Which PC for a warm and punchy sound?

If you are new here check this forum first, your question may have been answered.
User avatar
KVRAF
2278 posts since 8 Dec, 2008 from Global Cowboy

Post Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:59 pm

DOS :)
No auto tune and iLok free...

User avatar
ATS
KVRAF
7026 posts since 21 Dec, 2002 from MD USA

Post Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:05 pm

RAM is cheap, I would just go ahead and get 32 GB
my music: http://www.alexcooperusa.com
"It's hard to be humble, when you're as great as I am." Muhammad Ali

User avatar
KVRian
1233 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:24 am

unkow wrote:
Fri Oct 15, 2021 8:43 pm
an SSD and a good amount of RAM (or at least room to grow) is 100% something I will be looking into.
Be aware that SSDs come in a few different form factors. There are the 2.5” SATA drives, there are PCIe cards, and there are M.2 sticks that look like RAM.

Image

PCIe SSDs are ridiculously faster than SATA SSDs. M.2 SSDs connect either to the SATA bus or the PCIe bus. You want the kind that use the PCIe bus, which are called NVMe SSDs (Non-Volatile Memory express.)

PCIe SSDs have fallen out of favor for NVMe M.2. PCIe was first, but now less common, and more expensive. They take up precious PCIe slots and don’t offer any performance advantage over NVMe of the same capacity.

M.2 form factor SSDs can come in capacities up to 8TB, which is more than enough for most people.

The advantage of PCIe SSDs over NVMe comes in at the extreme high-end: they can come in even larger capacities (up to 24TB, maybe more), and the larger the SSD’s capacity, the faster its performance. But you cannot afford these, unless you’re a corporation.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

User avatar
KVRAF
2491 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:26 am

My bang/buck music production PC build guide:

- A regular tower sized case. Most of them are good nowadays - but don't go for the cheapest. Personally, I like quiet cases - my Fractal Design R(5) is very nice in that regard. 2x 12cm case fans (or bigger of course).
If you want a DVD drive, it might he cheaper (than a USB one) to get a case that still has a front slot for one.
- ATX size motherboard with the features you want and 4 ram slots.
- The Intel* CPU that fits your budget (but I'd go with an 8 core / 8 thread one). Most of them come with onboard GPU**, but make sure that the one you want has it anyway.
*Best bang/buck, right now, for this specific purpose.
*Discrete graphics cards are REALLY expensive at the moment and they're not really needed for music production. You can always get one later, if you want.
- If you want a quieter system, definitely get a separate (TDP appropriate) CPU cooler. The CM Hyper Evo 212 is a good mid-budget choice. Bequiet and Noctua are the best but more expensive.
- 500 GB SSD for bootdrive - OS & software, 1TB if you use (more) large(r) sampled instruments. The speed difference between SATA & NVME is not (very) noticeable for this purpose, but the price difference isn't that big anymore. Just get an NVME M.2 one. Model: depends on budget.
- 7200rpm HDD for audio recordings and archiving. (size depends on budget)
- 16 GB RAM, 2 sticks, add 2 more later if you want. Specs are less important.
- PSU: Probably no more than 400W. Get Gold cert. I recommend Corsair & Seasonic.
- Audio interface: Steinberg (cheaper) or RME. Good drivers are not to be underestimated. If you can afford it: get RME!

USB hub (if needed): get a powered one.

Software: don't install Windows 11 yet, wait until it matured a bit. In general: don't install (non-security) updates/upgrades for the sake of it.

Read some reviews for specifics and when in doubt.

Edit: I've 'assembled' an example system:
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/xTWg2V

KVRAF
3001 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:42 am

...

User avatar
KVRian
968 posts since 20 Apr, 2005

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 4:38 am

jamcat wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:24 am
Be aware that SSDs come in a few different form factors. There are the 2.5” SATA drives, there are PCIe cards, and there are M.2 sticks that look like RAM.

Image

PCIe SSDs are ridiculously faster than SATA SSDs. M.2 SSDs connect either to the SATA bus or the PCIe bus. You want the kind that use the PCIe bus, which are called NVMe SSDs (Non-Volatile Memory express.)

PCIe SSDs have fallen out of favor for NVMe M.2. PCIe was first, but now less common, and more expensive. They take up precious PCIe slots and don’t offer any performance advantage over NVMe of the same capacity.

M.2 form factor SSDs can come in capacities up to 8TB, which is more than enough for most people.

The advantage of PCIe SSDs over NVMe comes in at the extreme high-end: they can come in even larger capacities (up to 24TB, maybe more), and the larger the SSD’s capacity, the faster its performance. But you cannot afford these, unless you’re a corporation.
I think having the OS and maybe "Working" project folders on an NVMe drive is a good idea. 1TB of NVME is not too expensive and can do this.

Larger SSD/hard drive for back up of projects and maybe for samples if you have many many gigs of samples.

Ideally some kind of separate project back up. External hard drive, drop box, some combination.

User avatar
KVRian
1233 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:08 pm

_leras wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 4:38 am
I think having the OS and maybe "Working" project folders on an NVMe drive is a good idea. 1TB of NVME is not too expensive and can do this.

Larger SSD/hard drive for back up of projects and maybe for samples if you have many many gigs of samples.

Ideally some kind of separate project back up. External hard drive, drop box, some combination.
Right, that's what I said in my first reply to the thread. C:\ and audio drives should be on M.2 SSD, and general storage should be on SATA SSD.

You can go a step further and have unlimited local storage with a SSD hotswap bay like this:
Image
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

User avatar
KVRAF
11392 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:43 pm

If you’re unclear of how to go forward, you might have a local computer shop that can be a huge help. I was able to get my parts for the same price as advertised on the internet, and paid only a small fee for the build. The place was called Central Computers in San Mateo, CA and they did a great job. Helpful and quick. They even put up with me when I couldn’t figure out why the Ethernet wasn’t working, and it was a bad jack in my router. Well worth the money spent to have someone else do it.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

User avatar
KVRAF
2491 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:50 pm

jamcat wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:08 pm
Right, that's what I said in my first reply to the thread. C:\ and audio drives should be on M.2 SSD, and general storage should be on SATA SSD.
And how does an SSD improve audio recording? And why is it SO much better for general storage (/archiving)?
SSDs are still relatively expensive - If the OP has a limited (/"average") budget, I wouldn't recommend the big ones for the purposes that need it the least.

User avatar
KVRAF
2491 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:54 pm

zerocrossing wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:43 pm
If you’re unclear of how to go forward, you might have a local computer shop that can be a huge help. I was able to get my parts for the same price as advertised on the internet, and paid only a small fee for the build. The place was called Central Computers in San Mateo, CA and they did a great job. Helpful and quick. They even put up with me when I couldn’t figure out why the Ethernet wasn’t working, and it was a bad jack in my router. Well worth the money spent to have someone else do it.
I've also had my (general usage) desktop assembled by a local shop. Their (parts) stock is limited, but they make up for it with free assembly + no shipping + great after sales service.

I can build it myself, but IF something is/goes wrong - it'll be potentially a lot more costly (money and/or time involved).
I know that it doesn't make sense, but I feel that the more knowledgeable I become about software/hardware, the more exotic issues I encounter.

User avatar
KVRian
1233 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:08 pm

T-CM11 wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:50 pm
jamcat wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:08 pm
Right, that's what I said in my first reply to the thread. C:\ and audio drives should be on M.2 SSD, and general storage should be on SATA SSD.
And how does an SSD improve audio recording? And why is it SO much better for general storage (/archiving)?
SSDs are still relatively expensive - If the OP has a limited (/"average") budget, I wouldn't recommend the big ones for the purposes that need it the least.
SSDs are SO much better because of noise. There is simply no good reason to put a hard drive with spinning platters in an audio recording computer in 2021. They improve audio recording by not leaking a bunch of mechanical noise into your microphones.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

User avatar
KVRAF
2491 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:38 pm

jamcat wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:08 pm
SSDs are SO much better because of noise. There is simply no good reason to put a hard drive with spinning platters in an audio recording computer in 2021. They improve audio recording by not leaking a bunch of mechanical noise into your microphones.
Absolutely! Any noise is a lot more than none (SSDs).
Yet people have been making great microphone recordings with computers for many many years before SSDs existed (or were affordable for mere mortals).

I'm no expert at microphone recordings. Recently I tried to vocode my voice without headphones, using my Zoom field recorder (output to my audio interface, like a microphone). To my surprise, I didn't get any feedback. It seems that it's directional enough to not pick up the sound of my speakers behind it. Ok, maybe not the best example for clean detailed vocal recordings, but a spinning HDD in a quiet case makes a lot less noise.

This reminds me a bit of some posts I read on Gearspace. People that claim that they can't make any decent music without their Abbey Road style personal recording studio.
Last edited by T-CM11 on Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KVRAF
2212 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:47 pm

jamcat wrote:
Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:45 pm
Right, you need airflow.
However, many slow moving large fans in the right areas will get you the requisite airflow with the least amount of noise.

Get a platinum-rated hybrid PSU that only turns the fan on if the PSU becomes overheated, and your PSU will be as good as fanless. (You can get an actual fanless PSU, but its better to have a fan that just never comes on but is there as a fail-safe.)

In 5+ years my Seasonic's PSU hasn't come on once.

A good case to look at is the SilverStone Fortress series (FT04 or FT05). Large slow fans, exceptional airflow, and padded with acoustic foam internally.

https://www.silverstonetek.com/product_ ... 19&area=en

And I would definitely recommend getting the most powerful video card you can find that is passively cooled (which means a moderately powered video card, at best.) Video card fans are obnoxious, and cutting them out will be about the best single thing you can do to lower your noisefloor.

The CPU cooler is going to be a bitch, though, and even the quietest coolers are way too loud. :shrug:
Very much agreed. A good case with the right fans and heatsinks wherever possible will be the most silent solution - along with keeping the power draw low.

User avatar
KVRAF
2491 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:02 pm

Unaspected wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:47 pm
Very much agreed. A good case with the right fans and heatsinks wherever possible will be the most silent solution - along with keeping the power draw low.
The power draw of cooling fans is negligible compared to any other part in a PC.

User avatar
KVRAF
2212 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:10 pm

T-CM11 wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:02 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 1:47 pm
Very much agreed. A good case with the right fans and heatsinks wherever possible will be the most silent solution - along with keeping the power draw low.
The power draw of cooling fans is negligible compared to any other part in a PC.
Absolutely. I wrote that in consideration of the full build.

Return to “Getting Started (AKA What is the best...?)”