Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Computer Based Studios

4. The Computer as an Instrument

The evolution of hardware synths arrived at a point where the internal electronics of most of them were essentially small computers. It didn’t take much of a leap of imagination to realise that these synthesisers could in fact be implemented entirely on a regular computer rather than a specialised one. In fact, with the use of modelling techniques, any sort of synthesis can be computer generated.

Hardware samplers already dealt in digital audio and relied on large amounts of memory, two facts which made sampling a natural for migrations to the computer, and with the development of clever software and advancements in computer processing power, it quickly made the move, where the editing facilities were far superior to those offered by tiny LCD screens. Also, massive libraries of sampled instruments that required a whole rack of hardware to play back could be run on a single home PC – it’s not hard to see why the computer has become the ultimate sound source.

Software synthesis and sample playback is not without its difficulties though - computers often share their processing power between a number of different operations, and so available polyphony and general performance cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, computers are not designed for creating sounds, so they lack the tactile architecture that would normally accompany a hardware instrument. On the other hand, software instruments are much more cost effective than hardware, and are also sparing on desk space. But what about connectivity? Hardware synths have physical audio outputs that can easily be connected to a mixer with standard audio cables – if you’re using a computer with an external mixer, then the audio interface can give you the equivalent, but don’t forget that you’ll need something with many outputs, or maybe even multiple interfaces if you intend to run many software instruments simultaneously. Of course if you mix on the computer as well (of which more later), then your main limit is the number of ‘virtual’ outputs provided by your software.

It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that a computer can run as many instruments as you want, but unfortunately this is not the case! Musicians wanting to use whole orchestras of the highest quality samples often find themselves spreading instrument groups across multiple computers to get over the limitations of processing power. Even though computing power is ever increasing, so is the complexity of software instruments, and although gains have been made in terms of what a single computer is capable of, they are perhaps not as great as you might imagine.

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Computer Based Studios overview

Yamaha P-125 BK Boss GT-1000 Line6 Power Cab Plus Dante AVIO AES3 IO Adapter 2x2 Dante AVIO USB IO Adapter 2x2 ADJ PRO-ETBS ProEventTable Bag II Reloop RP 4000 MK2 Yamaha L-125 BK Gator iMac 21" Tote Bag Flyht Pro Rack Drawer 19" 3U 28 cm lock DW SM 2224 Bass Drum Spurs Marshall Origin 50H Head
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Boss GT-1000

Multi effect pedal 32-bit AD / DA, 32-bit floating-point processor and 96 kHz sampling rate, New BOSS DSP engine, specially developed for audio applications, AIRD (Augmented Impulse Response Dynamics) brings BOSS's Tube Logic concept to a digital guitar processor,...

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Line6 Power Cab Plus

Active Modelling Guitar Box With integrated USB audio interface, With 6 loudspeaker simulations (expandable), Equipped with: 1x 12"speaker and 1" compression driver, Power: 250W @ 8Ω, Frequency range: 70 - 20000 Hz, Maximum level: 128 dB @ 1 m,...

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Dante AVIO AES3 IO Adapter 2x2

Y Adapter Transmits two channels each from AES3 to a Dante network and vice versa, RJ45 Metal plug with built-in LEDs, 1 XLR male output, 1 XLR female input, 96 kHz / 24 bit, Robust housing for day-to-day tasks...

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Dante AVIO USB IO Adapter 2x2

Dante AVIO USB IO Adapter 2x2; for connecting a computer to a Dante network; perfect for recording or play back a stereo signal; robust housing; fully functional Dante interface; transmits two inputs and two outputs; class compliant

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ADJ PRO-ETBS ProEventTable Bag II

ADJ PRO-ETBS Pro Event Table Bag II, Carrying bag suitable for Pro Event Table II, optimally protects against dust and scratches, carrying straps for easy transport, not suitable for the first version of the Pro Event Table, made for #427915

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Reloop RP 4000 MK2

Quartz-driven DJ turntable with high-torque direct drive Speeds (RPM): 33 1/3 - 45 - 78, Pitch with selectable range of +/- 8% and+/- 16%, Reverse function, Connections: 1 PHONO output (gold plated) and 1 GND ground connection, Incl. platter,...

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Yamaha L-125 BK

Yamaha L-125 BK; stand for Yamaha P-125 BK; colour: Black

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Gator iMac 21" Tote Bag

Nylon Bag Fits 21" Apple iMac Water resistant, Good grip and protection with adjustable foam blocks and hard-panel reinforcement in the front flap, Foldable sun and dust protection, Double zipper, Strap and handle cutouts, Reinforced, detachable carrying handles, PVC...

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Flyht Pro Rack Drawer 19" 3U 28 cm lock

Flyht Pro Rack drawer 19" 3U 28 cm with lock. Robust and easy glide lockable metal rack drawer. Colour: black, Dimensons: WxHxD 483 x 134 x 280 mm, weight: 6,3 kg

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DW SM 2224 Bass Drum Spurs

DW SM 2224 Bass Drum Spurs, for mounting onto bass drum hoop, rubber/metal rod, sold in pairs

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€54
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Marshall Origin 50H Head

Tube Amp Head for Electric Guitar Gain boost function, Two voicings (Normal, High Treble), which can be mixed continuously via the tilt control, Switchable power reduction for full sound in any environment, 1 Channel, Power: 50 watts, Preamp tubes:...

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