• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Hi All,

    I am hoping you all can help me understand how virtual instruments truly work in relation to soundcard. I am at the point of buying some new hardware (this discussion isn't about what hardware to buy) and just need help understanding what my need is. I can only do that when I understand this concept.

    I do not do any live recording at the moment and live recording isn't my concern (at the moment). Literally 99.99% of all my work is done in a sequencer(logic) or Sibelius with virtual instruments such as GPO. I then pipe out the the midi information into samplers. Sometimes I use Gigastudio, sometimes I use my Garritan Libraries. So the questions are:

    1. If I am running Logic and Garritan(Kontakt) on the same machine isn't everything I am doing literally just Digital signals bouncing all over the machine? I realize that my monitor jack on my soundcard is spitting out an analog image to my studio monitor speakers however, isn't everything before that (midi messages, garritan library, Logic virtual instrument trackes etc) all digital on my computer? There is absolutely no need for a bank breaking AD/DA in this setup is there?

    2. If this is an all digital workspace I am using then what is the benefit of say using a Rosetta 200 fitted with an X-Symphony card attached to a Symphony Expresscard in my Macbookpro compared to just using a 250.00 M-Audio Firewire Audiophile?

    3. How does using the cheaper 250.00 M-audio card differ from using the Rosetta 200 combo in the end result when I "bounce" the track (or mixdown depending what sequencer language you are used too) when there is no analog tracks and none of my Logic tracks were ever analog recorded sources? Since it is already ALL digital information (still waiting for someone to clarify this is the truth) does the Rosetta actually add any value to my final mixdown if all it is doing is combining 10-20 or 30 virtual instrument sounds into a stereo interleaved file?

    I realize that if I had say an Ensemble or a Rosetta 200 setup I would get to HEAR a significant difference in my studio monitors (because the D/A is so superior to a 250.00 card as well as the internal clocking) however, the actual audio track itself should be pretty much the exact same either way or no? I mean if I bounce the track to a CD with a 250.00 card and then play the CD through my expensive audiophile system in my living room will it even notice that it wasn't a Rosetta that was in the mix?

    Thanks so much in advance. You would think as long as I have been using virtual instruments I would have known this by now.

    Maestro2be

  2. #2

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    You are correct.
    If you were mixing down to an outboard deck, or recording from outboard gear or mics, you would benefit from an expensive DA, but in your case, the final bounced file will not sound better on a CD with and expensive DA, unless you play it out of the expensive DA, and even then in might not matter much.
    the real advantage of a good AD/DA is in recording and re-recording.

  3. #3

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    I agree with conwaylemmon. It's a non-issue if everything's done 'in the
    computer'.

    It could be argued that it might make a difference for critical listening while
    mixing/mastering, but if you're happy with the results you are getting there
    is no reason to spend the additional money.

    - k

  4. #4

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Ditto to the two responses above. Adequate, depending on your needs.

    The consideration is the digital resolution of the materials on your palette, and the accuracy of your equipment in maintaining this resolution. If all you do is input pure samples and pipe them through to the output, theoretically, you will maintain resolution.

    When you begin manipulating individual parameters with effects (in your mix and your mastering) you need to know how the mix and the effects work. Your results can be modified, and it is the higher resolution D/A circuitry that will allow a more clear audition of the result.

    What I'm saying is that if you mix a 96Khz sample with another 96Khz sample your result is still 96Khz. If your samples are 24 bit, your result is still 24 bit - some from one sample, and some from the other. Not all of the bits are the "sound" infomation; some of it is overhead such as timing, etc. The question becomes one of what's lost, or left out.

    The bottom line here: If you are only using what you have to produce demos or to circulate your output locally (i.e., custom CDs for personal circulation), what you're outlining is adequate hardware. If you are looking to produce studio quality masters for a production facility to duplicate from, you might want to think about this a little more.

    Here's a site with a wealth of information about how it works: http://www.moultonlabs.com/

    Hope this helps.


    Joe

  5. #5

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Impaquette -

    "If all you do is input pure samples and pipe them through to the output,
    theoretically, you will maintain resolution."

    I'm not sure I understand your reply. He's not piping anything through any
    output. He's listening, which uses DA conversion. But other than that, all
    mixing and mastering is done IN the computer. Nothing is being input or
    output.

    He ends up with a file that can be copied or burned to a CD.

    Unless I am misunderstanding how Bounce-to-track, Freeze, and mixdown
    work? I thought that was all done computationally and had nothing to
    do with your audio device. Am I mistaken?

    - k

  6. #6

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Quote Originally Posted by klassical
    Impaquette -

    "If all you do is input pure samples and pipe them through to the output,
    theoretically, you will maintain resolution."
    I'm not sure I understand your reply. He's not piping anything through any
    output. He's listening, which uses DA conversion. But other than that, all
    mixing and mastering is done IN the computer. Nothing is being input or
    output.
    He ends up with a file that can be copied or burned to a CD.
    Unless I am misunderstanding how Bounce-to-track, Freeze, and mixdown
    work? I thought that was all done computationally and had nothing to
    do with your audio device. Am I mistaken?
    - k
    I'm sure you understand how that works. My point concerns quantitative differences affecting qualitative results.

    Listening is "piping it out" through his monitors. In the analog world it's additive: two singers produce twice the volume (simplifying it), and the two sets of frequencies and amplitudes are "added." In the digital world they are (basically) summed.

    The quantitative: I have a one quart jar. I can pour one quart of orange juice into the jar. Or I can pour one quart of seltzer into the jar. Or I can pour one pint of o.j. and one pint of seltzer--or any combination of each, but only to the sum of one quart. If what I want is o.j. with a hint of seltzer, I would put mainly o.j. in, and a dollop of seltzer. All I can have, in the end, is a quart of something. If I want to blend a little raspberry into the mix for variety, I have to give up something . . . some of the o.j., some of the seltzer . . . The original recipe is "weakened" to some extent. When I begin making more exotic mixes I lose even more of the original blend.

    The same is the case with the samples: bit depth and sample rate are the ingredients we're adding to the mix. If the resultant "quart" of sound is to my liking, I'm set. If I've lost too much of the basic taste, I might want to think about a bigger jar, i.e., an audio device capable of fatter bit depth and wider bandwidth.

    Joe

  7. #7

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    yes but that wasn't the question. he bassically wanted to know if a nice DA will help his bounces to CD and the answer is no.

  8. #8

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Since it is already ALL digital information (still waiting for someone to clarify this is the truth) does the Rosetta actually add any value to my final mixdown if all it is doing is combining 10-20 or 30 virtual instrument sounds into a stereo interleaved file?

    I realize that if I had say an Ensemble or a Rosetta 200 setup I would get to HEAR a significant difference in my studio monitors (because the D/A is so superior to a 250.00 card as well as the internal clocking) however, the actual audio track itself should be pretty much the exact same either way or no? I mean if I bounce the track to a CD with a 250.00 card and then play the CD through my expensive audiophile system in my living room will it even notice that it wasn't a Rosetta that was in the mix?
    I thought he was asking for more information. Sorry, I'll mind my own business.

  9. #9

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    sorry jmpaquette, i didn't realize i was being rude.
    what you were saying was actually quite interesting. but i thought it might have made it more confusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmpaquette
    I thought he was asking for more information. Sorry, I'll mind my own business.

  10. #10

    Re: What importance is an AD/DA in software sampling?

    Quote Originally Posted by conwaylemmon
    sorry jmpaquette, i didn't realize i was being rude.
    what you were saying was actually quite interesting. but i thought it might have made it more confusing.
    Thank you. And I'm sorry if I over-reacted. A couple of posts have me kind of jagged.

    You're right - I probably gave more information than was needed. The long and short of it is that you and Klassical gave enough of an answer: the sound box Maestro2be mentioned is more than adequate for the needs (he?) expressed, if it has digital out to the CD burner.

    Joe


Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •