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Converters when only using software vsts Audio Interfaces
Old 6th February 2017
Gear Head
Converters when only using software vsts

I've always been a tad confused on this topic..

Right now I use the Presonus Firestudio Project as my interface. I mix on Genelec monitors, and Sennheiser headphones. I know the converters aren't great.. but what difference is it making if I am only using samples and software synths. I know it would improve my "recordings" but, would getting a $3k converter actually improve the sound quality in anyway when only using synths? What is the $3k really going towards?
Old 6th February 2017
If you get a better monitoring DAC, you can hear more clearly into your mix.
if you are not recording anything, [if it is all virtual] you don't need any AD converters. Unless you are using outboard gear as inserts,
Old 6th February 2017
It's one of those indirect improvements. A good DAC shows you more and lets you make better decisions, faster while mixing. So while it wont directly improve your sound, it will end up being a tool to make your work easier. Your own ears and practice are more important though, as is your room.
Old 6th February 2017
Lives for gear
You can hear your choices better. But the DAC isn't the only thing in that equation. Monitors, room, treatment also comes into play. You won't get much improvement in your choices, even with the best DAC, if you are mixing over a boombox. It is the lowest common denominator, weakest link scenario - even a great bit of hardware is constrained by the rest of the chain.

Still, if you want to continue mixing, adding better/top of the line hardware is a good, long term solution if you plan to keep at it. In a few years, you can collect quite a nice input/monitoring chain while you learn how to better utilize your upgraded tools.
Old 6th February 2017
Lives for gear
Lando Calrissian's Avatar
a better DAC will affect your mixing decisions but not the sound of a vst
Old 6th February 2017
Lives for gear

You will likely get more gains from having a good interface / interface drivers. That will translate into more tracks / plugs / softsynths at a lower buffer setting / lower latency setting so when you press a key the sample plays with minimal latency well into the overdubbing process of a heavy track. Good drivers under load and a PCI / PCIe slot or Thunderbolt (exterior PCIe slot) interface will give the best low latency under load performance. You can get a top of the line, 2 channel D to A converter for not much money. Search for info on the Texas Instruments DAC Evaluation board in converter threads here or talk to Jim Williams.
Old 8th February 2017
Gear Head
Thanks for all your replies. I DO mic up guitars and vocals as well.. just not as often. I've been looking at the Apollo twin since I rarely have more than 2 tracks recording at once. Any thoughts on how much of an improvement I'd notice going from the Presonus to the Apollo? Or does anyone recommend an alternative product? I can spend more.. If convinced enough
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