Road House Audio Computer

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Nobrakes15, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Nobrakes15

    Nobrakes15 Member

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    We are looking to replace our dying CD burner that we have used to do stereo recordings of shows for clients and used for playback for the last 6-8 years. The hope is to get a computer to not only do the job of the old CD player/burner but to also bring us into the current age of technology and programs such as QLab, audacity, Logic, Pro Tools, SFX or Sports sounds Pro. I'm doing a bunch of research and trying to figure out what kind of computer to go with Mac, PC... Laptop/ Tower...

    In the last year or two it seems like all the touring companies that have come through the theatre are using Macbook Pro's or Mac Mini's not PC's. So I open this to you my friends and colleagues and ask your opinion on what you use, would or wouldn't recommend, like or dislike... all opinions are welcome!

    Thank you all in advance for your words of wisdom, opinions and thoughts!
     
  2. Aman121

    Aman121 Active Member

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    My biased opinion is never ever ever ever go mac. ;) I personally find them annoying, overpriced, and generally inferior to PCs. Mac fan boys, refer to my signature. Now that ive kicked the hornets nest real bad, let me convince you to buy a mac! As annoying as they are, Macs pretty much hold the dominate market share for pro audio everything. One reason is Macs simplicity, they are designed to be as idiot proof as possible and therefore are harder to make unstable than PCs. You want as stable a computer as possible making your recording that 500 people just ordered copies of! Also, as you mentioned, most mainstream audio and FX programs are mac based. As for tower vs laptop, Id say it depends. Laptop has a portability factor, towers have power. Laptops are also easy to run off with or drop and break. You'd want to put the tower on a UPS in case of a power blip, but with a laptop you wouldn't have to worry. If I was in your position Id probably go with a top of the line Mac mini (for future proof-ness), then strip the OS down to just the programs you need. Dont put all your cracked movies and games on the machine, as you want it to be as clean and stable as possible. And remember the UPS, if a power bar trips during a show your SOL without some insurance. Last but not least make sure the computer is secured physically as well as virtually so unauthorized personnel cant fool with it. Cue the hordes of people that disagree with everything ive said....
     
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  3. cpf

    cpf Well-Known Member

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    If you're set on QLab and Logic, then you're getting a Mac. Only decision now is which flavor - you don't(?) need the power of a Pro, a MacBook is a bit too inviting to steal, so I'd say a Mac Mini - but obviously a used one from before they dropped the optical drives, or budget in an external one.
     
  4. chausman

    chausman Chase Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    *facepalm*

    Well there's everything he said (the second quote only), and if you want to use the industry standard for sound cues, Qlab, or Logic, you'll want a mac. Playing with putting OS X on a windows PC (while entirely possible) isn't something I'd really want to mess with.

    Personally (if budget wasn't a concern) I'd want a Mac Pro with two disk drives. Realistically, a Mac Mini (possibly with an external disk drive based on new/used) would be my first choice. It's fairly easy to rack mount and really secure them, unlike a laptop, which is practically the epitome of "steal-able" computers. The kingston locks aren't as reliable as they should be.

    We're watching you... :twisted:
     
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  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    What is the actual intended purpose of this machine? Playback for one off dance recitals? Possibly doing a L/R feed of a concert? Or, you looking to do a full split with a 40 track recording? Are you looking to use this machine for playback for everything? What kind of interface do you want to buy? What kind of console do you have now?

    Here is my 2 c's. First, your content is going to arrive on CD and leave on CD. Therefore, your adding extra steps with the computer. In order to play back, you have to rip the CD, load it into cue lab/multiplay/SFX. Set up the timings etc. In order to record you have to setup the file, record it, export it, then burn the CD.

    With a CD player, CD arrive, it goes in, you then just have to decide between continuous and single play. With CD recorder, you put in the CD, hit record, hit stop, finalize, and hand the CD to the client.

    In a perfect world, yes, a computer for audio is great. It is something you should have. However, you said this was for a road house. If yours operates anything like mine, every show is a one off and with that you have little to no pre-production time. Therefore, it is by far faster to just drop a CD and go. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a show sitting down for a few days then sure, rip it and run off the CD. You will get a better product that is less prone to errors. In general never look to touring companies as "standard". They do the same thing every night. Because of that, they do everything in their power to ensure that everything is the same every night.

    As for what to buy really depends on how many tracks you are going to be running and how you are going to interface it to your console.
     
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  6. Aman121

    Aman121 Active Member

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    I did expect a few facepalms. When someone can come out with an intelligent, non rage driven, and unbiased argument as to why Macs are better overall other than there cool and white and Apple invented the world and everything in it, ill be happy to listen. I will admit that for pro audio and theatre, the industry has decided and its senseless to go PC. But for everyday use and gaming PC will always prevail. My other problem with Macs is all of Apples marketing BS is really allot of BS trying to convince uneducated users that anything that isint a mac is a sucky virus filled crash box with a pretty blue screen, and that anything Apple makes is always better and is always original and exciting.
     
  7. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Not the point of the thread, take it elsewhere.

    I don't know that I like the idea of a constantly hooked up recording computer in a road house.
    It just screams bootleg recordings to me.
     
  8. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    Doesnt matter
    actually once you leave the realm of theater, and go into live entertainment Macs are only used because musicians are way to easily sold on shiny. Most Audio techs I know prefer and android tablet (or windows if they can get a hold of one) paired with a windows 7 PC. Very few companies at least that have come through my area want a mac near their show. That said, if you are doing recording (CD burner) then I'd go with a PC, unless you can afford the cost of Protools + a decent mac setup. (although I'd go with a Macbook pro or at least a full Mac PC) any less power and you'll need to replace in 3 years.
     
  9. SteveMcQueen

    SteveMcQueen Member

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    Depending on your space, I would go iMac or Mac mini. IF you are just doing recording to 2 track for client/archival purposes, no need to Logic/ProTools. Or even a linear recorder, with inputs and record right to a thumb drive, import into iTunes (or WMP to be unbiased). If you want to get into editing/mixing for the client, audacity is great for free, Logic Pro is $199 is more than you need, but I would recommend. I have been a long time ProTools user, but that is much more than you need at around $600-700 mark.

    Now a word about Mac/PC. I have been using both Macs and PC for years. Both have a place. You want to run a business, get a PC. Want to run a theatre, a Mac. people say Macs are idiot-proof. Idiots can break things in it. It's not like OS X is not able to do more complex things compared to a PC. They both can do the same thing. But if you design software for a company that holds 12% of the computer marketshare, wouldn't you make the software easier to use. Everything is still there, but its just hidden. And it's not hard to unhide, just hit a button. Macs are most expensive, but not as much as they used to be. I follow Apple very closely , and Tim Cook (current CEO) has more aggressive pricing than Jobs, so I think it is a little old saying Macs are so much more expensive. Yes they look good, but don't buy one because it does. I wouldn't not buy a PC because it may not be as ascetically pleasing, but other people do, so that's why Apple does it.

    I think the Mac 'gimicks' like the looks, design, easier use, cleaner looking GUI, hidden advance features helps Apple again more market share, but the OS is why you stay. Don't worry about getting it stolen, as you have find your computer, wherever it maybe if is it stolen.


    Oh, and Macs can also run Windows software. So there is that too :)

    But it's not like things recorded or played back on Macs sound better than PC, and visa versa. So truly doesn't matter. What ever is easier for you to use.

    I really hope this helps, and sorry I got a bit off topic.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  10. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    In radio facilities, where virtually all audio that doesn't come from a live microphone is recorded and played on computers, I cannot think of one system that runs on Mac. The major players are all using Windows 7 or earlier versions of Windows. There are a couple of one man shops making Linux based systems that get used in small stations.
     
  11. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Let's get away from the Mac / PC debate shall we. It has been a dead horse for a long time now.
     
  12. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    Sonnet makes a very nice 1U rack chassis for the Mini (it holds two).
     
  13. Nobrakes15

    Nobrakes15 Member

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    Stereo recording of shows, playback of shows that make sense to take the time to set up (IE our 3 week run of Nutcracker in December)

    If it makes sense but we have other machines too.

    I assume you mean a L/R Stereo recording of a concert, and yes we do this all the time.

    I sure hope not!

    For some things but as you know in a road house it will be just one of many tools. We have 2 other CD players and a mini disk player as well.

    I'm looking at the Motu Audio Express 6x6

    Yamaha M7CL 48
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  14. Nobrakes15

    Nobrakes15 Member

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    I appreciate this but it was part of what I asked about. I want to know who uses what and why, if that means one person is adamite about using a PC and another a Mac Im perfectly ok with that as that is their choice, I just want to know what made them go with that choice and why, I use both PC and Mac as it was said above both have there place and uses, this is a machine for our booth to be used for stereo recordings for clients and to playback more complex shows or shows that it makes sense to not run off CD or other media. What I was hoping to do was get Branded Thumb drives and be able to give the clients a copy of the recording on the thumb drive as a Wav file so they can do with it as they please after the concert. This eliminates burning time and possible cut off if a act runs longer than the CD capacity... which has happened on more than a few occasions.
     
  15. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Cool. Well, don't expect any road person to use it. Therefore, buy whatever works best for you. Personally, I would install a Dante card in the console and just go from there. After that, any PC you buy will be able to do what you need and you are digital the entire way. Finally, you don't have to eat up physical inputs or outputs in your console to get sound in/out. The only draw back to it is whatever app you use for playback/recording MUST support ASIO.
     
  16. Nobrakes15

    Nobrakes15 Member

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    Its really no different than a CD burner sitting in the booth, both "could" be used for bootlegging a show, this is really a mute point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012

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