How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

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Estes
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How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:32 am

Hi all

Well after buying Mac for about 10 years now I've come to the conclusion that they are not good any more. I saw the performances of some new macbooks and it was very very poor (crashing all the time). So there is no point on spending a lot of money on them any more. That's why I decided to go with a PC now, but this was like opening the box of pandora. Before I was just like looking at the best option for the money. Now there are tons of decisions to be made in order to choose all the components for a PC. Also my needs are somehow specific.

I would like to experiment this year with video streaming and I already found some usefull information about it but it's always gaming related.

Next I would like to point out, that I'm not using sooo much plugins lately while working on a project. I often find myself recording a lot more a synth or modular stuff. I have a Fireface 802 Audio Interface and mostly record one or two mics and or modular line ins. I mostly work with Ableton but I'm starting my journey into Reaper. I've read that for streaming purpose the loopback functions are a good thing and since I'm looking for a Audio Interface for home I'm currently having the Motu M4 on my list.

I also found a video on the topic of CPU vs. realtime time performance. And if I'm right I basically just need other people with similar setups that tell me that their setup works great. Also I'd like some specific informations about what components I have to choose and why they are better than others, so I can hopefully learn something as well.

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cretaceousear
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by cretaceousear » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 am

IMHO anything is fine. I run Reaper on a vintage PC on Vista, though that's all I use it for. It runs fine.

I acquired a mini Mac for work so am now tempted to get Logic. However I still find it a pain using a Mac - there can be lots of muscle memory tied into your operating system so a switch might not be fun till you get up to speed. It's about 20 years since I was last a serious Mac user, so a long time on Windows only.

When you say stream video - you want to broadcast to the outer world from your setup?
I wouldn't even think of that. Use an external hosting service - there are other's if you want to avoid YouTube.
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:09 am

Thanks for the reply.

Well I just want to be able to stream on youtube or twitch or something similar. I need to test this a bit cause it might be something that I would need for a project.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by SynthBaron » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:26 am

I run Reaper on a 7 year old i7-3770 chip and have thrown everything at it without it hiccuping. Only issue I really see you having is dealing with a FireWire interface on a newer PC (or even Mac), since I've heard problems with compatibility. Most live streaming software can take advantage of your modern video card's built-in encoder, so it takes the load off the main CPU.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by cretaceousear » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:27 am

You want to watch YouTube and other channels?
You have problems with that now?
Maybe you have a very poor internet service, or a bad wifi connection to the router.
Anything made in the last ten years should be able to play YouTube, Netflix etc

I think you're misunderstanding streaming and viewing.
Loopback ?
I don't understand what you need really.
Playing video is what 99.9% of the public do. Ask your buddies?
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:03 am

Sorry for the confusing I meant broadcasting. As far as I know there is a difference on how pcs perform when you broadcast while you are recording in a daw and showing on video what you are doing.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by cretaceousear » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:57 am

Right live streaming - as I asked in my first question!
Nope don't know - you'll need a good internet connection for sure.
Simpler option is record it as you do it, edit it to clean it up, and put it on YouTube!
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:06 pm

As far as I know there are nowdays gaming pcs that work well for games but not for streaming or at least for not for both - streaming while gaming. Then I saw this video I posted initially where CPU and Realtime Performance is something that need to be distinguished when working with a DAW.

I was wondering if someone has any experiences with this specific combination of DAW feeding a Audio Interface with a Line and streaming the ongoing process (cam and share the screen).

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by dubonaire » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:57 pm

cretaceousear wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 am
IMHO anything is fine. I run Reaper on a vintage PC on Vista, though that's all I use it for. It runs fine.

I acquired a mini Mac for work so am now tempted to get Logic. However I still find it a pain using a Mac - there can be lots of muscle memory tied into your operating system so a switch might not be fun till you get up to speed. It's about 20 years since I was last a serious Mac user, so a long time on Windows only.

When you say stream video - you want to broadcast to the outer world from your setup?
I wouldn't even think of that. Use an external hosting service - there are other's if you want to avoid YouTube.
That's true. I spilled beer all over my work Macbook and bricked it. I was given a Windows laptop and it really slows you down.

I have a well-spec'd Mac Mini at home and it is absolutely rock solid. By far the best computer I've ever had.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:41 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:57 pm
cretaceousear wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 am
IMHO anything is fine. I run Reaper on a vintage PC on Vista, though that's all I use it for. It runs fine.

I acquired a mini Mac for work so am now tempted to get Logic. However I still find it a pain using a Mac - there can be lots of muscle memory tied into your operating system so a switch might not be fun till you get up to speed. It's about 20 years since I was last a serious Mac user, so a long time on Windows only.

When you say stream video - you want to broadcast to the outer world from your setup?
I wouldn't even think of that. Use an external hosting service - there are other's if you want to avoid YouTube.
That's true. I spilled beer all over my work Macbook and bricked it. I was given a Windows laptop and it really slows you down.

I have a well-spec'd Mac Mini at home and it is absolutely rock solid. By far the best computer I've ever had.
Does your Mac Mini handle broadcasting?

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by emmaker » Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:17 pm

Estes wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:06 pm
As far as I know there are nowdays gaming pcs that work well for games but not for streaming or at least for not for both - streaming while gaming. Then I saw this video I posted initially where CPU and Realtime Performance is something that need to be distinguished when working with a DAW.

I was wondering if someone has any experiences with this specific combination of DAW feeding a Audio Interface with a Line and streaming the ongoing process (cam and share the screen).
I bought two new PCs last year, one to replace my 10 year old desk (work) computer and one as a DAW. I was thinking the same about a gaming computer verses a high end PC. Thing I noticed about a lot of gaming computers is they concentrate on having a high end video controller verses a high end processor. With a DAW you'll want more processing power verses 'video' power.

For my work system I got a Dell I9, 32G mem, 512G SSD and 12T hard disk. Works great, some of my Spice sims went from 1.5 hours to about 15 minutes. Sometimes it stalls out for a couple of seconds but that is from the HDs going to sleep and being spun up. If I wanted to fix the problem I wouldn't put the drives to sleep. I priced an equivalent Apple just for grins ant that was about $2K more.

For my DAW I bought an HP OMEN systen on sale ($900) with a I7, 16G mem, 256G SSD, 1T hard disk internal and a 8T external disc for backup. When doing DAW stuff I turn off networking and virus checking too. I run Reaper, Wave plugins, Reaktor, Arturia V Collection through a Focusrite Scarlett 18i29 Gen 2 and it does good enough for me.

Good luck.
Jay S.

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dubonaire
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by dubonaire » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:00 pm

Estes wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:41 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:57 pm
cretaceousear wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 am
IMHO anything is fine. I run Reaper on a vintage PC on Vista, though that's all I use it for. It runs fine.

I acquired a mini Mac for work so am now tempted to get Logic. However I still find it a pain using a Mac - there can be lots of muscle memory tied into your operating system so a switch might not be fun till you get up to speed. It's about 20 years since I was last a serious Mac user, so a long time on Windows only.

When you say stream video - you want to broadcast to the outer world from your setup?
I wouldn't even think of that. Use an external hosting service - there are other's if you want to avoid YouTube.
That's true. I spilled beer all over my work Macbook and bricked it. I was given a Windows laptop and it really slows you down.

I have a well-spec'd Mac Mini at home and it is absolutely rock solid. By far the best computer I've ever had.
Does your Mac Mini handle broadcasting?
It's a 3.2GHz i7 with 16 GB DDR4 and an Intel UHD graphics card. I've never tried and I'm not an expert in streaming but I'm sure that would be powerful enough and the bottleneck will be your internet bandwidth - your upload speed. It also depends on what video codec you use and bitrate you want your audio to be. Most of the streaming providers have FAQs on all of this.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:09 am

dubonaire wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:00 pm
Estes wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:41 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:57 pm
cretaceousear wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 am
IMHO anything is fine. I run Reaper on a vintage PC on Vista, though that's all I use it for. It runs fine.

I acquired a mini Mac for work so am now tempted to get Logic. However I still find it a pain using a Mac - there can be lots of muscle memory tied into your operating system so a switch might not be fun till you get up to speed. It's about 20 years since I was last a serious Mac user, so a long time on Windows only.

When you say stream video - you want to broadcast to the outer world from your setup?
I wouldn't even think of that. Use an external hosting service - there are other's if you want to avoid YouTube.
That's true. I spilled beer all over my work Macbook and bricked it. I was given a Windows laptop and it really slows you down.

I have a well-spec'd Mac Mini at home and it is absolutely rock solid. By far the best computer I've ever had.
Does your Mac Mini handle broadcasting?
It's a 3.2GHz i7 with 16 GB DDR4 and an Intel UHD graphics card. I've never tried and I'm not an expert in streaming but I'm sure that would be powerful enough and the bottleneck will be your internet bandwidth - your upload speed. It also depends on what video codec you use and bitrate you want your audio to be. Most of the streaming providers have FAQs on all of this.
Well apparently Mac does struggle with streaming cause they are not able to split the load of CPU very well even though the usually have good specs. If you do some research the majority of users recommend for streaming not only because you save 3000 bucks but also still the CPU is much lower while streaming.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by dubonaire » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:11 am

As I said, I’m no expert. But I would always be cautious about what you read on the internet.

Estes
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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:15 am

dubonaire wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:11 am
As I said, I’m no expert. But I would always be cautious about what you read on the internet.
I'm just reporting the status of my my research based on my specific needs. As far as I'm now with my research the correct choise for streaming is a PC. I use mac for example for live cause it never crashed so far, but I had also reports from people with new macbooks crashing all the time. However I would like to avoid the Mac vs. PC discussion here. Since I made my decision on a PC I just need to know if there are people in here that already have experiences with streaming DAW on a PC.

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by mckenic » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:48 am

Hopefully some of this might be useful. I use a 2012 MacMini for 95% of my music making and its performing very well (the fans have started complaining but Im not... yet). Two years ago I decided to put together a little Windows pc for gaming. I got a GTX980 graphics card, G4560 cpu, and 8gb ram. Its great for 1080p gaming, 4k video watching and I got a score of 109fps if I wanted to do VR gaming. I also run light FLStudio sessions with it as there are a few old windows vst instruments I miss form back in the day.

I also recently put together a small form factor streaming pc for my parents with a Ryzen APU, NVME HD and 8gb ram.
We have never even taxed that thing!

Quick questions - are you buying or building yourself? What budget are you thinking?
If I was doing what you are doing I would do the following:

Build my own Ryzen cpu based system and either wait and see what Big Navi graphics cards are going to be like or get a 1650 Super now. (Only my opinion)... The thing you will need for streaming I believe is a graphics card that can handle encoding/decoding video itself and not tax the cpu. I *think* the Nvidia software has that baked in and I m sure the current AMD suite has it too.

Case - whatever suits you.
PSU - If I had the cash Id go modular something around 650-750w Silver or gold rated.
Motherboard - Newer/more of everything including cost. -or- B450 type/less pci lanes (for graphics card, HD, Memory) but cheaper and still compatible). Try get one with wi-fi and bt built in. m.2 add on cards are a PITA if your GPU overhang the pci-e slot.
HD - Nvme (and mechanical for storage if you need it).
GPU - Nvidia GTX 1650 Super (well reviewed bang-for-buck) / wait and see what Amd bring out and if suitable pair it with the AMD processor for more pci lanes.
Memory - 16gb 3200mhz if possible.
CPU - Ryzen 7 3700x. I think this will be my next cpu once I see what Big Navi is going to be.

This will get you a great gaming/streaming pc that *should* come in around $950 I think???

Now the kicker - Your Fireface has USB 2 right? Will it work with Windows? If not - add $ for the interface of your choice. I believe the system above would manage gaming and streaming very well so it will manage audio tasks equally as well. There is VERY little I have thrown at my 2012 mini that it has not been able to do - obviously many, many instances of hungry vst instruments will eventually bring any system to its knees but if a pc can handle demanding games and streaming those games then general audio recording and playback will be a doddle with a half decent interface that has good Windows drivers.

Now take ALL of that with a pinch of salt and look up reviews for each of the components yourself. Everyone these days is talking about 'content creators' as video makers/editors so read the reviews and in your head allow for 5% and substitute video editing with audio.

When I have the cash this is what Im going to do once the Mini is outdated - but Im hoping to go Hackintosh with the last OS that supports installing 32bit apps.

Hope this is of some use!

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Re: How to choose the right PC for Audio Recording and Streaming

Post by Estes » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:34 pm

mckenic wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:48 am

Quick questions - are you buying or building yourself? What budget are you thinking?
If I was doing what you are doing I would do the following:


Hope this is of some use!
Hi

this has been already very usefull thanks a lot! The budget is around 800-1000 and yess I would like to build it myself.
I have spent some time watching and reading content about streaming, but not all of this was audio related. The problem was that I have been ignoring PCs for the last 10 years since my commitment for Apple and Mac. But since I have a project going on where people will need to be able to stream, I had to rethink a bit. Your guide is helping a lot and gives me at least a starting point for a the next research steps.

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