Sound Quality of Sonar X1

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brozobob
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 10:57:04 (permalink)
Bob,
 
What are your settings on the Audio -> Driver Settings page of the SONAR Preferences, for Audio Driver Bit Depth, Sampling Rate and the 64-bit Double Precision Engine?  Are those settings consistent with what you have configured in the other DAWs?
 
Also, how about for the three File Bit Depths on the File -> Audio Data page?  The Record Bit Depth, in particular, becomes the project bit depth when you create a new project, and if that was set to 16 while you were working at 24 in another DAW, that could account for a difference.
 
Bill
 
Bill-
 
Thanks, now here is someone that is actually working to troubleshoot what is going on...
 
I don't need people to come to the rescue of Sonar's audio engine (although your certainly have every right to share your thoughts).
 
 
So, to Bill's point, I will have to verify that I was recording in 24 bit, but I believe that was the case with all programs. 
 
 
So yesterday evening, I switched out soundcards, trading my E-MU-1616m for a simple M-Audio Fastrack USB. I wanted to rule out the soundcard/drivers as being the culprit. Same results. I also tried Guitar Rig 3, to validate what I was hearing with Amplitube. I'm telling you, and I'm not a newbee, the sound difference when listening to the same patches, within each DAW is a reality (mine anyhow). 
 
My ears have been and are working fine, and it's not a perceived difference....
 
I had an extremely disinterested party (my wife) listen, and in a blind sound test, she picked Reaper and Live  as sounding "better".   She said the first 2 sounded exactly the same, the other one (Sonar) sounded just OK.  I didnt tell her what I was up to, and quite frankly, she could care less.  I just told her listen to all 3 and tell me what she heard.  I asked, by better, do you mean clearer/ louder?  She said, yes by a longshot.  She's got no skin in the game, just a set of ears to hear what I was hearing.
 
 
Now, I'm not here to bash Sonar's audio engine....so stop all of the sarcastic posts about how this is all just a bunch of B.S.
 
Without question, the monitored audio is clearer, and actually sounds louder (not sure why/faders are set the same input/output level- 0db). And before any of you wise-crackers say "maybe you're strumming harder" in the other DAWS....I'm not.
 
 
I don't know what else to say?  The soundcard and driver issue has been put to bed in my mind.  This is an issue with Sonar and my PC, or some setting within Sonar that I haven't identified as the key factor to the sound difference.
 
What I can gather from this post is that I haven't seen a reply where anyone has taken the time to fire up Amplitube (or Guitar Rig), to see if anyone can hear a noticeable difference when monitoring.  
 
I really don't need to have anyone validate that there is a difference....there is with my PC/Software Settings.  I don't think that the difference would be that noticeable due to bit depth, but I will make sure those setting are the same.  From a simple standpoint, of pluggin in, setting faders equal across DAWS, and playing, the sound difference is apparent.
 
So please, let's have some folks:
 
1. Fire up Sonar, Live, Reaper
2. Insert Amlitube or Guitar Rig,
3. Pull up a nice clean/ ambient patch, maybe with some chorus
4. Don't EQ anything
5. Play
6. Tell us  if you hear any difference when monitoring, in realtime, with the effects present
 
If everyone comes back and tells me, "Dude, you're high", well then I need to go have my head examined....
or figure out what is causing this to occur.
 
 
 
 



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Middleman
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 11:21:53 (permalink)
Your results are not reproducible to others, that's the challenge. You may in fact have discovered something, but if no one else can produce it, it's kind of meaningless. Your typed impressions, without a procedure for others to duplicate, is frankly, irrelevant.

Help us help you, other than saying I hear it, which others are not able to produce, tell us how to duplicate a test scenario which we can duplicate.

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Jim Roseberry
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 11:48:09 (permalink)
Danny - as I understand it, enabling the 64 bit engine *can* result in better sound, at least in theory. BUT, and it's a big "but", this isn't some automatic thing where everything sounds nice and shiny in 64 bit mode. It's more to do with how complicated your mix is, what your effects chains are up to, how complex your routing is and so on. Mathematically speaking, as a mix gets more and more complicated, there is a higher possibility of degradation (through and increased amount of rounding inaccuracy) in the 32 bit space than the 64 bit space. That's the bit that's definitely happening and not a matter for debate. To what extent this is audible is an open question. I *think* I can hear the difference too (on really complex mixes), but I wouldn't go to the cross for that view, it's hard to be sure.

 
John, that's a pretty good summary of how I feel.
All things being equal, I'll take the extra resolution (effectively making any potential rounding-error a moot point).
 
Roughly 10 years ago, I was one who was convinced that different DAW apps sounded different.
Over time... all the major apps (IMO) improved... as did the quality of native EFX/processing.
At this point, any potential differences are FAR less than the different "sound" you'd achieve by using a different tape machine.  There are far more significant things to concentrate on (mic choice/position, playing, arrangement, mix, etc)... that will have a much more profound impact on the final result.
 
Unless you're encountering a specific bug, you can achieve good results with any of the major applications.

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
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brozobob
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:04:35 (permalink)
Middleman-
 
I'm not asking you, or anyone to replicate my exact setup.  If you read my post, I'm simply asking anyone (who wants to take the time), to compare the sound of Amplitube & Guitar Rig when used within the DAWs I mentioned.  Everyone can download an eval copy of REAPER, and most anyone who purchaed any piece of gear has a copy of Ableton Live Lite 8.
 
Tell us what you hear....follow the "simple" steps I outlined in my last post:
 
1. Fire up Sonar, Live, Reaper
2. Insert Amlitube or Guitar Rig,
3. Pull up a nice clean/ ambient patch, maybe with some chorus
4. Don't EQ anything
5. Play
6. Tell us if you hear any difference when monitoring, in realtime, with the effects present
You can either choose to do it or not, but I'm extremely interested to find out what you find.  I was perfectly fine with what I had heard from Sonar, because I didn't know any better until I decided to install the other programs I had and then discovered the difference.
 
Now I want to know if others hear the same thing.
 
Thanks to everyone that has chimed in. 

Tools: Sonar Producer X1c // PC Dual Core Intel/Giga/Windows XP 32 bit // E-MU 1616M // M-Audio BX5a studio monitors // M-Audio Axiom 61 // Korg
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SvenArne
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:14:15 (permalink)
Brozobob:
How about when you run Amplitube in standalone mode? Does it sound identikal there kompared to within Reaper/Live etc.? Is SONAR degrading Amplitube's sound quality, or do you feel the other DAW are enhansing it (kompared to standalone mode, I mean)?
 
 I don't have Amplitube, but I have and use Guitar Rig 5, Pod Farm 2 and Scuffham S-Gear and I've never notised any differense between their standalone modes and running inside SONAR.
post edited by SvenArne - 2012/03/07 12:33:54





dappa1
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:16:56 (permalink)
bozobob, your fighting a losing battle have you ever heard of the word brainwashed.

I dont even have to do a test I know that they sound different. Cubase sounds more alive brighter if you will. Ableton I cannot describe that one but it does sound different probably more clinical, sonar sounds more warmer or in your words muddy. There is something you have to do to make it sound more alive.

If I was working in the Motown era I would use Sonar as it is reminiscent of that sound. Cubase I would go for Hip Hop or D n B orchestral. Ableton is definitely for the DJ's nightclubbers.

Pro tools I would produce a Mariah Carey album on.

Yes they are different forget what half these people say in here they have been seduced.

I will probably get banned again for these views but its the truth.

As I said before each DAW can be used for certain types of music and I would be right to suggest that each one would be good for each particular genre.

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John T
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:19:34 (permalink)
What utter nonsense.

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FastBikerBoy
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:23:47 (permalink)
John T


What utter nonsense.


If I wasn't your identical fanboi twin I'd have to agree. As it is you said it for me........
John T
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:28:07 (permalink)
The Motown claim is hysterical. I mean, the music coming out of Motown in the 60s is some of the most exciting, universally loved, brilliantly written and performed popular music ever made. But from a technical recording point of view, it's mostly appalling. Plenty of really shocking single-mic recordings done in an untreated basement room, distorted to all hell. Go and listen to Dancing In The Streets; brilliant record in all the ways that matter, but an absolutely dreadful piece of engineering. If that's what Sonar inherently sounded like, Cakewalk would be out of business like a shot.

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Bristol_Jonesey
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:33:46 (permalink)
+1

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Jind
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:38:47 (permalink)
SvenArne


Brozobob: How about when you run Amplitube in standalone mode? Does it sound identikal there kompared to within Reaper/Live etc.? Is SONAR degrading Amplitube's sound quality, or do you feel the other DAW are enhansing it (kompared to standalone mode, I mean)? I don't have Amplitube, but I have and use Guitar Rig 5, Pod Farm 2 and Scuffham S-Gear and I've never notised any differense between their standalone modes and running inside SONAR.

This is a question I typed in last night and decided to just stay out of these never ending "I hear something different" threads.  They always end up the same because even if one is to believe they sound different, one persons "good" is another's "bad", one persons "warm" is possibly another persons "muddy", my "bright" your "pristine clarity", and so on and so on....  I'm firmly in the camp of a null is a null in the digital world (and that without the willingness to test what we think we hear (null tests/ABX comparisons of tracks with conclusive results), it's all speculation), but I also believe people will hear things they want to hear and that does not make them crazy, just biased (perhaps not the word I'm looking for, but substitute whatever word you find fitting) whether they want to admit it or not.  


Not naming names, but if you are unhappy with the way something sounds and you are simply sticking with it because you hope someday it will sound the way "you" want it to (hoping that the product becomes the product you dream of) then what happens when that day comes and all the others that liked (that whole preferential aspect of what we find pleasing) the way is sounded start complaining that it now sounds like crap - who was wrong, you or them?


I tend to think neither because how we perceive sound, or music, or anything else that requires our senses is subjective at best.


I suspect this thread will continue on, no ones mind will be changed from their original position, and we will all continue to make music that we enjoy.  It's interesting reading none the less.

Jind
 
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John T
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 12:40:40 (permalink)
I'm not particularly concerned with changing anyone's mind. I do think it's bad for newcomers and people just learning if absolute guff is allowed to go unchallenged though.

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Middleman
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 13:02:10 (permalink)
Ok Brozobob, last try here because I am beating a dead horse as they say. Let's say you are right and there is a difference. Let's say an amazing clarity difference which makes your tracks sound magical in your DAW of choice. You are going to have to make what you hear transportable to other systems to be useful. This means capture what you hear to a file that can be played to let's say iTunes or WMP. That file will not contain a better or different sound if exported to a standard wave file and compared to Sonar. I think the null test proves that. The better sounding tracks in Reaper or whatever will always be put through a summing process which does not produce a file any different than Sonar except for random variations which Noel pointed out.

The only possible impact is your EQ choices in mixing so here we have a possible test bed. Mix the track to the best of your ability in Sonar and then in Reaper with the same plug ins. If there was an amazing difference in your approach and results. I am totally in your camp.

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John T
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 13:11:17 (permalink)
Well... his point that with everything flat and untreated, there's a difference right away. I suspect this is down to some unaccounted for factor, myself, but this is presumably why he's asking someone to try out the steps he's described, in order to try to figure out what that might be. Seems reasonable enough to me.

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Middleman
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 13:24:29 (permalink)
If I had that software, I would.

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Rain
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 13:46:44 (permalink)
Dappa1


bozobob, your fighting a losing battle have you ever heard of the word brainwashed.

I dont even have to do a test I know that they sound different. Cubase sounds more alive brighter if you will. Ableton I cannot describe that one but it does sound different probably more clinical, sonar sounds more warmer or in your words muddy. There is something you have to do to make it sound more alive.

If I was working in the Motown era I would use Sonar as it is reminiscent of that sound. Cubase I would go for Hip Hop or D n B orchestral. Ableton is definitely for the DJ's nightclubbers.

Pro tools I would produce a Mariah Carey album on.

Yes they are different forget what half these people say in here they have been seduced.

I will probably get banned again for these views but its the truth.

As I said before each DAW can be used for certain types of music and I would be right to suggest that each one would be good for each particular genre.



Actually, it'd be funny to test that claim.

Maybe I could just download a few audio files off the internet, put them into Studio One and Logic and render them, and we'd see which sounds more analog, which one is better for punk and which one is better for jazz... I wish I still had Cubase installed.


I know for starters that I can duplicate the same mix in both as I already did, with each of them running side by side on the same machine. Though the results were different at first, the only reason was that the software induced a different workflow and I'd taken different decisions in a different order. Even using some of their respective plug-ins - it was surprising how close I could get. 



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John T
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 13:53:38 (permalink)
Well, you don't even have to do a test when you know they sound different.

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Peter Morrison
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:00:12 (permalink)
When you are working long hours on a project, the last thing you need is a clinical sound, but it's horses for courses. I use Tannoy speakers because I can work with them all day or night with little fatigue. Sonar to me has the same quality. It works for me.

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brozobob
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:19:35 (permalink)
John T, you hit the nail on the head.  I do think it may be some unaccounted factor, but I don't see what it could be.  Maybe it's the way Sonar handles these VST's, maybe not.
 
As you restated, my issue is with the immediate difference in sound (while monitoring)...with everything flat, levels exactly the same. 
 
That's why I'm asking if others can run the test on different DAWS wth  Amplitube or Guitar Rig. 
 
To Dappa1, I'm not sure I buy the all DAW's sound different.  On my PC, Live and REAPER produce the exact same results when I'm monitoring....the sound is identially crystal clear.  There is much clearer note definition.  Sonar is the exception among the 3.  
 
Again, this isn't meant to be a battle between DAWs; is about finding out weather others are/have noticed a substantial difference in sound with the combination of these programs; I'm not trying to win some battle.
 
I didn't wake up one day and say, "Hey, I think Sonar sounds like crap, so I'll try another DAW"  This was stumbled upon...and I was shocked with how different (in a good way) these plugins sounded in REAPER & LIVE.
 
As far as some folks saying, "Just use whatever sounds good to you if you're not happy with Sonar", that's not good enough.
I've made a large investment with Cakewalk, and would like to continue using the product....if I can root out what's causing the differences I'm experiencing.
 
 What PO's me is closed-minded people who dig their heels in to defend their product of choice.  Relax, I'm not trying to tell everyone to stop using Sonar. 
 
Also, for those who want to poo-poo my claim, I'm not interested in your opinion.  I'm looking for those folks who may have stumbled upon the same findings I have.  Guitar Rig 4 LE comes with Sonar X1, and REAPER is available as a free download for evalutaion.  Give it a shot and tell me what you think.  
 
All of this other stuff is just conjecture.
 
 

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Brando
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:49:23 (permalink)
brozobob


John T, you hit the nail on the head.  I do think it may be some unaccounted factor, but I don't see what it could be.  Maybe it's the way Sonar handles these VST's, maybe not.
 
As you restated, my issue is with the immediate difference in sound (while monitoring)...with everything flat, levels exactly the same. 
 
That's why I'm asking if others can run the test on different DAWS wth  Amplitube or Guitar Rig. 
 
To Dappa1, I'm not sure I buy the all DAW's sound different.  On my PC, Live and REAPER produce the exact same results when I'm monitoring....the sound is identially crystal clear.  There is much clearer note definition.  Sonar is the exception among the 3.  
 
Again, this isn't meant to be a battle between DAWs; is about finding out weather others are/have noticed a substantial difference in sound with the combination of these programs; I'm not trying to win some battle.
 
I didn't wake up one day and say, "Hey, I think Sonar sounds like crap, so I'll try another DAW"  This was stumbled upon...and I was shocked with how different (in a good way) these plugins sounded in REAPER & LIVE.
 
As far as some folks saying, "Just use whatever sounds good to you if you're not happy with Sonar", that's not good enough.
I've made a large investment with Cakewalk, and would like to continue using the product....if I can root out what's causing the differences I'm experiencing.
 
 What PO's me is closed-minded people who dig their heels in to defend their product of choice.  Relax, I'm not trying to tell everyone to stop using Sonar. 
 
Also, for those who want to poo-poo my claim, I'm not interested in your opinion.  I'm looking for those folks who may have stumbled upon the same findings I have.  Guitar Rig 4 LE comes with Sonar X1, and REAPER is available as a free download for evalutaion.  Give it a shot and tell me what you think.  
 
All of this other stuff is just conjecture.
 
 
Brozobob - do you have access to a sound meter? I would be very curious if there is a db difference between the 3 DAWs with SONAR being the outlier. This again would point to a pan law or fundamental metering difference as the root cause of what you are hearing. I know you perceive it as a clarity issue, but loudness plays a large role (as I am sure you know) in how something is perceived. I can imagine it would be difficult to make apples-to-apples-to-apples comparisons among 3 DAWs no matter how selective you are in plug selection, etc. 
I am not in anyway denying that what you are hearing is real on your system, and I appreciate your bringing it forward. Hopefully someone will take you up on the suggestion. Personally I don't want to load up my DAW with a lot of other apps as I have it working fine for my needs right now with SONAR.



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bvideo
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:53:10 (permalink)
"I asked, by better, do you mean clearer/ louder? She said, yes by a longshot." -- this is a clue. Some listeners base their preferences on a difference in volume. Some Sonar users have been fooled in various ways by the setting of the "Main Out" sliders, which usually should stay at '0' and be ignored.
Chregg
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:54:17 (permalink)
ive got quite a few pro tools sessions kicking around, i own both sonar x1 exp and cubase 5, think am gonna mix those sessions with the exact same settings (plug-ins pan law the lot) to see if i can throw my 2 pence worth in,,,,, apart from that i think cubase a sonar sound different, but have never really been able to put my finger on it, if any mix i do sounds muddy in either app, its cuz of my room enviroment and engineering skills !!!
Chregg
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 14:55:42 (permalink)
cuz basicaly my bedroom is ma studio
strikinglyhandsome1
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 15:05:00 (permalink)
I've been listening to this thread and it sounds the same in Firefox, IE and Chrome.
Jimbo 88
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 15:25:27 (permalink)
No...it's a lot muddier in IE...go check it.
strikinglyhandsome1
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 15:32:19 (permalink)
With all due respect Jimbo to actually compare threads in browsers you need to use exactly the same thread source in all browsers tested, otherwise the findings are mere opinion. If you're doing this and attempting to null the said thread then you'd have a reasonable, scientific test. If you're basing it off of 'opinion' or, 'experience', then there are many other factors involved such as floating orbs, quantum physics and chocolate chip ice-cream.
cliffsp8
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 15:36:13 (permalink)

@brozobob

I'm guessing it's something to do with how the input monitoring is set up. 
I played a recorded file of a guitar in Sonar and in Studio One and they sounded exactly the same (after ensuring the pan law is the same  - S1 uses -3db centre) when playing back through the same output on my RME FFUC. 

Then I inserting a Guitar Rig 4 preset into the tracks in the two DAWs - I used the Sultans of Pop preset, as you suggested a clean setting. Listening again the two tracks sounded just the same - definitely no level difference, or tonal differences for that matter.

So that just leaves the live playing and input monitoring a\s a factor.

Do you have any ASIO input monitoring going on in the non-SONAR DAWs? SONAR does not support it.

On a clean preset a bit of ASIO monitoring (or in the interface monitoring) would add to the processed signal and appear to make the sound louder.

Cliff 

DAW: W10 x64 Q6600, Intel MB, 4G Ram, 2x500GB 7200, 1x1TB 7200, 
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Noel Borthwick [Cakewalk]
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 15:56:44 (permalink)
That's a brilliant theory. I assume you mean ASIO direct monitoring..

Noel Borthwick
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JazzSinger
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 16:20:22 (permalink)
@brozobob: Do please look what I said in a previous post. See also what bvideo said. (edit: and cliffsp8)
 
You cannot test this "live" because the signal level at the input to the amp sim plug must be the same for the test to be meaningful.
 
If you don't, you are simply causing different amounts of overdrive, the more the muddier.
 
You must play a clean track into a DAW, then play that recording back into the amp sim plugs on all DAWs you are testing.
post edited by JazzSinger - 2012/03/07 16:32:04
bitflipper
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Re:Sound Quality of Sonar X1 2012/03/07 16:24:00 (permalink)
As I said before each DAW can be used for certain types of music and I would be right to suggest that each one would be good for each particular genre.

Dappa1, I for one hope you don't get banned. You can always be counted on to liven a conversation, even if it's just to get John T's blood boiling.


However, in an old thread you wrote that "Pop music is rubbish so is folk and country i do not know why those styles of music exist total rubbish if you ask me!". Makes me doubt your qualification to comment on specific genres. I'm guessing your music is 100% synthesized (not that there's anything wrong with that!),  in which case any DAW-specific coloration in the audio engine, even if it existed, would be irrelevant.


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

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