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"Best Desktops for PTLE"

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Seriously Devoted

Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 889
Location: Greater NYC Area

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:51 am    Post subject: "Best Desktops for PTLE" Reply with quote

I'm posting this for Andy and anyone else who needs it. It came from the DigiDesign website. They update it periodically, so check it out before you spend money on upgrades. It is DigiDesign specific, if you can look beyond that, you'll begin to see the combinations of products that work very well together.....



The new AMD processors have achieved over 100% better performance than Mac G4 and PIII systems and 50% better than Mac G5 and P4 systems. With rock solid stability, they easily push past the 32 track/160 effects limit. These are all top quality components proven to work with Digi001, MBox, 002, and 002R.

The Allenstein Machine

Aspire X-Dreamer II case with 350W PSU 54.00

Asus K8V SE Deluxe Motherboard-Retail 114.00

Athlon 64 3700+ 2.4Ghz , 1MB L2 329.00

Micron PC3200 512 MB DDR SDRAM CT6464Z40B x2 (1GB total) = 133.98

ATI Radeon 9600 256Mb DDR 8x Dual Video Card 86.00

Western Digital 80GB 7200RPM 8MB CACHE Hard Drives 58.00 x 2 = 116.00

Lite-On DVD/CDRW Dual Drive 59.00

Total = approx. $900.00 US

* I recommend installing WinXP Home or Pro with SP1 and not SP2 at this time. If you get SP2 you can either use a friend's XP1 and use your registration number, or you can perform a utility fix to make it compatible with PTLE. DEP fix for SP2 and read the Win XP SP2 Compatibility Thread

Enermax EG365P-VE (FMA) 350W PSU (optional but highly recommended for low noise)

Zalman Quiet Heatsink/Fan for Athlon 64 Processors required for OEM CPUs

Prices taken from www.newegg.com and www.pricewatch.com

* For Dual VGA Monitors, purchase one DVI to VGA adapter for this video card.

* This motherboard comes with 2 advanced VIA firewire connectors that work with 002 and 002r.

*For questions on optimizing and setting up this motherboard visit this site http://forums.amdmb.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=2167438

*Optimizing Windows XP: http://www.musicxp.net/tuning_tips.php

Alternative Systems

The Original Under $600.00 System (Digi Approved)

Enermax CS-3051L-B3A (Black)Aluminum Case with 350W PSU 55.00

Asus A7V600-X Motherboard 59.99

AMD XP2500+ Barton FSB333 (Heatsink/Fan Included) 75.00

Micron 512 MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM 70.00

ATI Radeon 9600 128Mb DDR 8x Dual Video Card 71.00

Western Digital 80GB SATA 7200RPM 8MB CACHE Hard Drive = 45.00

Lite On 52x32x52x Black Color CDRW Drive LTR-52327S 38.00

Total= $358.99

*A7V600 motherboard requires a Digi approved firewire card for 002 compatibility. See links above and below.

*Digidesign recommends two hard drives for 96k sessions.

*For overclocking, I recommend using the Thermalright SLK900A Heatsink with a Panaflo L1A 80mm fan. With PC3200 DDR ram, set the Bios to 200 X 11 and you are running at XP3200+ speeds very stable.

Building a P4 Powerhouse (Digi Approved)

The Pentium 4 systems have come along way with PTLE and offer some great performance with low noise levels. Inconsistent performance still seems to be a problem in many P4 systems. Click on the title for more information. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to go with an Intel system stick with the Centrino laptops (below) at this time. They outperform the P4 desktops and offer some great advantages being virtually silent and mobile without the PTLE software glitches.

Best Laptop for PTLE

I highly recommend laptops with either AMD 64 or Intel Centrino for anyone setting up a new system for PTLE on the 002, 002r and MBox. Prices are in the $700-2000.00 range now for out of the box incredible performance. They run virtually silent, are mobile and are attaining better performances than most of the desktop units now of over 32+15 tracks and 235 simultaneous effects on the Davec test and 42 DVerbs on the DVerb test. Click on title above to see current discussion of the "Best Laptops for PTLE" with the most current tested and proven list of laptops.

Digi Approved Laptops with Mbox, 002, and 002r

(click on title for most current list tested by Digi)

Resources for Building an Ultra Quiet PC

Building a Quiet Computer

PC Power and Cooling

Quiet PC (Zalman and Nexus PSU and Fans)

Nidec -Highest Quality Replacement Fans on the Market (Used in Macintosh Computers)

Digi Approved Firewire Cards

Upgrading System

For those who want to upgrade the above system, the case can be upgraded to suit your recording needs as well as the video card, hard drives, etc.. Here are some suggestions:

Computer Cases

Acoustic Treated Case from Quiet PC (Highly Recommended!)

Black Rack Mount Case

Koolance Water Cooled Desktop and Rackmount Cases

Dual Video Monitors (not supported by Digi)

The listed card will work for dual video. It comes with one VGA and one DVI output. For dual VGA setups buy the DVI to VGA adapter from www.newegg.com . See Swaphappy's thread on using dual video with PTLE. Use the free innovative WindowPlacer software with this video card for best dual monitor function.

Another great option has been the Matrox G550 card which has allowed users to set up dual flat panel monitor positions in PTLE without any software. Matrox Millenium G550 Dual-DVI

Best Backup and Transport Systems

DVD is the best price/performance winner in this category and shares a universal format with Mac computers making Mac-PC or PC-Mac file transfer a breeze. Another great way to go is utilizing an external firewire hard drive enclosure and putting the WD 8MB cache drive listed above in it. Incredible performance at a great price.

Lite-On DVD/CDRW Combo Drive 113.00

DVD Burner Mall

ADS Pyro 1394 Drive Kit

ADS Dual 1394/USB2.0 Drive Kit - Oxford 911 Chipset

Apple iPod

Oxford 911 Chipset Firewire/USB External Hard Drive Enclosures

Bytecc ME-720U2F USB2.0/1394 HD Enclosure 65.00 (Best Deal on Oxford 911)

Bytecc ME720 1394 3.5" HD Enclosure 45.00 (Best Deal on Oxford 911)


I highly recommend using the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer (get the USB version with a P/S 2 adapter. Connect to the PS/2 port on the computer. This mouse will make your recording experience so much easier with shortcuts and fast accurate pointing and grabbing.


Any Microsoft PS/2 keyboard will do the trick depending on your size requirements. USB keyboards are best hooked up with PS/2 adapters.


I prefer the LCD flat panel screens , especially when setting up dual monitors. 15-21" works great for dual monitor setups or just get one big 72" plasma screen.

Need A Longer Cable for Digi001?

The Digi001 I/O cable has a rare SCSI-2 connector known as a "micro-centronics 50" (sometimes called a "mini-centronics" or a "HPCN50"). Contact CS Electronics at (949) 475-9100, or www.cselex.com or [Email]sales@cselex.com.[/Email] Thanks to our friend English Jim for the great find.

Installing Win XP

I recommend using Standard PC setting while installing XP for best performance.

How to Install WinXP

Configuring Your Hard Drives

You will need at least one ATA100 7200rpm drive for Digi 001 and two drives for 002 when recording at 96k. On one drive systems both the system and audio files are on the same drive. On two drive systems, one drive is for system (Windows XP and Programs) and the other for audio files.

One Drive System

For the above motherboard put your system drive on the motherboard's primary IDE on its own cable, and CDRW/CD/DVD devices on secondary IDE channel. In bios be sure that CD is at the top of the boot sequence. Install WinXP from CD and format this drive NTFS. Then install PTLE.

Two Drive System (using IDE channels)

On the back of your hard drives, make sure your system drive is set to master(jumper). Set your audio drive to slave(jumper also).

It is best if the hard drives are at the end of their own cable. If this isn't possible on your motherboard then follow this. Hook your system drive to the last connector on the ribbon cable. Hook your audio drive to the middle connector of the same cable.

Start your computer, and go into control panel/administrative tools/computer management/disk management.

You should be able to see your new drive and partition and format it.

If you are relying on just the motherboard for your IDE channels, leave the drives hooked up this way, and put your CD-RW on IDE channel 2.

If you have the Promise ATA100 TX2 or ATA133 TX2 Controller card or Promise channels on your motherboard, put your audio drive(s) on it after they have been formatted, and your system drive on IDE1, CDRW/DVD drives on IDE2 of motherboard.

*DVD, CDRW drives should go on the secondary IDE of the motherboard and never share cable with your hard drives.

Configuring Your IRQs

Start with putting your 001 card in slot 3 of the above motherboard. Go into Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Info/Hardware/IRQ and print your settings out or copy and paste them to the DUC for having others help you configure your IRQs. Digi should be on its own IRQ with the exception of ACPI if you are using that feature. For removing the devices listed, you will go into your bios at startup of the computer and remove anything you are not using including USB, com and parallel ports, firewire etc.. You may need to remove the drivers in Device Manager also. Here is a great explanation of what to remove.

Davec Performance Test Test your new system and compare to performances of other systems.

Who The Heck Is Going To Build It for Me?

Many people build their own systems. If you are uncomfortable with building your own system here are some suggestions:

Professional Local Computer Builder

Print out this list and take it to a professional computer builder. They should provide tech. support and give you at least a one year warranty (in writing) on the system.

United Micro - Professional Online Computer Builders

For those looking for a complete built system with a three year warranty and burn in time you can configure one here and have them build it. Call their 1-800-943-7255 number listed on the website and ask for Andrew at extension 206. Tell him I sent you and copy and email him my most current recommend list. They have a large selection of cases and have a great selection of rack mount cases as well. Get their Enermax FMA 350W PSU.

Fastest Computers On The Block At Premium Prices

Do It Yourself

For those wanting to build their own system here are step by step directions for building your own computer. Remember to ask questions on the DUC if you run into any problems.

Building Your own Super DAW

Transfering Sessions from PC to Mac and Back

Before starting any session, be sure to select PC/Mac compatibility option. Transfering sessions from Mac2PC or PC2Mac using a DVD is a breeze because it uses a universal standard language across all platforms. Here are some tips if you are using other methods.

PC Exchange for Mac OS

Windows to Mac Fixes

Mac to Windows Fixes

Mac Opener for PC

CD Everywhere for CD Compatibility

MacDrive for PC

Best RTAS Plugins for PTLE

Waves Platinum and Gold

Most Comprehensive Up To Date List of All Plugins Available for Windows XP

Best Mastering and CD Burning Software

Music Match Jukebox -Wav to MP3 Converter and Burner (FREE download)

Sound Forge - Complete Editing and Mastering Suite

Nero CD Burning Software

Steinberg Wavelab Full Mastering Suite

Roxio CD Burning Products (Already included in WinXP)

Upgrading Sound System

One of the most common questions on the DUC is about adding external preamps and AD/DA converters. This section is for clearing up any confusion about adding external preamps and converters. The Digi 001 pres/converters are good for the money and home recording hobbyist, but to get to a pro level sound I suggest you upgrade them both. This will also add to the number of I/O you can use up to 18. You can bypass the Digi converter by using an external AD/DA converter via SPDIF or ADAT lightpipe. So your prechain would look like this:

Mic>Preamp>Converter>SPDIF or ADAT Lightpipe>Digi 001 or 002 I/O box>PTLE

Some preamps also come with converters built in.

Best Preamps for Under 1K

Summit Audio 2-BA 221

FMR Really Nice Preamp

Great River ME-1NV

Grace 101

Digimax LT 8 Channel Preamp

Best Preamps over 1K

Great River MP-2NV

API 3124+

John Hardy M-1

Brent Averill 1272

Phoenix Audio DRS-2

Vintech Audio 473

Best Converters for under 1K

Lucid 9624

Best Converters over 1K

Cranesong HEDD 192

Benchmark AD 2402-96

RME ADI-96 Pro

Swissonic AD8

Multi-Channel Pre-Amp/AD/DA Combo(for Gear Addicts only)

Cranesong Spider

Manley Slam

Focusrite ISA 428 Pre Pack

Apogee Mini-Me

Digimax 96 8 Channel

Here are some preamp listening tests with various sources and mics:


Recording Tips and Tricks

Acoustic Guitar Miking Secrets

Have fun and enjoy the process!

Hope that helps out the newbies here and those looking to upgrade. Now get making music and post your songs here and get famous!

Allen The Ultimate Allenstein Challenge
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