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.