Recommended systems

3XS Audio Workstation - PX470

PX470

Our entry level AMD system offers a high performance, yet low budget starting point. Excelling with slightly more relaxed ASIO settings, this makes it a great first machine for “in the box” style of production.

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3XS Audio Workstation - TZ490

TZ490

Offering a system that is a great overall performer as well as being very capable at low latency handling when required. With the widest range of compatibility with third party hardware, the Intel selection remains a popular tired and tested solution for any studio.

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3XS Audio Workstation - AX570

AX570

The most powerful of our AMD solutions, offering a high core count and superb performance. Excelling at slightly higher buffer rates, this system offers tremendous value for the amount of power available.

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System guide for sound designers and electronic producers

In this guide, we will be looking over what makes the perfect machine for those users working wholly in the box. If you are doing electronic production with little to no recording of outside sources, then we will look to outline where you should focus in order to achieve the best results.

Processor

The key concern for electronic production has to be the CPU. With your audio being generated, processed and otherwise largely handled entirely within the system, the CPU performance is central what you can achieve. Whilst a strong per core performance is desired for processing busy channels and groups, we find ourselves slightly less concerned with this than a live performer, as we can work at more relaxed ASIO buffer rates whilst still being able to perform using MIDI controllers without lag. Instead, we find that with being able to spread the load over more cores can be favourable, as it allows us to do more work overall within our sessions.

Memory

This depends on the type of plug-ins that you prefer to work with. Whilst composers favour large libraries which tend to be memory intensive, the smaller patches constructed in synths like Massive or Serum take up far less RAM space by comparison. If your sessions tend to rely upon generative synth VSTi’s with some additional audio and a small selection of sample-based libraries, then you may find yourself running fine with relatively modest amounts of memory. If you’re coming from an existing setup, we recommend opening up your biggest projects and seeing how much RAM is unused and let this guide you to your choice with any new system. If you do not have a current baseline, we would advise a minimum of 16GB for lighter workloads or 32GB for anyone working with a more sizable number of tracks.

Storage

Our systems feature a small M.2. drive for the Windows OS and your applications. These super-fast drives allow for a snappy and responsive system with quick load-times. However, for larger libraries we would also recommend looking at either an M.2. (For large orchestral sample banks) or otherwise a large SSD for hosting audio and sound banks. Moving these away from an older style hard disk drive will further speed up your load times and offer you a more responsive browsing experience as you search through your patch library.

We do still offer a larger mechanical drives in most of our systems as a backup and archival drive, although this is optional, as we understand that many users will choose to migrate older drives over to any new machine. To allow for this we always aim to ensure plenty of expansion capabilities where possible, although do contact us for details should you have any requirements in your build to allow for this.

Case and cooling

Our systems focus heavily around the Fractal and be quiet! case models. Both ranges have great acoustic design and their own strengths. The Fractal cases often feature heavier, denser panels with thick sound treatment and some low noise, although averaging in performance stock fans. The be quiet cases we offer tend to have less physical treatment, although the trade-off is they include the great performing be quiet fan range as default and due to that they offer great value and performance. Our recommendation to anyone looking for the very best low-noise, high-performance combination is to match the Fractal case with the be quiet! fan upgrade in order to attain the best of both worlds.

We also often work with be quiet! coolers and PSU’s, where they use the same great low noise fans across the range of supporting products, helping us to ensure a low noise floor in your studio. We also offer the ever popular and higher performing Nocuta’s as an additional upgrade choice, although with higher top speeds these will run slightly louder, they do offer increased air flow for anyone looking to further cool a system full of add-in cards.

Graphic Card

This varies slightly between Intel and AMD. Intel’s popular Z490 platform features in built graphics that perform superbly for audio applications. With many boards offering two display outputs many users, find that this is perfectly adequate for running their studio screen arrangement.

The X299 platform and AMD’s solutions do not currently feature on-board graphics and will need a suitable graphics solution adding, although with many cards offering three or four outputs it’s possible to run a large array of screens with ease. When choosing our card options keeping a low noise footprint remains important and we always look to use cards with the “0db” or “3d active” feature set, where the fan may spin down or totally switch off entirely under light workloads. This helps us ensure it remains uninstructive whilst you are recording or mixing.

Networking

All of our system feature Ethernet connections as standard, with many boards offering Wi-Fi as an optional add on. Wi-Fi has a history of being disruptive in audio systems and we offer a number of pre-validated options that have proven to be trouble free in our testing environment. Whilst there are a number of options, each price point offers newer and faster supported Wi-Fi standards. If you are unsure of the best card to pick, we advise checking to see the maximum speed your router supports and aiming to match or exceed it with your choice of Wi-Fi adaptor.

Thunderbolt

As Thunderbolt continues grow in popularity with PC users, some of the earliest adopters of the standard have been studios looking to leverage its great low latency performance. At this time, we find that the market for Thunderbolt has largely focused on higher I/O count interfaces, designed more for multi-track recording. This plays to the standards strengths as its high-speed connection to the rest of the system when matched with well-written drivers, can achieve superb latency whilst offering plenty of bandwidth.

For producers working largely in the box, the latency is already lower due to the lack of incoming conversion stage for the signal and it is possible to run these types of sessions using less processer demanding ASIO buffer sizes. This means that as the required I/O is often 2in/2out when working on these types of systems, the higher cost involved for the unrequired extra I/O may rule out the current Thunderbolt options out for the typical in the box producer.

As the technology progresses and a wider selection of interfaces become available, this may change and with that in mind mainboards need to have Thunderbolt support included within the BIOS as well as at a physical level with a dedicated header for any future expansion. Where possible we aim to include this support with our systems, although this may not apply to every model and please do contact us for more information.