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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

Sean G Sat, 12/19/2015 - 16:51
I would convert the originals to Mp3 / 320 kbps so that you are comparing like for like, otherwise you are comparing WAV lossless files to Mp3 which would not be a fair comparison.

I don't know why the processed RX4 track would be giving you a headache...unless you have the volume too loud...

- I always find the Sennheiser headphones I have are too tight for my head, they make me feel like my head is in a vice with the way they clamp down on my head, so much so that I cannot use them anymore....Maybe I just have a overly large mellon...:D

I listened to both and compared them to the originals after processing, although they are old recordings I thought that it did remove some of the distortion caused by clipping, especially in the louder parts like the start to the first track. But I'd like to hear what other members think too.

Sean G Sat, 12/19/2015 - 17:01
I think its worth noting also that all the audio parts that were below the threshold of the declipping process have not been affected in any way, so it may be worth putting both tracks into your DAW, matching the gain, then reversing the phase on one therefore you would be able hear exactly what the difference is.

- I could be wrong, and I'm happy for anyone else to chime in here if I am, but that way you would be able to determine exactly what effect the declipping has had as a result.

- of course, both files would have to be in the same format, but your DAW should automatically convert these to the default setting...usually WAV file format.

obs4me Sat, 12/19/2015 - 17:22
Sean G, post: 434597, member: 49362 wrote: I would convert the originals to Mp3 / 320 kbps so that you are comparing like for like, otherwise you are comparing WAV lossless files to Mp3 which would not be a fair comparison.
That's what I did, of course. I listened comparatively to the before and after mp3s, not the WAVs.

Sean G, post: 434597, member: 49362 wrote: I don't know why the processed RX4 track would be giving you a headache...unless you have the volume too loud...
Hardly, as I've been forever fanatical about protecting my hearing from even moderately high SPLs. That's one reason why I prefer using even less than great speakers over headphone listening whenever possible; too many opportunities for accidents. As I mentioned above, it's not impossible that even good restoration software may create artifacts, particularly if its used in its higher processing mode (i.e. some pitch & times software), not that I'm saying that this actually happened in this case.

Sean G, post: 434597, member: 49362 wrote: I listened to both and compared them to the originals after processing, although they are old recordings I thought that it did remove some of the distortion caused by clipping, especially in the louder parts like the start to the first track. But I'd like to hear what other members think too.
Capital idea. Please everyone take the listening test and chime in with your reviews.

Matt Tue, 12/29/2015 - 22:09
Hi all,

I am chiming in on this thread as I have recently been playing around with samplitude after hearing all of these great reviews. After a few weeks of playing with it for an hour here and there, my gut feeling is "I need to go back to reaper". The steps I do most often seem so much more complex in samplitude. Just removing a plugin, or copying a plugin with it's setting to another track, or simply scrolling....all of these were a breeze in reaper and I feel like I am wasting a lot of time for something that could be much simpler. Maybe I just haven't found the efficient way yet, but in reaper, you can hold "alt" while clicking on anything (a plugin, a marker....) and it removes/deletes it. In samplitude, I need to clock on track, open the pugin area, then click on the plugin itself and then select "no effect"....There must be a more efficient way.

Yes, samplitude does have some great features that reaper doesn't (frequency spectrum being one of them), but I am debating if it's a feature I am willing to give up for the ease of working with reaper vs samplitude. I will keep checking some of the tutorials, but has anyone found the same or a magical solution that I am unaware of? It is so un-intuitive at first that I am questioning if they are sponsoring this thread...? lol

Thanks,
Matt

audiokid Tue, 12/29/2015 - 22:29
Matt, post: 434767, member: 48561 wrote: It is so un-intuitive at first that I am questioning if they are sponsoring this thread...? lol

Sam is complicated indeed. Took me a few years to get really into it. Reaper is okay but its not Samplitude.
I support the gear I love to use and don't waist my time with the rest here.

Fwiw, I couldn't care less if I earned a dime promoting something I don't use myself.
.Sequoia is the bomb to me. Its like Pro Tools on steroids, but under one roof , no need for DSP and third party plugs.. It has the feel of a real console that delivers mastering level processing.

Samplitude has a place in my studio any day of the week. People who use it are more inclined to be guru's of sonic excellence. Mastering engineers and acoustic engineers seem to be attracted to it. Why, not sure other than its addicting to me.

I wish Bricasti would pay me to rave about the M7 lol. I need a few of those too.
And Pulse Technique, I need a few more of those as well. I have list... as do others.

Glad you like reaper, I do too, its simple and works.

DonnyThompson Wed, 12/30/2015 - 01:46
Matt, post: 434767, member: 48561 wrote: After a few weeks of playing with it for an hour here and there, my gut feeling is "I need to go back to reaper".

Samplitude is a very deep, feature-rich program. And because of this, it's really not designed to be "opened once and understood", ( or even used and understood after just a few times, either) like many other programs that are intended for the novice.
It's not intended as an option for the Garageband or Band In A Box crowd.

Samp and Sequoia were designed by audio professionals for audio professionals, those who needed and wanted the features that they provide; those who understood that because of their power, it would take a little time to get to know them.
(FWIW, I've been using Samp for nearly two years now, in a professional capacity and on a daily basis, and I still learn new features; which is a testament to just how powerful it is.)

But if Reaper gives you what you want, and you're happy with it, then why change? You should use whatever platform and workflow is best for you.
( personally, I think Reaper is a very good program, and is perfect for those who just want to make music; but I also think it's a great platform to step up to, to get to know the differences between those programs that are just entry level "toys", and those that are more professionally based. I feel the same way about StudioOne, too. IMHO of course.)


My own criteria for changing DAW Platforms was far different than yours, though; in that you are satisfied with your current platform (Reaper), and you just wanted to see what Samp was like.

But in my case, I wasn't happy with the current platform I was using at that time; for several reasons - audio quality being one of the major factors. When I did my comparisons, using my then-current platform vs. Samplitude, and using raw audio files, Samp was the clear winner to me for audio integrity. It was as if the audio had suddenly been cleaned with "sonic windex".

And, after working with Samp's Object Based Editing for a few days, it became glaringly apparent to me that Samp was exactly where I needed to be.

The more powerful a program is, the more complicated it can be ( or seem), especially if you are used to working with another program and doing things a certain way for a lengthy period of time, because you get accustomed to it; you know where everything is located, how to do certain things in a second-nature kind of way, because you've become so familiar with it over time ... but I would offer the opinion that in terms of "difficulty", this isn't the case with Samp alone ... the same could be said for any other pro program, in that any time you switch from the familiar to the new, there is an expected period of adjustment, a learning curve involved.

( Samp can in fact do all of those things you had questions about ( and much, much more) ... such as copying effects, EQ settings, etc., but I'm not gonna get into that here; there are outstanding instructional videos on youtube that explain how to do these things... look for videos by a user named "kraznet". Martin ( his real name) walks, talks, breathes and eats both Samp and Sequoia, and he explains things far better than I ever could anyway ... and besides, watching a video is always better than trying to interpret someone's written instructions. I can tell you that these steps are not at all complicated once you learn them ) ;)

But... here's the thing, Matt, and this is important... you may not need that power or those features, or feel that those things are worth spending the time it takes to get to know the platform and what it can really do.

Speaking only for myself of course, the more time I spent with it, the more great features I found. I also watched Kraznet's Samplitude YouTube instructional videos, and they taught me a great deal about the program and what it could do... and the more I worked with it, the more I learned... and the more I learned, the more convinced I was that I had made the right choice... for me.

I'll say that again... for me.

If you are happy with what you currently use, and are able to accomplish what you want with Reaper, then that's really all that matters, and by all means, you should stick with what you are comfortable with.

-d.

Matt Wed, 12/30/2015 - 15:16
Thanks for prompt response. I am trying out samplitude because I felt reaper had some limitations and samplitude also had some great features like the spectrum analyzer. I did have my reasons for trying it out and from what I have read, samplitude was the obvious choice. I have been looking at Kraznet's videos and they are helpful, but I just wanted to point out certain things that I found rather shocking as a first impression. When working, I need to be efficient, and I find basic navigation to be a bit weak. I am sure I will get a hang of it, but just scrolling through tracks is done with a mouse wheel in other DAWs where as in samplitude, you have to hold shift and ctrl at the same time and then scroll. It's these simple things that I find are a bit of a turn off at first, but like anything, I'm sure I'll get used to it. I just expected to get more hooked on it from the start. Thanks

Matt Wed, 12/30/2015 - 15:23
Also, I pushed it a bit yesterday by running several plugins on numerous tracks and it started to hit the limits of my PC. I have a powerful 8 core PC but I didn't seem to be using all or even most of them. Did you guys do any PC optimizing specific to giving samplitude more resource allocation? I know I can do the equivalent of rendering tracks in reaper, but I try to avoid that as much as possible to save time of re-doing those steps.

audiokid Wed, 12/30/2015 - 17:53
I've gone through a lot gear and methods over the years. I started in digital audio 1979.
From big Pro tools rigs to Samplitude, what I've learned most, deal with it, render and move on. Be sure of your moves and don't over process. I hate using compressors on channels, prefer a comp in the mastering stage. But that's just me. EQ, that 116 is all you need. Verbs, one or two is all I need.
I build a session with the concept of "less is more" Do most of it on the "object" so plug-ins aren't running in the background slowing processing down.
I don't mix until the session is done, or the whole album is done. I track, then mix not both at the same time, however, that doesn't mean I don't go back in a mix to retrack something, but, there are tricks to continuity. Meaning, I don't do things to a track that I can't reproduce if a mix is in progress. But isn't easy either. (Might make a good thread some day)..

First of all, dump the whole concept of using wads of plugins and needing them running on tracks. Look at object editing. Study that and if you are like me, in a session of 75 channels or 12 channels (no difference)... , I might end up with 10 plugs on my entire session, most of those will be on my bus lanes.
My tracks are pretty flat too. I do a fair share of EQing on the bus lanes or at the master.But, thats the beauty of Samplitude and its main mix platform. Most of what you need is there without more plugs.

The next part to my style is why I use two DAW's and a hardware based reverb in the middle. It not only save DSP, but it sounds great when you mix into a really nice hardware reverb and capture that on something else.
imho, the money is in the reverb, not racks of gear.Great tracking and one killer reverb is worth way more to me that racks of compressors, EQ ...

The 2 DAW concept made it possible for me to easily sell racks gear most people would give their eye teeth for.

hope that helps some. I'm not saying my way or the highway, but it works for me. Object Editing is all of why I love Samplitude.

audiokid Wed, 12/30/2015 - 18:04
One last thing. If vocals are great, everything else falls into place. Which is why I invest in the best vocal tracking chain and AD. Saves me buying all those plug-ins people rave about. Makes mixing super easy and fun. I mean, what a nightmare mixing tracks for someone that has vocals that sound like the odd man out, razor edgy... and the music sounds good.
What do you do. Screw up the music so the vocals cut through like bleeding pain lol. Thus.. the gluing nightmare of trying decide what to fuck up less. And so it begins. Most DAW platforms, you bring out the plug-ins... In Sam I go to the object.

Terry Leigh Britton Wed, 12/30/2015 - 21:06
In Samplitude Pro X2,

You can drag an effect plugin in the mixer to MOVE it from one track to another.

You can COPY a track plugin to another track, including all of its settings, by holding down the CTRL key and dragging that plugin to the second track.

You can DELETE any plugin from a track by selecting the plugin and hitting the delete key. You can delete more than one at a time by CTRL or SHIFT selecting the TRACKS you want to affect (by clicking their numbers) and then selecting "No Effect" from the drop-down plugin menu of any of the selected tracks' plugins entries, as in the first video I posted above.

I do not know about the other versions, as I only have Pro X2 here.

Terry

Matt Wed, 12/30/2015 - 21:14
Thanks for your tips Terry and Chris.

I am not one to over use plugins, but I do eq almost every channel at least a bit...when you say you are using 10 plugins or so, are you counting the EQ? Not tryign to find a recipe, but trying to pick your brain a little. As a drummer, I focus a lot of that and I find I have to take a resonant freq out of the toms sometimes and eq the snare and so on...I count that as a plugin, but I'm wondering if you only eq the drum bus instead? And for drums also, do you put a reverb on the drum bus includng the kick? I usually have the kick dry and put some very on the rest...again, trying to pick your brain ;)

I have read quite a bit about having less reverbs so that everything feels like it's in the same space. I tend to agree as it blends better.

Thanks!
Matt

audiokid Wed, 12/30/2015 - 23:54
Matt, post: 434794, member: 48561 wrote: I have read quite a bit about having less reverbs so that everything feels like it's in the same space. I tend to agree as it blends better.
I agree

Matt, post: 434794, member: 48561 wrote: when you say you are using 10 plugins or so, are you counting the EQ?
No, EQ is part of the main platform. But I don't use other EQ, no need to. But I do use the EQ116 in the object to remove what I don't want, then render it. When I start a mix, I will do the basic stuff that is really about getting rid of things I definitely know I will not regret later. Once the entire session is cleaned up, phase aligned, ess, even replacements. All the the things that I know need to be done to have a good clean recording to start with. I do this on the objects and render. Once this is done, I then do baby steps and mix, plugins active where needs until I get to the next stage where its mixed and ready to pass onto the mastering bus, via stems my capture DAW2 or directly to the master on DAW 1. At that point and start doing to compromise between track adjustments, bus adjustment and the master. No what I mean? Sometimes its better to EQ a bus a touch more so the entire session sits better in the master, other times its better if the master deals with it. I usually only have a few plugs remaining.

Matt, post: 434794, member: 48561 wrote: I'm wondering if you only eq the drum bus instead?
Depends. Sometimes I get a mix that is really good and all I need is a Eq on the drum bus, Other times the snare or kick might be totally whacked, so I need to go into the track and fix it. If its really bad, effecting the bottom end of the mix, I will replace the kick, snare etc. I can find and sample a good version of an existing snare or get one in my library that works or will help fix problems.

Matt, post: 434794, member: 48561 wrote: And for drums also, do you put a reverb on the drum bus including the kick?
I usually use one reverb for everything.
I look at reverb as the room of the performance. I try to use one verb on a stereo aux or bus lane. Preferably a Bricasti OTB in a stereo/ analog pass. If you don't have a Bricasti, I use VariVerb on the second DAW and mix into it that same way I would the Bricasti. The difference is , I'm not doing an analog pass and the verb is now on the Mastering bus of DAW two. with less options to control it from DAW one. Its complicated explaining this.
That being said, yes, I will use slight verbs on a snare and kick on DAW1 which could be on the track or the drum bus. But again, its usually the same verb that is also used OTB for the main one that is emulating my main space.Less is always more when it comes to reverb. And one is better than three imho.
I find it really beneficial to use one verb so all the reflection in the session pass through it at the same time. Its the way it would be live. Live is what I am always going for. Even i I am doing electronic music, I still think the same way. Like its a performance all being played in real time. The less out of time reflection in a song, the more musical and fuller the sound is to my ears.

DonnyThompson Thu, 12/31/2015 - 00:40
Stock EQ is generally not considered a "plug" as most would recognize it. EQ is oone of thse tihngs that most expect a DAW to have, because it's so often used on every track to one degree or another.

Plugs would be things like reverb, delay, gain or channel strip modeling, etc.

A few things:

Samp's approach with OBE ( Object Based Editing) is really a winner in terms of doing all kinds of things with an audio file - from pitch correction to stretching, EQ to FX, Editing, Fades, etc.
As Chris has mentioned... get to know the OBE... it's gonna change the way you think about typical mixing.

Here's a video on YouTube that Kraznet has posted, where he explains how to revert back to Menu Version 11 on Pro X (1). This is important, because so many of his instructional videos are based upon this previous menu layout, and it makes things much easier to understand when looking for certain commands, functions and features in his tutorials. This will in no way affect your audio, or anything else about the program. It just makes it much easier to learn what he is describing in many of his instructional vids:


I'm not sure about what is happening with your DAW freezing up... I have an AMD quad core/3.5ghz/with 16 gig of RAM and I can use many, many ( far more than 10) plug inserts if I choose to, ( VSTi's, too) and without any issues.
(Generally speaking, VSTi's will tax your system more than VST's will, but I've had instances of 12-14 different VSTi's all running at once without any problems; although it depends a lot on what VSTi's you are using, as some are more memory hungry than others).

Have you opened your audio interface's software menu and looked at your buffer settings? The general rule of thumb is to use the lowest setting for recording ( 128, 256, 512) and then switch to higher values for mixing ( 1024, 2048).
If your interface doesn't allow you to control these values, then you can switch them within Samplitude: hit the "Y" button on your keyboard and it will bring up the settings menu; open "audio system" ( it should default to this first because it's the first selection in the menu) and this is where you can set your buffers.

As for compression, there are times where I will insert it on a bus, but in the last year or so, I've grown to like parallel gain reduction more. Also referred to in the past as "New York Compression", this involves using Aux sends and returns, and then inserting the gain reduction plug into the Aux return. You can then control the amount of reduction in the mix by adjusting the aux fader. (It's important to note here that some compressor plugs have a "mix" function on them, which essentially accomplishes the same thing as parallel method, but I still prefer the first method, as I can also add EQ to the aux return where the compressor resides ). Here's a more detailed explanation ( this video uses Pro Tools as an example of how to do it, but this can easily be translated to Samplitude as the principle and routing are the same):



Chris ( @audiokid ) generally isn't a fan of "modeled" compression or EQ plugs; he prefers to use the real thing(s), whih is of course a great thing to do if you can afford to do it that way, but... there are those who can't afford that luxury, and who need to use plugs to achieve what they want. The following info is for these users...

There are different types of digital gain reduction; some are fairly transparent sounding ( Waves R-Channel, Fabfilter, etc.) where others will impart a certain "color and character" ( LA2, 1176, SSL Bus Compression, Fairchild, etc.)
You need to determine which is best for what you are working on at the time. I will tell you that in the cases of modeled "classic" compressors and limiters, a little can go a very long way. Start out conservatively, adjust the amount to taste.
And again, in reference to that, I strongly urge you to find out more about parallel GR methods. Having the ability to blend in the amount of the compressor's output into the mix really does make a difference in your audio, particularly with dynamics.

Reverb is one of those things that's "relative", ( as is the use of any effect, really) and should be chosen within the context of what you are working on at the time.

Very often, a natural sounding space is desired, where everything "wants" to reside in that same space, lending to a more organic, natural sound.

But, there are times when some songs are better served by "supernatural" space(s) too. Pink Floyd's Us and Them has a vocal delay that is anything BUT natural. There's no natural space in the world that would provide that type of delay and frequency of echoes... but, for that song, it works. The snare in Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer is a "supernatural" verb, as are the vocals in Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Asia's Only Time Will Tell, and Brian Adams' Cuts Like A Knife and Sumer of '69 are others. It's up to you to determine what works best for what you are working on at the time, and what sound you are ultimately after.
It's not enough to unequivocally say that "all reverbs should be natural", or that "all reverbs should be supernatural", either. It's up to you to determine how the song is best-served, and what you want the mix to sound like. Those are artistic decisions, which can only be made by you. ;)


FWIW
-d.

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