VST sound?

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VST sound?

Postby Tekhed66 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:09 pm

Hi all

Just a (hopefully) simple question...

Where does the 'sound' from a VST actually come from? ... is it totally dependent on your computer's sound card and/or processor and if so, would that mean that the same patch for any given VST would sound different on each computer?

Ponderous.... :geek:
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Re: VST sound?

Postby synthRodriguez » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 am

Well, yes, in a sense.

The digital info (which will be essentially the same on all computers) is converted into analog voltage by the sound card, so all will sound different. These days however, they are probably all so very close to each other in performance (at least with the lower end units) that your speakers and amplifier are going to add far more coloration to the sound than the sound card.

As always, I could be wrong.
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Re: VST sound?

Postby madtheory » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:43 am

No, that's true. A modern "sound card" has extremely low distortion. The speakers and the room (or the headphones) are, by far, the biggest influence on the sound quality that is perceived. Especially the room. Most synth heads really don't understand how much the room and speakers influence the sound. Look at the gear pictures threads- wall to wall fab synths poor speakers and small cubic rooms.

By the way, modern amplifiers are even better than modern converters. Extremely low distortion.
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Re: VST sound?

Postby Rasputin » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:02 pm

Tekhed66 wrote:Where does the 'sound' from a VST actually come from? ... is it totally dependent on your computer's sound card and/or processor and if so, would that mean that the same patch for any given VST would sound different on each computer?


If you're talking about the sound that *you* actually hear while working on music, then yes, everything will sound different depending on the audio interface (sound card) which you have. But the same can be said for speakers/headphones and room. Technically, even on identical setups everything sounds different just based on where you're sitting, barometric pressure, and the congestion in your ears. ** or if your pet cat happens to be walking through the room and alters the reverberation dynamically by absorbing some of the high-end.

Realistically, no. VSTs don't produce sound, they produce digital samples which are a representation of an analog waveform which is only made physical once the samples hit a DAC. The DAC in question is going to be whatever iPod, CD player, home theater system that your end listener happens to choose.

But it's important to realize that the VSTs digital samples are not generated by some generic synthesizer chip which varies per audio interface, etc. It's all CPU based, and it's all the same as how adding 200+800 on any calculator (whether an HP financial or $1 wristwatch) is going to output 1000, regardless. So different CPUs or audio devices aren't going to color the VST.

If someone is using a VST with exactly the same preset on a different computer and bounces the track down to a WAV then the WAV file is going to sound exactly the same as what your computer is going to produce (assuming same bit-depth / sample rate, dithering setting in your DAW, levels, etc.)

You could, in theory, produce music without even hearing it, or without even having an audio interface. Program a VST, bounce to WAV, burn to CD. Where did the sound come from? Well, there was no "sound" ever. It's just sample points.

It's the same as 3D rendering. If I use a CRT monitor while rendering down my own animated short then it's not going to affect the movie any more than if I had an IPS panel. What's going to matter is the resolution and color-depth I'm rendering it to, and whether I'm applying anti-aliasing. And when I give that animated movie to someone, even though the file on the BluRay is *exactly* the same and unchanging, they will see something different whether or not they're watching on a big screen TV, or on their phone.
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