Digital Audio Workstation!

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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Digital Audio Workstation!

Post by AUdiOMAN » Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:37 am

Hello people,

I recently posted in the general discussion section about building a new DAW:

I now seem to be struggling on which case to purchase. I make my mind up and then I read a post about that particular case, and it 'unmakes' my mind.

I've been looking at:

Lian Li PC-60
Antec Sonata
Antec SLK3700BQE
Antec PLUS1080AMG
Evercase ECE4252
Rack Cases

I'm just not sure what to go for now! Here is the list of components for my new DAW:

Intel Pentium 4 3.00Ghz 800FSB
1Gb Corsair TwinX PC3200
Matrox Millenium P650 <--- Fanless
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus 80Gb
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus 80Gb
Lite-ON LTR-52327S
Pioneer DVR-106
Seasonic Super Silent 400W PSU
Thermalright SLK-900U with 92mm Panaflo L1A
Case Cooling <--- Based on what chosen case allows

Thankyou in advanced!


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Post by halcyon » Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:29 am

I'd rule out Lian Li due to aluminium construction and more prone to vibration construction.

Antec Sonata is very tight, I'd go for a slightly bigger case.

SLK3700BQE is better IMHO than PLU1080AMG due to different fan placement/size issues.

Evercase I have no comment on. If you can get it locally, perhaps its a good choice as well.

Rack cases I would just forget about outright, good ones are too expensive and you'll want good airflow with minimum fan speed, which is harder to achieve in a really tight rack case.

My two cents worth :)

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Post by moshen » Tue Sep 16, 2003 8:55 am

i've been looking at new rack cases for my DAW and i came across this site: ... e=rackmini

i've been looking at getting the 8 bay brushed aluminum one.
the inside view of the case looks to have plenty of room and everything can be removed easily. any opinions?? (yes, i did make another post about this)

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Post by AUdiOMAN » Tue Sep 16, 2003 9:35 am

Hello again,

Thankyou halcyon!

@ moshen I did look at rack cases and in all honesty I don't really need one, my racks are full and I haven't really got the space to get another one. From the ones i've seen you need to spend alot of money to get good airflow and some of the case are alot longer than conventional racks!

I think I will go for the SLK3700BQE!

Is it possible to get 120mm Panaflo? or would a JMC/Papst be a better choice?



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Post by CoolColJ » Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:23 pm

Sonata is definietly the cheapest solution for a DAW, according to sveeral DAW builders. Since you get a decent PSU with it.

But since your getting a PSU, hmm one of those GMC cases with all the sound damping wouldn't be a bad idea for minimal effort :)

I'm a mastering engineer BTW, so I understand your concerns...somewhat :D

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Post by Shadowknight » Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:45 pm

I still think you should get a LG CD writer instead of a Lite-on, but the setup looks good otherwise.

Oh, one other thing. Go to ASUS's site and make SURE that the RAM you're getting is on the recommended list for that board. Some boards have issues with particular brands/types of RAM (a WHOLE lot of Corsair RAM doesn't like the P4C800 board, for example).

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Post by wussboy » Wed Sep 17, 2003 6:50 am

Audioman, I've just started to play around with computer audio, and I was wondering what soundcard you are going to use? I have a midi keyboard going into an SB Live! and there's some noticable lag. What do the pros use?

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Post by moshen » Wed Sep 17, 2003 11:34 am

wussboy, a couple of great cards for beginners are:
m-audio audiophile (about $150 online)
echo mia (about $200 online)

i currently use an m-audio delta 410 but i don't do much recording, mainly production using virtual instruments and synthesizers.

some great audio interface manufacterers:

i would advise you to stay away from USB audio devices due to thier terrible latency. some firewire devices are okay. i still don't like the latency on them IMO.

some really good pro-audio messege boards/sites

and to tweak your PC for audio production/editing:

good luck and have fun! :)

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Post by msmrodan » Wed Sep 17, 2003 2:54 pm

IMHO there is nothing, absolutely nothing that comes close to the Chieftec dragon/antec cases in terms of quiet pc achievement and DAW building.

Lets start with the air intakes that all of you love to complain about in the other cases - The Chieftec has one of the most ventilated designs and still retains much potential for quiet modding, and at the same time has great aesthetics.

For example, you could mod the hard disk cage mounted infront of the higher front intake and cover its insides with sound dampening material, thereby creating a duct that lets air in but reduces noise significantly.

Remember that the less resistance the air is facing the less hard you'll have to drive your fans on the exhaust end.

I'm currently running an Athlon XP1700 on a K7s5a, Zalman cnps 6000cu, zalman MFC1, 230W Quiet PC PSU (still going strong) and one stock 80 mm fan at the back. One cuda IV and one older seagate 5400 drive
case is dampened at various places using computer packing foam :)
seagate drive is mounted on elastic rubber bands.

With both fans running at 5V I get 52-54 C on the CPU and around 33 on the case at idle and around 56 C at load.

revving up to full speed reduces this to 42/45 on the CPU.

Noise in the quiet mode is so low that you have to go to the back of the case to hear something distinguishable as a fan whoosh. I would estimate the noise db at around 17-18..perhaps even less, I'll have to rig up a microphone to test this. This is also helped by the fact that I placed professional noise treatment material on the wall facing the back of the case.

good luck mate

btw mia is a great card...wonderful bang for buck

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Post by tragus » Wed Sep 17, 2003 7:15 pm

wussboy, if you have the bucks ($500) and want a superb PCI sound card (versus an external conversion box that will definitely set you back), also look at Lynx Studio's LynxOne. They have higher end cards that are quite nice. I especially like the LynxTwo but its too rich for my simple needs (transferring vinyl to CD). Its clock can be externally set and/or regulated, reducing lag and jitter.

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Post by AUdiOMAN » Thu Sep 18, 2003 7:00 am

Hello people,

Firstly I appreciate all your posts thankyou, I have learnt alot already! :)

@ CoolColJ - I'm in the UK and couldn't find anything on GMC cases! :(

@ Shadowknight - I have been looking at the LG burners, does it burn aswell as the Lite-ON drives? also been checking out Plextor burners aswell. Went to ASUS' website about the RAM and I think I'm gonna have problems in this area. The board doesn't seem that flexible on RAM type! Maybe I should go for the Intel D875PBZ mobo, according to Carillon thats what they use for there DAWs!

@ wussboy - This is now my 4th DAW and I would say that RME make some of the best audiocards, I will be installing an RME later in the year!

@ moshen - Thanks for the links, i'm all sorted for audio cards!

@ msmrodan - Thanks for the advice, yes the MIA is a great card!

Thanks to all that have helped me!


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Post by moshen » Thu Sep 18, 2003 8:57 am

nice choice with the RME audioman... i'm gonna be getting an HD9652 card in a couple months... they simply have the best interfaces out there.

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Post by Cams » Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:19 pm

I got a GMC Neo Classic case from Frozen Silicon in Germany to use in my DAW. Unlike the cases in the reviews I've read online, this one didn't come with sound damping material so I added in some Magic Fleece. I've not set it up yet but have four panaflo fans and a Sunbeam fan controller waiting for when I do. Just got to pick up the Sunbeam from Scotland when I'm over next week and I'll be good to go.

As for soundcards, the ones mentioned already are highly thought of, however I opted for a lower cost TerraTec EWX24/96 which also comes highly regarded. I don't use its digital converters though, preferring instead the external MindPrint Di-Port converter with two pretty decent preamps and phantom power.


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Post by wussboy » Sat Sep 20, 2003 9:06 pm

Thanks for the help all. I will bookmark and research all sites recommended! Cheers!

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Board / CD-RW / Hard Drive / Case - Recommendations

Post by Putz » Sat Sep 20, 2003 11:22 pm

I have a few humble recommendations/comments:

The Intel boards are extremely reliable, and I think the 875 would suit your needs well. Many people do not favour the Intel-brand boards, because they are relatively slow, and do not offer many overclocking features, etc. However, in your case, you will not notice the 3-5% speed drop, but I think you would notice the extreme reliability. I don't know offhand whether they have built-in RAID support (in case you want to put those Seagates into a RAID configuration).

If RAID is not desired, consider also a single Hitachi 160 GB drive instead of the two Seagate 80 giggers. Quite quiet, and very powerful. Only topped (slightly) by Western Digital for A/V applications, but the WDs are very noisy.

Plextor CD-RW drives are, in my educated opinion (and many others'), the best of the best in terms of final burn quality. If you are looking to master some discs, Plextor is your best bet. (Notes: There are even better drives available in "industrial" circles. Also, Plextor drives are not the quietest around, but no optical drives are all that quiet anyway.) That all said, either the LG or the Lite-On will probably not let you down if you aren't extremely discriminant.

These recommendations aside, you essentially have an excellent system spec'd out.

In terms of the case, I can only comment on the Antec Sonata. I also use my system for (among other things) digital audio and video processing. I am happy with the Sonata as a case, but the included power supply is not quiet enough to satisfy me. Under minimal load, it is very quiet, but with a medium-loaded system, it exhibits noise with a discernible tone, and some turbulence noise. With a few simple modifications (fan swap, PSU swap, perhaps a little bit of damping, etc.), the Sonata can probably satisfy your requirements. But then again, so could a host of other cases!

Let us know how you make out! Best of luck.

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Post by OmegaZero » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:21 pm

Audioman, are you out there?!

I realize this is an old topic, but I was wondering how the Corsair TwinX PC3200 was working with the P4C800-E ?

I have a very similar setup ('POWER" in my signature) and need to replace the RAM...

Oddly enough, my system is a DAW as well. 8)

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Post by ronrem » Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:19 am

The ESI Juli@ is a 2 channel only 24/192 card,has a clever way of having different jacks usable,great SN ratio and a pretty nice price. I just got an M Audio Revolution 5.1,quite a bit cheaper but nice. I'm not doing commercial sound,I have a collection of live recordings on cassette I want to clean up with Soundforge or Wavelab and burn to CD. Creative's cards aim at gamers. For audio,there always seems to be bugs,clicks,hums or driver issues,so audiophiles steer away. The latest Creative stuff may be higher quality..but then you pay $200 to get the quality of my $70 M Audio,for $200 I could have had 4 lines in,perhaps more,in an M-Audio.

M- Audio has a few good competitors in the mid to semi low price zone,with most using Via'ss Envy 24 chip in some variation. That somewhat minimizes the differences in the core sound quality,but the more critical the product must be,the more other details may matter. Alas a well detailed but current review of a bunch of the options is elusive.

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