I guess the thing is, if you’re talking about sampled sounds, the outboard box is limited by how much hardware is inside, and particularly how much on-board memory the box has. If it’s older, and if it’s a lower priced unit, the samples are probably low quality, and VSTi’s can do a whole lot better with today’s computers. I think VSTi’s have pretty much won the war already, although many people swear by their outboard sounds, even if the outboard box is really just a digital subset of a computer playing samples from memory chips.
Vstis can still be limited by the need to restrict processing and the ones that don’t eat power for breakfast. With modern outboard gear (and old) the whole device, is what it is, and of course there is truly analog stuff (maybe with digital control) that a computer can never do, only imitate! The imitations may be good, but if you like your synth to go out of tune when you open a door and the temp drops then only the real thing will do
I use both, but I always start with hardware because I find it easier. I have every control right in front of me, and it doesn’t take up any screenspace in Cubase
I remember that from long ago… damned nuisance. But I feel for the purists too… can’t slam the real thing.
My issue with outboard gear, aside from its memory/operational limitations, is just how much of the physical it consumes… the dimensions, the power outlet requirements, the cabling, the heat it generates, etc.
I love VST, best thing that ever happened to compositional tools, hands down.
I see that as a plus+. I live in a cold climate and heat my subterranean studio entirely by outboard equipment.
You and others I know. But, come summer, its the opposite no? If you don’t have AC, its the pits.
Because my studio is subterranean, it stays cool in summer. During the warm months I merely open the studio door, so the other three-quarters of the basement compensates for the equipment heat.
Ahhh the Swamp!
Let’s not also forget the connections from outboard gear to get the signal into Cubase. Unless you have a completely digital signal path, you’ll get degraded sound quality due to the physical resistance built into cable wire, etc.
I have a fair smattering of both.
OK to be fair, probably more than a fair smattering.
I love aspects of both my hardware synths/keys and their software brethren.
I don’t look at it as an either-or but an in-addition-to
I have yet to find a virtual synth that comes close to the things my aged Korg Prophecy can do, it is also a unique, tightly integrated blend of sounds and controllers (the ribbon/expression control particularly) that makes it a joy.
On the other hand none of my keyboards comes close to emulating a hammond B3 quite like the NI B4-II (Damn NI’s eyes for dropping this product)
Also playing live, as I sometimes do, no amount of faffing with VSTI hosts and the like will replace the immediacy of having it all to hand in a big workstation like the Fantom.
I also had a bit of a ‘moment’ this summer where the entire fancy laptop based rig with it’s integration of virtual instruments, hardware synths and controllers all went pfutt due to a PP3 battery in a USB controller going flat leaving me (fortunately*) with at least the Fantom on it’s own. But pressing the patch-up pedal that should have selected a virtual Moog for the lead line after the intro and finding that all I had was a piano selected on the Fantom was almost a heart - if not quite show- stopping moment.
*fortunately, because I could so easily have had exactly nothing selected.
That’s called “colour” (color to some!)
Yeah, like those horribly degraded signal paths in, oh, I dunno, Dark Side of the Moon, Aja, Thriller, Yeah, those were horrible. How ever did they manage without VST technology
If I’m using the piano sounds on my Roland XP-50 they already don’t sound enough like the real thing without the transmission of the signal to Cubase making them sound worse. That was my point. Granted, I could and should buy a high quality digital piano but I can’t afford it.
Sound in composition is to a modern musician kind of like what paint is to a visual artist. One can never have enough colors.
I used to record this ultra uber anal guitarist a while back who had nothing but the best of the best, gear wise.
He used silver patch cables throughout (at great expense), he reasoned that the result was too Hi-Fi so he bought one of those old 70’s coily cables just to patch in, and proclaimed to be much happier with his guitar sound
Anyway… of high impedance inputs like “instrument” inputs, it’s mainly the capacitance that affects the signal.
Resistance is futile.