How to Make the Most of Your Virtual Instruments

We often hear people complain about virtual instruments saying they sound too digital. Some people avoid using them so their song has more authenticity to it. However, there comes a time where virtual instruments are needed. Maybe you felt something was missing and didn’t have the resources to record.

To our ears, sometimes these virtual instruments sound too digital. They sound fake and clash with the rest of the track. Why is that?

It’s missing the Analog to Digital conversion process you go through when recording a live instrument to your session.

The Process

It’s not that the VI is fake—the sound you get when pressing a key is not always magically made in a computer. Most of the time during the development phase, the sounds were captured through the live recording of the instrument it is emulating on your computer. Those sounds are then stored in the software you’re using at your fingertips.

The end sound you hear is only going through one conversion: digital to analog. Your computer / interface is simply taking 1s & 0s and converting them to analog sound which you hear through your headphones or speakers.

Most computers don’t have quality digital to analog conversion—even live instrument recordings don’t sound as expected. The sound quality coming through your headphones or speakers is not a reflection of the actual recording captured in your DAW.

The Solution

An external digital to analog converter (DAC) will give your sound that extra push before hitting your ears. With a DAC, it’s sole purpose is the conversion. Having something focus strictly on the sound allows for higher performance.

High quality audio files might not sound how you want them to, but with the addition of a DAC you’ll unlock the true potential of your headphones. You want to be able to hear every little detail that comes through your playback.

Virtual instruments immediately turn from digital to lifelike through the addition of a DAC. The sound you’re looking for is there, but it’s hidden behind bad conversion. When you add in something like the Apogee Groove, you’ll hear the clarity of the actual instrument. This process allows for the faithful reproduction of the instrument you’re emulating.

Live Playback

Alright DJs, let’s talk. Have you ever been at a party or show, waiting for the drop and once it hits it just doesn’t have that impact you were expecting? When music is amplified through speakers, frequencies are more apparent. With bad DA conversion, some of those frequencies don’t come through and gives your bass wobble a little less wobble.

Adding the Groove between your laptop and speakers will have the room turnt up to a new level. Every inch of craftsmanship your poured into that mix will appear through those speakers and your art will come to life. The frequencies and lifelike performance of your virtual instruments will shine through your speakers and create a listening experience unlike any other. Get ready to have the club manager calling you to come back tomorrow.

Don’t Cheat Yourself

At the end of the day, you record what sounds good to you. You may find yourself skipping over virtual instruments because it doesn’t sound great next to your grand piano on stage. To be fair, not all VIs are made equal. Some could just honestly sound bad. However, don’t just assume it’s bad because it sounds digital through your computer.

Open yourself to a new experience of playback and instruments options. Try a few out and give them a listen through your new DAC. Not only does Groove improve the sound quality, it also amplifies it. Instead of maxing out your computer volume and having it sound muddy, you can have both quality and volume through the Groove.

Next time you’re in the studio or at home, plug in your Groove and play a couple virtual instruments. Find what feels right. When you’re ready to perform, take your new DAC with you to showcase that lifelike performance for your audience.

Whether you’re at a house party or performing on stage, the Apogee Groove can help take your performance to the next level.