[linux-audio-user] New hardware choice

Emiliano Grilli emillo at libero.it
Thu May 12 08:07:12 EDT 2005

gioved?, 12 maggio 2005 alle 06:44:44, lanas ha scritto:
> Hi all,
>   I'm plaaning to get a new home PC that could also be used (along with
> software development) for creating and recording music.
>   What I'd like to do: sequence MIDI external sounds (synth module(s)),
> add accoustic guitar and flute, record everything to wav and/or Ogg
> Vorbis formats (using original external synths sounds).  Optionally, to
> be also able to choose from a palette of SoundFonts (as I did with
> my current PC, using a SB Live! card and MusE).
>   What I'd like to get as PC: an Athlon 64bit based mobo, 2 GB RAM, some
> 250 GB disk storage. graphics card not that important as it's not used
> to play games (why not on-board graphic ?).  Operating system: in the
> end most likely handmade Linux based on LFS (Linux From Scratch) but for
> starters SuSE 9.3 64-bit, or any other that's good enough.
>   Now, is there some strong allergic reaction between a Linux Audio
> setup and 64-bit CPUs ?  Are 64-bits platforms recommended for audio
> purposes or is it better to wait a few more years ?  If it's OK, which
> mobo would you recommend ?

Sorry, I don't have any experience on 64bit athlons :(

>   Which audio/MIDI card would you recommend for such a setup ?

m-audio audiophile 2496 is the best choice for the price IMHO (it's 88
eur on thomann.de), you will not find any pro card with an onboard synth
like the creative (which is the only one supported by ALSA, AFAIK) so
for using soundfonts you have to use a soft synth (not a big problem
with modern hardware) like fluidsynth.

>   Which speakers system could deliver good sound quality.  I presently
> have some Creative I-Trigue speakers and I'd hate doing any quality
> stuff with it implying listening closely over and over again to
> sequences and sounds.  Is it possible to connect regular sound system
> quality speakers to PC sound cards ?  What speaker setup would you
> recommend for driving both the external synth(s) and audio sound card ? 

For hd recording and mixing the best is to buy a couple of nearfield
monitors, but they are quite expensive... they are amplified so you
don't have to buy a separate amplifier. The entry level are the ESI NEAR
05 (around 250 eur per pair), or the SAMSON RESOLV 65A (around 300) or
the BEHRINGER B2030A Truth (285 eur).
If you can spend more there are a lot of choices  (yamaha, event,
tannoy, etc..) but the butget can go higher... You should in any case
listen to them and compare them by ear with the same musical program and
possibly in the same ambient, so the best is to find a local dealer who
has a wide choice and that let you sit in front of them for some hours.
Studio monitors are quite different from normal loudspeakers in that
their goal is to give the most linear response possible, for doing a
correct and balanced mix, so I would avoid sound system speakers.

> Is a mixer needed ?

IMHO yes, absolutely. Especially if you have external sources to record
and route to the PC. You can find very cheap ones from behringer (under
100 eur). Also here the more you can afford (usually) the best it will
sound, and the more channels/features it will have. Remember that you will
get out of channels sooner or later ;) If you plan to use condenser
microphones the mixer should provide phantom power. Another plus is the
presence of channel inserts (or direct outs, but this is often found on
not-so-small mixers only) and assignable submasters.
Good mixer makers are soundcraft and makie. 

> Thanks a lot for any advice/suggestion/hint !
> Cheers,
> Al

HTH, ciao
Emiliano Grilli
Linux user #209089 

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