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Anyone else using a 10+ year old DAW?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Franco's Avatar
 

Anyone else using a 10+ year old DAW?

I’m curious to know if anyone else does. I built my DAW more than 10 years ago and have been upgrading and replacing components as they die. The other day, my graphics card died on me in the middle of a project and counting my usual 5.5 hours of sleep, I was down for exactly 12 hours.

I don’t produce or mix much audio these days so I don’t need the fastest CPU. My build runs really smoothly, I can work for hours without a hiccup (except when components die like the example above). This is all awesome, but I couldn’t help to think about upgrading. The main reasons why I would like to stay put:

- Time. I seem to always have at least 2 projects I’m working on and I can’t even begin to imagine how long I will be down for if I have to start over on a new build and upgrade software (I run Windows XP SP2 so pretty much all of the software I’ve purchased in the past would need to be upgraded). EDIT: I have considered building a new system on the side, but considering the other things I have going on in life, doing that would probably take me months (by the time I’ll finish, the new system would likely be considered “old”).

- Loss of workflow. I use an older Mackie MCU + Extender and a Novation Nocturn with Pro Tools LE8. I only touch my mouse and keyboard when I need to move around the screen or type something. I’m not sure if these older controllers would work with the latest versions of PT and Adobe Audition.

I’ve already bought a spare HD and cloned my current system drive to it (tested it once, I simply pulled the OG drive, replaced it with the clone and it works as if it’s the original drive). Can this be done in the latest versions of Windows? I’m also concerned with stability issues. Do I want to dive into new computer hardware and software updates only to have issues? I checked the PT & Audition forums and there are folks having crashing issues with the latest version, on newer PC systems (my A3 started acting funny a few months ago, and I simply popped in the original CD-ROM and repaired it, been fine for almost two years now).

Sorry for the book, but what I’m trying to express is that I feel that upgrading to a new machine will only take an unforeseeable amount of time and possibly more of an expense that I can anticipate at this point. Who else is in a similar, aging boat? Are there resources online for older PC hardware for folks like us, or is trolling eBay looking for NOS peripherals our best bet?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Crashes can happen due to a variety of reasons, but by and large, new hardware and software is much more stable (not to mention FASTER) than old stuff. The thing is, no matter how long you keep repairing and maintaining your old rig, eventually the whole system will become obsolete, as I'm sure you have already witnessed with XP and software comparability.

There is no reason that switching to a new rig should give you months of downtime. I just upgraded my rug a couple of months ago (from a 2014 build) the switch took one day of installing software and transferring files.

Building my PC took about an hour.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Franco's Avatar
 

My system only crashes if something goes wrong. Stability is the main reason I’ve kept this system as long as I have (for my work, it’s plenty fast). I haven’t upgraded software in years, and it doesn’t even have a network card (probably why it runs so smoothly). I also don’t know of any current mobo’s that still come with PCI cards, I still have one of my UAD-1s in my system (to run Nigel) and a couple of UAD-2 quad cards. I definitely don’t want to lose these just to be able to have the most current software, as that is not really a factor for my workflow.

Maybe vintage computers will be a thing in 20 years. If vinyl and cassettes came back, why not? LOL
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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bitman's Avatar
I'm using a Dell Precision T1600 quad xeon with a (precious) PCI slot for my RME 2496 audio card.
I'll bet that's pushing 10 years now.

I work professionally as a computer guy and subscribe, like auto mechanics, to the notion that if it ain't broke don't replace it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
f33
Gear Addict
 

so you're worried about it being old if you get something new but you're also asking questions about a 10+ year old computer that is old?

why don't you just keep the old one while building/buying a new one?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Yes I still use a 2004 MBP from time to time - I never change anything, update etc so it is frozen in time... the system is stable. The reason being I can access old projects with no hassles & as well there's some software / plugs I like to use on that system which have never been updated by the makers and so are otherwise lost to history ...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Wizzomixer's Avatar
Still running my trusty 12 year old Dell Precision 490 which I bought used in 2011. Only updated the GPU and hard drives.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
if it ain't broke, don't fix it is a great example because if it works for you, then that's all that matters.

However, if there is a new widget you want, like a new softsynth that you can't run on your system, then that could be a limiting factor.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Franco's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by f33 View Post
so you're worried about it being old if you get something new but you're also asking questions about a 10+ year old computer that is old?

why don't you just keep the old one while building/buying a new one?
Thanks, I guess I was only asking if there were other people using older computers for audio. I think it’s cool that there are, from looking at some of the responses! I’m not too worried about maintaining as I have been for years (already replaced the mobo battery 3 times). I’m honestly more concerned with not being able to run out and buy a graphics card for it the way I was able to last week. 10 years ago, there were about 5 places I could think of that I could run out and buy PC components from, now I only have Fry’s near me so I need to start looking around for places that might still carry components for older systems like mine.

I didn’t even realize it while making this post, but for “biz” use, I have a pretty new Lenovo ThinkPad laptop that’s less than a year old running Windows 10 and I’m sure I could use that if I needed to (I’m also a photography hobbyist and use that machine to run Photoshop and Lightroom CC and it handles those with ease). I also have a 3 year old Mac Book Pro. I mostly wanted to know if there are other people out there sticking to old systems by choice (cool to see there are other users out there with “frozen” systems that still work for them too!)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
I've been using Logic pro 9 on mavericks for so many years and resist to upgrade, I love it and does every thing I need and more so why change?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Ive only had it myself for about 3 years now but my Mac Pro is 9 years old. The one before it was a 2006 that I used up until I got tired of not being able to upgrade stuff in 2016. Before that was my Quicksilver 2002 G4 that I used from the day I bought it at the (brand new then) Apple Store in LA until it stopped turning on one day in 2011 or so. Have a G5 I ran for a couple months in between the G4 and the Intel but PPC was dead dead dead already and Lion had just come out. Im also in the 'if it aint broke dont fix it' camp and it takes something big for me to upgrade nowadays. Sure Id love one of the new Mac Pro's but the older I get, the less I actually do this so I dont need to play keep up anymore. This 2010 still has plenty of power in it, and it runs the latest MacOS and Logic just fine. Ill move to a new one in a few more years when devs start dropping support for this OS (or the next one if I decide to upgrade to it heh).
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
I’m honestly more concerned with not being able to run out and buy a graphics card for it the way I was able to last week. 10 years ago, there were about 5 places I could think of that I could run out and buy PC components from, now I only have Fry’s near me so I need to start looking around for places that might still carry components for older systems like mine.
Check Newegg or Microcenter. If no luck there there's always Craigslist or Ebay.

Quote:
I mostly wanted to know if there are other people out there sticking to old systems by choice (cool to see there are other users out there with “frozen” systems that still work for them too!)

Not as old as yours but I still use a Win 7 PC for the last 5-6 years but I plan on upgrading soon. I saw you mentioned 3 UAD cards. Are the 2 Quads PCIe? If not your going to have trouble building a new system as most new motherboards only have 1 legacy PCI slot at best.
Old 2 days ago
  #13
Here for the gear
Bought mine current PC in 2007

I started with a Mac Plus doing MIDI composing back in 1995 or so.
Switched to PC around the time of MacOS 10 since basically there was no advantage to me to use Macs anymore, and things like Reason and Live were getting interesting.

I'm using a rack mounted PC running Window 7 Pro 64 bit on a Core 2 Quad with 8 GB of RAM, and a couple of hard drives. It is very stable and has 1000s of hours on it at this point. Upgraded the video card a couple times over the years too.

Now at this point I'm in a bad bind, since I can't do upgrades to (e.g.) Omnisphere or Live without going to Windows 10. Over time, fewer and fewer software companies are going to support Win 7.

But it's not as simple as buying a Win 10 PC. First of all, which one? But worse than that, I have thousands of $ of licensed software that I may or may not be able to transfer to the new system. And it will take untold hours to get it working like my current one. On top of that, the foam insulation inside the metal rack case is deteriorating into powder for some reason. If I just touch it it turns to dust, which will not only get into fans and the power supply, but might be conductive and start to coat the motherboard--then you're looking for a catastrophic failure in short order.

The vendor says they've never seen the foam fail this way. To their credit, when I first pointed this out in 2014 they sent replacement foam but there are parts of the chassis I will have to completely disassemble the system to replace it. I did glue it to the inside of the case lid after laboriously scraping off the old foam, and the new foam shows none of the degradation the original stuff had.

I've attached the original PO for the PC I'm using in case you are interested in nostalgia.

Hope this is helpful to someone.

Cheers
Grigori Y.
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Old 1 day ago
  #14
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M.S.P.'s Avatar
2009 Mac Pro, running Pro Tools 10HD (2011?). Its super solid, and sounds great. Id sooner update other stuff than put money into what works fine.
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