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Old 05-03-2006, 03:52 PM
nikki-k nikki-k is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Hobette Alley
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Default Re: Best Systems and Components for Win HD/TDM

Hi
Track counts...voice use...is only *limited* by the Digi hardware. Basically, it is like any digital mixer: configurable, but with limitations in number of channels.

Next would be computer hardware. In my experience, SCSI (ultra wide) of the highest performance rating will aford one with a bit of an edge, but NOT in track count. OK, that is a lie...track count within a rather large session (full voice use, maxed buss use) with tons of edits (high density) might be comprimised (to a degree). Of course, sample rate can have an impact as well. The biggest consistent advantage I have experienced is that SCSI drives (high quality) "spin up" faster, and thus "press play to audio" time is (significantly?) lower. However, this (once again) will vary with session type and size, and thus significance vs $$$ difference will shift as well.

If one were doing huge sessions with video, SCSI might the answer. If one is doing sessions with tons of editing, and spin up is a major issue, then SCSI is the answer. BUT! I do not see any other reason for SCSI. Pro installations are doing SATA; external, racked (RAID 5 and RAID 0+1 are what I have seen/heard) being most popular.

Prior to running SATA drives, I had two drives in my system: IDE drives, 7200 rpm. I could record 32 tracks at once, none playing back, @ 24/96k. With those 32 playing back, I was still able to record an additional 24 at once (reliably). Returns diminished after that, by about 8 tracks each time I added and continued playing back. I believe at 72 playing back, I had to switch to the system drive for aid. I moved a bunch of tracks to the system drive, and then continued with recording on the audio drive. Attaining the full 96 voice capability was possible with just those two drives. Light edits were also fine, but get into some good, mediumk density edits and things demand reduction in tracks playing back. Not bad IMO! Using dual WD 10K RPM Raptors in round robin (or simply manualy distribute files) does this same scenario up thru medium edits easily. I have not tried adding video, nor have I delved into 192K rate (I simply do not see ANY value in it...sorry...)

SCSI is nice, but I have seen too many pro installs with external, racked RAID enabled SATA solutions, with firewire capabilities for portability, or "flying in" extra files. The caching you speak of simply provides the faster "press play to audio" times. Reliability was also a factor before, but it seems to have diminished returns as well.

Lastly, with a RAID solution that has two drives apearing as one (non-mirrored), the benefit is that the two are seen as one, but perofrmance is (effectively?) doubled. In other words, as data streams to/from the "single drive," it is actually the two drives doing work, thus the capabilities are doubled (for the most part). It is the pipe the data flows thru that presents the biggest problem then. But, SATA is plenty capable to providing a big enough pipe for anything thrown at it.

I only do music, and do not do extremely high density edits. I never excede 128 tracks in regular use (only for testing and such). And I have never needed more than two SATA drives for anything I have done, ever. Of course, that doesnt mean other solutions dont have merit!
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nikki k
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