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#2187630 - 11/24/13 08:16 AM questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards
pianointhejungle Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/13
Posts: 18
My laptop doesn't have a good sound card. One possibility would be using an USB card.

1) Does the quality of the sound card affect the sound of the sampled piano?

2) Is ASIO4All enough to get the most out of sampled pianos even with a crappy sound card?

3) Which USB sound card would you recommend?

My goal is basically (in the future) get an instrument like VPC1, with a decent sample library and a couple of studio monitors and maybe, if it is really adds anything to the sound, a decent USB sound card.

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#2187640 - 11/24/13 08:45 AM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
Marcos Daniel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 238
Loc: Punta Alta, Buenos Aires, Arge...
I'm not an expert, but I'll give you my opinion:

1) The quality of your sound card will not affect the sound of sampled piano, but will affect what you listen.
I haven't seen too bad sound cards in laptops, but in netbooks and desktop PC I've seen horrible ones (to the point that equalizing above 10k would have no effect)

2) You should try, ASIO4all sometimes is unstable, or it doesn't work without apparent reason, or it has pops and clicks, you'll have to tweak its parameters, and it is not always possible.

3) I live in Argentina, a country with serious economical problem, so I only know affordable products, if you lived here, I would recomend Amon from Infrasonic or Maya USB from ESI in the case you need recording inputs, if you don't need inputs, perhaps there are cheaper good sound cards, in any specialized shop vendors can help.
Don't forget that a good pair of studio monitor are necessary too, there are chinese generics with very good sound (one should go to the shop with audio samples in a CD or USB stick).

I hope it hepls, forgive my bad English!

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#2187781 - 11/24/13 03:22 PM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1568
Loc: Sweden
When the internal sound card of my laptop broke down, I got the Asus Xonar U3 card. I like it, at least for listening to music. Haven't yet hooked it up to Pianoteq or something like that, since I feel the internal piano voices of my DP are good enough. Might try it though, just for the fun of it.

So I can't really answer how a digital piano sounds through it, but it's a good card for what it costs and gets good recommendations. Cost me 379 SEK, around 60 US dollars.


Edited by TheodorN (11/24/13 03:23 PM)
_________________________
My YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/thenorbass1

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#2187909 - 11/25/13 05:27 AM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 732
I would give your laptop soundcard a go with some piano VSTIs.. If the sound isn't too your liking you can upgrade.. just a thought.

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#2187913 - 11/25/13 05:37 AM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2723
Loc: uk south
I haven't used a sound card for nearly 4 years finding most decently performing laptops work really well just using the free ASIO4all driver to handle the internal motherboard sound chip. I'm using the VPC1 and Galaxy D piano either through headphones - quite loud enough - or powered monitor. Sounds great.

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#2187926 - 11/25/13 06:54 AM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 307
Loc: Czech Republic
dire_tonic, do you use microphone output of your computer as an input for the monitors? Isn't this somehow "bad practice" - that one shouldn't use (amplified) microphone output and should use some line-outs instead? I am interested because I am, too, considering this setup. Thanks.

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#2187931 - 11/25/13 07:15 AM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: Hookxs]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2723
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Hookxs
dire_tonic, do you use microphone output of your computer as an input for the monitors? Isn't this somehow "bad practice" - that one shouldn't use (amplified) microphone output and should use some line-outs instead? I am interested because I am, too, considering this setup. Thanks.


The microphone socket is usually the INput to the computer so I'm using the other socket labelled headphone/speakers to drive either.

To be honest, I've never paid attention to matching/mismatching or impedance unless I find that the levels I'm getting at middle settings are either deafeningly loud or close to inaudible. Yes, I've heard this is careless or bad practice but I still have an M-audio firewire audiophile (PM me if anyone wants to buy it!) and to my ears the M-audio output is indistinguishable from what I hear directly from the laptop. Not only that, but I generally get better latency with less popping using ASIO4all and the laptop soundchip.

The M-audio has a host of bits and bobs, midi in/out and on-board mixing but I no longer have a use for those.

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#2188098 - 11/25/13 02:23 PM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: pianointhejungle]
Cmin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 266
Loc: Swabia
If your Laptop allows it I'd use a USB or Firewire Interface. It gives you more possibilities than the simple output and sounds better. If your laptop is fit you should have no latency issues.
_________________________
Cheers,
Lenny

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FP-80, synths, guitars, mics, MBP, interfaces, Voicelive 2, ableton, Pianoteq, nubert a-200

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#2188139 - 11/25/13 03:42 PM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: dire tonic]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 307
Loc: Czech Republic
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: Hookxs
dire_tonic, do you use microphone output of your computer as an input for the monitors? Isn't this somehow "bad practice" - that one shouldn't use (amplified) microphone output and should use some line-outs instead? I am interested because I am, too, considering this setup. Thanks.


To be honest, I've never paid attention to matching/mismatching or impedance unless I find that the levels I'm getting at middle settings are either deafeningly loud or close to inaudible. Yes, I've heard this is careless or bad practice but I still have an M-audio firewire audiophile (PM me if anyone wants to buy it!) and to my ears the M-audio output is indistinguishable from what I hear directly from the laptop. Not only that, but I generally get better latency with less popping using ASIO4all and the laptop soundchip.

Thanks for the info. I have little knowledge about these audio systems but I know that people are often cautioned against recording from headphone output so I sort of assumed that the same thing would apply for playing it out loud. I don't think it is an impedance matching issue, I always thought that it is because you amplify (or record) a signal which has been already amplified and this is somehow wrong. Anyway, good to know that it's not that much of an issue.

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#2188266 - 11/25/13 07:47 PM Re: questions on sampled pianos, ASIO and USB sound cards [Re: Hookxs]
PossumES8SP280 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 713
I purchased a Steinberg UR22- used it breifly and then determined my Roland Juno Gi doubles as both a midi interface and audio interface.
Although I do not know the specifics of the Roland vs Steinberg I am pretty pleased with the output going to either my HD280's or M50 phones.
I use ASIO, and am doing okay with latency- on an i5 with 8 GB Ram. I think your computer specs are important as well.

I am using mostly addictive keys but have pianmissmo and a light version of VB3 that sounds great.

Recently got the Native Piano Collection for $29 (doorbuster) and will install that this month.

The sound card itself wont change the sound but more the output.
I would recommend something like a UR22 or Focusrite- at least around $120. Good news is you will get at least a light version of a DAW program.

Also, look this thursday/friday for great deals on VST's.
I would not hestitate to grab Addictive Keys for $29
_________________________
Roland Juno Gi
Casio PX-130
Korg Krome 61
Korg SP280
Kawai ES8
Rokit KRK 6 monitors
MXL V67G microphone

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