favorite classical recording/ editing platform?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Exsultavit, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    Obviously a very silly question! I know that this forum is heavily loaded with Sequoia users who are not shy about professing their high regard for that system.

    That said, I wonder if we might have a compare/ contrast of different applications? I'm kinda hoping against hope that this thread does not just turn into a Sequoia lovefest. Rather, can we compare the others too?

    Does anyone here use Pyramix? Did any Seq users here consider PMX before going with Sequoia? If so, why did you choose what you chose?

    I myself didn't even KNOW about Seq back two years ago. I had been using PTLE and it was time to go with something better. At that time, my candidates were:

    SADiE: Very expensive, but also not the system for me regardless. This is because at that time one could only record to 8 tracks simultaneously. Also the turnkey system was/is physically too big for me to drag around.

    Sonic: : Also very expensive, and also kinda multitrack unfriendly. Like SADiE, my impression was that this system is really for 2trk mastering.

    PT: While obviously a very popular system and multitrack friendly, I found that a fully loaded system would be large in size and expensive. There were many features that PT lacks that I need- most notably the ability to create an entire CD image at high speed without leaving the application. Also, there was/is little respect in the classical community for PT on an audio level. While many might debate the 'sound of PT", it's obvious that I'd have to constantly defend the system's reputation to others. And I didn't want to be a "Digi Slave", in thrall to whatever propriatary thing they decide to do to me every year. Nuff said.

    Pyramix seemed easy to understand, and the user group seemed happy with the system. Any user who had found a bug or had a question seemed to get a satisfactory answer from PMX. And I could do DSD on PMX when/if I upgraded to that. It could be run from a laptop or (my choice) a small rackmount PC. And when I heard that Abbey Road, the SF Symphony, and Skywalker were buying in, I knew it had the respect.

    That was my admittedly shallow reasoning. But that, of course, was back in the dark ages of 2003. Are there new systems around since then? What about for those new engineers who have less money? Etc!!!

    Let the games begin!

  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Fair enough question... Yes, I'll start by saying now, I'm using Sequoia and despite the frustrations I'm occasionally presented with, I believe in it quite strongly.

    I'll describe my software evolution. I used to record everything to DAT. At that point, I was using Sound Forge and CD Architect and occasionally the old Fast Edit program (which was actually a darned good program- I preferred much of it's functionality to Sound Forge, but I had to give it up eventually). Sound Forge had its issues, but I used it because it was what I could afford. At the same time, I was apprenticing and working in a couple of studios that were based on Sonic. At that point, I started looking for something more powerful- but still on a budget. I looked at used Sonic and SADiE systems and at that point the new Pyramix/Waveframe systems. A SADiE Classic was going to set me back about $7K and a used sonic about $5K. Both more than I really wanted to spend (hell, I was a college student). I had issues with SADiE's editing model as I much prefered Sonic's- Sonic just made sense to me.

    Eventually, as sort of a desperate measure, I tried this program that I had only peripherally heard of called Samplitude. (this was back at 5.5 roughly). I HAD to get off of SoundForge because the processing time to do anything was killing me. I could do good work, but it took too long. When version 5 of SF came out and still was 16 bit and destructive, I gave up. I also purchased a copy of Wavelab- Version 3. I had issues with both, but could kind of make Samplitude work for what I wanted. At that point, I found an announcement on the SEK'D website about this new program called Sequoia. I was quite skeptical at first about it, but John Wood at SEK'D put me on the beta list. I started using it and I really liked it. I could work the way I had learned to in Sonic, but I could afford this. Eventually the day came that I had to stop using my beta version and I had to purchase it. I bought 5.9 and I've been using it ever since.

    I've demo'd Pyramix a couple of times at AES shows and I've also demo'd SADiE as well... Both have come a very long way, but along with coming a long way, I cannot hope to afford a SADiE. Pyramix looked quite promising, but I just couldn't deal with the mixer model at that point (perhaps it has changed, it has been a couple years). I thought the editing had much promise and that was the first that I had seen of ReNOVAtor (which stunned me). It was a bit expensive, but if I had just purchased the card and software, I may have been able to make it fly.

    Then I started getting used to Object based work in Sequoia and I'm now at the point that unless any other DAW gets a workable object model, I cannot change. There are other good editing models, but I cannot live without my objects.

    I also have a Mac here with Pro Tools (just LE), and Digital Performer. Both of those programs drive me batty. Pro Tools doesn't sound particularly good IMO and the editing is nothing compared to Sequoia, Sonic, Pyramix or SADiE. Add to that the fact that I can only have one bit rate (let alone sample rate) in a project and I go insane.

    Hence, I use Sequoia.

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    um....well, not too much new to add here, hate to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but.....

    I've used Cool Edit...it's fine, nothing to get excited about. Sound Forge, again, nice, but not even close to Samplitude. DART was great at the time it came out; It was klunky and tough to use for most stuff, but I'd build my own "Filter" and reverse processing tools that were great for declicking and cleaning up LPs back in the late 90's.

    One of my assistants used SADIE at her other job (radio production, archiving, etc.) and went nuts (and grew VERY angry) when she found out what Samlitude offered - for far less money, no hardware limitations, etc. etc. We STILL laugh and laugh at the hoops those people put ya through...not to mention the COST! gad....I'm amazed those people are still in business. it's ridiculous.

    PT's (and MACs) were never even in the picture for me. I enjoy being contrary and NOT going with the pack (anyone who's done digital audio on PCs in the early-mid 90's knows what I'm talking about! ;-) And, I've never bought into that whole counter-culture "We're MAC, we're better, we're different." Thanks, but no....I flew my "freak flag" early on with Samplitude....back when most people never heard of it, much less attempting digital audio on a PC.

    Currently, I'm also happy with Vegas 5.0 - esp for what it does as a companion audio editor for a killer video app bundled with DVD Authoring. I recommend it without reservation for quick fixes, AC3 encoding etc., while using Samplitude for the hi-end stuff.

    I still have Cakewalk 8 for midi, and I know I'm way way way behind the times with that. (I just plan to do a total midi upgrade at some point in the next year....VST and all...for now, it's just not worth it, and I don't have the time.)

    Until last month, I was using Samplitude, but very aware of the extra features available with moving up to Sequoia. (I'm also about to get the Algorithmix reNOVAtor plug-in that runs only with Seqouia or Pyramix. They claim there will be a stand-alone version as well, but I'm not waiting around, esp since I've got Sequoia now. ) So, I've moved up to Sequoia V8 and am enjoying it tremendously.

    I'm not wild about the dongle issue with Sequoia, but for the most part, it's usually only ME doing hi-end audio at any one time. I'm still keeping my copies of Samp 7.23 around (and I might even buy the upgrade to Samp 8 just in case I'm in some kind of jam with the dongle being lost or misplaced.)

    In case it's not known to others, you CAN open VIP projects in Samplitude as well as Sequoia, so they are fairly complementary programs. The VIP file (similar to EDLs in other programs) is usable in either program. The difference is that Sequoia does more things; too much to get into here.

    To be honest, this corner of RO seems to be rife with Samplitude/Sequoia users, and I don't think it's any big surprise or coincidence. None of us really knew each other before this board; I only recently met Ben in SF at AES in the fall. (although I'd known his posts here and on the Samplitude Forum, and his website for a while before here.) I can't speak for Jeremy, but I think he's a recent convert to the software as well. I can only guess why he's made the move.

    The bottom line is, I think people have found their way to Samp/Sequoia largely ON THEIR OWN, and for very good reasons. (God knows the parent company - Magix - could sure use a few pointers about MARKETING their fine product here in the US market. They are...nevermind....another rant, another time... ;-)

    In addition to my comments above about PT's, this very genre (acoustic/classical/jazz) is well below the radar and off the beaten path for many. Samplitude/Sequoia is a good fit in that regard. It seems to me that a lot of other engineers and recording folks have no clue (nor do they WANT to know) about classical music, either, and they don't nec. have the need for the kind of software that is Samp/Sequoia.

    I don't have any real first-hand knowledge, but I suspect Samp/Sequoia will handle pop/rock music better than PT's will handle classical, if that makes any sense.... And of course, I'm highly biased for the product. No apologies there! :)
  4. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member


    At the risk of sounding a little thick, I really must ask: what do you mean by 'object- based' editing?


  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Well I am going to put a vote in for Wavelab. I use it a lot and love it for complex classical editing. I too started with FastEdit about 10 years ago, hated the lack of editing.

    I became familiar with Sonic through the use of a commercial mastering studio in the early days but the productivity was low and the sessions were tedious.

    Tried a few demos of various programs, hated SF and CoolEdit, drove me nuts with lack of intuitive editing models and SF just crashed. Since tried Vegas, still crashes, what are these guys writing in their code???

    Fortunately, I tried the WL demo and have never looked back, this program is one of the most intuitive and stable pieces of software I have ever used, and I am in the software business in my day job.

    The montage is one hell of a edit and layout model and it is superbly implemented in Wavelab. This program is very mathematically rigorous and I can edit very complex classical recordings in a very short amount of time with no head banging. What more could you want.
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    We use Wavelab for recording and for editing. I started off with Sound Designer II for the Mac had a brief fling with ProTools, started using Sound Forge on the PC and bought a complete Sonic System for the Mac (which never worked correctly and all the company could do was tell me to "reformat the hard" disk and start over which eventually lead to a hard disk crash which was "out of warranty" and cost, at that time $850.00 to replace. The only thing SONIC was good as was asking for more money for SONICARE, their in house tech support) (I finally sold the system for a $10,000 loss). I went to a demo of Wavelab, fell in love with it and have been using it ever since. I would like a SADiE system and feel that they have a superior product plus they have the best tech support in the business (IMHO). There is no such thing as a "perfect DAW" since everyone works differently and has different needs. My mentor uses Fairlight and is completely happy with the results. Different strokes for different folks....

  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    The short explanation is that I can take any effect/plugin/etc... and non-destructively apply it to any piece of audio in a session.

    What it means in practice is my automation is not fader based, but clip based- I insert crossfades, extend them, grab a handle and raise or lower my levels. All effects fade in over the course of a crossfade so for certain processes, it makes a very smooth way of automating effects.

  8. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member


    Very interesting! So if I understand you correctly:

    If a given area of a piece needed, say, more top end, you might non destructively 'render' that area of that clip with the correct EQ, then use a crossfade to fade in the new eq and fade out the old. Or add just a bit of top by fading it in just a bit?

    OTOH, in PMX, I might put the included parametric EQ on that strip, and when needed, turn it on and automate a top end ramp-up of my choosing, ramping it back down to 0db when done.

    Another example that sounds more applicable: If I have a HVAC problem- I'd dial in the right settings on my DeNoise plug (if I had one- no $$$ for that right now) and then fade in using the wet/dry setting during the problem area.

    You, OTOH, might render the area that needs treatment, then crossfade it into the program?

    Have I got it? If not, please help me to understand...


  9. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Quite close with your understanding....

    The thing is nothing is rendered. It is all real-time and non-destructive. You can insert any DX or VST plugin (completely latency compensated, I might add), any of their native plugs (dynamics, eqs, room simulation, etc..), pitch change (the new Elastic Audio pitch automation is a life saver for acapella choral editing), time shift, etc... The object model is in addition to what is going on in the mixer strip. The signal flow is object to mixer.

    For restoration, it is really powerful. Over a period of several seconds I can ramp up a process to hit an area particularly hard or light. I routinely bring in a high-pass EQ at the ends of works so that as the sound is fading out, I loose the rumble of a room. Also for mix automation, I can change any fade as it is playing back so there is no more real-time writing of your fades. Sometimes, I don't even need to go back and listen to a change because I'll see it in the waveform and where the edit is. This is really an update to the way that I would automate levels in Sonic Classic. Same idea, but just a faster workflow.

    Here's Magix's description: http://www.samplitude.com/de/feat_c.htm and a picture of it: http://www.samplitude.com/de/grafix/features/objecteditor_maxmode_big.gif

    The great thing is because nothing is rendered, if a client decides to change their mind later, you can make a fix in a matter of seconds.

  10. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    This is exactly how Wavelab works also.
  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Ben, don't forget to mention that these "objects" appear on the timeline as "reresentations" of the wav file they stand for....as many as needed in terms of tracks, or addtional objects WITHIN the track, along the same time line. You can also split and copy them as needed, each one becomes a new "object."

    I always try to explain to clients & folks new to the software that these objects are a mere representation to what's really going on "behind the scenes" (Fades, EQ, reverb, etc.) handled by the computer, often in real time. You can reverse-click on the object and REALLY see the waveform as well, and that's pretty useful, too. (DE-structive editing can happen at that point, if you want it.)

    Here's another way to think about the object and "rendering":

    You load a new wav file that's being represented as an "object" on the timeline of a VIP (Virtual Image Project).

    You want to ad some changes, like perhaps Low-end EQ, or compression, or whatever. You apply these changes with the usual tools, and the "Object" now plays back with those changes in effect, all of them un-do-able. Some of these changes are easily done in real time, (EQ, etc. ) some are deep and comprehensive enough that the system will "create undo" material, and render the new material for you, but show you it all as still one object, with the changes sometimes visible in the object view. You then save the "VIP" file, and close it out when you're done.

    The next time you open the VIP file, your object is of course still there, with all the changes audible as you created.

    BUT, if you open the WAV file separately now, independently of the VIP view, the WAV file your first started with has been appended, instead of changed...so if you've done any destructive editing, each change has been tacked on to the end, and you've never lost the original file and it's data.

    It's probably obvious & similar to WL users and others, but however you get there, it's a fast, powerful way to work, esp in long-form music like jazz and classical.
  12. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member


    Thanks for the explanation!

    My first impression is that there is little that the object based model will facilitate that cannot be done in the PMX paradigm. BUT I also know that once one internalizes a new concept and integrates it into one's work, new horizons open up. I really can't tell so quickly what the object based concept can really do. For instance, the window that you linked us to that shows the object 'window' looks not unlike other GUIs that show all the status's of a given clip, with auxes, plugs, etc. But I know if I WORKED in that enviornment I'd begin to understand what can be done that way.

    more later-

  13. Exsultavit

    Exsultavit Active Member

    Oh, BTW--

    When one 'renders' in PMX, it's non-destructive. It would be simple, for instance, to have a given clip rendered as 'denoised', put it in the timeline, and then crossfade between the original and the 'new' file. To an 'object newbie', this seems a lot like the 'object' paradigm you use in Sequoia-- with the 'new' file up on the screen, crossfading with the unadulterated one...

    But wait! In Object-based, you could continue to adjust parameters in the 'rendered' file, add other plugs, etc, still able to crossfade with other 'objects', etc... Hmmmm. I start to see the possibilities.

    Very interesting concept! Thanks, Ben, for the information!

  14. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I've seen a number of paradigms that are quite close to what Samp and Sequoia have in their object paradigm, just nothing that quite touches it... Yet. I'm sure the day will come, though.

    It isn't automation in the traditional sense because you can fade from anything to anything. Then when you decide you don't like it, you can change it all...

  15. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I was using Peak (with a Studer mixer and doing the straight to 2-tk thing) and Waveburner Pro and knew I needed more horsepower. I had seen Sonic Classic at work and briefly considered that (not even beginning to understand the limitations track-wise and support-wise) and then saw Sequoia at Finesplice London (who used to be a Sonic fanatic) while editing and mastering there.

    I considered the same biggies (never even thought about Protools inspite of being a Mac guy) and decided that for sheer value it was Sequoia. I called Jeff at Sequoia Digital (I CAN plug him, unlike Ben) and never looked back. I have NEVER made another professional investment that I am as pleased with. Jeff did everything I needed-- portability, 24/7 support, and the understanding of a working engineer as opposed to a guy with a manual in his lap, plus the box was turnkey--- very important for me with a Mac background. Now my G4 is for Altiverb, communications, graphics, and business software.

    I simply cannot imagine not being able to accomplish a sonic or editing task that I can't do on this system with flexibility and efficiency.

    And to think I ALMOST chose to buy a DSD Genex instead....

  16. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    I´ll try to chime in on the object model as well. It might clear up things (or make them more dense).

    On the time line of a track. You can now divide the recording into smaller pieces, but cutting them up (as in any recording program I have seen, nothing ne here).

    Now, each of these little piece of music automatically gets a crossfade (nothing special here either).

    But the each of these little pieces also has its own sets of EQ, compressor, VST-effects and so on. Of course you may select to not do anything at all. Or you could select to do things very different in two adjacent clips.

    Recent example, stereo pair on big band, tapping solo singer mic directly. In a few places the kick drum and the solo singer mic interferes to make it sound like a great big puff in the solo singer mic. I handle this by cutting a little before the kick drum and a little after it. The new object has the offensive kick drum and a few milliseconds each side. I edit this little segment, what Sam calls and object, and removes all bass using the EQ. Now it sounds good.

    Another example. Start of classical piece is very soft, a bit too much noise in the room. I cut off 10 seconds or so and apply noise reduction to that part. It is now very easy to simply drag the border between with/without noise reduction (simply drag the little marker). (all processing in real time, no rendering)

    Another example. Tracking a concert with two mics, intended for internal use CD. Several pieces after each other with different instrument settings. At mixing time: cut of the pieces (nothing different from other apps). Each piece stays in the time line, each one object. Now I can apply different volume to each object easily. Also different EQ, effects and so on. Press one command and the CD markers are set. One other command and CD burning is started. Saves quite a bit of time.

    You could probably do all this by automation and rendering. But it simply is so much easier to do with the object model.

  17. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I'm moving to Samplitude, or perhaps I should say I'm adding it to the software I use.

    I believe Sonar is one of the most under-rated programs out there, and it probably suffers from being so easy to use. There's a lot of stuff in the background that is largely hidden from the user -although the company is largely at fault hear given the lack of documentation for the programs own application language. I also love the version of Cakewalk that I got ten years ago! If you want to do certain simple tasks, this is the way to go.

    Having said all that, for straight audio, there's something very special about Samplitude. I don't know exactly what it is, but it has a way of making things sound more professional.

    John Stafford
  18. bap

    bap Member

    So John, did get your pre amp yet? I ended up getting the BG1 - so far it seems really nice. I was going to use it in a nice room to help someone make a demo [as pianist and recording engineer!] but they potponed for another week.

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