View Full Version : SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS for the Complete Composer's Collection

07-31-2008, 05:55 AM
Hi guys! I'm a newbie to PC sampling. I have always worked with Korgs synthesizers with their buil-in sequencers. Buy now I'm getting temptated with real sampligs.

My doubt is the following: I'm interested in buying the Complete Composer's Collection.
I have checked the system requirements and they are the following:

130GB Free Hard Disc Space, DVD Drive

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS (for Native Instruments software) Win XP, Pentium III/Athlon 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, DVD drive
Mac OS X 10.2.6*, G4 800 MHz, 1 GB, DVD drive

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM (for Sound Library) Win XP, Pentium IV/Athlon 3 GHz, 2 GB FREE RAM, DVD drive
Mac OS X 10.3*, G5 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, DVD drive

Now, I've read old threads saying "I have 8 GB RAM, is that enough?". I mean, where talking about some other software? Because here it says 2 GB recommended.

Anyway, if someone could give me a detailed computer configuration (Hard Drive, RAM, processor, sound card) and tell me "with this computer you won't have bouncing; you won't have any problems" I would really appreciate it!!

I don't want MINIMUM system requirements advice. I want the RECOMMENDED ones, since I don't want to have performance problems. (anyway I have a low budget so, tell me the cheapest configuration but with good performance.)

Remember I need to run the Complete Composer's Collection. Thank you.

07-31-2008, 11:53 AM
Many people use between two and eight computers to run the whole library. You need a tremendous amount if you want to run a full, virtual orchestra. The "Recommended" settings will allow you to have some fun, but you would still have to record, say, your brass to audio, then load up strings, record them, then percussion, then winds, if you have a really full orchestration with lots of different articulations (legato, staccato, and so on).

If you just want to write a solo horn line into your virtual rock band and marry it to some Korg tracks you already have going, you don't need nearly so much by way of computer resources.

So the first thing you might consider is telling everyone here what kind of music you want to write, whether you can tolerate the process I outlined above or not. You still can't expect firm answers, frankly, because it depends on how ambitious your sample mock-ups turn out. Once you hear these sounds, you will want two giant 64 bit computers with tons of memory, just to hold the library.

Good luck.

07-31-2008, 12:10 PM
What sequencer you are going to use?

I'd say, that with Complete Composer's Collection, you don't need more that 4GB, but you should rather take care of hard drives - a couple of Velociraptors could prove sufficient.

The biggest library from this Collection is Symphonic Choirs, and whether you have a 64-bit, 8GB of ram machine or not, the way this software is constructed, you better work with it in separate project.

Anyway, you should tell us more about how you are going to use it? If for live performance, I'd say, you don't need more than recommended system, if for composing serious music, then I'd say, you should get as good system as you can.

- Piotr

07-31-2008, 12:55 PM
Thank you for your replies!

Answering to John and Pietro, my idea is to have my film score home studio. No live performances, nor horn solos. I need to compose full orchestra scores. Could you give me a brief description of all the hardware I should have? Is it possible to work this way with just one computer?

Thank you!

08-01-2008, 05:45 AM
It is possible, but you would have to be patient, to write full orchestral scores with a single computer. But all that bouncing / freezing is going to slow your work process and time, in my view, is the enemy of creativity. Plus, time is never your friend in any creative field.

So, personally, I think to have a great time you need at least two really monster computers or perhaps a "main" DAW that holds your sequencer and two slaves. But the slaves, if you want midi-based access to a full orchestra and you have only two, would have to be at least those 8-Gig Vision DAWs or something running 64 bit. Even that might not be enough if you want to be able to have a full orchestra but also like to use a lot of plug-in effects or synth VIs. But it would be a great start.

You hear the most extreme stories about Hans Zimmer and some of the other famous guys having what sounds like NASA's Mission Control. It's worth bearing in mind that you are competing with serious resources for any truly desirable gig.

I'm not saying everyone "needs" this or that, but if you are working 24 bit, with 3 mic positions, and you want, say, a couple of dozen articulations for brass and strings (each section), it takes a lot of juice.

By contrast, if you are working with 16 bit and a single mic position, your computer resources could do the same thing with far less horsepower.

So, look around this forum. There are lots of people trying to figure this out and there are plenty of opinions. Check Native Instruments' forum out too, and some of the others. And don't forget to read Vatroslav's posts on this forum. He has gone beyond what most people do to document and investigate.

Good luck.

08-01-2008, 08:31 AM
Thank you John for taking the time to answer my doubts. I really appreciate it.

What about running a FULL Symphonic Orchestra, let's say Gold Complete (includes expansion) in just ONE machine with the following setup:

PROCESSOR Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (8MB L2 cache,2.4GHz,1066FSB)
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Service Pack 1
MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 4 DIMMs
HDD 4 x 80GB Serial ATA (7200RPM) c/DataBurst Cache™ (that would be 4 hard disks)
SOUND CARD Fast Track Pro M-Audio Usb 2.0

1) Will I be able to play a score with live MIDI (no previous rendering to audio) without having problems with a machine like this?
2) Is Fast Track Pro M-Audio a good external sound card? Or do you prefer internal ones? What brand?

Thank you for your time!!!!

08-01-2008, 12:10 PM
You should think about picking the right sequencer, before you decide whether you want a 64-bit machine or a 32-bit one, otherwise you'd be dissapointed. I'm not sure how deep your computer knowledge is, what you already know, and what you don't.

For example. In Cubase, right now, you cannot use more than 3GB (in an easy way), but you can cross the barier using Vatroslav's guide or the other trick with FX-Teleport (check out my tutorial - tutorials.piotrmusial.com, it also includes basic 32-bit/64-bit explanations). The more memory - the more instruments you can load, the more complex orchestrations you can create, and the more comfortable your work can be.

As for your setup question, I'd suggest larger hard drives, they are usually faster, and you won't run out of space so quickly (and I'm sure you will). Q6600 should do just fine. With CCC, I'd say 8GB of ram should be really enough, but as mentioned, it's not so easy to make full use of it. Anyway, 4GB would give you quite a good start (I used to work with Gold and 4GB with quite a success), and would not cost you so many head aches to think out how to utilize it. Just take popular 2x2GB sticks, so that you could double their number when your favourite sequencers and VST instruments are 64-bit ready.

- Piotr

Robert Brannan
08-01-2008, 01:56 PM
Keep in mind also that a lot of the plugins that are available don't support 64 bit. If you want to use waves you'll need a 32 bit machine anyway. I use a 4 gig ram/ 32 bit OS and can use all the libraries, but I sometimes have to bounce down and open a new project when I begin to need a lot of instruments/ articulations. If you go 64 bit you'll need another computer to run Kontakt or Waves (for now)

08-01-2008, 02:06 PM
Keep in mind also that a lot of the plugins that are available don't support 64 bit. If you want to use waves you'll need a 32 bit machine anyway. I use a 4 gig ram/ 32 bit OS and can use all the libraries, but I sometimes have to bounce down and open a new project when I begin to need a lot of instruments/ articulations. If you go 64 bit you'll need another computer to run Kontakt or Waves (for now)

I believe you are right with Waves, but surely, Robert, Kontakt works under XP x64. Not that it can take advantage of 64-bit memory adressing (yet), but it works and is very stable.

- Piotr

Spinning poo machine
08-01-2008, 03:14 PM
LMG, those specs look pretty good, besides the hard drives. Supposedly the cache size needs to be from 16 mb to 32 mb from what everyone is saying (which usually means bigger hard drives). You should easily, EASILY be able to run Gold XP with those specs--actually, I think you'd be able to use most, if not all, of the Complete Composers Collection with those specs, since Vatroslav was able to use 88 channels with Platinum with room to spare on his workstation which has specs similar to yours.

Wait a sec, Vista??? Why don't you go with XP64, since so many people have had major success with that?

Keep in mind also that a lot of the plugins that are available don't support 64 bit. If you want to use waves you'll need a 32 bit machine anyway. I use a 4 gig ram/ 32 bit OS and can use all the libraries, but I sometimes have to bounce down and open a new project when I begin to need a lot of instruments/ articulations. If you go 64 bit you'll need another computer to run Kontakt or Waves (for now)

Uhh, maybe you didn't read Vatroslav's posts? Kontakt works, and Vatroslav claimed reports of Waves working as well. The only 64 bit problems I know of after his posts mainly revolve around Vista 64. Big surprise, as Vista is mainly a failure of an operating system when it comes to sample-heavy musicians.

08-01-2008, 07:02 PM
Waves plugins do not work properly on vista64 sonar64 for me. But the IK Multimedia ones do.

08-01-2008, 08:22 PM
I have noticed that people in this forum are very kind, answering all my doubts. I have not received any comment like "hey, you idiot, how can't you know what a sample is?".
Adding more doubts to the list, I've seen many threads about talking about the 64bits and the 32bits. Can someone give me a brief explanation of this? Bits have to do with the computer performance? With the sound quality? I'm really lost in this 64 bit thing.

2nd Doubt: I have read the explanation for PLAY, but I still cannot figure it out what PLAY is. Could someone be so kind to explain to me?


PS: Persentio, congratulations for your 1,000 posts!!! =)

Spinning poo machine
08-04-2008, 07:53 PM
My two cents is that 64 bit is meant to replace a 32 bit slave PC set up--in other words, you get the power of anywhere from 4 to 8+ PC's in one wicked machine. That refers to 64 bit processing, 64 bit sound quality exists as well. I don't really understand that yet--it has something to do with better quality sound--but I know that Sonar is one of the few (if not the only) DAW that utilizes it. But then I've heard that it's not the biggest deal in the world.

As far as I can tell, PLAY is like some type of super duper player, sort of like Kontakt on steroids. Apparently with PLAY, there won't be any annoying workarounds to fully use 64 bit processing, which is very attractive to people who have loads of RAM (like Mac Pro owners). There are several other good things about it, like the interface, compatibility with Intel Macs, and other cool stuff. Is the page you read for PLAY this (http://www.soundsonline.com/EW-QL-Symphonic-Orchestra-Platinum-Plus-Complete-pr-EW-177.html) one? That explains pretty much everything.

08-09-2008, 05:49 AM
I've been playing with CCC and to be honest, you'll be fine with 3gb for the first few months while you get your brain around the programs.

Don't bother with PLAY if you're getting CCC. CCC is about getting some final value from the the old Kontakt files. The upgrade to PLAY is VERY expensive when you don't need it yet.

08-09-2008, 02:25 PM
Through my own studying and inquriies, here's what I got to help you.

In a nutshell, here's what you need:

1) PC/MAC as your workstation
Although many people do have slaves, just start with one computer. As you get familiar with things, you may wish to add a 2nd computer in the future, but you waste no money getting a powerful workstation as your DAW (Digital-Analog-Workstation).
Depending on your choices below, you'll probably want 4 GB RAM at a minimum, AND likely at least 4 hard drives. One standard drive for your Operating System, one large drive just for your saved projects and audio files, and at least 2 fast drives dedicated just for instrument samples.

2) Your PC/MAC Operating System
On a MAC, you get what they give you, and the newest runs 64-bit and 32-bit programs. PC is where the debate is. XP vs Vista vs XP Pro vs Vista 64-bit. 32-bit is the "standard", and can only use up to 4 GB RAM. 64-bit can use lots more, but 64-bit comes with lots of problems, such as hardware compatibility. It's difficult to write 64-bit programs, and the market is small. If you choose 64-bit, do your homework.

3) Your audio interface
This is your "soundcard", and there's millions of choices. If you go 64-bit O/S, make sure the audio interface's drivers support 64-bit. The better ones offer the lowest latency, and my friend, you want low latency. Latency is a discussion all in of itself.

4) Your sequencing software
There's really only a few pro ones out there. DO spend the money for a good item here...nothing worse than an "Express" version! Cubase, Logic, Sonar are among a few. If you have a 64-bit O/S, you'll want a 64-bit sequencer.

5) Virtual instruments to use in your sequencer
In the "old days", you would "plug in" your instruments of choice, and using your piano-keyboard hooked up to your sound card, record those instruments track by track, then go back 15-20 million times and edit every little nuance to try to make them sound semi-realistic. Today, it's a little more sophisticated, and this is where PLAY comes in.
PLAY gives you all those ultra-realistic instruments, and helps you as you lay down tracks by looking at "how" you're playing at any given moment, and adding "articulations" to assist you. Such as up-bow down-bow for strings, or notes played in one bowing direction. The difference is subtle, but noticable. PLAY does this automatically, and of course, you can override. This adds super-realism, and cuts down on your editing.
PLAY is also 64-bit, so if you have a 64-bit O/S and sequencer, PLAY won't slow you down. Of course, you can use PLAY on a 32-bit program too.

And in a nutshell, here's how to help you choose:

It's all about what headaches you're willing to accept, and which ones you aren't.

1) Bouncing to Audio or not?
The more tracks you lay at a time, the more resources it takes. You'll reach a point where you'll have to "bounce" a set of tracks, and convert them into an un-editable audio track. If you need to re-edit those tracks, you have to go back into the midi-versions, make your change, and bounce them again.
Most sequencers offer a "freeze" function, that assists in this, but it's still time-consuming.

Are you ok with this? If so, 32-bit and one computer is fine. If not, you need to consider 64-bit and/or multiple computers.

2) Bouncing to Audio, but laying more tracks at a time
The whole idea of a 64-bit system, is the power of multiple computers all in just ONE computer....but we're not there yet. Yes, you can use 32GB or even 128GB RAM instead of just 4GB, but then your bottleneck moves into your CPU. So then you go to duel 4-core CPU, and your bottleneck is in your harddrives. So then you go with Velociraptor hard drives, which places you bottleneck into your audio interface or elsewhere. One computer can't quite do it yet, but we're getting there.
This is where you hear of some people with 10 computers all chained together. These people HATE bouncing to audio!
But, a 64-bit system, configured properly, can certainly lay more tracks at a time, and as it is today, is a medium between the 32-bit limitations, and 10 computers!

So where do you sit? No bouncing at all costs, or not?

3) Latency and converters
Nobody "likes" latency, but it depends on what you're doing to how much you can tolerate. If you're recording a track, and you hear a delay between your recording and what you hear back AS your recording, that is generally unacceptable. A good audio-interface, and there's lots to choose from, will always minimize latency....but it always exists in some quantity, as the computer must process those sounds, and this takes some time, measurable in milliseconds delay...latency!
Even with low latency interfaces, as you add more tracks, you'll start to hear pops and clicks, and then you need to increase your "buffer size" to remove those. Increasing your buffer size increases your latency! Vicious circle indeed.
If, however, you're doing all live microphone-based recordings, then latency is less of an issue. You might not even notice it at all.

Converters are the hardware that takes your analog-signal from your mic, and converts them to a digital format (to save on your hard drive), and then back to an analog format again to play on your speakers. Low-quality A/D, D/A converters do this slowly (adding latency), and also in a cheap way that reduces the quality of your recordings.

The good news is that with the better audio interfaces, you get better converters. Some people buy hardware converters seperately, to acheive the very best results.

So, how much latency-reduction and sound quality can you afford?

4) Sequencers!
Most people grew up using some company's product, and have stuck with the same company. If you started with Cakewalk in the 1980's, then it's likely you're still using Cakewalk's product today (Sonar). All the pro models are equally "good", (or equally bad, depending on how your parents raised you), and do their own things to reduce the headaches that commonly occur with DAW's.
The other consideration is if you're going with a 64-bit setup. If so, I believe only Sonar and Cubase offer 64-bit sequencing (and they don't do it flawlessly). Certainly, the others are only a year or two away.
The final consideration is your computer...PC or MAC, which will limit your options again.

So if you're new into this, check each company's website, and their forums, and see which one appeals to you most.

5) Your Virtual Instruments
If you have a 32-bit setup, then NI or PLAY will work fine. PLAY is the newest thing out, so consider that when making your choice.

If you have a 64-bit setup, then you'll want to go with PLAY. Although, NI 64-bit is probably only a year or two away.

PLAY uses the Ilok system for security (a little dongle you plug into your USB port), while NI uses registration online. This basically means that PLAY is easier to mess around with, as you can install, uninstall, or move your software to new hard drives or computers easily...just plug in your dongle wherever your'e using PLAY. NI requres a more involved approach.

PLAY is very user-friendly, in organizing your libraries in a logical manner, and describing them plainly when you're selecting them.

PLAY has an interface that lets you chose all kinds of options on the fly.

PLAY has fewer instruments packages available today then NI, as it's newer, though it's developing at a fast pace.

Review Soundsonline, and take your pick!

Hopefully this brief overview helps you!

08-09-2008, 04:45 PM
Thank you all for your replies, specially Jarrek!!! WOW! Very interesting info!! Thank you all!