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Well, I finally broke down and bought the quad-core computer of my dreams for Studio A. My old box, a Dell Pentium 4 3.2 HT, was really showing it's age and crimping my creative workflow. I like to use lots of VST instrument plug-ins simultaneously, and the old box just couldn't handle it. There were even some synths I had spent good money on that I flat-out could not use. One instance would put the CPU in overload!
Well, the new box does everything I imagined it would (and perhaps a bit more). For those who like specs, I had ADK Pro Audio build me a HUGE honker of a server-class machine with an Intel Q6600 (Conroe) processor...that's four processors on a single unit. Though it normally runs at 2.4gHz (per core), this one is over-clocked to 3.0. It has 4GB of RAM and 1.3 TB of disk (on three drives).
It took me a few days to re-install and re-authorize all of my software and then I was in absolute heaven. I threw every stress test in the book at it and it just performs like a dream.
Music? Oh, right...this IS the Hybernation Music blog after all, isn't it? Well two nights ago I was playing with a wonderful CPU-eating synth I've never been able to use until now...the Ultra Analog VA-1 from Applied Acoustic Systems (see screen shot below). It's got one of the smoothest pure-analog sounds you'll ever hear, and it used to send the CPU on my old box into never-never land with just one or two instances. I started messing around with a couple of arpeggio patches and before I knew it I had come up with a "Dance" tune!
Dance you say? Well, heck, I don't know what else to call it. It's definitely not Prog or Ambient, or any style that I normally do.
It's totally and completely outside of my usual set of genres...I was "totally out of my box" on this one.
More statistics: 7 instances of Ultra Analog VA-1. One instance of Native Instruments Battery 3 for drums. Then for flavor, I doubled some of the VA-1 parts with one instance each of Native Instruments Massive, Rob Palpen's Albino3, Arturia's CS-80V and Moog Modular-V and GMedia's Minimonsta. A total of 13 tracks of Virtual Synthesizer bliss. My new box? CPU never went above 35%!