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Sequoia vs Pro Tools

Discussion in 'Sequoia' started by QuickDiscs, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. QuickDiscs

    QuickDiscs Guest

    Hello all, I'm new hear and I'v enjoyed reading all of your posts for weeks now. Very helpful, thank you very much.

    Can someone give me some info on the Sequoia work station and why that seems to be so big in the acoustic recording world. Is it similar to Pro Tools?

    P.S. has anyone used the Neumann TLM 103 for any string recording. I would love some feedback on that. (I know cardioid only, not that normal for this.)
  2. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    Sequoia vs ProTools?

    Well in some respects they are similar. Both are more or less best suited for audio handling, although you can do midi in both with good results. It is only that some of the others has bunches more of midi tools.

    Anyway, there are at least two different ProTools, which sound and work a bit different they say. The PT LE is a native system, ie running inside your PC or Mac and uses 32 bit float internally. The "normal" PT systems, might be called for example HD2 and runs most of the operations in dedicated signal processors using fixed point 48 bit (or 24 bit for part of the handling), although it also requires a PC or a Mac. Both requires a bit of special hardware to even start, spanning from the low end MBox to some really expensive (and probably extremely good) system setups.

    Sequioa and the little brother Samplitude is a native system and is only available for the PC. They happily chug along with whatever sound cards you happen to have, although of course some of the cards may have an effect on the sound quality.

    Now, why should this then Seq/Sam be so big in the acoustic recording world?

    If you ask me there are probably three main reasons for that. But I think you will get more clearly articulated answers from some other people. First of all though, remember that some of the current position comes from the history. So if a particular system is "big" right now, it is at least partly because it was first or had a better marketing or whatever, things that might not matter much any more.

    1) First reason I believe is that Seq/Sam simply sounds good. The resulting mixes seems to sound better than when using most other programs. I will not try to analyze why or how, but I hear it, and much more seasoned ears share the impression. It might or might not be true from a measurement point, but we still do hear it. Or let´s put it a little more low-key, Seq/Sam simply sounds good, not saying that the others do not.

    2) Secondly Seq/Sam has some features that really fit perfectly well into the workflow when working on recorded acoustic music. It is a set of basic functions that together both saves a lot of time and gives better sounding results.

    Time savers are as example the object oriented things, that mastering can be done directly in the program, that bounces are done off-line, ie at max speed (PT only does them in realtime), that CD-s are burnt from inside the program and so on.

    The object based working method also makes it easier to get a better sound (again if you ask me), and the included effects in Seq/Sam are of such high quality that I at least feel no desire at all for all the extra expensive plugins that PT owners lust for, including the Waves stuff and so on. And if you look at the so called "four-point editing" in Seq you will find things that some people almost can kill for. Of course, also PT is usable to achieve similar end results, but not even nearly as convenient (again if you ask me).

    Just one example of the time saving, a typical concert recording mix session from stereo mic recording to finished CD for me went from a 10 hour exercise when using PT LE to a 2 hour exercise in Samplitude, with to my ears better results. (It might be simply that I´ve got more training, but it is not quite as easy as that).

    Thirdly, there is a small part of Digidesign bashing. We seem to be a few who find that we do not really like the Digidesign marketing / product setup / various other stuff. I, at least, like to be able to go somewhere else for parts of my rig. This is sort of the same thing as the people willing to go to Unix or Mac simply to be able to stay out of the "Microsoft camp".

    Hope this has helped a bit. Remember though that there is parts of this which resembles religion, you either believe it or not.

  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    It is indeed like a religion. I've been working with digital performer for years and years and if you go to the Unicornation site you will witness some of that religious fervor. I mainly stick with DP out of habit and because I know the program so well but if I had to it would not be heresy for me to switch. Actually, I thought of switching to logic a few times but I reconsidered everytime when I realize that with the 1k that it would cost to switch I could get a new mic, pre, VI, etc and I end up staying
  4. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    For me, it is the editing model and the cross-fade ability. Pro Tools doesn't even come close to what I can do in Sequoia... I'll leave the sound arguments out of it- PT HD is quite good in that department.

    From a money perspective, I can get just as much computer in a custom built turnkey Sequoia DAW as I can in say a PT HD3 system at about half the price... For doing large tracking projects (ie film scores) where I have large numbers of tracks at high resolution (48 tracks at 96K for example), I'd probably go with a PT system as it can handle the I/O better than a native system.

    Sequoia can also burn CDs and generate DDP images that I can send off to replication. Pro Tools has none of that... In an operation that is a single person operation, it makes the workflow easier...

    Just a few thoughts...

  5. Costy

    Costy Guest

    That's interesting. Could you tell some more on the editing model ?
    Spell out the things one can do in Sequoia and can't in the PT ?
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Spell out the things one can do in Sequoia and can't in the PT ?

    Costy, that's a pretty tall order; and tough to say at the depth of info you want. (I CAN tell you what Samp/Sequoia does, but I have very little hands-on PT's experience - other than as a producer having someone ELSE run it for me.)

    Perhaps, if you're a PT's user, the best thing to do is sit down with an experienced Samp/Sequoia user and get your feet wet, watch/listen/participate what's going on. An afternoon or a day is probably a good start; perhaps even find a session you can do with an experienced Samp/Sequoia user doing the driving.

    I've had many angry and upset PT's users after working a session with me on Samp. The main complaint seems to be finding out all that's included with Samp/Seq., and NOT available in the basic PTs package. ("Gotta buy a plug-in for that!" - is the most commomn complaint I hear about it.) Feelings of been ripped-off and overcharged is the general attitude from PT's users when they find out what comes included with Samp/Sequoia right out of the box. (Notice I haven't mentioned the "sound" of Samp/Sequoia, no reason to here.... :wink: )

    About the same for Sadie users. One of my temp assistants is a former Sadie user. Once she tried Samp., she was FURIOUS and disgusted at the hoops they make ya jump through, along with the proprietary stuff & extra $$ for this, extra $$ for that, and a whole lot of "Can't there from here." She dumped Sadie almost immediately after working with Samplitude and has never looked back. (I've seen the prices for Sadie & the extras, and I just shake my head in bewilderment...whatever it is they're selling, it doesn't hold up, cost-wise to Samp/Sequ., IMHO.) I guess I'm bashing Sadie here, but from what I've seen, I can't imagine paying their prices (well, maybe 5-10 years ago for what it does) , but certainly not now, not what Samp/Sequoia can do as a native system.

    With the lastest Plugins that come included with V8 (for both Samp/Seq), you barely need to go outside of the box for much, unless you want something specific. EVen the newer room sims are fantastic. There's no audio tool I can think of that isn't included in V8 of both products; way too many to list here. The AM suite with opto limiters & tape emulations included in V8 is simply amazing. (Just imagine adding a "little" tube or tape warmth to your mixes, without leaving the application...)

    I don't think PT's has anything near to Elastic Audio and Algorithmix's reNOVAtor plugins, either. (You can try out both in the Sequoia V8 demo.) I'm sure there's a few things in PT's that Samp/Seq doesn't have, but I don't worry about it, and get no complaints from my clients when they see/hear Samp/Seq in action.

    It's a fine line between sounding grateful and bragging, but Samp/Seq. users are fanatical about it for good reason. It may not be your cup of tea in the long run, but I can tell you that for "Serious" Music - or music that needs more TLC and care than something that'll just end up as an MP3, this may be worth your time to at least try it.

    (Actually, it DOES import/export and generate MP3's if you want that, too.)
  7. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Hey JoeH,

    Thanks. You're right, PT's default plug-ins are not too good and
    scarse. At least a bundled pack is needed. However, one can
    always use off-board verbs, compessors, EQs ecc. Also, the
    plug-ins are available for rent.

    I want a pro opinion depth. I'm still interested to know what
    Ben meant to say, because I sort of like PT editing. I'd like to
    know if there are any flows I'm not aware of.

    One of the reasons I've chosen PT 'cause I need full compatibility
    with the studios. Most of them these days have a PT setup with
    a Mac and use SoundDesiner (SDII) audio format.
    If compatibility is not needed there many ways to go. I remember,
    I was impress by some mariachi indie record made start-to-finish
    in Cubase.

  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I want a pro opinion depth. I'm still interested to know what
    Ben meant to say, because I sort of like PT editing. I'd like to
    know if there are any flows I'm not aware of.

    Again, I think you're going to have to spend some time in front of it to really get the full impact. Talking about it, and reading about it only go so far. (No offense, but aside from all the gushing here about it, I'd really much prefer to SHOW someone, instead of writing about it again and again..) Since you already know & work with PTs, that should clear it up for you fairly quickly, I think.

    One of the reasons I've chosen PT 'cause I need full compatibility
    with the studios. Most of them these days have a PT setup with
    a Mac and use SoundDesiner (SDII) audio format.
    If compatibility is not needed there many ways to go.

    I completely understand. I know this sounds cocky (and I realize I don't live in LA), but one of the reasons I STAYED with Samplitude and never bothered with PT's is BECAUSE everyone else has PTs. (I HATE doing what everyone else does...that always feels too easy and suspect to me. 8) ) Of course, Samp/Seq does deliver the goods (and then some) but NOT following the path carved out by everyone else if fun, if you enjoy that sort of thing, and want to be apart from the crowd. It can be daunting, at least at first.

    Samp/Seq isn't for wimps, there's a fairly serious learning curve, and you do need to be ready to explain yourself every time someone says: "Huh? No Pro Tools?". (It gets old real fast....) But as more options open up, and more people get aquainted with other apps than just PTS. (Cubase being one, and DP being another), things have a way of evening out.

    I was extremely lucky in the early days ('95, '96). Someone pointed me to Red Roaster (an early, basic version of Samplitude) for CD burning. I was told it did two things very well: Basic Digital Audio for PC, and CD burning in the same app., with the ability to handle larger musical works (ie: Classical). Once I figured out how to work the darn thing, I was off to the races.

    Try it whenever you get a chance; it's better than trying to explain it here.
  9. QuickDiscs

    QuickDiscs Guest


    Thank you gentleman for all your info.
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Funny!! Me Tooooo! It's the black sheep in me. (Eww, that sounds a little gross?! :? )

    Let me just spell out what I love about the software and I've only been a convert from the Cubase/Nuendo world for a few months.

    The object based editing (BTW... I had to post a note here and call Ben on the phone to find out what was so special about this feature - then I saw the light and began figuring it out.)

    Get this - I just recorded "The Four Seasons" with a full orchestra. It was a great concert with a fantastic soloist. But, no matter how good the acoustics were, I could hear this low frequency rumble coming out of the sub when the violin was playing solo. So, I split the object with a rather wide cross-fade (1-2 seconds) and put a high pass filter on the sections with the violin (around 70 Hz - also gets rid of any "light buzz"). Now, the piece sounds good and full when the cellos and basses are playing, but when the violin is playing solo, it's just as clear as you could ever want it to be.

    In my old editing suites, this wouldn't be possible. I would have to create an effect on an additional bus and then automate that channel so that it comes in and out when appropriate. Now, imagine if I had 20 different EQ curves that I wanted to apply throughout a piece - I'd have 20 Aux buses all with automation. If the system survived this massive torture, I could barely make heads or tails out of what I was doing.

    Now, imagine gain riding. With objects, if I want a portion quieter, I section out the object, make a relatively wide crossfade and create a decrescendo where it's appropriate. Instead of fader automation which, to me always sounded rather artificial (that is, when used in the PC - flying faders and the like are a different beast), I have a smooth, natural transition from loud to soft. And, I can draw the fade in just the way I want it with the in-depth cross fade editor.

    Speaking of the cross-fade editor -- splices have never been easier. If you want to do a simple click and drag splice, you can view the two waves on top of eachother, align them and apply the appropriate fade. It doesn't get any easier than this!! Oh, that is until you get into the 4 point cuts, where you literally just tell the software with keyboard shortcuts, where you want to cut and where you want to past in the destination and it does it nice and easy (and non-destructive!!!) and crossfades automatically. (Of course, you can tweak to your hearts content.)

    Costy - you don't live that far away from the Fredericksburg area - any time you are in the area (visiting the beautiful historic district and taking in some fantastic lunch at one of our dozens of amazing restaurants) let me know. I'll be glad to sit down with you in my studio and show you some of the coolness that is Sequoia!

  11. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member


    I use both here and I can explain the difference in editing easily... It all comes down to the ability to manipulate a crossfade and the audio around it. In Sequoia, Sonic, Pyramix and SADiE, you can manipulate your crossfades to any shape that can be imagined with any overlap, assymetry, etc... and you can do all of this while you are in the crossfade editor (not to mention that it all happens in real time). In Pro Tools, you have a choice of 0, 50 or 100% overlap, 3 or 4 basic fade shapes, but they can't be modified and the fades write a crossfade file. In PT, if you want to move where the crossfade point is in the audio, you need to do this in the edit/arrange window, not in the fade editor.

    The Source-Destination/4 point cut paradigm also allows for a much easier way of selecting which takes/audio you are going to use in an editing session. Trust me, without seeing how it works, you won't appreciate it (right Joe? :p For those that don't get this- Joe is a long-time samp user as you know. When he saw Sequoia at AES this year when I showed him the demo, he finally saw where the power of working this way was...)

  12. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Are you, guys, revolutinaries or something ? Sounds like it.

    Anyway, a straight question: is Samplitude/Sequoia "object" is the
    same as PT's "region" ?

    Thanks. Yea, I'm about 2 hours down south from you. If I'm in the
    area I'll contact you. Curious to see your setup.

  13. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Only in the fact that an object is a clip of audio in the project. That is about where the similarity ends. With objects, you can non-destructively add any effect that you want- VST, DX, or any of the native effects (room sim, dehissing, eq, comps, elastic audio, etc...)

  14. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Thanks Ben,

    Good to know. Right, in PT the non-destructive (real-time, RTAS)
    plug-ins are asociated with tracks not with "regions", as far as
    I know.

  15. foldedpath

    foldedpath Guest

    Magix really needs to produce a good video demo of that, instead of the confusing and out-of-context one they have on their web site now. As a Samplitude Pro 8.1 user I've been interested in Sequoia. But I'm not about to lay out the very hefty upgrade price, without understanding why this source-destination/4-point thing is such a must-have feature. I don't understand it at all, after going through all the web site info, and reading what people have said about using it. I mean... I get the basic idea, but not why it's so useful on a real-life project. They need a video where someone takes a real-world editing project, and shows the workflow advantages.

    Mike Barrs
  16. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    PT cannot do PCM either.

    I would also recommend SAWStudio. It is very powerful, built on machine language that practically bypasses Windopes. Go to their website and download the working demo. http://www.sawstudio.com

    PT TDM is still the best for power-house processing, high track counts at high sample rates, etc. Also, it has the least tatency. BUT, no matter whose system you go with, you are forced into updating OS, DAW software, plugs, etc, if you want/need support.
  17. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Sorry, what is the "PCM" ?
  18. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Huh? This makes no sense... Do you have the right letters for your acronym?

    PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation which is the way that all of your "standard" digital audio is sampled... By standard, I mean non-DSD/dbx, etc... When you talk about 24/96, 16/44.1 etc... that is all PCM audio.

  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    PT TDM is still the best for power-house processing, high track counts at high sample rates, etc. Also, it has the least tatency.

    That's because of all the OUTBOARD hardware involved. Comparing to all the native stuff is just apples and oranges. (No pun intended...) PT's HD is quite impressive; it is a huge investment of rack mounted gear, with DSP farms, cards, HD controllers, a control surface; and you still need a host computer to run it. Yep, it can do a LOT of tracks, with ridiculously low latency; just about transparent in that dept. It also costs between $20 -$30K for all the bells & whistles.

    Samp/Sequoia comes on a CD-ROM and runs with whatever you have under your hood, from a P3 on up. It's not better or worse in that way; it's just a completely different kind of app.
  20. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Holy crap, I was reading another paper about DSD, SACD and DVD-A. I had single-bit PCM in my head. POWr is what my intent was.

    If you look at Magix's dither vs. PT HD's in "Tweak Head" mode, the results are not subtle. PT HD's dither is not as good.

    What was the dbx remark about. They have nothing to do with DSD. That's a Sony thing.
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