Music Composers Unite!
Merritt Music - The Studio
I've had many composers here ask me my setup, so I figured I should save some typing and make a blog post about it!
So here it is!
I use a custom built (by me) PC running Vista 64 bit and Sonar 8 64 bit.
The PC is thus:
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor...
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W Continuous Power ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply -
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
In this new system I installed my raid array. That's eight 10k RPM raptor drives in a raid 5 array, for one terabyte. On it are most of my samples, any usually my project folder. I have one 256 GB SSD drive that is also crammed full of samples, and sometimes used for my project folder.
My previous music computer became the file / loops / sound server, with a four 500GB drive raid 5 array, networked through a 1GB switch.
The computers are in their own little room with ventilation, with wires run into the studio for usb, firewire, vga and HDMI. I have four video monitors - three in a line just above the keyboard and a 46 inch HD TV set above them as the fourth computer monitor.
For speakers I have the Mackie HR 824's and I love them! They are on stands and isolated with foam. I use speakerphone or the actual speakers in the LCD's and TV for back up mix checking.
I use the Mackie Big knob for master volume and headphones, with a couple sets of wireless headphones attached. Although doing it over I would prob get the central station with remote.
Everything is on UPS (uninterrupted power supplies.) The PC's in the room AND all of the monitors and gear in the studio. Therefor no power glitches or outings affect me.
For room correction I have 2 of the MondoTraps, one in each corner. They completely got rid of all standing waves and reinforced frequencies. Expensive, but awesome.
I have two custom built corner walls with doors, covered in fabric. Mostly to allow me to hide more instruments and equipment behind them, but the also cut down some of the HF reflections.
My controller keyboard is a simple and cheap M-Audio Keysatation 88. I have an 88 key weighted controller, but changed to this for the synth weighted keys, a little faster response.
My mix controller is a Mackie Control Universal, attached MIDI to a MOTU MTP.
My Audio hardware:
MOTU 896 connect to the motherboard's built in firewire port on the main PC, MOTU 828mkii on the secondary PC. I run most 'real' audio through my Avalon 727, or focusrite Octapre. My main mic is a Neumann TLM 103, my secondary is an AT 4050, and I have a few other mics that are used occasionally.
I'm running Sonar X2, with many soft samplers. The main ones are Kontakt
5 (with multiple libraries), Play 64 bit, Superior Drummer, ezdrummer, BFD, DFH, and Kore
2, Amplitube, Guitar Rig. I have the 64 bit version when I can. My audio buffers generally stay around 64, allowing me many plugins and such. I haven't had to tweak the settings in many of the players, with a fast computer and drive system, the defaults can actually work.
I have plenty of guitars, acoustics and electrics, violins, cello, real timpani, a concert bass drum, bassoon, hurdy gurdy, concertina, assorted flutes, saxes, trumpet, tbone, uke, and lots of other cool stuff. I have a baby grand on the floor above the studio with wires run for miking it up, and an upright piano from the late 1800's in the studio.
I'll add more to this as I get the time...