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Sound card substitution question (using hardware synth as audio driver)


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Let me start by saying I'm pretty savvy with computers (it's a huge part of job after all), but when it comes to stressing the sound card to it's limits I have never had to worry about it.

I realize that if I decide to get Logic or Cubase it's going to take a lot more than my computer can handle to synthisize all those sounds.

I have a Roland Juno Gi, and am able to use it as the main audio driver through USB. It has a pretty robust sound engine (16 part multi timbral, splits, 128 poliphony, 256MB waveROM) and I've tried stressing it with some complex synth AU's in Garageband. So far it hasn't shown a dip in proformance.

Questions:

1. Anyone have experience using a hardware synth like this as their soundcard (is that even right the way I worded that?)

2. Is it plausible to say "If I run X amount of synth heavy voices with lots of effects in Garageband X amount will also play fine in Logic or Cubase..."

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I realize that if I decide to get Logic or Cubase it's going to take a lot more than my computer can handle to synthisize all those sounds.

No, not necessarily. Audio interfaces aren't like graphic accelerators, unless you're talking about UAD or related products (a PCI card with a DSP on it that can only run very specific plugins).

1. Anyone have experience using a hardware synth like this as their soundcard (is that even right the way I worded that?)

No, but that's the correct wording.

2. Is it plausible to say "If I run X amount of synth heavy voices with lots of effects in Garageband X amount will also play fine in Logic or Cubase..."

What host you use doesn't really matter that much - some are more efficient than others - but your Juno isn't that different from say, an E-mu 0202 USB interface; a small box with a few jack inputs and a set of low-latency drivers.

It's still your computer which has to do the mixing and sound and effect synthesis.

With audio interfaces that have say, 8 inputs, there is usually some hardware on board to handle the incoming streams of audio efficiently. It may also mix the audio on the device, so all the computer has to do is pump unmodified audio data through.

So - you'll have to find out. But you shouldn't base your choice of Cubase/Logic or something on basis of efficiency - you should base it on your requirements and needs. Both these do a lot more than Garageband does, and it's up to you to decide if you need it.

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I have a Roland Juno Gi, and am able to use it as the main audio driver through USB. It has a pretty robust sound engine (16 part multi timbral, splits, 128 poliphony, 256MB waveROM) and I've tried stressing it with some complex synth AU's in Garageband.

To expand a bit on what Yoozer's saying:

You're mixing up the ability of the Juno Gi to be used as an audio interface with its capabilities as a hardware workstation keyboard. If you are running MIDI out of your DAW through the Juno, and the Juno is producing the sounds, then the capabilities you're talking about (polyphony, multi-timbral, waveROM) is what is getting used. But, since you say that you're using AU plugins, those are producing the sound and the Juno is simply providing a low-latency mechanism to get those sounds from the computer to your ears via its headphone jack (or normal line out or whatever).

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To expand a bit on what Yoozer's saying:

You're mixing up the ability of the Juno Gi to be used as an audio interface with its capabilities as a hardware workstation keyboard. If you are running MIDI out of your DAW through the Juno, and the Juno is producing the sounds, then the capabilities you're talking about (polyphony, multi-timbral, waveROM) is what is getting used. But, since you say that you're using AU plugins, those are producing the sound and the Juno is simply providing a low-latency mechanism to get those sounds from the computer to your ears via its headphone jack (or normal line out or whatever).

So, it boils down to the speed of the processor and the amount of Memory on-board the computer for effects generation and synthesis. This is what I was figuring, but was hoping by some magic the mac would be able to talk with the Juno Gi and the effects and synthesis would be handeled by the Juno Gi using it's sound engine (since it's communicating MIDI both ways via USB).

That would have been too good to be true I guess.

So in essence you have to have a high speed, huge memory computer with a beastly sound card to get the most out of Logic, Cubase, etc?

If that's true I'll stick with my hardware and line-in recording.

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Nah, you don't need that kind of massive speed - you just need to be willing to freeze/render software synth tracks to audio.

Back in the tape days you recorded something to tape and that was it. Result sucks? Do it all over. Or wipe a specific piece of tape and punch in/out to record just that fragment. Mostly, you'd just make damn sure that you practiced everything so that it came out flawlessly.

Nowadays you can go back and redo everything. Great - but it also keeps you from committing results, so you may revisit projects over and over again to do minor tweaks that eventually just end up hurting the quality.

I don't know if Garageband has a freeze option; Cubase and Logic have it. Freeze means a .wav file is rendered from that single track, so your computer doesn't have to calculate the result over and over again each time, but instead it just plays back a single wave file. If you want to change one or more things, you'll have to un-freeze (thaw?) it, change it, and re-freeze the track again. Freezing takes a little while depending on the load the softsynth puts on your system, but once it's done and you're certain that you don't want to change, it's a godsend.

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So in essence you have to have a high speed, huge memory computer with a beastly sound card to get the most out of Logic, Cubase, etc?

Your sound card has very little effect. It's all in your CPU and memory. There won't be that much of a difference between integrated audio ASIO4ALL and sound card ASIO drivers in terms of processing power.

Yes, ideally you want a quad core processor (don't look at the Ghz rating, look at the generation and architecture. i7's are the best you can get) and at least 4+ GB RAM for music production (8+ if you plan on doing orchestrations and using expensive multi-thousand dollar multi-GB sample library instruments). Getting a sound card is a minor bonus, there won't be much of a difference as far as how many synths/samples you can handle.

In other words, putting a $500 sound card in a 10 year old machine will have zero effect on how much it can process.

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Nah, you don't need that kind of massive speed - you just need to be willing to freeze/render software synth tracks to audio.

Back in the tape days you recorded something to tape and that was it. Result sucks? Do it all over. Or wipe a specific piece of tape and punch in/out to record just that fragment. Mostly, you'd just make damn sure that you practiced everything so that it came out flawlessly.

Nowadays you can go back and redo everything. Great - but it also keeps you from committing results, so you may revisit projects over and over again to do minor tweaks that eventually just end up hurting the quality.

I don't know if Garageband has a freeze option; Cubase and Logic have it. Freeze means a .wav file is rendered from that single track, so your computer doesn't have to calculate the result over and over again each time, but instead it just plays back a single wave file. If you want to change one or more things, you'll have to un-freeze (thaw?) it, change it, and re-freeze the track again. Freezing takes a little while depending on the load the softsynth puts on your system, but once it's done and you're certain that you don't want to change, it's a godsend.

I didn't know it was called something called that, or that it was an actual feature in DAWs. But I would record MIDI data with all the automations and effects in garageband then I just use my Juno GI as the sound driver(via USB) and then real-time line-in record it back into garageband on a different track. So I have all the midi, effect, and automation data preserved on one track and a lightweight audio track separately. Same thing?

I thought I was being clever, but I guess everything has been done before.

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I didn't know it was called something called that, or that it was an actual feature in DAWs. But I would record MIDI data with all the automations and effects in garageband then I just use my Juno GI as the sound driver(via USB) and then real-time line-in record it back into garageband on a different track. So I have all the midi, effect, and automation data preserved on one track and a lightweight audio track separately. Same thing?

I thought I was being clever, but I guess everything has been done before.

All you're doing is recording the result of sending MIDI into your synth with your automation and effects.

Yeah, you're bouncing your synth's playback.

You misunderstand; your synth is not a soundcard. It's a synth. AU's are not impacted in any way by your synth, because your synth doesn't process things in your computer. Your computer does, and AU's are processed by your computer.

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All you're doing is recording the result of sending MIDI into your synth with your automation and effects.

Yeah, you're bouncing your synth's playback.

You misunderstand; your synth is not a soundcard. It's a synth. AU's are not impacted in any way by your synth, because your synth doesn't process things in your computer. Your computer does, and AU's are processed by your computer.

I think you missed the boat x 3 buddy. nowhere in my quote did I say it was a soundcard...and I was talking to Yoozer about a completely different topic. I know the comp handles all synth creating, effects, and automations in Garageband (even when connected to the Juno). Get off your high horse dude.

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I think you missed the boat x 3 buddy. nowhere in my quote did I say it was a soundcard...and I was talking to Yoozer about a completely different topic. I know the comp handles all synth creating, effects, and automations in Garageband (even when connected to the Juno). Get off your high horse dude.

I was responding to the OP.

And how do I miss the boat when I answer the most recent question you posed in the thread?

"Same thing?"

"Yeah, you're bouncing your synth's playback."

Bouncing is similar to freezing in the results that you get but they work differently.

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I thought I was being clever, but I guess everything has been done before.

Freeze just reduces the process to the push of a button; what you did is virtually identical (though since it's going out of the computer and back in you have two conversion steps). It just takes more time.

If GB does not have the freeze feature - then you're indeed clever to come up with a substitute all by yourself :-).

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Neblix, you need to stop posting for a bit. Either that or stop rushing to wikipedia to get as much half right information as you possibly can just so you can reply to every thread and try to appear knowledgeable.

Well I'll stop posting then because I can't stop doing what I don't do (that's just impossible :<).

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Neblix, you need to stop posting for a bit. Either that or stop rushing to wikipedia to get as much half right information as you possibly can just so you can reply to every thread and try to appear knowledgeable.

looool

don't take it personally, kingpiano. neblix if 15, and knows everything. he's just trying to give you the gift of his mind. it's a beautiful thing.

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