As I update the site, I thought of deleting this DAW reort as out of date. However, the fact is I am still using the system and it still works great. With PARIS, the Athlon processor is still more than adequate. My only concerns are with wearing out the hard drives. Though now I have a couple old computers (PII and PIII) running Linux and hooked up to the studio computer over a LAN. Unlike windows 98, they can run both large hard drives and DVD burners, so I can empty the studio hard drive into the linux boxes and then backup the data to DCDs instead of CDs.
I did get the fanless quiet power-supply and mounted it outside the case to reduce heat inside the case. I've gotten some outboard analog gear for playing with the sound outside the system, a limiter compressor and a serious multi-band equalizer. It is easier to physically tweak the equalizer sliders, then copy what I get into the software once I know what I want to do. I have a headphone amp as well so I can have multiple headphones, either for multiple people, or to be able to route different outputs in the studio to the headphone amp to make it easier to switch the headphones to what I want to listen to. If I bought the Mackie pre-amp now I would get the new version with built-in effects so I could use it to "pre-test" effects and use it for live shows.
Though I still think of building a newer system with a faster processor and bigger RAM and hard drives, it would only improve handling video, not audio.
I'm adding this update to detail additions and changes I've made to the system and what observations I have after having used it for a couple years now. Without further ado...
The system is still primarily the same, the main change is I am using a Mackie VLZpro12 for mike mike pre-amp and pre-mixer and wish I'd bought it in the first place. I am very satisfied, especially handy is the "Alt outs" which allows me to have 4 discrete outputs to send to the digitizers.
Other changes were adding another big hard disk, a second 30GB maxtor 7200, to bring my total to 80GB and they fill up fast, though mostly it is the video processing that is demanding all the space. I added more ram, up to 256MB now. I also downloaded a few mda VST plug-in: I use the limiter and the de-esser. I really don't need much more than that.
Nothing else has changed really. I am very satisfied with the essential set-up. The CPU (Athlon K-7 550) has never had any problems handling the recording and mixing.
I've used multiple boot partitions and never had trouble with the stripped down dedicated DAW windows, only with the windows I installed for general use in another partition. I seriously recommend doing this. If one windows has problems you can still boot to the other to work on the probem. I use Norton utilities to defrag a lot.
I've also had no real problems with it so far even with all the travelling I've done, tho I'm glad I put in a support post for the PCI cards.
PARIS is a really great system, though I probably only needed the one unit (4 inpust) and the C-16 controller. The C-16 is a great advantage. I haven't upgraded even though the PARIS 3.0 software is available now, but it is $300, and I don't have that great a need for whatever it does. I think they added MIDI capability to it, something it always lacked as it was designed for recording. But I use PARIS for recording, so MIDI isn't important to me. What I have works for what I need it for. I recommend PARIS very highly, with the C-16 control surface. Its definitely one of the best digitizer out there, no joke, though pretty pricey unless you get it used like I did. The buzz is that EMU has desided to discontinue PARIS after buying Ensoniq. Why does this not surprize me? Anyway, there is a solid user group and the software is (luckily) made by a different company (Intellegent Devices) that plans to keep supporting PARIS.
The only thing I'm bummed about is that I bought everything a peak prices and now they are way low; except the PARIS system, and digital studiocards in general, which are still about the same.
I've also added digital video processing with a Pinnacle DV500 card. I don't know that it is the best solution, but it works. And the mackie and mikes works great for the DVcam as well. But that's a different subject.
I also need to get whisper fans and do anything else I can do to eliminate noise from the PC. I wish I had done this in the first place...
I am upgrading the CDR to a faster model, my intention all along, and now they are certainly cheap enough and the bugs are worked out even at relatively high speeds. Right now, the CDR is one of the biggest bottlenecks as far as progress goes, I have to burn a lot of CDRs to back-up the data.
I plan to add a multiple headphone amp. I really need more headphones and the ability to do seperate mixes when I record with other people, or switch easily from the mackie pre-amp/mixer monitor out to the PARIS monitor out. There's also plenty of times when I need to be listening to different headphone outs, back and forth between the mackie and those inputs to the PARIS outputs. As well, I still need a monitor amp and speakers; and I can get a headphone amp that has a monitor speaker output included.
Finally, I plan to buy a rack mount case for the computer and then mount everything in a good racksize flightcase. I was waiting on this till I really had everything, and I figure I do, except for small stuff, like a couple more mikes for recording ensemble, a few more cables.
Otherwise, I don't see any major changes in the offing, especially since what I have works and I have no such guarantee if I upgrade! The only thing that might drive me to upgrade (beyond the dirt cheapness of the components right now) would be more power to handle the DV processing, What I have works fine, but the increase in speed would be quite noticable when rendering video. But for the DAW work, what I have is more than adequate for my needs, though that is an important point. What you need depends a lot on what you intend to record and how. I'm recording myself and my music, and I seldom need more than a dozen tracks, and usually a lot less. I've never even needed my second card, yet. If ID makes a PARISware that runs on a BSD or LINUX OS I'd be interested in that, since the only reason I run windows is for PARIS and I wish I didn't have to.