Old 03-02-2020, 01:44 PM   #1
CoffeeQuest
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Default How would you organize a studio PC?

Hello there!

Just bought a new desktop PC and am about to install Reaper and all my plugins etc.
I will be using it mainly for audio work, but also general use and some gaming.

My current PC (a laptop) is a bit of a mess (structurally) so I've been thinking about how to organize it. Any tips or comments are greatly appreciated.

Here's how I'm thinking of organizing it:

C drive (1TB SSD NVMe):
Windows 10
Reaper
Plugins
VSTs (all VSTs organized by bit architecture)
Other important programs like RX

D Drive (1TB SSD NVMe):
Kontakt libraries
UVI libraries
East West libraries
Other sample libraries for sample instruments


E Drive (2TB SSD Sata)
Sound Library
- Samples
- SFX
- Recordings
Reaper Projects
Presets
Licenses
IRs
Steam and Games
Images, videos, documents
Dropbox

These are my main considerations regarding having an organized PC. Do you have any tips for something I might have overlooked or something that could be better? Also, do you have any other general tips for setting up a PC for audio work? I'm planning to rid windows of most of it's bloatware and keep it neat - anything I'm missing?

Tell me about your setup and why it's great!
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:32 PM   #2
mixer
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Congrats on a new PC! Kind of like Christmas morning, isn't it? Something all shiny and new to play with.

Like you, I have three drives and have organized them pretty close to what you've described. I have some VSTs on D Drive as well, though.

If you have a ton of stuff, maybe organize them alphabetically on each drive, or by instrument. I tend to do mine by developer. That's just how I first think of where the stuff is that I have.

And, yeah, get rid of the bloatware.

Others will likely reply and have some good tips. Good luck in your setup!
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:07 PM   #3
cassembler
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The plan you have is logical and should work fine. It's really up to you. Your raw audio on the SSD is also a good idea, that throughput is plenty. Sample libraries and software get better use out of the PCI lanes IMHO.

That being said, I used to fight default installation paths (particularly for plugins) and have slowly come to realize, for certain companies, the default is just easier to deal with, and I can instead channel my smoldering resentment of their developers into better songwriting. (Path only comes into play when re-installing or finding your plugin folders (e.g. for Reaper) anyway; once it's setup, you stop caring. $0.02)
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:14 AM   #4
CoffeeQuest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassembler View Post
That being said, I used to fight default installation paths (particularly for plugins) and have slowly come to realize, for certain companies, the default is just easier to deal with, and I can instead channel my smoldering resentment of their developers into better songwriting. (Path only comes into play when re-installing or finding your plugin folders (e.g. for Reaper) anyway; once it's setup, you stop caring. $0.02)
That's interesting. What sort of problems did you run into? I'm tired of having 6 different VST folders because I just went with defaults. This time I'm putting them one place as long as the installer will allow me to choose a destination.
I talked to a guy who would symlink the file paths from the default location to his preferred location, if the installer did not allow for specifying location. I won't go that far, but I can understand a common mans fight against the hypocritical installer! I respect how you turn you smoldering resentment into music, haha.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:18 AM   #5
CoffeeQuest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixer View Post
Congrats on a new PC! Kind of like Christmas morning, isn't it? Something all shiny and new to play with.

Like you, I have three drives and have organized them pretty close to what you've described. I have some VSTs on D Drive as well, though.

If you have a ton of stuff, maybe organize them alphabetically on each drive, or by instrument. I tend to do mine by developer. That's just how I first think of where the stuff is that I have.

And, yeah, get rid of the bloatware.

Others will likely reply and have some good tips. Good luck in your setup!
Exactly like Christmas, yes! I think it will be arriving today and I'm sooooo excited for it to do. I have been saving up and it feels so good to finally be able to ditch the old (NOISY) laptop.

I'll sort mine by developer as well, that makes sense to me. Why did you put some of them on D drive?
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Why did you put some of them on D drive?
Because it had more room on it, that's all. Not everything is perfect, but good enough for me. Like cassembler said, "Once it's set up, you stop caring." I find that to be true, unless everything is a total mess.

On each drive I have one folder. Then in those folders I have VSTs, samples, etc., pretty much as you described. Everything is in its respective folder (for the most part). I try to force installs to where I want them. That usually works. So Reaper is set to look in those three folders. As long as I don't move things around, which I don't (that's too scary to think about), I'm ok. If I'm looking for something, I go to the folder (which is only one of three) and I find it. I've looked at my setup so often, I pretty much just remember where everything is.

Here's my suggestion for the day: When you are thinking about where to put something, whatever location first pops into your mind as logical, that's where to put it. If you forget where it went sometime, just think, "Well, where would I put it right now if I were setting things up?" And that will probably be where it is. You don't have to remember some fancy scheme that really wasn't to your liking in the first place. I do this with non-musical stuff, too. Works for me. (I try to keep my kids in logical places, but they go where they want most of the time. Especially when they get their drivers licenses. Kids these days!)

If you have folders in folders with subfolders in folders, you'll get lost. Don't worry if things are a little less than perfect.

Hope things work out well for you.
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Old 03-03-2020, 02:20 PM   #7
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Whatever the case on the PC, first thing would be putting a high speed commodity SAN and on/offsite backup solution. And outside air to all rooms.

As for the PC, put all project data on a separate drive. Use disk imaging and reinstall from image weekly on the OS drive. Have a protocol for maintaining backlog of these images. Especially in the connected age.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:10 PM   #8
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I have mine set up like this...

C:/ Drive (500GB M.2 NVME)
-Windows 10 Pro
-Reaper program
-all plugins and VSTi

D:/ Drive (500GB SATA SSD Partitioned 250/250)(Partition 1)
-Projects/audio files

E:/ Drive (500GB SATA SSD Partitioned 250/250)(Partition 2)
-all sample and loop libraries

F:/ Drive (2TB Hard drive)
-Backups, finished project storage

It's a good practice to write your projects to a separate drive from the program, or so I've heard...for me, this setup helps me keep everything better organized and easy to control...I'm lucky that I can have a PC dedicated to just my recording studio...
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:38 PM   #9
CoffeeQuest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preaper View Post
Whatever the case on the PC, first thing would be putting a high speed commodity SAN and on/offsite backup solution. And outside air to all rooms.

As for the PC, put all project data on a separate drive. Use disk imaging and reinstall from image weekly on the OS drive. Have a protocol for maintaining backlog of these images. Especially in the connected age.
I would like some further explanantion if you don't mind.
What do you mean by "outside air to all rooms"?

Can you elaborate a bit the disk imaging thing? Why would you do this?

I have my project files, recordings and all audio (everything I can't get if my computer dies) synced with Dropbox. Why would one be interested in a more complicated backup solution?
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:35 AM   #10
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IHMHO, 2 TByte is not very much for Reaper Projects, at least if you consider to work with audio recording. (What is suggested by the term "Studio" in the thread caption.)

In fact I would not hold Projects (inclcuding recorded sound files) on the PC itself. I'd rather use a NAS via GBit Ethernet to make them accessible 24/7 by multiple workplaces (Recording studio, Mixing table, Listening room, backup device, ...)
I in fact would add a second NAS and have it perform a nightly backup with automatic version handling to have access to recently modified files. So doing a backup can't be forgotten. Place the second NAS in a secure place separate from the main NAS e.g. in the basement.
I'd use mirrored 8 TB disk in the NAS boxes (providing 8 TB space and four copies of all files).
-Michael

Last edited by mschnell; 03-04-2020 at 04:36 AM.
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