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Topic: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

  1. #1

    should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    hi you all,
    sorry for this not to be \'strictly\' a general hardware issue though i think it is for me (and to some potential buyers that have a look at this forum, i think).

    I\'m going to buy some kind of sampler just to have the most credible audio canvas to write classical music. I was very interested and illusioned in the GS/GSt but after some research i\'m now a lot less confident whit it due to the problems that apparently everyone seems to have, and as it looks that to configure a pc to work properly with GS will be a long trial and error task and very difficult indeed.

    The second thing is that to me there\'s no price diference at all (even an s6000 could be cheaper -& even with the actual Euro exchange), as having to buy a PIII700+, 512MB RAM, asus mothboard (which?), adaptec 160 scsi card, twin UW2 scsi HDs, another! screen, cd,video card... and a multiport midi interface, a suitable Gsif audio card and the GStudio soft would sum the same as a top hardware sampler (and a considerable amount for a windows -panic- system)(also i\'ve been looking for a 19\" rackmount case for this above \"sampler pc\" in Spain witout any success).

    On the other hand with an s6000 i would have a ¡Quiet! (a lot less fans), not so power hungry and portable system that uses to work well (though i still dont know how much the s6000 does take to load 200+MB of samples from internal HD), and a machine with a resale value if i was to sell it.

    There\'s another thing that worries me; this can be stupid but...well, it\'s the fact that knowing that with GS all those samples have to be flown from a HD really annoys me, and lead me to think that the drives will burn out (hasta la vista) in just one or two years from such a hard work. I feel a lot more \"relaxed\" when i think when they are simply flown from RAM where there are not mechanical parts involved in the process.

    Well these are my actual thoughts at the moment and really dont know what to do. I dont have too much experience with good libraries for hardware samplers and not sure if 256MB (akais limit ram) will hold an orchestra. I\'m still very illusioned though about having giga pianos and giga french horns with multiple \'dimensions\' and to be able to load a symphony orch in seconds with just one click, but fear the pains of windows -and intel\'s 820 affairs- (yes i\'m a mac user, but also have some pcs and i was a programmer time ago too)

    I really would appreciate any suggestion,
    Thanks in advance.

    and greetings from Mallorca

  2. #2

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    Although I have five Akai S6000/S5000 samplers with a total of 1.25 GigaBytes of RAM (!), this is still not enough memory for even one of the larger sampled pianos that are available for the GS ;-(

    I like and am keeping my Akais, but the GS seems to be excellent value for orchestral use. I am working on a sampled piano project with a friend, and note that the memory capacity limitations of RAM based samplers force me to make far more compromises than I would have to with the GS.

    With the Akais, I use external SCSI hard disk drives, which I can switch off having loaded the samples into memory. This helps keep the fan/disk drive noises to reasonable levels.

    I would not worry too much about wearing out the hard disks with the GS. From my observations, GS not only uses RAM for the starts of samples, it also makes use cacheing. For example, if you play and hold some notes for a long duration you will see some disk access, but similarly play the same notes again soon afterwards and you should observe far less disk access (if any at all). Anyway, hard disks are not expensive these days and it is always a good idea to have at least one backup.

    There are more tools to convert from Akai format to Giga format (e.g. S-Converter and CDxtract soon) than for conversion the other way round. Some excellent GS libaries, e.g. DS Soundware\'s Ultimate Percussion, are not available in Akai formats and would take a lot of effort to convert.

    From this user forum, it is clear that some GS users have difficulties getting GS to work without significant problems. However, these problems can usually (eventually) be sorted out: This forum is a good place to get helpful suggestions/solutions before and when problems arise. It is probably best to dedicate a PC just for GS, as quite a few difficulties seem to arise when trying to use an audio sequencer on the same machine.


  3. #3

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    You can buy a gigastudio rig for far less than what you have estimated. An Athlon 800 is a great choice, 256 mb is fine, and umda66 drives are more than adequate. If you want to stay with the Intel route, I still recommend the bx chipset.. my motherboard of choice at the moment is the bx2000+ by Gigabyte..

    Gigastudio shines with orchestral stuff.. you simply can\'t beat it.

  4. #4

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    I would also recommend giga studio . I think they will have alot of the bugs worked out by the next update . And if you go to pricewatch .com you can buy everything you need to put together a 800AMD [they seem to be at a good price/performance ratio] for around $800. AMD 800 CPU =$250, motherboard =$100,$256 meg mem=$190, floppy,cd rom, motem,=$75 ,medium tower Case $50[I just sold a killer black anodized rack case at harmony central for $100] ,18 gig ata-66 IBM hard drive $100,Diamond stealth 16 meg AGP video card $40, thats everthing but a monitor ,if you need one of those , I just bought a 19 inch for $375 , but you can get 14 inch models for $100. Ken

  5. #5

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    Hi again q. ,

    Despite having five fully expanded new series Akais, I still use my three S3x00XL samplers because I know how to use them at a very detailed level and they have portamento (which the current 1.30 operating system for the new series does not).

    The Akais are also used as \'multitrack recorders\' since sample recording can be triggered by a sequenced midi note, and the same midi note can used to trigger playback at the same point (thus everything is kept in time/sync).

    I will try and answer some of your questions:

    1a) The bx motherboard is considered fairly \'tried and trusted\' compared with some of the newer motherboards/chip sets.

    1b) Adapters called \"Slockets\" can be used to accomodate certain cpus.

    1c) I\'m not aware of any issues with 133 MHz SDRAM frying AGP cards (!?). You can still use 100 MHz SDRAM if you want.

    1d) I use Windows 98 and do not notice any millenium bug problem.

    2) Where you live, can you buy a PC from a music equipment retailer that can test the configuration to see if is works well with GS ? Buying one PC with GS, is less expensive than five Akais ;-(

    3) For any music released commercially, most manufacturers of sample CD/CD-ROMs have license agreements that only allow the original purchaser to use them. I prefer to be safe in this respect, and have had to spend several thousands of dollars/pounds on CD-ROMs. There are an increasing number of Giga format CD-ROMs that are very reasonably priced - I know from experience how much work can be involved in producing professional quality sampled instruments.

    4) I agree that PCs are often irritatingly noisy and somewhat bulky. If you decide to get a PC choose carefully in this respect. By the way, the S6000 has a fan in it but the S5000 does not.

    Hope this helps

  6. #6

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    hi you all and thanks for your input.

    Hey nicolash, FIVE s5/6000! i still remember the last year \"sound on sound\" mag (www.sospubs.co.uk) akais review when they wrote that just one of the new machines would fulfill the needs of those multi s1000/3000 power users. Sure they didnt know about you! (are sessions that busy at london studios?)

    Well, the main concerns about my GS dilemma may be more in the pc side that in the GS soft one. The first time i knew about GS was at the time the s2000 was launched and i have to reckon the small beast (GS) has evolved more than anything in the sampler business; up to the point to what everyone of us know can be achieved with GStudio.
    I hoped then the GS would be ported to Mac as is an stable and fast platform, but nothing came out, and looks there\'re no plans for this by now. Well i gave up and thought about giving the soft a try, but then came the intel\'s i820 bug and had to rethink the matter, asking myself:

    1) why do i have to buy a bx mothboard (2 year old technology), and will it work with standard/cumine cpus -slot, socket, nasa, anyone?- and what if 133mhzram fry the AGP card or bus (neither same nor multiple Mhz speed result), will this be solved with intel 815? opt for nonintel chipset? but theres also the W2000000098millenium bug.. and what the h. you wintel chairmen are playing with us ..

    2) the price cost. I really dont fancy buying a pc overseas (not that mad), and with prices sligthly higher over here plus the \'everything\' european tax (16% in Spain), you cant configure a pc likes that of Cool7s_Dad for less than (translated to US$) $3000 to $3500 or more. Add to that $? for a screen, $300 for a motu or opcode midi interface, $900+ for an 8 out decent noise spec and balanced audio card (im still waiting for the echo layla24 to wake up, hey echooooo!) plus $700 for the GStudio soft, and you could buy an used car (or an s6000 for the matter). And the pc thing might not work

    3) libraries. Let alone gigapiano (and i\'ve told this to be a reason alone to buy GS) and until Miroslav dont put his prices to reasonable levels -to mere mortals, not to hollywood megasummerhit movie composers- i was going to use Sformat -and EIII- libraries (of which we and my friends at the local studios have some billions), so why not put them inside the new trusty white akai machines?

    4) FrankMonster vs rack sampler. A typical computer is a big, noisy, noisy, noisy, heavy, power hungry, unportable, unrackable-not be able to find an adequate case- and dumb machine that even needs an even bulkier screen -TFT too expensive yet-. I hope some day we\'ll do with notebooks, but not tomorrow i guess.
    NOTE: I would pay ANYTHING for a -Working- notebook runing Gstudio 160, sequencer and 8 track recording with good 24bit ext converters (my dream come true: a notebook, an MDM, a sequencer and a sampler all in one travelling cute little thing)

    Well anyway, my folks at the studios insist and are waiting for me to be the indianbunny tester of the GStudio, so may i still give it a try if a cheaper (i can always upgrade to scsi etc) pIII 256ram and udma7600rpmHD pc is enough and if i find some cheap gsif audio card.

    but please! keep pointing anywhere in this forum over asus motheboards, intel cpus and ram type Working COMBINATIONS -personally dont trust other than intel cpus for music apps, ..comments here. (remember i DO prefer and use macs in case you thought i work for intel)

    thanks all,
    greetings from a hot and sunny day in this island full of tourists


  7. #7

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    Hi Morgy,

    I agree that it is difficult to find a suitable retailer in London. However, if both the PC and GS are bought together as a package from a music equipment retailer, the retailer should be able to \'guarantee\' compatibility or promptly sort out any problems.

    Although not in London, The Red Submarine Computer Company (www.sub.co.uk) seem to specialise in PCs for music based applications. Their advert in Sound On Sound magazine mentions GigaSampler and I\'ve previously seen the company mentioned in a positive light in that mag.

    My experience with Digital Village in London gives me the impression that they are possibly more keen/knowledgeable (?) on MACs than PCs, but they are certainly worth talking to.

    I have also found Turnkey pleasant to deal with, and it could be worth asking them if they can \'guarantee\' the performance of a suitable PC/GS package from them.

    I would recommend separate PCs for GS and audio sequencer. With a suitable switching box, they can share the same monitor (and even mouse & keyboard with some switchers).

    Busch\'s comments about PC components (posted 06-20-2000 12:32 PM) seem very sensible.

    A friend of mine, who has recently put together his own PC, has had several problems trying to get GigaSampler working with Cubase VST on this single machine. He is rapidly becoming an expert on PCs ;-) currently spending much more time on tweaking his computer than making music!

    Hope this helps

  8. #8

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    Hi Busch,

    I agree with your comments about PC components (especially those concerning the latest super-fast SCSI controllers).

    I find with most electronic music equipment that the more familiar I am with an operating/programming environment, the more productive I am musically with that equipment despite its limitations compared with similar alternatives:

    1) Because I got used to using PCs at work, I went the PC route for music in spite of numerous recommendations to go for a MAC

    2) Learning Cubase from my Atari 1040 days, I kept with the Cubase sequencing platform when I moved over to PCs despite numerous recommendations to go for Logic Audio

    3) Gaining familiarity with sampling using earlier Akai samplers, I still continue with the new series Akais since they employ very similar programming concepts. (I have also built up a library of sounds for the Akais which I think now amounts to over 30 GigaBytes of samples)

    GS is marvellous, but I have elected not to sell my Akais since I find them reliable, quiet, very easy to use and they give quite extensive programming facilities. IMHO the DSP effects and sample manipulation facilities of the new Akais are still very good in this day and age. Of course I would like even more memory for samples, (all my Akais together only give me a little over 1.5 GigaBytes of RAM), but I do not consider the hardware units as dinasours just yet !

    I use the digital I/O of the Akais to connect them with my Yamaha digital mixer; not such a sea of wires as you would imagine :-)

    For someone doing extensive orchestral work with samplers, GS is likely to be the best value option by quite some way. Some of my friends who compose/produce various forms of \'dance\' music, argue with me why I need more than 32 MB RAM !

    All the best

  9. #9

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?

    Hi Nicholas,

    I\'m wanting to put together a top quality PC to run GigaStudio 160. I also wish to run Logic probably with Soundscape (with Video for my film work), maybe on a separate PC.

    I\'m no tech head and I\'m alarmed at the problems that many people seem to be having with what seem to be a promising piece of kit.

    As a fellow Londoner, can you point me to a PC expert/retailer in town who really understands Giga (or vice versa). I can\'t find one yet.

    You seem to have a lot of the answers but are doing overtime on this board already.


  10. #10

    Re: should I buy GStudio vs akai S6000?


    A couple of comments. 160MB SCSI is a complete waste of money. Most PC hard drives are capable of at most 25MB/s burst transfer (sequential read/write). Under DAW (GigaSampler) environments it\'s random access and more in the 10MB/s or less range. In either case the 33MB/s limit of standard UDMA isn\'t touched. I have yet to see a performance test where 66MB UDMA performs better than 33MB. The higher speeds for SCSI (80MB and 160MB) are only of value in a server/large database environment where multiple users are access multiple drives (a dozen or more). 160MB SCSI is an eight lane highway. A single user on a PC can\'t fill it. There are two many other limitations. A fast 7,200 RPM IDE drive will perform as well as any SCSI drive in DAW/GS environment. The busmaster software built into Windows allows IDE drives to operate with minimum impact on the CPU.

    Your concern about hard drive access is unfounded. DAWs put about the same level of stress on a hard drive as GS does. DAWs are clearly here to stay. Most users get many years of service out of their hard drives in a DAW environment. Most upgrade to a large drive long before the drive wears out. In a few years you should be able to get several hundred GBs of disk for a few hundred dollars.

    Regarding motherboards. I have used Intel BX MB for sometime. Recently I started building machines using the ASUS P3V4X MB with the VIA Apollo Pro chipset. My GS machine is run this MB. I have run into zero problems with this MB. My config is a PIII 600Mhz, 256MB RAM, 40GB 7,200 Maxtor IDE HD, ASUS P3V4X MB, Darla24, SB AWE64, 4X AGP. GigaStudio is extremely stable on this machine.

    Regarding Akai vs. GS. I too have owned a number of hardware samplers. I recently sold off my Akais and Kurzweil K2500X. After GS, I just wasn\'t using them. I really consider the hardware units dinasours. The basics of hardware samplers have changed little since I first bought a Roland 12-bit sampler 15 years ago. Yes, they\'ve improved considerably, but the basics of how they work hasn\'t changed much.

    Your PC can become a platform for much more than GS. I use both a Mac and two PCs in my environment. Having both platforms keeps my options open. I can use the best tools avaialble, regardless of platform. Another consideration with PCs is leverage. When you invest in a good sound, high quality monitor, large HD, etc. that investment is leveraged across all of your applications. So not only does GS benefit, but that soft synth you\'re using has access to the quality sound card, etc. When you buy hardware modules, each has it\'s own tiny display, it\'s own operating system that you have to figure out, it\'s own audio capabilities (most are 16-bit units, unbalanced 1/4\" outputs with no digital I/O), etc. Because I still have too many hardware pieces, my studio is a maze of wires. I have an AC network, a MIDI network, a digital I/O network, SCSI network, and analog audio I/O network. Dozens and dozens of cables linking all this stuff together. I firmly believe that in 5-10 years ALL that you will have is a PC/Mac with one or two input devices. EVERYTHING will be done on the PC and the results will be cleaner and far more accurate than what you could do with outboard hardware devices.

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