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Topic: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

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  1. #1

    Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Hey all,

    My folks just bought a new computer and gave me there old one, a modest 1.6 Ghz Dell". I'm thinking I might be able to use the extra CPU to lighten the load a bit on my Mac (G5 1.6) -- perhaps host a convolution reverb plug or something along those lines. Can anybody suggest a way I might be able to make use of this extra computer? Or perhaps point to a relevant archived thread. (BTW, I'm using Pro Tools via an MBox). Any info appreciated ... thanks!

    Andy

  2. #2

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    I hear PCs are good at non-CPU intensive tasks like word processing or spreadsheets. Probably should stick with those uses.

    Oh, all right. I'll fess up, I do use PCs to run Kontakt and Giga samples. Works well. The only thing I don't like about it is all my patches don't get saved like they would if I keep everything on just the one Mac. But it does free up some horsepower.

    - Mike Greene

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Man, if you didn't get into the convolution end of things, you could make a humming little 16-bit Giga machine out of that. You could use it for any number of things.

  4. #4

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Man, if you didn't get into the convolution end of things, you could make a humming little 16-bit Giga machine out of that. You could use it for any number of things.
    I agree. I'd find a copy of Giga 2.5 or Giga 3.0 solo edition or Kontakt 1.5 and you can then use it as a standalone sampler.

    But if you plan to do convolution on it then I'm affraid that 1.6 will fold right up.

    Ars

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Don't laugh, but my Giga 2.5 PC with a 1 ghz Pentium III, one gig of ram and Windows 98SE is rock solid, and I can load up a heck of a lot of samples. Sounds like I could do 60% better with a 1.6

  6. #6

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Well thanks guys.

    So let me se, I can load with Kontakt or Giga and use it as a sample player and route the audio outputs into my Mac's PT audio interface (is that right?) .. making the PC basically become a musical instrument like an outboard synth?

    Right now I have the Mac reading from a Lacie 250Gb samples drive. If I go with a soft sampler, it would likely be Giga or Kontakt (I would switch from Mach Five because software updates for it are so rare). Since my Mac will still be relying on the Lacie Drive for streaming samples, would I be able to share that drive with the PC so the PC can read from it too? Sounds iffy. Or for the samples the PC will stream, would I need a separate dedicated hard drive? (i.e. the hard drive it came with!)

  7. #7
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    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    If you plan to use the PC as an outboard synth, then you should consider replacing the sound card. Chances are the card that's currently in it will not give you the quality you'd want. It's one thing to use samples internally, but once you start routing the audio out that's when the quality of your sound card becomes important.

  8. #8

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    A soundcard upgrade is definitely in order...not sure what your situation is in terms of I/O on the MAC, but ADAT lightpipe would be a great option to get the audio from your PC 'sampler' to the MAC for mixing. A card with multiple ADAT optical outs would be killer as each 'port' gives you 8 channels of pristine digital audio.

  9. #9

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    What about just using the audio card to monitor the PC and when you're done, burn the tracks and move them over to the Mac. One extra step, but it would keep you in the digital realm without needing to go through old rusty audio cables.

    Still neeed a MIDI converter or....

    Would something such as MLAN work between a Mac and PC?

  10. #10

    Re: Mac Guy, Found a spare PC - now what?

    Hey ziggy,

    Do an article search on Electronic Musician for "Building a Home Studio on any Budget." there is a great piece on the Mac-PC Hybrid. This is a great tutorial so to speak on utilizing a PC in your studio.

    Like everyone else is saying, you can use the Dell for soft samples - effecitvely turning the computer into a nice outboard hardware sampler.

    Get a good sound card in there like the Dakota - just ADAT out the the sounds from the pc over to your Mac audio interface.

    Get more memory. Kontakt and Giga are real memory hogs - but worth it.

    -MCK

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