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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.
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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?
 

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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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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
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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.
 

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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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A think using that xeon in my build might be a good idea. If its inportent, you might ot want to overclock any, and that xeon is a rebranded 2600k but at $230. You can get ecc bufferd ram as well with an xeon.
 

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any Core i7 will do. VST and VSTi plugins loves more cores. 8GB of RAM. 1TB HDD. and a 128GB SSD will help.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by croy View Post

and a 128GB SSD will help.
Ah yes, I've heard SSD's are good to use for this... could you explain why though? I would imagine it just keeps the noise down along the signal path somewhere around the DAC?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrl1357 View Post

A think using that xeon in my build might be a good idea. If its inportent, you might ot want to overclock any, and that xeon is a rebranded 2600k but at $230. You can get ecc bufferd ram as well with an xeon.
I'm not too familiar with xeon... care to elaborate a bit, particularly the ecc buffered ram you mentioned..thank you.
 

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Do not get any Creative product for your soundcard. They are not "professional quality". If you are truly looking for professional quality DAC, I would hop over to an audio forum i.e. Headfi. They will be able to help much more. Creative products rely on software that is beneficial to gamers going for the immersive experience, but doesn't really apply to producing music.
 
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