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Sequoia - One 2 Consider?

Discussion in 'Sequoia' started by MadMax, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    OK, Jeremy, (et al) you've got my attention with Sequoia.

    I just picked up my 2nd HD24... (I know, I know... but they're servicable and so far are about the best bang for the buck in my mobile rig.) as I transition from ADAT and MOTU 2408.

    Realizing that it's "aimed" at the classical and broadcast market, I'm looking for a few opinions about it being used in the "other" multitrack world...

    On first glance it looks to be powerful enough to bust Profools lil' nads quite well... the reality is that I'll at least have to get some sort of digi-product... blech, I said it... - where's my toothbrush!?!

    My older version of DP's not exactly the most user-friendly and CPU-friendly software. Profools absolutely makes my skin crawl at how sterile it is... and of course I'm an "old" analog hack, so it's hard to find anything to really excite my ears in the digital realm, short of RADAR.

    So, what's the skinny on Sequoia?

    Thanx,
    Max
     
  2. Sequoia seems well rated and liked by it's users. Other programs to consider in this price range would be SAWStudio and Nuendo. It has been argued that Sequoia and SAW have a slight edge on the audio engine, Nuendo has a slight edge on MIDI and broadcast/video functions (for some MIDI apps SAW requires you get an additional MIDI module program which integrates into SAW, don't remember the name). Seen many producers of classical who rate sequoia highly...if you are mostly into audio quality, then genres shouldn't make too much of a difference, good audio is good audio whether it be classical, pop, jazz or metal etc.

    I'd try my best to sample all 3 before shelling out the big bucks...I have used Nuendo and thought it was awesome (coming from a cubase user it was easy to get into the groove with it). I have used Samplitude (which is to sequoia what cubase is to nuendo, a cut-down version aimed at home recording) and found that a good program with some nice features (preferred cubase/nuendo interface but grew up on cubase so def. biased) and with nice audio quality but lacking a bit in MIDI (version 7 tried, version 8 supposedly addresses many of the deficiencies)
     
  3. bap

    bap Member

    If one item is free and another costs $1000 I would not consider them to be in the same price range. However, if Nuendo is $2000 and Sequoia is $3000, I suppose you could say that they're in the same price range... but only very roughly.

    Saw Studio is supposedly excellent. I've heard that it requires one to think a little differently and therefore has a steeper learning curve than many other software but is very easy on CPU and fx are said to be amongst the very best. I haven'y tried it though.

    Samplitude is most definately not home recordist software - it is the same audio engine as Sequoia and shares many features but lacks some of the very sophisticated crossfade and editing abilities. Nuendo doesn't have those either, but it can do MIDI and video.
     
  4. mud5150

    mud5150 Guest

    what are you talking about what= free sawstudio=2500 nuendo=1999 Sequoia=2999, Yes they are not extremely close in price, You could categorize it though as high end daw above 2000, actaully i think they have a cd that has full versions of all three for free, you just have to pay the full price if you only want one of them
     
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I see things in a slightly tilted way... don't know if it's from the lightning, or what...

    I ain't no Rockafella' type Richy-Rich. I'm a poor workin' stiff who's plunked down mucho dunero over the years... so I think I would like to express it this way...

    $1-3K isn't necessarily the issue. That kind of money is rather insignifcant when compared to investing close to $40K for a profools rig. Again, I'm not saying that money is no object. Just the opposite! I just need to spend my money as wisely as possible.

    What I'm more interested in is the QUALITY of audio, ease of use and the overall hardware requirements.

    I guess by now, all of the cpu based programs are, in relative terms, going to do essentially the same things; input audio, edit waveforms-to a degree, and allow exporting and mixing.

    In my current workflow, I track remotely (now to HD24-up to 48 tracks) and mix to analoge desk. I have been using the the 2408/24i as my backup... I took parallel outs to the ADAT's and the MOTU's. Thank goodness the ADAT's are as stable as they are. My G3 has just been choking over 32 simultateous inputs.

    I take individual tracks into DP that need editing and bounce them back out to ADAT - Now HD24. The workflow, while doable, isn't my ideal, nor am I happy with the quality any longer. The quality of the HD24 is far superior to the ADAT's and I can hear real differences in tracks that go in/out of DP through the MOTU interface(s). Time to replace em'.

    The reality is that the digital summing issue isn't solved yet. I seriously doubt that it will be anytime in the next 3-5 years... if then. At least not with gear in the sub $50K range. (Heck, it isn't really sovled until you get to the $250K range) So, until then, I'm goint to mix in the analoge world.

    I know there's got to be a better solution for my workflow... e.g. waveform editing, comping, etc.

    So, to make my operation as "good" as I can get it, I need to get a hardware/software package(s) that performs at as high a quality as I can afford. Who knows, maybe the studio of the future requires a copy all of the "major" players' wares.

    "But you're tracking to HD24, for cryin' out loud! Now yer whinin' about QUALITY?"

    Yes I am. Like I said, I want to invest smartly. The balance I'm after is to pick an editing system that is "better" than the HD24. That way, my tracks don't suffer from any deficiencies caused by the lack of good code in the software. The second half of the equation is that the price point of said system, needs to allow me to offer services at, or about my current rates.

    I've looked at the offerings from SequoiaDigital.com. $3K is in my uneducated estimation, very reasonable.

    Thus my question... Is Sequoia a solution that I should consider?

    What are it's strengths and weaknesses? Number of simultaneous in/outs, Import/Export formats, etc.

    Sorry for the rant, but...
     
  6. Sorry, I should not have mentioned the other products as you were referring solely to Sequoia and my intention was not to start a debate as to which is best (too subjective and as you rightly say, all 3 can do the bulk of audio/midi tasks very adequately). It was just for information in case you weren't aware of alternatives (and you probably were)...

    Also, I wasn't trying to diss Samplitude at all, it has some features that take it beyond cubase sx and sonar 5, hence the price...The point being that it is a slimmed down Sequoia as Cubase is a slimmed down Nuendo is still relevant though. The fact that Samplitude does have Sequoias audio engine is a major selling point for it and of course, home usage is it's main field but that does not mean it's a toy for amateurs, professional results have been obtained in a more serious setup....

    What is needed is for Sequoia users to come forward and post their feedback and how they feel your setup would work within that daw. And for me to shut up :)
     
  7. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Hmm. I am not a Sequioa user so what can I say really. I run Samplitude Professional V8, which in many areas is the same as Sequioa. It lacks a few features / functions which are very nice but perhaps not necessary.

    Just a few words about the work I do, basically only classical music on location, tracking 44.1/24 from 4 to 16 channels depending on the situation. I track to a laptop, basically just starting record and letting it run the full concert. At home I chop the movements up and do the mixing / mastering / CD burning. Generally I transfer the project from my on-location laptop to my home based editing PC, some kind of HP home computer, not the fastest stuff really. This to free the laptop for the next gig.

    In the area I know that Sequioa has some feauters that would help very much when mixing together several takes to one, in the form of source-destination editing not available in Sam.

    I did run ProTools LE and make that as my comparison in some cases below.

    - sound quality in my ears in SAM is as good as it gets. Mixing neither adds or subtracts anything but gives you exactly what you put in. Or, just perhaps an illusion, I do believe that Sam simply sounds good. When mixing more modern music I generally add a bit of the included vintage compression and tape simulation on the mix bus for a little smoothness. Seldom for classical work though.

    - the included effects in SAM are really good. The stock EQ / FFT / Compressor / Limiter / Room simulation / Tape Simulation and so on all sound good to my ears. I have not felt any need to buy any additional effects. There are probably better effects available, but what comes in the box is rather comprehensive. Compare that to PT where I always wanted more effects, this is a relief.

    - I have tried tracking at 96k instead, but the difference is not worth it for me, mixing in Sam is that good and my Lavry Blue converters are good enough for what I do at 44.1.

    - one of the major points for me in Sam is the object editing. Basically I shop up the movements in as many pieces as I want and add whatever effects I want at each piece. So on the same track I end up having several movements, each split into smaller pieces, where each piece can have its own volume and effects such as EQ/compressor/reverb and so on. This may superficially look like traditional automation, for my work though it works much better.

    - another major point is that once I am finished the CD burning is done on the fly, no bouncing and exporting and mounting together in another program. I tend to do my do-it-yourself mastering directly in the project as a last stage. There are a number of very good tools for that.

    What I have learned is that on a typical concert recording project I save at least 5 hours compared to working in PT. The difference in work pattern is really very different and it saves a lot of my time.

    So all in all, given your description, I would not hesitate to recommend you to try the all in the box solution. I guess you then could track on location using your current equipment and then transfer it to a harddisk at home. Then simply insert the files (generally not necessary to convert the files, they are simply inserted in the project) into Sam /Seq and mix in the box. No need really for any external mixer.

    One of the few issues you will have is that there is a processing power limit of your PC. In my experience though Sam is not a bad program. There will be a limit as to number of channels / number of effects, but for my work I have never been even close. You could probably find even more CPU friendly programs, say SAW studio or for that matter PT HD, but Sequioa on a good PC has a rather high limit.

    To put it very short, Samplitude does the work for me.

    Gunnar
     
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Woops! I see Gunnar has gotten to this first! ;-) What he said, too!

    Ok, as a devoted (and occasionally fanatical) Samplitude/Sequoia user, I'll weigh in next. (Looks like the site's been down for a day or so, and it's likely that few others have been able to get online as well...)

    First things first....I don't see a problem with the HD24 per se. Having looked at the specs a little more closely, I don't see anything about the file system it uses. Is it proprietary, or does it write WAV/AIFF? It it's the former, you'll simply have to budget some time to transfer 8/16 tracks at a time out of your HD24 and into your computer, through some kind of ADAT interface. (there are simple, 8/16 channel ADAT transfer cards out there, but it's done in real time, etc.) This will eat up a lot of you time, and while it works for now, you may get tired of working this way. (I have a Fostex LV2496 for a backup/secondary system, and it's the same thing: tedious and time consuming to transfer stuff this way, esp when it's 20 or more tracks over a two hour concert....ugh!)

    If it's wav if aiff compatible, you're all set. Pull the drives out of the HD24 and get 'em into your computer for working with Samp/Seq. You can open a new project, and import the tracks, set 'em up along the timeline, and go nuts. In remarkably less time than you think. (I work with a Vaio laptop & FW HD, running Samp on location, and I bring it all back to the studio to mix/edit/master with Sequoia.)

    Secondly, you DO know that Samp/Sequoia is a PC program, yes? (I see you've mentioned a G3 at least once...)

    Thirdly, it's a bit of a mistake to consider Samlitude a "Slimmed down" version of Sequoia. It is essentially the same program, but with a few arguably important features crippled/disabled that make it more affordable than the full-out version found in Sequoia. (Two important ones are the ability to run Algorithmix's reNOVAtor plugin in Sequoia, and four-point editing. People who use either one for high end mixing and mastering may find they can't live without either or both, and find a way to go with the pricier Sequoia, as I did two years ago.)

    Otherwise, you'll be perfectly happy with Samplitude, and I'd highly recommend you start out with it FOR NOW, instead of killing yourself with the price of Sequioa. You'll save a LOT of $$$ for now, and they offer a good upgrade plan when you ARE ready. I used Samplitude (and it's original software Red Roaster) for nearly ten years, and grew with each upgrade, before finally going to Sequoia. (reNOVAtor was the final push for me...)

    One other caveat I'd make about Samp/Sequoia is that hard-core MIDI users tend to be unimpressed with it. Since I no longer use MIDI for much, I don't share the same feeling, but I fully understand that if it's a real high end MIDI system you're after, Samp/Sequoia may not be for you. There are quite a lot of better MIDI implementation in V8, but again, I think you'd do better elewhere for full-out MIDI work.

    Aside from that, there is little else you'd find "wrong" with Samp/Sequoia. Quite the opposite. Granted, the learning curve might be steep to some, although I've lost all perspective on what's considered difficult these days. Ten years ago, MAYBE, but nowadays....who's to say?

    It's been described as "deep" and that's certainly true. To this day, I will still find a feature or a new way of doing something I've not seen before, and it's always a pleasant surprise. Just about any feature you can think of has been addressed, from the color of the wavform to the pause times on the CD track, to SMPTE, MIDI, MTC and so on. (Even MP3 data info, ISRC codes, etc. are all supported in the CD burning process.)

    You may not hear too many folks talking about it here, because they're probably too busy working with it and turning out a professional product. Samp/Sequoia sounds like NOTHING AT ALL, unless you want it to. Use whatever plugs you like, it runs them all, and even on its own, the included toolsets should more than get you to a polished, professional mix.

    And finally the statement: "Digital summing issues are not resolve yet" (Huh ???? Are you referring to the HD24 in particular here?)

    With proper dithering, and working in 24 (and 32) bit mode, I find my 2-track mixes (bounces) sound exactly the same when mixed as they do when running along in multitrack mode. My 16/44 CDs sound so much like the original high res (24/44 and 24/96) recordings, the point has been moot for a long time now. Frankly, I rarely bother with 24/96; to my ears, 24/44 is the way to go, unless I'm doing sound for video, then I'll switch to 24/48.

    I'm told this is something special about Samp/Sequoia, (the mix bus) and perhaps that's the case here. But I've been so used to it for so long, I don't think about these things anymore.

    Lastly, Samp/Sequioa are native PC programs: Unlike PT's, they do not require any external hardware, so their performance depends on your machines' performance. The number of ins/outs, plugs, etc. depends entire on the host PC and its horsepower. It's a breeze to track 16-24 tracks "live" at 24/44, but you may find you'll need to do some creative housekeeping to do "Wild" overdubs in a session. (You can turn off effects, or unneeded tracks, or even bounce and/or freeze tracks to do overdubs with minimal latency if you want to work that way.)

    I could go on and on and on about this, but I'm sure others have their own things to ad....(Ben? Jeremy? )
     
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yup, pretty much what Joe and Gunnar said.

    Here's my deal.

    1 - I also own and use the HD24 as my backup rig. Joe - it transfers its files via a firewire interface as either Wav or AIFF and does it rather quickly (provided you have the necessary hardware - the Firewire interface that Alesis sells with it.)

    I have been thoroughly impressed with it. Not once has it ever failed. My hardest trial on it has been 9 tracks at 24/44.1 for 9 hours straight! Didn't even hiccup.

    I find that it works QUITE well as a back up to Sequoia. If I need it (which I haven't yet) I simply drag the wav files onto the computer and drop them in place in Sequoia.

    2 - I also agree that, if you don't need the added features that Sequoia has over Samp, go with Samp. They're identical to about 90%. It's a shame that the last 10% costs so much, but I find it to be invaluable!

    3 - I have NEVER used a program so:

    Robust - it has NEVER failed me and I've used it several times without a backup thanks to the confidence it instills in me

    Powerful - I mean, comon - the plugs that come with it are great, the CD burning, crossfade edits (which are simply amazing), the relatively open source nature of it, the DDP, the 32bit float - all amazing

    Common-Sense Friendly - if you've ever worked with a real console, the console in Seq/Samp will be a breeze. I used to use Cubase for the longest time. It took me forever to learn how their mixer works just to find out things I SHOULD have been able to do, my computer (or the program) wouldn't let me. Now that I've been using Seq for a couple years now, I can't imagine it any other way. I do some seriously complex routing a lot of times, particularly in-studio and it always keeps up with me.

    As for audio quality - I do believe that there is a difference. When I was working with Cubase, I could never get my mixes to sound quite right. All of them sounded as though they were contained within a box. When I switched, I noticed a dramatic improvement. I went back and issued some remasters of previous material and my clients couldn't be happier. Bear in mind, in some/many cases, all I had were 4 omnis up over the orchestra. I handled them the exact same way in BOTH programs. The results SHOULD have been the same. No plugs were involved at all - only some external hardware with settings notated. Simply put, the Sequoia stuff sounded more open, realistic and ear-friendly.

    I don't have enough positive words in my vocabulary for how I feel about Magix and Sequoia.

    :cool:
     
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I don't have enough positive words in my vocabulary for how I feel about Magix and Sequoia.

    I was going to say something similar - and I think I have, many times - but for fear of people getting sick of hearing the same things from me over and over again. (Jeremy, you know I'm on record as joking I'll get out of Pro Audio if I ever have to use anything else....that's probably truer than not...)

    The plugs (esp the new ones with V8.) are just amazing, and there's not much you need to shell out for elsewhere. The comps/limiters, EQ, etc. are pretty much all you'll need for a long time, unless there's a specific tool you want. Ditto for the Room Sims. There's hardly a reverb I can't get, either.

    Same here with robust/stability. Any crashes I've ever had were hardware or OS related, NOT Samp/Sequoia. In fact, there's a pretty good safeguard/crash window that comes up in the rare instances of this now - it gives you the option to stop and save, continue on at risk, or bail out entirely, all with feedback to MAGIX available when it happens.

    Let's face it; it's as "Pro" as you'll ever get with PC software for Audio.
     
  11. larsfarm

    larsfarm Active Member

    What could possibly sound different when summing two or more pcm-signals?

    best regards
    Lars
     
  12. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Good question. It has been discussed at various forums several times but not reaching any definite answer.

    Clear is that in the history of DAW-s some has been clearly flawed in that respect, having bugs degrading the sound. Even I know how to mess things up by not taking care of rounding errors. I don´t think that is a problem today.

    There are a few different number schemes to work in. Most native system runs 32 bit float, a few run 64 bit. A really good programmer can take advantage of the internal 80 bits of precision of the numerical processor registers without any performance penalty. PT HD runs a a 48 bit fixed point mixing bus. Whatever you use, it should not really make a difference.

    And still, I and a lot of people believe there is a difference. Don´t ask me how or why, but I like the Samplitude mixing engine. I think I will let it rest there and not try to outguess how it is done.

    Gunnar
     
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Lars -

    I agree - it is a wierd thought to think one could do better than another. But again, I stress, the example which I provided above was simple. I took 4 omni mics and panned them all the same way in both DAWs yet they both sounded significantly different.

    Here was the setup -

    Main pair - Schoeps CMC6 MK2s spaced approx 14" and angled approximately 10 degrees off center axis

    Flank pair - Schoeps CMC6 MK2h approx 11' off of dead center and no angle applied

    Both pairs were panned hard left and hard right.

    I did not perform a mono/phase inversion to verify the differences, however, the sound was CLEARLY different.

    Oh, and BTW - in the DAWs, NO volume/amplitude changes were made nor were any effects added.

    Just some food for thought....

    J
     
  14. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Clean modern DAWS sounding different has now been debunked by many top ME's including Katz and others. Read Glenn Meadows mastering board for evidence. It was DAC's, clocking and setup that was always the problem. Let's not continue to cloud the waters.
     
  15. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Guys,

    THANX!! for all the thoughts and evals.

    The bus summing issue is indeed a hardware based issue. No proprietary bus/hardware requirements... no issue.

    What's a nominal setup?

    What I'm thunkin' about for workstations...
    Dual or quad Xeon's (3.5GHz), 2-4Gb RAM.

    As far as drive space... any idea how well Sequoia works in any of these environments? RAID 5, RAID 5 0, SAN, NAS?

    (If I'm going this way, I'm gonna dig in hard and fast. (I'm an IT by day trade, responsible for 30Tb.))

    I'd prefer to build a decent network where the files are in a redundant RAID w/backup. Will it work efficiently in this type of configuration?

    Sorry... more questions...

    Max
     
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sequoia works fine with RAID, though, they way I use it is in a 0+1 config but as a back up. Not all of the files I work with make it anywhere near the final or subfinal project. Doing this directly to RAID will waste a LOT of space.

    My personal config is:
    Pent IV Extreme Edition w/ HT 3.0 gHz
    2 Gig dual channel RAM
    80 Gig program drive (EIDE) (Samsung quiet drive)
    200 Gig SATA Audio Drive (Samsung Quiet drive)

    This seems to work more than adequately. Heck, I've had Sequoia open with 20+ tracks, Garritan running 30 instruments, Reason handling MIDI percussion with a decent amount of effects and have never even seen it hiccup. (Provided the buffers are set well...that's the catch. With all that other stuff running, don't expect under any circumstances to get near-zero latency monitoring...)

    J.
     
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I hate sukin' all the bandwidth of the ACOUSTIC MUSIC forum for the diatribe on my multitracking needs, so please forgive me... and thanx for the indulgence!

    Jeremy,

    I typically track 24-32 full tracks on location for full on live performance gospel sessions. (I do a few extra insurance tracks on things like kit, bass and B3) Of course you add a couple of stereo keys and a piano and you can get there pretty quick. With the two HD24's, I now have 48 available, so I better be looking at getting all 48 at a whack.

    While I'm kinda' concerned about drive space, I wouldn't even consider going in the box w/o something like an LTO-III or IV for expediant BU's. (I've got a SWEET Overland 13 bay single drive unit, at the day gig, that I'm clocking writes between 600-950Mb/Min) sumbeach is almost as fast as some of the drives I've had in recent years!!!

    While the overhead of RAID 5 is space, I think the insurance is well worth the effort and dollars. (yeah, I'm one of those dudes that don't like OSF issues.) Better safe than runnin' round screamin' "Oh $*^t!, I just lost a drive, I can't track!!!"

    So, you mention setting the buffers... can you expand, please?

    Thanx again,
    Max
     
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    24 to 32 tracks at a time is a heck of a task even with a non-native system like ProFools... It can be done though. (You coming in with lightpipe or MADI?)

    Ayway - the buffers definitely determine how much the system can handle at any given time. Simply increase both the ASIO and System buffers to as high as you are comfortable with (ASIOs go all the way up - system buffers usually somewhere in the middle.)

    At which point, the sound being played back is delayed significantly from that coming in...so...if you like to monitor while recording and you have open back cans, you're going to hate life. However, if you're okay with letting it roll while trusting the meters (they've never steered me wrong so far) or have good isolating cans, than you'll be fine.

    Personally, I would not be comfortable recording 32 tracks simultaneously without a back up system. That's not a slam against Sequoia - in fact, I'd trust Sequoia before I would trust any other DAW (Pyramix and SADiE are close seconds), but I stil wouldn't trust it. I guess it's more of a distrust in computers. (Sorry Mac-o-lites...I don't trust them either. I've had Macs crash just as often if not more than PCs).

    J.
     
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Jman,

    I'd be using the HD24's as the parallel - primary/backup. Probably best to monitor audio on the HD's and the meters ONLY then, right? e.g. listening to the console with the outs from the HD24's... letting the meter levels on the HD's be the indicators for the DAW?

    If I move up to Sequoia and up to 48 tracks, should I bump the RAM up to say 4-8Gig to ease the latency?

    Most of the time (100% so far) I'm taking a split and I'm in the trailer up to 300' from the stage... usually outside the facility altogether. Regardless, at some point I'm gonna be inside. How much latency we talkin' about? 5, 50, 500ms?

    Thanx,
    Max
     

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