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3 DAWs - 3 sounds?? Reaper vs Sonar vs Samplitude

Member for

8 years 6 months
3 DAWs - 3 sounds?? Reaper vs Sonar vs Samplitude In this video, I test 3 DAWS by doing the exact same mix of the same song. There was a long debate as if every DAWs sounded the same and I thought it was time to get a true answer.

I also give a link to downloadable multitracks songs.

What do you think of the tests, convincing ??

Comments

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 02/26/2018 - 15:20
pcrecord, post: 455993, member: 46460 wrote: I remixed the last demo I did (young Rock/Emo group) entirely from samplitude and I had the same realisation. More open, more dynamic mix.
I find it hard to adapt to the workflow.. but the sound is worth it..

dude the exact same thing happend to me. im messing with some older stuff while im getting everything setup. i noticed the openess, and a certain clarity. things seems to gel with less effort. between Samp, and the modern dsp, i notice a significant difference. Totally worth the learning curve, which has been slow, but relatively painless for me. its like when you get a new peice of gear, or record a killer take, all the sudden your an All Star, lol and didnt do anything different.

it's also one of those things where you cant un-hear it.

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Thu, 02/08/2018 - 02:52
kmetal, post: 455700, member: 37533 wrote: i think using tracks where the Daw that created them is known, would be helpful. it would give a benchmark of what the audio was intended to sound like by the creator.
This is interesting. It is my belief that the preamp and converter will color the sound but not the saving part on the hard drive, since the signal is already digital.
I always thought differences would occure once you start manipulating the sound and not at the creation.
That could be another aspect to pursue.

Another thing I could check is how a DAW modify the audio file when importing it in a project IF the resolution isn't the same and a convertion is needed. Ex, loading a 24/44 file onto a 24/96 Project.

You are giving me quite a to do list guys and I love it !!

Member for

8 years 9 months

DonnyThompson Sun, 03/25/2018 - 07:01
@pcrecord
Hi Mon Ami' :)
I just now got around to watching this episode... and I apologize for it taking this long.
This is very well done.
You have a real flair for doing these types of vids. ;)

I listened through my near-fields, ( in a treated space), using an Apogee as my conversion/interface. I also listened through headphones as well ( AKG K240 Monitor Series and Studio Series).

Whether one sounds "better" than another is a matter of personal preference, it's all subjective to the listener... but to me, while very similar, I don't feel that they all sound the "same".

My very first experience in Samplitude (Pro X 1) about four years ago really made me start to question the entrenched theory that "all DAW's sound the same".
At that time, I had been working pretty much exclusively with Sonar for several years, right up to the day I imported tracks in Samp, and heard what I perceived to be a pretty substantial difference.
The tracks in Samp sounded more "honest" to me ( and at times, even brutally so, LOL); and I realized that Sonar had been "smearing" the sound of many of the tracks.
It wasn't nearly as detailed as Samplitude was. There was absolutely a difference in clarity and definition. And, it wasn't power of suggestion or all in my head. I know what I heard, and I heard a substantial difference.
I had made no other changes to my system; same PC, same i-o, same conversion, same monitors, same listening environment, and, the same pan laws... the only thing that was different was the DAW.

There's no doubt that DAW's can be intentionally coded to sound different than others, so why would we dispel the notion that they couldn't also be unintentionally different?
As an example, I've recently been playing around with Harrison's MixBus 32C DAW, (which includes their re-creation of the now-iconic Harrison 32 Series console); and it's been intentionally coded to simulate "that" sound ( which, by the way, sounds really good to me in terms of having an "instant" analog vibe).
I never had the opportunity to work on a real 32 ( or any Harrison desk, for that matter), but just by simply importing raw .wav files into it - without even doing anything to the files, other than just importing and hitting "play" - there was an immediate "analog sound" to it; very reminiscent of the analog desks most of us here used to cook on.

I'm not trying to hijack your thread by bringing Harrison into the picture for discussion - but just to dispute the notion that "all DAW's sound exactly the same".
So, yeah ...we've all heard the argument that "1's are 1's and 0's are 0's" ... but obviously there's something different. Maybe it's the way those 1's and 0's are connected that makes a difference? I'm not an expert on coding, (I'm not even a novice, LOL) but there's something going on with the binary data that builds the audio engines of various DAW platforms, intentional or otherwise, and it's more than just pan-law differences. ;)

IMHO
-d.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Sun, 03/25/2018 - 15:08
so is it to the point now where you choose the daw based on sound? vintage- harrison, bit crunch- pro tools, lean and clean- samp, audition, reaper........ now i have a tracking daw, mix daw, and mastering daw? what about different versions of the same program? does the mac version of digital performer sound like the windows version? the garage band app vs garage band desktop?

is it better, or not to keep the project in the same Daw as the client? what about for collabs?

Member for

8 years 9 months

DonnyThompson Mon, 03/26/2018 - 06:33
kmetal, post: 456303, member: 37533 wrote: so is it to the point now where you choose the daw based on sound? vintage- harrison, bit crunch- pro tools, lean and clean- samp, audition, reaper........ now i have a tracking daw, mix daw, and mastering daw? what about different versions of the same program? does the mac version of digital performer sound like the windows version? the garage band app vs garage band desktop?

is it better, or not to keep the project in the same Daw as the client? what about for collabs?
I don't know pal. Maybe? Perhaps using certain DAWs for certain sonic vibes can be beneficial...Similar to the way that we choose different types of processors within the same platform...
I've been having fun mixing in 32C. Simply importing raw tracks into the program gives them an obvious analog vibe; without even doing anything to those tracks. I haven't gotten into the editing features of the program yet, and I'm not sure I even will... I'm just so familiar with Samplitude, and I can get around it very quickly and easily for tasks like audio and Midi editing, tracking, etc., but I can't lie, there is something about mixing in 32C that is sonically attractive to me. I also find myself using far less plugs, as the "console" in 32C has three different types of gain reduction built in to every track/channel (Compressor, Leveler, Limiter), along with a very musical sounding EQ section, and even a tape saturation sim.
If I had a 16 fader control surface to use with it, it would probably be the closest thing I could experience (for me) to working on an analog desk in a digital environment.
Now... would I want to mix everything this way? No. But it is a great choice to have at my disposal - if what I'm working on at the time would benefit from that option.
I don't believe that being familiar with other DAW platforms is a bad thing; it makes us more able (and a bankable skill) to be able to adapt to different studios and production workflows, and if you're doing hired gun work, it can benefit everyone if you have at least a working knowledge of other DAWs.
I'm not a Pro Tools fan, but I am able to get around it well enough to be able to work on it in a professional environment... same with Samp, Sonar, S1... (surprisingly, the platform that I haven't been able to get comfortable with is Reaper - which is often touted to be the "easiest" program to use... and that certainly hasn't been my own experience).
I'm still a Samplitude guy, I love the program and its incredible feature set, but I don't mind getting familiar with other DAWs if there is going to be a benefit from using them for different scenarios. So I guess, yeah... maybe it is good to have other options when it comes to using different platforms that have inherent characteristics that prove to be valuable in certain situations.
But, I can only speak for me on this. Just my two cents. ;)

Member for

8 years 9 months

DonnyThompson Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:06
As an addendum - my opinion is that, regardless of the DAW one uses, one of the most important things we can do is to become really familiar with our platforms.
It's one of the most important things we can do; because the more familiar one is with their platform, the quicker they can get things done. The worst creativity killer in the world is having to stop that flow to spend time to figure out how to do something. When we are in that creative "zone", and ideas are hitting us fast, and things are really working for a song, it's an incredible drag to have to put that on hold, to have to step outside of that zone in order to find out how to do something. Maybe it's trying to figure out how to create a new Midi track, or maybe you've inadvertently put the recording process into loop or punchmode, or perhaps a VSTi on a certain track isn't responding to an external Midi controller... knowing your DAW helps you to create (or fix) things as they come up. And the quicker we can do those things, the less time we need to spend searching for the answers on how to do them... and the more time we can remain in the creative pocket.

I'm often asked by my consultation clients - mostly the younger ones - which DAW is "best". My reply is always the same - "it's about what is best for you".
What works for me, based on my experience level and the styles of music I produce, may not be the best DAW for you. Yeah, I love Samp, but it is a very deep program, and it does many great things... but if all you are doing is recording acoustic guitar and vocals, then it might be too much gun for what you are doing.
If you are working with primarily Midi based tracks, then maybe Mixbus isn't your best choice. The most important thing is how well you know your platform, and that it allows you to create; to support what you are doing... instead of fighting, puzzling, or frustrating you.
IMHO. ;)
-d.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:54
Re: Harrison Mixbus:
DonnyThompson, post: 456307, member: 46114 wrote: If I had a 16 fader control surface to use with it, it would probably be the closest thing I could experience (for me) to working on an analog desk in a digital environment.
The A+H Zed-R16 works really nicely as a control surface with Mixbus. Sixteen real faders controlling the Mixbus engine to produce the sort of old-school sounds that you describe is as sonically close to using an analogue console as I have managed to achieve with a DAW.

That said, there are only a few mixes that I would consider using this combination on. However, setting it up to mix tracks that were all recorded using ribbon microphones generates a lovely vintage sound that wows some artistes.

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Mon, 03/26/2018 - 11:29
DonnyThompson, post: 456308, member: 46114 wrote: As an addendum - my opinion is that, regardless of the DAW one uses, one of the most important things we can do is to become really familiar with our platforms.
It's one of the most important things we can do; because the more familiar one is with their platform, the quicker they can get things done. The worst creativity killer in the world is having to stop that flow to spend time to figure out how to do something. When we are in that creative "zone", and ideas are hitting us fast, and things are really working for a song, it's an incredible drag to have to put that on hold, to have to step outside of that zone in order to find out how to do something. Maybe it's trying to figure out how to create a new Midi track, or maybe you've inadvertently put the recording process into loop or punchmode, or perhaps a VSTi on a certain track isn't responding to an external Midi controller... knowing your DAW helps you to create (or fix) things as they come up. And the quicker we can do those things, the less time we need to spend searching for the answers on how to do them... and the more time we can remain in the creative pocket.

I'm often asked by my consultation clients - mostly the younger ones - which DAW is "best". My reply is always the same - "it's about what is best for you".
What works for me, based on my experience level and the styles of music I produce, may not be the best DAW for you. Yeah, I love Samp, but it is a very deep program, and it does many great things... but if all you are doing is recording acoustic guitar and vocals, then it might be too much gun for what you are doing.
If you are working with primarily Midi based tracks, then maybe Mixbus isn't your best choice. The most important thing is how well you know your platform, and that it allows you to create; to support what you are doing... instead of fighting, puzzling, or frustrating you.
IMHO. ;)
-d.

This is something you learn when your on someone else's dime. You also learn to become more well rounded, since artists will ask you to do things you hadn't thought of.The cool thing is, almost all the Daws are easy enough to record and do basic edits, without the manual, and having been messing with graphic design, and video software lately, theres a significant amount of crossover. Ive always been in search of the highest quality, whatevr that means, so its been natural to use several programs along the way.

its amazing how many times ive discovered a shortcut for something ive usually done long form. lol it seems the learning is part of the gig, and i enjoy it. ive found samplitude to be nearly crash proof, even breaking all the rules (internet conneceted, virus scan running, other apps running), as well as sonically excellent. What im finding with Magix/Xara software in general, is reliability, and generally simple ways to do those "i wish i could.." things. Im thrilled with Samplitude, and ive barely scratched the surface. the program just felt 'like home' immediately. Things like opening several sessions at once, and mixer snapshots, are things ive needed from other programs, and have cost me tons of time previously. or cool things like being able to use the qwerty keyboard for playing midi instruments in realtime, and type midi note in as well. just nice little things to have if the moment arises. i like that, it shows a good sense of touch with the user base i think.

As far as best goes, its always subjective, but there are programs that generally shine at one thing or another. for instance, i notice alot of VSTi people gravitating towards cubase or logic. so there are some clear winners in certain catagories. Sam just happens ot be my current choice, until i can upgrade to sequoia.

Member for

8 years 9 months

DonnyThompson Tue, 10/23/2018 - 04:48
Another very well-done video, mon ami! :) :)
You have a real flair for these kinds of videos. Everything I’ve seen from you has been informative, but they’ve also been a lot of fun to watch. I’d like to join the other RO members to thank you for taking your valuable time to make these videos.
The differences between Samp and Sonar were apparent to me - BUT...
that sonic difference I heard was also determined nearly four years ago; and I was still using both Samp and Sonar on an older 32 bit OS (Windows XP) when that determination was made; and I was also using older versions of each program as well.
The Sonar version I was using at that time was PE8 (32 bit), and after switching to Samp Pro X in 2013, I never returned to Sonar and their newer “X” versions.
The Samp version at that time was the first version of Pro X, also 32 bit ( I’m still using the first Pro X version, btw, though I’ve been using the 64 bit version of it for several years now... and with absolutely no complaints).
Perhaps these factors were responsible for the differences that I perceived?
But... I still believe that there are current DAW programs that do sound different than others; and the obvious example of this would be Harrison’s MixBus 32C, because it’s been intentionally coded to sound the way it does; Harrison’s intent was to simulate the sonics of the iconic Harrison 32 Console in a digital workstation.
So, perhaps there are now more modern versions of DAW programs that would null out against each other...
(or that would provide null results that were so minuscule that our ears wouldn’t be able to hear any differences without a null test) ... but I think it’s a stretch ( a fallacy) for the “all DAW’s sound the same” proponents to say that all modern DAW’s would null out against each other.
:)
d.

Member for

8 years 6 months

pcrecord Tue, 10/23/2018 - 05:30
DonnyThompson, post: 459517, member: 46114 wrote: So, perhaps there are now more modern versions of DAW programs that would null out against each other...
What I learned with this little quest of mine is that, if you import audio and do no changes then export, they will null perfectly.
But as soon as you use panning, the different panning laws will prevent from having a perfect null. Also, how the software handles dynamics will make a difference.
On thing I didn't put in my video is the difference in saturation when you push the volumes too high. Between the two, Sonar will break to saturation and digital artifacts way sooner than Samplitude... But I thought it would be too much to bare for some viewers ;)

Member for

12 years 1 month

kmetal Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:46
pcrecord, post: 455688, member: 46460 wrote: I felt the mix in samplitude was sounding wider too. Instruments sounded more seperated with better presence.
Yes audition could have been a good addition to this test. (can't do them all, I guess..)

if you ever do want, or need to try auditon, its part of their CS2 abandonware package. theres also premeire, illustartor ect, all available free. the link is in this RO thread.

https://recording.org/threads/adobe-cs2-is-now-abandonware-ie-free.53920/

edit:

link in the thread didnt work on my computer. heres a link i used a couple minutes ago.

https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite/kb/cs2-product-downloads.html?promoid=19SCDRQK#

Member for

4 years 7 months

Johnny Blade Mon, 03/05/2018 - 16:48
Very cool, indeed. Thanks for sharing, I have spent some happy time watching these videos!!! I always suspected there were some peculiarities in Samp's audio engine and now I'm pretty sure I was not wrong, neither crazy.

These videos fill an old gap in the discussion they address. It is definitely clear that the sound quality is intrinsic to every DAW and that Samp is top!

Could I share these beautifully crafted videos with friends on other forums?
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