SAWStudio vs. Nuendo

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by michaeltk, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. michaeltk

    michaeltk Guest

    Is anyone familiar with SAWStudio? I keep hearing great things about how it is more stable and somehow sounds better than any other software package. One thing is for sure: it's really, really expensive.

    Apparently the entire program is written in a low-level language, which would explain why it is so stable. When you install it, it makes zero entries in the Windows registry. That's pretty impressive in itself.

    But has anyone used or witnessed SAWStudio in use?
  2. Ben Godin

    Ben Godin Active Member

    Jun 5, 2004
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Home Page:
    I've seen SAW in action and it will never be even close to comparing to Nuendo.
  3. michaeltk

    michaeltk Guest

    Can you be more specific? What does Nuendo have that SAWStudio does not? Can you also compare the sound of the two programs?
  4. telecast

    telecast Guest

    i have nuendo.. and downloaded the sawstudio demo... and i just didnt like it... everything was very cluttered... and the interface was just ugly... i could imagine it being very difficult to work having to deal with such an program... but i too hear that it is a very powerful program... but even still i wouldnt ever use saw over nuendo as long as they had that ugly cluttered interface
  5. I've downloaded and played around with the demo and I actually like it, I'm not too hungup on GUI, yeah it doesn't look nice and pretty like Nuendo but it does the job very well for those people that use it. It also is more efficient because the developer chose to focus more on the audio engine than on the interface although it's not that ugly to look at. You definitely would benefit from having two monitors using Sawstudio.

    You can't really make a blanket statement and say it doesn't even compare to Nuendo until you understand the full power of it. Just say you don't like it, but don't mislead people unless you got the facts. I just started playing around with it so I can't give you a whole lot of info but it's very well programmed. Here's a quick analogy Sawstudio is like Linux of audio recording Nuendo is like the Windows of audio recording.
  6. SAWStudio isn't for everyone. It's not made that way. It's made by one man to fill his own needs first. Consequently, it attracts those with like needs. That is not to say, every user has the exact same needs, or the differing needs of the users are not considered. In fact, If you spend some time poking around the SS support forum you will discover a number of instances where features were requested only to be added, within days, in a maintanance update. Fundamentally, though, SAWStudio is by and for its creator.

    SAWStudio is expensive relative to many softwares, yet it seems a bargain when compaired to others. It all boils down to value. Of what value is the software to you? If you value it more than that which is requested in exchange, you make the trade...assuming, of course you have that which is required to make the trade. If that isn't the case, you simply wait until you do have it, or you steal the value and try to rationalise it, somehow.

    Michael, as the saying goes, opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. If you want the lowdown on any software, not just SS, you would do well to download the demo and the videos. Better yet, download the manual too (most companies have a PDF for download). then, get yourself on the support forum and start asking questions. Experience the software and the support first hand. Then, decide, for yourself, if it meets your personal requirements and has any value to you.
  7. I don't agree with you regarding Sawstudio being by and for the creator first and foremost. Also regarding SS not being for everyone well, of course it isn't for everyone neither is Nuendo, Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Samplitude, Cubase, Sonar, etc, etc, but depending on your needs and compared to other software studios it does very well indeed. That's the beauty of making and recording music, everyone can use different methods to get to one end point hopefully and that is great sounding music (that is if it's your goal).

    In my view (just like he said opinions are like assholes) Sawstudio was born out of the vision of one man, but then that vision takes shape and other people get involved in making it more than just a vision but a reality. I think that's how all great things start out.
  8. buzz

    buzz Guest

    I have been using SAW Studio lite for about 2 months now , I have not compared it to anything other than PT free ( thats a ^#$%ed up gui how do I ???? ) and Acid

    I can say that the sound of SAW is VERY good , it has some phenominal comprssors on every channel ad very good eq.

    Saw is laid out like a big console , thats how you look at it , it has 12 definable screen layouts attached to the fkeys , as with all computer programs some things arent apparent on how to perform the task at hand !!

    I was up and running on SAW in 1 week doing mix's that abosolutely killed my old mix's on old Event monitors ( have'nt even used my Tannoys yet with saw ?? )

    There are many programs out there with lots of capabilities with pre's and con's try them see what you like I found SAW fit the bill for me , and the support is the BEST in the industry bar non

  9. Oh yeah the support is very good, I agree with Buzz, where else can you post a problem about the software on the user forums and within days possibly get a fix for it. That's outstanding service.
  10. Hussyh

    Hussyh Guest

    I have conducted painstakingly repetitive A/B comparisons of SAW against Cubase SX2, which I believe uses the same audio engine as Nuendo. SAW sounds better, and it is not a subtle difference...anyone would be able to pick it. Now, I'm talking about being able to hear the difference on a simple mono track, with no processing whatsoever. Just record and playback the same thing...say a simple vocal and acoustic guitar with a single condenser mic, and listen. SX2 sounds like half the room ambience disappears as well as sounding completely closed in and lifeless, like the sound is buried in the speaker box. SAW sounds vibrant and alive...out of the speakers. I have spent weeks looking at the set up of both SX2 and SAW to explain the difference...going through every single menu setting in detail looking for why SX2 sounds so crappy compared to SAW on such a simple test...I am now convinced...SAW is just better.
    For what it's worth, Samplitude sits between SX2 and SAW for sonic quality.
  11. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I appreciate that you like the sound of SAW and Samp compared to SX, but when comparing a *single* track, you are not comparing the summing engine, which is a more realistic comparision, unless of course you plan on recording an album of one tracks! ;)

    I'd be interested to hear your comparisons of *real* songs (multiple tracks, mixed down to stereo).
  12. buzz

    buzz Guest

    DH I can't compare SX2 to SAW but can compare a Roland VS2480 VS SAW . I recorded 14 tracks on the 2480 ( live drums gtr/bass/muti vox etc. ) mixed them in the Roland then exported the tracks as wav's ( 24 bit 44.1khz )

    Remixed in Saw and the difference was dramatic IMO ( not because od gear/software lust real listening !!!)

    The top end was much clearer and defined as well as the low end ( much more spatial wider well defined ) the mix's just sounded way better ( I could continue to use all kinds of definitions but you get the point )

    I feel as though I have gained 5 yrs in the studio just by changing platforms ( this may well have happened using PT as well ???? )

    There are several things in SAW that really help
    1. The compressors are VERY good
    2. The mix bus is VERY good ( 64 bit )
    3. The Eq is like a good console EQ
    4. The softedge feature

    Also very low CPU usage with lots of tracks (written in assembly lasnguage )

  13. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot Guest

    I've been using Saw for close to ten years now.(yes it's been around that long, actually before just about all the others) I am quite biased on the subject cause I'm very passionate(for lack of a cooler word) about the software. A guy(Architect) posted a link to this forum on the Saw forum so I figured I'd put my opinion/views in. Probably a good thing he did, cause it will open the floodgates, so to speak and try to dispell some misconceptions.
    Number one, don't judge the book by it's cover. If you don't like the gui for whatever reason, there are tons of shades(skins) available.
    That is the least of the concerns tho- imo, the gui blows all the others away.
    Where do I start.. As someone mentioned, you absolutely cannot make a blanket statement about Saw not being close to Nuendo.
    Nuendo wasn't even a glimmer in a programmers eye while Saw was coming to life years before. The developer of Sawstudio knows what's important and what's not. Sawstudio is lightning fast and stable as a rock. There is so much to say I don't even know where to begin. I suppose I'll just leave it at that and try to answer any questions anyone might have. Hopefully some of the other Saw guys will jump in too. Once you get to know Saw(if you do) I can promise you you won't regret it. Sounds great works great and is a hell of a lot of fun... yes fun. Great family of users and the support is the best. No I do not get paid to say this stuff, it's just that good.
    Check it out!

  14. moonz

    moonz Guest

    I've messed with SAW a few times over the years...I think it is pretty good, if what you are mainly looking for is something for recording live tracks.

    I believe it is written in machine code, so I would think that should make it quite snappy.

    But Cubase and Nuendo are more feature-rich applications...especially in the MIDI department.

    Bob Lentini (SAW's developer) has just recently started to address SAW's lack of MIDI features with an add-in software module he calls "SAW Studio MIDI Workshop", but it's capabilities are still in their infancy, compared to the Steinberg stuff.

    SAW Studio is absurdly expensive...2500 Americanoz.

  15. I suppose PT is fairly priced? We may not think so, yet people still shell out the cash for it.

    BTW, there are light versions of SAWStudio available, starting at only $300 americanoz. That get's you 90% functionality of the full version.

    As far as MidiWorkShop, it is a full featured midi editor with rock solid sync to the audio. To quote another MWS user (and if he doesn't like it he can take me court),(how's that for friendly :p )

    "Your "drift stress" has just been relieved and there were no pills with nasty sideFx's involved. Better living through SawStudio technology!"

    This is worth alot more to me than extra doodads. MWS is a solid pro level tool.

    The main problem with SAW, or MWS is that you can't get a good feel for it by skimming it. The user really needs to dig in and RTFM to get a realistic view of the capabilities. Unfortunately for SAW and RML Labs, that's not what most people do. They do the equivalent of driving a formula one car around the course at 25mph. Ya' gotta open 'er up, man! Let 'er show ya' what she's got!

    As you can tell, I like the software I use. I would love to see it become a standard, as it is worthy of the status. But, then again, I appreciate the small, friendly community of SS users. So, as long as it isn't misrepresented, the world can take it or leave it. I'll still use it and so will alot of other folks.

    BTW, kidding T, man don't take me to court :wink:
  16. moonz

    moonz Guest

    Hard to compare Protools to anything, since it is only marketed to be used with Digidesign hardware, but, you can get a copy of Protools LE AND a Digi 002 Firewire rack, both, for less than 1200 dollars.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Steinberg Cubase or Cakewalk Sonar, which currently sell for 600 bucks....there are stripped down versions of these available for a hundred bucks, or less.

    600 dollars vs 2500 dollars.

    Time for a little word-problem:

    If the stripped version of SAW at 300 bucks has 90% functionality, and the other 10% functionality is 2200 bucks more, what is it in that remaining 10% functionality that makes it worth over 7 times more than the whole other 90%?

    As far as SAW MIDI Workshop goes, I don't think it really stands up to what Cubase or Sonar offer, MIDI-wise, overall.

    If you've used Cubase for any length of time Saw MIDI Workshop appears very sparse, by comparison.

    Steinberg pretty much invented midi triggered virtual instruments, and I think that definately gives them the edge in that area of MIDI functionality.

    SAW seems to have some catching up to do, there.

    The real rub is that Lentini considers SAW Studio MIDI Workshop to be an add-in feature, and charges you an extra 300 bucks just for pay 2500 dollars for a program and then have to still pay another 300 dollars for so-callled full MIDI functionality?

    I've never experienced any midi sync drift in Cubase...maybe this because I've never really taxed Cube's midi sync capabilities?

    Lentini has been hawking his SAW program for many years...he is very good at making it sound exciting and awesome..and maybe it actually is, in a pro studio fact you can even talk to him personally on the SAW forums...I believe he still answers about all messages.

    Now that may be one BIG reason to consider SAW...real one-on-one access to the actual software developer?

  17. Hussyh

    Hussyh Guest

    If SX2 is already inferior to SAW when recording and playing back a single mono track, why would one feel inclined to go further? SAW plays back very close to what goes in...SX2 absolutely does not, and there is nothing you can do to get it back if you lose it at stage one: the recording stage. The fact that SX2 does so terribly on such a simple test indicates to me that something is fundamentally wrong with it. The fact that SAW sounds much more correct on a simple mono test indicates that its mix engine might be worth a listen. Most people wouldn't believe that a single mono track record/playback test would show up such differences for precisely the reason you mention...because there is no summing or mix engine processing, so they don't bother to test it. On the other hand, I happen to approach all these computer-based DAW systems with skepticism, and go to whatever lengths are necessary to evaluate their sonic quality...and I always start with the most simple test and move on from there only if the simple test doesn't reveal much...but it often does...


  18. Regarding the money difference of SawStudio and other DAWs, with SS your paying for:

    A Very Good (being modest) Audio Engine.
    Good User Support, fanatical user base (you get questions answered and solved quickly).
    More efficiently coded audio application so older hardware can run just as smooth as your latest P4 or AMD, etc.
    The Editing tools are awesome and the price you pay can be well worth all the time you save on all the little features that add up to big features this program has to offer.

    I'm not an expert at Saw so I can't really go into detail about all of the features I've seen used and came across but to be honest with you I'm sure Mr Lentini didn't just pull the price tag $2500 out of his $@!%. The program has been around for a long time and all those years of perfecting all the little things I think justifies the price tag. I don't hear anyone complaining about Pro Tools and you still don't get all the features you get with Saw. If SawStudio was used in 90 percent of the studios across the country you wouldn't be complaining about the price tag, but I think because it's not as popular people have doubts.
  19. moonz

    moonz Guest


    Can you point me in the direction of some music I can download that was entirely produced, recorded, and mastered within SAW?...particularly something where lots of virtual instruments and virtual FX were utilized?

    I would like to include my ears in the judging of the superiority of SAW over most other software out there selling at one-fifth the price.

    Please don't point me to the Steven Lee group Album cut (the one that is hyped on the SAW Studio website...the re-mix of the old Tower of Power tune)...I already downloaded that a while back...the recording sounded good to me...good...but not outstanding....and certainly not 5 times better than what can be acheived with more reasonably-priced DAW software.

  20. Funny you mentioned that, check out the new SawStudio radio network there is a bunch of music which was created soley in SawStudio that you can listen to. They've also redesigned the website it's look very good.
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