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"White Paper" on DAW file archiving...Bogus or

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Jim Boling, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. Jim Boling

    Jim Boling Guest

    Here is a link to a document created by grammy.com's producers and engineer's wing.


    This document proposes standardizing digital audio files for archival purposes in order to assure compatibility with current and future digital audio systems. I think it falls way short of it's stated goal mainly because it ignores and excludes over half of the systems already in use. Please read it. The commentary in my next post is based on my response to the person, (a Mac user), who sent me the link.


  2. Jim Boling

    Jim Boling Guest

    OKAY, here's my rantings which were inspired by that "recommendations" document:
    I've seen this document before and I, of course, find it to be totally worthless for me since I'm a non-Pro-Tools, PC guy and since it ignores many already accepted Digital Audio Workstation standards. Instead it focuses on presenting formats only available to Apple and DigiDe$ign users as the only "acceptable archival formats" for master recordings. Ridiculous!

    Avid, who happens to own DigiDe$ign, introduced the OMF or Open Media Framework file which was meant to bring compatibility between different video audio formats. It also happened to be a perfect cross-platform audio archival format. This format made it possible for users of Logic Audio to share files with Pro-Tools and Digital Performer users and vice versa versa. I don't think Avid foresaw the fact that PC software companies would also embrace this format as well.

    It wasn't long before Cakewalk incorporated OMF into it's SONAR Workstation. Now, as a SONAR user, I can send multi-track files created on my system to Studio X , or to Studio Y and have them do the final mixes. At least in theory I can do this. Unfortunately, DigiDe$ign, charges just under a $700 or so for the plug-in that enables Pro-Tools to import or export OMF files, (again this is their format, they pay no royalties or license fees to use the format). Cakewalk provided OMF in it's very next release of SONAR at no extra charge,(I'm not sure if a license is paid to Avid).

    I was shocked when I sent an OMF file to one of the local BIG Dollar studios and they couldn't open it. I had to create individual, full length audio files for every instrument on all four songs. This took many, many hours and 6 cds to backup 4 songs.

    Another ProTools Studio transferred an ADAT from for one of my clients and had to do the same thing before sending the files to me because he couldn't export the OMF.

    On the other hand, I sent 3 OMFs to a producer in Argentina and he was able to open and use them immediately. Does AVID/DIGIDE$IGN only charge it's American users for the plugin?

    All of the above is fact, the rest of this is largely speculation based on prolonged observation. Other facts are included in support of said speculation.

    Apple and DigiDe$sign have for many years kept prices up and their "perceived" cornering of the PROFESSIONAL audio market intact by incessantly claiming over and over and over again that their hardware and software were better than the rest. There may have been a time when this was true, (though I think these kinds of claims should be given the same consideration as someone proclaiming himself the best guitar player in the world), but if it ever were true, it obviously is not now. There are many audio interfaces out there that match or surpass DigiDe$ign in every respect. And most of them cost less.

    And Apple... well they sell machines with 800mhz processors in them and claim, (in print on their web site), that they outperform 2.4ghz Intel machines. If you read a little deeper you find that you must get the dual processor system to even come close the Intel performance. But guess what, most P4 machines can accept a second processor as well. Did Apple compare their dual 800mhz processor to a dual processor Intel... no way.

    Apple's ad campaigns at times are aimed at attacking PC makers and users, sometimes portraying PC buyers very disrespecfully. At other times they concentrate on the "myth", (opinion), that their machines never break, never crash and that, no matter how stupid you are, all you gotta do is plug it in and you instantly compose like Beethoven or create movies like Spielberg, etc.

    (Here's more opinion...)
    In reality a personal computer is no better or worse than it's components. The processor, the memory, the video card & monitor, the hard drives, the floppy drive... oh wait... Apple eliminated that one.

    IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MACHINE!! It's about the talent and knowledge of the operator.

    You pay more for Macintosh because of the multi-billion dollar ad campaigns and because of the plethora of failed products that Apple keeps trying to sell to the general public.

    All of this leads up to my conclusions about this "Master Delivery Recommendations Document". I think the creation of this document was funded by Apple and DigiDe$sign in an attempt to "shore up" their isolation at the top of the audio food chain. The OMF file threatens their existence. OMF supports AIFF and Wav audio at any sample rate and any bit depth. It also supports stereo and mono files. Something which the BWF file proposed by this document does not do.

    This document standardizes absolutely nothing!! Maybe they should call it the "King Jobs Version of the Master Delivery Recommendations Document".

    Jim Boling
  3. analogue

    analogue Guest

    I think the PC issue is old hat and a waste of time!
    The recommendations actually suggest use of BWF which is a microsoft format and the Mac developers are chasing to catch it.

    Surprising that the big dollar studio couldn't open your OMF! But the point is the master session disk should have contained consolidated audio files so they can be pulled into ANY DAW and the tune will always sound the same. The point of standardisation like the P&EW recommendations is to avoid situations like yours, and everyone conforms because it makes the job easier.
    If you have strong issues, address the matter in a professional manner and then views will be taken on board. Its our industry, so lets make it great!

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