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Which is better - standalone workstation or computer?

The pros and cons of hard disk recording workstations compared to multitrack recording software.

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The answer to the eternal question of computer or stand-alone workstation is, "Whichever is best for you". There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

There is no doubt that a computer system can be very capable and flexible, particularly when Digidesign Pro Tools or Pro Tools LE, or equivalent, is used.

But many people have an instinctive dislike, and sometimes distrust, of computers. This can be a good enough reason to opt for the workstation.

Another problem is that people have a tendency to mess about with computers, so that the system works today but it doesn't work the next day after a hard evening's game play.

In comparison, the hard disk workstation is just that. It records audio.It will work today, tomorrow and probably the next three or four years after that at least. And if you do get the chance to upgrade the software, you can bet that the manufacturer is staking their reputation on it working properly out of the box. And no viruses!

The only downside to the workstation is the lack of finesse of editing in most systems. However, editing is so much more flexible than the analog tape on which so many classic albums were (and still are) made. For many people, it will be no drawback at all.

So, no recommendations today. But hopefully you will be in a better position to make a wise choice.

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By David Mellor Monday September 11, 2006
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