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Old 04 March 2019, 21:21   #1
Overmann
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I want to set up an Amiga DAW for audio recording

Hi all,

These last few months I've been considering focusing my future purchases on getting a good Amiga DAW setup going for audio recording and production. I have some items but need some advice/recommendations. This is what I have so far:

Amiga 1200 060/66mhz
Blizzard SCSI for fast disk access
ZIV busboard
Cybervision 64/3D RTG
XSurf 100 for file transfer
Amiga serial MIDI device
Several external MIDI instruments
Lots of external preamps, compressors, equalizers and micophones (basic studio equipment)

I can't imagine I can afford an A3000 or A4000 to get those sweet Zorro III slots, but If I can find one at a reasonable price I will surely pick it up.

What I need is one or more good sound cards and appropriate software. As far as I can tell Prelude, AD516, Toccata and Repulse seem to be good contenders but I can't really find any info on how good these cards really are and what their strenghts and weaknesses are. I understand that some have onboard DSP, but what does the DSP do in those cases? Are any amiga soundcards made with high end music recording in mind? The AD516 seem like it was made for video post production, which while probably of high quality might not be what I need for music recording and editing?
I understand that they are all old, but a high end 20 year old soundcard can still do it's job. How good did sound cards get on the amiga? How many channels of audio can I expect to record/play back, how many MIDI instruments can it handle. I know Cubase was never released on the amiga but perhaps something similar? How is studio 16 and Samplitude?

Does anyone have any suggestions or just information or knowledge to share on the subject? What do I need and what can I expect?

EDIT: I've also seen that DENEB (and possibly other) amiga USB solutions will enable the use of "USB soundcards". I don't know what they mean. There are so many different USB soundcards and I find it har to believe that my Amiga 1200 will be able to use my RME Fireface UFX for recording audio. What do you think?

Last edited by Overmann; 04 March 2019 at 22:49.
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Old 05 March 2019, 11:09   #2
Cubemon
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To be honest, that's a horrible idea. But by all means, don't let that stop you!

The Amiga is at its best with trackers and making sample-based music. That is, prerecorded samples being played back, not sampling sound directly to audio tracks, like modern multitrack recording.

The lack of memory and slow mass storage access -- along with slow I/O in general -- also don't work that well with working with unpacked audio. And that's pretty much what you're working with, with the slow processor speed.

I started using trackers with an A500, upgraded it with a HDD, then moved on to an A1200 and started using MIDI with Bars & Pipes, and finally I had an A4000 with bells and whistles I used for Octamed, finally combining MIDI and samples.

Beyond that there really wasn't anything else, since software support was dying off, and there was absolutely no way of using VST-type plugins like more recent sequencers had. I never even had a sound card, because they were ridiculously overpriced and didn't really offer anything but possibly 16 bit sound with huge incompatibility. And at that point it was far more sensible to get a PC that could do multitrack audio, 16-bit sound and use all and any sound cards and devices that were on the market.

But hey! If you find a way to do what you're planning, please document it here. I'm sure there's a lot of old school Amiga musicians who are interested and would like to see what's possible nowadays.
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Old 05 March 2019, 11:21   #3
KONEY
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I agree with Cubemon. I've been into Amiga music for 20+ years, it's a great INSTRUMENT to make stuff but as a DAW it's just a brake to creativity. It simply never had any development in that direction as DAWs technology started just after the golden age of serious Amiga software.

And when it comes to hardware... back in the days I had a Maestro PRO. It sounds dull and at very low volume. The output is worst of the crappiest SoundBlaster and it costed the triple or more...

Besides, good luck and have fun
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Old 05 March 2019, 12:41   #4
twiggy

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Would something like HD-Rec be of any use? - https://sourceforge.net/projects/hd-rec/
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Old 05 March 2019, 23:15   #5
Overmann
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Well, this is going to be interesting!
Thanks for the link @twiggy. I have downloaded HD-REC and will be checking it out.

So I should probably have said that part of the reason for doing this is seing what can be achieved on the Amiga. It is clear that what is there is not tailor made for what would be considered modern DAW usability but I have enough equipment now that I should be able to approximate a semi-professional studio in the 90s, and there were soundcards with DSP released and DAW-like software with support for up to 16 channels at least.

The challenge will probably be to get the right (best?) hardware for the job and to plan the actual recordings as today's workflows are out of the question. Most of the channels would have to be stems of some sort and already mixed (or atleast recorded well, EQ'ed correctly and compressed as needed (if needed)), so that the tracks would be more or less ready for summing. The Amiga would then function more like a tape deck, and the Amiga would handle mostly editing.

Last edited by Overmann; 05 March 2019 at 23:20.
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Old 06 March 2019, 02:00   #6
grelbfarlk
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The AD516 is certainly among the best Audio cards for Amiga. Studio 16 is nothing special but functional and it can use the DSP for RT sound effects like echos, for instance. You can also install multiple AD516s to record multiple inputs at the same time, it's mostly limited by your HDD throughput.

ProstationAudio is one of the better track mixers for the Amiga. It seems a bit more how you say professional (?) than many of the other packages of this type for the Amiga. I'd give it a look to see if it is usable for you.

All Amiga sound cards are Z2, so you're not missing out on anything not having Z3 slots.

Don't forget some audiophile cables like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Audioquest-An.../dp/B00KX9W0PQ

And replace all of your knobs with that $485 wooden knob that made the rounds years back.
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Old 06 March 2019, 07:04   #7
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grelbfarlk View Post
Don't forget some audiophile cables like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Audioquest-An.../dp/B00KX9W0PQ

And replace all of your knobs with that $485 wooden knob that made the rounds years back.
That is sure to make all the difference! It is what will make my 1992 Amiga recordig setup stand out from the competition.

And I must remember to pick up an acoustic art system. I have a feeling it will really tie the room together.
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Old 07 March 2019, 05:51   #8
debiani386
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While I have never used it myself, AudioEvolution 4 exists for the Amiga - http://www.generationamiga.com/2016/...io-evolution-4
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Old 07 March 2019, 10:45   #9
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debiani386 View Post
While I have never used it myself, AudioEvolution 4 exists for the Amiga - http://www.generationamiga.com/2016/...io-evolution-4
Oh I wish I had a PPC amiga. Sadly no such luck! I'll have to go with something 68k.
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