Re: [linux-audio-user] GSG for home studio? (Newbie question)

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] GSG for home studio? (Newbie question)
From: Mark Knecht (
Date: Sat Dec 14 2002 - 04:28:03 EET

   Welcome. I'll throw some comments in below. I see you've gotten some
good ones already from good people. I suspect you'll get some more over
the next day or two.

   I am a home enthusiast. I have worked and recorded at different times
in my career, which is not in music. Take my comments with a grain of


On Fri, 2002-12-13 at 14:57, Chris wrote:
> Hello everyone.

> Vexing questions:
> 1) How important is a da-ad converter, and how much must one spend on this?

[MWK] Very, but not so critical that you need to spend a lot of money
starting out. A sound card based set is fine for a start. Build up your
studio over time. Probably every bit as important is the clocking for
the A/D & D/A as the actual converters themselves. But don't worry about
any of this right now. Get started. Make music. Make recordings and
> 2) What does one look for in a soundcard. Is it necessary to invest $600
> in one -- I mean, where is all that money really going? What makes a card
> like the hammerfall so great? How much on these cards is "fluff" and how
> much is really practical for just recording.

The RME products are really nice. I own two. They give you a lot of I/O
in a small space. They are relatively expensive by PC sound card
standards, but not that expensive by studio standards.One thing they
support is an external Word Clock which I think is very important, but
even I don't use quite yet. (I've been at this a few years and am still
improving my system too!)
> 3) Do people actually use fiber for their lines? Or is this super-duper
> high end stuff?

ABSOLUTELY!! That way I don't need A/D's and D/A's, except that the
output of my signal chain. And I get a lot of signals across a little
piece of glass.
> 4) I have spent some time on some sites of card manufacturers... and I
> can't quite piece together how multiple inputs work on the cards... is it a
> one for one deal (one input = one channel), or is their some software or
> hardware that allows for more than one channel per input?

Generally it's one for one up to 48KHz. After 48 KHz ADAT lines take two
channels to support 1 input.
> 5) how good is open-source software for effects processing... I saw
> something on the ardour site saying that it does not support "plugins"...
> (due to lack of a standard)... does that mean no effects?

It's good, but it's probably safe to say that it varies a lot also.
However, even if you take some of the best commercial effects stuff from
Waves for the PC or Mac, even those don't necessarily compare to
hardware effects processors. It's all relative, and it all costs money.
Well, except for the open source stuff. That costs time. ;-)
> 6) What do you guys do for a drum machine solution, is software adequate or
> do you really recommend getting a drum machine?

I use both. I like hardware drum machines when I'm recording. I also use
my hardware drum machine to interface to some drum pads in case I want
to play a drum part myself. (Alesis DM-5 - Ebay - $220 I think)
> 7) Does everybody go direct on this, or do they mic their amps (I am
> primarily a guitar player). How do you keep the sound quality up if you
> are direct?

I use a Pod Pro. I like it. I haven't played loud through and amp in
years. I think amps are better, but David Gilmour said 'Big amps sound
good in big rooms, and small amps sound good in small rooms, and you
need to change the mics a lot'. It all costs money and takes up space.
For me, Pod Pro is a good compromise.
> 8) I want to build a **QUIET** machine... Any suggestions on computer
> hardware? (I have bought from quietpc, and found that some of the stuff
> was no quieter than normal --even louder some times).

Water cooled if you're prepared technically, or go with the things
others have told you about.

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