DIY PC - anything I should take care of regarding DM-3200?


Jan 19, 2014
Gear owned
Tascam DM 3200 + IF-FW_DMMK II

these days I want to put together a new audio PC from scratch. At the moment I run a PC with ASUS P8P67 mainboard. Well, my first question is about the mainboard:
- my P8P67 has firewire on board, which seemed to be a good choice at first, but left me with some trouble with latency. In a german forum they told me that the ASUS chipset of this particular mainboard would be working somewhat crapy. As for the latency, this has proven to be true: I bought a digitus firewire-card with a western digital chipset, and things turned out to be much better (though there's still headroom to go for).

Since I decided this time to get a mainboard without onboard firewire and hence use the digitus card, I began to feel unsure if this would be the only variable I should consider to put into the equation.
Being not to familiar with all the PC-stuff in depth, I considered asking the pros, which would be you :)

Is there anything I should take care of with building my new PC, especially about the mainboard, when teaming it up with my DM 3200? Or am I walking down the wrong lane, considering I don't want onboard firewire at all, so that the kind of mainboard would be no issue at all? Any suggestions/help in finding a real good mainboard for audio-PC?

Hints that might help:
- Audio interface intended to use: DM 3200 via Firewire
- RAM: 8xDDR3
-sockets 1155 or 2011
- OS intended to use: well, I'll stick with Win 7 Pro 64 bit - up till now I am very pleased with that

thank you very much!

kind regards
Make sure to use PCIe FireWire card instead of PCI. In most modern motherboards PCI bus is unsuitable for low-latency tasks.
Good point actually, thanks! I put this on my list - but as far as I know, the digitus doing it's work in my system right now is already a PCIe; so I can stick with that :)
FWIW, I have an ASUS P5B deluxe with the onboard FW and have had no trouble with it. Its the TI chip, which is not supposed to work as well with the DMs FW card as the VIA chip does, but, again, no problems here, with good latency (I am able to use low latency if I need to, but rarely do). I always monitor inputs and previous audio playback through the board and my DAW handles any latency issues automatically via Latency Delay Compensation.

AFA latency goes, there are a couple of huge things you can do to decrease your latency.
First, Google anything about increasing your PC's performance by making subtle changes in windows. Here's a good reference:

Second, disable any WiFi or internet NICs that you are not using. (This was huge for me) You can do this simply by going to windows Control Panel, selecting Device Manager, and opening Network Adaptors. Right click on any that you are not using and select Disable.

Third, back in device manager, look for your IEEE 1394 bus host adaptor, open it and right click the driver. Go through the Update Driver software wizard by selecting Browse My Computer for software driver, Let Me Pick From a List..., then select the 1394 OHCI....(legacy) driver. For what ever reason, this driver works the best for windows to communicate with the FW card. This is NOT the same thing as the FW driver that Tascam offers for the IF-FW/DM. Different thing.

Last, PM me for the latest Tascam FW Driver, v1.30f4, for your FW card, with your email address and I will email out to you.
@TascMan: thanks on the intel - I'm afraid, if been through that last autumn on a german forum though. I did everything from system optimization to getting an extra firewire-card (which is NOT western digital as I firstly wrote; its Texas Instruments). Sad enough the VIA chip did the trouble in my system - I gained 12 % DSP usage with the TI chip on the extra card. So finally, I've given up trying to find out if the trouble occured on behalf of the FW or host sequencer (Samplitude Pro X) or heck knows what. I strictly keep my audio computer away from the internet with a minimal (some might say "poor") amount of programs: the office bunch with word, excel, powerpoint, and my audio progrs, namely Samplitude, Reason, BFD and guitar pro. Don't know what might have gone wrong. There's a reason I far more like being musically productive than trying to be a bad IT-man :p

Initially I don't build up a new PC because I want a new audio-PC (it's not THAT bad after all); in fact I need a new working PC for my real job. I just found, the specs of my audio PC would very well match the needs of my working PC. So why not change horses, and settle for a new audio-PC (card's dealt anew; maybe more lucky this time^^).

PC Optimization, disabling conflicting hardware, and Legacy IE1394 driver = 90% of Win7/DAW/DM/FWire mission accomplished.
A grave meaning put seemingly easy into true words :) But wait: what did this wise indian say? "If your horse is dead - descend!"
I fear I got lost somewhere on the last 10% :)

Oh - I forgot --> PM sent! Thanks for the offer!

"If your horse is dead - descend!"

Great saying. Here's another: "DAWs were designed by engineers who didn't have to actually use them" - :)

True or not, my sense of it boils down to this: every single DAW flavor began life as a software application intended to be driven by a mouse.
Controllers and sophisticated interfaces - like the DM - arrived after the fact, as DAW creators were continually trying to make their stuff work on modern operating systems. So, those of us who've evolved beyond sole reliance on Zerox/Apple's love child are ahead of the game. But sometimes getting there is challenging, to say the least. :)

"DAWs were designed by engineers who didn't have to actually use them"
That's actually my belief, too :) Thank god, up till now I got rid of most of the troubles with DAW/Interfaces, but it's always a pain in the ass if you know it's supposed to work but for some reason doesn't!

Best example in my opinion: two years ago, my brother and I build our PCs at the same time. We both chose the exact same ASUS mainboard, the exact same CPU, and the exact same amount of RAM from the same brand. Only difference so far: the graphics card (he actually needed far more graphic power than I did). Back than I used a M-Audio Delta 1010LT audio interface. Drop outs, bad latency, and god knows what issues more! Had I not known that it worked perfectly in the PC I had used before, I would have dedicated it to my toaster, and watch it melt with satisfaction! Point is: half a year later I sold the Delta 1010 to my brother (no, no, actually we really like each other), and - without knowing why - : everything turned out to be fine! Did he use an other DAW? No, he didn't! And I surely don't believe it's because of the graphics card :)

This having said: I guess there is no such thing as a "compliance catalogue" to as with which hardware DM3200 harmonises the most?
"I sold the Delta 1010 to my brother (no, no, actually we really like each other), and - without knowing why - : everything turned out to be fine! "

Obviously, your Delta 1010 was looking for a new home. :)

The good news is, the majority of us 'old-time' DM users - at least on this forum - are enjoying stability and good performance from our rigs. Fairly reliable proof it CAN be done. :)

fwiw I had 3 x Delta 1010s sync'd for 24 I/O with an XP PC that worked quite well. Upgraded the same PC to Vista and it still worked well (with PT8 and Reaper).

When PT9 came out I upgraded to a DM4800 - the same PC would not lock to the DM - tried various recommended f/w cards and onboard f/w - still no success - even rebuilt it with XP and still no success - sold that PC.

Draw your own conclusions about root cause.....
Have a few audio workstations and I have found that the Asus republic of gamers (ROG) gear has worked well for me. I would think about upping the ram to 16gig if your going to run 64bit OP system. That way you can take advantage of more ram and your DAW can more effectively use plugins better. Thats if your chosen DAW is 64bit and not 32bit. Most have gone over to 64 I think.

Get a CPU with lots of threads and a good amount of cores, Look at higher speed ram and SSD's for your main drive with normal HDD's as backup storage. Definitely Firewire in PCIe as the lanes in the Asus boards are usually designed for multiple GPU's, (like my gaming and video rig) and thus they try to remove the bottlenecks for benchmarking maniacs etc. You can also turn lanes (slots) on and off which is handy.

AND...if you want to go nuts like me, water cooling. Keeps heat down and reliability is increased over the life of the PC. Also get less crashes due to heat issues. However if you can't do water you can also get Corsair closed loop water cooling, basically plug and play and not that expensive.

All of that should work fine. Latency should be reduced but you can never truly kill it, just minimise it.

For my main Audio machine with my DM4800 I use a 12 core supped up mac, lots of ram and I still get a bit of latency. Not a huge amount but still....

Hope it helps.
However if you can't do water you can also get Corsair closed loop water cooling, basically plug and play and not that expensive.
Interesting, but what is your type of water cooling if it isn't closed loop?
I thought the best route when needing a new music workstation was to go with a company that made these workstations specifically for music. What I wouldn't recommend to anyone is purchasing any of the Creation Stations from Sweetwater! I put my trust and a ton of money into this otherwise highly respectable company but in the end I ended up purchasing a very limited machine at a premium. Next time I will purchase from ADK. The days of building my own PC's are over. I started my career doing that for years and I don't have the time or patience to be my own IT guy. I want to spend my time and energy making music. Understanding Cubase and the DM3200 is enough of a deterrent.
"Understanding Cubase and the DM3200 is enough of a deterrent."


In a perfect world, a company like Tascam would either subsidize or outright oversee the creation of a DAW-optimized [PC and/or MAC] specifically designed for their mixers. There'd be no more questions like: 'what PCIe firewire card should I get?' 'What do I need to do to increase operating system efficiency?" "What's the lowest latency?' "Could you please send me the drivers?' Etc Etc Etc.

Oh wait! They did! It's called the X48 and it's not a software DAW. :)

(I expect Jamsire will attach a 'Like' to this post. ) :D

Interesting, but what is your type of water cooling if it isn't closed loop?

A close loop system is usually a system that you can't replace the fluid in. Such as the plug in play corsair systems. My system I have a tank so I can drain and replace fluid from time to time. You guys might call them something different though, but in New Zealand we refer to those as closed and open loops.
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Cmafia is correct, you could buy a workstation thats designed built for audio. OR better yet, see what specs they use and buy the same components and build it yourself. Much cheaper! Plus when you build a PC you really start to learn about all the hardware etc, makes easier on the next builds etc.
It's more than the hardware specs. There is a lot of fine tuning of the Windows/MAC Operating System that is equally as important as the hardware components. Building a computer isn't difficult however building a reliable audio workstation requires a lot of research which takes a lot of time. Purchasing from a company who builds and configures machines just for this specific application just made more sense to me. Unfortunately Sweetwater isn't one of those companies!! I will bash them until my next workstation as I am obviously still bitter 1 year and 5 months later. Poor design! Junk parts! Poor support of their product! Once I found out the specific model numbers of each part (something I couldn't learn until I purchased it), I realized that my local PC shop could have built me the same machine for almost $800.00 less. Paying over and beyond wouldn't have been so bad had the design worked or if customer support was knowledgeable but they scored zeros there too! In general I like Sweetwater and their sales people, however DAW workstations isn't their forte!!...Maffia out! (microphone tossed aside)
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For my next DAW I'm considering a Hackintosh - using name brand components as the most cost effective / quality option .... but I just wish there was a better medium to record on than a damn computer...... I've tried an X48 and it had limitations (high cost, insufficient I/O, too noisy)... and the other hard disk recorders are too infant atm.

Surely there's a market crying out for plug and play recorders? Surely I'm not the only one who can't be bothered stuffing around with computers and would rather be doing audio?

like cmaffia said "mic tossed aside" and minor rant ended
"Surely there's a market crying out for plug and play recorders.."'

If so, then there's a market for plug and play mixers too. But at the moment, the leading mixer/surfaces are all different. Would a DM/FW driver work on a Presonus unit? (Stupid question, but the example is necessary). So how, then, does a 3rd party recorder manufacturer build a machine that works across the board, with all hardware, and with minimal fuss? Include a DVDr with all the authorized, proprietary drivers? And how robust is this recorder? Does it run plug ins? If so - whose? What about editing? MIDI? Does it do everything, or just a few things? If you're used an X48 and found it lacking, what would prevent another user from arriving at that same conclusion with a new design, but perhaps for different reasons?

Unless or until those questions are answered, we're stuck using computers to run DAWs. That's because users are now spoiled by what a modern DAW is capable of - which is essentially all things to all people. That's why they're large, bloated, growing, and constantly in need of more powerful hardware hosts.

A viscious circle, seems to me. :)

Perhaps I should have been clearer? I didn't mean a hardware recorder to replace the DAWs - I meant a hardware recorder with some more features than the ones currently available for the market that doesn't want all the features and hassles in a DAW.

As you prob know, there are various black box recorders on the market but they are aimed at the live market and lack features like the ability to overdub. I'm hoping the next step will be a device that records (e.g.) 24 tracks, has overdub facility, card options for digital I/O and can be sync'd with more similar devices for more tracks. This sort of device could work hand in hand with high quality convertors, outboard, analog and / or digital desks and a DAW.

To quote FZ, maybe "I'm just totally out of step with reality"......
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