Helpful ReplyComparing DAW's

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cclarry2
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2018/12/07 14:22:54 (permalink)

Comparing DAW's

There was a thread a while ago that said "all of the major DAW's sound the same",
and had a bunch of tests, and blurbs, and etc...

I took issue with it then, and I still take issue with it.  The OBVIOUS exception is
Mixbus, and 32C, which are MEANT to "not sound the same", but this gentleman
actually does a valid test between Reaper, Samplitude, and Sonar, and the results
speak for themselves.  Of course their will STILL be "naysayers", and we are all 
entitled to our opinion.  But I think the "Science" is pretty clear on the matter!
This is part 1 of a 2 part series comparing the 3 DAW's "sound"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEC_ptppwZM
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The Maillard Reaction
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. 2018/12/07 14:37:02 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby cclarry2 2018/12/07 16:16:30
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post edited by Splat Chat O'samplemashy - 2018/12/10 12:53:27


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bitflipper
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 14:44:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby TheSteven 2018/12/07 22:52:59
Sorry, not buyin' it. The test is flawed. The three mixes are obviously not volume-matched (which you can confirm by the spectral displays), which is why the nulled version sounds like a quiet version of the original mix. 


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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pwalpwal
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 14:52:52 (permalink)
hope he earns some hoohar from the views

just a sec

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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 15:10:16 (permalink)
Two things I felt affected the comparison:
 
1. Samplitude is obviously upsampling by default - this should be enabled in Sonar & Reaper too (or disabled in Samplitude) for a fair comparison.
 
2. In the null tests, the drums and organ stood out almost to the point of there being no cancellation at all. There is no way that slight differences in frequencies or panning could affect this. I suspect the timing of playing tracks is significantly different in Samplitude, to the point that it delays the drums & organ a enough to give a different phase.
 
Also, the exaggerated panning effect in Samplitude would suggest there's a slight delay in sending the left & right signals... this would be hard to do by accident though, so maybe it's something to do with how it up-samples? Unless of course, the panning laws are just completely wrong and the volumes are the cause.

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Leadfoot
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 20:04:04 (permalink)
I started my first song in Samplitude X3, after buying it about a year ago. I've got a rough mix going right now, and I have to say that there's a thickness to the sound that I'm liking very much. I'm not saying that it's something I can't achieve in Splat or any other daw, but it just seems to be something that's inherent in Samplitude's sound. The problem right now with Samplitude for me is actually figuring out how to do things that are so easy to do in Splat. Sometimes it seems like they went out of their way to make some basic functions less intuitive. Just my opinion. The sound I'm getting with it is worth the effort though.
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azslow3
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 21:41:16 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby TheSteven 2018/12/07 22:28:33
cclarry2
There was a thread a while ago that said "all of the major DAW's sound the same",
and had a bunch of tests, and blurbs, and etc...

And that thread had some right tips...
 

but this gentleman actually does a valid test between Reaper, Samplitude, and Sonar, and the results
speak for themselves.  Of course their will STILL be "naysayers", and we are all 
entitled to our opinion.  But I think the "Science" is pretty clear on the matter!

The "Science" is pretty clear. As long as it stay scientific...
This gentleman has no idea how to do correctly what he has done and that is the only result which speak
for itself. Any Noob can see and hear that within the first 6 minutes, bitflipper has already written why.
 
If someone is really interested in scientific differences between Sonar and REAPER, here are some facts:
I) Sonar always work sample accurate. REAPER by default does not and keeping sample accuracy in it is not a simple job. 
* What that means? Any waveform in Sonar is aligned with project dependent fixed sample rate. You can not start a clip in the middle of a sample, any material is converted to the project sample rate before insertion and you can not change the sample rate of the project. In REAPER there is no project sample rate, you can put any waveform with any sample rate at any position.
* What happens when the material is not sample aligned? The waveform has to be sample aligned before any processing and so REAPER does sample rate conversion or shifting. What is used depends from many parameters and operation. For example if material is just played and the target has the same rate, REAPER just shift the material to the nearest sample. If material has significantly different sample rate (f.e. 44.1 vs 96kHz) and the target is rendering, REAPER does full sample rate conversion according to the export settings, with low pass filtering when desired.
* What are possible artifacts from not aligning to samples? Not bit accurate output, f.e. Recording from played output, Glue and Render will not zero (up to full signal level!). Potential phase shifting during some operations, at sub-sample level. For signals over 15kHz with 44.1kHZ current rate some alien can hear the difference...
* How to null? Import all waveforms to the first measure. Do not use small clips or check they all are sample aligned position in REAPER.
 
II) Pan laws are not matching, even when they have (almost) the same names. Interesting that different Pan laws settings in REAPER can be closer to Sonar Pan laws.
* What that means? With the same material and Pan position, signal level will be different.
* How to null? Select matching settings. Note that "all at 0db and center" is not a warrantee you do this right.
 
Not particular DAW specific rules for comparison:
III) Many plug-ins have a "random" component. In some that is obvious (the reason for AUX in Sonar...), in other the difference in the output is subtle but exist.
* How to find such plug-ins? Duplicate the track, shift the material (sample accurate) and separately render both tracks. Import the result and try to null. If you can not find nulling position, there are some random/time dependent effects in the chain.
 
IV) some parameters apart from plug-in own "preset" can influence the result from it. Including information provided to the plug-in by the DAW.
* how to check? render one track which is known to null when rendered in both DAWs (so (I) and (II) is already checked). Do the same after inserting plug-in(s) in question. Check they also null.
 
V) each DAW has "fast" settings for playback. Some of them can be hardcoded and not exposed in parameters.
* How to avoid that? Compare rendered results only, carefully matching rendering settings.
 
----
Will DAWs null binary? No. Different programs do not match at bit level when using floating point arithmetic, even if the algorithm is the same. Null means very small difference in the signal level, close to the bit depth noise (-96dB for 16bit, -144dB for 24bit). Note that some DAWs show any deviation from absolute zero in level meters while other display the same signal as "no signal".
 

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TheSteven
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/07 22:50:23 (permalink)
I don't want my DAW to have a 'sound'.
That conflicts with my belief that you should be able to chose a DAW for it's work flow.
I want the be in control of the sound and coloration of a track or a mix and want the DAW to be as neutral/transparent to the process as possible. 
 

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azslow3
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 00:05:31 (permalink)
TheSteven
I don't want my DAW to have a 'sound'.
That conflicts with my belief that you should be able to chose a DAW for it's work flow.
I want the be in control of the sound and coloration of a track or a mix and want the DAW to be as neutral/transparent to the process as possible.

All DAWs are transparent and have no own sound. But some people, like the "pro" in linked Youtube video, continuously spread a rumor that is not the case. And some people believe... In the comments to youtube video you also can observe how they "distribute" what sounds better. Sure REAPER is worse. What can you expect from "so small", "ugly looking" and "so cheap" DAW? The next is Sonar. It has long history, GBs of content and had listed price over $500. Sure it should "sound" better! And finally Magix. It has top sound since it is "solid" and long time known as sounding top...
 
But guess which from these 3 DAWs is most expensive in reality (never has "sales") and is written exclusively by top developers without any "3d party contracts"

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jude77
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 02:11:41 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby burgerproduction 2018/12/10 16:52:29
Back when CW tanked I bought a copy of Presonus S1 and loaded a project I had been working on in Sonar.  I immediately thought S1 sounded more open and transparent.  Recently I opened the same project back up in Sonar.  I immediately thought Sonar sounded more open and transparent.  I bet I would be a good candidate for placebo trials. 
 
To me the irony is even if one DAW does sound better than another we use a zillion plugins to add noise and make it more "analog" sounding so that it will sound less like a DAW.

You haven't lived until you've taken the Rorschach.
 
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bitflipper
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 03:54:56 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abacab 2018/12/08 16:54:26
First time I ever saw Studio One was at a demonstration at NAMM. I actually won a copy in a raffle there. The presentation was done by a very excited fellow who bounced around like he'd had too much caffeine, and repeatedly stated that "I don't know much about software, but to my ear Studio One just sounds better!".
 
He really didn't need to add the "don't know much about software" part, as that was obvious. But to my amazement, most of the people in the audience nodded in agreement. Yes, they said, it does sound better! This in a very noisy trade show hall with sound played over a little PA system. The power of suggestion.
 
I am reminded of the hilarious episode of The IT Crowd where Jen breaks the internet. 
 


 
 


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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The Maillard Reaction
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. 2018/12/08 14:08:11 (permalink)
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post edited by Splat Chat O'samplemashy - 2018/12/10 12:53:47


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retired_account
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 14:39:38 (permalink)
Splat Chat O'samplemashy
Here is a question: Why do the Samplitude examples show that the signal has significant amplitude beyond 22kHz while the other two examples seem to lo pass the signal below 22.5kHz?


Looks like a higher sample rate in Samplitude. Wonder how the results would differ using Cake's up-sample feature (unless it was- didn't watch much of the video)
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The Maillard Reaction
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. 2018/12/08 15:05:24 (permalink)
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post edited by Splat Chat O'samplemashy - 2018/12/10 12:54:01


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retired_account
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 15:12:21 (permalink)
Splat Chat O'samplemashy
I am familiar with the so called "Double precision" 64bit engine, which I have used since it was introduced, but I did not know that Cakewalk offered a oversampling "up-sample" option for the mix engine.
 
That could change everything.



Yep, 2x the project's SR & either in realtime, render or both. It doesn't work for all plugins or synths, you need to test yourself to find which ones benefit. When they do work there's a noticeable difference in quality, aliasing.
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The Maillard Reaction
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. 2018/12/08 16:01:25 (permalink)
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post edited by Splat Chat O'samplemashy - 2018/12/10 12:54:16


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msmcleod
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 16:15:57 (permalink)
 
This enables/disables upsampling:

 
But you need to enable them in the plugins:
 


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abacab
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 16:57:56 (permalink)
bitflipper
 
I am reminded of the hilarious episode of The IT Crowd where Jen breaks the internet.
 


Hilarious!!!  Just added to my Netflix list.  Something to binge watch during snow days this winter...

DAW: CbB; Sonar Platinum, and others ... 
#18
The Maillard Reaction
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. 2018/12/08 17:36:18 (permalink)
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post edited by Splat Chat O'samplemashy - 2018/12/10 12:53:13


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TheSteven
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 19:39:58 (permalink)
abacab
bitflipper
 
I am reminded of the hilarious episode of The IT Crowd where Jen breaks the internet.
 


Hilarious!!!  Just added to my Netflix list.  Something to binge watch during snow days this winter...


A bit back Netflix had the 1st 3 seasons and then dropped it.
Looks like they added it back and now have 5 seasons!
Cool... I've never seen seasons 4 & 5.

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Grem
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 19:55:29 (permalink)
abacab
bitflipper
 
I am reminded of the hilarious episode of The IT Crowd where Jen breaks the internet.
 


Hilarious!!!  Just added to my Netflix list.  Something to binge watch during snow days this winter...




Agreed. That was funny!!

Grem

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azslow3
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/08 22:14:19 (permalink)
Splat Chat O'samplemashy
Rather than citing the results as a cause to invalidate the test, the results might just as well be offered as evidence of a quantifiable difference at the outputs.

1+1 = 2... At this point you can think I must be joking
But think what DAWs are doing when mixing several tracks into one output? They just summing all values from different tracks, sample by sample. When you move the fader, corresponding values are multiplied. When you pan, corresponding values are multiplied according to some "pan law".
And now someone comes and say that one program can sum and multiply numbers better then other. Sorry, but who is really joking then?
 
DAWs can differ in the sample rate conversion algorithms and multiplication factors for particular fader/pan values you see in the interface. But that difference should be discussed as such, f.e. "DAW X convert from 44.1 to 96kHz different way then DAW Y". And there are several such discussions (easy to find), note that there is no "absolute right" way to do this, there are pro and contra for any approach.
 

 
 
 
 
Here is a question: Why do the Samplitude examples show that the signal has significant amplitude beyond 22kHz while the other two examples seem to lo pass the signal below 22.5kHz?

And so you have spotted yet another problem yourself (probably number (IV) in my previous post).
What means you see frequencies over Nyquist frequency in this plug-in? That means the plug-in is working at higher frequency.
What means the values in that region are significant? There are several possibilities:
1) the source waveform signal is not 44.1, so the tester is "cheating"... or
2) Samplitude call Fabfilter in upsampling mode and:
2.1) something in the chain has produced higher frequencies, on purpose or just buggy
2.2) Samplitude up-sampling approach produce higher frequencies and since they can not be in the original signal, that approach is buggy...

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tobiaslindahl
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/09 21:15:34 (permalink)
Yea, as with all things audio. Do a blind test and come back and tell me you can hear a difference. This goes for high-end audio cables, guitar pickups, daws, audio interfaces etc etc. I would challange almost anyone to be able to spot ANY difference at all in any of these things with any degree of certainty higher than pure chance. 
There is SO much snake oil and nonsense going around the audio world it is almost laughable. Especially so in the digital realm, where things either is, or not. How one manufacuturer can claim their 1's and 0's sounds "better" than the competition is cute. 
 
People can't hear the difference between a lamp cable and hifi gold plated monster mega cables in blind tests. Yet people describe them as having more body, richness, fuller midrange etc etc. Its a joke people. I would arge that the same goes for any decent DAW, you put **** in, it does its binary job with the data and ****s out the results. If there is a noticable difference it is most likely due to bias on the part of the listener. 
 
And more imporant than that, there is no substitue for good music, melody and harmony. So what if one daw might sound a TAD better to your ears, if what you put into it is garbage. Focus on the input, and the output will not matter one bit in terms of how it is recieved. You can't polish a turd and all that ...  
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/09 22:14:56 (permalink)
I totally agree with you Tobias! People are so often fooled like that and they absolutely lose the focus. Even with the shoddiest guitar would Eric Clapton play better than me with a super-expensive one. It is really more important what you feed in.
But I think this is not only in the audio area where folk is cheated this way! Look around, you see it everywhere!

... many years before ...
#24
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/10 02:54:31 (permalink)
having 100% same tests in DAW needs to be taken partly to the maker to make sure each one is 100% back to base / bare metal.. without any of their "seasoning" to alter the sound / summing etc.
 
 
as for the IT crowd, glad you are enjoying the documentary ;-) .. the same person also did "father ted" also , if you don't know that as well.
 
 
 
 
 
#25
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/10 16:27:29 (permalink)
tobiaslindahl
So what if one daw might sound a TAD better to your ears.



That, for me, is the bottom line. 

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Starise
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/10 16:40:37 (permalink)
All things considered DAW makers only have so many things they can market. They have attempted to market a better sound with "better" being totally subjective in a fair test. I didn't watch the vid because I can't right now.I can imagine by the description what it is though. Imagine for one minute if a DAW maker could truly claim better sound by independent professional outside testing? They would really have something. So far it's all smoke, mirrors and a lack of knowledge.
 
I have been fooled by the snake oil on occasion and sometimes there is some truth to it. High cost oxygen free cables are said to be better. I believe they are slightly better. Marginally not good enough to make their purchase necessary by the average Joe. Similarly DAWs work best at high resolutions and accurate sample rate settings. You have to mix differently with 24 bit compared to 16 bit because it has a bit more headroom and eats up more hard drive space.
 
I hear music all the time from different artists who use different DAWS. You can't tell who is using what. I've heard really crappy music on Cubase and top notch music on Cakewalk or Reaper. It doesn't seem to matter.
FYI If you launch a template in CbB with Pro Channel or anything in it engaged you won't have a clean signal which might influence your perceptions. I'm not saying PC is bad. You just need to be aware of it.
 
 

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#27
Jim Roseberry
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/10 21:19:56 (permalink)
Small differences in sound between DAW applications is a whole lot less than the difference between digital multi-track tape machines.  

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#28
Wayfarer
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/10 22:10:00 (permalink)
When it comes to just a straight up mono wave file, they have to sound the same.
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Re: Comparing DAW's 2018/12/14 01:31:31 (permalink)
Not buying it
#30
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