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Topic: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

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  1. #1

    OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Sorry to be posting this here, but I've posted this twice in the hardware forum and received exactly 0 responses. Hope you'll forgive me, I'm about to spend lots of cash and don't want to make a mistake...


    Do you think it's possible to over-build (and over-spend) on your main workstation? I'm looking at putting together a new main DAW, and wondering what to do. One option is to assemble a bleeding edge system, built with 2 of the new dual-core Xeons - 4 processors total. I'm wondering if this would end up being a waste of money, in that I'd probably run out of memory well before I'd even come close to maxing out the 4 processors, maybe even well before 2 or 3 processors? I can buy two Pentium dual-core Intel packages for the same amount of $$$ (using oveclocked D805's @3.2Ghz), and I'm wondering if this would be a wiser approach, because of the limited memory ability of PCs (I'm a PC-only guy). I don't mind spending the dough if it saved me from buying another machine, but it seems like this is not practical with the memory limitation. I've got VI Chamber Strings, EWQLSO Gold, Colossus, Altiverb, FM7, etc.

    I'm really out of my league on this, haven't had any experience with large pro setups, but I'd like to start building one, and I need to maximize my (very) limited funds. Thanks for any help you can give.


    buzz

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    I would always go with the choice of two machines over one, but I say that with the caveat that you really need good audio interfaces, lightpipe, word clock, etc., to make the situation seamless. The software solutions are sometimes workable, but you have much more flexibility and operational reduncancy with good hardware all around.

    No matter how much super-duper processing power you have, if sampling is a big part of your musical world, you'll always be at the mercy of the disk subsystem. Hence, two better than one theory. You can also really benefit from a RAID on samplers and when streaming any significant amount of video.

    Another contributor to my particular opinion is that I work to picture a lot, and I want the best possible experience out of the DAW. So, I put the lions share of sound production on external machines, so that the only thing the DAW machine has to do is keep the audio and video tracks streaming, and mixed.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Hey buzz,
    I found 2 machines are always better than one for lots of reasons.. but if i were you, i get 1 half decent P4 DC and wait for the new Intel Conroe DC chips and mobo.. as your 2nd machine.. the benchmarks look good (althought ony tested on Utils and games) , but i get the feeling that these new chips will smoke anything we have now ... if CPU for running VSTi and plugs is what you need..

    Best, Rich

  4. #4
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    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Kinda what Bruce says. Streaming a large amount of .wav files is alot to ask of one machine. So long as you are able to get the two machines to communicate flawlessly, that would be preferable to one machine. Even if the two are not as powerful individually as the one, splitting duties between two will yield better performance - so long as the two combined are at least nearly as powerful as the one.

    Cheers.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Thanks for the quick replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    ... The software solutions are sometimes workable, but you have much more flexibility and operational reduncancy with good hardware all around....
    I've got a MOTU 828 in my current main DAW and a lightpipe card in my current 2nd machine, so I can do lightpipe between them (w/midi). But I was planning on switching to one of the audio-over-lan solutions, as everything I'll do on the remote machine(s) will be VST based and I like that approach better. Do you think I should re-think this? Can these lan-based things cause problems with larger setups or something?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Pell
    ...i get 1 half decent P4 DC and wait for the new Intel Conroe DC chips and mobo.. as your 2nd machine..
    - Are you talking about the new dual-core Xeons that are coming/just came out this month, or something else?
    - Interesting you say use the new chip on the 2nd machine - do you usually use the more powerful machine on the 2nd, not the main?


    Thanks,
    buzz

  6. #6

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    This is an excellent thread. I hope more is contributed. I feel your pain on the responses from the HW forum.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzripper
    I've got a MOTU 828 in my current main DAW and a lightpipe card in my current 2nd machine, so I can do lightpipe between them (w/midi). But I was planning on switching to one of the audio-over-lan solutions, as everything I'll do on the remote machine(s) will be VST based and I like that approach better. Do you think I should re-think this? Can these lan-based things cause problems with larger setups or something?
    I have never been satisfied with the lan-based systems. I personally prefer that every machine be independently workable. I'm finding the Tascam 1804 to be a very good interface for a synth-machine, because it has nice MIDI/audio/digital i-o/sync amenities, and it's a single firewire cable. I also love the Echo products, you just can't go wrong with them. MOTU as well, good stuff.

    You might very well have excellent success with the lan-based systems, so please don't weigh my input too heavily in that regard, if other people whose needs more closely match yours can report good success. Because I have to reconfigure my rig so often, and into so many different architectures, I've just had the best success with a full hardware complement on every box.

  8. #8

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzripper


    - Are you talking about the new dual-core Xeons that are coming/just came out this month, or something else?
    - Interesting you say use the new chip on the 2nd machine - do you usually use the more powerful machine on the 2nd, not the main?


    Thanks,
    buzz
    Hi .. No, i mean get a mobo that will be compatable with the new Conroe DC chip so that you can upgrade to it once it comes out.. of course there are other factors like PCIe etc...but, you best bet is to find and experienced D.A.W. builder and ask alot of Questions.

    Having 4 cores in 1 machine isnt really going to do you alot of good IMO, as most hosts barely support 2 cores as it is... having more RAM and HD`s for polyphony is sometimes more important for running sample based VSTi`s than CPU is...

    And, i always make sure my main machine with my host on it is my most powereful machine..since my 2nd machine is usally just slaviing samples and VSTi`s.

    Best, Rich

  9. #9

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    I think it really depends on how hard your compositional style pushes your system. That is.. how many tracks, how many streaming voices, how big is your "template" - if applicable. For some people, the only way to get what they need is more than one system. For others, one system is fine.

    I started out running three systems, then went down to two about three years ago. This year, I plan to go down to one. But that's because the power I can get out of one system lines up with my needs... something that wasn't true three+ years ago.

    Also, while I have a good system for managing two system's worth of data to backup, it's a pain. Having everything in one box and one folder to backup is attractive.

    But... that one system is going to be huge. An apps drive, an audio drive, and probably four sample drives, in addition to the optical drive. A fast dual core processor, as much RAM as possible. All in a huge case with a huge power supply. But it will be worth it to smoothen up the workflow a bit.

    FWIW,
    - G

  10. #10

    Re: OT: One Mondo DAW or Two Good Ones?

    I'm wondering if this would end up being a waste of money, in that I'd probably run out of memory well before I'd even come close to maxing out the 4 processors

    It’s the whole point... until our samplers will need to buffer samples into RAM, we’ll have to use several DAWs...

    It’s a pity, cause since we got unlimited polyphony, I’m sure we could already use only one PC for a full orchestra template in real time with the actual PC hardware, sequencer included.

    And I totally agree with Gamera : multiple DAWs solutions are not productive (installations, maintenance, launching, routing, multiple files to handle and backup for the same project, etc... Pfff...)

    I really don’t like to work on several PCs. It’s a waste of time.

    A professional solution should work only on one machine, and with the sleep function, please.

    Integration is the key word to make ONLY music.

    But we have first to break the RAM limitation for this...

    Can these LAN-based things cause problems with larger setups or something?
    Yes.
    You have to be very careful of the PC’s hardware (NICs), and possible IRQs conflicts with it.

    Plus, LAN solutions eat some resources with audio.
    It depends how many channel you use, and the bit format you chose.

    However, Midi Over LAN is faster and cheaper than hardware solutions for MIDI.

    And FX Teleport runs in 32bit float. AFAIK, it’s the only solution to do not get a hardware dithering between your samplers and your sequencer.

    (Plus, I didn’t try it yet, but FXT is a native drivers solution, and so may permit to use the sleep function easier on slave machines.)


    About CPUs, if you use to work in real time and with convolution verbs on line, you’ll need the biggest ones at the moment anyway.

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