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If You're not using Samplitude...

You should be.

I've spent the last few days working within Samplitude Pro X Suite, and it is simply fantastic.

Those of you who follow the general mindset that all DAW's are the same should give this program a try.. because once you do, you won't think that way anymore.

I've been using Sonar for a hundred years now, I started using Cakewalk Pro back in the mid 90's when I was doing quite a bit of MIDI production and at that time, Pro Tools was shaky on the integration of audio and MIDI. In fact, my engineering peers at that time who used PT had to also use Digital Performer just so that they could work on the midi end of their productions.

I went with Sonar because it did integrate audio and midi very well. As the years went by, I got to know it inside and out. I also continued to work with PT quite a bit as well, because I had clients who had projects in that format, who would bring their tracks in to me to either mix or add tracks to.

Several months ago, I decided to give Samplitude a try. There was a thirty day trial period, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

What I didn't realize at that time was that besides having nothing to lose, I had everything to gain.

I decided to do an apples to apples comparison.

I took tracks - exactly the same tracks - and imported them into Sonar, PT, and Samplitude.
The difference was like night and day.

In comparison, here is what I found:

Sonar "does something" to the audio... and not in a good way. I don't know what it is technically, but I can tell you that the result is a "smeared" and "phasey" sound..

Pro Tools wasn't much better, except it seemed that I needed to use more of a particular processor (stock PT Plugs) to get the desired results I was seeking... so if I wanted to add sparkle on top, I needed to add more of the desired frequency range than I did in Samplitude.

When listening in Samplitude, the difference was immediate - as if someone had flipped some kind of "sonic truth" switch. The audio was crystal clear, defined, tight... imaging was beautiful.
It is incredibly accurate, sonically tight, defined - and without adding the "clinical sterility" that I've experienced in PT.

(Sonar didn't add any of this sterility, in fact, it went the opposite direction and added smeared frequencies, and overall sonics were ill-defined. Imaging was also smeared...)

(I know I keep using that word but it's the only descriptive term I can come up with that describes what I'm referring to)

I have no idea as to why this is...whether the difference is in the coding, or the architecture of the busing, or what... I don't know enough about the technical side of program development to know "what" code can cause "which" issues.

All I can say is that since I began working with Samplitude, it's as if someone "cleaned" my audio playback with some kind of "sonic Windex"... LOL... I think TI'm Dobear from Magix described it in similar fashion when he was trying to explain the differences between Samplitude and other DAW's to other engineers who were skeptical.

This is not the result of a suggestive psychology, it's not a "placebo".
The difference is there. It's true, and I'm here to tell you that it most certainly is very real.

I'm not trying to sell anyone anything. I don't work for Samplitude, I get no commissions from them... and neither Sonar or Avid has done anything to me personally to make me turn against them out of spite.

This is strictly about the quality and accuracy of audio, and the power and efficiency of the programs that help us to achieve what we want as engineers.

I would suggest that anyone who doesn't believe me take Samplitude for a test drive.

http://pro.magix.com/en/Samplitude/overview.459.html

Yes.. okay... there's a learning curve... as there is with any new platform. But those of you who are experienced with DAW-based production shouldn't have any trouble getting used to it after a few days. Also, the internet is filled with great instructive how-to videos for Sampitude.

So far customer service has been fantastic. Queries are answered within minutes, problems solved in a very respectable time span. Go ahead and tell me truthfully that you've had the same experience with Avid. ;)

Also, the stock plugs and processors are fantastic. Also included are many VSTi's, one of which has really impressed me - Vandal - which is a guitar amp/cab simulation, with a full range of foot-pedal/stomp box effects. The modeling in this VSTi has really impressed me, and that's not an easy thing to to do, considering that for the most part, I pretty much HATE all guitar amp sims. LOL

But Vandal is pretty sweet. As of this writing, I have yet to open or experiment with the other VSTi's that come with the package... there's a whole collection of synths I haven't even opened yet.

Great sounding Reverbs, Delays, Compressors, Limiters, BSC, vintage processing emulation... is all included in this package, and all of these processors were coded for this platform.

Based on what I've experienced thus far, I'm fairly confident that I can get rid of pretty much all the plugs/processors that I've accumulated over the years... and that includes libraries like Voxengo, Waved Diamond, Blue Cat, etc. I simply don't need them anymore.

That's it... you can believe me or not, I understand your potential skepticism... as I used to be quite the skeptic myself in terms of DAW platforms and "differences".

But I urge you to give this program a try.

PT has become the standard in digital audio production... but it shouldn't be.
It should be Samplitude. There's simply no comparison in terms of quality, fidelity, processing and efficiency.

FWIW
d/

Comments

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 12/15/2014 - 05:57
Thanks for your replies, DonnyThompson and Boswell. I would be interested to understand why that process leads to phase incoherency, as the audio is being translated analog and back again to digital. I'm not sure why the fact that the DA and AD converters are clocked to the same source would cause this. It would seem that audiokid, having a lot of experience with this, knows that it does, but the reasons may be difficult to pin down. I will certainly dig into the forum to see the previous discussions. For my own part, I will likely not be sending any audio out and back, with the exception of a few individual track hardware inserts, reamping etc, but I will keep my ears peeled for anomalies.

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 12/15/2014 - 07:45
I am keenly anticipating the arrival of my copy of Sequoia. I have spent several years using PT, Logic and Reaper and never been happy, particularly with the sound and the lack of VCA automation (although as a value proposition I have found Reaper to be refreshing). Despite the expense of Sequoia, If I had simply stumped up in the first place, I would certainly have saved more than it costs. I became particularly unhappy with the latest manifestation of PT(11), which removed certain features, like VCAs, from the native version and wouldn't let me purchase a native version of HD that had those features. Perhaps that was a blessing in hindsight, as I would not have been compelled to finally buy Sequoia. Now I can stop obsessing about getting the right DAW and just work on music. I have just finished doing some rough mixes (in PT) for some songs I recorded for a friend's band, and I am looking forward to redoing them properly in Sequoia as a shakedown cruise. I think I will limit myself to only using the stock plugins, to see what they can do.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 12/16/2014 - 06:39
rjuly, post: 422327, member: 48681 wrote: I think I will limit myself to only using the stock plugins, to see what they can do.

I think that this is a solid initial approach, at least during the "shakedown cruise" you're talking about.

(FWIW, I'm 4 months into using Pro X Suite, and I'm still "shaking it down".) LOL

I always prefer to use plugs/processors that have been coded for a particular platform, as opposed to third-party. I'm not saying that there aren't some great third-party plugs out there, I'm just suggesting that, at least initially, until you get more familiar with the new platform, limiting your processing to plugs that are specifically designed and coded for that program is not a bad idea.

rjuly Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:41
What advantages do you see from using these native-code plugins versus the rest? Is there a perceptible sonic difference or usability difference, or is it more of a matter of keeping your mental desktop tidy and free from distraction? This last thing is as valuable (if not more) for me as pristine sound, since I suffer from quasi-A.D.D like mindset. Very difficult for me not to get sidetracked by all the possibilities. Limits can be very liberating.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:56
I can't back it up with any scientific quantifiable data. My personal experience, when using some plugs other than the ones developed for a certain platform - has presented "sonic smearing" and some noticeable latency while using some third party plugs, and when switching to similar plugs that were instead stock for that platform, the smearing and latency went away.

I'm not saying that all third party plugs absolutely can or will do this. I'm saying that I've encountered it in the past. Although, in the interest of honest disclosure, all these moments occurred while working in a 32 bit environment. Whether that had anything to do with it or not, I can't say.

I'm afraid that's as "technical" as I can get for you. Although - if you are hearing it, I suppose that's really what counts most, and numbers aren't going to matter, unless you are searching for the degree of change.

rjuly Tue, 12/16/2014 - 09:07
Knowing something and being able to prove it are two different things. I can't say I have found this myself, but the only plugins I have used extensively, other than the native-coded ones, are UAD-2, and they tend to impart 'character' as part of their value proposition. it will interesting to compare them to the Magix plugs.

audiokid Tue, 12/16/2014 - 18:48
DonnyThompson, post: 417945, member: 46114 wrote: also... don't use any dithering when exporting tracks. You don't ever want to dither more than once, and that's generally saved for the final mastering phase.

Hey, I need a clarification on this again.
I dither all the time, but because I am mixing into my master at the destination SR rate and finishing it all up in one pass, maybe that is yet another thing I need not do regardless of me not even hearing a difference. Up to now, I set my dither to the one recommended "POWr1" and haven't gone back in years to evaluate much more on it. I have listened to the different dither options in Samplitude and to be honest, I can't tell a difference. What's with that? Looks like I need to be refreshed here?


rjuly Wed, 12/17/2014 - 01:46
So, let me understand this... you are dithering in two places in your chain presumably...?

PC1 dither to D/A(what sample rate & bit depth?) -> analog realm -> PC 2 A/D (what sample rate and bit depth inbound?) -> PC2 mastering processing -> PC2 dither to D/A(what sample rate & bit depth - 44.1 / 16 bit?) -> CD burner?

Boswell Wed, 12/17/2014 - 02:34
Dither is only needed where you are digitally reducing wordlength, for example, making a 16-bit CD image from a 24-bit stereo master track. It should not be used at other stages in the process, including going from 32-bit floating point to 24-bit integer, as this is (roughly speaking) a change of number format rather than wordlength.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 12/17/2014 - 04:30
Yup. The only time I use dither is on the every rare occasion where I'm doing the mastering for a client who can't afford a true M.E and wants it sent to a CD manufacturing place.

I will then use Powr-1 on the final output - from 24 bit down to the necessary 16 bit - thus creating the CD image master from which copies will be made.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:00
It's the accumulative thing as well... if a user is constantly bouncing down, or comping tracks, rendering multiple times, and each time the default is set to dither, you can start to hear a difference.

Perhaps the reason why you don't hear it Chris, is because you never were a guy who did a whole lot of the above.

I'm not sure how Samp/Sequoia has their default(s) set for dithering. I think it's "off", but I'd have to look. I'm fairly sure that Sonar and PT have a default setting of no dither... but I don't remember as it's been awhile since I worked on those platforms.

edit/afterthought - I'd be interested to know - maybe Bos can answer this - is it even necessary to use dither at all - if using the 2- DAW method, where the capture DAW is set for the final SR/BR of the file... so, if the 2nd DAW is set to record at 44.1k/16, is there even a reason to worry about dither?

rjuly Mon, 12/22/2014 - 07:54
Sequoia arrived several days ago - I'm very impressed with it so far, especially the sonics. Learning curve is deep however, and I can see it will require some serious woodshed time.

Let me start with a question about basic signal routing. I sometimes like to mix to subgroups and record the subgroups as stems. I have bused some tracks to a subgroup, and while I can see them, as soon as I try to record to that subgroup track, the audio signal disappears. Can I bus audio to a subgroup track and record it?

audiokid Mon, 12/22/2014 - 09:22
rjuly, post: 422632, member: 48681 wrote: Let me start with a question about basic signal routing. I sometimes like to mix to subgroups and record the subgroups as stems. I have bused some tracks to a subgroup, and while I can see them, as soon as I try to record to that subgroup track, the audio signal disappears. Can I bus audio to a subgroup track and record it?

(NOTE: I'm not in my multitrack studio now to test this)

I'm not quite following you here most likely because I've not tried to record into a subgroup. Just a guess, Subgroups bypass the AD or midi input as it can contain multiple tracks bused into it. Just curious, when trying to record into a bus, is the input AD the same as the pre assigned to it?

I always create subgroups or AUX as you describe ( Drums, Bass, Guitars, Keys, Vox, Harmonies, efffect) , assign their DA Stems (1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 etc) to the analog console/summing box or simply, the master bus...
The bus audio resides on the track lanes. You won't see audio on the subgroup lanes but you can include automation, plug-ins, extended processing there too.

Did that help?

audiokid Mon, 12/22/2014 - 09:42
NOTE, for the most part, all the online tutorial for both Samplitude and Sequoia are awesome. The "Help" feature is really good too so be sure to look there when you are stuck during those times no one is around for advise.
Be aware though, some of the "online" tutorials can be confusing for newcomers because they are often not the same versions. You are on Sequoia 13 now , innocently unaware , the layout or GUI can be a bit slightly different. You can find yourself looking for the tab that was moved to another location on the layout.


To Magix users if you are listening: It would be very beneficial for the growth of this DAW to discuss feature etc on RECORDING ORG. This DAW lacks public exposure big time. So, I encourage us to ask all you can here. But, they do have a good private forum here so until that ever happens,
http://support2.magix.net/boards/samplitude/index.php?act=idx

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 12/22/2014 - 10:57
audiokid, post: 422636, member: 1 wrote: Be aware though, some of the "online" tutorials can be confusing for newcomers because they are often not the same versions. You are on Sequoia 13 now , innocently unaware , the layout or GUI can be a bit slightly different. You can find yourself looking for the tab that was moved to another location on the layout.

If you are using Sam 11, 12 or Pro X, and following Kraznet's awesome instructional vids on YouTube, he explains how to change your menu layout to make it easier to follow his instructions, which are based on 11's menu layout. It does not effect your version in any way, other than the way that certain tasks are viewed, and in their locations. Pro X changed the menu layout pretty dramatically, so switching to the menu for 11 really helps in following along on Kraz's vids where he explains virtually every facet of the platform in clear, concise, in-depth, yet very easy to follow instructions.

(Am-munition has 3 episodes alone LOL ;) )

(Pro X 2 is too new, Kraz hasn't had a chance to do any vids on it yet but he is planning on it).

The video to revert menu layouts is located here:


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I'm not upgrading to Pro X 2 yet ... and that's advice from several Sam "power users" who's advice I trust; because right now I'm in the middle of three important projects, and I can't afford to face any potential glitches that might occur in the new version that could potentially alter those projects in any way. I do plan on upgrading, but not until I get these projects in the can.

FWIW

-d.

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