Audio Softwares - Sound all the same?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by razaiba, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. razaiba

    razaiba Guest

    In another post in here in RO, someone said the sound quality is not in the in the Software you use( protools, nuendo, cubase, Audition, sonar) that the real diference is in the hardware. personally a few time ago i did somes comparison on Protools and Cubase softwares(with a DIGI001 hardware), with the sames audio material with not plugins inserted and faders at 0db in all tracks monitored in a NS10 and Beringer truth; the sounded totally diferent. later i did the same betwin NUENDO A CUBASE, both from steinberg , not the same sounding, a bit diferent . my opinion is the sofware make somes diference ,less than hardware but somes..Wich is your experince.?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    No, the software does not sound different. What does sound different is the operator's inability to correctly set, adjust and normal all settings and properly manipulate the software. I assure you, it's operator error. The only difference in sound would be from the analog to digital and Digital to analog converters. The better sounding ones are almost indistinguishable from each other. The consumer varieties are fraught with built-in horrible effects that default to "on". That's what you're hearing. Not a scientific comparison by an inexperienced newbie. And certainly not with NS10's.

    Read a couple of books and try again.

    Authorized factory service technician for a host of companies.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Theoretically, the software should make no difference. I agree with Remy on that.

    Practically, though, it probably will. The chances that all the settings on two software packages are adjusted to react identically MAY exist. One software may treat something a bit differently than another. There's more to it than matching the sampling rates, etc.

    The level meters may not be calibrated to react exactly the same. So, reading "0 dB" on a ProTools input may not be exactly the same as 0dB on a Cubase input. This alone throws off the entire comparison. As we all know, the louder one (without going over) will usually sound better. So, 0 on one MAY even be louder than 0 on another, even if they swapped and were both still reading 0, with the waveform looking exactly the same. Is this the case? I dunno. It's possible, I guess.

    You would have to set all similar-to-each settings in each to be the same. Some terminology may be a tad different, and you would have to decipher to be sure everything is the same. It's possible one has some settings not available to the other, which may skew the results. Is this the case? I dunno. I'm betting ProTools probably has a bit better sound and more tweakability than PG Music Power Tracks Pro, but then we're talking higher end, and way low end here. And, for more accurate comparison, the two softwares should probably be on the same computer, using the same exact components, to rule out any difference there.

    So, I would guess that software CAN make a difference, but if it's set properly, each for itself and as compared to the other, it probably shouldn't be a big difference. HUH? :shock: Exactly.

    Either should sound good if you tweak it properly. Matching the two exactly would take some time. You can't JUST go by level meters and bit/sampling rates, and upfront settings. You'd have to dig in.

    So we're basically back to what Remy said: "What does sound different is the operator's inability to correctly set, adjust and normal all settings and properly manipulate the software."

    As always, I may have stepped into a pile of something. If anyone smells anything, feel free to hand me a stick to scrape it off. :wink:

  4. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Nope. If there is a difference between Nuendo and Cubase 3 or 4, you did something wrong. Even Cubase SX 1 I wouldn't expect a difference, even though there were some audio engine changes going to v3 (I believe that was all routing, not summing though - 32-bit float is 32-bit float).

    I compared a list of native DAWs (including the above, and Samplitude, and others) and found there to be no audible difference, or technical difference between bounces (32-bit float).

    I know people that claim otherwise, but I have seen quite a bit of evidence from these people that they are as much or more influenced by what the see than what they hear (claiming xyz freeware plugin sounds better than higher end plugins they raved about the week before....).

    You have to be careful about switching between apps trying to do a blind listening test. You really need both side by side at the same time, run through the same audio I/O and D/A and monitoring system, same clocking, and on clear monitors. There are a lot of ways to fool yourself with these tests. This test should be done with just audio tracks - stereo interleaved or dual mono, panned hard left/right - no partial panning; no gain - all faders at 0. That is the only way to separate differences in fader gain, pan law, plugins, etc. from the actual summing portion of the DAW.

    When you factor in the user's approach to mixing with a certain DAW you aren't comparing the software, you are comparing the user's mixing approach as influenced by a GUI, layout, or choice of plugins. None of these are the "sound of the software" itself.
  5. cotenyc

    cotenyc Active Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    There is a definite difference in audio engines from program to program.

    While the audio recorded into your setup may be identical going in, playback does give varied results going from one engine to another.

    In my experience, Steinberg (Cubase & Nuendo) is a very strong engine, great stereo filed. Kind of aggressive sounding, yet rich.

    Cakewalk engines has far less depth and space (regardless of pan-law) compared to the others. Very harsh with some material. Good software nonetheless, and pro mixes can be attained.

    Protools, like steinberg, has a very rich sound. Not as aggressive as Steinberg, but well rounded and extremely clean.

    Ableton sounds horrible for audio, yet soumds great for midi and working with pre-existing audio, but it's engine needs some polish.

    I'm not familiar with Logic so i can't comment.

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