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Hardware Thread, What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite in Technical; We have got to kit out one music room with ICT kit, new pcs etc. The music dept have been ...
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    tosca925's Avatar
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    What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    We have got to kit out one music room with ICT kit, new pcs etc. The music dept have been no help, has anyone had to do this or have any minimum spec that we should look at.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    What software do you have or want to run on them? that will give you an idea for processor ram etc...

    Are they going on the network? does that interfere with the music programs and audio recording?

    Will kids be making cd's direct from the machines therefore do you need cd-rw?

    Will they be plugging midi keyboards in? if so get some proper midi interfaces for them rather than using the game ports with adapters.

    If they will be plugging in external keyboards etc.. then space is an issue.

    Decent headphones for them to listen to compositions?

    Just a few thoughts I've had as I will soon be in a similar situation.

    Ben

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    At our school the music department bought Apple Macs:

    G5 power mac 2.0Ghz dual processor with 2GB Ram with the nice 20" apple cinema displays. Each came with Cubase and Reason, also garageband with ilife. Usb keyboard 2 Octaves.

    we are a visual and performing arts college and music department were insistant on having macs, we tried to go the windows route with cubase and reason both being PC products too. The learning curve was rather steep but there picking things up. Depends on personal preference and staff expereince.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    First thought; they MUST be as quiet as possible. Good quality I/O board, probably specified by Muso rather than IT supplier; have a look at StudioSpares fo some ideas. Decent enclosed headphones (cable-tied to a Rotweiller). As to speed / memory, quick & lots. But noise is number 1!

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Our Music department is looking to buy a bunch of laptops.

    Main software used is Sibelius and Cubasis. Obviously need Midi input.

    Anyone got experience of speccing & setting up laptops for music?

    Any advice re. spec. of laptops gratefully received.

    RoyG

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Front breakout boxes are a must.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Quote Originally Posted by RoyG
    Our Music department is looking to buy a bunch of laptops.

    Main software used is Sibelius and Cubasis. Obviously need Midi input.

    Anyone got experience of speccing & setting up laptops for music?

    Any advice re. spec. of laptops gratefully received.

    RoyG
    I tend to avoid laptops for music work due to locations of internal components.

    Most laptops only have Mic not Line In so you have to get and external box.

    They plug in via USB 2 and are host powered if you are lucky but if the USB port is too close to the power board you can get some horrendous interference. If you can go with a laptop with Firewire, or pick up a Firewire card (this is usually better as you get 6 pin firewire rather than 4 pin ... meaning that the box can be host powered again.

    For best performance you need to have everything pulgged into the mains anyway ... so the main benefit of having laptops is that they are mobile.

    Personally ... go for a desktop. Less wear and tear so a longer life span and a better range of audio hardware (whether it be cheap to the Pro User add-ons)

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Quote Originally Posted by RoyG
    Our Music department is looking to buy a bunch of laptops.

    Main software used is Sibelius and Cubasis. Obviously need Midi input.

    Anyone got experience of speccing & setting up laptops for music?

    Any advice re. spec. of laptops gratefully received.

    RoyG
    Laptops and music software will be VERY problematic. This is mainly because laptop sound cards arent very good. We use cubase and sibelius on our music suite, i cant really use my laptop (which is a good spec) to accurately playback students work.

    We used a company called Music Village (i woulnt really recommend as the PC cases are flimsy) but that would give you an idea of a good spec. Ours are based on windows rather than mac with a decend soundcard with 5 1/2 panel at the front and midi keyboards and CDRW that the students can use.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    usb midi interfaces are a plenty and interference shouldn't be a problem with midi as midi is just control commands not digital audio.

    I wouldn't personally go down the laptop router maybe some shuttle style machines or even mini-itx with tft's

    Ben

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    The problem with many laptops is that they create a “ground-loop” connected to external audio kit. This is the cause of interference on the audio. This can be overcome by using isolating transformers on the audio line connections.

    Headphones only is fine as they are not grounded.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    recommend soundcontrol based in birmingham very helpful!

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Music Villiage machines we had were pants. ASRock m/b's, lousy support, lousy installation, expensive. Had some decent spec vanilla PC's fared much better. Music Teach specified Audigy2s which haven't been the best.
    Use Sibelius and Cubase here.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Does anybody use a system where the teacher can control playback etc... from a front desk.

    Don't know if we are just looking at a mixer with one channel per keyboard say so that they could play an individual or multiple keyboards over the audio system in the room at the same time or something more complex?

    As a laptop power supply is plastic and double insulated can you safely lift the ground on it?

    Ben

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    If you're hellbent on using laptops for music, RME do some nice PCMCIA sound cards, but they might not be budget-firendly

    Our music labs have fairly high-spec Dells with m-audio audiophile cards in - good quality, good price, good drivers (i'm talking to you, Creative Labs!).

    Software-wise we have Cubase SX3, Sibelius and a few other bits and bobs. We had quite a few software niggles with SX3, but we got it on release date. People buying it now shouldn't have to run all the updates an suffer the side-effects.

    For furniture, we have desking with a raised shelf at the back. The shelf holds the PC and TFT and the keyboard+mouse when not in use. The music keyboards slide underneath that when they're not in use. Simple, cheap and works well.

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    Re: What sort of spec for a Music ICT suite

    Quote Originally Posted by plexer
    As a laptop power supply is plastic and double insulated can you safely lift the ground on it?
    If it is truly double insulated, there isn't a safety connection to earth. However, neutral is only really an extra connection to earth, so wierdness and interference still happen.

    NEVER remove earth cables in mains plugs! There are situations where lifting ground connections in AUDIO connectors is a valid emergency "get out of jail", but it is much better to have a properly thought through earthing scheme.

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