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Sonar X1 sound quality vs. Samplitude Pro X

I'm looking for a DAW that does MIDI and Audio well.

I've played around with Sonar X1 and really like it. The new GUI is better and it just seems more user friendly now. For knowing almost nothing about it, I got it running and was creating music in a few hours. Its a MIDI giant for sure. MIDI is so tight, blows away Samplitude in that respect. Seems as fast as Reaper ( the dark horse).
Sonar never crashed on me and ran flawlessly.

Samplitude can't come close to the speed of Sonar's MIDI performance. Too bad, its really forcing me to look for a second DAW. The majority of my producing is VSTi and MIDI programming but I also need a good tracking/ hybrid system. The combination is proving to be a challenge. I'm thinking about buying an MPC5000 and going back to MIDI hardware.

Here's what I noticed about Sonar though. The sound quality was not there. I tried everything I could to get it to sound as full, clean and quiet as Samplitude ( using RME ADi-8 QS converters) should sound killer. Tracking audio at 88.2, Vocals sounded like a toy compared to Samplitude. Sonar had noise in the background all the time and the actual recording of the vocals sounded smaller and metallic. Once again, when someone is testing a product on something, keep this in mind. Even a U87 sounded different between two DAW's.

This wasn't some clinical test but it was enough for me to 100% forget about Sonar as an audio system after knowing Samplitude.
So, the testimonials that all DAW's sound basically the same, no way. Sonar is great for MIDI and VSTi but its not a professional audio tracking system in comparison to Samplitude and Sequoia. Too Bad, I would have loved this platform.
I'm not asking for much. I don't need tons of Midi functions either. I just need something that is fast like Sonar and doesn't choke going between audio and Midi. So far Samplitude is king but its a bit sloppy for midi. erk... The perfect world, where are you?
PT 9 next and then Cubase.

Comments

Chuck Steak Thu, 11/03/2011 - 16:23
What a chimp I am! And here I am working with Cakewalk for 15 years and thought it sounded alright. Granted, not awesome, not ever. I have nice gear too, but I really always thought it was simply the sound from my converter's A2D. (Mic, Pre, EQ, Dynamics, etc) Does software have a sound? I mean, digital has a sound, but it's digital on the way in, so no change there right? Plug-ins, bad host code and drivers may have issues, causing miscellaneous problems, but if that's all ruled out, I thought it should be completely neutral. An interesting post indeed. Any further tests since the original post? I will be doing my own tests and will determine how overlooked this have been by me.

audiokid Thu, 11/03/2011 - 21:03
Interesting post, mostly believable... and weird how I hear a difference.

Three things you need to know about audio quality


  • Settings - There are many traps for young players when comparing audio from two DAWs, there are many settings that can be different, make sure you know what they are (numbered and discussed below).
  • Bits & Hz - Research has shown that for music distribution, 16 Bit @ 44.1 kHz (CD standard) is indistinguishable from 24 Bit @ 192 kHz in a sample of over 550 listeners1. In other words, more bits and higher bit-rates are not going to improve the 'quality' of your tracks.
  • Skill - The world is full of marketing departments trying to convince you that equipment and specifications can substitute for talent & hard work. This is not true, the 'performance' transcends the medium every time. The performance includes musicianship, vocals, orchestration, arrangement and the mixing decisions. These are all under your control and have little to do with the DAW software you use or plugins you have.
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Conclusion

We are not saying that high quality analog gear, microphones, mic preamps and even 24 bit recording don't have a place or do not matter. These things definitely have a place in the production phase. What we are saying is the influence of the DAW in processing this information AND digital distribution formats greater than 16 bit @ 44.1 kHz have been vastly over-exaggerated in the minds of the music producing set. What matters most is mixing skill & performance. Both these 'essential elements' come from humans not the technology.


Well, that pretty much sums it up.

Pro Tool HDX is definitely BS and every other DAW is the same in sound? Its all about the math.

audiokid Thu, 11/03/2011 - 21:15
I'm debating revisiting 44.1 for stability and performance.

Don't higher freq sound sweeter at 88.2?
I've never tracked at 192 because I think its overkill but can't say ya or nay to which is better beyond my experience. I've never felt the need to change.
I'm assuming you posted this Dan because you are trying to get to the truth like me and this is one more article that has your attention or point to prove?

DAW's are equal but are they when you add the stuff that makes each one possible to make music? I think there is more to it.
If all we are talking about is 1+1 = 2 , I get that. Its so clinical.

My brain hurts.

duh

audiokid Thu, 11/03/2011 - 22:54
Good to shed some humor, we need more of that. . .

I'm back for a lashing.

Personally, I'm focused on what I have now and how to use it better. More computing power would be nice though. thumb
To make my life easier, I'm heading back to specific dedicated hardware. I love ITB for all the editing and incredible convince but I really hate how cluttered and isolated it all is. I need some gear and keyboards around me ready at an arms reach. I like the screen but i don't like it all there. Digital is great , so is hardware. Balance the two world feels better to me.

Sonar is a great virtual DAW but its still ugly. No disrespect intended but Asian style consoles are plain ugly and cluttered. Where as Samplitude/ Sequoia is a complete workstation with mastering technology, geared towards live recording and mastering. Its designed like a console with big ass faders and killer plug-ins with great bus, aux and routing. It needs a bit more midi and syncing optimizing but for a DAW, its awesome. The new Pro X Suite apparently has a good sampler added to it. You need a serious computer to unleash its full potential. The CP I have isn't enough so I'm looking for a custom PC that will do it.

The virtual sounds in Sonar sound very good but not awesome. It excels with midi and VSTi stability but the analog section sucked compared. Track a vocal line into it using the exact same hardware, Sonar did not sound as open and silky. Accordingly to this older article, the math says I'm delusional, go figure..

Chuck Steak Fri, 11/04/2011 - 07:05
OK, the curtain has been peeled back now. If we all agree that the DAW itself, in a neutral, non-processing position is colorless, then we need and SHOULD be discussing how good the sound of the processing is. EVERYONE loves to discuss how this Trident or this SSL or whatever sounds "good". Whatever that means, right? Analog gear, especially something as complex as a console or even an EQ does sound different from one box to the next, no question. After getting my degree in sound engineering, I worked in a very large commercial studio for five years . During that time, with my young and fresh ears, I did indeed learn to use them as a tool, subjective or not, and became discerning in my gear choices. I was lucky enough to touch some of the greatest classic gear. Real Neve, SSL, Fairchild, Tube Tech, Summit, GML, Studer, Pultec and so on, were highly available to me. There was indeed reason behind these very expensive purchases, because next to dBx, Alesis and what not, they sounded a lot better. They also sounded worlds better than almost anything digital from that time. (This was around 1995.) This is also still true today, just not as much. I think we can all agree on this condition, and it's not what I want to discuss.

What I want to discuss, is how the included channel processing and various plug-ins for "in the box" work, sound to experienced ears from one DAW to the next. This should be compared to their hardware cousins, as we know through decades of use, sound very good. BTW -Please point me in the right direction if there's a better thread for me to latch onto. Let's compare what we have with what we know is great sounding. I haven't been to enough places in this forum yet where this is the discussion topic, and I certainly do not hear about it in the magazines and other media that are bought and sold by advertising money. Also, this is an elusive problem to overcome for me, because I still have reservations about believing that ITB mixing is going to be tolerable AND provide decent results. I do really REALLY want to make a permanent decision, and embrace this seemingly ineveitable progression of technology. I want to sell a lot of my outboard gear and replace it with desk space, swap the large format console for a boutique recording path, and never look back. HOWEVER- this scares the crap out of me because I come from hardware that can be relied on and is predictable. Making the change is a significant departure for me from what I'm used to, and because of the costs involved, once I do commit, there's no turning back.

So, back to DAW sound, and trying to conclude what sounds good, and when enough is enough. If I go ITB for my mixing, I'll be stuck with a need for many EQ's and compressors, per track. Therefore I'll need something that not only sounds great, but doesn't overwhelm the host system. This, in my opinion, should be the sole goal of processing software designers. Give us the bread and butter, and leave the boutique emulations to the dreamers. Does anyone have insight on which DAW, much like a great analog console, has a great processing sound and practical usability? Maybe start with sound, as that's a little more important to me. I work in technology and can always throw more hardware at a DAW, even though this is rarely a concern in these days of cheap memory, storage and processing. But I digress...
I sure would like to rely on some good, yet simple EQ and compression, and not have to search through the unending quagmire that is plug-in software design. The market is oversaturated with rubbish products and false claims. I really don't mean just the little guys or freeware either, the bigger companies constantly barrage us with crap. To get back to the original discussion here, ALL DAW's will have strengths and weaknesses, but we need just ONE that will do all of the basics properly. (audio processing, advanced MIDI, routing, and stability) Anything else should be the job of add-ons and thrid party development.

Concerning when to stop experimenting and tell yourself that enough is enough, my general advice to engineers of all types (including myself), whether a new hand learning from the beginning, or an old hand learning a new DAW, is that you have to first be aware of when analytical thinking has overwhelmed creative action. Get your toolset together, everything you'll need and trust, and stick to it for some time. Working in a constained environment will spark creativity and you'll learn your toolset better. Stop trying everything unless you're really stuck. It's addictive, I know, but producing a finished project is what matters in the end.

audiokid Fri, 11/04/2011 - 14:39
Chuck Steak, you ask the best question going right now. Welcome to the growing hybrid crowd, also in question.
For me, there is no doubt hybrid is the best of both worlds.

No matter what year it is, there will always be plug-ins that hog CPU, create conflicts and disrupt things. I'm constantly questioning plug-in integrity and accel cards. What a racket. I use as little plug-ins as I can and plan to keep it that way.

Personally, I wouldn't be selling your hardware. With the announcement of the HDX system, Avid has created another sell your gear FAST frenzy. Its a buyers markets.

I ask myself. Does a piece of analog hardware cause any conflict with the DAW? I'm acquiring hybrid gear to glue everything better and to help take pressure off the CPU. There are smart companies designing super quiet hardware focused around the hybrid summing crowd.

After an expensive lesson and reading these forums for 13 years, the interface is the place to spend money, and maybe the DAW for sound I dunno.
Don't get locked into a system that controls your ability reach out into the hybrid world, its the boutique hardware that makes us unique and sound above the crowd.
Look for companies that embrace the circle of standards , don't lock yourself into a corner. That's my take on it all.

I'm loving learning how to combine the best of both worlds. I choose Sequoia because it has everything you need while allowing me to work freely with the outside world. I choose it because Mastering engineers have been working with it for years. I've read it processes everything the best, again, I don't know. The editing is fantastic and it sounds like the source I put into it. I follow the ME.

audiokid Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:59
no one cares to chat about this anymore, it really should be a top priority question. Other than our personal workflow, the sound should be the highest priority yes? I mean we buy all this expensive gear and then dummy it up by sending our pristine sound into some DAW that could be effecting everything?

I thought I'd look around for more opinions. The null test is impressive but its not convincing me. The more I read, the less anything is convincing except what I hear in my own world. While you're on pins and needles ( hehe) humming and hawing waiting for me to upgrade to X1 so I can do this again, I found this. [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.recordpr…"]Which DAW sounds best?[/]="http://www.recordpr…"]Which DAW sounds best?[/]

Chuck Steak Mon, 11/07/2011 - 11:30
What's the trouble with the upgrade? I'm a try before buy guy, so I'll get a copy before I purchase anything. Let me know if you need any assistance with this.
Also, I think people probably would love to discuss this in great detail, but the title of this thread is most likely killing the conversation. Who cares about Samplitude? hahaha JK :tongue:

Secondly, you almost sound like you're back peddling. I'm done thinking about if one DAW sounds better than another. I've convinced myself, based on years of DAW use, that it just doesn't matter. Again, I largely process out of the box, and use my console for EQ and dynmaics. I trust my converters and everything running in the signal path before the DAW. My results are mostly consistent and acceptable, and this is through both Cubase 6 and Sonar X1. What I'm mic'ing is what I'm hearing in the monitor path. Also, when I do use pluggies, it's only the 6 or 7 that I've thoroughly tested and trust. (Lexicon PCM, Waves misc., Steinberg misc., Ohmforce, and very VERY little else)

The only remaining question for me is if I can stand mixing in the box exclusively, and still get good mixes. I plan on disengaging my hardware console. I'll use it solely as a 2 track return from the DAW. I'll then mix with pluggies for all EQ, FX, and dynamics as well as busing and summing and see what's what. It may not be objective in the end, but as you said, I trust what I'm hearing in my own world.

I checked out [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.recordpr…"]Which DAW sounds best?[/]="http://www.recordpr…"]Which DAW sounds best?[/], and the author agrees with my determinations. Now if I can get software to sound as good as my hardware, and at the same time not want to punch my keyboard over and over, then I'll be on a promising road. I can then invest in a real controller and stellar converters. Have you seen this thing? http://www.smartav.net/product/tango-2/
This kicks major ass, and is what originally got me excited again about the prospect of going ITB exclusively.

audiokid Mon, 11/07/2011 - 11:47
and here. Cool, thanks for your offer.

No I'm not back peddling, I'm wanting to do this really well now. My demo expired and can't buy it right now but in the mean time I'm preparing do it right and asking more about it because it is very interesting to me. The null test, is that what tells the truth? I need to do this for my testing.

I'm not so bent on this and like you, use what I find worlds for me, but I'm looking for a second DAW to dig in on and be done with it. The simple comparison I did kind of blew me away. I never expected this. I've always thought a DAW was a DAW until you introduce a change.

What is the best way to do a test like this?

hueseph Mon, 11/07/2011 - 19:27
I had to try X1 to see what all the hubub is about. This is my first impression. I hate it. I don't care if it does sound better. I don't like the way it works. I find 8.5 much easier to navigate. X1 is just a pain for routing IMHO. I like to be able to find what I want right away. It took me seconds to find my way around Samplitude. I'm glad I tried it first because I was on the verge of buying it the other day. I'm glad I didn't to be totally honest. I'm happy with what I have. Sonar 8.5 is a bit buggy here and there but over all, it has done it's job quite well when I've used it. I have to say that I'm drawn to Samplitude more but only because it's familiar. Routing makes sense to me. Gonna try Pro X next.

hueseph Mon, 11/07/2011 - 19:56
After having tried both trial versions now, I have to say that Samplitude wins hands down. It's no contest. I just couldn't work with Sonar X1 the way it's layed out. Samplitude Pro X is very intuitive. Navigating is simple and the program is responsive.

I had a lot of lag with X1 for no reason. My machine isn't particularly new but it's a quad core cpu and should be up to the task of say, opening a folder in very short order. Seriously. It took so long just to locate a folder to save in. I'm not talking minutes but a few seconds longer than Sam Pro X which was pretty well instantaneous. My personal guess is that it's poor coding.

I know there's a few people out there who really like X1 and that's great. I just personally find it too slow. It seems that there are some great plugins in X1 but I have my UAD. If I can get decent sound into the DAW to begin with, I won't worry too much about plugins. But, if I have to work just to get the sound in, I'll lose inspiration real quick and the sound won't matter much. It'll probably suffer. Anyway, that's just my opinion.

Chuck Steak Tue, 11/08/2011 - 06:16
Having just upgraded from Sonar 8.5 to X1, I can say that the day you spent with it is not enough, and will always be the most frustrating day. Hell, three might not be enough. I've used Cakewalk since version 2 (1992), and this is the most significant major upgrade they've done. Take that into consideration, as the audio engine is the same and only the interface has been revamped. First, because you said you experienced slowness, I would say tweak your ASIO driver settings. NEVER use WDM drivers. For some reason, the Cakewalk freaks keep pushing that driver model as their default. WDM is Microsoft shit. Lag is definately your driver choice and the interface. I have a MOTU PCIe 2408 Mk III, and can monitor during recording with no apparent lag. However, every time I reinstall an OS or new DAW, the tweaking is a necesary step. After testing for lag, it's set and you can forget about it.

The interface is not obvious, and you must use key shortcuts to get around the program. That fact may be a deal breaker for some right there, but I love shortcuts. I have a dual monitor setup, soon to be three, but Cakewalk has decided to make the interface more usuable for you crazy single monitor people out there. Here's some quick tips: Get your windows situated, so that the main playback window is on top, and along the bottom, your other views are tabbed. (console/mixer, piano roll) Once that is complete, you can use the D key to quickly flip back and forth between views. (Full screen!) Also, you can create custom shortcuts and map them to any key you desire. DO this! I keep it simple and just map Go to the beginning, previous and next marker hot keys.
The smart tool has been around in other DAWs for a little while now, but is new here. It takes some time to get used to. Use your middle mouse button to quickly set tool type and even switch your track view to automation or envelope mode. This is nice when mixing.
Overall, you're right. Sonar has some issues. Their pluggies are latent pieces of crap with fancy skins. Sonitus plugs that are included, have incredible interfaces, but don't sound too great by today's standards.
There are simply too many choices out there. One has to decide, and you seem to be willing to put in the effort, but you have to live with a DAW for a while to really start to get deep with it. My DAW choice is so crucial due to the large number of projects that I have to archive and restore if need be, that it has kept me from switching. Find the one that will be as future proof and standard compliant as possible. Once you commit, years of work will be put down, and changing will become harder and harder.

IMHO - Sonar is the deepest for money. It's a great product with some necessary tech know-how as a pre-requisite. However, I've been getting deep wth Cuabse 6 lately and now they've stepped it up again with version 7. I've had to re-evaluate because of my hope to go in the box for mixing. So far, Steinberg is winning. You simply haven't completed a proper bake off if you haven't included Steinberg. They invented VST and ASIO, and know what they're doing. They also run on PC and MAC now.
In any case, good luck.

Chuck Steak Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:29
yeah...I thought we were sticking to PROFESSIONAL DAW software. :tongue: Last I checked, Reaper had a number of major issues. To be fair, that was two years ago, but really, how much better could it be, and further more, how future proof is it? Usability is #1 on my list of desires for DAW software, but it being there to keep up with the ever changing landscape is #2. I don't believe in Reaper. Standards and hardware support are always going to be an issue.

hueseph Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:44
When I mentioned lag, I didn't mean latency. I've set my drivers appropriately as I always do. The lag I was experiencing is merely record enabling, setting folder paths. Simple things that shouldn't be a strain for the cpu.

As far as cubase is concerned. I started using cubase on the Atari Falcon.

Samplitude should not be overlooked. Nor should Reaper.

audiokid Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:53
Reaper is the Dark Horse of all DAW's There is nothing less pro about it than Pro Tools. Its just plain Jane without all the hype and BS. Its lightning fast and very stable from my tests. And it sounds better than Sonar lol :) did I just say that again ! Its just ugly to me but definitely killer. Its a la carte

You should download Samplitude Pro X Suite demo, I think you will be blown away. You don't need anything more. Its complete but open to the world if you need more. And better yet, anyone that thinks Pro Tools is special, Sequoia 12 is going to be the game changer. All the greatness without their BS hardware.

I'm discussing the null tests on Sampliquoia right now. I'm not the only one that hears a difference. But we are talking about how it sounds being played back. All DAW's null if the tests are set up perfect. However, some null test results may now be true depending on how accurate the meters are. I'm convinced humans hear things that tests cannot prove.

audiokid Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:11
IIRs, post: 378955 wrote: I would rather say: null tests prove the human ear hears differences where there are none.

( forgive my endless typos and often mess, I need glasses..)

Dan, You sound like a mad scientist. Are you saying a computer is superior to human hearing this early in history? smoke

You just lost me.

IIRs Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:25
"Superior" is not a helpful term in this context.

I think its important to realise how much seriously high powered "processing" goes on between our ears and our brain. After all, when we listen to something we're just hearing one single fluctuating waveform (or two I suppose, one from each ear). That we can percieve this as a whole symphony orchestra or rock band, and can identify melodies and harmonies, and pinpoint the positions of individual players... this all comes from our brain decoding that information. That's seriously amazing right?

And the fact is, our brain doesn't process things the same way twice! You can listen to the exact same piece of music twice in succession, and you won't have the same experience the second time: you will notice different things, and your attention will shift to details that eluded you the first time around.

Our brains are way too sophisticated for us to make those judgements objectively, so we need to rely on null tests to determine if there really is a difference between two files, and then blind ABX testing to determine whether those differences are actually significant or not

It doesn't matter how good an engineer or musician you are: no-one is immune to confirmation bias!

TheJackAttack Tue, 11/08/2011 - 20:46
Reaper is pretty damn future proof with frequent upgrades that actually improve things rather than change a gui-unlike PT most of the time. The trial is full featured and free so it has the best try before you buy option out there. As to the gui itself it is very customizable, too.

Customizing the PC for audio is pretty second nature in these parts for the long term posters and mods. It ain't rocket science, sorry. Workflow is generally the primary consideration for engineers not really analaog v digital IMHO. I began life in analog domain so that is the workflow/routing I prefer even in a digital DAW. Learning other DAW's for me is more for helping others than because I find anything lacking in my personal setup.

audiokid Wed, 11/09/2011 - 09:17
Audio Null Tests vs Playback Engine

I understand the null test and (0 & 1). However, importing a file into a DAW to do a null test isn't the question or the answer here. I want to know how different DAW's record and play back in the real world.

To Dan,

To quote Volker on the Samplitude forum) support2.magix.net/boards/samplitude//index.php?showtopic=3941&st=0&p=24957entry24957
The more obvious reason for sound differences are decisions about the processing at input and output stage, audio drivers and other parts of the system
but straight head and to the point...

I'm guessing you have never done this but I have to ask at this point now. Have you ever done a test like this?

Line Sonar, Reaper, Samplitude, Pro Tools same mic, pre, converters, interface and record the exact source then play back, would they all sound the same? Did they all sound the same?

IIRs Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:06
audiokid, post: 379014 wrote: I'm guessing you have never done this but I have to ask at this point now. Have you ever done a test like this?

Line Sonar, Reaper, Samplitude, Pro Tools same mic, pre, converters, interface and record the exact source then play back, would they all sound the same? Did they all sound the same?

Honestly, if there is a difference its a bug. Your interface converts the analog signal into numbers, then passes these to the DAW in buffer-sized blocks. The DAW then simply writes those numbers into a wav / aif file on your HD. If a specific DAW writes different numbers it is doing something wrong, plain and simple.

Everything that could affect the quality of the numbers themselves happens in the interface: jitter / noise / distortion / clipping etc will all occur before the DAW has any influence whatsoever.

I haven't run the test you describe, partly because I don't have any other DAW installed on my studio machine at the moment, but mostly because of the difficulty in recording the exact same source twice: this rules out two different performances, so you would have to run the test using another recording played from a different system. I guess a well produced CD in a quality player would do...?

But I don't need to run that test because I am satisfied that I can't hear a difference between the analog signal going into my DAW, and the "digital" signal coming back from it, assuming all faders at unity of course. I verify this every time I run a session in fact (and if it were not so I would halt the session to trouble-shoot), and the number of occasions on which I mistake talking on the playback for the talent actually talking to me in the room is further testimony that I can't hear a difference!

The more obvious reason for sound differences are decisions about the processing at input and output stage, audio drivers and other parts of the system

Bad drivers might indeed cause audible differences: windows MME drivers (for example) will pipe the audio into the windows OS where they could then be mauled by all manner of dodgy EQ or effects settings, or ropy real-time samplerate converters etc. But that's why ASIO drivers are standard for audio production on windows: these allow the DAW to completely take over the interface, and send and recieve blocks of audio data directly without the OS intervening.

If a specific ASIO driver fails to pass the numbers on to the DAW without altering them, that's a bug.

audiokid Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:45
IIRs, post: 379020 wrote:

Everything that could affect the quality of the numbers themselves happens in the interface: jitter / noise / distortion / clipping etc will all occur before the DAW has any influence whatsoever.

This is my point and I'm not alone. Case closed.

I haven't run the test you describe, partly because I don't have any other DAW installed on my studio machine at the moment, but mostly because of the difficulty in recording the exact same source twice: this rules out two different performances, so you would have to run the test using another recording played from a different system. I guess a well produced CD in a quality player would do...?

Again, a null test is not the answer here. Your theory is flawed. It proves nothing in the real world and what the playback is doing DAW to DAW. Case closed.

But I don't need to run that test because I am satisfied that I can't hear a difference between the analog signal going into my DAW, and the "digital" signal coming back from it, assuming all faders at unity of course. I verify this every time I run a session in fact (and if it were not so I would halt the session to trouble-shoot), and the number of occasions on which I mistake talking on the playback for the talent actually talking to me in the room is further testimony that I can't hear a difference!
To-shay but really, if you are going to tell me that what I'm hearing is based on some null test that has nothing to do with the playback engine and how each DAW processes the audio path, you need to do more testing in the real world. There is more to it than some null test.


Bad drivers might indeed cause audible differences: windows MME drivers (for example) will pipe the audio into the windows OS where they could then be mauled by all manner of dodgy EQ or effects settings, or ropy real-time samplerate converters etc. But that's why ASIO drivers are standard for audio production on windows: these allow the DAW to completely take over the interface, and send and recieve blocks of audio data directly without the OS intervening.
Again, each DAW is different because of many factors outside a clinical null test. Case closed

audiokid Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:02
Dan,

No disrespect, you know I care and am as passionate as you :)

I have to honestly say from all our debates over the last year you are looking at audio from the inside out. Way to clinical and all based on a text book. I'm sure you've done real world tests but if you haven't even used half of this gear including the new hybrid analog summing systems you mock at, how can you actually know what we are all hearing, referring to and talking about?
You've not even taken the time to use other DAWs in the real world but profess the Null test proves we are in dilution and they are all the same. You are pushing these null test as religion, calling products snake oil when your examples and how you back up these opinions are IMHO, completely inaccurate in the real world of recording, DAW to DAW, product to product, human hearing vs machine...

If you want, I invite you to download Samplitude Pro X http://www.samplitude.com/en/ and find out what you have been missing. Also, Samplitude has a great forum with a lot of clever minds that you may want to share your math with. I'm sure many people share your way of analyzing sound there too, but there are many who do not. There is more to being human than you think :)

I have completed my tests enough to know and it is my opinion DAW's do sound different in the real world.

Peace out.

IIRs Wed, 11/09/2011 - 13:05
audiokid, post: 379023 wrote: To-shay but really, if you are going to tell me that what I'm hearing is based on some null test that has nothing to do with the playback engine and how each DAW processes the audio path, you you need to do more testing in the real world. There is more to it than some null test.

You are over-playing the null test a bit. It is simply a way to tell if two files are the same as each other. If they null perfectly you can skip the listening tests because there cannot be a difference. If they don't null, then the listening tests begin (but if they're not blind listening tests they don't count!)

audiokid, post: 379023 wrote: Again, each DAW is different because of many factors outside a clinical null test. Case closed

Sure, every DAW is different. They have a wide variety of different processing options, SRC algorithms, time-stretching etc. But when it comes to recording audio all it has to do is gather the numbers from the interface, and write them to the HD. No processing, no voodoo, just basic routing shuffling of bits around. If one DAW produces a different result to another (using the same hardware) thats a bug. Likewise if you then play the audio back from the DAW at unity gain (and making sure to compensate for pan laws if needed) it is simply sending those numbers right back to the interface again. If there is any jitter in the output, blame the interface: there is no reason it should be any more jittery for one DAW than for another, as this is down to its own internal clock, or that of any external gear it is slaved to.


audiokid, post: 379023 wrote: I have to honestly say from all our debates over the last year you are looking at audio from the inside out. Way to clinical and all based on a text book.

If you say so. I started as a musician like you, with no technical knowledge or formal training in engineering. My first attempts at studio recording sucked. I find that the more I learn about the science and the theory, the better I get at translating the music in my head (or in my client's head) into good sounding mixes. Music can still send a shiver up my spine (that will no doubt remain a mystery to me no matter how long I study it) and this is still my ultimate motivation.

audiokid, post: 379023 wrote: I'm sure you've done real world tests but if you haven't even used half of this gear including analog summing system, how can you actually know what we are all hearing?

I've never used an analog summing system? 18 years of live sound, using hundreds of different analog desks, counts for nothing then? I've run live sound using the highest of high-end gear, to festival crowds of 20k and upwards, using Midas XL3s or Heritage series, or Soundcraft Series 5 (I practically grew up on those), with top class line array systems from D&B / Martin / L'Acoustic etc. And I've done the same with high-end digital desks from Soudcraft, or Digidesign, or Digico.

And what about the sessions I've run nest door with the Amek Recall console (with 12 Neve channels)? Or the sessions I've run at the studio across town with the old Amek Angela? Please don't patronize me: I've plenty of experience of both high end analog gear and high end digital gear. I am of the opinion that (when it comes to summing) digital technology is now better than analog, in much the same way that digital PA system controllers are undisbutably better than the simple analog cross-overs that I started out with back in the 90s. Digital system controllers are now standard issue for all high-end PA systems.

audiokid, post: 379023 wrote: You've not even taken the time to use other DAWs in the real world but profess the Null test proves we are in dilution. You are pushing these null test as religion when they are IMHO, completely inaccurate in the real world of recording. DAW to DAW.

I started out using Cubase back in the 90s. I ran it on an Atari at first... then graduated to a PC with the first "VST" version. I kept up until the first "VST 5" version (with a fully 32 bit floating point audio engine for the first time!) but at the time that SX was released I was earning a living programming GM midi files (please don't tell anyone) and SX was a step backwards in the midi department at first so I didn't upgrade... I can't run that old VST version anymore as the serial port dongle won't plug into any of my current PCs...

Anyway, while still using Cubase VST for my midi programming day job I gradually migrated over to Tracktion for my more creative endeavours. At the time Tracktion was a small independant offering from Raw Material Software, but it was subsequently bought up by Mackie, who invited me to join the beta team. I was a beta tester up to the time that development ceased (apparently), used Tracktion for many of my own productions, plus a few other jobs which I was sometimes asked to do, and made two full length video tutorials on behalf of Streamworks Audio. When it became clear that Tracktion had been abandonded (and my feature requests would no longer be given priority!) I started looking elsewhere to future-proof myself: by the time I moved into these studio premises and started running sessions commercially I was a happy Reaper user, and have not looked back.

I won't be trying Samplitude for the time being thanks very much: I am of the opinion that Reaper (suitably equiped with my plugin collection) is capable of results that can match any other DAW, and that the deciding factors are overwhelmingly the abilities of the musicians I am recording, along with my own skills as an engineer. And I can't afford Samp anyway! ;-)

cporro Sat, 10/20/2012 - 00:24
Chuck Steak, post: 378950 wrote: I don't believe in Reaper.

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://chrisporro.c…"]Reaper vs Samplitude… Sorta | BlueDustStudio / Chris Porro[/]="http://chrisporro.c…"]Reaper vs Samplitude… Sorta | BlueDustStudio / Chris Porro[/]

dude, respectfully, check it again. :D I've used samplitude for 5 years and reaper for over 1. when i jumped in on reaper (v4 i think) it was fully baked. i've had less issued with it then samplitude.

each program has it's strengths but i'm drifting toward reaper. Reaper is just easier to work with. I don't have to think as much and i don't want to. at $60 for the individual use license it's insanely reasonable. recognize.

Anderton Fri, 06/05/2015 - 11:15
I realize this is an old thread but have used SONAR, Samplitude, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, etc. etc. When people talk about difference in sound, it's almost always because the panning law defaults are different. Files recorded on a DAW using one panning law will sound different on a DAW played back with a different one. One of the (many) reasons I use SONAR is you can choose from six different panning laws, so I can deal with just about any project that comes into my studio where I'm importing files from another DAW.

audiokid Fri, 06/05/2015 - 20:15
Anderton, post: 429605, member: 49108 wrote: I realize this is an old thread but have used SONAR, Samplitude, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, etc. etc. When people talk about difference in sound, it's almost always because the panning law defaults are different. Files recorded on a DAW using one panning law will sound different on a DAW played back with a different one. One of the (many) reasons I use SONAR is you can choose from six different panning laws, so I can deal with just about any project that comes into my studio where I'm importing files from another DAW.
I agree with you on some points but I don't as far as how different DAW's code is equal ( I think this is what you are saying?). If this was the case, all plug-ins would sound the same. All reverbs would sound like a Bricasti and the list goes on. Not all DAW's finalize the sonics equal. If this was the case, all mastering engineers would be using Sonar instead of spending the extra on Samplitude or Sequoia. I know I would.
Sonar is a very cool DAW but it has a smeared sound to it. I think its an excellent DAW for Midi, not so much for transparent HD acoustic music.

DonnyThompson Sat, 06/06/2015 - 03:35
I used Sonar exclusively for over ten years. I got to know it so well that I could have probably done a project blindfolded. I was also firmly entrenched into the "all DAW's sound the same" camp.

I was facing a decision anyway, in that Windows XP support was being phased out, so I would have had to upgrade from Sonar PE to Sonar X Series, and after trying it for a few days, I found it to be anti-inuitive for me. It was like they changed where everything was, but for no real reason. The audio engine remained the same, and with the exception of a few new bells and whistles, all that it really became for me was more complex.

So, having to make a decision about here I was going to ultimately land - and knowing for damn sure that I wasn't ever going to go back to drinking the Avid Kool-Aid, I went kicking and screaming into Samplitude - but after hearing the differences - using my own raw tracks as reference, Samp was the winner - hands down - in overall sonic integrity. It was if I had suddenly cleaned all my audio with some kind of sonic windex. More clarity, more definition, more honesty. I didn't realize how much Sonar had been "smearing" my audio until I had a chance to A/B it with Samp - using no processing, no EQ, nothing... just loading the exact same identical tracks into each platform. I stopped kicking and screaming after about 2 minutes.
If there was any remaining doubt, it disappeared once I began to understand the Object Based Editing architecture in Samp. It just made so much sense, and it turned out to be one of the features that I use the most.

I won't lie and say it was easy. Samp was and still is a complex and deep platform to grasp. But I was going to have to re-learn Sonar with their newer X Series anyway - so I knuckled down and dove into Samplitude. I can say with complete honesty that I'm now glad that I did. It took some serious time - and watching a lot of Samp instructional videos from guys like Tim Dolbear and Kraznet on youtube, but after doing so, I don't regret my decision in the least, nor would I ever go back to Sonar or PT for that matter, either.

But, I'm also a firm believer in that you should use whatever works best for you. My situation may not be similar to yours in any way, nor may my workflow and mixing methods be similar, either. If Sonar works for you, and allows you to do the best work that you possibly can, in an efficient and creatively-supporting way, then that's what you should use.

IMHO

d.

pcrecord Sat, 06/06/2015 - 05:08
Those affirmations about Sonar and/or any DAW should be challenge with any new release because all maker gets better from time to time.
I'm using Sonar X3 and I admit I can't say it sounds good or bad compared to others. But it sounds good enough to me.
I tried to compare it with samplitude once. I felt that if I'd just do a volume and pan mix, they sounded the same or at least close enough.
There sure is a lot of difference in the stock plugins. This is where the differences are obvious. But I don't use those included with Sonar.
I went with Fabfilter's suite which I feel sound better.
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