[ardour-users] hardware question

Josh Karnes jkarnes1 at austin.rr.com
Sun Sep 12 04:58:57 PDT 2004

andy wrote:

> What are the things to look out for when building a linux audio system?

#1  check the linux compatibility sites and be sure what you are building is not 
going to cause problems.

#2  select your audio hardware, motherboard and video card as a unit.  For 
example, I have an M-Audio Delta 1010 and M-Audio cards have a history of 
problems with certain motherboards causing ticks and pops on recordings (which I 
have experienced first-hand).  So it's best to attempt to get the motherboard 
that is recommended by the audio card manufacturer for best compatibility.

#2a a sound card with outboard converters, whether it consists of a 
lightpipe-compatible card with lightpipe-compatible outboard converters, or a 
two-piece affair like a Delta 1010 or Digi001 etc., will sound much better than 
a sound card where everything is inside the PC, due to noise floor.  The cost 
difference is not that big.  I would not suggest USB audio FWIW, but you want a 
PCI card with an outboard converter box that has its own power supply.

#3  you need one hard disk for the OS & swap, user space, etc. (small and speed 
does not really matter), and one separate disk for audio that should be big, 
7200rpm E-IDE or faster, and provide it with adequate cooling (fan not necessary 
usually, but making sure it gets good airflow in the box is important).

#4  as with any device operating in a recording environment, it makes sense to 
make it quiet.  My studio PC is pretty much almost silent.  It is very possible. 
  Run a slower processor (you don't need a lot of horsepower...  my AMD Athlon 
1300 is WAY more than enough), get a sleeve-bearing fan for the power supply and 
run it in exhaust with no screen supplied by the 12V line and using the 5V line 
for ground (will run it at 7V), and get a heat sink with radial fins, a shroud 
to put an 80mm fan on the CPU, and run the same kind of sleeve-bearing fan on 7V 
by using the 12V and 5V lines, again in exhaust on the CPU.  No case fan. 
Grommet-mount all of your hard drives.  The machine can be almost completely 
silent if you do all this.

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