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ARSCLIST  July 2013

ARSCLIST July 2013

Subject:

Re: Audio workstation recommendations?

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 18 Jul 2013 13:50:06 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

Hi, Andy and Carl,

This became such a tome, I snipped all the quotes. I'm responding to 
Andy's original request and Carl's comments. I think Carl inverted the 
RME UCX and UFX. The UFX is the bigger unit and has the direct-record 
capability. The UCX is a half-rack unit. I do not think it has the USB 
record capability. The UCX only has four line inputs on the rear, but 
you can convince the front panel mic and instrument inputs to also be 
line inputs. The UFX has 8 line inputs on the rear plus four 
mic/instrument inputs on the front (but those are NOT balanced line in 
any mode other than padding down into the mics).

The mic preamps in the UFX are better than those in my Sound Devices 
722...not by much but they do sound superior to the 722 on good 
classical music with my DPA 4006TL matched pair.

I use a USB "stick" adapter to SD cards and can record a bunch of 
channels on Class 6 SD cards though with prices falling, I'd go for 
Class 10 now...and have been since getting a Nikon D7100.

(I tested a CF to SD adapter in Nikon D200 but have yet to test it in 
the SD722.

I have not found any USB memory sticks that did not cause errors on 
recording while they thought about which block to put the next data in 
which was what prompted my use of the SD adapter. I carry two adapters 
and four 32 GB cards.

I did find the RME recording software (part of DigiCheck) to be totally 
reliable via USB on my new Dell laptop. I use the FireWire connection on 
my desktop (except for firmware upgrades) as my CPU meter shows less CPU 
overhead if the FireFace UFX is on the FW port as opposed to the USB 
port. Works fine with FW400 and USB2.0.

As to computers, I started upgrading to Windows 7 quite by accident. In 
2010 during our long East Coast trip, my 2004 Dell laptop's hard drive 
crashed in Gros Morne Newfoundland. We went to a Wal Mart in Grand-Falls 
Windsor and there were not too many options. I bought a Win7 (I had 
avoided Vista completely) dual-core laptop that garnered a 3 x PASSMARK 
benchmark rating over the Pentium 4 3GHz processors I had been using. 
While it was interesting it was not enough to make a move. BUT, I was 
getting to like many of the features and stability of Win7. XP was the 
best I had experienced to date, but 7 just seemed to work better.

In 2011, I started researching upgrade paths for the audio system as I 
had grown to like W7 and felt that for running my business I should not 
be relying on 2003-2004 workstations much longer.

I'm glad I looked as my two RME Multiface II units had mated PCI cards 
and RME wanted about $350 each for PCIe cards that fit the slots that 
were proliferating in most modern computers. The concept made sense, but 
I found I could buy a Dell Vostro quadcore tower for less than the two 
RME PCIe cards. This tower just happened to have two PCI slots available.

At the time, my oral history work was increasing and the post-processing 
was taking a good deal of time, so I thought why not split ingest and 
editing. I had been running two 3 GHz P4 machines in the studio, but all 
the audio work was done on one. The P4s have a rough Passmark score of 
500. The ingest Vostro was running around 4000

I purchased a second Dell tower--this time a Dell XPS Studio with a 
quadcore hyperthreading Core i7 930 processor--that was the hot machine 
in 2011. Its Passmark score was about 6000.

The ingest machine tops out at 4 GB of RAM and I currently have 12 GB in 
the edit machine.

Upgrading most things to 64 bits seems to also improve stability and 
throughput.

I run W7 Pro on the towers which enables two things: Using Windows 
backup over the network and hosting remote desktop. I use W7 Home 
Premium on the laptops and actually am moving to Acronis TrueImage to do 
system backups (to protect against hard drive failure). I have well 
documented the data backup strategies that I have been using.

Samplitude has kept up well with the 64 bit Win7 environment and its 
stability has improved as well. Algorithmix Noise Free Pro requires me 
to use the 32 bit version of Samplitude, but the few other third-party 
plugins I've used are working well in Samplitude's 32 bit bridge mode.

For cleaning, I've moved mostly to iZotope RXII Advanced and generally 
work in its environment, using Samplitude for ingest, editing, and output.

The Fireface UFX is the sound card on the i7 930 machine and I patch 
some outputs of the Multifaces to the Fireface (analog patch) so that I 
can monitor ingest, but the sample rates can be un-related. For example, 
I could be ingesting at 48 ks/s while editing at 96 ks/s. I can mix in 
the ingest to the monitor without corrupting what I'm doing...to keep an 
ear on it.

Oddly, in 2012, I bought an i5-2400 tower and it also has a 6000 
Passmark processor benchmark. The march of Progress! I use that for 
email and photo ingest.

I continue to purchase Dells and all the W7 machines I've purchased 
other than the HP in Newfoundland are Dells.

My current machine population:
Mary Beth i3 W7 Dell laptop
Michael i3 W7 Dell laptop and HP (Newfoundland) laptop as backup
Robert i7 W7 Dell laptop and high-end Dell Netbook (same
          Passmark score as a 3 GHz P4-500).
Me  i5 Dell laptop and the three Dell towers.
     2003 2.4 GHz P4 XP machine for running the CD thermal printer
       in the studio (Did not migrate to W7-64 bit)
     2004 3 GHz P4 XP machine for extra CD burning (also has
       s second printer on Trolley and secondary DAT ingest
       with MOTU 828 MK II

So, that's what I did. Oh, I use Microsoft Security Essentials and am 
behind two SPI hardware firewalls--one in my DSL modem and a stand-alone 
Netgear.

Cheers,

Richard

-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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