Skip to content
Computer recommenda...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Computer recommendations for guitar

45 Posts
21 Users
0 Likes
5,690 Views
racetruck1
(@racetruck1)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 518
Topic starter  

Hi all!

As an early reward for quitting smoking and because the opportunity is here I am getting a tower from one of my auto repair customers at a really good price (four hours labor on a tuneup).

Its a Dell tower with a P4 processor, pretty complete with a no name sound card and a pretty good amount of memory and 40GB harddrive. Win XP home operating system. Lots of room for expansion.

My idea is to turn this into a guitar dedicated system, recording, effects, etc..

I'm a complete idiot when it comes to computers, I know enough to be dangerous, which is why I haven't tried anything with my main computer, it's too new and my better half and kids got REALLY upset when I screwed it up one other time,(DAD, I havta talk to the kid down the street NOW! leave the computer alone!!!!!!!) Bad enough that I use an ancient laptop 90% of the time, P1 Win 2000, great for being here.

I have the strange desire to blow something up and the money I've saved from not smoking is financing a new soundcard and more memory, I'm thinking of budgeting about $200.00 after the soundcard.

Any thoughts, recommendations,ideas?

Remember, I'm a computer newby and any ideas, no matter how small or obvious will be appreciated!

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.


   
Quote
AKFlyingV
(@akflyingv)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 406
 

I don't know a lot about computers either but I was talking to a friend and he recommended this site http://www.newegg.com/ for buying computer related equipment.


   
ReplyQuote
Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I bought a Sony VAIO computer a couple of years ago, cost me an arm and a leg but it fits nicely on one corner of my desk - with no tower......

And the sound system with it is great, integrated sub-woofer, lots of options to personalise....

Music actually sounds as good played through the computer as it does through my stereo.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
ReplyQuote
Moonrider
(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1305
 

Does it have a firewire ( aka IEEE 1394 ) port?

If so, I'd recommend this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/MAudio-FireWire-Solo-Mobile-Audio-Interface?sku=701364

over replacing the internal sound card.

If not then a USB solution might work for you. I use this with my laptop to record rehearsals with the band

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Lexicon-Omega-Desktop-Recording-Studio?sku=245505

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
ReplyQuote
Kevin72790
(@kevin72790)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 837
 

It's fine, just as long as you have plennnntttttyyyyy of room to expand with it.


   
ReplyQuote
JCJXXL
(@jcjxxl)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
 

Wow! I can finally contribute! LOL! It seems like I am always asking questions, so it feels nice to be able to offer some answers for a change.

I have been working with computers for 20+ years and actually own a computer company. I would recommend at least 1 gb of memory. It comes in very handy when doing any type of intensive rendering whether video editing, 3d graphics or audio editing. How much memory does it have now? And do you know how many slots you have available/used? If you don't know PM me and I'll give you a quick way to check without having to open the tower.

As for a nice sound card, check out the Soundblaster ( http://www.soundblaster.com ) line by Creative Labs. They are the main company when it comes to audio cards and they offer everything from very basic all the way up to audio production level sound cards. Anyone who takes audio seriously usually ends up with a Soundblaster sound card.

And with the price of drives coming down you may want to consider a second hard drive to keep all of your guitar stuff (recordings,etc.) You'll get a slight performance boost by keeping your data seperate from the main drive.

And because we all know how important our guitar software is, I would recommend an external backup. You can build your own for pretty cheap or if you are lucky you can catch a good rebate deal on the ones sould by retail stores every now and then. I prefer external hard drive backup over CDs,etc. You can set it for scheduled backups and be done. No need to remember to put CDs in,etc.

Good luck. I hope the suggestions by everyone here helps you out. It sounds like you have a fun project planned :)


   
ReplyQuote
Jminor
(@jminor)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Anyone who takes audio seriously usually ends up with a Soundblaster sound card.

Unfortunately, i have to disagree with this statement...

While you're correct that Creative (Soundblaster) is the "main" company (in regards to market dominance) their cards are very often lacking in recording performance.

Playback is usually very good (for gaming, playing CD's/DVD's etc) this is where Creative deserve their reputation, however the quality of recordings can be poor, even on their higher end cards.

My advice is to look elsewhere for a good quality audio interface, especially if this is for a dedicated DAW.

try companies like: M-Audio, EMU, Echo, Lynx Studio, MOTU etc...

Insert random quote here


   
ReplyQuote
JCJXXL
(@jcjxxl)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
 

I agree with what you said about the other brands. I didn't mention them because I think with his budget Soundblaster will do the job for the time being.


   
ReplyQuote
Jminor
(@jminor)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Although a soundblaster can do the job, so can (probably) the no-name soundcard already in the machine.

My point was that if you are going to the trouble and expense of upgrading the audio interface on what is to be a dedicated audio computer, it would be cheaper (and less frustrating) in the long term to get a proper audio soundcard.

2 Channels (stereo) INPUT and 2 Channels (stereo) OUTPUT is all you need (unless your planning to record more than 1 instrument/mic at a time).

These can be bought new for around $US100, or even cheaper 2nd hand (ebay)

A few examples:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/MAudio-Audiophile-2496-PCI-Digital-Audio-Card?sku=701341

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/EMu-0404-PCI-Digital-Audio-Recording-System?sku=240390

Insert random quote here


   
ReplyQuote
rocker
(@rocker)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1128
 

racetruck,

you think your bad? i am a computer idiot, i know how to come to this site, nfl.com, and a few other sites i've seen that
have been posted by are fellow gn'ers, i've been dying to lay some jams down on the here here forum, but i couldn't do it if you told me how :oops:

even god loves rock-n-roll


   
ReplyQuote
Dagwood
(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024
 

Racetruck,

I too have over 20 years experience with computers and the like.

I agree with the mentioned suggestions, yet I'd make them in this order as your budget allows. If it doesn't you can still add an upgrade later on. Also prices on this stuff has dropped dramatically, even in the past 3 years.

First: Up your RAM. At least a GIG. One stick is preferable.
Second: Your sound card, (only if your having troubles with your current one.)
Third: More Hard Drive Space. Large drive capacities are very affordable anymore.
Fourth: You didn't mention the size of your monitor. You can find 19" wide screens FLAT PANELS (if your so inclined) for around $200 these days. They make a world of difference, that's the Larger screen format.

Newegg is a great place to buy 'puter bits. They're to computers geeks what Musician's Friend is to us. Personally I've bought all bits and have built numerous systems over the past few years. Great prices, great service, (return and delivery).

Also I'd recommend for you is to make sure all your drivers are up to date and current. It's fairly simple with automated updates.

You have a very capable platform for an awesome system there. Have fun.

D-

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


   
ReplyQuote
Chris C
(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Hi Racetruck1,

To start with I wouldn't bother spending much money at all on new gear.

With computers, and also with audio gear, you can spend any amount you can name if you get enthusiastic enough. 8) But it's really not bad idea to hang back for a while until you know what you really need and why you need it.

Even the onboard sound on reasonably recent motherboards isn't too bad for just mucking about with. When you think about it, recording studios spend zillions on amazing gear and then the music gets played back through some kid's headphone or earplug with a speaker the size of your fingernail - so you wonder why they bother. :wink:

You could also spend your entire budget - and more - on fancy software, let alone hardware. So why not try downloading some of the free software (like Audacity) and mucking about with it until you get a feel for what you'd really like to do or hear better. Then work out what to spend on each link in the chain.

I've got a Creative Audigy soundcard (the Soundblaster family that was mentioned) and a 5.1 speaker system (5 small and one big under the desk bass one) and that's fine for the modest tinkering that I do. If you're not planning to produce studio quality work then just about any setup will allow you to muck around, have some fun, lay down separate tracks, etc.

About the only thing you do need to solve right at the start is how to get your sounds into the computer. You'll need some sort of microphone or other method of getting the signal to your hard drive. If that's not well done it can be the weakest link in the chain. A lot of cheap commonly available microphones seem to be only made for dictation and office work. So I'd try and find out how everybody here handles that. I usually use an 8 track first, and dump the result in via a card reader, but that's not much help to your situation as the mixer gives me all sorts of options about plugging in instruments and/or mics.

I guess all I'm saying is that you can start 'cheap and cheerful' with only a modest addition to what you'll already have. Save most of the money for when you've had some experience of playing around and get a clearer idea of what you want out of your system. Unless you plan on making really good quality demo Cds or something, you can just start simple and work your way up. :D 8)

Good luck.

Cheers,

Chris


   
ReplyQuote
greybeard
(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

I would suggest that the only two things that you'll really get something from, immediately, are memory and a bigger disk.
I'd buy a fast drive, with plenty of space and format it as 2 partitions - 50Gb for the "System" drive (C:) and the remainder (formatted as D:) for data. Use CD/DVD for long term storage of static data (MP3, Video, etc. - things that are never modified, just stored). Use the current 40Gb disk for backup of volatile data (your recordings, letters, email, etc. - things that you do change on a regular basis). The access time of the current disk becomes irrelevant, as it's only to copy to.
At some stage, I'd suggest a flatscreen, which takes up far less space on your desk. Although they don't offer the high resolution (as yet) of the CRT screens, you really don't need more than 1024 x 768, maybe 1256 x 960.
As you get more adventurous with recording, you'll start to hear the problems arising - generally the first thing that people start to notice is latency - your recording is stored later than you played it (the more tracks you have in your recording software, the sooner latency will set in). You, then, have to spend time trying to synchronise your recording to the other tracks :?
That's the time to be thinking of a new sound input system, whether new PCI card, USB or Firewire boxes. PCI card is neater, but far more hassle for those who like to hide the tower under the desk - you have to crawl down there every time you change any of the connections (or put them back after you've disconnected something with your feet).
USB and Firewire boxes stand on the desk and allow easy connection and disconnection of instruments, etc..

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
ReplyQuote
racetruck1
(@racetruck1)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 518
Topic starter  

Thanks all!

I was looking into a Firewire adapter card for something unrelated and now I have to take that into consideration for this project!

I have not purchased a soundcard yet, now I'm glad I haven't yet, so many things to consider.

Yep, I was thinking about 1 GB to start with in the memory department, I have 256 MB now, I think that this is going to be the big money part of this project. I have four slots available.

I do have USB 2.2 slots all over the place, my understanding is that Firewire is a lot faster, correct?

The tower and system is an old govt. setup, LOTS of room, very easy to get to things, the man I got this from has about 30 of these things from a contract he filled in November, and he's been selling them for about $200.00 to $300.00 depending on the processor speed and HD size.

Mine is a P4 1.8GHZ with 80GB harddrive, my thoughts are to optimize the computer first, (memory, Firewire, sound upgrades) on a continuous basis, a little at a time, I'm going to fight the urge to buy the latest, expensive equipment right now, just sit back and let it come to me as it comes.

My idea is not to turn it into a Ferrari, (or Chris C's ride! :shock: :lol: ) but to turn it into the computer worlds equivalent of a sleeper hot rod, like a Big Block Chevelle with a ratty body! All performance and no fluff, if it doesn't make it go faster, then I don't need it! This kinda stuff I know, and I'm taking the same attitude with this. I'm going to keep a journal and document the process.

A friend of mine is closing down his old recording studio, he wants an old truck of mine in exchange for a set of reference monitors, I don't know what model or make yet but he says that they work well in reproducing recorded sound, I'll probabily have to come up with a line limiter to plug them into the computer, will this make up for a less than optimum sound card? I'll find out soon enough.

Keep them idears comin! Ya'll gots me thinkin! :shock:
(OMG,wife's gonna be mad, another monster in the works! :roll: And it's not in the garage this time but in the dining room! :twisted: )

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.


   
ReplyQuote
racetruck1
(@racetruck1)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 518
Topic starter  

BTW,

It's a Dell Optiflex GX400!

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming......
like the passengers in his car.


   
ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 3