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DAW quality question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by nihility0000, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. nihility0000

    nihility0000 Guest

    I think I am about to open up a can of worms that just don’t need, but I have to ask.

    Can a DAW (just the software) actually make a difference in quality?

    My friend has been running adobe audition for a while now and has recently given Samplitude v7 a try. He says he can hear a difference between the two. So I tried it out. Honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference from Samplitude to Sonar pe 5, but he does have a better d/a converter than I do.
    I just don’t see how a piece of software could improve my sound.

    Please tell me that my ears are just not trained enough yet to hear the difference. If so, another joy session will be required.

  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    there does need to be more parameters or restrictions to answer that in any sort of sensible way

    for a single wav file being payed back in windows
    it could be argued that all software should sound the same

    it is very likely that software can sound different when mixing two wav files or volume changes to a sound file ...
    an automated pan from one side to another.

    some software may not dither
    software may apply different rules to the pan law
    some software may even add audio signals in a different way

    having said all that
    good audio software should handle the basic audio mixing jobs in a very similar way and generally you not should hear great differences between them
  3. lk

    lk Guest

    People have told me that the summing engine of the software "colors" the sound also. I for one do not agree. I can see it affecting the quality of your mix (distortion, phasing etc.).
    I have had many people tell me that Nuendo sounds better or Logic sounds better etc. , but if they're all playing back the same sample rate/ bit depth than I can't see where the big diffence comes from. My theory is that other things affect people perception of what the software "sounds like". Like the color of the GUI. For example Nuendo has a blue interface which is known to be a calming color. Pro Tools has a grey interface which is known to be a horrible color to stare at for long :shock: . lol
    Having said all that I recently got a demo of SAW and I really thought that it sounded awesome like really nice analog or something.....and the interface is totally ugly so there are some holes in my theory. Maybe there is built in EQ curves in ssome software?

    SONICA-X Guest


    when you hear that Samplitude sounds better than some of the other applications is actually true.

    Not just my opinion, but also the opinion of a few producers we work with that have A/B/C two other applications against Samplitude.

    The explanation given was; Samplitude's sound engine induces less phasing ...


    Guy Cefalu
    Sonica Audio Labs
  5. zemlin

    zemlin Distinguished Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I'd have to say YES, the software certainly makes a difference. HOWEVER, I use both Audition and Samplitude, and I feel they are both very good sounding packages - with different strengths.
  6. Killah_Trakz

    Killah_Trakz Guest

    aanother vote for samplitude. S/E is 50 bucks in US tri it out.
  7. Tallisman

    Tallisman Guest

    I would love to hear the results of the following...

    Could anyone with both samplitude and Audition render the same audio file in both applications, then import both into either and reverse the phase of one of the tracks.

    What do you hear?
  8. ckswartwood

    ckswartwood Guest

    I have been using Sonar 5 for about a month now and i love it. I just got a 3800+ Dual Core AMD and a copy of 64 Bit windows. Sonar 5 lets you record,use effects route etc etc all in 64bit. It has a few good dithering options and the flexible signal chain is great. Honestly i have not used enough programs to know the difference in sound quality if any. But i do know that a 64 bit dual precision floating point makes quite a nice difference from my old system.--CK
  9. Samplitude has nice plug-ins (nicer than most other DAWs) and I think I have noticed a very small difference (negligible) between levels and tonal qualities compared to cubase sx. Yet, I use Cubase SX because I am used to it's interface and I do a lot of stuff with MIDI.

    Samplitude is lacking in this area (yes, version 8 does address many deficiencies but is still behind), so frankly the absolutely negligible difference in audio (which several others could not even distinguish) was in Samp's favour, but compared to losing some flexibility in MIDI functions/editing, that meant I went down the Steinberg path.

    However, respect to Samplitude it is a great program and if my recording projects used less MIDI work and needed excellent audio, I would definately consider it very strongly.
  10. lk

    lk Guest

    Tallisman: Do you think there would be something audible or not? To be an acurate experiment one would have to have multiple files bounced to one on both daws and have each track mixed in at the same db. I suspect even then you would here something. .....but don't know for until someone tries. I don't have either daws.
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Distinguished Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I have the latest versions of both apps (samp, and AA) and some material that's simple enough that I could do a comparison without a lot of trouble, but I need to get some time to play with it.

    I figure I'll mix down 3 or 4 tracks using only good, third-party plugs and maybe some parametric EQ. I'll set everything to the same settings and mix them down so I can a/b test.

    I'm interested enough to want to do it, but the time has not fallen in my lap yet.

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