Re: cubase requirements

Subject: Re: cubase requirements
From: Eric Somers (
Date: Thu Jun 03 1999 - 09:50:49 EDT

At 03:10 AM 6/3/1999 -0400, you wrote:
>according to the "steinberg" site, the system requirements for cubase vst
>are an
>"absolute minimum of 601/120 MHz processor, 32 MB RAM, 256 K Second
>Level Cache, Mac OS System 7.6.1 or later"
>can someone explain to me what this means in english, as i am quite slow
>with respect to computer specs...

First the explanation of the terms:

601 refers to the type (or model) of processor chip. The 601 is outdated
by today's standards. 120MHz refers to the speed the processor executes
instructions. 32 Meg RAM refers to the amount of internal memory (the kind
that goes away when the machine is off, not the hard disk space). The cache
refers to special memory the hard drive and other devices use to store data
temporarily which helps it to run faster, and the operating system (OS
7.6.1) refers to the version of the basic program which keeps your computer
running (The current version of Mac OS is 8.5.1 I believe).

I do not think most people would be happy with the performance of cubase
using the "minimum" system unless you are going to use the program ONLY for
midi sequencing and not for digital multitrack audio recording and mixing.
For that I think you would find a minimum system can't keep up without (1)
audio "stutters" or momentary pauses when trying to play back many tracks
or (2) very slow response to things like moving ahead in a file (equivalent
to fast forward on a tape deck).

I don't know your budget. If you can't afford a Mac with the advanced G-3
processor chip (these start about $1600 without monitor) then I would look
for a used Mac with the 603e processor chip. These should be available for
under $500 without a monitor and would work much better than the "minimum"
system above. I also think you should have at least 64 Megs of RAM memory
(96Meg or 128 Meg is better) but memory is cheap and a 64 meg upgrade
should cost less than $100 for any machine you would get.

Be aware that digital audio, not MIDI, takes much disk space and you may
need to buy an additional disk drive. You will also want to buy a CD-ROM
burner both to burn audio CDs and also to save large amounts of data to
free up space on your disk drive. But again, if you are ONLY going to do
MIDI sequencing to external devices (like your Korg or a drum machine) then
this will not use many computer resources. It is actually recording digital
audio to CD quality that takes up processor resources and disk space (5
Mebabytes of disk space per minute per track of uncompressed digital audio).

A good G-3 Mac with memory and hard drive will interface very well into a
larger system later after you buy a mixer, other synths, etc. Since the
G-3 is the current chip (though a G-4 Mac is poised for introduction) it
makes sense to buy one of those machines if you have the budget. But you
can live with a much slower machine though hopefully not as slow as the
"minimum" system.

You may want to sit down and talk with a technical person. You indicated
that the technical terms are new to you so a consultant to help you buy the
right stuff might help. I do not know what city you live in. If you live
in or near NYC I would be glad to sit down with you some afternoon. If you
live somewhere else and let members of the list know where I feel confident
someone in or near your city might make the same offer.

I don't know if I was able to give you enough help in a short space, but
feel free to email me privately if you have further questions which might
not interest the list.


Eric Somers
Professor of Design and Communication
Chair, Dept. of Performing and Visual Arts
State University of New York
Dutchess Community College

Acousmatic Designer
The Sandbook Studio

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