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Inherited Computer Audio Interfaces
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 
cornpone's Avatar
 

Inherited Computer

Howdy All-
I just inherited a Compaq Presario SR1603WM w/a Sempron 3200+ 1.8 GHz processor.

It has a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Card installed in it.
This thing......
Amazon.com: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Card ( 70SB046600002 ): Electronics

Sounds like this is mostly for gamers. Is this thing going to help me at all for recording music? I run reaper & have an Echo Audiofire 4.

The Compaq has a firewire port, so i've got that going for me...which is nice. My old set-up is an 9 year old Dell...just for perspective.

Any comments are welcome!
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornpone View Post
Howdy All-
I just inherited a Compaq Presario SR1603WM w/a Sempron 3200+ 1.8 GHz processor.

It has a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Card installed in it.
This thing......
Amazon.com: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Card ( 70SB046600002 ): Electronics

Sounds like this is mostly for gamers. Is this thing going to help me at all for recording music? I run reaper & have an Echo Audiofire 4.

The Compaq has a firewire port, so i've got that going for me...which is nice. My old set-up is an 9 year old Dell...just for perspective.

Any comments are welcome!
what do you want to do

it should run audacity (free) to record and edit
even using a cheap mike (which wont sound good at all) plugged into the blaster card.

or
add a cheap interface and a mike and you can record as well as play back. not best quality but it works. and might be good enough for what you want.

optionally
buy a used pc with xp from mei with max ram possible
add an interface and a pair of condensor mikes
pretty decent starter kit for home use
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
Use it for internet and light audio. The Sempron proc will have trouble with some SSE2 plugs besides being underpowered. Don't invest a dime in it.
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
what OS? you can tune it to help your case. google those tweakz.

do you have your interface up and running with this machine?
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 
cornpone's Avatar
 

I basically record 1 track at a time. I have not hooked the Echo up yet. I believe it has XP on it because there is an XP emblem on the front, but I have not even turned it on yet. I guess I was curious about the Sound Blaster. My firewire port isn't part of it. Will that thing only be used for playback?

I do use my fair share of Plug Ins(softSynths, efxs). I had to render them to stems most of the time on my old Dell, because they would just about cripple it.

Thanks!
Old 1st September 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by cornpone View Post
I basically record 1 track at a time. I have not hooked the Echo up yet. I believe it has XP on it because there is an XP emblem on the front, but I have not even turned it on yet. I guess I was curious about the Sound Blaster. My firewire port isn't part of it. Will that thing only be used for playback?

I do use my fair share of Plug Ins(softSynths, efxs). I had to render them to stems most of the time on my old Dell, because they would just about cripple it.

Thanks!
Yeah, don't bother with the SB. It's good for everyday playback. It's possible you might find it useful as a host for Soundfont sample instrument playback for recording work, but I haven't kept up with that. These days a lot of of folks just use a software Soundfont player if they use Soundfonts.

Use your Echo for recording, definitely; it's almost certainly a much better interface.

The Compaq is probably not any kind of hotrod, even for its processor class, but if you install Windows XP on it clean (ie, without all the crapware that Compaq installed on their new computers), and then maybe do a little more tweaking to make sure nothing significant is running in the background, you should be able to get some work out of this thing. Some extra tweaking will help. You can turn off a number of less-than-entirely-necessary background processes like Windows Auto-Update and a number of others you'll find on XP-tweaking sites.

You'll also want to make sure XP is updated properly (particularly if you take the machine online). Background-running anti-virus software will be so vampiric as to make it all but unusable (and probably be of little value, anyway), so it's important to make sure your software is updated if it will be online -- or even exposed to thumbdrives.
Old 1st September 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 
cornpone's Avatar
 

I am certain people will disagree, but.........
I do basic tracking using the Echo & then take WAVs to a decent studio to add acoustic stuff (vox, etc.) To me, anything running direct (bass, synth) is going to give you a signal you can work with.

I had to do some XP tweaking on my old Dell, so I think I can figure it out.

Thanks for the replies!

Now, who can help me with the upright bass string I snapped last night?
Old 1st September 2011
  #8
Here for the gear
 
BGRENNAN's Avatar
 

upgrade the audio card... check this

Hey I saw your thread and thats sweet you want to start using that compaq to record... I have an old dell with a 2.4 pentium 4 in it from 2003 and I put a new M-Audio audio card... Its a good deal and Musicians Friend has a sale on it.. Check this out:

M-Audio Audiophile 192 PCI Interface: Shop Pro Audio & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

In my opinion get rid of the gaming audio card and get one of those bad boys...

-Brian
Old 2nd September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 
cornpone's Avatar
 

OK-booted that thing up last night. There is a TON of dated audio software on this thing. Cool Edit Pro! Samplitude, FruityLoops, Cube base LE,etc,etc. I tried to uninstall most of it & it says I either do not have access or it is on some drive that does not exist. On top of that it shows about 5 partitions, all of which have ZERO memory. I am quite confused.

On the bright side I installed Reaper & the Echo using the FIrewire & that worked great....well other than not playing back. Which I eventually figured out how to get playback through the Echo on headphones.

I guess you get what you pay for!

Thanks all.
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