Homebuild vs prebuild pc's


Another new forum user here… I am considering buying into cubase 9 artist and have a number of questions but this first post is mostly pc related… Sorry I am guessing these are fairly common questions…

I have a focusrite 18i6 and am wanting to use this with a new pc to record outboard synths I own and vocals but would like to add effects ideally being able to hear them in real time while recording and run software synths initially using those that come with the DAW software.

I have built pc’s in the past but am really out of touch with modern processors and hardware but have been reading up. I have been disappointed with previous builds for audio work as they have often ended up being noisy and have had compatibility issues due to Chipset.

So I have been looking at prebuilt pc advertised as being suitable for audio workstations.

Possibles include the following and I would be greatful for opinions on these and these vs building my own.

Scan 3XS TZ270 - Computer Music PCTZ270 DAW Computer Music PC
4 core i7 7700k 4.2 GHz 4.5 GHz Turbo. Kaby Lake 16GB ram 250GB Samsung evo

Vs their 6 core option at about £200 more.

3XS FWX99 PowerDAW - Digital Audio Workstation
Intel Core i7 6800K Unlocked, Broadwell-E, 6 Core, 3.4GHz, 3.8GHz Turbo
Other specs comparable.

Also for example…

6 core but much cheaper than scans options.

Scan also have some none custom build off the shelf audio workstations options. None 3xs but for similar.

I realise these are OTT for my current needs but I want to future proof my setup so it is stable for some time, able to cope with quite a few pluggins. I am al ready running out of audio inputs to record outboard gear simultaneously so intend to extend my audio card with 8 more inputs and/or a better audio interface.

Anyone using 3xs pc’s? Satisfied? Over priced?
Anyone using the same motherboards with my older audio interface?

Thanks in advance.


I’ve never been a fan of prebuilt, but that’s just me. I’m sure there are fine prebuilt systems out there.

If noise is your main concern, you can do a lot about it when you build your own. You probably know about http://www.silentpcreview.com/ and all their advice on the issues. Personally, I went for a Seasonic fanless power supply, a Nanoxia case, and a SSD. A fanless PSU means less total power available and greater efficiency. It can’t be fanless if it produces a lot of waste heat. Since the main power hog is a graphics card, and since you don’t need one, there’s no need for more than about 500W anyway. (The graphics built into modern CPUs is fine for a DAW.) When you cut down the heat, you cut down the need for fans. Large fans can spin more quietly. My main noise source is tiny “assist fans” that sit on my motherboard, but I could reduce the problem by setting my BIOS to silent mode. (I chose an Asus Sabertooth motherboard, which is robust against heat, dust, and shock. I didn’t catch your motherboard model.)

You can expect a latency problem when recording vocals if you want real-time effects. You pretty much have to use direct monitoring regardless of how strong your DAW is. It looks like the Focusrite suite has a reverb plugin, but not hardware reverb, so I doubt you’ll be able to get an adequate response if you want to record live vocals with reverb. On the other hand, if your reverb had a pre-delay of say 17 milliseconds and your latency is 5 milliseconds, then you could set the pre-delay to 12 milliseconds when recording and 17 milliseconds on playback. You’d need to sent only the reverb to your headphones when recording, leaving the direct sound to direct monitoring.

welcome on the forum!

When changing your system (and i’ve had quite a few) the most important thing is getting the right advice.
If you buy a computer somewhere and they do not ask where you are going to use it for, just leave it behind.
Audio PC’s are very specific in terms of build. Do not put all your eggs on the processor basket since this is NOT the most important thing. You want overall balance that is adapted to your specific home situation. I still have e.g. a x220 here that is six years old and it does the job excellent (but is adapted and extended) and with no issues at all. It plays 30 and more vsti’s without a problem since it’s realtime performance is excellent. With that six year old machine i can blow away quite a few of those custom builds that have recent six or eight core processors.

In terms of what to buy my advice would be to stick with the big players, since they have a) the service, b) the knowledge, c) enough good orders to get deeper insight in how a system performs.

For me there are two players, and no it’s not intel or mac. And okay, there are more excellent companies on the planet then just those two, but these two i’ve had multiple times.

° http://www.titancomputers.com/
They are probably close to being nr. 1. They have excellent international support and before you get your computer they will call you to get more info. The do very big things, not only intended for normal human beings, but they also have cheaper things.
° http://www.clevo.com.tw/
This is a company of taiwan and also one of the big players. They work with a lot of subbrands as subcontractors like sager, alienware, and so on. These machines are consumer oriented but they just laugh with the competition. E.g. the laptops that are in fact desktops are unbeaten nr. 1 imho. Amazing stuff in a rather small box. A computer is bought through one of the subcontractors, and these subcontractors are guys who really have to know their BU. (as far as i have experienced)

With the machines i bought from both of those companies i never had any problem. It just works.
It’s not the cheapest option, but it will give you a hassle free experience, which is what you want.

Look out for customs charges when ordering a system abroad, since this can add a decent amount of expenditure to a project.

kind regards,

Hi Roel and Colin,

Thank you for your replies. It’s been a while since I have checked back on my post so have to confess I bit the bullet on my 3xs system a few weeks back… before I read your posts.

I think Scan are fairly reputable and have no complaints so far in terms of their service and the stability of the PC and what I seem to be able to run… It’s early days of course and I have not taxed the system much yet as I am still playing and learning my way around Cubase 9.0. I have the artist version.

So far the my only disappointment verses the pro version is not being able to route group outputs back as audio inputs which I was mainly hoping to do as I want to use overbridge to record my Analog 4 outputs onto separate audio tracks…

As for the system it’s a tower. The mobo is an ASUS Prime Z270-A running a 4 core i7 7700K. 16Gb of memory. It’s not fanless but it’s barely audible.

You are of course correct about the lack of hardware reverb. Looking at your other suggestions… I am not to sure how to route only reverb to my headphones… I’ll need to read/watch some tutorials to get my head around much of this…

Any recommended tutorials on routing would be welcome .

I have briefly looked into direct monitoring and It maybe that my fairly basic soundcard does not support direct monitoring?! It does have it’s own Zero Latency tracking preset but i am not sure if Cubase can handle/route this.


Thanks to you both for your comments/advice.



Thanks to all, who give suggestion for this question…