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Topic: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

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  1. #1

    Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    I have two questions:

    1. Does anyone here know what soundcard will be suitable for me to use with PrintMusic 2010 and the Garritan Authorized Steinway library (computer specs are at the end of this)?

    2. Does anyone here know whether most sound cards are compatible with ASIO?


    ------------------------

    I am planning to purchase a new spiffy computer that will have Realtek ALC888, but neither the manufacturer of the computer (HP) nor MakeMusic can tell me whether that will be what Garritan advises I use for the Steinway library.

    The following is from the Garritan FAQ:

    What Soundcard Do You Recommend?

    People ask us often about soundcards we recommend. Although we cannot recommend specific cards (each system is different), there are many good and inexpensive ones to choose from. Yamaha and M-Audio are brands you may want to research for soundcards. Your soundcard is very important to making music with our software instruments. It is important that you have something a step above a "stock" consumer grade soundcard that comes pre-installed in your computer. Stock soundcards are not designed to handle higher quality sounds and the performance needs of Garritan instruments.

    In looking for a soundcard, be sure to look for a low-latency card. Make sure you have a soundcard with adjustable buffers so you can set the latency. Basically, latency is the time it takes to play a sound on your keyboard to when you'll hear it playing from your speakers. There is a inverse relationship between latency and performance. The lower the latency the higher the resource demands. One can often find a sweet spot between latency and performance and each system is different.


    ------------------
    Also, the system requirements Garritan publishes on its site include “compatibility with ASIO,” and HP said it doesn't know what that is.

    Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    -----------------------

    Computer specs:

    Configurable- HP Compaq dx7500 Microtower PC
    -Configurable- HP Compaq dx7500 Microtower PC - FN838AV
    Genuine Windows Vista® Custom Downgrade to XP Pro
    Intel® Q45 chipset integrated
    HP dx7500 Country Kit Includes a Quick Setup & Getting Started manual in English and a country-specific power cord.
    Intel® Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz L2-6MB) processor
    3GB PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) 3x1GB
    Integrated 1394 Port
    Promo HP 320GB SATA NCQ HDD SMART IV Hard Drive
    HP Backup and Recovery Manager Software standard
    No Removable Storage Media Device
    SATA 16X SuperMulti LightScribe drive
    HP PS/2 Standard Keyboard
    No Mouse
    No Item Selected
    HP 3-3-3 (parts/labor/next business day on-site) warranty Microtower



    ------------------
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    www.wisemanproject.com
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    Smile Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    ASIO is a type of audio drivers, specified by Steinberg. It is widely used in most soundcards except in the most entry-level.

    For your sake, go to
    http://www.audiomidi.com/audio-interfaces-C18.aspx
    or somewhere, find out the models you like. Then check its detail or site at manufacture to see whether the product has ASIO driver or not. It most likely dose though.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)
    Composer/Conductor/Orchestrator
    www.wisemanproject.com

  3. #3

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    Hello bgranat,

    The question of soundcards has been asked many times in our forums. For dedicated audio and music production you should consider a card dedicated to this. Examples of popular choices include the M-Audio 2496 and the higher spec Audiophile 192 to name just but two. I have the Audiophile 192 and this is superb.

    Please try a search and you will find several full debates on the issues of sound cards. Using the key words 'Sound cards' I found the following as an example amongst several debates.

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ht=sound+cards
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  4. #4

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    to the OP: You were asking as to what soundcard would be good for notation software and Garritan Steinway.

    By this, I take it that your main use for Garritan Steinway won't be for live playing but mainly for notation and rendering to an audio file.

    The onboard Realtek will be more than sufficient for the task. When converting notated music to audio, the soundcard hardly has a role. The quality of resulting audio will be the same whether you have a high end soundcard or just the onboard audio.

    Having said that, I would venture to say that you shouldn't discount the onboard Realtek for live playing. Although the Steinway manual advices to avoid using onboard audio, you will be pleasantly surprised as to how the newer onboard audio performs. You have to use a generic ASIO driver to decrease latency. You can download one at www.asio4all.com.

    I use my laptop with onboard Realtek and Asio4all to play live in church each Sunday using the Garritan Steinway. No problems so far.

    But if you really want to get a separate soundcard, you can't go wrong with M-Audio as suggested above. I have had an Audiophile 2496 for the past 4 years and have had no problems. It comes with its own ASIO driver.

  5. #5

    Cool Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by electone2007 View Post
    to the OP: You were asking as to what soundcard would be good for notation software and Garritan Steinway.

    By this, I take it that your main use for Garritan Steinway won't be for live playing but mainly for notation and rendering to an audio file.

    The onboard Realtek will be more than sufficient for the task. When converting notated music to audio, the soundcard hardly has a role. The quality of resulting audio will be the same whether you have a high end soundcard or just the onboard audio.
    Yes, all I want to do is playback in PM 2010 and creation of audio files.
    You are the second person to respond that the Realtek might be okay, so that's encouraging. Are you saying that the divine sound I hear of the Garritan samples on the company's website is likely what I'll hear when I make audio files -- right out of the box? It's just solo piano I'm doing. And are you saying that a soundcard's heft is needed mostly for amplification purposes and not recording itself?

    I know next to nothing about audio so I have little understanding of what I *do* read online nor the inclination to begin learning about the subject from the ground up. I am concerned about being able to install and get things running myself, so I've considered putting an ad on craigslist in order to try to get someone knowledgeable over to my place to do the job for me. Anyone in the Boston area interested in this piddly "job"? Worth probably an hour's time?

    I'm sometimes producing some interesting stuff, so I want to be able to hear it on a decent-sounding piano. I can play through to the digital piano, but that requires that I turn the volume up on the piano high enough to hear it. The piano's just three feet away from the computer, but it's still too loud for some times of the day, and frankly, the Yamaha CLP-840 now sounds pretty lame. I guess the newer DPs are better. This model was made in 1998, and I had a new keyboard installed after the thumping became too obnoxious, so I'm not about to buy a new piano.

    Anyway, I'm strictly amateur and don't make my living from playing, but perhaps when I grow up I will be able to do so.

  6. #6

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    I found someone local who is assisting me in making decisions. He seems top-notch.

  7. #7

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by bgranat View Post
    I found someone local who is assisting me in making decisions. He seems top-notch.

    ... and when you decide for a certain soundcard, can you tell us what he recommended?

    Raymond

  8. #8

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    ... and when you decide for a certain soundcard, can you tell us what he recommended?

    Raymond
    Yes, I will. Earlier, the poster Electone2007 said:

    "The onboard Realtek will be more than sufficient for the task. When converting notated music to audio, the soundcard hardly has a role. The quality of resulting audio will be the same whether you have a high end soundcard or just the onboard audio."

    So the high-end soundcard is mainly for live performance? I had to really dig to find out that the Audiophile 2496 does support ASIO, but I finally found it. If Garritan says it's a system requirement, shouldn't I take it at its word?

    This fellow's not an expert, but his day job is pretty responsible and he had good references.

    He seems to think the Realtek ALC888S might be enough, too, but I feel insecure about ignoring the system requirements that Garritan publishes.

    --------
    I had a hard time finding confirmation that the 2496 did, in fact, support ASIO, but I found it eventually:
    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile2496.html.

    It would be nice to not need to spend $129.00 more if I don't need to. I will definitely post the end of this saga (it feels like one, anyway) when it's happened.

    To Michael-uk, I understand the words, but not the meaning, of most discussions about soundcards, but thank you for your recommendation.

  9. #9

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    When you work with sampled instruments like the steinway, you are not recording audio. The sampes are the audio.
    For playback, the realtek won't really sound different from a better soundcard.
    The soundcard also has no effect on the rendered wave that you make as a final product for people to listen to. That is done in the computer.

    If you were recording audio of a miked piano then the soundcard would matter.

    The other situation where the soundcard would matter is if you use a keyboard to play the Garritan piano to record the midi performance.
    A better soundcard will have lower latency (latency is the time between hitting a note on the keyboard and actually hearing the note played. It has to do with the time it takes the entire system to process the information) and the midi may be more accurately recorded.
    If you only use notation then it doesn't matter.

  10. #10

    Re: Seeking soundcard advice for Authorized Steinway

    Quote Originally Posted by P.T. View Post
    When you work with sampled instruments like the steinway, you are not recording audio. The sampes are the audio.
    For playback, the realtek won't really sound different from a better soundcard.
    The soundcard also has no effect on the rendered wave that you make as a final product for people to listen to. That is done in the computer.

    If you were recording audio of a miked piano then the soundcard would matter.

    The other situation where the soundcard would matter is if you use a keyboard to play the Garritan piano to record the midi performance.
    A better soundcard will have lower latency (latency is the time between hitting a note on the keyboard and actually hearing the note played. It has to do with the time it takes the entire system to process the information) and the midi may be more accurately recorded.
    If you only use notation then it doesn't matter.
    Thanks for your explanation, P.T. All I can say is, "Why didn't I think of that simple fact?"

    However, I *will* be inputting via MIDI -- that's primarily how the notes get into the notation program. Unfortunately, the digital piano's speakers don't work while I'm playing (if they did, I could just turn the computer's speakers off) --well, they're not the computer's speakers, but the Yamaha speakers that are part of my stereo system. I guess I'll hear how bad the latency is with the Realtek and go from there.
    Last edited by bgranat; 10-21-2009 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Correcting punctuation (parentheses).

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