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Professional Digital Audio Workstation Build~~Help Needed!!!!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
It's that time again! Good morning to all here at OCN! I am calling upon the collective genius of your wonderful minds to assist me in building a rig worthy of being called a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). My budget this time around is approximately $2700 (substantially more than I had for my Budget Gaming Rig I built last year). With this new budget come A LOT of options, and I must admit, I am quite lost.

Something I have read repeatedly is that when building a DAW, the CPU, RAM, and sound card are of utmost importance, so my focus will primarily be on these parts. For the most part, I don't really have specific components picked out, so I'm completely open to suggestions. In the interest of removing unnecessary audio interference, I'd like to build this as somewhat of a silent PC.

CPU: something that supports hyper-threading is a must, as most things in recording involve multiple pieces moving at the same time. I've read different opinions on which processor to pick for this purpose, but which one is truly best suited for the task? Xeon series? Haswell? Something else? The general consensus has seemed to be i7. Any sound engineers out there with a personal testimony as to what works best?

RAM: something low latency is important. I'm looking to put at least 16GB into the DAW, so please factor that into the price as well. I'm justifying 16GB because I'm using a lot of sample based instruments, and because good RAM is very affordable nowadays.

Sound card: I've been pointed in the direction of the ASUS Xonar Essense STX. No matter what sound card is suggested, ASIO driver support is a MUST, and preferably one with custom ASIO drivers written by the card's manufacturer.

PSU: something energy efficient, quiet, and stable. Don't need my PSU crapping out while I'm in the middle of recording.

GPU: nothing fancy is necessary, as I won't be doing any video editing or running anything graphically intensive, but something decent like a 7850 would be nice. Again...cool and quiet are key. If there is any wiggle room, it's here. I could use the extra money towards the CPU or motherboard.

Motherboard: Considering the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme. Thoughts?

HDD: 120-250GB SSD + 1TB 7200RPM 3.5"

CASE: Ironically, the only part I am already really dead set on. I'm looking at the NZXT PHAN-003RD. Aesthetics are important, and the reviews for this case speak well of it. In the interest of a silent PC, can anyone share person experience with the stock fans? Water cooling might be an option here (I know...kinda seems counter intuitive considering the Phantom boasts it's fan speed controller). Anyway, plain and simple: I really like this case.

OS: Whichever version of Windows 7 will work best (compatibility with plugins, programs, etc) without affecting other parts in the budget

I'm also looking to include some good studio monitors (~$300) in the price, so keep that in mind please.

One final thing to note (I don't know if this holds any importance or not) is that I am using Reaper for recording. I haven't had any real hardware compatibility issues in the past, but I figured I would include this bit of information in case there was anyone reading this thread that could help point me in the best direction.

Thanks in advance for all your help, guys!
Edited by Damonthenomad - 9/11/13 at 1:34am
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah, also looking for suggestions for a good white mechanical keyboard that would match the look of the case and the R.A.T. 3 mouse (I already own one).

Thanks guys!
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Been a couple of days and no one has responded, so I'm bumping this.

Please, help if you can...

Thank you smile.gif
post #4 of 6
For SSD go for 250GB since budget will not be a problem. For Windows you need Professional or better to use 16GB of RAM.
The only CPU's from LGA 2011 that make sense are 3930K and 4930K, if you are looking for more cores. Alternatively you could consider an i7 4770K with a cheap decent Z87 mobo. For GPU 7850 is a nice choice, as well as 650Ti Boost, preferably 2GB. You could also consider 7870 or 660 as a step up if budget allows. As for RAM you should go with a quad channel on LGA 2011. There is no reason to go with faster than 2133Mhz. If you are after lower latencies, go for 1600Mhz CL7 or CL8. You can decide on the PSU when you have selected all other components.
kifi
(17 items)
 
kifi2
(17 items)
 
HTPC
(14 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4,4GHz ASUS Maximus IV Extreme P67 MSI GTX 970 Gaming G.Skill Ripjaws X 2*4GB @2133Mhz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Black FAEX 1TB Sony Optiarc DVD RW Corsair H60 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate Asus VG248QE Lenovo PS2 Corsair GS800 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Logitech G400 Roccat Taito onboard 
Other
Kingston Hyper X Cloud headset 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 2500K ASUS P8 Z77V-LX EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 GSkill Ripjaws X 2*8GB @ 1600MHz, CL10 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Black FAEX 1TB LG DVD-RW Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate PHILIPS 220E Lenovo PS2 XFX Core Edition Pro 550W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Coolermaster Elite 430 Logitech G400 Roccat Taito Onboard 
Audio
Easytouch headset 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4460 Gigabyte B85M_D3H rev 2.0 EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 Crucal Basllistic 2*4GB, 1600MHz, CL9, 1T, 1.5V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Green EZRX 2TB Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB Windows 7 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung UE40F5000 Logitech K400r Cooler Master V450S Aerocool QS 200 Lite 
Other
Gigabyte GC-WB 150 pcie wifi 
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kifi
(17 items)
 
kifi2
(17 items)
 
HTPC
(14 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4,4GHz ASUS Maximus IV Extreme P67 MSI GTX 970 Gaming G.Skill Ripjaws X 2*4GB @2133Mhz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Black FAEX 1TB Sony Optiarc DVD RW Corsair H60 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate Asus VG248QE Lenovo PS2 Corsair GS800 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Logitech G400 Roccat Taito onboard 
Other
Kingston Hyper X Cloud headset 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 2500K ASUS P8 Z77V-LX EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 GSkill Ripjaws X 2*8GB @ 1600MHz, CL10 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Black FAEX 1TB LG DVD-RW Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate PHILIPS 220E Lenovo PS2 XFX Core Edition Pro 550W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Coolermaster Elite 430 Logitech G400 Roccat Taito Onboard 
Audio
Easytouch headset 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-4460 Gigabyte B85M_D3H rev 2.0 EVGA GTX 670 FTW Signature 2 Crucal Basllistic 2*4GB, 1600MHz, CL9, 1T, 1.5V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
Crucial MX100 256GB Western Digital Green EZRX 2TB Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB Windows 7 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung UE40F5000 Logitech K400r Cooler Master V450S Aerocool QS 200 Lite 
Other
Gigabyte GC-WB 150 pcie wifi 
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post #5 of 6
What about the KRK Rokit 5s? They're active and are great monitors and they aren't huge either.

http://www.frontrowelectronics.com/krk-rp5--mc18-ables-bundle.aspx?utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=KRK&utm_term=RP5G2&gclid=COT4pu_y1rkCFe3ItAodBnsAew

In terms of your sound card, I'd opt for an external card that is meant for studio use that has XLR connections as they are balanced. Balanced cables have three conductors - high, low, and ground. The Low signal is a phase reversed copy of the High signal. When it gets to the other piece of gear, the low is phase reversed again, and summed with the high signal, cancelling any noise picked up along the run of the cable.

Maybe look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as your soundcard - http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlett2i2 - same price range as the ASUS Xonar Essense STX and more suitable to your needs as well.
My Rig
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K 3.5GHz Sabertooth Z77 Gigabyte 780 Ti Corsair Vengeance 4 x 4GB RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Cavier GP 2TB internal hdd LG GH22NS70 DVD writer Zalman CNPS9900 MAX CPU Cooler Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung S23A350H monitor CM Storm QuickFire TK Corsair RM 850 NZXT Switch 810 Matte Black 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
SteelSeries Sensei MLG Edtion Razer Goliathus Speed Edition Alesis M1 MKII Active Monitors Sennheiser HD 215 
AudioAudio
Shure SRH 240 Roland UA-55 Quad Capture  
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My Rig
(18 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K 3.5GHz Sabertooth Z77 Gigabyte 780 Ti Corsair Vengeance 4 x 4GB RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD Cavier GP 2TB internal hdd LG GH22NS70 DVD writer Zalman CNPS9900 MAX CPU Cooler Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung S23A350H monitor CM Storm QuickFire TK Corsair RM 850 NZXT Switch 810 Matte Black 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
SteelSeries Sensei MLG Edtion Razer Goliathus Speed Edition Alesis M1 MKII Active Monitors Sennheiser HD 215 
AudioAudio
Shure SRH 240 Roland UA-55 Quad Capture  
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, guys!
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