Author Topic: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options  (Read 1438 times)

Offline kharm

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Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« on: February 19, 2017, 08:41:12 PM »
My first ‘real’ post - thanks to everyone who has made this site a great resource and community.

I’m after some advice for my DAW. I have a few options and I daresay the collective wisdom here may save me some hassles with ‘trial and error’! I am definitely short on time and brain space to dedicate and mostly just want my system up and functioning well (though I LOVE messing around with these old systems!!)

I have been running a Cubase VST 5 (Score) setup for a while. One of the main reasons for sticking with OS9 is the interface I use - TASCAM US-428. It has 4 in/2 out audio, 2in/2out MIDI, but most of all it has faders, pots & transport controls including a jog wheel that I just really enjoy using. TASCAM has abandoned updating its drivers so while I’ve had it working in earlier versions of OS X I prefer to stick with Cubase (the software I learned in detail when I had time to do so - I just can’t bear to, and don’t have the time to, go through that learning curve with a whole new software solution). But I digress ….

My working installation has some issues with OS9 that I haven’t been able to solve (a few functions that don’t work like ‘find’ in the Finder amongst other things). My original VST Score CD became damaged (and the CD drive no longer works in my main machine) so I’ve been reluctant to mess around with it too much and risk losing my Cubase authorisation.

Enter this site with downloads and authorisation help - particularly the incredible “instant DAW” image!

I now have some options … I’d love to know what you all think regarding the best hardware & software combos from the options I have available to me.

Hardware:

Slot loading ‘Indigo’ iMac-500MHz G3, 512MB RAM(256MB+256MB). ATI Rage 128 Pro 2 video card (system profiler doesn’t state the memory but I think it’s 16MB). 20GB internal HDD. Optical drive broken. Internal speakers kaput. This is the machine with my working version of Cubase Score VST. Has occasionally had a blank screen on startup (might have been fixed with a gentle shove and a restart - can’t quite remember)

Slot loading ‘Dalmatian’ iMac-500MHz G3, 384MB RAM (128MB+256MB). ATI Rage 128 Pro 8MB video memory. 20GB internal HDD. Optical drive has a CD stuck in it. Has OS9 and X on it but I can erase it and start again.

White iBook G3 600MHz. 256MB RAM. ATI Rage M3 8MB video RAM. 30GB internal HDD. ‘Combo’ optical drive (DVD read & CD R/W) seems to be working ok. Built-in display is broken but connects to external screen via VGA dongle fine. I have installed the Instant DAW on this machine and it seems to be working well (though there’s a lot of software there that I’m not familiar with & may be clogging the system somewhat?)

I’m thinking of ditching the iMacs and going with the iBook for a few reasons:
- smaller footprint on my small desk
- better clock speed
- More HDD space (not that this is really a drama for the amount of recording I do).
- I *think* I can get it on wifi but I'm not totally sure.

Possible reasons for sticking with existing setup
- better video card (not sure this really impacts the DAW though).
- More RAM (haven’t checked whether I can swap the iMac RAM, which I have previously upgraded, into the iBook)
- it works (for the most part!)

Questions:
1. what combination will make the best DAW (including scoring capability)?
2. Cubase VST 5/32 seems to include the ‘Score’ functionality - is this correct?
3. Would I be better off with the Instant DAW that has been installed, or doing a separate clean install of OS 9.2.2 and Cubase VST 5/32, OMS & my interface (TASCAM US-428) drivers for a more pared down system?

Thanks for enduring to the end of this rambling post. Looking forward to your opinions!

Offline Philgood

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Re: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2017, 12:02:20 PM »
I had the same setup like you for years. iMac G3 DV 400MHz with the Tascam US428.

I think any machine would make a good partner.
Depends of what exactly you are gonna make with cubase (midi, audio, both or a lot of sample play or virtual instruments)
I would go with your iMac with 512MB and that original Cubase Instalation.
You can theoretically put two 512MB sticks in these iMacs but I think you are fine with what you have.
There are definitely issues with that trayless optical drives. I also had mine with CDs getting stucked but could fix it.
One big advantage I see with these iMacs is that they are fanless and are a pleasure to have on your studio desk.
Maybe get rid of that old hard drive and change for modern solutions like SSD or CompactFlash and it can't be told if it's switched on.
Can't say more at the moment but will get back to that thread.
*G4 MDD 1.25GHz (Single 2003)* with 2x 80Gb harddrives, 1Gb RAM, Tascam US-428 and Edirol FA-101 USB/Firewire soundcards-*iMac G3 DV 400MHz* with installs from OS 8.6-OSX Tiger on different harddrives-*Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz* with new SSD ! Love it.

Offline kharm

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Re: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 03:32:00 AM »
Thanks Philgood - nice to hear of someone else using a similar setup!

I mostly record electric & acoustic guitars & keys (MIDI & audio), with some percussion and other electronic stuff (I'll admit I pull in another newer laptop sometimes for software instruments) for colour ... and vox.

I think you're right about sticking with the existing setup. The problems with the OS9 install bother me - but I'm feeling more confident now that I've found the resources on this site that if the system goes belly up I will be able to get a new system online without too much trouble.

An SSD would be nice but I'd need to figure out how to clone the drive including the authorisation (maybe a skill I can learn!). And then there's the physical swap out ... :-)

K


Offline Philgood

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Re: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 04:54:38 AM »
I would buy an external hard drive with FireWire because you can boot from it. So you could start over with a fresh install of OS9 and tinker with it while leaving all intact in case of screwing something up.
This actually could be later just left off permanently hanging on the firewire bus and and you don't have to deal with opening that beast because it can be a pain I have to admit because of the plastic holding the screws getting fragile with time passing.
*G4 MDD 1.25GHz (Single 2003)* with 2x 80Gb harddrives, 1Gb RAM, Tascam US-428 and Edirol FA-101 USB/Firewire soundcards-*iMac G3 DV 400MHz* with installs from OS 8.6-OSX Tiger on different harddrives-*Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz* with new SSD ! Love it.

Offline mrhappy

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Re: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2017, 09:02:55 AM »
I'm feeling more confident now that I've found the resources on this site that if the system goes belly up I will be able to get a new system online without too much trouble.


Yeah don't worry... the peeps around here have got your back if something goes haywire!! ;D ;D

Offline kharm

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Re: Opinions on my DAW Hardware & software options
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 08:31:04 PM »
Thanks guys!

The external firewire drive is a great option. I have one that fits the bill - apart from being a bit noisy. I might give it a go.

For now I'm happy - I've just put a new larger top on my studio desk so that all my gear fits nicely - the hardware is all working (acceptably enough for me) and i have some nice VU meters that I'm planning on mounting to the desk (for aesthetics as much as anything!  ;D).

K