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Do we really need computers? Audio Interfaces
Old 17th September 2011
  #1
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Do we really need computers?

Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
Old 17th September 2011
  #2
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I like my computers.
Old 17th September 2011
  #3
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for example, I can't afford to keep the hardwares because of space and money. :p
Old 17th September 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
A self contained hardware solution for what? Recording music? Those used to be plentiful. They were called recording studios, and the really good ones were built with many millions of dollars. You want to ditch the DAW and go back to that?
Old 17th September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
Yes it's about time we stopped driving cars and bought horse n carts.

Stop taking drugs,......face reality......lol
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
People make those, I mean even an old Korg Triton could sequence, synthesize and had HD recording, but it can't touch the set of tools you can get out of an off-the-shelf PC.
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
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I'll give you my computer when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!
Old 17th September 2011
  #8
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Its called a Mac.
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid360 View Post
People make those, I mean even an old Korg Triton could sequence, synthesize and had HD recording, but it can't touch the set of tools you can get out of an off-the-shelf PC.
for editing, it's unbeatable (a modern DAW in capable hands)
for composing, the jury is still out

use whatever works for YOU
Old 17th September 2011
  #10
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You can have mine.

The horse/buggy analogy is meaningful mostly to the talentless...and those who record the talentless.

Sound is what's should be first consideration in a recording/mixing machine of any topology--and 32bit float computer apps have not achieved what digital hardware did 10 years ago, IME, which in turn had not gotten to where high end analog was.

From a technical perspective, of COURSE a hardware solution ALWAYS, by definition is more efficient use of current technology. The flaw in it is that you actually define it's limitations-and for the sale price, you buy based on what it does now, and it will do that forever. Computer fans will sacrifice everything for the illusion of having "no limitations" and the investment in the system "growing with their needs".
Old 17th September 2011
  #11
Computers have opened up so much creative possibility for artist of all kinds I can't understand why so many seem against it and wantto take a more difficult route as if it's the computer stopping there greatness when the computer is the ultimate enabler if anything
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
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sorry this is a TIRED thread...this coming from a veteran of the analog AND digital wars...
Old 17th September 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
There are a range of turnkey recording devices from 8 tracks on up. Some are strictly standalone, some are modular. Many are surprisingly affordable when considered on a feature by feature basis, a few are quite expensive.

The familiar paradigm of software DAW + plugins on PC/Mac + audio interface + optional outboard preamps, mixers, and hardware FX is so popular, I think because it delivers enormous capability with maximum flexibility and connectivity at minimal cost.
Old 17th September 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Does anyone else think it's about time that we stopped relying on pc's that aren't really designed for what we want? Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
You mean like this?

Old 17th September 2011
  #15
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Do we really need cars, or sell phones? (intentional) or phones at all. Horses were given to us by god. We just learned to control them.

My 4 year old could ask a better question than this.....
Old 17th September 2011
  #16
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My ASR10 is a computer, You need to record on something though.

Are you talking about VSTi? I think they sound like ass but offer a world of convenience, much like 7/11 and taco bell, or for you British... Potted meat!

And farts? Canned farts will never smell like the real deal.

Man I quit huffing canned farts in the 1990's.

I just got protools and its pretty good, I might actually pay for it!
Old 17th September 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
My ASR10 is a computer, You need to record on something though.
And, unfortunately any MIDI sequencer is the computer.
Old 17th September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
Stop taking drugs,......face reality......lol
but...but.. that's just crazy talk
Old 17th September 2011
  #19
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My $1,500 thoroughly mobile computer and audio interface combo have allowed me to create music and play shows that wouldn't have been possible 10 years ago.
And that's a Macbook Air and Apogee One. You could certainly go even cheaper if you wanted to.

The Avalon and UA preamps that I occasionally borrow from the university make everything that goes into the computer sound AMAZING.

What's there to complain about?

If you're tired of mass-produced, processed, heavily edited music, then just don't make it. One of the biggest lessons I've learned this past year is to treat the computer more like tape when recording (i.e. give it a PERFORMANCE) and then treat it like an infinitely flexible, amazingly advanced tool when doing everything else (composing, editing, arranging, sound designing, etc).

We're all in control of our lifestyle.
If you want to go full luddite, do it. More power to you. That's a respectable thing.
If you want to live/create responsibly while still taking advantage of the incredible things that technology has inevitably brought us, that's a possibility, too.
Old 17th September 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mic2002 View Post
Surely a self contained hardware solution would be better?
If you really believe that, I'm sure there's a seller that would love to dump their Ensoniq Paris or Mackie DB8+HDR2496 on you for a nice profit. They could have a new marketing byline: "A self-contained DAW for the truly discriminating musician."
Old 17th September 2011
  #21
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The OP's question might as well have been "In this day and age, do we really need to use wheels?" heh

Really, we're talking about technological advances that are every bit as significant. There have always been the die-hards that thought the old way was better in absolutely every situation. Oh, there's a 4-track tape machine now? Nah... the 2-track was better. A 24-track deck? Nah... nobody needs more than 16, ever...

I'm speaking from personal experience here.... I was one of those (former) analog die-hards that swore I'd never use a computer in the studio. Then, I did an edit session at another studio that was using a Mac with Sound Designer in the early 90's and I was blown away... No razorblade? SOLD!

It took me a long time to embrace the modern computer-based DAW as my main recorder, but once I did, I realized my resistance was completely unfounded. After all, it's not about what tools you use, but what you create with those tools that ultimately matters.
Old 17th September 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alndln View Post
You mean like this?

That's Wat I wuz thinkin .. a self contained studio n a box

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 17th September 2011
  #23
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I think we need an Android tablet running on Intel i7 with 4 USB slot (mouse, keyboard, sound card & midi keyboard). Wait I forgot it's a touch screen also (for closing the web browser fast when the supervisor passes by).
Old 17th September 2011
  #24
As someone who wasted many hours of his life working with Mackie D8Bs as part of that hardware solution, I can tell you that computers are not all that bad...
Old 17th September 2011
  #25
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Self contained hardware solutions are computers to. The Tascam X-48 runs Windows Imbedded on a Celeron, and iZ RADAR runs BeOs on a Pentium II.
Old 17th September 2011
  #26
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You know what the most "missing the point" argument that always comes up here is? "anything digital is a computer". Which has already been said here in less broad terms.

You're missing the point. It is not an x86 computer running a bloated general purpose OS with no dedicated hardware/software design connection.

What is there to dislike? Depends on what aspect you mean-for tracking? Mixing? Virtual instruments? The sound of the mixer. Sound weird depth loss with plugs. The (until very recently) crappy reverb.

This is NOT "full on Luddite" speak...consumer computers do not represent the be all and end all of technology. THAT is incredibly narrow and short sighted.

Look at this forum. Half the questions are people trying to design a system..."what's the best Xsample"..."how are the drivers for this IO box"..."which software sounds better"--this should be a simple trip to your local music store. Want to know what digital piano YOU like best? Play them. Done. Maybe you might have to make two stops. Now? You listen to Internet clips, buy non returnable software, HOPE it runs well enough to play and plays as good as it sounds. But, that VI.

My issue with recording is that the ONLY thing a computer has "advanced" in a decade is:

Content editing capability.
Track count
Sample rate Rez as it relates to track count

Everything else has been catch up...and as a rule has NOT caught 10year old digital hardware. Considering that no one but ms seems to see the sample rate as an issue (and if you use VIs, you're mostly stuck at their sample rates)...that means track count and editing. Track count was brought 100% by Moore's law, which applies to semiconductor tech-in a hard or software config. And editing is just a non taxing feature-not technology per se at all...you could make a piece of hardware have a mouse driven GUI for splitting and crossfading and replacing audio wig samples and tuning, etc. Other than the real time tuning, none are challenging the silicon-just design choice.

Put this simply-there's an elegance of operation of a piece of gear that is designed for what it's used for. A PC/Mac is just not. They are bolt together project kits and compositional/demo machines like they've always been.

Anyone who cares about the digital revolution actually improving needs to demand and buy tech in hardware. Very soon we should see the idea that you record and mix in a consumer OS as "Luddite" behavior.

Last edited by popmann; 17th September 2011 at 03:57 PM.. Reason: Clarifying what GS filters removed
Old 17th September 2011
  #27
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I upgrade computers very regularly so I have a pretty powerful late model Mac.

After all these years of running Logic and various softsynths, I just had enough. I said f--- it and bought a Roland XV-5080 with some expansion boards. Having instant access to sounds without waiting to load and the high sound quality difference and thousands of great presets lets me do what I do best - write songs.

This is what I started out with, a little JV-80 and a bare basic sequencer program (Cubase) on a little Mac 512K and I wrote a ton of songs with it.

Went to a music store yesterday and someone was showing me a couple of new audio programs, the saleguy says that it comes with amazing sounding synth/sample playback plugins.

Loads it up and I laugh, sounds small and thin compared to my 5080 (and most definitely compared to my Roland Juno and Oberheim Matrix hardware synths). If modern softsynths and sample playback can't even compare to an 11 year old Roland ROMpler, then what good is it?

I'm done with the goofy gimmicks, I just want to write songs. These days, computer = glorified tape deck/simple MIDI sequencer to drive my hardware synths.
Old 17th September 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Very soon we should see the idea that you record and mix in a consumer OS as "Luddite" behavior.
What evidence do you have of this because history has not shown this to be the case for any industries I'm aware of. And what do you mean by "very soon"? 5 years? 20? In other words, in 5 to 20 years, you predict that most of us will switch to some type of dedicated hardware bandwagon?

Back in the old days, there used to be "dedicated" word-processors with a built-in screen and attached keyboard like this videowriter Magnavox - Google images. The keyboard snapped on the main chassis and the whole thing was carried around like a suitcase. Yep, it was "elegant" and didn't require a messy "floppy disk" to boot up and was not prone to "viruses." However, the general-purpose IBM PC in the 1980s killed that market.

Same for dedicated desktop publishing. There used to be loads of proprietary imagesetting systems for magazine and newsletter layouts but that was all supplanted by the general purpose computer with desktop publishing software (Quark, Ventura Publisher, Pagemaker, MS Word, etc).

Why are dedicated (and simpler) devices such as electronic dictionaries with spell checker & thesaurus - Google images not outselling the more general purpose (and complicated) computers and iPhones?

Medical diagnostics equipment, restaurant and retail store point-of-sale cash registers, cable DVRs, self-service kiosks at airports, etc found huge advantages to software than runs on a common platform (MS Windows or Linux).

I can't think of any major device that has spun off in the opposite direction from the general purpose PC to dedicated hardware. Maybe the photographers would consider the smaller dedicated disk backup devices with integrated LCD viewing browser like this: Epson P-7000 Multimedia Storage Viewer. However, even that is not a good example because that device is really a specialized tool that's used in a limited case for convenience. It's not flexible enough to be the centerpiece of a photographic workflow. It doesn't have the flexibility of image manipulation like Photoshop. Therefore, Photoshop on a general-purpose computer remains the centerpiece of the photographer's toolkit.

A DAW is the centerpiece of music production. The type of audio projects that producers want to create will require the advanced capabilities of a general computer with fast evolving software updates. No dedicated hardware with a specialized operating system will keep up with that.

The one area that dedicated hardware really shows its advantage is near-zero latency capability. If you want or need latency of less than 1.5ms ... dedicated DSP chips such as Metric Halo or the cue mix architecture on Pro Tools Native/TDM can deliver that type of performance. Even the next 10 years of progress on general purpose computers with liquid-nitrogen cooled 4.0GHz 50-cores may not be able to match that low latency.
Old 17th September 2011
  #29
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Quote:
If you're tired of mass-produced, processed, heavily edited music, then just don't make it.
Also very much want to address this. Sure. That's not my objection. I'm fine with a recorder having that capability....or not--I literally don't care. I object that THAT is what is being valued in a RECORDER over sonics.

A computer is a LOUSY place to record music with fidelity. Compared to analog it's mixer, EQ, and compression sounds bad (though some better than others)-and I don't mean a vintage Neve, although, I dod think in terms of revolution, that is one of the gold standards. I'm saying for this point, that it can be anything but the crappiest analog (and sometimes, honestly, the crappiest)...it's tracking latency is unforgivable compared to analog (see crappiest--a $100 Behringer line mixer handles my tracking feed now for my $4000 computer and my $3000 in preamps/tracking EQ), and even ten year old digital hardware...plug in reverb is JUST barely getting to where it TOUCHES 10 year old digital hardware.

...and the significance of 10 years...BTW--is that's when most things stopped being developed for the home/small studio in digital hardware. It might actually be 8...but, somewhere in there...saw the last of the 56bit fixed all in ones (Akai DPS24)...affordable reverbs-Lexi PCM series (I know-they just released the 96...but, it's basically a 91 that runs at higher sample rates and has a plug in control component) or the Kurzweil KSP8--or even MORE affordable ones that still smack down plug in verb....outside of the Kronos, which I"m hoping to get my hands on this weekend, all hardware synths have been geared 100% at live playing with the exact same technology as a Roland XV/KurzK2600/Yomaha Motif era--just redone sound sets. In fact, even in SOFTWARE...Software samplers played HUGE catch up with Gigastudio for YEARS--and in ways still never caught it, but in others surpassed it.

Anyway...I want to make it clear--because I've said things like I don't want to have to look at the waveforms--I'm OK if you do, or if the system is capable of letting you. I don't care if you can tune twist or have an "auto make me sound like a session player" algorithm--just not at the expense of fidelity, which I think people have forgotten should be THE number one goal of a recording/mixing system. And the playability of the instrument being #1 for a digital (or analog) instrument.

At this point...had software not distracted the industry...we should have perfect sample/modeled keyboards of everything that came before--price really just determining the feel and construction of the board itself. We should have a unit that is a 96 (if not 192k) throughout at 48 tracks--that has the fidelity of an SSL with a wall of modeled outboard. Maybe with monitoring at solid consistent just converter latency (typical for hardware) at 96k, maybe analog monitoring would be a thing of the past. All of these things should have been available at real world prices equivalent to the digital gear of ten years ago--ie: $4-6k for the recording mixing system and $2500-$3500 for a top of the line 88 key keyboard.
Old 17th September 2011
  #30
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And...FYI...they're not "outselling" because they haven't had a meaningful refresh in a decade.

And because there are a number of factors at play here. How many people have a home built PC, small cheap FW interface, and Reaper? They actually DID get a huge boom in quality. That financial equivalent 10 years ago was a VS880 or something...huge win all around for that segment of the market.

And the top end of the audio market is still using tape and big desks and vintage mics.

It's the in between that's getting ewskrayed in this.
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