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VST depends on sound card quality ?
Last post Sun, Nov 28 2021 by rverne10, 4 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Aug 19 2021 00:20
by Nounours_1
Joined on Sat, Aug 14 2021, Posts 1

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here and sorry in advance if my question is silly but even though I play piano since a long time I am a complete newbie about VSTs.

OK so after hearing lots of videos and examples online, I decided to buy my very first piano VST, which is the VSL Vienna Imperial (VI). I have installed it and even though I have pretty good headphones, if I compare how it sounds with the videos I've heard and helped me decide, my VI sounds quite ordinary and lifeless. In some of the videos with the VI sounding great and almost like a real concert piano, the guy who made them specifies he added no effects at all except for the VI integrated options.

My computer is recent, an ASUS i7 but I am using its integrated sound card (RealTek). So is my problem simply that I need a better sound card to get a more "alive" and realistic sound ? Because from what I read online, some people say that the sound card has no impact on the VST sound and others say the opposite. If so, do you have any particular card or hardware to suggest ?

Thank you all in advance to help me with your good advice and tips, as I am pretty disappointed for now.

Posted on Mon, Aug 23 2021 23:03
by MMKA
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 467

Originally Posted by: Nounours_1 Go to Quoted Post
So is my problem simply that I need a better sound card to get a more "alive" and realistic sound ? Because from what I read online, some people say that the sound card has no impact on the VST sound and others say the opposite. If so, do you have any particular card or hardware to suggest ? Thank you all in advance to help me with your good advice and tips, as I am pretty disappointed for now.

Hi, concerning the question if the sound card has impact on VST sound, there are in fact 2 answers. It all depends on what you mean by it. The recorded samples are always the same of course. And there is no difference, if I make a piece of music on a pc with a bad sound card or a good sound card. The result will be the same, as long as the samples and the editing are the same. Playing a sample at the other hand depends on the quality of the sound card, the amplifier, the sound boxes or the headphone, and even the acoustics of the room (in case you use sound boxes of course). In my little studio room with rather hard walls (and boxes very close to the walls) I had to make serious adjustments to improve the sound. A good sound card gives more detailed information. You will have more depth, a more natural sound, the several overtones of a tone stay more together as a whole, the tone sings much more. If you can hear this, depends on the quality of your headphone of course (or sound boxes). Don't underestimate the influence of the character of your headphone. A headphone that has an emphasis on low frequencies or high frequencies can have a huge impact on the sound.

Concerning the sound of the Vienna Imperial I can give a few tips. Most concert pianists will almost never use the loudest volume a piano can give. Fortissimo is absolutely lower than velocity value 127 (or it must be in a piano concerto with full orchestra complete with brass, timpani and so on). Of course it depends on your taste what in your experience is forte and fortissimo. Most instruments will sound best in a venue with a good acoustic. For example: when you hear a recorded very dry loud tone of an oboe it sounds (at least in my ears) dead. The moment you place that sound in a beautiful digital acoustic environment, the tone comes to live. For a piano this will also help. In the Vienna Imperial you have several possibilities to place the piano in an acoustic environment.Concerning a good sound card there are many, the most I don't know of course. Focusrite comes into my mind, but I'm sure there will be much more good sound cards. Doing some research on the internet can help. Important is, that in addition to the quality of the sound, you should also be able to achieve low latency.
I hope it is of some use for you.

Posted on Mon, Nov 01 2021 00:48
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1942

Long story short, your music inside the box is inside the box and cannot be harmed by your audio interface. Conversion from analog to digital in recording *into* said box is another matter.

What you hear consequently may be shoddy having inferior reproduction equipment, but this s not a reflection of its source material, it's just a reproduction issue.

MacBookPro 18,3
Apple M1 Pro: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9

Mac OS 12.3.1
VE Pro 7.1298, Nuendo 11.0.41
Posted on Sun, Nov 28 2021 20:35
by rverne10
Joined on Tue, May 26 2009, Michigan, USA, Posts 132

Originally Posted by: Nounours_1 Go to Quoted Post
My computer is recent, an ASUS i7 but I am using its integrated sound card (RealTek). So is my problem simply that I need a better sound card to get a more "alive" and realistic sound ?

You didn't give a lot of details on why you're not getting the sound output you expected, so I'm just working in a general manner here. Also, please list out your equipment, particularly the audio and midi portion. You can put it in the Forum website on your account settings. 

I would definitely look for a better quality audio interface (sound card); it will be external to the computer.

A store with some USB Audio Interfaces; from Sweetwater, their sales staff is helpful. I advise to stay away from Focusrite-they are over priced. 

Not sure if USb is what you're looking for- it's the easiest to connect with your computer. You'll need to spend over $150 (US) to begin to move into a quality setup.  

Also, were you speaking of MIDI recording: If you check with you DAW manufacturer, they may have some tips on how to make MIDI recordings more lifelike. I find the MIDI connection with Cubase 10.5 picks up most of the nuances. Also, do a web search on tips on getting the most out of MIDI, there are ways to tweak the recording system. 

Also, do you have reverb set up on the settings? The output may sound very dry without it. 

Cubase 12, Windows 10 Installed on ‎4/‎11/‎2022
OS build 19044.1645, VE Pro (build 7.1.1329) Vienna Instruments Pro 2.0 (v 2.6.99) Universal Audio Apollo Twin, M-Audio Oxygen 88 keyboard controller, USB connection, NVIDA GeForce GTX 1600 Ti Display adapter, Intel i7-8700K CPU @3.70 GHz, 32 GB RAM Total Physical Memory
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