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Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the money?

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Bjørnssp

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Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the money?

PostSun Sep 12, 2021 5:51 am

Hi
I am using the free version of Hauptwerk, with the St. Anne's Mosely organ on my Dell Lattitude E 5530 (I5 cpu) laptop with 8 GB memory and an SSD disk of 250 GB, half of it free. It is running Windows 8.2 with the ASIO for all audio driver installed.
I use a Sony MDR-1000X Bluetooth headphone connected via a cable, to reduce time lag, this works fine. However I have noticed (I think) some slight distortion when combining certain pipes which could stem from adding "two" distorted sinus waves. It is not a real important problem, but I have been thinking about trying out an external DAC to see if the audio qualtity would improve noticeably.

As far as I understand the free version of St. Anne's Mosely is 16 bit and the full version of Hauptwerk can use either 24 or 32 bits, depending on the St. Anne's Mosely version installed.

I have several questions that I hope someone can answer.

1) Can the audio quality be noticably improved using and external DAC compared with my current set-up with the free version?
2) Will there be a noticable and significant difference using the full version with the RME Digiface compared to my current set-up?
3) I thought of trying out the RME Digiface is this an "overkill"?
4 ) How would the RME Digiface connect to the Dell computer via usb only? (The RME Digiface has a phonejack for the Sony Headphone).

Thanks in advance
Best regards
Bjørn
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mdyde

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostSun Sep 12, 2021 6:32 am

Hello Bjørn,

Bjørnssp wrote:1) Can the audio quality be noticably improved using and external DAC compared with my current set-up with the free version?


I think you would notice the improvement in audio quality from using a high-quality external professional/semi-professional audio interface (with its built-in headphone amp) such as the RME Digiface USB that you mentioned ( https://rme-audio.com/digiface-usb.html ), compared to using your laptop's built-in headphone output. However, the improvement would probably be relatively small, since computers' built-in headphone outputs are already fairly good these days. Nonetheless, most people do find the difference to be worthwhile.

Bjørnssp wrote:4 ) How would the RME Digiface connect to the Dell computer via usb only? (The RME Digiface has a phonejack for the Sony Headphone).


Correct -- you would just need to connect it to the computer with a USB cable.

Bjørnssp wrote:As far as I understand the free version of St. Anne's Mosely is 16 bit and the full version of Hauptwerk can use either 24 or 32 bits, depending on the St. Anne's Mosely version installed.
...
2) Will there be a noticable and significant difference using the full version with the RME Digiface compared to my current set-up?


Thanks very much for the interest in upgrading to a licensed version.

The Hauptwerk v4 Free Edition was limited to loading organs in 16-bit, whereas the non-free editions allow up to 24-bit. (The St. Anne's sample set is 24-bit in either case, but if loading it in 16-bit, e.g. in the v4 Free Edition, then it would be converted to 16-bit as it loaded into memory.)

In most circumstances you probably wouldn't hear much difference solely by loading a sample set in 24-bit compared to 16-bit. (The exception might be that with 16-bit you might hear a little more noise in the ends of long reverb tails with some large and very wet sample sets.)

However, I think you would hear a noticeable and significant improvement in realism and audio quality by upgrading from the v4 Free Edition to the current version of Hauptwerk (v6), since v6 has options for significantly higher-quality audio processing, as well as other quality/realism improvements in general. E.g. see: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19209 . Also the Hauptwerk Advanced Edition includes the wind supply model, which also adds a significant amount of realism.

Hence in summary, I think you would hear the biggest improvement in quality/realism by upgrading from the v4 Free Edition to v6 (especially the v6 Advanced Edition). The improvement from upgrading to a good audio interface (e.g. RME Digiface) would be smaller, but worthwhile, and probably more noticeable and worthwhile if also upgrading to Hauptwerk v6.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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mnailor

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostSun Sep 12, 2021 11:14 am

You might consider saving some money by checking out MOTU as an alternative to RME. My RME UFX works great, but my MOTU 24Ao has more ports for less money and sounds as good. Whether that works out for a headphone DAC, I can't say, but it's worth a look.
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vpo-organist

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostSun Sep 12, 2021 11:36 am

I have the RME Digiface and it runs great (low latency, Hauptwerk shows 6.3ms with small sample buffers). RME has developed their own USB drivers, which is good for performance and reliability. The headphone connection is also perfect. When choosing a device, it also depends on which connections you need.
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Bjørnssp

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostMon Sep 13, 2021 2:25 pm

To mdyde

Thanks
Yes, I have for some time been considering upgrading to a licensed version and your points regarding the improvements in V6 over the free version are interesting. Also what can be gained with a licensed version using a quality external DAC.

To vpo-organist

Thanks for your response
RME sounds interesting. I suppose I only need the phone jack and eventually a couple of stereo outputs for amplifier and speakers.

To mnailor
I will check Moto, thanks

Best regards
Bjørn
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mnailor

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostMon Sep 13, 2021 2:31 pm

Bjørnssp wrote:To mdyde

Thanks
Yes, I have for some time been considering upgrading to a licensed version and your points regarding the improvements in V6 over the free version are interesting. Also what can be gained with a licensed version using a quality external DAC.

To vpo-organist

Thanks for your response
RME sounds interesting. I suppose I only need the phone jack and eventually a couple of stereo outputs for amplifier and speakers.

To mnailor
I will check Moto, thanks

Best regards
Bjørn


Sounds like the M4 might be the right size to think about in the MOTU line. RME is very good, too -- their smaller units with headphones plus ADAT ports would need another DAC for future speakers.
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mdyde

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostMon Sep 13, 2021 3:02 pm

Thanks, Bjørn.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Bjørnssp

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Re: Is an Ext. DAC for St. Anne's Mosely organ, worth the mo

PostTue Sep 14, 2021 5:27 am

mnailor wrote:
Bjørnssp wrote:To mdyde

Thanks
Yes, I have for some time been considering upgrading to a licensed version and your points regarding the improvements in V6 over the free version are interesting. Also what can be gained with a licensed version using a quality external DAC.

To vpo-organist

Thanks for your response
RME sounds interesting. I suppose I only need the phone jack and eventually a couple of stereo outputs for amplifier and speakers.

To mnailor
I will check Moto, thanks

Best regards
Bjørn


Sounds like the M4 might be the right size to think about in the MOTU line. RME is very good, too -- their smaller units with headphones plus ADAT ports would need another DAC for future speakers.


Ok - thanks again
Bjørn

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