PC Studio Update

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MNX2010 PC Audio Sites - Update :

studio pic My Atari Studio,
5 years ago (2011) I began to transform my Atari Studio, already in use for 12 years, into a PC Studio. The converting of the files was an awful lot of work, but finally, with the right software all the files were converted. To convert Cubase Arrangements, first I used an old, Cubase (GS), one of the first PC versions, to make it more PC compatible. Saved in GS, it can easily load in Cubase SX & Cubase 5 en later versions. For the soundbanks of my synthesizers I converted the Atari editor banks to PC soundbank editor. In reality it means : the Atari-soundbanks store in de synthesizer and store back in the PC with Sounddiver & Midi Quest XL. A lot of work, but this way you learn about the possibilityís of the software. Itís not only getting a lot more difficult, but this gives also more possibilities to start up a professional studio. Fortunately I have the necessary experience to setup a Studio and saved some money for it. As a preparation I seeked around on the internet, what hardware to buy. At the end I almost replaced everything except the Kawai K4, TX81, the analogue Braintec and my 24-in mixer. The wiring costed me a lot of work and money, if you go for quality. Thatís why I made my wiring myself with high quality wiring and plugs. Generally are the possibilityís with the PC a lot More Extensive, although I miss some functions in the modern Cubase like the part parameters in Atari Cubase. Also I miss the Sound-editors who I gathered for my Atari, generally PC editors are somewhat disappointing, especially if you are accustomed to Atari. Thatís why I will hold my Atari computer as retention. For more info >>> Atari-Music & Kawai K4

studio pic

studio pic My PC Studio
My plan was at the beginning quite simple, a few real analogue synthesizers, a virtual analogue synthesizer, a digital FM & AM synthesizer, a sampler, a multi channel soundcard and a professional effect. And for the computer I wished to install XP, because the most music software and editors are compatible with this. A videocard with 2 monitors, to share all the windows within cubase. The Arrangement in the left window and key-editing, mixer and vst-instruments in the right. A midi-controller, now I have the Akai MPD-32. Practically itís not so easy as it looks, if you buy some secondhand stuff, there often is something wrong with it, certainly if itís a popular Item. So you must be technical and a good analyser. So better new, with a good offer, cheaper than secondhand. So I had my effect 150 euro cheaper, It will save a lot of money and one also has guaranty. Finally, it is important to create a good foundation from which to expand.
For my Music Productions >>> Energetic Vortex

My soundcard
My real conflict with secondhand stuff, is your are not sure of the matching drivers. Because updates are often bugged and work bad, so you have to backslide to the original drivers. Most often if you buy a secondhand device, it contains no driver CD, because often people throw it away. Usual the ďoriginal driver CDĒ you also can find on the service site, but as in my case of my Motu MK1, eventually I found the original driver CD, but not on the original download page and it was not mentioned that is also suitable for XP. It was a driver from the begin time of the production of the device, I tried this out and it works. In the text file of the driver I found out, that this was indeed the original driver CD, also suitable for XP, but the content must be installed from CD, otherwise some parts of the installation will not work. Motu is apparently doing its best to hide the right drivers software. And the same thing I encountered with the EMU 1212M, after a long search and experiments I found the right driver thatís also capable to support the ADAT channels. The reason is clear, itís in there own interest to give this shitty service, this way they sell more stuff, a lot of older stuff that still runs well, is been disposed of this way. The most people donít have the knowledge or the patience to, like me, to get to the bottom of this. One important lesson : Never buy a soundcard/module without the original Drivers CD.
studio pic

Choice of soundcard
The most important for me is the sound and in accordance to that I know Motu and RME are the top and it just is a question of money, RME is broadly 2x so expensive but absolute ďthe bestĒ. The choice for a multi channel audio card is finally dependent on what you want to do with it, how much channels you want and future plans for any expansion. Well perhaps optical ADAT will give a good solution, although ADAT in comparison is a little expensive. Also the connection of the module to the PC is of importance for your choice. In hindsight it was not wise to buy a Firewire module for the PC, this you can better do with Apple Mac. They have a standard firewire400 and 800, the PC has different ones (PCI and PCI-e) wherefore the drivers for the modules operate badly. Better is one with USB you can put this in almost in every computer, so handy but slow, so much latency. My favourite would be a professional USB 3.0 multi channel module if it exist. There is further more a lot of complains, on forums about multi channel audiocards, so last year my Phase 88 from TerraTec just broke down, I had the original CD install it on a clean XP, but didnít work, but the midi worked well. What to do about that? These multi channel cards are relative expensive, so a big blow if itís break down. If I would buy a new one nowadays, I donít know what to buy, maybe a Motu 828 MKII or MKIII. The Motu 828 MKII look licked, gives a great sound, a low latency and has a lot possibilityís for expansion and for sale secondhand for around 250 euro. RME is still my favourite but I have to save more money.

studio pic

My Sound
My idea is also to work with hardware synthesizers as well as with software synthesizers, therefor you need a multi channel audio card. If you take the sound of your VST-instruments, and route theme with audiotracks, through one stereo bus, the dynamic of the sound will distort. Specially a fat kick will push other sounds away. Now I have 8 channels, of which 4 channels dry (kick and audio tracks) and 4 (VST-i ) route through the Lexicon MX400. The hardware synthesizers : 2 channels analogue, 6 channels virtual analogue, 4 channels digital FM/AM, 6 channels sampler. Amongst other things I also sold my old sampler S2000 with expansion and bought an Akai Z8 in his place (see link), absolute the top what concerns samplers. From Novation I have the SuperNova II rack and the BassStation bought secondhand, there was everything wrong with it but works now great. I have my Lexicon MPX100 & MX200 swapped for a Lexicon MX400 surround effect. With my MPD32 from Akai I am not so satisfied, So I sold this with the Behringer DualFlex Pro. You will keep on changing and expanding, searching for the one. So I bought, not so long ago, the Korg Minilogue and Jomox Airbase99, A real analogue synthesizer with a step sequencer and an analogue TR-909 Clone Module. . ÖMNX (March 2017)
For more info >>> Akai s2000 & Akai Z8

List Studio Devices

Akai Z8 (24bit sampler) info >>> Akai Z8
Supernova II Rack (virtual analogue) info >>> Supernova II
Novation Bass Station Rack (303 clone analogue) info >>> Bass Station
Korg Minilogue (analogue) info >>> Minilogue
Kawai K4 (digital AM) info >>> Kawai K4
Yamaha TX81-z (digital FM) info >>> Yamaha TX81-z
Jomox Airbase99 Rack (909 Clone analogue) info >>> Airbase99
Braintec Transistor Bass 3 (303 clone analogue) info >>> Transistor Bass 3


Rolland UM-3G USB (3 chl i/o midi interface)
Lexicon MX400 (4 chl i/o surround effect)
Behringer Eurorack MX 2504A (32-2-4 mixer)
Motu 828 (8 chl i/o audio soundmodule) 
Samsung Syncmaster 930BF (monitor 2x)
Computer Dualcore 3Ghz (Windows XP)

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