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How to build a PC for VIs and music production
#2870565 07/19/19 07:56 AM
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Robin Vincent has a new video series on building PCs for VIs and music production; part 1 is below. He also has recent videos on youtube with easy steps to get good low latency performance with laptops.

"Let me tell you how to build a PC for audio and music production. I've been doing it for 20 years and I thought it was time to share what I've learned in order to give you the best chance of building an awesome Audio PC. Part 1 introduces the idea, Part 2 will talk about choosing the components and Part 3 will take you through the build itself."

http://www.moltenmusictechnology.com


Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870572 07/19/19 08:36 AM
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Or just go to dell.com or hp.com.
Pick your PC and pay. Done.
Warranted. Simple. Easy. smile

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870603 07/19/19 11:07 AM
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But not as good for the application. Or it would be waste of time having custom built PC's.

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870606 07/19/19 11:20 AM
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Part #2. Choosing components.


Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
MacMacMac #2870611 07/19/19 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or just go to dell.com or hp.com.
Pick your PC and pay. Done.
Warranted. Simple. Easy. smile


Sorry Mac have to disagree with you there. People like Jim from https://studiocat.com have been doing computers for audio for years. Friend got one and the no DPC spikes which are a killer for low latency Audio. Not saying you can't get lucky but if doing audio if your profession you can't beat people like Jim that research the best components to make a fantastic audio workstation smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870639 07/19/19 01:53 PM
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After you built a good PC, there are various things to do to optimize it at software level.
There are notifications, auto-updates and services that need to be disabled if you don't want little slowdowns just when they shouldn't be.

And if you bought a branded PC, usually you have various crap programs to uninstall (various stupid software that promise to keep your PC always updated and in good conditions, but are good only to make your PC slower and to send statistic informations to their servers).

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
EPW #2870654 07/19/19 02:38 PM
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It's not luck.
Originally Posted by EPW
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or just go to dell.com or hp.com.
Pick your PC and pay. Done.
Warranted. Simple. Easy. smile
Sorry Mac have to disagree with you there. People like Jim from https://studiocat.com have been doing computers for audio for years. Friend got one and the no DPC spikes which are a killer for low latency Audio. Not saying you can't get lucky but if doing audio if your profession you can't beat people like Jim that research the best components to make a fantastic audio workstation smile
You can get advice online as to what to buy ... but there's no need to buy it and build it. You can just let Dell or HP build it. Or pick a local custom shop. (I tried that, but they couldn't match the price from Dell.)

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870671 07/19/19 03:49 PM
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Probably. But most of the Dell/HP have locked down BIOS and crappy power supplies and also not very quiet fans etc...
Have to leave it at we disagree here. MACMACMAC.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870691 07/19/19 05:11 PM
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The crappy PSU notion is internet lore. I've had six Dell desktops and two HP desktops over the last twenty years.
And only one power supply failure on a six-year-old.
And no other failures of any kind (except the plastic power button on one broke off, and was replaced in warranty).
These boxes go to the bin only when they're too old and slow for my liking.
(Which reminds me that there are two nine-year-old HPs here sitting around, collecting dust.)

My latest Dell is quiet ... making fan noise only when heavily loaded with video processing.

And it cost $150 to $400 less than similar (or lower) spec machines from "custom" builders.

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870754 07/19/19 08:45 PM
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The only thing with Dell and so forth is they come with a load of bloatware.

Get one from a smaller company that gives it to you clean.

For example, I bought mine from Chillblast. UK company though. Find a similar company.

They build it, and install Windows on it. That's it. The build quality is top notch as well,

You pay a little more than Dell, but worth it.

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870822 07/20/19 04:59 AM
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this site allows you to choose what you want, select many options, prices, and all the compatibility issues are dealt with.
https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
MacMacMac #2870829 07/20/19 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It's not luck.
Originally Posted by EPW
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or just go to dell.com or hp.com.
Pick your PC and pay. Done.
Warranted. Simple. Easy. smile
Sorry Mac have to disagree with you there. People like Jim from https://studiocat.com have been doing computers for audio for years. Friend got one and the no DPC spikes which are a killer for low latency Audio. Not saying you can't get lucky but if doing audio if your profession you can't beat people like Jim that research the best components to make a fantastic audio workstation smile
You can get advice online as to what to buy ... but there's no need to buy it and build it. You can just let Dell or HP build it. Or pick a local custom shop. (I tried that, but they couldn't match the price from Dell.)


It all depends what you’re doing with your PC.

I suspect if you’re running one or two VSTs at a time etc then the Dell or HP may well be fine for you.

But if you’re running a DAW, a ton of VST’s etc, a decent properly researched custom built PC will beat the likes of Dell (excluding Alienware) by a mile.

Just because two PCs appear to have the same spec, doesn’t mean they perform anywhere near the same.

Two PCs can have the same model cpu, same memory, same amount of storage etc, yet have completely different performance.

A sort of analogy, two cars, both have 2litre engines, both have 4 doors, both have sunroofs, both have air con etc. They appear to have similar specs but the reality is, they are completely different. Different performance, one cars air con is fully climate controlled, the other has an off/on button and a 4 position cold to hot knob etc.

Different make/model of the motherboard for example can make a huge difference. Same for hard drives and ssd’s.

Having seen a ton of HP and Dell PCs over the years, apart from Dells Alienware range, none come close to what I would call a good PC for Audio recording or Gaming.

That’s not to say that HP or Dell aren’t totally suitable what you are using yours for.

The BIOS on the Dell PCs I’ve come across (including my sons old Alienware laptop I’ve got next to me) are almost useless for custom configuration. While the Alienware BIOS appears to have has a fair bit of configuration, it falls very short of any motherboard I’ve used on my self built ones.

You also have the problem of all the unnecessary software these companies usually fill their PCs with.

Theres a reason dells Alienware range cost a fortune (in my opinion overpriced) compared to Dells normal range. Custom building a PC, you can get as good as Dells Alienware for a lot less.

It is true that many off the shelf PCs are totally fine for what most people use them for, but even for most of those, I could self build a better faster one for the same price.

I’ve lost count over the years of the amount of times I’ve been called to look at a friends pc or laptop and they complain it’s almost new yet running like a snail. If they insist on a laptop then there’s not a lot they can do (most decent ones being way out of their budget), but desktops are a different situation all together.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are happy with your Dell etc, then that’s all that really matters, but personally I wouldn’t be.

I last did a major update in 2013. I bought the following.

ASUS P9X79 motherboard £170
Intel i7 3820 s2011 CPU £244
32 GB RAM (good quality but very slow compared to what’s now available) £200.

That came to £614 six years ago.

With zero exceptions there’s not one person I know whose PC or Laptop bought from the likes of Dell or PCWorld comes anywhere near the performance of mine. I’ve got friends who have bought them in the past 6 months, have used my PC and can’t believe how quick it is (and that’s them just browsing the web).

In 2016 I spent about £240 on an AMD RX480 8GB graphics card and last year I replaced all of the hard drives with 500GB SSDs.

I do play games, but I don’t need 4K graphics, so far there’s not one game I play where I can’t have ultra settings, and many many people would laugh at my graphics card as it’s no where near high end.

By spending that £614 on researched good spec (not the best spec) 6 years ago, having no money to upgrade now is zero problem for me as I get zero slowdowns, lag etc. Theres no reason it won’t still be better than most store bought PCs for a fair few more years.

Of course 6 years ago my PC would be overkill for most users (and considered a joke by some of the ‘latest and greatest’ custom builders) but I prefer to spend a chunk of money on something that in 5 years time will still perform very very well and so far I’ve always done OK.

I have friends that buy laptops almost every year, I suspect they spend far more than I have over the years, yet they are never really happy. Mind you if you must have a laptop, you are limited by your budget.

At some point in the next 4 years I will have to buy a new MB, CPU and RAM, but when I get to that point, if I spend about the same and it lasts me just as long, then I reckon I’ve done OK. I don’t believe if I had bought a Dell in April 2013 I would be perfectly happy with it now (don’t think I’d have been happy then)

My PC case, external audio interface, monitors etc I can keep and reuse for as long as I like.

But I’ve been in IT most of my working life, electronics is one of my hobbies, and I enjoy tinkering. It’s not for everyone.

Personally if someone is looking for advice on using a PC for audio, I would recommend the custom route using a PC builder that specialises in Audio PCs such as Scan in the UK rather than Dell, HP etc.




Last edited by Ojustaboo; 07/20/19 05:35 AM.
Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870831 07/20/19 05:33 AM
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For the non techies I’d recommend a Mac smile

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870834 07/20/19 05:38 AM
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The videos above didn’t mention any sort of audio sub-system for the computer build. So I’m guessing that external audio interfaces are the way to go? ... and will probably be the recommendation in the next videos?

Would you ever recommend any sort of internal audio interface?


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And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
Groove On #2870854 07/20/19 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
The videos above didn’t mention any sort of audio sub-system for the computer build. So I’m guessing that external audio interfaces are the way to go? ... and will probably be the recommendation in the next videos?

Would you ever recommend any sort of internal audio interface?

No. The PCIe cards are the very best performing for professional audio engineers. They are overkill for most hobbyists. This professional benchmark proves that

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mus...e-low-latency-performance-data-base.html

A decent external USB/ThunderBolt interface is fine for piano VIs; plenty of people here don't even bother with those. So if your VI works fine spend your money elsewhere.

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2870858 07/20/19 08:02 AM
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Internal sound card may be all you need as long as you run asio drivers (for latency).

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2871004 07/20/19 06:16 PM
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A controversy has erupted with my custom-builder who is putting my over-the-top PC together. This PC will be using an AMD Ryzen 3900X processor with 12 cores and 32GB of memory. I asked my builder to consider upgrading my build to 64GB or 128GB, but he is quite vocal in his opposition against this recommendation of Robin Vincent in the videos posted since based on his own research, he doesn't feel the Ryzen 3900X will efficiently use more than 32GB and he feels not only is the a point of diminishing return, but beyond 32GB is a point of negative return for most applications, even music/audio production, and especially given the Ryzen 3900X processor and memory architecture.

I'm just not buying this. Increasing from 32GB to even 128GB of DDR4-3200 will cost no more than $700, which amounts to only 15% the cost of my build, so it's not a really big deal to me to increase the memory. I won't do it though if it really is a negative return. Comments anyone?


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Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2871010 07/20/19 06:47 PM
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You're hard to figure, TS.

Are you running a whole band-full of instruments, plus effects, and rendering production-quality sound?
Or are you putting ten fingers onto a keyboard?

If you're just going to play the piano, 8GB might be enough, but newer VSTs could justify 16 GB or a bit more.
But 64 GB? For what? You'll be sitting on 48 GB of unused RAM.

What's next? That 500 W PSU is not enough? Why not get a 1000 W unit? Or even 2000 W?

And what about the piano? Why only 88 keys? Why not 176? Future proof!

More is better, right?
More is better.
More is better.
More is better.

(But your Robin Vincent seems to disagree, eh?)

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2871014 07/20/19 07:04 PM
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Tyrone, is this something to do with the Ryzen architecture? I remember reading that four dies are tied together, but only two have memory controllers, and some RAM intensive tasks can be slow. Perhaps I shouldn't comment on this, as I don't know.

Re: How to build a PC for VIs and music production
newer player #2871015 07/20/19 07:08 PM
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BTW Tyrone, with your really fast drive, you'll probably only need to preload a small amount into RAM, and stream the rest. I can load four mic pairs on my old 6GB laptop.

Last edited by johnstaf; 07/20/19 07:12 PM.
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