Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
Eyal11223344
KVRer
9 posts since 18 Mar, 2015

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:33 am

Hi,
I use Reaper as my DAW and Audacity as my audio editor. I am wondering:
1. Does rendering a midi track with its VST instruments and effects to a file depend on the sound card ? does it
use the sound card at all ?
2. Same question with digital audio track instead of midi ?
3. Does it make any difference which DAW or audio editor is used in this regard ?

Chapelle
KVRian
1104 posts since 28 Dec, 2007

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:35 am

No, no and no.

LawrenceF
KVRAF
6117 posts since 4 Dec, 2004

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:40 am

Well... to be accurate...

1. Q(a): No Q(b):Yes. If you're rendering in real time it obviously does need the sound card and driver and clock.
2. No
3. No.

For offline renders only... "No, no, and no."

Xenakios
KVRian
1223 posts since 9 Sep, 2005 from Oulu, Finland

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:40 am

LawrenceF wrote:If you're rendering in real time it obviously does need the sound card and driver and clock.
Right, but I guess the hidden question is "does the sound card affect the render sound quality?"... :wink: (Which it maybe could if some unusual routing etc was done, but those would be very uncommon circumstances...)

LawrenceF
KVRAF
6117 posts since 4 Dec, 2004

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:49 pm

Yes. The other implied question is... "Does your sound card affect the final audio quality? ... which is ... yes and no.

If a crappy sound card affects what you hear in some negative way it will affect the final result (same with monitors actually) which affects final sound quality, because your decisions are based on what you hear ... but in this day and age you'd have to skimp pretty badly to get something that sounds like crap or whose converters just plain suck and have you EQ'ing against them or something.

It doesn't - directly - affect (or even touch) what gets printed but it can certainly indirectly affect it in one of those maybe rare corner cases where you are just using a really crappy sound card. For example, if your cheap $50 USB card has it's phones outputs polarity inverted from the mains because nobody at the Widget factory does QC, it might affect the quality of all of your recorded vocal tracks in some way (the performances) ... which is why audio engineers always check that stuff when they open the box. You'd be surprised.

Eyal11223344
KVRer
9 posts since 18 Mar, 2015

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:02 pm

What I meant was doing rendering to a file, which I understand from your answers does not need the sound card. It sounds logic to me because the digital samples should be processed digitally without any need for digital to analog conversion. By real time rendering do you mean converting the digital processing to analog in order to hear it in the speakers in real time ?

I wasn't sure at first about the part of the sound card at rendering, but now things are more clear. I would like to sum it up and see if I understand:
1. Offline rendering (rendering to a file) doesn't use digital to analog conversion and therefore the sound card has no effect on the digital audio quality.
2. Online (real time) rendering use the digital to analog conversion of the sound card and therefore affects the quality of the analog
sound that comes out from the sound card to the speakers amplifier, but it still doesn't affect at all the digital processed audio that is
output to digital to analog converter of the sound card.
3. Sound card main job is to convert digital samples to audio samples and vice verso. It does not give any digital processing power like a
GPU has on pc graphics rendering.

Is that correct ?

LawrenceF
KVRAF
6117 posts since 4 Dec, 2004

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:57 pm

It depends on what sound card you're talking about. Some of them do have DSP, reverb, eq, comps, etc.

Don't spend much time thinking about it, just make your music. Most of the other stuff is just a rabbit hole that might get you spending time on stuff that has no real influence on your music. :)

User avatar
stardustmedia
KVRAF
1647 posts since 12 Dec, 2012 from Switzerland

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:01 pm

Eyal11223344 wrote:Hi,
I use Reaper as my DAW and Audacity as my audio editor. I am wondering:
1. Does rendering a midi track with its VST instruments and effects to a file depend on the sound card ? does it
use the sound card at all ?
2. Same question with digital audio track instead of midi ?
3. Does it make any difference which DAW or audio editor is used in this regard ?
No

No

Yes, but as far as I know only when bouncing a whole mix. E.g. Ableton sounds pretty different and not so good.
Image stardustmedia - high end analog music services - murat

Eyal11223344
KVRer
9 posts since 18 Mar, 2015

Re: Does rendering a digital track in DAW or audio editor depend on the sound card

Post Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:16 pm

Thanks

Return to “Hosts & Applications (Sequencers, DAWs, Audio Editors, etc.)”