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Ableton - sound quality DAW Software
Old 31st August 2018
  #361
Well the thread isn't about midi.
But I was having problems with my midi timing and switched to so called sample accurate midi (via Reaktor Blocks). Now I have no problems with midi. I don't use midi without Reaktor Blocks except ITB midi, using a controller to program software instruments.
Old 31st August 2018
  #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Well the thread isn't about midi.
But I was having problems with my midi timing and switched to so called sample accurate midi (via Reaktor Blocks).
Could you elaborate on this? Off-topic or not it's very interesting. Why'd you choose Blocks for this?
Old 31st August 2018
  #363
I started out with Expert Sleepers module and software, but found it finicky and a bit annoying. Once Reaktor Blocks was launched I switched to that. It isn't polyphonic like some of the ES modules. But I mostly use soft synths for polyphony, or I play a poly synth into audio by hand.
I haven't used traditional midi or owned a midi interface for about ten years now.
Old 31st August 2018
  #364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Well the thread isn't about midi.
But I was having problems with my midi timing and switched to so called sample accurate midi (via Reaktor Blocks). Now I have no problems with midi. I don't use midi without Reaktor Blocks except ITB midi, using a controller to program software instruments.
It is not about MIDI. But it might help to investigate if people might indeed experience DAWs differently using different controllers to make their tracks.

I didn´t like Ableton's pads. Otherwise, it would have been the better tool for me to dial in parameters in Ableton than with a mouse. Especially with its better resolution people are not aware of if they didn´t experience it in a test.
Old 31st August 2018
  #365
Everyone knows and agrees different workflows and feature sets make people choose one DAW over another. So getting into midi is just going to clog this thread up. I thought it was about different sounding daws?
Old 31st August 2018
  #366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
Well - I agree it looks bad that those of us who feel they can hear a difference cannot produce any evidence.
yes it certainly does look bad. Other things that look bad:

• people who feel they can hear a difference having zero 'agreement' among themselves about what the difference sounds like: "Pro Tools is harsh, Cubase is warm" "No, Pro Tools is the warm one, Cubase is harsh!" But you know if we shot out a Telecaster vs a Les Paul, 90% would agree the Telecaster is the "twangier" one.

• those with the strongest belief in the 'different sound' are very often the ones with the least understanding of what constitutes a scientific testing methodology and the importance of removing variables. Many of them are even dismissive of blind listening. That really looks bad.

• the strongest belief in the 'different sound' is often correlated with a conspiracy mindset. That either DAWs are 'too complicated' for any human to understand (magic?) or that those who do understand them are using "secret formulas" to somehow add 1's and 0's in such a way as to always sound 'better' than the competition.

• the believers largely conflate 'placebo' with "hallucination". They are terrified that if they experience Expectation Bias (like any normal human being) it must mean they are Hearing Things and have gone Insane.

Quote:
Its such a minefield when you look at what could be/ might be creating the feeling that something is different
When you look at all the things that could be creating different results, it seems preposterous to latch onto the most far-fetched reason of all - the DAW's "intrinsic" sound.

IMO, most people are deriving their 'impressions' from plain old everyday use and the results they get. Not from tests. Careful tests show no difference, but casual everyday usage shows many differences. However -as evidenced by #1 above- these differences vary from person to person. They are therefore not features of the DAW. They are simply features of that individual's reaction to the DAW - in all its complexity.

If someone says: "Every time I use Pro Tools the mix comes out harsh" they will get no 'argument' from me. That is a statement that requires no null testing, no blindfolds, no theory. It is someone simply describing his legitimate personal experience. He talking about his results.

But when someone says: "Because of the DAW 'algorithms' (blah blah blah) Pro Tools has a harsh sound" they are really saying: "every time ANYBODY uses Pro Tools, the mix comes out harsh"! IOW, merely passing audio through Pro Tools "harshens" that audio!!! That's what a DAW having a "sound" means. This is a statement that does require null testing! It is particularly insulting to anyone who uses that DAW, so 'put up or shut up' is a justified response. IMO, if you can find even one mix made in that particular DAW that is not harsh, you have already disproved it - even before the null test and the blindfold ABX.

As to the mechanics of how it works, let's say as one example, you may find that DAW X's method of adding new aux channels and assigning sends to be a little bit awkward and clumsy compared to DAW Y. For you. Without even intending to, you may end up making one or two fewer reverbs on average in that DAW. Your mixes may turn out to be ever so slightly dryer ...Your mixes.

Or maybe one DAW uses VST plugs and one uses AU. You own some favorite plugs that are VST-only. In daily use, you don't get to use those plugs in the other DAW. At all! That would certainly make it turn out different - for you. Someone with a different plug-in collection will have a different experience. There could be a million similar reasons why you personally have a certain "feeling" about a certain DAW. A million tiny tiny differences in how you interact with the software, but they add up.

The DAW's "built-in" sound is the least supported reason of them all. And it is the only reason that carries with it the implication that all other users are subject to the same effects as you. Hilariously, their own disagreements with each other already have disproved this.
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Old 31st August 2018
  #367
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Everyone knows and agrees different workflows and feature sets make people choose one DAW over another. So getting into midi is just going to clog this thread up. I thought it was about different sounding daws?
An Ableton Push showing -3,001 dBFs on its LED will hardly null if you control Ableton with any other device. Be it a mouse, MIDI controller or even if you type it in.
Old 31st August 2018
  #368
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenova View Post
Question is, why is it always Ableton everyone talks about when it comes to sounding bad? everyone is just hearing that ableton sounds bad? seriously? just a coincidence that all producers are only hearing ableton's sound? why not logic, or cubase or reaper, or fl or bitwig or pro tools etc. its always ableton. if ableton indeed processes sound the same way then it leaves us with only one reason left and that is that ableton must have the worst plugins, synths, sounds, fx and instruments of all daws that have ever existed in the history of music. too bad that people have come to think the daw has broken sound engine.
personally i have to be honest that i have a hard time making things sound good in ableton which i never do in other daws i use. it just takes waaaaay much more work to achieve a similar sound in ableton to the extent that on one occasion i reached a point of frustration and shouted "Whats damn wrong with this Daw!!!! i exported the stems out, loaded them into reaper and guess what? everything came to LIFE. i think its also because ableton has very limited arrangement view, mixing and mastering features than most other daws so this obviously leads to a poor sounding mix. it thus makes alot of sense why the same person would achieve a better sounding mix using pro tools than when using ableton. There are plenty of reasons why people say ableton sounds bad and honestly after you have used ableton for a while you can pretty easily tell the people designing it where not really concerned about making high quality plugins or instruments or mixing features or mastering tools. even the default settings of Live itself and the fx are tune to the lowest quality possible. All such reasons make it so much easier to make poor quality music in ableton than to make great music. I dont think the makers of Live where aiming to make a daw for the best sound but rather for quick live jamming. if you want a daw whose makers where clearly focusing on optimizing things to sound great then that is Logic, reason, mixbus, samplitude, studio one, pro tools, mixcraft.......Anything else but not ableton live. use ableton for live jamming and all will be well.
Another claim with zero objective evidence provided.

I will reiterate my hypothesis that people like you don't understand maths, physics or the scientific method at all.
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Old 31st August 2018
  #369
Because Ableton Live is popular amongst amateurs and semi-professionals?
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Old 31st August 2018
  #370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenova View Post
Question is, why is it always Ableton everyone talks about when it comes to sounding bad?
It isn't! Simple as that.

I have been hearing the same things said about Pro Tools, or Logic or Cubase for almost twenty years. Every DAW is somebody's villain. If you care to do a search, you can find endless variations of this same exact thread but attacking Logic, or Pro Tools, or Cubase, and so on.

Your "impression" of which DAW "everyone" talks about is no more scientific than anyone else's "impressions" of which DAW is "harsh" and which DAW is "warm". You may, for example, be more inclined to 'notice' threads that propose an opinion that you already hold yourself.


Quote:
its always ableton.
absolutely not, it is NOT "always ableton". Not by a long shot. Although lord knows how many using Ableton for the first time don't know to shut off the defaults.

Quote:
personally i have to be honest that i have a hard time making things sound good in ableton which i never do in other daws i use.
That's a perfectly reasonable statement. A reasonable expression of a reasonable feeling. The feeling that you and Ableton 'don't mesh'. But if you say that your issues with the software are due, not to the synergy of you-plus-Ableton, but due to some mystical, inherent "sound" of Ableton; as soon as you imply that those same issues that spoil your use of the program apply to every person who uses Ableton, you WILL be challenged to prove it.

So far, no one has!
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Old 1st September 2018
  #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenova View Post
even the default settings of Live itself and the fx are tune to the lowest quality possible. All such reasons make it so much easier to make poor quality music in ableton than to make great music.
Exactly. People with little talent for composition, arrangement, sound programming and mixing will use the factory presets, that admittedly don't show off native instruments well (there are some great commercial preset packs that do this very differently), and "loops", which end these people up with songs in a sometimes mediocre state (or the opposite). Then they might blame the DAW rather than get busy learning. Ableton could do well getting better factory presets for this crowd.

As for the effects I think many do sound great, but dedicated plug-ins with a price a fifth the cost of Live, may of course sound even greater and have better presets too.

People with talent though are affected more by the Live work flow, learn to route around peculiarities, may program their own sounds or pay for great presets and use plug-ins when needed to cover needs Live doesn't meet.

These people, among others, continue to make Live one of the more popular DAWs in the world. They might not like everything about Live of course, but they've found out how Live fits into their production. Live is not a great fit for everyone though. That's why there are other DAW products.

Some people use multiple DAWs and find they complement each other. But Live is a deep product with more possibilities than what meets the eye on first launch. Personally I feel that those who claim they can't make an arrangement and a mixdown in their taste in Ableton Live are either very dependent on specific features in other DAWs they feel are better at something, or alternatively they are not very knowledgeable of Live. Hard to tell which is which, but I find general unspecific claims to point in the latter direction or the "not a good fit" mentioned before.
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Old 1st September 2018
  #372
Well I disagree that the default state of Live is ‘lowest quality’ and Ableton aim for that.
Yet more conspiracy theories.
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Old 1st September 2018
  #373
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
What it really comes down to is this: The OS ( OSX for me ) is constantly doing **** under the hood that we don't know about. and since most people are using core audio to route DAWS to interfaces they are all subject to these potential issues:

the OS may decide to up sample or down sample in the background differently at different times with different apps and audio interfaces. This is why itunes can sound different than the finder with the same file. it's going through different code and the OS may make different decisions based on this. deniers and digital apologists can get all down on me for bringing this up. but it's the reality of every computer you own. and you can't easily control it.

macos - Controlling audio output's sample/bit rate on OSX from command prompt - Ask Different

HOW does osx go between my 32 bit session and the 24 bit interface? who decides when and how those last 8 bits are removed? does core audio truncate them? maybe if your hardware driver sucks. GET IT?
Metric Halo Tech Talk #1: The digits in digital audio

Metric Halo Tech Talk #2: Fixed and floating point audio
Old 1st September 2018
  #374
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedsdeadbaby;1349649

[URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdlK3fFKmk8&t=395s"
Metric Halo Tech Talk #1: The digits in digital audio[/URL]

Metric Halo Tech Talk #2: Fixed and floating point audio
Metric Halo…
Old 2nd September 2018
  #375
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The problem with these discussions is that there's never any sort of reference of what good vs bad really is. My bad could be your good and vice versa... And what is the context to all this? There never seems to be any. What ****ty sonics should I be listening for in my mixes that will clue me into the fact that Ableton is inferior in sound quality? Is it genre specific or just an overall vibe? BTW, what genre are you working on vs what I'm working on anyway? What kind of sounds are you using? Pre-recorded, your own recordings, synthesis...?? You may like a particular sound on your drums and I may hate that sound... And that's your good and my bad. So who's right here? Does anyone even need to be right or wrong? Maybe my good is actually really bad and I don't know wtf I'm talking about?

What I'm getting at is there's so many variables it's a gigantic waste of time to sit here and even try and have a discussion about this without posting audio examples and being on the same page about something... There's no real context here... So how are we to come to any conclusions about... anything really?

With that being said, I believe it comes down to 2 people... people who know wtf they are doing and people who don't wtf they are doing. The first group knows how to get "that sound" with whatever software you hand them. The second group wants to blame the tools and external forces to compensate for their lack of time invested and understanding in this craft. And that's no knock to beginners or people less skilled... we all got to start somewhere and work through the kinks and this craft is particularly complex and challenging and requires years of experience to get on that level - especially when the bar has been set so high by guys that have been doing this 30+ years. And when you get to that level you realize it was you're own inexperience (on many different levels) making all the wrong moves, not the software.

In the end no one is going to even know what tools were used in the process. And why would it matter if one DAW sounds 0.1% better then the other? If that's the case and it bothers you that much.. then use the 0.1% better DAW and be done with it. If I don't like a brand of product I switch to a brand I like.

Anyway, I didn't mean to write a short novel but that's my humble opinion on the matter. Now go make some good music - the world needs it.

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Old 2nd September 2018
  #376
I think we hashed ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ around quite a few posts ago. It appardntly isn’t about that.
The claim people want to prove or disprove is ‘different’.
Theoretically it’s possible to prove DAWs sound different (if they do).
Old 2nd September 2018
  #377
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Ok fine.. let's say they sound different... now what? My post still applies... Where's the context? What difference are we listening for? Does it benefit the music or take way from it, this difference? Does it even matter or is it serious business? Where do we go from here?

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Old 2nd September 2018
  #378
You’re preaching to the choir mate.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #379
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Can imagine that Ableton could have troubles to calculate plugins with high latencies which could fill up Ableton's internal buffers and cause some weird behaviour in so-called real time versus a printed file. Although I think that real-time doesn´t exist in any DAW.

Would explain what people try to express here.
Forgot that I try to use zero latency plugins in any DAW.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
Can imagine that Ableton could have troubles to calculate plugins with high latencies which could fill up Ableton's internal buffers and cause some weird behaviour in so-called real time versus a printed file.
???

All of this sounds far-fetched and arbitrary.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #381
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lackatee View Post
Ok fine.. let's say they sound different... now what? My post still applies... Where's the context? What difference are we listening for? Does it benefit the music or take way from it, this difference? Does it even matter or is it serious business? Where do we go from here?
Any difference between Ableton Live, assumed to be in your toolbox, and another DAW, maybe a contender for making your mixdowns in, must be evaluated on its own. I think it will be hard to say which DAW sounds "right" or whether the differences found, if any, could be behind the differences in sound you've convinced yourself you're hearing.

One of the valid situations where it could be relevant to test DAWs, or any similar tool, is when both tools occupy the same usage area and you want more data to be able to form a decision to choose one over the other. I've done this for compressors for example, though obviously not a null test.

For a DAW that area might be mixdowns. While it can be sufficient to just do some mixdowns and evaluate the whole process and the results, sometimes you want to make sure a certain process is done right by the tool. Here meaning something you have predetermined should give a specific and measurable result.

This is a possible context. I really don't think this testing business is for everyone. Only those that feel so inclined. If so getting the knowledge to be able to create a reliable test with valid results, for yourself anyway, does take some motivation and will. For certain areas I think it's worth the effort.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #382
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
???

All of this sounds far-fetched and arbitrary.
Ableton used not to implement security buffers in the past like other DAWs. Many DAWs apply additional buffers per default.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #383
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Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
Ableton used not to implement security buffers in the past like other DAWs. Many DAWs apply additional buffers per default.
Aha? "ableton live" "security buffer" @ Google.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
What are buffer settings good for which are not available in Ableton but do exist in other DAWs by default?

Why should Anticipative FX processing be switched off for UAD in Reaper in OSX?
Or increase MIDI preview latency? Whatever MIDI preview means.

On the other hand, Ableton´s manual on page 240 says:

Unusually high individual track delays or reported latencies from plug-ins may cause noticeable sluggishness in the software.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
What are buffer settings good for which are not available in Ableton but do exist in other DAWs by default?

Why should Anticipative FX processing be switched off for UAD in Reaper in OSX?
Or increase MIDI preview latency? Whatever MIDI preview means.

On the other hand, Ableton´s manual on page 240 says:

Unusually high individual track delays or reported latencies from plug-ins may cause noticeable sluggishness in the software.
Could you use a single "security buffer" example as illustration for what you want to say here? It does seem interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
Could you use a single "security buffer" example as illustration for what you want to say here? It does seem interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean.
Safety buffers should be a more appropriate terminology than security buffers.

The UA Apollo manual says under Extra Buffers:
Extra Buffering adds an additional 64 samples of buffering for increased host application compatibility. DAWs that are known to require Extra Buffering include Cakewalk SONAR, Cockos REAPER, and Sony Vegas/Acid/Soundforge.

While Ableton has no additional settings which could secure a smoother experience during monitoring. Except to an additional setting to shut off multithreading in Windows. And the usual advice to shut of MMCSS with RMEs.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #387
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
Safety buffers should be a more appropriate terminology than security buffers.

The UA Apollo manual says under Extra Buffers:
Extra Buffering adds an additional 64 samples of buffering for increased host application compatibility. DAWs that are known to require Extra Buffering include Cakewalk SONAR, Cockos REAPER, and Sony Vegas/Acid/Soundforge.

While Ableton has no additional settings which could secure a smoother experience during monitoring. Except to an additional setting to shut off multithreading in Windows. And the usual advice to shut of MMCSS with RMEs.
OK. Please explain how this "additional 64 samples of buffering" is any different from setting 128 samples instead of 64 yourself? How does this safety buffer not add any latency? If this adds even just a few more ms of latency why would I want this? What does require "extra buffering mean" in this context?

Shut off multithreading? What does this have to do with anything? Did you mean disabling multicore support in plug-ins that have such support?
Old 3rd September 2018
  #388
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
OK. Please explain how this "additional 64 samples of buffering" is any different from setting 128 samples instead of 64 yourself? How does this safety buffer not add any latency? If this adds even just a few more ms of latency why would I want this? What does require "extra buffering mean" in this context?

Shut off multithreading? What does this have to do with anything? Did you mean disabling multicore support in plug-ins that have such support?
You add this extra 64 samples buffers in Apollo´s control panel. Not sure why these extra buffers are needed in Reaper and not in Ableton according to UA.

I mean switching off multicore support in Ableton´s settings in Windows. Which seems to help even RMEs in some systems. While Ableton seems to switch off RME´s MMCSS setting in Total Mix internally per default.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #389
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ive always disliked the sound of the ableton eq. yesterday I could hear abletons filter pulling my track out of phase. The saturation is a sad affair. I wonder if itb effects are just pasted over the audio rather than having the audio ran through them like a traditional pedal. it sure feels like a pasted over sound effect.
Old 3rd September 2018
  #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
While Ableton has no additional settings which could secure a smoother experience during monitoring..
I think we have come a long way from accusing Ableton of having "inferior sound"!

Now it is the possibility of having a "less smooth experience".
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