Audio applications affect recorded material

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by patrick_like_static, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. To me the notion is nonsensical, but does the host application in which you record source material have any affect or impartation on its sound?

    Specifically: during my internship, recording within Nuendo seemed to have a more pleasing raw sound than a.) recording natively in a different application, like Sony Acid Pro or Reaper, or even b.) recording in a different application and importing the files into Nuendo.

    I discounted this until an engineer I respect recently hinted at this, so I wanted to look into it.
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    At our studio I noticed a difference moving from Vegas to Protools. As soon as I could I did an a/b test and PT seemed to have more depth, whereas Vegas seemed flatter and less lively on the same source material.
    To be fair, I'm not sure if it's the way a Mac's CPU handles the math as opposed to an AMD, or if it's the quality of the A/D converters, or the way the software crunches the numbers.
    With Vegas we were using a MOTU 24i/o (24 ins and outs).
    When we changed over to PT we installed an Apogee AD8000 and 3 Digi 888/24's.
    It could be all of the above, I suppose.
  3. Goose3

    Goose3 Active Member

    Sep 18, 2004
    Enumclaw, WA
    Afraid I can’t help much other than I notice the difference too. I’ve used digital performer, protools (LE and HD) and Cubase SX3. I’d have to say I like the sound of cubase the best.

    I’ve done limited testing using the same protools hardware with protools LE and digital performer and can say it sounds different, even though thought the applications are using the same converters, same day, same, song and player, the recordings still sounded different. Although I’m not that technically geeky it makes sense, each application would have different mix engines, how the audio is bused, summed, all that stuff.

    Some people think your crazy when you say an application can have a “sound” but I think there’s a difference.
  4. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    For recording, the apps should just be collectiong data from the A/D. While I won't argue that apps sound different, the DATA put to disk during recording should be the same!! I swap data bewteen apps all the time, and I have never seen evidence that data recorded in one app "sounds" different than data recorded in another app when played back under identical conditions.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Karl's right. For straight writing to disk during recording, the software should perform no arithmetic operations on the data, and hence is not in a position to modify the sound.

    The differences between the various apps (and plugins) can be heard on mixdown when you start using them to apply EQ, compression and other effects, as each vendor has his own ways of implementing these things.

    Another area of difference I have encountered is in the quality of the dither algorithms, so mixes that sound pretty much OK at 24bits on your studio monitors can exhibit app-dependent differences when burnt to CD after dithering to 16 bits.

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