PC for Home Recording

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Marshall Stack, Oct 1, 2021.

  1. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    I want to do home recording again for fun. The last time I did it I had a laptop with dual boot of Windows XP with Firewire so other than a mixer and monitors I'm starting over.

    Per some recommendations here I think I'll try Reaper (did Sonar before but forgot what little I learned).

    What would be a good laptop or PC to get? I use to know computer specs when I built a couple before but it was at back with Windows ME.

    Suggestions?

    I'm lookin at maybe a grand as far a budget unless that is unrealistic. This is for a hobby, not professional grade.

    BTW, I'm not a Mac person. Just never really used them..
     
  2. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    17,950
    Likes Received:
    18,073
    What do you have now? Wipe it clean and do a fresh install of Ubuntu Linux and you'll have a good as new PC. Install Audacity for recording and Hydrogen to make drum tracks, both free downloads and Ubuntu Linux is free.

    Right now its very expensive to buy a PC due to covid. My son paid $5K for his high end PC earlier this year, paid $2K more than it was really worth...
     
    PelliX likes this.
  3. Sapient

    Sapient   Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2020
    Messages:
    4,783
    Likes Received:
    9,088
    Location:
    Yes
    <Doom's coming>
     
  4. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    26,072
    Likes Received:
    34,030
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'm not a laptop person, but I just built me a new PC...

    I do my builds from the ground up, so, I start w/ the processor. I went w/ I-7 10th gen... Then looked for a performance board & video card, which, generally, you'll be looking at "gaming" parts...

    You'll have to decide what's within your budget, as between the CPU, Motherboard & Video card, RAM you'll get $300+ buck'd to death... $1K easily, at this point...

    But, then you'll need power supply, case, drives, etc.

    Do you have a monitor?

    To do music, best bet is to have a good interface. You'll need something w/ quick latency, or, you'll always have sync issues...
     
  5. Sapient

    Sapient   Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2020
    Messages:
    4,783
    Likes Received:
    9,088
    Location:
    Yes
    As far as a computer, a nice new one could be around $600. I think you could do quite well with that. I did - plus 32 gigs of ram (+ a few bucks).

    You WANT RAM! Buy as little as possible when you get the computer, (4 gigs or maybe even 8 is min now) then buy the ram separate to fill up. You don't "need" 32 gigs, but for the cost it's heavenly to have, believe me.

    Reaper is awesome - I'd look no further.

    Then you need an interface (digital conversion), most likely with mic pres. DOOM will have good interface advice and I suspect would probably recommend the same or close. :yesway:
     
    SHREDNECK likes this.
  6. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Yeah, the audio interface would be in addition to what I would spend on the computer. I have to look at that too. I'll also need another monitor.
     
  7. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    If you don't mind me asking, how much did you spend?
     
  8. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    26,072
    Likes Received:
    34,030
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I spent $1500, but, I already had, keyboard, mouse, monitor, interface & drives...

    You also, might need cables.

    Although accessories are relatively cheap, they nickel & dime you to death...

    Best bet, take inventory. Go to amazon & start throwing stuff in your cart. Watch how things start adding up. Then you know if things are falling in line w/ your budget, or not.

    I chose Intel CPU & MSI motherboard/graphics card...

    So, once you get a feel for your setup, prices, etc., then you can figure out where you want to buy your stuff & compare pricing...

    also, I already had studio monitors (speakers) & headphones...
     
  9. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2019
    Messages:
    4,940
    Likes Received:
    7,388
    I'm not a Mac person either. I greatly prefer PCs, even though I can make money repairing Macs, and sometimes I do that.

    I kind of hate to say it, but for home studio use, Macs just work. They're simpler and less finicky than a PC doing that same job.

    If you only use the software you need for the home studio, the other issues with Macs and the Mac OS should not aggravate you much, if at all.

    So, reluctantly, I recommend a Mac. They have their place and this is it.
     
    PelliX likes this.
  10. fitz288

    fitz288 Well-Known Yinzer Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2020
    Messages:
    3,543
    Likes Received:
    8,656
    Location:
    rahndahbaht dah 'Burgh
    If I may butt in...
    Instead of starting with the computer, start with looking at the requirements of everything else that you want for your home recording.
    That stuff will all have minimum and recommended requirements for what they will run on.
    Compile a cross referenced list of what your computer will need for at least the minimum to make everything else work.
    As DoD said, sometimes building from components is the best way to get exactly what you want.
    But if your other gear is not top end, maybe something off the shelf would be more budget friendly and work just fine.
     
  11. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    My sister and brother-in-law own a recording studio. He is a big Mac person so that is all he will recommend.

    My parents had one and I always had to fix it. It was a pain and I'm just so much more knowledgeable with windows although you make to point of just needing it for recording. Still I think I'm going the Windows route. If I was doing something semi-professinal then I might consider it..
     
  12. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,770
    Location:
    Wilton NSW
    My small contribution to this: Im just stepping up my system a bit, and I do need to use laptops for work reasons. One of the issues with most of these is limited connectivity, everything concentrating down to just a USB or two, and a headphones/mic. So hard to get analogue sound in. My old tower at least had a reasonable sound card and a stereo line-in.

    So Im going USB, and now there's quite a choice of mixers large and small that do it, or dedicated USB interfaces. Since I also need a new small mixer, I'm going USB and Im just starting to work with a new Mackie ProFX 6. Its got Mackie quality, and the USB seems very good, and will do 24bit and up to 192kHz rate. Its so clear and quiet, and the USB can receive but also send out to feed back into the mix. This one is the smallest, with two phantom powered mic inputs, which meets my needs for his unit. But for more extensive connections, I may sometimes put it on the end of my all-analogue 16 channel Soundcraft.
     
  13. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2019
    Messages:
    4,940
    Likes Received:
    7,388
    Consider this: I get Macs for FREE from the local Apple specialist stores. (Not the Apple corporate stores.) I fix them and resell them. I have kept some for myself, why not? You may be able to get a free retired Mac if you go to your local Apple specialist and ask them if they have any older units they need to dispose of.

    For free, they're always worth it.

    I use one Mac at home and it has three reasons for being there: Running the Axe-Edit software for my Fractal Axe-FX modelling amp. Running ProTools. And running Facetime for virtual visits with friends and family living in other states. My PCs don't do those jobs, the Mac does. So it earns its keep for those things.
     
    PelliX likes this.
  14. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Messages:
    1,218
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    Windows gives you ASIO, VST and a lot of other goodness. With Reaper and whatnot on Linux I can get better latency out of the same PC, using a low latency kernel, though. I think the stock kernel was already an improvement, but don't quote me on that.

    Also, if it's a dedicated 'studio computer', you don't really need much in the way of a graphics card, right. My i7 integrated graphics work for me like a charm doing that stuff.
     
  15. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Reading online about the best home recording PC / laptop and most come up with the IMac being the best choice. If GarageBand can do the job I want (and looks like it would), I could consider it since it would run more seamless. I don't want to spend a lot of time troubleshooting things and it is reported that it is easier for beginners. Reaper has a ton of documentation to go through. If that is the case, I'll spend the extra money. Looks like they are running $1200 and up. I know I'll spend another $1,000 and up for an audio card, external monitor and keyboard. I can do $2,000 if it is reliable and easy to run. Any reason against this approach? I don't think I can put in additional memory later so I'll have to get a decent amount up front. That is one downside it looks like..
     
  16. Marshall Stack

    Marshall Stack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,080
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.
    I'm not familiar with Linux. It would be a dedicated computer. On my old machine I had a dual boot so that the recording side everything was stripped down like disabling the network card and other behind the scenes TSR programs.
     
    PelliX likes this.
  17. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2019
    Messages:
    11,291
    Likes Received:
    18,973
  18. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2019
    Messages:
    4,940
    Likes Received:
    7,388
    You definitely do NOT need a late model Mac. One that's a few years old will do absolutely everything you need it to.

    Any 500 dollar 27" iMac with an i5 processor and 16 GB of RAM and 1 terabyte of disk space checks every box you need to check, with some room to spare.

    My iMac was made in 2014, just one year before they went to the Retina high res display. And it is just fine.

    I do recommend getting one of that generation or newer. Look at the side of the main unit. If it's a silver band about an inch thick, that's older, and it may still get the job done but I recommend the "thin edge" later generations.


    See the difference here.

    The thin edge on the right is the more desirable one. But the older one on the left WILL do the job. It just can't be updated to the latest version OS.

    The newer version no longer has a CD/DVD reader/writer. If you really prefer to use those discs, maybe you've already got a library of discs to install, then that may be a reason to go with the older unit.

    But definitely go for the 27" unit. It's SO much better than the 21.5".


    [​IMG]
     
    Marshall Stack likes this.
  19. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    26,072
    Likes Received:
    34,030
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Windows 11 is about to roll out & they say everything built before 2018 will be obsolete...

    It's already that way, to a degree...
     
  20. Sapient

    Sapient   Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2020
    Messages:
    4,783
    Likes Received:
    9,088
    Location:
    Yes
    I was talking a laptop, by the way. I think getting into a whole desktop system would have been cool ....in 1996.

    :2c:
     

Share This Page