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I am considering the purchase of a Microsoft Surface Pro for use running VSTs (Pianoteq) and simultaneously accessing other websites that I periodically use for piano instruction.

I will be utilizing the touchscreen only. Am I going to be successful with that ?

Last edited by dmd; 10/11/21 05:11 PM.

Don

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I have been doing that since surface pro 3... Pianoteq can be resized (Window, Magnification), contrary to other VSTis, in order to deal with the high DPI screen. It works very well. The surface pen is also useful to more precisely navigate the UI.


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I used use a Surface Pro 4 to run Pianoteq. Worked very well!


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Robin Vincent builds computers for audio studios. He also has a website and videos showing how a Surface Pro can be used and tweaked by VI users.

He has had some good VI performance with some Surface Pro models so these can be an excellent portable option.

http://surfaceproaudio.com/

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I've also been doing it for years. Works great. I love being able to annotate sheet music and run the metronome right from my PC, as well as having my DAW as needed, when I dabble in composition.

If you get the (admittedly overpriced) surface dock, it makes the whole setup a little more seamless, as you need only connect the charger and that will automatically plug in the piano/speakers/headphones all in one go, as well as external hard drive if you ever take the sampled VST route. The latest generations have enough power to handle any VST with reasonable settings.

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Well, it sounds like the Surface Pro will do what I wish to do.

It also sounds like I may be able to direct the sound generated by Pianoteq into speakers or back into my MP7SE without an external audio device.

Any experience with that ?


Don

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Originally Posted by dmd
Well, it sounds like the Surface Pro will do what I wish to do.

It also sounds like I may be able to direct the sound generated by Pianoteq into speakers or back into my MP7SE without an external audio device.

Any experience with that ?

I used to do that at the beginning, but then tried external speakers and the sound was better, but I don't know your piano, so if you are happy with that, it's fine...
Will you be using the surface directly (with asio4all) or with an audio interface?
Also you may want to note that the surface pro 8 has 2 USB C / Thunderbolt 4 ports, the pro 7 has 1 USB A and 1 USB C port and pro 6 or earlier only have 1 USB A port, so if you need more you may need a USB C or USB A hub, or the expensive surface dock (which uses the proprietary surface connect port, which can also be used for charging with the charger that comes in the box with the surface pro)


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, M1 Mac mini, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Garrital CFX full, Vienna Imperial, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
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Originally Posted by Digitalguy
Originally Posted by dmd
Well, it sounds like the Surface Pro will do what I wish to do.

It also sounds like I may be able to direct the sound generated by Pianoteq into speakers or back into my MP7SE without an external audio device.

Any experience with that ?
Will you be using the surface directly (with asio4all) or with an audio interface?

I prefer no audio interface but I would like someone's experience with that.

Hooking USB from MP7SE into computer for MIDI connection and AUDIO OUT from computer for output sound would be perfect but I don't know if the surface pro has internal architecture to allow for that.

Bluetooth OUT would be even better .... but latency might be an issue.


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I used an external audio device with my SP4 -> Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB

https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-System-Preamp/dp/B004275EO4


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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I used an external audio device with my SP4 -> Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB

https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-System-Preamp/dp/B004275EO4

And .... the question for me is .... Why ?

Because the SP4 was not able to provide you with a suitable sound without the audio device ?

Or .... some other reason.

You see .... I am hoping to eliminate the need for an external audio device.

I want less wires hanging all over.

Last edited by dmd; 10/12/21 10:41 AM.

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I get it. It ran better with the audio interface and it provided me with additional outputs for other reasons. But if you get a more recent generation, you might be able to get away with the onboard card. I would just give it a try and see what happens. If it doesn't work out return the Surface Pro or get an external interface.


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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
If it doesn't work out return the Surface Pro or get an external interface.

Hopefully, it will be that simple.

I have never returned a computer after I have modified things on it.

I am not sure how that is accepted as a return.

However, adding the external audio interface is not necessarily a deal breaker.


Don

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You mean modify things on the PC, within software? You won't have an issue returning it. I've returned many things to BestBuy after trying it out.


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I don't use an audio interface and I can get very good results with asio4all (although I do have several interfaces, including a babyface, which is a high end one, but I prefer the simplicity of not interface for a device that sits on the music rest.
Personally I have moved from a surface pro 3 i5 to a HP Elite X2 (Surface clone), because of the better inbuilt audio system (tuned by Bang and Olufsen). Mind you, the surface pro has a very good audio system, maybe even above average for a windows device, but the HP is a notch or 2 above that in terms of sound quality, and also gives me a bit more volume. The audio system, that uses the headphone jack, should not be confused with the speakers, which is a totally different thing and is actually pretty bad in the HP. I haven't tested the headphone sound in the most recent surface pro models, but I suppose that at worst it's the same (that is pretty decent) and at best it has been improved. I know that the speakers on the pro 8 are much improved, but again that's a different thing...


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Which Surface Pro are you considering? The new Pro 8?

You should not need an audio interface for this to work. Simple use USB for MIDI, and then use the headphone jack with the appropriate connectors on the other end to send audio to the MP7SE.

You do not need asio4all on the surface either. Pianoteq supports windows low latency mode, and you can get as low as 2.7ms on the Surface Pro if I recall correctly, which should be indistinguishable from your MP7SE's built-in engine.

However, if you want to access low latency mode properly you actually need to *disable* "allow applications to take exclusive control of this device" in sound settings, as I recently realized. I believe that's why it doesn't work for some people. Asio4All works too, but you won't be able to listen to, say, an instructional video at the same time as you practice piano with Asio4all.

Last edited by napilopez; 10/12/21 04:48 PM.
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Well, after spending time at a local bestbuy .... I ended up with a different brand.

It worked reasonably well but after running through my needs (wants) I decided against keeping it.

I do not care to get into all the if, ands, or buts .... so I will just leave it at that.

Thank for all comments and considerations.

I learned a bit, here ... and may revisit this in the future.


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New Microsoft Surface Pro 8 - testing with live music performance.



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