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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

obs4me Sun, 12/06/2015 - 13:16
DonnyThompson, post: 417915, member: 46114 wrote: I've spent the last few days working within Samplitude Pro X Suite, and it is simply fantastic. 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/
Thanks for the great news about Pro X Suite. As sound quality is everything to the both of us, and with your extensive experience using it and PT, Sonar and/or other DAWs, I'm so glad that I made the upgrade from Samplitude 10. However, I am merely an audio enthusiast; don't do any live recording or multi-track mixing. Indeed, I sprang for Samplitude initially as I needed the most transparent pitch & time quality I could afford, as well as the ability to edit out to the millisecond parts of songs from uncompressed WAV files of CD track rips. Beyond this, I have yet to take time to learn more of Pro X Suite's features, which are clearly huge.

Questions: This is probably a silly question, but as software algorithms and CPUs get more powerful every month.....is there a utility in Samplitude-or in a certain plugin that you would VERY highly recommend-that could mask or otherwise process distortion in a recording to where it would not be fatiguing on a high res system like this http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/100392-beyond-ariel-1356.html ? If not, have you ever been able to use this DAW's EQ utilities to at least partially accomplish this?

I just now tried to upload a WAV file but the site couldn't recognize the extension. If I pm you would I then be able to upload the file to you? Maybe you could show me how to clean it up? Thank you.

kmetal Sun, 12/06/2015 - 16:08
Samplitude has built in spectral editing. Which basically identifies pitches and intensities by color. Since it's built in, it should be easy on cpu resources.

You can also in some daws 'draw in' sections of the waveform with a pencil tool. So you zoom in, cut out the just the distorted bits, and mend it with the pencil tool. If it's super tiny, you might be able to get by with a basic edge edit. Which is when you just drag the edge of the region or clip to fill in the gap, and cross fade.

You can also take a similar approach with time stretch. Where you cut out just the distortion, and make another edit point right before that, so you have a little tiny section of the region/clip right before the part you erased. Then just time stretch it to fill the hole.

It really depends on how bad, how often the distortions occur, and how good the finished result needs to be. Most of the time with those tools you should be able to clean up the audio with no discernible differences besides the lack of distortions.

JayTerrance Sun, 12/06/2015 - 17:57
kmetal, post: 434252, member: 37533 wrote: Samplitude has built in spectral editing.

You can also take a similar approach with time stretch. Where you cut out just the distortion, and make another edit point right before that, so you have a little tiny section of the region/clip right before the part you erased. Then just time stretch it to fill the hole.
.

Ha. You just helped me figure out how I can completely remove one persons breath while another singer is holding a sustained note in a duet I just recorded.

Thank you!

obs4me Sun, 12/06/2015 - 22:12
kmetal, post: 434252, member: 37533 wrote: Samplitude has built in spectral editing. Which basically identifies pitches and intensities by color. Since it's built in, it should be easy on cpu resources.....It really depends on how bad, how often the distortions occur, and how good the finished result needs to be. Most of the time with those tools you should be able to clean up the audio with no discernible differences besides the lack of distortions.
Hmmm, that's certainly a clever way to use PnT. I've always just used it to extend my favorite harmonies and fatten bass lines. That distortion slicing technique might well work with some of my tracks, but the track I had in mind had several big distorted chunks of the song, as if the "engineer" carelessly or deliberately cranked up the mic preamps and/or tape machine's record gain during the entire session done here, circa 1962 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Western_Recorders Of course, its possible that the distortion occurred instead due to the CD mastering "engineer" who had the tape machine's output and/or A/D converter's input gain cranked up too high Anyway, thanks for these techniques.

DonnyThompson Mon, 12/07/2015 - 00:42
I'd like to hear a sample of what you are referring to first, before I comment. You can upload a hi-res MP3 ( 320) here, by clicking on the "upload file" button on the bottom right-hand corner of your post window, just to the right of "post reply".

In the meantime, just to start narrowing down possibilities, is the distortion occurring on the audio even at nominal track volumes? You're not clipping the track through a volume increase, or normalization or limiting, right?

Okay, strike my question, I didn't see your response:

"but the track I had in mind had several big distorted chunks of the song, as if the "engineer" carelessly or deliberately cranked up the mic preamps and/or tape machine's record gain during the entire session done here, circa 1962 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Western_Recorders Of course, its possible that the distortion occurred instead due to the CD mastering "engineer" who had the tape machine's output and/or A/D converter's input gain cranked up too high Anyway, thanks for these techniques."

If the distortion is that prevalent and was intentionally recorded as such as you described above, there's going to be little that you can do, unfortunately. If it was happening at certain random places, and only occasionally, Samp's object editing could have probably done a respectable job of masking it, or allowing you to edit those small sections out... but if it's a continual thing, and a major part of the sound of the tracks, I think you're going to have a hard time cleaning it up.
Samp Pro X 2 Suite has an advanced Spectral Cleaning feature, which is great for editing out things like clicks and pops on vinyl records, or finger noises on an acoustic guitar, etc., but I'm not sure how it would respond to being told to clean an entire track and filtering out a character that was so dominantly a part of the track's inherent sound. To be clear, I'm not saying it can't - I'm saying I don't know what the end result would be. But this spectral cleaning processor is only available as stock in Pro X 2 Suite versions, or as an optional purchase for Pro X 1.
I have Pro X 1 Suite, so I don't have the Spectral Cleaner processor.

I'd still like to hear a sample, though.

d.

rjuly Mon, 12/07/2015 - 02:33
Is this something you are finding in a specific track you want to treat, or more of a general process for quite a few tracks? If you are finding a lot of distortion in mastered ripped wave files then there may be some larger issue in terms of your signal chain. Given that you are using some fairly high end components, there really shouldn't be any (unintended) distortion to notice. For the most part, added distortion is a one-way street. You may be able to mask or soften a distorted waveform, but you will also be blurring the image.

obs4me Mon, 12/07/2015 - 04:32
rjuly, post: 434265, member: 48681 wrote: Is this something you are finding in a specific track you want to treat, or more of a general process for quite a few tracks? If you are finding a lot of distortion in mastered ripped wave files then there may be some larger issue in terms of your signal chain. Given that you are using some fairly high end components, there really shouldn't be any (unintended) distortion to notice.
The latter; mastered stereo or mono recordings ripped from CDs pressed by specialty as well as popular labels. The recordings of interest are distorted and/or "congested" during (louder) orchestral passages. The parts of these recordings sound rather harsh on my gear and even worse on my friend's even higher res system. Thus, the problem seems to point to the recordings not the playback hardware.

rjuly, post: 434265, member: 48681 wrote: For the most part, added distortion is a one -way street. You may be able to mask or soften a distorted waveform, but you will also be blurring the image.
Yes, I realize this. But I thought that sacrificing, say, the top end of these recordings for less fatigue would be a reasonable trade off. So I'll try to post those 320 mp3 versions of two of these tracks in about 10 hours.

obs4me Sat, 12/19/2015 - 13:38
That wasn't so hard. I simply opened each WAV file, click File, Export, mp3 and Save. Okay, I have three mp3 files.

The first track I called "Bernie's Track 11". Its Dom Frontiere's "Slumbering Giant" from his 100 Days of the Dragon suite. This is from the 1993 Crescendo Records OST http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000001P19/?tag=r06fa-20 Despite the less than pristine audio and only some of Frontiere's best stuff from the first season, I am forever grateful to Neil Norman and others for issuing this first ever Outer Limits TOS OST CD album.

The production notes of this say that all of Dom's music for Outer Limits TOS was recorded by Artie Becker at United Western in 1964. Actually, that's half way correct. My soundtrack friends at the FSM forum confirmed as I had suspected that much of Dom's cues and suites appeared in the Stoney Burke TV series, which debuted at least a year earlier than Outer Limits. I never heard of Artie Becker until I re-read the album notes, though it seems unthinkable that a United Western engineer would be careless enough to crank up a mic preamp (s) and/or the tape machine's record gain and not spot check the meters during the tapings-whether or not he was also monitoring by ear-just because these were sessions to be mixed for a TV show.

Anyway, I sure do hope I'm wrong but I think the distortion was done decades before Bob "crossfade" Fisher at Digital Domain digitized Dom's tapes and before Bernie Grundman did the final digital mastering. Otherwise, I don't see how much if any distortion could be removed without artifacts, except perhaps using software with extremely powerful algorithms like Cedar's DeClip http://www.cedaraudio.com/products/cambridge/camdeclip.shtml
So good luck guys on trying to restore this track!

The second mp3 I called "Frontiere's 100 Days Track 1 of 4". This, may or or may be the same session take as the first one above. Its part of La La Records, 2008 three CD boxed set.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0023RZT8Q/?tag=r06fa-20 It was digitized by James Nelson at Digital Outland, Tacoma WA. No indication in the production notes about whether James used Dom's tapes and/or different takes (if other takes were recorded). But the question is, until I get a better DAC, I can't be certain if this re-digitized effort
of James Nelson's sound less distorted than Bob Fisher's.

The third mp3 is Burt Bacharach's "Look of Love", covered by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. Most, if not everything, sounds very nice, except during the loud orchestral passages, where the soundstage seems to collapse and things sound quite congested. Is that what you guys hear too? If the cause is not actual harmonic or IM distortion, might this smeared
collapsed sound be due to phase anomalies (i.e. improperly wired mics, boards, recorders, misplacing of mic and/or baffles, etc)? If yes, would this help?
ttp://www.cedaraudio.com/products/cambridge/camphase.shtml
But if yes, does Samplitude have such a utility or is there a third party plug in or standalone? DeClip is > $3.5K and Phase Corrector only comes in Cedar's Cambridge platform, starting at $18K. Okay, I'll start uploading one mp3 per post.

Sean G Sat, 12/19/2015 - 15:26
I have Izotope RX4 which can be used stand-alone or as a plug-in and it has a declip feature.
I have never used the declip feature before, so I took the opportunity to give it a road test with 2 of the 3 tracks you uploaded, tracks 1 and 3.
I found when using the declip feature, when previewing the audio RX4 suggests how much declipping to apply, then allows for make up gain, so I did just that as suggested.

Anyway, here are the results. My apologies to Donny the OP as I know this is a Samp thread, but it may be a good comparison to compare the feature in Samp compared to other stand-alone applications like RX4.

As someone who has been following this thread and others on Samp with great interest with an ear to maybe using it in the future, I would be keen to hear any results from the Samp declip feature also.;)

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…

[MEDIA=audio]http://recording.or…
Attached files Bernie's Track 11 by Dom Frontiere '93 GNP CD album (RX4 declip).mp3 (12.6 MB)  Look of Love by Brasil '66(RX4 declip).mp3 (6.3 MB) 

obs4me Sat, 12/19/2015 - 16:38
Done. In comparing them I really can't be sure about what I'm hearing. Is the RX4 processed Bernie's track giving me headaches through my Sennheiser 650 headphones? Does the so processed Brasil 66 track sound better than the original?
Would the uncompressed WAV files of same have to be so processed to indeed make accurate comparisons?

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