Processor relief

Hello people, I´m pretty sure this question has been discussed but I really couldn´t find the proper thread here in the forum, so if you know where to redirect me, I´ll be glad to follow the link. otherwise please help me here.
I´m running a VST in my i7 laptop and through ASIO4ALL it reaches 7 milliseconds latency which is good enough for me, but at expense of a great processing consumption, specially under high polyphony scenarios.
It´s a piano VST, a Fazioli but with modified setup in its samples groups to achieve about 3500 poly notes, in order to perform the real harmonics and ressonances as close as possible.
It sounds so great, so close to the real thing,
But this is the issue, if I play gently normal lento pieces it performs ok, but as soon as I start to speed up the interpretation, lets say a concerto movement (specially under pedalling), it easily reaches the maximum processor status and the output starts to breaks. I release the pedal and the system recovers its normal performance.
Lets say I record that concerto MIDI sequence while live, and then I replay it while converting it to wav, it exports perfect, despite it breaks on the output even while replay. So the bottleneck -seems to rely on the digital to analog conversion but in the monitoring stage, and not in the internal Digi to Analog stage.

This is the VST under a concerto performance(when it breaks a couple of times), as you can hear, it performs ok on export, but I cannot play this concerto live (it breaks under pedalling moments):
Piano VST

I tried this:
I connected a Beringher UCA200 and this is what happens, the latency remains low (but slightly higher) and the polyphony suffers even more than without that card.
It seems that the audio card has not enough power to manage the polyphony.
Question is, will any usb hardware be powerful enough to process the poly replacing the combo “i7 _ ASIO4All” and allow me to smoothly play live?
Thank you in advance, and sorry for the length of this post.

What application is hosting the VST?

To get best latency, you really need a device with good ASIO drivers, in your case (on a laptop) with a USB connection. Driver quality varies greatly, but ultimately you get what you pay for. It is always the CPU that does the work, but with good ASIO drivers, it has less work to do.

ASIO4ALL is still just passing the work to the consumer-grade driver, a kind of translation layer, and cannot compete with a proper “native” ASIO driver, developed by the manufacturer of the audio interface.

As an indication, 7ms with ASIO4ALL is probably putting an enormous strain on the CPU, whereas 6ms is easily achievable with a USB interface with good ASIO drivers.

Thanks for your answer!
It’s hosted in Kontakt.
I understand that I get what I pay, some cards like Focusrite are not pretty good at latency.
Any brand and model suggestion please? Something like Scarlet Solo, as I don`t care about analog input.

I’m going to assume you’re using the standalone Kontakt, rather than e.g. the Kontakt VST plugin hosted in a DAW like Cubase – am I correct? If that’s the case, there’s no VST element to this at all. You just need to find the optimal means to get output from Kontakt.

First off, there are tweaks you can do to optimise Kontakt for playback, but perhaps it’s best to ask advice on that over in the NI forums.

As for recommendations for good, low latency audio interfaces, I can only speak about my own experiences, and top of the pile is RME, without hesitation. If your budget stretches, something like the Babyface should solve a lot of your problems. They’re not cheap, but I’d go as far as to say you’ll probably never need another interface.

In this case, it’s good to consider that for live performance, you probably don’t need to record, therefore you won’t need audio inputs. If that’s the case, you could also consider devices that are intended for the DJ market, or the Hi Fi market. For example, I was lucky to get one of the last ESI Dr DAC Nano’s, which has excellent ASIO drivers, but unfortunately they’re no longer available.

Finally, don’t forget to check with the vendor of your piano Kontakt instrument, as they are probably best placed to give advice on obtaining optimum performance from their product, such as perhap ensuring the samples are placed on a fast disk (SSD these days). Don’t forget, in Kontakt you can also do a “batch resave” (I think it’s called) which speeds up the load time of sampled instruments enormously.

Thank you!
Yes Im using standalone Kontakt, but for recording I use Cubase with Kontakt VST plugin. Both situations are the same about performance, or at least I cannot feel any significant difference. Regarding my piano VST, when I use it out of the vendors box, it wont reach the processors peak, never ever, no matter how hard I play it. Is it my ressonances pack of samples and specially due to the sustained polyphony what makes the system to reach the processing limit.
If you had the chance to hear my link, you might notice the sustained resonances I talk about. Thats not the original Fazioli by Imperfect Samples, there are a lot of added resonances that the vendor didnt include in its VST, those have to persist while pedalling and the system has to maintain them at an expense of a hard processing demand.
Ill try the hardware you mention, Ill go to the store carrying my laptop and try some. Thanks for your advise!

Is this ESI model good?
ESI card
Is the only one I found around here in Argentina.

I have not used that particular model, but I have found the ESI ASIO drivers to be of good quality.

Thank you so much!