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High end audio processing computer - looking for build recommendations

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Alright, this is opening quite the can of worms...


I am planning on building a machine that will be able to handle a high amount of audio processing (primarily) and recording (secondary). High audio quality is essential. This is a highly competitive world to be in - producing music. Armed with good software/hardware and a knowledgable sound engineer - great sounding music can be produced. This is my goal.



I plan to purchase pieces for this machine in August. Budget is between $700 - $1100 US Dollars. $1300 is the highest I'll go if it means quality will skyrocket!

-This machine will be running Pro Tools 10 and Ableton Live software, and many plugins.
-It will have an audio interface however, I am going to exclude the price of this unit from my budget as I might purchase this at a later date(unknown which one yet but probably firewire input)
-It will need three monitors.
-External Midi controllers will be used. Probably usb inputs.
-Excellent audio card required.

Preliminary research shows me an i7 is what I'll what.


My first question deals with the audio card and its relation to the entire system. My speculation is that the sound i am hearing as i work is directly related to the audio card. The audio FILES i create when i render tracks is directly related to the processor....does that sound about right to you all? Furthermore, the audio interface is responsible for the input of microphone signals. Again, I am probably delaying purchasing an interface and recording via microphones for now... but an interface WILL eventually be apart of the system.

So, regarding my question, I am wondering what exactly the relation of the Processor, Audio Card, and Interface is related to the SOUND i HEAR and the QUALITY of AUDIO FILES I render.



Thanks in advance and I hope to get much discussion out of this. thumb.gif
post #2 of 31
The soundcard gap in my opinion is now gone. The latest onboard realtek series is just as good (if not better) than a dedicated sound card.

Ive tried numerous sound cards including the Asus Xonar ST. (One of the most critically acclaimed sound-cards) and found it inaccurate and bright.

You want good audio and enough usb slots? Simply buy a mother board with the latest realtek chipset. (ALC898)
The ALC898 has a outstanding SNR at 110DB.

Spend the rest on a i5, 8GB of ram. And a nice amp a speakers and your good to go.
Edited by peck1234 - 5/9/12 at 1:59pm
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post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

Amp and speakers are also NOT factor in this budget as well.

I though ask why you recommend an i5 instead of an i7?
post #4 of 31
Personally I would use an external DAC myself, Also Don't use Realtek audio. The ALC898 would go up against an audigy 2 card.
I can clearly hear the difference between my x-fi xtreme gamer and my on board realtek audio and it's huge. Though when I want the best audio quality for my headphones I use the DAC on my receiver, it does sound slightly better then my xtreme gamer powering my G51's headphone amp with the same headphones.
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post #5 of 31
are the three monitors part of the budget? anywa7y, youll need a decent gpu to run them, the highest sound card you can get and...i5 or i7 (or xeon?)? i have no idea how threaded this stuff is, but lets try something:

480

just some ideas fill the rest
Edited by jrl1357 - 5/9/12 at 2:22pm
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DzillaXx View Post

Personally I would use an external DAC myself,

How is the external DAC connected to your computer? Just curious..
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoopDuhVille View Post

Thanks.
Amp and speakers are also NOT factor in this budget as well.
I though ask why you recommend an i5 instead of an i7?

Simply because for audio an i7 is overkill.

A 2600K would suffice, and the rest should be spent on speakers/monitors/amps.
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post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoopDuhVille View Post

How is the external DAC connected to your computer? Just curious..

Via USB, Opitcal, or Coaxial SPDIF.

I recently purchased a external DAC, (HRT Music Streamer II) but cant comment on the audio compared to my realtek yet since it hasent arrived..
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post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrl1357 View Post

are the three monitors part of the budget?

Good question. I will need to purchase two monitors (already have one that I will use). I know what at least one of these montiors will be (let me get that info when i get home from work). The other monitor could be a smaller monitor...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrl1357 View Post

i have no idea how threaded this stuff is

I will need to research this more.... but I have a feeling it makes use of hyperthreading technology quite a bit. Pro Tools specifically - it is industry standard software. But again, I'll need to research this more.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoopDuhVille View Post

How is the external DAC connected to your computer? Just curious..

optical/coaxial, hdmi, or even usb

I use HDMI from my htpc to my receiver and my receiver DAC take it from there, But optical works just as well for stereo connections as optical only supports 2 channels. For the things you do you only need stereo anyway so any of those things will work fine.

http://www.amazon.com/NuForce-uDAC2-Digital-Audio-Converter/dp/B003Y5FRNS/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1336598658&sr=1-3
something like this will work fine.
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Red Dragon
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600K @4.8ghz Asrock p67 Extreme4 GTX1080 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB 9-11-11-31 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
3x 640 WD blacks Raid 0 Mushkin Enhanced Reactor 512GB SSD Sandisk 1TB SSD Samsung 470 Series 128GB SSD 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
XSPC Raystorm Windows 10 64bit Microboard m340clz 100hz 3440x1440 Corsair K70 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
TX850 HAF922 Logitech G502 Creative Sound Blaster Z  
AudioAudioAudio
Elac B6 & Dayton Audio SUB-800 Yamaha HTR-5790 Audio Technica ATH-A700 headphones 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9550 @ 4GHZ Gigabyte EP45 UD3P GTX470 4GB OCZ Reaper 1150mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Western Digital Blue 500gb OCZ Vertex 2 60GB LG Bluray Corsair H50 
OSKeyboardPowerCase
Windows 7 Home Premium  Logitech K400 Corsair CX500 nMEDIAPC 6000B 
AudioOtherOtherOther
Yamaha HTR-5063 PS3 80GB BC PS3 with 250GB hard drive. Polk Audio Monitor 60s Bi-AMP Front Polk Audio Monitor 30s Rear 
OtherOther
Polk Audio CS1 Center Polk Audio PSW10 
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