There are a dozen fine free native-linux vst synths,
and a dozen excellent commercial synths too. The U-he synths
are world famous, world class, and the linux versions
are easy to install, and very trouble free. Well worth
the asking prices.

http://libremusicproduction.com/articles

is a great resource,
with lots of well presented guides/tutorials.

I would set a series of what seem like modest goals, and tackle them one by one.
It's easy for honest and accurate enthusiasm to get swamped
by what can at times seem like waves and waves of complexity.
It's not NASCAR, the winner is the one happy, not the one placing first!

Linux is itself, a DAW, to free the musician from Office-work limitations.
The first two weeks will turn into the next two years, in a flash.
Enjoy!

ubuntuuser
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by ubuntuuser »

Pivot_Glissant wrote:Alright so first, thank you both for your answers.

singforme -
Try to get an Intel processor with at least 5000 pts on cpubenchmark.net and at least 8 gb ram.
I found that processor : AMD FX-6300 3.5Ghz http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00137881.html. That is not an intel but it has more than 6000pts on cpubenchmark and it is cheaper than an equal intel cpu (basing on specs). What do you think about it?

GuntherT - My goal is to make music (not to experiment things as a nerd) on linux the same way i do on windows, not with the same plugs but with softwares that makes sounds with "equal" quality. I did mentionned Addictive Drums because it is the plug that i work with on windows but i'll probably work with drumgizmo on linux, you know what i mean ? i don't really want to work through WINE or something, just want to use native tools, but the ones which sounds really good.
Because i'm just a beginner in producing music with linux, i've only tried this week to work with linux, and that was hard job. In fact connecting softwares and hardwares through JACK, and deal with all the problems that happens (maybe because of my distribution(?), will it work better on a dedicated distribution like AV linux or Ubuntu Studio or KX Studio??) is pretty hard for a newbie, so i have to work on it.
I've had Addictive Drums running fine with Wine 2 and LinVst on Ubuntu (should be the same for other distros) with Linux Ardour, Linux Tracktion, Linux Bitwig and Linux Reaper.

Someone could use a mix of Linux native and Windows effects on Linux or just choose to use Linux native effects.

Linux has some very good effects but some may want to use some Windows effects as well that don't have a similar counterpart on Linux.

singforme
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by singforme »

Some people report problems with AMD Hardware and audio work. I find that more audio tracks, FX and virtual instruments seem possible since I switched from AMD to Intel. There are users that are very happy with AMD-PCs, so it's probably hit and miss.

I currently use a laptop with Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 and 4 GB Ram. It's fine with 99% of tasks, it's not happy with Drum Gizmo though, a bit too slow for using that all the time. I personally don't like Drum Gizmo that much because it's just such a huge memory hog. I come from SSD4 on windows which sounds awesome;) On Linux I like to use AVL-Drums which is super-small and pretty decent sounding. With a bit of Room Reverb I find it good enough:)

My actual main system is a Desktop, Intel Core i3-4340 with 8 GB Ram. I rarely use it now because the laptop is fine for my workflow;)

If you're using a dual core like me, be aware that ardour has a standard preference setting to use all but 1 cores. That's not good on a dual core, so don't forget to switch it off;)

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CrocoDuck
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by CrocoDuck »

Hey there! Sorry, getting late on this thread, which is pretty interesting.

I tend to find that most problems on audio are due to conflicting hardware devices. Very often, this happens when using USB sound cards (PCI and FireWire are more robust in this regard, but PCI sound cards might end up capturing electromagnetic noise inside the PC case).

If you plan to use FireWire cards my suggestion is to use a FireWire card or a Motherboard with Texas Instruments firewire chipset, as these tend to be better supported under Linux.

If you plan to use an USB card I would suggest, if you can, to check the USB busses/hubs topology of the motherboard. Pretty often USB ports are on the same bus or hub of many internal components. This happens often on laptops, where WIFI cards or other components might be on the same bus of USB ports. This tends to spawn conflicts which ultimately result in xrun. This thread, although very old, shows the symptoms of such a thing. This is a common problem even nowadays. Finding detailed information about a motherboard might be pretty hard. As a rule of thumb, USB3 ports tend to have their own controllers, busses and hubs and should be then less likely affected by this problem. You might find tips about avoiding USB3 on Linux for audio, but those are related to the early days of USB3 adoption. I use USB3 on my laptop without a single issue.

If you plan to use PCI devices I would recommend to get a fanless pc (they cost more tho, so this largely depends on your budget). There are many models here, few ship with Ubuntu preinstalled. The reason is that fans not only make acoustic noise, but also electromagnetic noise by being essentially coils. With a fanless pc you can get a quiet studio acoustically (just in case you need to record with mics) and a more electromagnetically quiet pc, the loudest electromagnetic noise source being power supply and CPU (which means easier placement of the PCI card away from the noise sources).

tnovelli
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by tnovelli »

Intel CPU (3+ ghz) with integrated graphics. No need for anything more unless your audio workstation will double as a gaming rig.

I avoid AMD/ATI because I've always had more problems with them, all around.

Someone suggested fanless... I wouldn't bother. Audio requires fast CPUs and that means fans. Intel stock fans are fairly quiet. You also have case fans etc. Larger ones are quieter. 120mm is good. A smaller case will limit you to ~80mm fans, which isn't bad. Avoid tiny cases with cheap little ~40mm fans that'll get even louder as they wear out. Putting baffles or cushions around the PC also cuts room noise a lot.

singforme
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by singforme »

I also don't care too much about fan noises as it's mostly a matter of mic position and recording levels. My main Mic AT2020 is pretty noisy in itself so I can't blame the PC;)

ubuntuuser
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Re: Assembling a dedicated computer to produce goood music

Post by ubuntuuser »

singforme wrote:Some people report problems with AMD Hardware and audio work. I find that more audio tracks, FX and virtual instruments seem possible since I switched from AMD to Intel. There are users that are very happy with AMD-PCs, so it's probably hit and miss.

I currently use a laptop with Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 and 4 GB Ram. It's fine with 99% of tasks, it's not happy with Drum Gizmo though, a bit too slow for using that all the time. I personally don't like Drum Gizmo that much because it's just such a huge memory hog. I come from SSD4 on windows which sounds awesome;) On Linux I like to use AVL-Drums which is super-small and pretty decent sounding. With a bit of Room Reverb I find it good enough:)

My actual main system is a Desktop, Intel Core i3-4340 with 8 GB Ram. I rarely use it now because the laptop is fine for my workflow;)

If you're using a dual core like me, be aware that ardour has a standard preference setting to use all but 1 cores. That's not good on a dual core, so don't forget to switch it off;)
I think that Drumgizmo 9.13 and 9.14 are easier on memory (disk streaming).

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