[ILUG] Spoilt for choice at Elara
james.mcboyle at gmail.com
Thu Mar 26 12:09:15 GMT 2009
2009/3/26 Brendan Minish <bminish at minish.org>:
> On Thu, 2009-03-26 at 10:22 +0000, Conor Daly wrote:
>> Speaking of which, is one of these machines likely to be useable as an
>> audio workstation.
> I ran a small commercial studio for around 10 years, At the time when I
> got into doing non-linear editing and then recording on the PC
> Multi-track audio was a very high end application and it took a lot of
> work to get a machine built and tweaked such that you could run reliably
> (I.e with paying clients in the room!) 16 to to 24 tracks of audio.
> My last studio machine was a P4HT 2.8GHz box and it was fine for the
> job, 24+ tracks at 24 bit along with plugins etc.
> These days the requirements will be met by any reasonably powerful
> multi-core CPU, plenty of ram and a reasonable performance SATA drive
> (segate baracuda etc)
> It's a good idea to have a separate drive for the OS and application
> software if practical, so that random I/O seek times don't become a
> bottle neck after lots of heavy edits
> The machine needs to be quiet (no very loud fans) and many servers are
> not built with quiet in mind.
> The software I used was Steinberg Nuendo (expensive but well worth it in
> my case at the time) which required windows, I had better results and
> stability with windows2000 as opposed to XP
> Latency is one of the primary issues that you face when working with
> multi-track audio. My audio interface at the time was an RME audio
> Hammerfall 9652 card this provided digital interfacing with my external
> A-D converters and my digital mixing console and did not load the CPU.
> RME audio tended (even a few years ago) to have rock solid linux
> I did not use linux in the studio at the time but if I was starting from
> scratch I would most likely use linux and open source software.
> These days Linux as a platform for audio has some significant advantages
> over the alternates because it's fairly straightforward to to tune the
> kernel for rock solid low latency audio.
> The current state of Linux multi-track audio software is pretty good,
> certainly close to where the expensive commercial software was at only a
> few years ago.
> One thing that is missing are high quality software plugins for effects
> but I am sure that this will change in time.
> In the mean time pick up a couple of good quality stand alone effects
> processors on E-Bay, It will still be cheaper and far less hassle than
> dealing with Waves audio and the associated dongles etc that they insist
> you use.
> The Waves audio dongle caused me no end of issues with BOSD, audio
> dropouts at low latency etc.
> Eventually I ended up running cracked versions of the plugins I had paid
> nearly $1000 for so that I could remove the dongle and the problematic
> software service that it used.
> Recently I took a look at a debian based distro called 64studio, this is
> a distro designed for low latency audio and media production.
> It seems to work very well, comes with a real time kernel, is easy to
> install and is probably a good place to start.
> Even if you decide to go down the proprietary software route (with it's
> high software costs and stability issues) please try to support hardware
> vendors who support good quality open source drivers for their
> M-audio make some good mid-priced kit but there are many devices
> supported by linux these days (but not unfortunately my expensive and
> very nice sounding sound devices USB-pre )
> USB may not be the best choice for low latency audio but it can
> certainly work.
> Don't discount the idea of using a '(semi-)pro grade' sound-card and an
> external mixer as it may work out at a similar price to an all in one
> USB solution yet be far more flexible
> check linux support for your proposed hardware here
> Video Tutorial of how to build a Real time kernel for best low latency
> audio performance
Another good distro for this is Ubuntu Studio, which has a real-time
kernel already built in as part of it. It's done by Canonical
themselves and I've found it to be a nice stable system.
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