Last Minute Recommendations/advice Anyone?

Wow! I think this is my first official post to the Renoise Community (certainly no beginner though)! I know… it’s long overdue… but I’ve been soooo darn content with what Renoise has offered my creative process that I really haven’t yet had an issue to write about other than maybe shameless praise, obligatory nitpick, and the occasional missing of ‘Nibbles’ ;) (Is that a sore spot yet?)

First and foremost- as a producer for about 15 years and as someone coming from Amiga500 running Octamed… and then Fasttracker 2.08, I can safely say Renoise has changed my LIFE. There’s NOTHING I can do or ever say that could possibly even BEGIN to relate to the production team the sheer gratitude I have for you and your creation! THANK YOU! And a big thanks to the rest of the Renoise community here that’s helped work out all the bugs and offer great suggestions and support. And it just keeps getting BETTER!! Really…thank you. It’s been the final output of all of my productions for quite a few years now and I’ve done my best to make the Renoise option available to newcomers to music all over the world as I come across them.

As mentioned, I’m a first time poster here. If I haven’t asked this question in the right place I apologize in advance for taking up the space. I know reading about what other people want to get it super boring, but this means about the next decade of music production for me- and before I step in a big pile of invisible dog crap, I sure would like to know it’s at least there ;)

Truth is, I’ve just been suffering through my productions lately, as they’ve gotten SO power intensive… run a few vst’s on the top of what are usually 1000’s of sizable samples and man… this old laptop of mine (hyperthreaded inspiron 9100, echo indigo DJ- love the echo for laptops!) just CRUNCHES through it! It’s painful. Even crashed it on rare occasion w/o recovery of HOURS of work (man that hurts, dont it?) . So I’ve finally saved up enough for a decent desktop that I plan to order next week and would absolutely LOVE and REALLY APPRECIATE to hear any words of wisdom from anyone involved with creating or using Renoise that are graciously willing to lend a minute to write it.

Sticking with PC for various reasons. Actually, I’ve got my eyes on this DAW box…
…or at least building it from components myself to save a few bucks. I definitely want to make full use of Renoise’s recent support of multi-core technology, don’t often use hardware MIDI directly with Renoise, and would love a nice interface with 1/8", 1/4", RCA, MIC (with op.phantom power if possible), and sure would be nice to have Direct - IN’s and OUTs for all of it. Will probably be still using my laptop for live performance still, but would like to leave the option to take this desktop on the road if need be in the future.

I’d obviously be opting for the Dual-boot (XP/Vista 32bit) installation (unless there’s some problem with that, in which case I’d happy to dedicate XP pro to it) and as much warranty as I can get.

It would be a great peace of mind for me to get some advice or recommendations on the box before I pull the metaphorical trigger on my wallet…The box itself, specs, soundcard/interface (PCI? Firewire? USB seems a little dodgy, no?)? Do they make a cerebral interface yet? Can I jack Renoise directly in to my Oblongata thingy? Any problem with the chipset?

Again a big thanks to all the staff and the community that supports this fantastic software. Thank you Renoise Team!!! And dude… Tik Tak. Whoever you are you’ve changed my life. Holy crap I love Renoise soooo much!!! Can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

Most of the listed specs seem to be simply features integrated on the board already. They don’t mention exactly which brand it is, but it does sound very similar to my Gigabyte board. Just in case it really is from Gigabyte, you’ll have to update the BIOS to the latest version, in my case it’s at least F12 to fix latency probs with the boards. Overall i suppose you can get much cheaper to build your own custom system. To see the details of my system, click the link in my signature. I have a Q6600 CPU and it rocks Renoise just fine, haven’t managed to overload it yet with my songs. :)

i would never go for a pre-built system.
as beatslaughter already mentioned, the whole thing is totally overpriced and they do not mention the manufacturers of the individual components.

conerning the prices:
200 EUR - Intel Q9300
090 EUR - halfway decent P35 Motherboard (i’d go P45 anyway)
065 EUR - 4GB PC2-8000 DDR2 Dual Channel Kit
090 EUR - 2x 500 GB SATAII 7200RPM HDDs, 45 EUR each.
035 EUR - 1x 250 GB SATAII 7200RPM HDD
020 EUR - DVD-RW Dual Layer
020 EUR - Radeon X1050, PCIe
040 EUR - Power Supply 600W (way too much, btw)
120 EUR - 19" Rack Case

680 EUR

there is NO audio interface bundled with this DAW other than the onboard audio.
there is/are NO display(s) and it also seems to lack essential things like a decent keyboard / mouse combo.
and as you can see, it’s hopelessly overpriced.

if you’re not comfy with building a system on your own, you’re probably way better off getting a DELL system, which you can customize on your own, get into access to one of the best 24h services there are and are also able to get some nice discount when ordering via phone and do some trading with the clerk.

alternatively you can order the above system directly from me for a price of 899,98 EUR ;)

Interesting! I wonder how these are all cheaper here! Not much though, but all are cheaper in Iran’s market.

well, all the above prices include 19% value added tax and i guess in your country, this tax might be a lot lower?
besides that, i also added about 10% to the actual lowest price in germany, too, because you’d never want to go ordering by the cheapest dealer there is for most of the time.

but yeah… germany is an expensive country…

Fantastic! Hey, there’s a whole bunch for the responses so far! Thanks!!!

Seems like the pre-built system isn’t exactly the best way to go, then. I appreciate the advice and especially the DAW setup offered. What kind of rack chassis is that?

I Went with Dell on the current laptop (that Inspiron9100 p4 hyperthreaded), and really LOVED the 3 year accidental damage protection deal I had on it. You’re right. My experience with their support (especially on tour) has been great. But I’m thinking what I want to move on to is something a little beyond what Dell could put together for me. Not exactly opposed to building my own, but sure as heck don’t want to make a mistake. Totally stuck on the rackmount style chassis, hardcore cooling, ultra quiet, and absolutely stuck on getting the guts in there that will HANDS DOWN take the MOST advantage of Renoise as humanly possible with today’s technology. Sounds to me at this point as though anything beyond a Duo-core would be fantastic, but superfluous.

So I’ve since been tooling around the internet looking at similar chassis ( and guts (… got to say it’s a little daunting. Never built a system from scratch before and obviously I don’t want to end up with some incompatible choices… or worse yet some kind of chipset that’s not gonna jive with an ASIO soundcard and or Renoise to where I end up with clicks and pops or worse. It gets a little frustrating when the details on the specifications don’t always match up from site to site (or slightly different terminology is used). It’s also very important to me that I get the most warranty as possible on this stuff. 1 year warranties make me nervous… and so far it seems to be pretty standard when buying components on their own (although pricewatch has a 3 year on most stuff I’m seeing so far).

The one thing that really caught my eye initially about that DAW box system I linked to was that it ran true and very very quiet when actually tested with professional audio apps. That’s certainly worth something, no? And how much is it worth to avoid the headache of all the shopping and dealing with multiple companies and asking for advice, etc? But you’re right… don’t at ALL like the fact that the specs on the motherboard aren’t listed, and certainly concerned about that integrated sound on it. REALLY want to know if the problem with that is more in the way of it just being unnecessary or that it would actually pose a problem with Renoise when using some kind of PCI card /interface…

Anyway, it looks like I might very well be building my own based on all your kind advice, and so my inquiry (d)evolves to the next level… What do I definitely want to avoid? P45 motherboard the best I can go with (thanks for the recommendation)? Intel Coreduo - 9300 or E6600?

4 gigs DDR2 seems to be the consensus on ram… for sound device some sort of ASIO definitely sounds like the way to go… but is PCI or Firewire best for Renoise? Cooling/heatsync system? Noise reduction system? Power source (really lost there…ZAP!! :panic: )? I don’t plan on using this for gaming or anything so the video card isn’t something I should need top of the line of, right (other than it being quiet)? Sorry guys, I haven’t been in the market for such things in so long that I’m really kind of floudering here. Just looking at some of those rack chassis gave me the heebee-jeebees. Obviously want room for like 4 hard drives, PCI slot madness, awesome cooling and ULTRA quiet. A lot of these racks seem to come with power sources which is really wigging me out when it comes to matching it to all the rest of the components.

120 euro for a 19" case? Maybe it just because I’m in the States, but man… the 19" racks I can find at that price level really don’t seem like they are anywhere near the standard of the guts I plan to put inside this thing. Then again, some of those nicer ones cost upwards to 7, 8 hundred bones and that sure doesn’t seem right either! I know… I’m asking a bucket load of questions and while I don’t expect someone to do the shopping for me, I’d sure feel better with some basic guidance on building a DAW for Renoise or at least some good and trusted websites to shop from and I’m not sure who else to turn to but Renoise junkies. Seems like after I go about picking out comparable components to what’s in that DAWbox incl.the chassis that’s up to snuff and take similar steps for cooling and noise control schemes, it doesn’t come out to too much cheaper than the prebuilt… AND I have to put it all together, AND it’s not tried and tested for efficiency and noise level, AND I lose out on some warranty action on a few pieces… so I must not be doing something right. Spent all day looking at stuff and I think I have more questions now than I did before…

Thanks again big time for the help so far- at the least it’s sure given me alot of things to think about. Writing music is one of the few things in life I REALLY care about and I want to make my Renoise happy happy happy. Sooooo sick of the constant struggle with processing power. So many hours WASTED waiting for progress bars, etc when I know I could be much more productive.

If it helps, the shown cooler in the specs seem to be from Noctua, which are usually quite pricey but good quality. A cheaper option might be the coolers from Noiseblocker for example.

I’d go self built too. While they test their components with various hosts, i think it’s hard to build a system nowadays which would cause any problems. If you plan to use a Firewire audio card, the best chipset seems to be from Texas Instruments judging from various forums. I’d start building a list with components, which interest you and then ask around if parts from it are known to cause problems. Similar like my tip with the Gigabyte boards.

Regarding warranty, here in Germany one get’s 2 years on anything.I suppose if you have a list with parts you may still find a dealer building the system together for you with extended warranty.

Also a good place to look around is at KVR, where this question comes up on a regular basis.

Thanks Beatslaughter! Really appreciate the info- especially the cooling recommendations. Will totally check that stuff out. At this point I’m pretty set on building my own thanks to everyone’s advice. I do have just a couple more questions and hopefully I’ll be set.

Any advice out there as to making a system run as quiet as possible?

Secondly and if I understand correctly- with the multicore support Renoise has take full advantage of a Quad Core processor (I did read the multicore thread and didn’t see info specifically about quadcore)?

And finally- as far as Renoise is concerned- is Firewire preferable over PCI for the sound device (ie latency, performance, etc)? About the same?

Getting closer to ordering!

This is a really subjective topic. I’d consider my main machine pretty quiet already, but i can clearly hear the air noise from it. In case i need to do recordings i’m doing them with my notebook in another room, which i can’t hear anymore. Was really surprised how far these got meanwhile. Fortunatly the systems on the market today don’t get very hot anymore. Don’t save on the CPU cooler, get something, where you can replace the mounted cooler if needed, like the one i’m using for example. With the 120mm Scythe on top it’s very quiet here but it’s really pretty huge. With a 19" rack case things might be different though, less room in the case means also taking more care of proper cooling, especially with having a passive graphics card in the system. Personally i’d add at least 2 120mm PWM coolers to the case for a constant air stream, maybe switchable with a “cooler controller ?” (german: Lüftersteuerung).

Renoise assigns a thread to every plugin instance, so it should scale really well even with 8 cores or more.

I really have no idea if both are on par. Seeing you want to keep your notebook for live usage an external soundcard might be the better choice. I’ve heard some horror stories about the M-Audio firewire models on windows systems though. Also if going for Firewire people seem to swear by the Texas instruments chipsets. I’m sure you can buy these as extra PCI card somewhere.

im not an expert, but a couple of things to add to this from my own experience:

graphics card - although you probably dont need something too fast if you are only concentrating on music (and have no intention to do audio-visual stuff etc.), you definitely want to avoid having any on-board graphics as these tend to delegate tasks to your main system and therefore slow your computer down overall (even when not doing anything graphically intensive).

when building your system as you probably realise quietness is a serious factor. in fact i dont use my desktop anymore, partly because i have a dell laptop now which is much faster, but also because the dell laptop (vostros 1700) is actually very, very quiet. gear which is advertised as “silent” or "ultra-quiet for a desktop needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. i have a good quality PSU in my desktop for example, and even though when i got that it was easily half as quiet or more so then the OEM one, its still a jet engine in comparison with the laptop. the silent desktops installed at the studio in my university ended up having foam shoved in them because they bought this fairly high end gear which was meant to be silent but it just wasn’t/isn’t. so all im saying is pay careful attention to what fans etc. you buy and perhaps try and check decibel ratings etc. so it ends up as quiet as possible. you could go the watercooled route, but i think these require a certain amount of maintainance.

as for sound device, im not sure if firewire is necessary better than USB 2.0. ive owned 2 usb soundcards and one firewire, and the firewire was the least reliable. however that may be down to drivers etc. the advantage of having an external interface is obviously that you can also use with your laptop if necessary, and also you can have the controls to hand on your desk. if you go PCI a breakoutbox or cd-drive sized front panel is probably desirable. another point to consider is that being able to record “windows mix” or the general “everything” sound coming out of your computer is pretty useful, and alot of the new soundcards seem not to allow you to do this… in a different thread about this i think someone suggested the reason for this is something to do with external soundcards as opposed to PCI. i’m not sure if this is true but my old PCI soundcard(s) do it, and my external (Edirol UA-101) does not. there are ways around it (like plugging an output into an input or using total recorder), but its not perfect to do it this way (the key problem with the output/input thing is if you are using different software, you may need different drivers for each programme… and total recorder installs its own ASIO which can mess up your existing config) and if you like to do any of your sampling this way you might find it to be something worth considering at least. otherwise i can definitely recommend the Edirol UA-101, its a solid piece of kit, but there’s other threads about sounddevices of course and plenty of options…

ps. i really love your music. i will be playing some when i DJ tonight at the local bar for sure :)

Yes, actually it is.

a friend of mine rightly points out that you probably want a mirrored RAID configuration of hard drives. this way you wont lose data if one of them dies.

i think the system you linked to does not have RAID… which unless im missing something is a serious oversight for a machine like this, no?

muahahaha!! Excellent! This system’s been a LONG time coming!
Great, thanks for that. Been learning tons of stuff through this experience- ended up finding some pretty valuable info on as well as a pretty nice product line of stuff. Definately going to stick with a more passive video card- hopefully one that maintains a good temp with a nice heatsink instead of another fan. I’m certainly not one to sacrifice temperature for silence, though- trying to be cautious.

Beatslaughter, thanks- I’ll make sure not to cut corners when it comes to the CPU cooling and will check out your recomendation- which might actually work out. I’ve been checking out a wide variety of rackmount cases and I’m finding a pretty decent array of sizes. Another thing I came across was a recommendation to avoid the case fan at the front of the unit if possible, and stick with a real good rear exhaust fan set up.

Genfu- man, thanks for the kind words!! Thrilled to hear you’re banging my stuff out there!!! You’re doing my music a service with this computer advice too… thanks. It’s been sooo hard for me not to throw my laptop out the window these days when it starts getting real chunky at really bad times. I’m super sure this upgrade will save me HOURS every week.

Any disadvantages to using RAID? Seems to me like I’ve heard people sometimes have trouble with it…like in terms of data corrupting and spreading to all the drives RAID controls… do you use it?
Will check out the Edirol VA-101 for sure! I’ve been VERY happy with my Echo PCMCIA- so happy that I’m pretty tempted to explore my options with sticking with Echo… but I haven’t heard much about how well those devices perform in anything other than the laptop style. Someone recommended to me the Gina or Layla and one or two others…

Closer yet- going to try to be ready to place the order Friday and I’ll be sure to make a post and let you know what I ended up doing. In the meantime if there are any other recommendations, ideas, or advice I’d appreciate it! Glad I made the post. It’s a huge help! Feeling a little more confident about making the choices for sure.

Personally i don’t think it’s a good choice to do so, as the front cooler is usually next to the HDDs in the system. Especially if having more than one disk.

The suggested RAID mode is 1, meaning if you have 2x 500GB HDDs built in, the data get’s written on both discs at once (mirrored). You’d have 1x 500GB as storage space left, not 1000GB.and both disks would contain the same data. If one of them breaks, you still have an exact copy of your data on the second drive.

The mode which can cause problems sometimes is RAID 0, where both discs are combined to a single drive, so when saving data it get’s spread onto both disks, resulting in a higher performance. If one of them fails the data on the second drive is lost too, as it contains only half of the information stored.

There is also RAID 0+1, which would be a combination of the above two options, but it needs 4 HDDs.

yeah i have a WD external RAID drive with 2x500gb mirrored. a chunky beast but it does the trick, works fine so far. i keep essential data like samples, tracks, max msp patches and stuff i really wouldnt want to lose on that, and stuff like mp3 which is backed up or i dont mind loosing on a 300gb maxtor external drive. the maxtor died last week but it didn’t matter too much, more of an inconvienance than the crisis it could have been ^_^ with the rate of hard disk failure RAID 1 is definitely the way to go imo

As PC’s keep getting quieter, isn’t a bunch of HDDs (RAID) a really noisy choice for a setup?

My things are backed up online, as I have the bandwidth and space (200gigs) for it. And just as importantly, even worst case scenarios such as fire or flood won’t be able to destroy anything!

RAID works in data centers where, when one HD goes down you can keep the computer running for a few hours while you scramble to replace the drive as fast as possible, but no downtime happens on the server for the client.

RAID on a home computer i.e. the computer you smoke joints next to while it’s plugged into a shitty ungrounded wall outlet because you live in a “charming” apartment complex built 100 years ago, and for some reason you put your cat on top of the computer for good measure, and walk around in fuzzy bunny slippers on carpet creating static electricity while you are at it, is not really going to save your data.

The point of failure on most home computers tends to be the same. If one HD fails, probably both will. It’s best to back-up your data on external media.

but the external media fails becaues the dvd-r ends up on the floor or in a pool of beer and piss, you try and clean it with a hanky but there was sand in the hanky and now there are all these flakey pieces of silver coming off and going in your food, giving you cancer. or, your dvd-r burner was screwed but you didn’t realise until you’d burnt off 30 alphabetical discs of all your essential data (which took you several weeks to do), and when you try to read them they appear to all be blank. or your drive burnt them correctly at the time, but now its screwed and when you come to read the discs they appear blank. in a cruel twist of fate you throw away these dvd-rs which were in fact burnt correctly, your sacred documents lying face down in a bin full of cigarette ash and banana skins. or you carefully store your correctly burned best-quality-ritek-dye discs in one of those big datasafe wallets… a month later when you go to get something, you grab the bulging thing off the shelf, upon which the rings slide sideways of each other and you are showered with 240 disks. they cut into your face and eyes like that game revolution x with aerosmith. as you lie there, in a pool of your own verbatim, you notice that the pockets on this cheap-ass wallet have all carved their tiny names carefully on each one of your disks, right where the one sample you were searching for, which you know you backed up on one of these goddamn hundreds of disks is located. one of these scratches almost looks like a jackson pollock. what a creative but destructive work of art these pockets have yeiled. “perhaps they are better artists than me”, you muse. undeterred, you spend a few days reburning all the data you can salvage, carefully labelling it with a soft-tip permanent marker, which irritatingly produces an incredibly fat line which is watery and almost transparent and renders it impossible to make even the simplest words legible. but then as you congratulate yourself at the completion of what has become essentially a hobby of admin-work in your very own home, your non-raid friggin’ hard disk dies, and you lose your most recent piece of work (which was naturally the best thing which you’ve done yet), which was so recent you didn’t burn it yet.

the smell of burnt plastic and silicon wafts down the street. through the miasma, a man is seen to be dancing naked in a trance-like state around a mound of burning computer equipment. neighbours silently peer through windows at the spectacle, green flames, floppy disks, toxic fumes and a unopened copy of microsoft works the man had for some reason. as the serials numbers smoulder a van pulls up and figures in white coats drift through the haze. the crazed man is sedated and led away, the hard-drive he was attempting to smash unsuccesfully with a rock slides from his hand passively onto the grass. and yet, as dark as the places which brought this man to the end of his sanity and wits were, a fuzzy light lies at the end of this dark and twitching tunnel of the soul. the soft voice of RAIDhabilitation echos through the conciousness, soothing the soul, a milky chalk-like substance in the veins inducing feelings of empathy, calm and one-ness (with the other hard drive).

the sound of a backward sitar played through a watkins copycat buzzes through the body, bristling in warm ecstacy through a field of poppies, running admist them you follow some hot hippy-chick who’s wearing a loose white dress and has a wreath of flowers around her forecast. beconing you onward the vibrations increase, seemingly you are approaching the central force which enimates from whatever the hell this place is. entering a dark clearing punctutated by green lazers and a thudding noise… is this a… rave? but there is no one there, no soundsystem… looking upward you see a twin balls of green light which are what was firing off all this funky crap… reaching towards one of them, the hovering thing lifts from your grasp, pulses for a moment and then shoots off into the sky like a UFO. looking upward the twin lights spell something in the dark sky in green pin-point dots of light. the writing says something obvious to you… which has always been obvious to you… and yet its incomprehensible? suddenly the meaning clicks - of course - mirrored raid config - and the droning buzz and the thudding snaps off into conspicous silence and its light again…

vision widens beyond the artex cealing, lying on the floor surrounded by dvd-rs. walking to your computer you click on ebuyer, put a raid hard disk system in your basket. but as enter your credit card details and click “buy” a wave of nausea suddenly comes over you, followed by dizzyness. all is black and red, your head pulses like a fire engine of some kind (the kind which pulses presumably). the faceless doctor silently administers a shot to the man, as he sits rocking in the corner, a crystal icicle of spittle swaying from the corner of his mouth. exiting the room, to a corridor punctured by an endless series of chambers, each one a tormented victim at the hands of the “crappy dvd-r media psychosis” epidemic. “screams echo down the hall”. the corridors are concentric circles, each cell, a corrupted piece of human bio-data, each disk a paradigm of failure, frustration, bad burns and buffer over-read, bloody cists and bad marker bleed text which bled the patience and destroyed centuries in a flood of distorted symbols hi-hats and octaved bit crushed overbite and underburn, or a misguided sense that this is not the truth of matters that ends in “is”. these bastard bits of bad plastic, they sail through the universe, all the way across the room and clattering into the bin. but they won’t even sit right in the bin.

Haha, wow, touché! Love it.

“External media” can be an external hard drive, or a computer somewhere else. But yeah, good narrative!

Oh man!! I hate it when that happens!!! HAHAHHahhahah

thanks for the clarification of RAID 0, 1, and 0+1- sounds like Raid 1 is indeed the way to go… I was planning on about 3 WD HDs. Before the RAID option came along, I was planning on dedicating one HD to the system, one to samples and the other to audio… and then just periodically (or when a new track gets finished, etc) manually backing it up onto my external seagate 500gb. This would mean of course if the system HD went down, I’d probably loose SOME stuff that’d hurt a little and then all the programs etc. that I’d have to reinstall.

But now I’m really starting to like the sound of using RAID 1 on the system drive and the drive for backing it up… and then keeping the 3rd drive dedicated to the massive samples and trax database and backing THAT up on the external 500gb.

Front case fan… yeah, sounds good- ultimately, I suppose it’s going to depend on which rackcase I go with and where all the sources of heat are mounted to get the best wind-tunnel possible going. What had me wondering about that was some advice here: esp.the link to the pdf file in step 7. Any feelings on that?

Sounds like an additional technique to control HD temp are smart drive enclosures. Haven’t read much on them yet though.
Furthermore, I’m wondering about if anyone has experience or advice about motherboards with a heatsink rather than a cooling fan. Risky?

Man, I was planning to get to start ordering this stuff tomorrow- hope to be ready to do it. Really not trying to rush myself into a mistake though. I’ll probably be up all night researching. This is proving to be quite a chore so far…but I guess that’s part of why these companies get to F you on prices for these pre-built systems so hard. Without the effort and help from this forum, I’m afraid I would’ve been much more lost and ended up going with a pre-built. Was definitely worth posting!