I already posted about this in the studio build blog as it kind of relates the studio build but I thought I ought to post a news item too.
Although my old DAW based on a quad core Intel Q6600 CPU and what was back in the day a very solid system setup, I was beginning to max out the system resources and power most of the time. I had contemplated building a new spec i7 based system but the finances were I'm afraid not going to stretch to that at the moment. I had an unused Intel DX58OG motherboard and a few other bits so I considered building something based around that board. Most components for these older boards are still readily available new except for CPUs. I would need to find a second hand processor so I started to look at what I could get hold of on ebay.
The board is based on the LGA1366 CPU socket, the first generation of the i7 actually and there were plenty of CPUs available to fit this. What I wanted to do though here was populate this older system with the maximum it could support in all areas. After some searching I found a Xeon W3690 3.46GHz six core CPU for £150 which I snapped up. I purchased the rest of the components new. An Akasa CPU fan, two Samsung 250GB SSD drives & one Seagate SSHD 1TB , a Corsair CX600 power supply, 24GB RAM (6x4GB) and a few other parts including some 2.5" drive mounting plates for the SSDs.
Over about a two week period I gradually put the machine together into a HP workstation case I had from an old dual core workstation. These are quite attractive boxes and would make for a good solid build. The case required some modification to allow for the power supply screws and for the board mounts. The HP cases adopt some slightly non-standard hole positions but this was easily overcome. The moment of truth... and sure enough the system fired up perfectly. I then updated the BIOS to the latest version and gave it a general run in setting up the BIOS as required.
I then installed Windows 10 home from my USB flash drive. I wanted to fully test my hardware setup before purchasing the activation key for W10 and I was able to test everything without doing this - great! Another really useful thing with this older board is that it still has a single legacy PCI slot which I wanted to fit my now very ancient UAD1 card. No new boards have any of these PCI slots so I would have needed to do something my old UAD1 if I wanted to continue using those plugins. The UAD1 along with my Focusrite Saffire Pro DSP audio interface were installed and worked successfully in this new setup.
It was now time to get my software installed including Cubase Pro 8, Wavelab 8.5 and all of my VSTis and VST FX plugs. I configured my system with OS and programs on SSD1, sample library and sound banks on SSD2 and projects on the 1TB HDD.
In the end I bought a Windows 10 Pro license so I had to install that over the top of the original Home edition. This retained everything I had already installed and worked without issue.
I just recently bought the Focusrite OctoPre MkII 8 channel preamp. I have this connected to my Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP audio interface via ADAT. The purpose of this unit is to expand the number of input channels on my audio interface to 14 providing much more scope for mic/line connections.
It is a really useful addition as it will interface with any device that allows input connection via digital ADAT so will potentially outlast my audio interfaces, certainly in the near future. I have in my sights one of the Universal Audio USB Apollo interfaces which will finally bring my UA plugins over to UAD2. The Octopre MKII will provide an additional 8 channels via ADAT on the Apollo Twin USB.
This is probably the last large addition to the studio for some time but they have been on the list for a while. The Adam A7X active monitors are well renowned in this price bracket and size and I have demoed them in the past so I'm confident they will meet my needs for the foreseeable future.
However, it wasn't until I started looking around at retailers when it was obvious that something was amiss. Stock of all Adam stuff was rare in all retailers and I subsequently found out about the problems they'd had towards the end of last year (2014). I was shocked to hear that they had been placed into administration but relieved to hear that through reorganisation they were saved. Supplies started to roll again early in the year but stock was obviously still an issue. Despite this I am assured that stock will be arriving at my chosen stockist shortly and I should see my A7Xs within a week - before Easter hopefully.
This does mean that my trusty Alesis Monitor 1s will finally be retired after many years of use. Although they have been great monitors, I'm looking forward to greater level of transparency and detail the Adams will bring to my mixes. Also, the M1s are passive so the Samson Servo 170 amp will no longer be required.
Note: Ok, monitors should be with me before Easter (31/0315) - so a bit of time to test before my holiday!
Having been on the list of things to add to the studio equipment list I have finally ordered the Neumann TLM 102 microphone.
This will be my go to microphone for vocals, primarily, but will be an extremely useful addition to the set up for many other applications. The Rode NT1 has served very well over the years and I'll retain this as a secondary microphone when needed. The next major purchase will be an upgrade to my studio monitors most likely a pair of Adam A7X or perhaps the A5X.
Having for a long time maintained my studio build diary on my Coppermine driven photo album it was time to move this to my main web site. I wanted to update my Coppermine install and the script used for the diary has not been updated for the latest release. I will maintain the photos on the original system and cross reference from here but the diary will live here. I've also only just really started to work again on the build so now is a good time to make these changes.
Anyway, the diary or as it's now known Studio Build Blog can be found at:
>> Studio Build Blog << or by following the link in the site menu.