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I have a Macbook pro which is Handling my Mainstage(Apple) requirements and Logic Pro requirements. i5, with 8GB RAM. When I perform with Reaktor blocks, the performance overload is happening and Mainstage swtiches the patch(Means instrument) to the patch which has gives least proc load.

If I purchase an Audio interface(Which i should have done), I feel just the D/A conversion is shifted on to the Audio interface. Remaining all the processing the processor has to do. I also have Logic Pro for which I need proc power. Am i right on this?

I also read in this forum that these days there is no difference between an Audio interface and Sound card. I am actually not able to decide what to do. I have a drummer, then i also have requirement of atleast 4 Audio in and (Atleast) 4 Midi in(leaving the drummer). I am also going to switch to ableton live performance in sometime.

My question is can i get just one device which does all of this? What shall I look for?

Edit1--- So how to judge on my sound card requirements? How can i understand that I need a sound card with such and such amount of this and this..!?

  • Why do you need 4 MIDI in? That's quite an unusual requirement these days unless you have a studio... – topo Reinstate Monica Sep 17 '16 at 8:12
  • Actually I have another performer, so minimum 2 midi ins. 2 spare. For Drum playing from Phone and others can be there. Basically these days people have android phones which can be used for some effects and others. Connect them with the cable and enjoy. – Abhijeet Sep 17 '16 at 10:19
  • So you're going to connect phones to your computer via MIDI? what hardware and software are you going to use to do that? – topo Reinstate Monica Sep 17 '16 at 10:24
  • Drum machine on play is there. There are many apps which do that. When I was connecting my Android phone to the computer, it showed me that option! – Abhijeet Sep 17 '16 at 11:12
  • when you connected your android phone to the computer, was that via USB? – topo Reinstate Monica Sep 17 '16 at 11:34
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If I purchase an Audio interface(Which i should have done), I feel just the D/A conversion is shifted on to the Audio interface. Remaining all the processing the processor has to do. I also have Logic Pro for which I need proc power. Am i right on this?

No - your computer's processor won't do any D/A conversion in either case. This is always going to be handled on another chip somewhere in the computer, even if you are not using a separate interface.

Using an external interface can even increase processor load, if sending data between it and the external card is harder work than sending data to the internal chip. It will also probably increase processor load if you are processing multi channel audio.

So if you need an external interface (for more inputs, or lower latency), then you need one, but don't expect it to help with your processor usage.

then i also have requirement of atleast 4 Audio in and (Atleast) 4 Midi in

On the MIDI thing first - there are different types of physical MIDI transport, and you can't plug your phone into a normal MIDI interface if your phone only sends MIDI over USB using its own driver.

So the only requirement you've stated that seems a genuine one is that you need 4 audio inputs. That seems a good point to start your search - there are plenty of interfaces that offer 4 or more audio inputs.

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    Anyways, we can also have wifi Jamming these days! No need of Midi ports as such. – Abhijeet Sep 19 '16 at 5:51
  • External interfaces come with specialized drivers, and are usually made for the latest interface, just like any other card. If the I/O of any product would outweigh the processing capabilities, that product would not make it to the market. – Hatebit Aug 17 '18 at 17:50
  • @AgnesK.Cathex true - all i was saying was that i couldn't see any reason why using an add-on interface would in general be any easier on the CPU than using the built-in audio chip. – topo Reinstate Monica Aug 17 '18 at 18:57
  • @topomorto 'cause of the driver (user-mode v. kernel-mode), the audio sub-system (ASIO vs MME, DirectX and WASAPI) among others. Not necessarilly easier on the metal, but definitely on the operating system kernel. They simply don't make the built-ins a musicians tool because of market segmentation. Mind you, some have features for nothing, like soft switchable audio connectors, surround, DD5.1 decoders, etc. – Hatebit Aug 17 '18 at 19:28
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    @topomorto "Latency" is more important than CPU usage. Still, you there are comparing I/O CPU usage vs. driver CPU usage. ASIO4ALL can't beat manufacturer's ASIO driver. I'm not that much in the loop, either. I had two audio interfaces from M-Audio. With all the driver bugs, Win bugs and a couple of corp mergers and buyouts, basic conclusion is manufacturer's pro audio subsystem drivers beat other things. But you might be right that USB may add cycles to the calculations, but how do you reliably make relevant measurements? It's a little bit give and take everywhere... – Hatebit Aug 19 '18 at 15:48

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