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Best PC Solution for Studio One?
Old 6th October 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
bigcohoona's Avatar
 

Best PC Solution for Studio One?

Yes,

I know this is a very loaded question but here's where I'm at.

I've been a Mac user since 2008, still am using the 08 Cheesegrater and Laptop which I purchased together and they are no longer upgradeable to newer OS's.

After really looking at the PC and Mac landscape, I've decided it may in fact be a better route to go the PC route. Most of my Apps, aside from Logic, are dual platform and I primarily use Studio One Pro and Live for 99% of my work.

The main issue is I simply am finding Apple's deaf ear and lack of consideration in their USB-less, upgradeable-less, etc approach a real challenge to further invest in... and the QA has dropped considerably in my opinion.

So, what would you suggest? I'm looking at probably both a Tower and Laptop, am considering PC Audio Labs, Sweetwater's Creation Station, and others, but am finding them to be double the cost of what I can get off the shelf... albeit with great support!

As to needs, I generally have 10-60 tracks, utilize Omnisphere, RMX, and NI Komplete heavily, though I usually bounce VST's pretty quick.

I'm using a MOTU and Metric Halo interface so I'll be looking at something to replace that... possibly RME or Audient to begin.

Thanks in advance for all the help!

Big~C
Old 28th October 2018
  #2
Gear Head
As for the Tower, the best solution is to build one yourself. If you don't know how, don't worry its super easy! The hardest part really is picking out the parts...which I am totally willing to help you out with if you'd like. Like you I was a mac user for a while But when it came time to grab a new computer I had the same thought process as you. I did quite a bit of keyboard mashing about it over on the music computer forums.

So I have a list of questions for you to answer, and I will go ahead and throw together a preliminary parts list for you for the tower, and reccomend a laptop:
1. Whats your budget?(For both the tower and the laptop)
2. Are you planning on using this computer for anything else aside from music? If so, what?
3. What is your display setup like?(I need to know this for video card purposes)
4. What sort of Audio interfaces do you have right now? And what sort of outboard gear do you have going in and out of it?
5. For the laptop, is portability a huge concern? You can get some beastly powerhouses of laptops but they can weigh upwards of 10 pounds, almost 20 in some cases.
6. And also on the laptop, what screen size do you prefer?

Thats it. Let me know and I'll do my best to help you out!
Old 4th November 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 

I would agree that either building or just buying a desktop is a great way to get an uber powerful machine. However.... if you EVER need to remotely record say a drumkit........ then its not the best way to go.

Dell XPS range is a solid way to go. The 15" is probably best for laptops but any newish version of them should be plenty of power including the desktops.

That is what I plan on buying whenever my 2012 macbook pro finally bites the dust. I agree.... the new macbook pros are waayyyy over priced, have crappy storage options, and not being able to swap out the HD or memory is a deal breaker for me.
Old 4th November 2018
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Poinzy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcohoona View Post
Yes,

I know this is a very loaded question but here's where I'm at.

I've been a Mac user since 2008, still am using the 08 Cheesegrater and Laptop which I purchased together and they are no longer upgradeable to newer OS's.

After really looking at the PC and Mac landscape, I've decided it may in fact be a better route to go the PC route. Most of my Apps, aside from Logic, are dual platform and I primarily use Studio One Pro and Live for 99% of my work.

The main issue is I simply am finding Apple's deaf ear and lack of consideration in their USB-less, upgradeable-less, etc approach a real challenge to further invest in... and the QA has dropped considerably in my opinion.

So, what would you suggest? I'm looking at probably both a Tower and Laptop, am considering PC Audio Labs, Sweetwater's Creation Station, and others, but am finding them to be double the cost of what I can get off the shelf... albeit with great support!

As to needs, I generally have 10-60 tracks, utilize Omnisphere, RMX, and NI Komplete heavily, though I usually bounce VST's pretty quick.

I'm using a MOTU and Metric Halo interface so I'll be looking at something to replace that... possibly RME or Audient to begin.

Thanks in advance for all the help!

Big~C
Think about your budget, and the value of your time. 15 years ago there was a significant cost advantage in building your own PC vs. buying one already assembled from a big-name company. Since then, that cost advantage has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared.

Again, just something you might want to keep in mind when making purchases.
Old 4th November 2018
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I went from Macbook Pro with Logic to a Tower PC with Studio One about a year ago, and I couldn`t be happier. I was initially a skeptic, but I realized that I`d rather spend $2,000 instead of $6,000 for the same processing power. I didn't really need to be able to record remotely, and I love that I can actually upgrade parts or get more space if I want to.

I knew little to nothing about building computers, but I got it done in about 7-8 hours using online guides
Old 5th November 2018
  #6
My two cents based off of a similar transition about 8 years ago.

I would also recommend building a PC yourself. If money isn't really factoring in to your decision to go PC then just stick with mac. My decision to switch over to PC was because back when it was time to upgrade from my G4 mac desktop, I priced out a new MAC.. the total was 5 figures! About the price of a Hyundai, which I thought was ridiculous. Then I priced out a top-of-the-line PC, and it was about 1/5th the cost.

I was super concerned about switching to PC; not having the ability run Logic and concerns about stability were my main issues. At that time I was using Logic and Ableton Live, mostly.

It was a fairly smooth transition. Essentially, the way I approached things was prioritizing stability over performance.. but performance was still considered. I'm on my second PC, and haven't really had any major problems. I even haul around the old PC for live recordings and don't have problems.

So, if money is a big concern then I would build my own. Have a look at heavy volume retailers like New Egg and study the reviews for motherboards, processors, power supplies, and RAM. Also look at benchmarking for the various components and study up a bit on which parts play well together, or don't. Tom's Hardware is a good site for that, but there are others too. Be on the look out in the reviews for components that have abnormally large RMA returns, DOA's, and stability issues... stay away from those. Stay away from motherboards that have a bunch of **** you don't need.

Also, look for quiet fans, quiet cooling for your processor, and preferably a video card without fans. Also, a quiet power supply. Plan on getting an SSD for your system and a military grade hard drive for everything else. Though, a second SSD may not be a bad option as they're proving to be quite reliable. There are plenty of performance and reliability benchmarks for HD's. Also consider if you want to do some kind of raid array for backing your system up, and check the reviews for the motherboards and the raid performance.

This all sounds like a lot, but it is not all that complicated, as someone previously pointed out. But if you're set on purchasing a PC.. I have a bit of experience with Carillon.. I'm not sure if they're still around but they used to make good workstation pc's.

If you do go the building route then there are plenty of folks around here and other sites that would be happy to help you. I'm sure there are also some really good videos on youtube to get you going.

GL
Old 8th November 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poinzy View Post
Think about your budget, and the value of your time. 15 years ago there was a significant cost advantage in building your own PC vs. buying one already assembled from a big-name company. Since then, that cost advantage has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared.

Again, just something you might want to keep in mind when making purchases.
That's completely incorrect

There are substantial savings to be made by building your own.
Old 8th November 2018
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
That's completely incorrect

There are substantial savings to be made by building your own.
Not only are there savings but there is a reason why prefab builders have good prices.

Not all batches of components are equal. In fact, none of them are equal. When Intel bakes a batch of processors in the oven, they then test them. Some batches perform well, some don't. The ones that don't are typically sold as a lower grade and the buyers are typically system builders.

If you investigate the competitive world of overclocking and other pc power competitions, you'll find acknowledgement of this trend.

Buying components that are considered 'enthusiast' grade, which are available mostly as a la carte components, and rarely from system builders, should give you a greater peace of mind. It does me, at least.

That's not to say that there aren't solid prefab systems. I'm sure there must be, but there is no way for me to know if a prefab system was built with low scoring QC components, refurbs, and so forth.

The name of the game is reliability, as far as I'm concerned.
Old 9th November 2018
  #9
Gear Head
 

Just wanted to chime in if you build your own pc get the noctua quiet fans. They are by far the quietest I have ever seen well worth if for a recording based PC.
Old 26th November 2018
  #10
How about best laptop for Studio One?
Old 27th November 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Rich View Post
Not only are there savings but there is a reason why prefab builders have good prices.
The largest reasons are build quality, poor setup and lacking support.

Yesterday we got a unit from a competitor on the bench to look what is causing the poor performance. Usually we do not do this but it was a local engineer and he badly needed to finish a project.
1. the system builder checked remotely but couldn't find anything, at least he offered to take it back.
2. we took a look, so many silly things: power button LED connected wrong (didn't light up), rear fan cable connected at front, it was way too loud (even in idle), front fan was not connected. Note that I do not think many vendors make such mistakes.
3. BIOS was not set up for audio at all. Lots of stuff active which is never used by audio people, some of them lowering performance notably.
4. Windows was set up completely wrong, nothing was set or changed.

I wonder why this was called an audio PC, it was simply a PC set to default.

I managed to get his test song from 95% performance @ 1024 samples to 75% performance @ 256 samples (RME UFX). That is the extra service you pay for, together with solid components. It depends on the vendor and the price. If you want good quality and support, you will need to pay for R&D, man-hours to build, configure & test it, and for support which goes beyond a hotline supporter who asks you whether you have tried rebooting.
The less you pay, the less you can expect. Nothing is for free. Estimate how much time it takes to build your own system, do your own research, building, configuring, testing and handling any support & issues. Then multiple those hours with your own wage. Then you will see that it is not that expensive.

Regarding best PC (or Workstation, as we call it) for S1, basically anything for audio, S1 is not special here. You will want fast cores, as S1 likes to put a bit extra overhead on the first logical core. The larger your projects become (48+), the more fast cores you want. Note that the Turbo Boost speed which is marketed is NOT the speed at which the CPU will run when S1 is active.
Old 27th November 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
That's completely incorrect

There are substantial savings to be made by building your own.
I built my first quad core workstation and it had the lowest DPC Latency of any computer I've ever owned - it was just so stable and efficient.

I put in a PAQ PC case (they've gone out of business sadly) and the PC was utterly silent. I had to look inside the front cover to see if it has shut down as it was so quiet - it was literally silent!

The only issue was it took hours and hours and a returned mother board - returned sticks of RAM - experimenting with GPU's - oh my gosh is was a royal pain in the A. to build. Never again.

Now I buy my PC workstations from SCAN UK and whilst the SCAN's DPC latency is a higher :-) and they are a bit noisier - I have been thrilled with the performance and after sales service - definitely worth the extra money to me to buy a pro built machine from a reputable builder.
Old 27th November 2018
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
I built my first quad core workstation and it had the lowest DPC Latency of any computer I've ever owned - it was just so stable and efficient.

I put in a PAQ PC case (they've gone out of business sadly) and the PC was utterly silent. I had to look inside the front cover to see if it has shut down as it was so quiet - it was literally silent!

The only issue was it took hours and hours and a returned mother board - returned sticks of RAM - experimenting with GPU's - oh my gosh is was a royal pain in the A. to build. Never again.

Now I buy my PC workstations from SCAN UK and whilst the SCAN's DPC latency is a higher :-) and they are a bit noisier - I have been thrilled with the performance and after sales service - definitely worth the extra money to me to buy a pro built machine from a reputable builder.
Both Pete (from Scan) and I have explained in another thread why DPC values should not be panicked about. One will not gain substancial performance if the average value goes from a 5µs configuration to a 300µs configuration. Well, maybe if you do 192kHz at smallest buffers, but then you are on thin air anyway.
Old 28th November 2018
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Both Pete (from Scan) and I have explained in another thread why DPC values should not be panicked about. One will not gain substancial performance if the average value goes from a 5µs configuration to a 300µs configuration. Well, maybe if you do 192kHz at smallest buffers, but then you are on thin air anyway.
I know, that's why I put a smile after I said the Scan 3xs was higher than my own build .... the difference between 5us and 35us is in practice insignificant.

I don't need it explaining to me .... remember I said built my own workstation
Old 28th November 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
I know, that's why I put a smile after I said the Scan 3xs was higher than my own build .... the difference between 5us and 35us is in practice insignificant.

I don't need it explaining to me .... remember I said built my own workstation
I know, but every time I read something which may be read in the wrong way I get into teaching mode and try to prevent other readers from misinterpreting...
Old 29th November 2018
  #16
Lives for gear
 
JoeyM's Avatar
Friendly reminder, a lot of electronics and oveseas parts are set for 30% tariffs Jan 1st.

And another reminder, the CPUs we've been using for years have deep flaws that Apple switched sourcing over (it's more complicated than I know), and we might have to factor in how important our DAWs need to be offline or other orientation. We might have a glut of vulnerable CPUs at the end of the cycle that can be had for cheap, with risks, of the direction could be shaped by other factors.

All I speculate as an armchair analyst who builds my own is, the sweetspots to look for buying parts is between now and New Years and then right around the Chinese New years. I had a hunch two years ago and started buying tiny 4 watt quadcore TV boxes you could convert to Linux and do 90% of your web browsing and lengthy downloads while saving wear and tear on the pricier DAW towers and laptops.

Just 16 GB more RAM to go here and I'll be set for a while
Old 7th February 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
I'm getting a new computer from Sweetwater. But I'm going to Cubase from Sonar. Edums is a critical thing for me, so Studio one was out of the question.

The computer they sell has just an OK motherboard, the Z370, I will be filling all 6 PCI slots and using the built in video card.

The base cost of the computer is lower than most. To get a beter mother board for an Audio PC, you have to go to a high end builder of them...costs much more at lower volumes of sales. Or build it your self.

I'n my case, I wanted to let them deal with installing all the SSL stuff.



The 6 Slots:
2XUAD Octo
2XSSL MX4 (out of existing computer)
1x4Network (AL88, Nucleus, 2 for future Daunte)
1X7USB

I will have 13 devices going USB including a Nucleus and Softube Console-1

Almost went RME FX, but no control surface...that's touchscreen rout.

My point is. pay attention to the PCI slots and lanes....easy to max out depending on what you need. Read up on the mother boards.
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