[ardour-users] questions about harddisks and drums (sampling)

Dan Harper tech at danharper.org
Sun Oct 31 14:36:39 PST 2004


On Sun, 2004-10-31 at 20:04 +0100, Jörg Ziefle wrote:
> * IBM Thinkpad T42 (1 Gb RAM, 60 Gb harddisk w/ 5400 rpm)
> * RME Hammerfall Multiface w/ cardbus interface
> * some guitars and amps :)
> * Midi keyboard

I have a IBM R50 with and RME HDSP/Multiface/Cardbus, see
http://danharper.org/Linux_on_the_IBM_ThinkPad_R50.html for details, but
I'll give you some feedback here.

> 1. Is the harddisk fast enough, or will I need a 7200 rpm one (Hitachi
>    7K60)?

I find the built in HDD on mine is fine so far.  I get a couple of xruns
in a session, but not too many as to make it unusable.  Currently the
biggest task I've done on the RME has been 8-in, 7-out, which was fine.
For a higher track count there could be problems though.

> 3. I guess the 60 Gb won't last too long. Is an external (USB2-)
>    harddisk advisable, or is it too slow for performance reasons? What's
>    a good solution here?

Yeah, I'm finding disk space a bit lacking, note that you'd likely need
to keep your Windows partition, as the IBMs hold a factory image in a
special spot at the end or beginning of the drive.  I just turned off
VM, system restore, etc, and shrunk the partition so I had around 500Mb
free, I also created a FAT partition to send files to and from Windows.
This may come in handy as I haven't easily been able to get my modem or
wireless happening in Linux yet.  I also keep Windows for Sim City 4,
what a great game!  Although it takes precious time away from music!

On my R50, the USB interface is on the same interrupt as the cardbus
chipset, so you'll have to make sure that that's not the case with your
model or you're likely to get xrun hell.  The R50 has a firewire
interface which I would recommend using, although I haven't tried it yet
on mine.

> 4. Will I need an external mixer/equalizer?

You'll need external pre-amps for every channel on the Multiface.
That's 8 for the analog, and you'll also need 8 for the ADAT with an A/D
converter, and 2 w/ A/D conversion for the SPDIF.  An equaliser might be
nice, it depends on your recording environment/mics/source.  If you can
get a nice sounding recorded signal with a good room and mic, then you
shouldn't need too much EQ going in.  The EQs available in LADSPA aren't
too bad.  When mixing/mastering, it's easier to use the software EQs, I
was just trying out the TAP EQ last night and it works a treat.

A mixer may do what you need, but maybe not, depends.  A mixer that I'm
using currently works, but is not ideal.  It has 4 pre-amps, which gives
me the ability to use 4 mics in 4 tracks on the RME.  I can plug an
acoustic guitar direct into the RME as it has a pre-amp built in, so
that makes 5.  

If I want to expand beyond that however, there are two problems here...
The mixer has a main out, left and right, which are balanced.  This is
great as the RME will handle balanced inputs, but this only gives me 2
balanced channels.  Luckily there are two alternate outs on the mixer,
but they're unbalanced.  But, that means I can get 4 separate channels
into the RME.  Even if I had extra pre-amps on my mixer, I wouldn't be
able to get them routed to the RME on separate channels.

You could however get a mixer with 8 pre-amps, but you'd have to make
sure that you can get each channel out of the mixer separately.
Depending on the abilities on the mixer, you'd probably want post
Pre/EQ/Fader out on the mixer.

One though I've had is to buy another mixer the same to get an
additional 4 channels.

I'd stick to analog first, and then branch out into ADAT digital as you
need it.

> Thanks for reading,
> Joerg
> _______________________________________________
> ardour-users-ardour.org mailing list
> ardour-users at lists.ardour.org
> http://lists.ardour.org/listinfo.cgi/ardour-users-ardour.org
Dan Harper

More information about the Ardour-Users mailing list