What difference does the sound card make?

Started by KrazyKatz, September 27, 2006, 18:04:31

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1. If I export my Composition from OMPT to wav, and my P.C has a standard soundcard that comes with the P.C, will the file sound different than if I have a Professional studio sound card?

2. Now if the sound card does make a difference, I've converted hundreds of instruments from sound library CDs, into wav files to make IT instruments on the standard P.C sound card. Am I to understand that If I choose to upgrade my soundcard, those converted instruments will not be as high quality as if I used a the superior soundcard?

I would expect it not to since the conversion is a digital process, but I understand that it will make a difference since the sound card interprets those digital signals ( or something like that ).

Thanks in advance.
Sonic Brilliance Studios


Conversions are purely software based. I can't tell how OpenMPT renders to wave, but I think its purelly software based too. If thats the case, no quality is being lost.

The only time that a soundcard matters, is when you record any of the sounddevices your soundcard has (stereo mix, wav, mp3, mic, midi, etc) because then the sound goes through the soundcard before it is being recorded.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs


From my meager understanding, it would be as follows:

Exporting to WAV from OMPT on your soundcard should produce the exact same WAV file as on any other sound card, since the writing of the WAV file happens in the OMPT software itself.

The differences happen when playing back that WAV file on your system vs. on another.  Sound cards contain circuitry that convert digital signals (WAV) to analog signals (to play through speakers), and the quality of that circuitry varies from one sound card to another.

In addition, the quality of your speakers, preamps, equalizers, etc. can also affect the final output.

However, the WAV file itself should be the same on your system as on any other using the same settings in OMPT.
-Mister X aka Kim-
I am happy to be born when I was - at least I caught the tail end of freedom.


Exporting to WAV should result in exactly the same bytes, no matter what app is involved, because the WAV-format is a well-defined fixed format. Of course aside from differences in resolution-settings like 16- or 24-bits, or nr of channels.
Like MisterX said, playback is another thing, and like LPChip said, recording is another thing. Then the soundcard is involved in the process. Clockspeed, AD/DA-conversions, nr of bits, buffers.

This topic made me focus a bit more on the 'save as Wav' option, checking some details.
I already often used the nice option to save only a selection of the pattern-row, or a single pattern, as a WAV.
So far, if I wanted to make a WAV-file of only channels 5 and 6 of the song, I muted the other channels.

Now, to my pleasant surprise, I discovered the 'Channel mode' option. I tested with a 12-ch XM-module, and it resulted in 12 different WAV-files, numbered. Very useful. If the export mode is stereo, then the embedded panningcodes in the selected channels remain valid, if the export mode is mono, then of course not.

Since I make most of my pieces with four discrete output channels, I checked the 'save as quad-Wav' as well. This brought up some complicated issues on its own, so I will bring it on, but in another topic.