Event | muse - The Silent DAW
Silent, beautiful, powerful, for creation and consumption, this is what we've been waiting for.
Silence – the Holy Grail of the recording environment. Unless you have sound proofed vocal booths and machine rooms then background noise is one of the more annoying aspects of recording. All Rain Computer systems are designed to be as quiet as possible – but there’s always difficulty in defining exactly what “quiet” means and inevitably the low hum of a computer or shudder of a hard drive has the potential to end up in your music. Not any more.
As Sam Inglis put in his sparkling review in the July 2012 edition of Sound On Sound Magazine "If you want a computer that's completely silent, yet portable and powerful enough for location recording, look no further."
Event|muse is silent. There’s no hum, no rumble, no buzz, click, clack or fizz. Instead there is a complete lack of sound – an emptiness, a void, an absolute stillness. Initially it’s quite eerie to work with, we’ve become so accustomed to computer noise and so when working with software on screen the silence is really noticeable. But as you begin to record music, to use microphones to work with the system you realise that this is how it’s meant to be – blissfully devoid of computer hum.
Technology TamedA computer usually requires active cooling to keep temperatures and performance under control. How have we managed to create a completely fanless solution? And how have we fitted it into such a gorgeous little box? The secret is a combination of case design, employing the latest technology and accepting some limitations in performance when compared to regular desktops. There are three key noisy areas to tackle: CPU cooling, power supply cooling and hard drives.
CPU Cooling – The Event|muse chassis is constructed from high grade aluminium and forms a highly efficient heatsink. Internally the CPU is connected via heat-pipe to the case transferring the heat directly to the case where it’s dissipated through the fins. In our testing of a Quad Core 2.8GHz processor the temperature never rose above the 65 degree mark even when running burn-in tests for many hours. For this to work you do need to have good air flow around the case – no locking it a cupboard – but with the beauty of the Event|muse why would you want to? The CPU’s are specially designed from Intel’s latest SandyBridge and IvyBridge line to be run at a lower power of 65W as opposed to the 95W of the regular processors. This makes them more efficient and cooler.
PSU Cooling – Following on from the low wattage of the CPU’s the Event|muse has been adapted to take a laptop style power supply. This means you have an external power adapter rather than the large internal ATX power supplies you normally find in a desktop. These external supplies have no fans and supply a stable 150W to the system. This brings some limitations in the amount of components the system can run, similar to that of a laptop. There is room for three drives in the case but realistically you only have enough power for two. There is one PCIe expansion slot but it’s only really suitable for a FireWire or TV card, not enough power to run DSP cards or graphics cards. What you do have power for is up to a Quad Core i7 3770s CPU, a couple of drives and 16GB of RAM running in complete silence which is an awesome set-up.
Drives – Switching to SSD (solid state drives) does come with a premium and the system would be cheaper with a regular hard drive – but hard drives are one of the noisiest components in a computer these days. SSD’s are completely silent which is why they are perfect for Event|muse. But silence isn’t the only feature, they are blisteringly fast, Windows boots in under 10 seconds and all applications run like they are always on. Once you’ve used one, you’ll never look back.
PerformanceIt’s tempting to believe that a computer of this size and feature set is going to disappoint when it comes to raw performance. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that it can’t quite reach the heights of our overclocked and watercooled Nimbus Z but it is based on the same technology. We’re not using miniaturised inefficient technology like that often found in laptops, this is desktop technology running at full bandwidth with high speed RAM and a wide PCI bus. You’re going to have no trouble plugging in a USB audio interface and loading up intensive musical projects.
Using Cubase 6 and an RME Babyface USB interface we did some comparison testing alongside our best selling Livebook LE and Nimbus Z to give you an idea of what to expect from the Event|muse. In this comparison we’ve done a number of tests including the generally accepted DawBench benchmark project along with our own polyphony tests. The results are added together to give an overall performance figure.
As you can see the standard Event|muse (i3 dual 3.3GHz) is very similar in performance to the top spec Livebook LE – this translates into dozens of tracks and hundreds of notes VSTi polyphony. Upgrade to the Quad Core i7 and the Event|muse streaks ahead to over twice the performance of the Livebook. The overclocking on the Nimbus Z really does make all the difference but if it was running at stock speed the performance would be much similar. So it’s plain that you get silence and performance with the Event|muse even with the standard CPU and there’s plenty of scope for upgrading to an awesome powerhouse of music producing performance.
Media CentredAlthough we’re specialists in music production PC’s it occurs to us that the Event|muse would make a pretty darn fabulous “Media Center” or Home Theater solution. The petite size and beautiful lines allow Event|muse to fit right at home on a book shelf or as part of a home entertainment system. Windows 7 comes with its “Media Center” application that gives you complete control over the playing of movies, images and music. With the optional TV tuner card you can have High Definition Freeview channels flowing through the system, with full hard disk recording features and the ability to watch one channel while recording another. Microsoft’s “Zune” music librarian is built in offering superb cataloguing features, ripping of CD’s and visualisations. Add the optional remote control and all of Media Center functions are available from the armchair. As this is a computer and not just a set-top box you also have access to various media players like BBC iPlayer, 4OD, YouTube and music players such as Spotify and iTunes. You can browse the Internet, play games, answer emails or whatever you like – it’s a PC.
If this is the direction you want to take with the Event|muse then we’d recommend sticking with the Dual Core i3 2125S processor. The two cores will more than cope with the serving up of video and audio and it has the advanced Intel HD3000 graphics engine which puts it a cut above the regular video cards you find in most systems. The i5 and i7 processors have the even more advanced HD4000 graphics so if gaming is a use you had in mind then it's worth the upgrade, but for High Definition video playback the i3 2125S is plenty.
Space ExpansionIf the shortage of drive space inside gives you cause to pause then consider this: Event|muse has three eSATA ports each of which can connect to an external drive with the same performance as an internal one. Bear in mind that external drives can be noisy but you can always locate them elsewhere or turn them off when recording. Another useful way of adding storage is via a NAS drive or Network Attached Storage. You can put a NAS drive anywhere on your network – in another room, in the cupboard under the stairs and then move data onto it to free up space. It’s perfect for storing films you’ve recorded or your ripped CD collection.
Compatible with all music production software.
ProcessorIntel Quad Core i5 3450S 2.8GHz, 3550S 3.0GHz or i7 3770S 3.1GHz.
6MB or 8MB Cache.
Up to 3.9GHz Turbo Boost.
Core i7 Hyperthreading for 8 virtual cores.
3rd Generation Ivy Bridge technology.
MemoryTwo memory slots for up to 16GB of high performance DDR3 1600MHz RAM.
SSD DriveSuper fast SSD drive running up to 525MB/s read & 500MB/s write.
Power limitations support up to two internal SSD drives.
Optical DriveSATA DVDR/RW slot drive as standard.
Optional Blu-Ray player.
Video & GraphicsIntel HD3000 or HD4000 graphics with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.
Onboard AudioHD Audio playback.
7.1 Surround Sound.
Dolby Home Theatre.
Optical S/PDIF output.
I/O Ports2x USB 3.0 Ports.
Up to 10x USB 2.0 Ports.
3x eSATA ports.
1x PCIe slot (low profile).
1x FireWire Port.
Connectivity1x Gigabit Ethernet port.
SoftwareWindows 7 tuned for audio and video production.
RainZone Internet Safe Zone for virus free surfing and downloading.
SupportOne year limited hardware warranty.
Optional three year extended hardware warranty.
Lifetime email and phone tech support.
InputOptional keyboard and mouse, wired or wireless.
PowerExternal 150W power supply adapter.
Size & Weight240 x 250 x 100mm (W x D x H).
5 Kgs depending on options.