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Audio hardware setup for authoring

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#1 doa

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Posted November 13, 2019 - 06:22 AM

I'm curious to know if any of you guys use anything more than onboard audio with basic headphone for authoring?


I'm thinking of getting a new pair of headphones soon, and that could potentially lead down the path of looking at an entry level DAC and amp setup (if I get a decent pair). But with the 320kbps mp3 files that I use for authoring that might all be overkill?


What kind of setups do you guys have?

#2 Shroud

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Posted November 13, 2019 - 07:18 AM

I only authored one custom, so my experience is very small, but I don't think you need anything special at all. I even did everything on an extremely old and cranky laptop, and the only problem I had was that for some reason Magma doesn't succeed at adding the album cover image.


On the other hand, you really need to work on WAV files ripped from a CD, not on mp3 files  :)


For the purpose of transcribing the instruments parts, Reaper has a few built-in equalizers and stereo splitter that will help you focus on one instrument at a time while lowering the others. Of course use headphones!

#3 Rocker1999

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Posted November 13, 2019 - 12:01 PM

I have a whole system meant for audio mixing and mastering, so I just use that for authoring since it's what I have.  Honestly as long as you're not on super cheap speakers or headphones, then you're pretty much good for authoring.  I would say, if you can, always get a lossless version of a song instead of an MP3 (WAV, AIFF, or FLAC)

#4 BornGamerRob

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Posted November 14, 2019 - 03:15 AM

I have a Roland Quad Capture AI because onboard audio just wasn't allowing me enough control to adjust settings to pull things out (even though Reaper plugins do a decent job). Plus, just not a huge fan of standard onboard audio now-a-days, so anytime I can bypass it, I will. I also have a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones, which makes a huge difference in deciphering sound. I use the AI's preamps to record dry vox with a Samson M15 dynamic mic. I have better mics, but this one does the job pretty well for a lower cost.


Do you need all of that to author? No. But, since you asked, thought I'd share. =-)

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#5 doa

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Posted November 14, 2019 - 04:38 AM

Thanks for the replies, for future customs I will rip my CDs to a lossless format (instead of mp3).


I've been looking at the Audio Technica ATH-M40x and beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones. Both look like solid headphones that are not too expensive. 


Their impedance is 47 and 32 respectively. 


If I do go for headphone like this I am also looking at a Schiit Modi and Magni stack which then bumps up the price a fair bit more. 


Having never listened to music through any decent audio equipment I have no point of reference as to how much difference such a setup might make. From BornGamerRob's experience it sounds like it can make some difference though. 


I'm not in a rush to buy anything right now, but might consider this for Christmas …

#6 Bansheeflyer



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Posted November 15, 2019 - 02:55 AM

I don't have anything fancy in the way of a sound card but I have a 7.1 Logitech G633 headset that helps a ton (as of the time of this posting the G635 is on sale for $100 and is pretty much the same model).


Also the higher quality the audio, the better. I usually find ~260kbps MP3s to be sufficient as the bare minimum but anything lower than that and you risk missing stuff from the lack of quality.

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#7 FujiSkunk

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Posted November 19, 2019 - 12:33 AM

Echoing what everyone else said, for authoring customs, your headphones will be the most important part of your authoring set-up.  Even the cheapest computer nowadays is more than capable of running REAPER and other authoring tools without any noticeable lag or hiccupping.  You don't have to spend a ton of money on your headphones, but don't cheap out, either.  I have a pair of Sennheisers that went for around $100 when I first got them, though a sale made them much cheaper.  They've been more than capable, and 10+ years later they're still going strong.  In fact, the cable and ear pads are falling apart, but the electronics are still perfectly fine!


If you use a desktop computer for authoring, I would also recommend getting a separate audio card, even if it's just a cheap SoundBlaster.  Every computer I've owned had background noise whenusing the on-board audio, and the problem always went away when I switched to a dedicated card instead.

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