[linux-audio-user] New member wants to build a reliable DAW

October extremecs at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 18 11:26:44 EST 2006

Hello Mark!

Coincidently a similar question was asked on a list many of us are members on the very same day you submitted your questions!  It might serve you well to follow that thread too:


Basically I build pretty much the same machine I would build for serious "gaming", perhaps dropped back a few notches on the video card.  The motherboard and PSU being the true heart of the system, it's certainly no place to skimp!  Asus has long been my favorite brand of motherboard... out of the last dozen or so machines I've built around their boards I've only had one with problems and their 3 year warranty is genuine.  

Power Supply needs to be rated at least 500w, higher if you are going to run a RAID or something in the case.  Enermax is my pick for best value, PC Power & Cooling if you have a bunch of extra money to spend, Antec and Thermaltake seem to also be popular brands.  Don't try to save money on a bargain brand power supply!  It will come back to haunt you, for sure!

 As much RAM as you can afford to put in the system is good...  my current machine has 2x1024 DDR and I'll probably double that to 4 gigs in the future.  Processor should be fast but doesn't need to be bleeding edge either and multiple cores are not well supported (yet) so while you can buy  top end CPU(s) for future-proofing just don't expect to get the full worth out of them immediately.  Same can be said with running a 64bit.  There are 64bit distros out there that are "usable" but at the moment are probably better recommended for developers and bug-hunters than for serious audio production.  I currently run a 32bit debian based linux on a 64bit AMD single core but Intel should serve you well also... more of a matter of personal preference here as far as brand goes.

I mentioned video cards...  I really prefer nvidia under linux, due to the quality of the proprietary drivers and ease of installation, and dual monitor (dvi) is something I couldn't live without in my studio.  Currently I run 2 x 21" Dell CRT for a combined desktop of 3200x1200 which makes tending to several music apps at the same time much easier than crowding everything together on a single screen.  Any mid-range gaming card should do this well.  Plan on spending at least US$100 here (monitors extra!)

I run a pair of Western Digital IDE drives but if I could afford the upgrade I really want it would be at least four (maybe with a few spares for backup) 200 GB or larger SATA drives set up in a software RAID 0+1 or maybe RAID5.  Firewire or SCSI would be nice as well as would an outboard rack if you are going with many more drives than that.

I run a Delta44 which works great under linux but do most of my actual mixing and line-in in a seperate mixer.  A Delta1010 should be fantastic!


Jon Hoskins

mark at ehle.homelinux.org wrote: Hello, all -

I am a brand-new member to this list. I want to thank you all right off 
the bat for providing this list.

I am in the process of putting together a personal music production 
studio. I am a former professional musician who changed careers to 
computers a number of years back and I would like to get back into 
music and digital recording as a sideline/hobby.

I need some recommendations as to which components to use in a 
Linux-based DAW.

I have a Delta 1010 on the way, and would like recommendations on parts 
(motherboard / CPU / memory / drives / distro) that would make a 
machine that I would not have to wish later on that I had bought 
something else. My main use for the system would be recording my Brass 
Quintet and my piano/keyboard musings (the hobby part) and possibly 
live recoding work (the sideline part). Seems to me that there would be 
some money to be made by recording events and providing Cd's for sale 
immediately after, as well as MP3's online.

Forgive me if this information is in the archives somewhere. I looked, 
and could not find something that recommended all components of a 
complete system. If this info is already on the net somewhere, please 
point me the way.

Also - where I work, we are heavy into iSCSI storage area networks. Has 
anybody ever used one of these (like maybe, openfiler) for the storage 
of music data?

Thanks again so much,

Mark in Michigan

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