Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

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Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:05 am

So there are many different models of the ST line out there. I'm wondering which one is the best for midi programs, especially cubase?

Some plus I see for the mega line: More ram, faster cpu (in some case), better keyboard, option for higher res graphics, faster screen draws with blitter? Option to install HD or other devices. Easier access to floppy drive.
Downside of the mega for music apps: noise from computer fans always bother me, does the keyboard cable get in the way of expansion options like the Midex? Less external ports?

Plus of the ST line: No fan, keyboard cable doesn't get in the way of cart slot. It's a "all in one" unit.
Downside to ST line: Slower performance and screen updates? sluggish keyboard, more limited ram (usually).

Anything I missed? Is any MIDI musician able to discuss the pros and cons of each machine for midi use?

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby DarkLord » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:41 am

As far as the fan goes on the Mega ST series - they are almost whisper quiet,
from my experience. I've got a Mega ST4, running at 16mhz, and you pretty
well have to bend over towards the back of the machine to hear the fan.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:09 pm

DarkLord wrote:As far as the fan goes on the Mega ST series - they are almost whisper quiet,
from my experience. I've got a Mega ST4, running at 16mhz, and you pretty
well have to bend over towards the back of the machine to hear the fan.


But I can hear the fan wooshing it all those you tube videos! lol.
Seriously, I've heard that fan noise is quite audible on mega units.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:13 pm

Any serious musician knows that when a premium quality microphone is in the same room as a computer fan, the recording will be noisy as hell. This is why I am returning to my trusty Atari STe after years of throwing a few thousand pounds at a PC to achieve a silent setup. Unless you have the right building and conditions to keep the noisy PC away from the recording and/or mixing room, you will not be happy with the results. With an Atari ST and a decent hardware digital multitrack recorder though, you can achieve professional results in one room! However I am still prepared to try the PC netbook route for the audio side of things providing I can make it completely fanless, and sync it to an Atari for the MIDI tracks. The netbook would also require a CompactFlash drive for the OS and apps, plus a silent external drive for the audio.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:35 pm

Can't imagine it would be hard to mod the MEGA to be fanless. Or cut the fan speed in 1/2. It's basically the same hardware as the STe, why should it run so much hotter?

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:35 pm

Yeah perhaps a decent heatsink would sort it?

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:50 pm

Well it's just an exaust fan so I don't think any particular chip gets too hot. Given that it's the same hardware as the ST I'm not sure why you couldn't just cut the fan speed to 1/2, or shut it off all together. The reason for the fan that I've seen in literature is to accomidate internal upgrade hardware that 'could run hot'.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:15 pm

Also, do any of the extra chips (bilitter, FPU, Sound, 16Mhz CPU, etc) actually help the classic sequencers like cubase or notator run better?
Or will the program run just as good on a 1040ST as it will on a Mega STE 4Mb?

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:57 pm

The Blitter certainly makes a big difference with Cubase. Not sure about the FPU for MIDI although it definitely makes a huge improvement with audio. The DMA chip for sound I gather takes the strain away from the CPU, but apart from enthusiasts like myself not many people would want to mess with 8 bit audio. Finally a 16MHz CPU would certainly make Cubase run a lot quicker but then again, I personally have never had much problem with the stock 8MHz CPU even with large MIDI mixes in Cubase and hefty doses of System Exclusive data, automated mixer data etc.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Mal7921 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:18 pm

Shredder11 wrote:The Blitter certainly makes a big difference with Cubase. Not sure about the FPU for MIDI although it definitely makes a huge improvement with audio. The DMA chip for sound I gather takes the strain away from the CPU, but apart from enthusiasts like myself not many people would want to mess with 8 bit audio. Finally a 16MHz CPU would certainly make Cubase run a lot quicker but then again, I personally have never had much problem with the stock 8MHz CPU even with large MIDI mixes in Cubase and hefty doses of System Exclusive data, automated mixer data etc.


Odd, official Steinberg policy with the Blitter was to turn it off as it could cause timing issues for Cubase.

Still, every machine I have, with the exception of the ST Book due to no cartridge port, runs Cubase without issue (Not that I use Cubase anymore, moved to Logic), and my Mega 2 has no issue with fan noise (Quiet replacement fans are cheap and plentiful anyhow, not that they are really needed, the Mega 1 has no fan!). To be honest, the noisiest computers I have on the Atari line are the TT, Mega STE and Stacy due to the big bulky SCSI drives in them.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby DarkLord » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:54 pm

I agree with the models you say are the noisiest. I took the SCSI drive out of my STacy,
(it was dead anyways) replaced it with a SatanDisk (waiting for UltraSatan), and now
its super quiet. :)

PS Oh, for me my Falcon is a bit noiser now - what with the internal AT style power
supply, CT60, IDE hard drive, DVD drive, etc,... but when I've got some StarDust
playing, or the Beams demo, or some MP3 cranked up, who cares... :D
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:42 pm

Mal7921 wrote:
Shredder11 wrote:The Blitter certainly makes a big difference with Cubase. Not sure about the FPU for MIDI although it definitely makes a huge improvement with audio. The DMA chip for sound I gather takes the strain away from the CPU, but apart from enthusiasts like myself not many people would want to mess with 8 bit audio. Finally a 16MHz CPU would certainly make Cubase run a lot quicker but then again, I personally have never had much problem with the stock 8MHz CPU even with large MIDI mixes in Cubase and hefty doses of System Exclusive data, automated mixer data etc.


Odd, official Steinberg policy with the Blitter was to turn it off as it could cause timing issues for Cubase.


Ahhh that reminds me......I think certain programs switch the Blitter on/off automatically? So maybe Cubase over-rides my setting of the Blitter.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Masken » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:40 pm

The best machine if you can get hold of one is the
C-LAB FALCON MK II (Internal IDE and SCSI harddisks)
Very exellent Music and for me (BBS-Machine)
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:39 am

Masken wrote:The best machine if you can get hold of one is the
C-LAB FALCON MK II


I thought the last in that series was V or do you prefer the older version?

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby yungjoon » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:00 pm

For midi/cubase only, I think the ultimate machine is the atari TT.

I have a TT (4/16 Mo) with 8 midi out (midex+ and mio4), cubase 3 and 4 Go internal scsi hdd. It is damn speed compare to my old config (1040 STe) !

I switched to the TT config because my falcon couldn't handle midex+ (correct me if I'm wrong).

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby k2500x » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:10 pm

Mal7921 wrote:
Shredder11 wrote:The Blitter certainly makes a big difference with Cubase. Not sure about the FPU for MIDI although it definitely makes a huge improvement with audio. The DMA chip for sound I gather takes the strain away from the CPU, but apart from enthusiasts like myself not many people would want to mess with 8 bit audio. Finally a 16MHz CPU would certainly make Cubase run a lot quicker but then again, I personally have never had much problem with the stock 8MHz CPU even with large MIDI mixes in Cubase and hefty doses of System Exclusive data, automated mixer data etc.


Odd, official Steinberg policy with the Blitter was to turn it off as it could cause timing issues for Cubase.

Still, every machine I have, with the exception of the ST Book due to no cartridge port, runs Cubase without issue (Not that I use Cubase anymore, moved to Logic), and my Mega 2 has no issue with fan noise (Quiet replacement fans are cheap and plentiful anyhow, not that they are really needed, the Mega 1 has no fan!). To be honest, the noisiest computers I have on the Atari line are the TT, Mega STE and Stacy due to the big bulky SCSI drives in them.


Yes I've tried Cubase with the Blitter on and off and see no difference in performance.
Regarding the ST2 I just got, yes it is quite noisy.
Any idea if I can just disable the fan? Is it just a power connector that I can pull off the motherboard?
Can't imagine the heat being much different from an ST1 unit so this shouldn't cause any problems I suspect.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby jvas » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:25 pm

k2500x wrote:Yes I've tried Cubase with the Blitter on and off and see no difference in performance.
Regarding the ST2 I just got, yes it is quite noisy.
Any idea if I can just disable the fan? Is it just a power connector that I can pull off the motherboard?
Can't imagine the heat being much different from an ST1 unit so this shouldn't cause any problems I suspect.


If you disable the fan of the MegaST, the PSU can easyle be overheated, since they are crap. I removed the original PSU from mine and led a cable out from the case and connected a silent ATX PSU to it. It is not only more silent but produce no heat in the case and more reliable.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby crx091081gb » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:25 pm

Mal7921 wrote:Odd, official Steinberg policy with the Blitter was to turn it off as it could cause timing issues for Cubase.


I know I'm dragging this thread back from the dead but I just checked in the Cubase 3.0 manual and in the 'Cubase 3.0 update documentation' it says the program 'takes advantage of the Blitter if there is one'. I can't find any contrary evidence online.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Atari74user » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:23 pm

Shredder11 wrote:
Masken wrote:The best machine if you can get hold of one is the
C-LAB FALCON MK II


I thought the last in that series was V or do you prefer the older version?


The C-LAB FALCON MK II was the last version housed in the 'normal' Falcon casing, however the C-LAB FALCON MK X followed but was essentially a Mk II housed in a 19" rack and marketed even more toward the musician due to this. The hardware was the same, just made upgrading easier due to the casing.

Ooops, only just realised this was an old thread :oops:
Last edited by Atari74user on Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby bid » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:31 pm

There is a TT for sale on this forum right now, for £250

I modified my TT fans by putting in a standard PC fan controller. These are cheapest http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from= ... Categories

The TT is the fastest machine, and is great for score editing etc. You can use ST HI for most MIDI programs. And some work in the higher resolutions. Video is not that exciting on the TT, but with a UltraSatan or Compact Flash mod, I think its a lot faster than a Falcon, and for sequencing is the daddy.

Otherwise, a MEGA STe with the same mod for the fans would be the best and most compatible. Its 16MHz.

I like things to update quick too. And 16Mhz or 32Mhz on the TT or MSTE is worth considering. ...

If your using Cubase, then it works on the TT or the MSTE. Or alternatively, a normal ST with Ultrasatan would be very sweet. In that case, the MEGA running at just 8MHz is a great machine to put the Ultrasatan inside. I have a MEGA ST. And I have to say, its my most reliable machine.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Kriegor » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:05 pm

jvas wrote:
k2500x wrote:Yes I've tried Cubase with the Blitter on and off and see no difference in performance.
Regarding the ST2 I just got, yes it is quite noisy.
Any idea if I can just disable the fan? Is it just a power connector that I can pull off the motherboard?
Can't imagine the heat being much different from an ST1 unit so this shouldn't cause any problems I suspect.


If you disable the fan of the MegaST, the PSU can easyle be overheated, since they are crap. I removed the original PSU from mine and led a cable out from the case and connected a silent ATX PSU to it. It is not only more silent but produce no heat in the case and more reliable.


(Old thread as mentioned but i found the noise discussion interesting)

I've done the same thing as you (they are crap indeed): viewtopic.php?f=15&t=23179 however i did put a small fan of the same diameter where the PSU fan originally was to make sure to avoid any overheating of the MegaST, but maybe it's not needed? It isn't intrusive though as i have a Megafile20 and a SC1224 which are both a LOT noisier than that small fan :P However if i would get myself a UltraSatan or another solid state drive, and a compatible TFT monitor, it would make my setup practically dead silent :) Technically speaking i could even get a passive PSU to make it 100%.

The fan from the MegaST PSU is hard soldered to the PSU board, not removable without desoldering or cutting wires. It's not hard though and if you want to reduce the noise from the fan it's simple to replace it with a less noisy 40mm fan, otherwise you could just out-source the PSU like me and jvas and also avoid any future PSU failures!

Just my two cents :)

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Atari74user » Thu May 10, 2012 1:15 pm

For my two penneth, they are all much of a muchness, and it depends what you want to do. That's not to discredit any Atari of course. From ST to TT and Falcon, if all you want is Cubase running a MIDI set up then just simply choose your weapon. Realistically you will not see too much real difference between any 'stock' or un-heavily modded machine running just a MIDI sequencer like Cubase, as MIDI doesn't require a lot of power.

The essentials for me would be a minimum of 2mb in your choice of ST, ideally TT and Falcon more simply because you can. Possibly a blitter, possibly a software accelerator such as NVDI which is my preference (which is a bit more than an accelerator in fairness).

If using MIDEX, then the Falcon could prove troublesome as you need to hack the MIDEX for the MIDI part of the MIDEX to work.

People do make a big thing about fan noise from IDE and SCSI drives, which is why the humble ST is nice, no internal hard drive... Personally I cannot work from floppies, so I prefer working from a hard drive which is an essential for me, however if fan noise becomes an issue if recording accoustics or vocals, simply turn off your hard drive (in the ST's case anyway) and work from floppy. With a Falcon and TT, Mega STE where hard drives are fitted... it's a little less easy due to internal hard drives, however there are solutions (CF's, UltraSatan...). People do get a little fanatical about fan noise though, each to their own of course, and external multitracks also suffer from the same, unless they are solid state. However there is always solution if you use your head, which doesn't necessarily require hacking your beloved Atari and moving to solid state. Order of production and switching hard drives off to name the obvious. Although for some Atari's moving to solid state is relatively cheap and easy. In general, a stock ST is the quieter of the machines. It's all a trade off, what you want to do and how you prefer to work. You should not be disappointed running an ST with at least 2mb, unless you find working from floppies a chore like me, then you'll need some kind of solid state or hard drive too, but that is more troublesome for an ST as opposed to TT, Mega STE and Falcon. The important thing to know is that all of these machines have rock solid MIDI timing. Like most things in life, horses for courses.
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Thu May 10, 2012 3:00 pm

Fanatical about fan noise? Have you ever had recordings trashed due to fan noise being all over your acoustic vocal or guitar tracks? The problem gets worse the better your microphones are too, as they capture everything in minute detail including the stuff you do NOT want. Anyway the ST along with a CF card solution is perfect for avoiding fan noise, and if you use a Falcon 030 you can always put noisy SCSI drives inside a special silent drive enclosure. You then use LCD monitors to avoid hum getting on to your recordings, oh and cheap fan-less switch-mode PSUs to power your hard drives etc. The ST range is brilliant for MIDI and audio sequencing with Cubase.

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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Atari74user » Thu May 10, 2012 5:11 pm

Shredder11 wrote:Fanatical about fan noise? Have you ever had recordings trashed due to fan noise being all over your acoustic vocal or guitar tracks? The problem gets worse the better your microphones are too, as they capture everything in minute detail including the stuff you do NOT want. Anyway the ST along with a CF card solution is perfect for avoiding fan noise, and if you use a Falcon 030 you can always put noisy SCSI drives inside a special silent drive enclosure. You then use LCD monitors to avoid hum getting on to your recordings, oh and cheap fan-less switch-mode PSUs to power your hard drives etc. The ST range is brilliant for MIDI and audio sequencing with Cubase.


Indeed, however my opinion and point is people go to unreal lengths! There is an off button if so required, that's what I meant, not that you should record non digital parts with multiple fans running in the background. Or, better still, mix down your midi recording onto your mulitrack, record your non digital parts over top. My point is that there are easy ways around the issue as opposed to just throwing money at it if you want don't to go that route. There is no need for a track to be ruined by fan noise, unless you go down the route of a complete DAW solution which is not solid state, or you are not lucky enough to have a seperate booth in which to record your non digital parts. However for those of us that don't have that luxury, just intelligence is needed, don't have multiple hard drives switched on whirring away when recording accoustics. My SCSI drives are noisy, but I don't need them on all of the time, so I don't. CF card is a beautiful option for the Falcon. I plan to mod my Falcon with a CF card when I move, have the room and bring it in to play in my liitle studio. However, like all things, horses for courses!!!
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Re: Best atari computer for midi / cubase?

Postby Shredder11 » Thu May 10, 2012 5:43 pm

Yep I understand what you are saying about common sense and that is something I subscribe to as well. I have been known to just place the drive inside a cupboard, surrounded by bubble wrap and sat on foam, which works fine and costs nothing and no elaborate boutique solutions to empty your wallet. However in that scenario I also place a small fan to blow cool air across the drive. Also when I used my Atari SM124 monitor with Cubase, I just switched it off during audio takes to avoid hum on my electric guitar parts. This has the added benefit of not being a visual distraction either, so you concentrate more on the feel and musicality rather than watching for parts and events on the monitor.


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