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Thread: Computer based recording VS stand alone workstations?

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    Forgive me if I'm posting this in the wrong section. I'm new here. I would like to upgrade from my cassette based Tascam 488. I need more tracks and editing capabilities. I'm guessing digital is the way to go but should I go stand alone unit such as the Roland 1680 or since I don't own a computer yet, buy a computer and kill two birds with one stone? I can buy the 1680 and effects cards for around $2500. What will everything I need cost me going the computer route? Any difference in the sound quality between the two different ways? Which will have the steeper learning curve. Which way will be more easily updated? Any and all opinions welcomed! Thanks

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    I've done the VS880EX and the computer route. If I had to choose between the VS1680 and a computer, I would go with the computer. That's my personal opinion. What you spend depends on which software, soundcard, hard drive, effects, etc. Anywhere from $1500 to $5000. I had a 1680 for about a day and returned it for Cakewalk and a sound card and a couple of thousand dollars. Cakewalk was much easier to use, for me. I'm even thinking about selling the VS880EX. Do some research on the homepage of this website, and some of the earlier posts.

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    i had the same question in my head earlier last year. i answered it with, "the computer is better because it can do everything and MORE!" i had a Tascam 4 track and the quality/tracks are pitiful compared to computer recording. i have efx's, eq's, etc. on the computer and you know what?? i didnt have to spend as much.
    dj Happee www.thevirtuosos.com

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    I only use the computer for mixdowns myself so I'm not as knowledgable about these computer multitrack programs and soundcards as some of these guys are, but there are a couple of things I'd like you to consider in your purchase. One important thing is, will you be recording instruments (via microphone) in the same room as the computer? It takes a good pentium 3 in my opinion to get the porformance you need for doing multitracking on a computer, and the problem with the better, (i.e. faster) pentium chips is that they need a good cooling source, so most computers that have a Pent3 in them have a large and noisy fan that will certainly be picked up by a microphone. Mine is so loud that I can hear it down the hall in other rooms!

    Something else to consider is maybe taking a look at the new Boss digital 8 track. It's only about $800, and is a real bargain. It doesn't have any XLR inputs or phantom power though, so if you plan on using decent mics in the furture, you'll have to buy a couple of good mic pre-amps. It also only has a couple of inputs, so you can only record 4 tracks (I think) at a time. While it has a mixer with a lot of useful features including cmos (for guitar amp and effects simulation) and some really terrific effects, you're limited to having to input all your channel mixdown changes, one channel at a time since the units mixer is "internal" and there isn't much by way of external controls--i.e. knobs. This is the way it is with most of the value priced digital recording mediums though and unless you spend a lot of money on a fancy soundcard with a lot of ins and outs on it, along with a good mixer, you're still going to have that same problem when recording on a computer. There's a lot to consider....

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    Wow, that's the first I've heard of that problem with Pentium III's cooling fan. That would definitely be trouble for me. Sure glad you pointed that out before I got one. What about Athlons? I don't think they have a fan. I know they're not compatible with some soundcards, but are they compatible with Cakewalk Pro 9?

    Brian F

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    I posted my last message in the computer and soundcards forum also. I got several replies. One said that Athlons also have cooling fans. Slackmaster2K said that the Pentium 3's fan shouldn't be loud enuff to cause a problem-- if it is, then it needs to be repaired. Just record a good distance away and if the fan is working properly, it won't be heard. I personally don't have any experience with it but I trust Slack's advice.
    According to Musician's Friend, the Boss BR8 digital 8-track will only record two tracks simultaneously. Still, it looks like a pretty swift machine for the money.
    Sorry, I accidently posted 2 similar messages. I tried to delete this one, but wasn't allowed.
    Brian F.

    [This message has been edited by Brian Ferrell (edited 04-17-2000).]

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    I also posted my last message on the Computers and soundcards forum. I got several replies. A couple said that Athlon's also have cooling fans. One reply from Slackmaster2K said that the PIII's fan shouldn't be that much of a prob as long as you're a good distance away. I don't think he meant out of the room. He says if your fan is pretty loud, it probably needs to be repaired. I'm certainly no expert, but it sounds like yours is pretty dang loud if you can hear it down the hall in other rooms. Maybe you should have it checked out.
    According to Musician' Friend, the Boss BR8 digital 8 track can only record on two tracks simultaneously. Still it looks like a pretty nifty machine for the price.

    Brian F.

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    This may be the wrong location for this post, but since the topic has been glossed over a bit and I'm too lazy to find the one where people specifically discussed this...

    Yes, Athlons have cooling fans. PCs have needed fans ever since the second generation 486s (believe it or not, those chips got HOT!).

    And the truth is, if you have a computer with high-end components, there will be 2-3 fans in your case. Sometimes more. If you're recording in the same room (and the room is small), this could be a problem. Do NOT put your computer in a cabinet, or try another such remedy. This will restrict airflow to your expensive computer's precious components, and shorten the machine's life. Heat breaks down silicon. This is bad!

    If your fan is making an obscene amount of noise, I would suggest buying a new one. It is extremely important that your computer's temperature remains within spec at all times. Also, for the people who have complained about noise, here is the first solution you should try. Buy a higher quality fan! Better fans are made to run more quietly, AND push more air. You win both ways.

    You can find some useful info here: http://www.heatsink-guide.com/

    And the prices here look nice, though I have never purchased from them myself: http://www.thecardcooler.com/


    Good luck!

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    OK, Eurythmic, thanks. And thanks for taikng the time to reach me in both forums.

    Brian F.

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