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Topic: My periodic disappearing act

  1. #1

    My periodic disappearing act

    I tend to disappear once in a while when I'm really involved deeply in a composing project, but these last couple of months, I have been shutting myself down altogether on the forums because I was incommunicado for a different reason.

    For the first time since 2001, I have designed and built my own computer system from the ground up. I was getting indications that my older equipment was on the verge of collapsing, and since I started getting Social Security checks in August, I have been saving up to buy a new computer system. However, when I shopped around and saw how much cheaper it was to build my own system again, that is the route I chose. By doing so, I have been able to save at least $300 over my budgeted purchase price for a new computer.

    I now have the most powerful system I have ever built for a DAW. It is running XP Pro and Windows 7 in a box that has an AMD Athlon II X3 Triple-Core CPU running at 3.10 GHz with 8 GB DDR3 RAM and a 2-terabyte hard drive (with Win 7 on it), plus an older 160 GB hard drive (with XP on it). Under XP, I can continue to use one of my all-time favorite professional audio cards -- the Yamaha SW1000XG, which puts out superb audio quality with only a slight amount of hiss in the background, which is not surprising for a card that is at least 12 years old.

    While some people may have much more powerful systems than this, it is the most ambitious project I have ever undertaken to build, and the price is unbeatable -- about $200. I already had a lot of the equipment on hand, just sitting around collecting dust, but when I inventoried it all, I found that buying a new off-the-shelf system would have cost more than two or three times what I spent and it still would not have been this powerful.

    Composing with a complete Garritan orchestra plus any number of extras, is now at my command, and I have never had this feeling before. I wish everyone could do something like this at least once in their lifetime because it's a very educational experience in more ways than one.

    But I'm back fully online now and I don't intend to pull any more disappearing acts any time soon. For those who have been wondering, that's all there was to it -- I just wanted to avoid any contact at all until the entire project was completed, and now that has been done. It has been the most wonderful Christmas I could ever have imagined before.

    I want to wish everyone a most musical Christmas season and the happiest possible New Year's. Mine have not been so good in many years past, but that seems to be over with, at least for the time being, and I intend to enjoy every single minute of it.

    Arvid Hand

  2. #2

    Re: My periodic disappearing act

    Hi Arvid,
    While I have never built my own computer (mac user) I can fully understand the joy you are experiencing. I too have a generous amount of common sense when it comes to fixing things. I have never been afraid to take something apart and diagnose the problem. Discovering a loose connection and repairing things myself as opposed to throwing them away, or paying someone tons of money to do the same thing is not a good feeling. Over the years, I have saved a gob of money this way. I was confused when you said your sound-card has some hiss, it shouldn't have any. My seven year old RME HDSP 9652 sound-card is all digital so I suppose maybe the hiss you are referring to is from the analog outputs.

    I sense the thrill in your words that you are finally able to play all the instruments simultaneously in your project. I have been able to do that for a long time with my Mac computer, but I too remember what it was like to be able to finally do that.

    I trust your Christmas will be great and that you continue to enjoy your new computer!

  3. #3

    Re: My periodic disappearing act

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    My seven year old RME HDSP 9652 sound-card is all digital so I suppose maybe the hiss you are referring to is from the analog outputs.
    You are correct that it is only in the analog outputs. The digital output is not affected. And it is so very slight most people would never notice it, and I can only hear it in my left ear (the good one), but by reversing the headphones, I can tell it is on both sides.

    The new computer is all the Christmas I'm going to have, but it is certainly more than enough, and I could not wish for anything better, especially as a composer.

    Now I need to get busy and write some more on a tutorial I was preparing, and cleaning up a new version of the printed score for my "Buddha Meets the Moos-sician" piece that Peter Jeffrey Gale has done so much work on, and I am continuing to write Part II of that work, which will be called "The Return of Buddha and the Moos-sician." So I have plenty to keep me busy for quite some time to come, and I couldn't be happier.

    Merry Christmas to you as well, and have a happy and safe New Year, Dan!
    Arvid Hand

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