Mulit-track Recording Software

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Papasean, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. Papasean

    Papasean Active Member

    Hello everyone I have a question? What's the big deal over multi-track recording software regarding professional use. I've heard songs from many people that used CakeWalk Pro9, Cubase Vst, Logic, and even Protools and most of the stuff I hear sound really good as far as sonic & professional quality. I think a lot people get hung up on software names instead of its performance and quality. I hear a lot Big House Engineers & software makers say we use Protools or (?) because nothing else sounds like it. Come on I think that's a bunch of crap just to sell or get your service. I think it's more of a preference than performance.What do you think, I'd like to hear from the pro's here. Thank for your help......

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    Papasean

    [This message has been edited by Papasean (edited January 17, 2001).]
     
  2. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    As for sound quality of the mixing alone, there is not a vast amount of difference attributable to the software itself. There is some difference to be found in the AD/DA's, but more DAW's these days have an option to use third party AD/DA's. You may find yourself gravitating toward one DAW or the other based on the quality and availablility of effects, less so for the unaffected sound.

    Accepting that most DAW's sound more or less the same, many professionals base their decision on other important factors. Here are some of the questions I ask:

    "Does it work, and how long before it breaks?"

    "How fast can I get work done on this thing?"

    "After using this for 16 hours straight, will I want to keep working on it, or launch it out the 10th floor window?"

    This is really where the men are separated from the boys, so to speak. The better DAW companies spend a lot of time and money to make sure their systems are stable, easy on the eyes, and exciting to work on. Name recognition in DAW's is much less a marketing invention than most other audio products. These names are recognized because they work!

    Does this mean a smaller DAW wouldn't better suit your needs? Absolutely not! I always urge people who are interested in buying a DAW (or any gear) to write out a list of their needs, and prioritize it. Then it's a simple matter of narrowing down the options.

    Many big studios and engineers had to go through this process at one time. They did their homework and made their decision. But they made their decision based on their list of priorities, not yours. Keep that in mind next time you ask, and maybe their answer won't seem so pat.



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    Ang1970 is:
    Angelo Quaglia,
    AQ Productions

    http://www.recording.org
    RO, created for musicians by musicians.
     
  3. Papasean

    Papasean Active Member

    Thanks Ang1970, I knew it was more to it than what's said in the industry.
    Thanks......



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    Papasean
     
  4. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Picking software REALLY REALLY depends on the way you want to work. I have access to Pro tools systems but hardly ever use them. Most of the time I use a much maligned and very cheap software app called Vegas Video from http://www.sonicfoundry.com. I mostly use the DAW stuff for cleaning up tracks and editing tracks individually, and this Vegas KILLS in this application in terms of speed and ease of use. Everything is in one window, and pitifully friendly user interface.

    Vegas is NOT so good as a replacement for traditional tape recorder/ mixer combination. Pro Tools and soundscape are FAR superior in that regard and Digidesigns monopolistic marketing forces us to use PT if we want access to many of the best fx plug ins...

    You have to figure out what it is you want in a DAW...As I do all my recording through tape machines, then transfer them into vegas when finished thru a soundscape mixtreme, then usually mix on my console, Vegas works great...to keep EVERYTHING in one app, recording mixing and all, soundscape or pro tools, plus a GOOD hardware mixer controller to contol the software faders and such, makes a great combination
     
  5. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Aaron,

    That's a perfect example of what I was saying. You look at your needs first, then you find the best tool for the job. Not the other way around. Sounic Foundry is far under-rated IMO, and much too often overlooked. Not to mention, those guys pioneered a lot of effects that are now all the rage and expensive as bejeezus. But rarely do you hear any of the pro's give credit. Eveyone just wants a 777.

    So good for you! May tracks rock, and your pockets always be full!
     
  6. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    << Accepting that most DAW's sound more or less the same, many professionals base their decision on other important factors. >>

    Sorry Angelo but I don't accept that most DAWs sound the same. I started a thread on this very subject in the "Recording Tips" forum, "Audio Quality Logic vs PT". This thread discussed the noticable difference in sound quality between PT and Logic, even though all the hardware is identical, same ADCs, mics, preamps, even the same recording engine (Digi DAE). The only difference in set up are the internal algorithms of PT and Logic, and still it's obvious. How much more obvious between DAWs with different recording hardware and recording engines?

    Greg
     
  7. nrgmusic

    nrgmusic Member

    Greg
    I couldn't agree with you more, I have always noticed a huge difference between the sound of Logic and Pro Tools, in fact the first time I a/b'd the two I thought that there was something very wrong with Logic. I find that Logic sounds kinda dull and as you say given the fact that bar the actual programs all the hardware and dae are identical it seems very strange.
    Thanks

    Simon
     
  8. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    As someone suggested earlier, the differences are similar to SSL vs. Neve, et al. It boils down to a matter of preference more than quality. Some will say PT sounds better, some Logic. Then there are those who say all digital mix engines suck, preferring analog boards instead. But that's a different thread.

    Anyway, I did say "more or less" and "not a vast amount of difference". If you feel there is that much difference then fine. But most people are not as impressed with that as the other differences. Perhaps if you keep spreading the word people would start paying more attention to that, and I wouldn't be mad at ya for it.

    In the meantime, please don't try to make it seem like I said there is no difference whatsoever. You don't have to discredit mine in order to state your own opinions and observations. There's room for all of us here.

    Lighten up!
     
  9. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Yeah there is a BIG FAT difference in sound!!!
    Under vegas, the only sound you hear on my tom tracks is TOMS, nothing else cluttering up those tracks. Fading and crossfading is such a pain in the but under pro tools that my pro tools tom tracks sound very different...they sound " gated " and thats because I had to stick a noise gate on them, on account of I cant spend the customer's time fading toms all day...I know I missed the whole point of this but I have another one:

    Of course they sound different!!! you are able to manipulate audio at the sample level!!! On apps where rerally good plug ins are a major feature, you will get one kind of sound. On apps where TOTAL control is a feature, you will get a different type of sound...this is where the big differences are I think...

    if you were to render two wave files with no modding or editing done to either, summed to mono in ANY app, I would be surprised if you heard a difference
     
  10. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Angelo,

    I wasn't trying to discredit you, I just disagreed with something you wrote. No big deal, I apologise if you thought I was "having a go" at you.

    Aaron, I'm not talking about the plugins, editing, mixing or manipulation of audio. I'm talking purely about recording and playback, totally flat, not even summing. IMHO, there IS a noticable difference.

    Greg
     
  11. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    Hey Guys,
    Perhaps, if you’re coming from an analog “head” (which I totally respect) than maybe it’s like apples and oranges. Say, oranges being DAW’s. If someone who’s doing mostly analog recording was to compare different DAW software, it would probably seem that there's not much difference in audio quality, especially when all other factors such as hardware, plugs, etc. are the same.
    However, just as one in the analog realm would swear that the differences between one wide track deck and another is obvious, I believe that in the DAW realm, hearing the differences between various software manufacturers is becoming more and more evident.
    Case in point:
    I use Cubase VST/32/ mac and a MOTU 1224 audio system (card).
    I've been using this set up for over a year and just the other day I decided to try the MOTU Audio desk software that came with my 1224 (Audio Desk is the audio void the midi apps in Digital Performer).
    Much to my surprise there was an obvious difference!
    The MOTU audio desk was much more "analog" like sounding. Even if I exported an audio file from the Audio desk into Cubase, it seems I’d lose a lot of the smooth, harmonic tones that were created in AudioDesk (BTW, Cubases audio engine is the same as Nuendo’s).
    I am now rethinking my approach to hardware and software compatibility.......

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    Tony C

    [This message has been edited by Tony C (edited January 22, 2001).]
     
  12. Papasean

    Papasean Active Member

    Since I'm new to digital computer base audio, I'm just looking for a software that will give me pro-audio quality. I've currently built a custom PC and my software needs will be: multi-track, midi, mixing, effects, mmc, and mtc. I will using my digital-mixer to control the software. I may use digital-tape base later on but right now I just plan to use a DAW until I can purchase digital-tape units. I hope this helps anyone to understand my direction. Thanks RO members.



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    Papasean
     
  13. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Aaron, I'm not talking about the plugins, editing, mixing or manipulation of audio. I'm talking purely about recording and playback, totally flat, not even summing. IMHO, there IS a noticeable difference.

    Greg

    Thanks a lot

    As if there wasn't enough to worry about, now i gotta go to bed having nightmares about whether someone's vocals would sound better if edited in a different app, even while using the same plug ins!!!

    I always assumed, and now HOPE for, " garbage in garbage out "

    if this is NOT the case, then DAW programmers better fess up to what they are doing
     
  14. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Papasean,

    << I'm just looking for a software that will give me pro-audio quality. >>

    Here is the problem Papasean, deciding what is pro-audio quality. 10 years ago there was an obvious difference between consumer quality audio equipment, semi-pro audio and pro-audio. Today the lines between all three are much more blurred. For instance I personally wouldn't call Cubase VST or Digi 001 pro-audio quality systems. However, there are a number of people who create music for a living on these systems. Does this make them pro-audio?

    Greg
     
  15. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Papasean,

    << I'm just looking for a software that will give me pro-audio quality. >>

    Here is the problem Papasean, deciding what is pro-audio quality. 10 years ago there was an obvious difference between consumer quality audio equipment, semi-pro audio and pro-audio. Today the lines between all three are much more blurred. For instance I personally wouldn't call Cubase VST or Digi 001 pro-audio quality systems. However, there are a number of people who create music for a living on these systems. Does this make them pro-audio?

    Greg
     
  16. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    I can see now why you were disagreeing with me.

    In papa's first message, he stated that he heard work that was done on several systems, and they all sounded good to him. That is the context in which I answered his post. If you want to get into the "professional quality" of currently available DAW's, I think we would stand on more common ground than you think. But please either start a new thread, or keep to the context of this question as it was asked.

    Thank you.
     
  17. Tony C

    Tony C Guest

    Wow, it's not too often you see two moderators going at it. I think it's interesting, but I'm beginning to think this thread is going to become a closed thread at this rate.
    So, before it ends I just want to say that I agree with most of what both of you are saying except for something Greg keeps saying. Greg, you keep referring to the 001pro and Cubase as semi pro tools. I agree with you about the 001pro being semi pro since the hardware is not quite as pro as other AD converters and from what I understand the software is limiting.
    However, you should know that Cubase can use almost any card out there with some seriously PRO audio resolution. As far as Cubase software goes there is no limit to the possibilities from top hi end plugs to constant upgrades. Also, for what it’s worth Cubase uses the same audio engine as Nuendo. Granted, the functionality of PT’s software in a few important ways in still superior but in the end who will know the difference once you listen to the audio quality of a CD, this is were PT is rapidly losing ground!
    Perhaps as you say at one time PT and Cubase were nowhere near each other, I agree but, with the new macs and choice of hi end cards out there now Cubase and 001 are no where near in the same ball park!!
     
  18. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Hi Angelo,

    << please either start a new thread, or keep to the context of this question as it was asked. >>

    What is going on here? I am sticking completely to the thread. In his first message Papasean wrote: "What's the big deal over multi-track recording software regarding professional use." In a subsequent post he wrote: "Since I'm new to digital computer base audio, I'm just looking for a software that will give me pro-audio quality."

    I would say that the concept of what "pro-audio" or "professional use" means is essential to answering Papasean's question.

    Tony C, taking Cubase as your example. I see cubase as a professional MIDI sequencing package but I don't see it as pro-audio quality for mixing. MIDI resolution for all the mixing parameters is insufficient. Also host based processing isn't yet at the standard or quite of the quality of the dedicated DSP systems Like PT TDM. And the quality of plugins of a system like PT TDM isn't yet as good as the standard of the high end outboard gear. Add all this together and IMHO Cubase only qualifies as a semi-pro product as far as mixing audio is concerned.

    I can respect your opinion if it differs from mine based on the fact that the lines are now so blurred. What I consider essential for a pro-audio product you may not feel is important and vice versa.

    Greg
     
  19. Papasean

    Papasean Active Member

    Thanks Ang1970,Tony C, and Greg,I see what you all are saying.


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    Papasean

    [This message has been edited by Papasean (edited January 23, 2001).]
     
  20. Kosmolith

    Kosmolith Guest

    Just a comment from a couple of musicians, new to recording our own stuff and "engineering", not new to music. (In quotes in order to not disrespect any real engineers!).

    We are investing some hard-earned thousands into upgrading and are demoing every bit of software possible, primarily for recording vocals to harddisk.

    We are blind-testing each other, using Sennheiser HD 600 headphones straight out a midiman delta DiO 24/96.

    Not exactly laboratory conditions, but both of us consistenly correctly call either the exact prog used for recording or playback or (on playback), the "family"- "boring/gray" or "musical/colorful".

    There are noticable differences in recording and playback "sound" between the programs.

    No use boring you (or bringing on the flames) with our descriptions, which jibe very closely- Logic brings out the chocolatey part of the sound, WaveLab the aluminumy, etc., just noting where we're at now in the decision-making process.

    First of all, we'll test again this round's winners after the first upgrade purchase which is OF COURSE a decent mic-pre.

    It is actually quite unfortunate to hear the differences, because our beloved trusty power-sequencer Cubase, even the new 5.0, fails the blind tests miserably, and the current leader is the 7-800 dollar Samplitude...

    Cameron and Bernarda
     

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