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Ableton - sound quality DAW Software
Old 5th May 2018
  #61
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sam c's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
It's interesting to hear poeples theories. I've had engineers saying "yes I can hear it was mixed in Live".
That's funny. I heard four mixes yesterday and I was able to identify the DAW used in each mix. I didn't even need to have a choice of two or more. I listened and I knew. I am engineer!
Old 6th May 2018
  #62
Gear Head
 
alex921's Avatar
 

Ableton actually does sound inferior to other DAWs. Live was made for DJs and is the standard within live sets/ or by DJs. The automatic stretching ableton provides justifies this: throw a bunch of pre made loops within a range of 120-125 bpm, and off you go. No skill involved what so ever and suitable for those individuals who are lacking skills, or just need a quick fix in their live set/DJ mix. The fact that Ableton still incorporates automatic warping is beyond me when i record my drum machine at 120 BPM. With this snobbish warping technique, my whole recording gets destroyed.
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Old 6th May 2018
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex921 View Post
Ableton actually does sound inferior to other DAWs. Live was made for DJs and is the standard within live sets/ or by DJs. The automatic stretching ableton provides justifies this: throw a bunch of pre made loops within a range of 120-125 bpm, and off you go. No skill involved what so ever and suitable for those individuals who are lacking skills, or just need a quick fix in their live set/DJ mix. The fact that Ableton still incorporates automatic warping is beyond me when i record my drum machine at 120 BPM. With this snobbish warping technique, my whole recording gets destroyed.
Ableton > Preferences > turn off auto warping.
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Old 6th May 2018
  #64
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Calagan's Avatar
 

It's crazy !

So much bad music all around, and so much superhuman engineers with surnatural hearing, knowing without effort when a mix comes from Logic or Live.

A mix is the result of so much parameters : Composer > performer > sound engineer > room acoustic (during recording) > microphone > preamp > A/D conversion > DAW > plugins > DA conversion > monitors > room acoustic (during mixing) > mastering > etc. etc. etc. etc.

I'm amazed at discovering so much talents, able to get through all these parameters and isolate the "sound" of each daw...

I think it's much easier to guess which program was used for mixing by watching the sound engineer (clothes, attitude, etc.) and the kind of music he's mixing...

By the way, automatic warping of audio in Live doesn't change nothing in the sound if the tempo of the audio file is the same as the session (i.e, if you don't change the tempo of your audio file and start to actually warp it).
It nulls. Just do it and verify by yourself...
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Old 6th May 2018
  #65
Gear Maniac
Warping is 100% non-destructive and it doesn't affect the recorded audio, which will be the plain digital data from the audio interface's ADC and will be stored in the project folder. If you have trouble finding it, you can click the filename in Clip View's Sample box and it will expose the file in the Browser, or right-click and select "Show in Explorer" ("Show in Finder" on Mac), it will open file explorer in the folder that holds that file.

About plugins, many analog emulation plugins use noise to emulate the analog sound. Noise, of course, is random energy across all frequencies. Many plugins will use randomness in many places (random drift in the VCOs, random modulation in LFOs, etc.). So those won't null even with the same knob settings.

So it is pointless to claim DAWs and plugins sound different without providing the DAW project files, plugin presets, original and bounced audio. Easy to save and share nowadays, with dropbox, wetransfer, etc. It is the same as complaining to support without providing any info, it is possible you found a bug or defect, but how can support guess what is the problem and how to fix it without you providing all the info?

DAWs are not "programmed to handle plugins differently", digital audio is the same in all DAWs, plugins, in fact ANY SOFTWARE, it is literally a sequence of binary numbers.

A DAW will just pass a number to the plugin, then get a number back, that's it. A DAW can't affect what goes on inside the plugin.

"Audio engine summing" is literally just adding those binary numbers one after another, the simplest math operation.

A gain operation (like a mixer fader) is also literally just adding or subtracting a number, even easier as it is the same number being added/subtracted.
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Old 7th May 2018
  #66
Gear Maniac
You just kinda repeated what I said but trying to shift the burden of proof away from yourself.

You are the one making wild claims, so you are the one that has to provide proof.

And, again, it is easy, you just need to have the "control" file (an audio file with the expected result) and the exported audio from the DAW that supposedly deviates from the expected result with the same settings. Then you just compare those...


Also a plugin sounding different in different DAWs would be a DEFECT of that plugin, in fact a huge defect, that would hurt that plugin's reputation.

Especially if the dev doesn't warn the users of the DAWs affected before they make a purchase (even freeware devs should warn of a such defect).

Even worse if the dev makes a competing DAW, that could be downright unethical.
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Old 7th May 2018
  #67
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alex921's Avatar
 

Actually, I'm 100% sure Logic sounds way better then Ableton. That is, only if you EQ the high end properly in Logic Pro x. There tends to be a slight hiss (which supposedly Apple is aware off, but are unable to fix). So, Logic pro is also a no-go for me... I don't mean to sound like a jackass, but I'm using FL Studio 10 XL, and i think it's superior in terms of sound quality to any DAW i've tried. Look my favourite rapper even justifies my statements: YouTube
Old 7th May 2018
  #68
Gear Maniac
Here is what Image-Line (FL's developer) has to say about it:

DAW Wars

"Spend time on any forum devoted to any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software or music production and you are guaranteed to see users making claims about the superior audio quality of this or that DAW application. Protagonists will say a given program is clearly and audibly superior to another. To be frank, that's just nonsense. Any DAW application that uses, at least, 32 Bit floating point calculations (and today, that's all software), will process audio without introducing unwanted distortions, frequency response alterations or any other effect that would be 'clearly audible' so as to influence opinion. This ability to process audio without making unintended, audible changes is called 'transparency'. From a transparency perspective all DAW software is created equal."

It is a nice article, even links back to a gearslutz thread.
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Old 7th May 2018
  #69
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex921 View Post
Ableton actually does sound inferior to other DAWs. Live was made for DJs and is the standard within live sets/ or by DJs. The automatic stretching ableton provides justifies this: throw a bunch of pre made loops within a range of 120-125 bpm, and off you go. No skill involved what so ever and suitable for those individuals who are lacking skills, or just need a quick fix in their live set/DJ mix. The fact that Ableton still incorporates automatic warping is beyond me when i record my drum machine at 120 BPM. With this snobbish warping technique, my whole recording gets destroyed.
this is just confusing man... when Ableton came out in 2001 or whatever, yeah, it was a tool for manipulating just audio over time and pitch etc... i use others daws as well depending, but if i track a guitar track with ableton, it sounds the same as it does in any other. turn your warping "off" in prefs, or turn it off after you record, it has done nothing destructive to your audio.

and again, ableton had higher bit rate summing engines almost a full decade before Logic and PT.

This conversation has been brought up for years on gearslutz, and it's always been demonstratively shown to be wrong.

A tool is a tool, and it's handling of audio is just as good as the rest, there may be different ways to get to different places on different daws, but that's up to the person running it. It does not impart a sonic quality any more then Cubase or PT or whatever.
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Old 7th May 2018
  #70
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login's Avatar
People just like to show their total lack of scientific literacy.

2+2=4. No matter what your ears "listen".
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Old 7th May 2018
  #71
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
People just like to show their total lack of scientific literacy.

2+2=4. No matter what your ears "listen".
yup, but we still for some reason bite at this trope sad debate 3 times a year... not sure why right?

whatever. just know i'm recording ok, sure you are, and if some mystics hear something i don't or can't be scientifically shown, i guess I'll just give it to them...

cause I don't care anymore what they think on that, and there's stuff to be done, and that portion of it is not a concern of mine at least.

never had bob ludwig or howie weinberg or bernie grundman tell me they had a problem with something coming out ableton as a mix. sure, other things maybe.. but not that.
Old 7th May 2018
  #72
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How many numbers appear in Ableton Push behind a comma when you control different parameters? Not sure if it is two or three for volume.
Old 8th May 2018
  #73
Gear Nut
 

One thing I didn't know about Ableton is that if you don't gain stage properly (eg you go over 0dB -anywhere- in all your tracks), it still sounds OK in DAW, but then renders/exports the .wav file that sounds worse. Since I started to leave a lot of headroom everywhere my rendered files sound as good as what I hear when working in DAW.
Old 8th May 2018
  #74
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zwobot View Post
One thing I didn't know about Ableton is that if you don't gain stage properly (eg you go over 0dB -anywhere- in all your tracks), it still sounds OK in DAW, but then renders/exports the .wav file that sounds worse. Since I started to leave a lot of headroom everywhere my rendered files sound as good as what I hear when working in DAW.
This applies to pretty much every DAW now. Internally, as long as the signal is 32/64 bit float, it doesn't clip but as soon as you render to 24/16 fixed files or send a signal out to an interface (also 16/24 bit fixed) it clips.

One thing to remember is that there are a small number of plugins that also clip internally at 0 dB FS so it is good practice to always gain stage properly. It avoids any clipping issues and just makes life easier in the long run.

Alistair
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Old 9th May 2018
  #75
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calagan View Post
By the way, automatic warping of audio in Live doesn't change nothing in the sound if the tempo of the audio file is the same as the session (i.e, if you don't change the tempo of your audio file and start to actually warp it).
Right. But then you want to use the same sample in your other project, which has a different tempo and of course you forget that you need to re-warp it, so soon you realize that something is not right about its sound. Hopefully, this conclusion comes not too late.... I think the idea that sample warping/tempo information is saved into .asd file is flawed. It should rather be saved along with the live set.

Andrejs
Old 9th May 2018
  #76
Gear Maniac
I'm pretty sure it is the reverse, that Ableton doesn't clip internally in a Track, but is one of the few DAWs (if not the only one) that clips at the Master, most other DAWs don't.

I just tested to make sure, and it clips audibly when over 0 dbFS, the meter in the Master goes from green to red.

With a sine wave it is very audible. Well, not at just +0.01, but at +0.30 it is already buzzy. At +1.0 it becomes quite distorted.

Makes sense as Ableton Live is very popular with live performances and DJing, that is, there are thousands of "noobs" plugging their laptops to live sound systems all around the world.

Live sound engineers would go nuts if all those kids with laptops could output more than 0 dbFS from Ableton Live at will.
Old 9th May 2018
  #77
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
I just tested to make sure, and it clips audibly when over 0 dbFS, the meter in the Master goes from green to red.
All DAWs clip at 0 dB FS on the outputs because all converters will clip at 0 dB FS. (And digital transfer protocols like AES or S/PDIF use fixed point numbers so they also can't accept signals above 0 dB FS). There is no avoiding this.

Quote:
Makes sense as Ableton Live is very popular with live performances and DJing, that is, there are thousands of "noobs" plugging their laptops to live sound systems all around the world.

Live sound engineers would go nuts if all those kids with laptops could output more than 0 dbFS from Ableton Live at will.
It has nothing to do with that. See above.

Alistair
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Old 9th May 2018
  #78
Gear Maniac
Ah, I see, thanks. Then it is not really possible to have a track at +2 dBFS and hear it without clipping either?
Old 9th May 2018
  #79
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
Ah, I see, thanks. Then it is not really possible to have a track at +2 dBFS and hear it without clipping either?
Well that depends. You can have an individual track in a session that peaks at +2 dB FS as long as you then pull the master fader back down so that it doesn't clip the ouptut. So within the floating point environment of the DAW, you can go over without clipping. As soon as you go to an actual output (or use one of the rare plugins that clips at 0 dB FS or render a file in 24 or 16 bits) then yes, you will hear clipping.

I'm not sure of the details within Live but most DAWs allow to use 32 or 64 bit float render files. So you could render or export something in float format that goes over 0 dB FS and still be fine as long as at some point you bring the level back down before the signal reaches your converters because all converters will clip at 0 dB FS.

These days the above applies to pretty much every DAW as they pretty much all use floating point maths that can go over 0 dB FS internally. In the past DAWs like Pro Tools TDM would also clip internally at 0 dB FS because it used fixed point math internally.

In every day use, if one sticks to proper gain staging and always keeps the signals below 0 dB FS, you don't even have to think about any of these details as you won't be clipping any way.

Alistair
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Old 9th May 2018
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottering View Post
Ah, I see, thanks. Then it is not really possible to have a track at +2 dBFS and hear it without clipping either?
Live doesn't clip internally when you work at 32bit. You can adjust your printed 32bit audio file at +2 dBFs to 0 dBFs. It will not show clipping.
Old 9th May 2018
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locojohn View Post
Right. But then you want to use the same sample in your other project, which has a different tempo and of course you forget that you need to re-warp it, so soon you realize that something is not right about its sound. Hopefully, this conclusion comes not too late.... I think the idea that sample warping/tempo information is saved into .asd file is flawed. It should rather be saved along with the live set.

Andrejs
Change your preferences. .asd files don't have to be used. Files don't have to be auto warped.
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Old 9th May 2018
  #82
Gear Maniac
 

The only way to truly settle the argument - with proof would be from the DAW makers themselves. The previous post about FL studio is the sort of information that's useful. Nul tests and argument,wants about 1+1=2 are fine but they are mainly views (unless you have codeing experience). The reason why the argument goes on is nothing conclusive is ever discerned. Those of you who are convinced are asking those who are not to buy a fact based on your own knowledge and belief. I am not saying you are wrong, only that this debate can only end in one way - for the DAW makers themselves to confirm the truth. I think the hat would potentially end it for many of us "none believers".
Old 9th May 2018
  #83
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locojohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Change your preferences. .asd files don't have to be used. Files don't have to be auto warped.
No, but one needs to warp samples at some point to fit the tempo etc. I don't know how your advice helps.

Andrejs
Old 9th May 2018
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locojohn View Post
No, but one needs to warp samples at some point to fit the tempo etc. I don't know how your advice helps.

Andrejs
If auto warp is off then the sound will just play unwarped and you can decide if/how you want to adjust it. You're not forced to use warping at all - you could leave it untouched or chop the sample up or put it in a sampler etc.
Old 9th May 2018
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
The only way to truly settle the argument - with proof would be from the DAW makers themselves. The previous post about FL studio is the sort of information that's useful. Nul tests and argument,wants about 1+1=2 are fine but they are mainly views (unless you have codeing experience). The reason why the argument goes on is nothing conclusive is ever discerned. Those of you who are convinced are asking those who are not to buy a fact based on your own knowledge and belief. I am not saying you are wrong, only that this debate can only end in one way - for the DAW makers themselves to confirm the truth. I think the hat would potentially end it for many of us "none believers".
"Procedures in Live that will cause absolutely no change in audio quality are referred to as neutral operations." Outlined here:

Audio Fact Sheet — Ableton Reference Manual Version 10
| Ableton
Old 9th May 2018
  #86
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login's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
The only way to truly settle the argument - with proof would be from the DAW makers themselves. The previous post about FL studio is the sort of information that's useful. Nul tests and argument,wants about 1+1=2 are fine but they are mainly views (unless you have codeing experience). The reason why the argument goes on is nothing conclusive is ever discerned. Those of you who are convinced are asking those who are not to buy a fact based on your own knowledge and belief. I am not saying you are wrong, only that this debate can only end in one way - for the DAW makers themselves to confirm the truth. I think the hat would potentially end it for many of us "none believers".

FACTS, those are FACTS

It has been done, multiple times (quite some videos on youtube to prove it). Yet it hasn't been done the other way around (some one providing evidence they don't sound the same).





Now please provide any evidence to the contrary.
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Old 9th May 2018
  #87
Gear Maniac
 
locojohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
If auto warp is off then the sound will just play unwarped and you can decide if/how you want to adjust it. You're not forced to use warping at all - you could leave it untouched or chop the sample up or put it in a sampler etc.
This is clear, but if you turn warping on (which is what you need for most operations with the sample), it will use the information from the analysis file. And if the analysis file contains different tempo, the sample will be warped according to that tempo and may sound really ugly at some point. Worse, you might not notice it at first (solo piano recodings), but then you suddenly notice it on sustained notes..

Andrejs
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Old 9th May 2018
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locojohn View Post
This is clear, but if you turn warping on (which is what you need for most operations with the sample), it will use the information from the analysis file. And if the analysis file contains different tempo, the sample will be warped according to that tempo and may sound really ugly at some point. Worse, you might not notice it at first (solo piano recodings), but then you suddenly notice it on sustained notes..

Andrejs
You can tell Ableton not to create analysis files in the preferences, (also delete old ones on your disk if you don't want to use them at all). I don't use them myself. This gives you the project-dependent warping behaviour that you wanted.
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Old 9th May 2018
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
FACTS, those are FACTS

It has been done, multiple times (quite some videos on youtube to prove it). Yet it hasn't been done the other way around (some one providing evidence they don't sound the same).





Now please provide any evidence to the contrary.
Thank you sir.

Still waiting on the contrary evidence despite the thread counts on this subject over the years.
Old 9th May 2018
  #90
Here for the gear
 

There are MANY people that would argue there's little to no difference. They might even try to show some supporting evidence. I am NOT one of those people.

I'm well past a decade of producing with Ableton, and almost as long with Logic. Started with hacked AL6, then purchased AL 7. Began tinkering with logic 1-2 years later.

Hands down, the sound quality is much cleaner and better overall in logic. However, there's enough 3rd party audio dsp plugins out there to make up for the muddy summing bus and so-so sound quality of Ableton. As much as I dislike the sloppy audio engine of ableton, I've gota admit, the workflow makes up for it.
It's all in how you use it. I've made some great sounding productions with Ableton, but on average, those instances required alot more effort.
Many of the mixdowns would be terrible without the help of WAVES and Sonnox Oxford plugins. the ONLY thing I use in Ableton (and it's pretty damn good in my opinion) is the Reverb. Love it. Haven't found anything like it.

The curse for me is that I work SO much faster in Ableton, and because of that I have composed and finished more projects in Ableton. The other curse is that when I finish the production, I think to myself, this could probably sound even better in Logic, lol.

Ableton allows me to sound design and warp / chop / sample like tony stark would play with a hologram in Iron Man; totally fluid, effortless at times, and so many possibilities. So I naturally tend to prefer ableton when I'm putting together a tune that requires alot of extensive editing and "crafting;" using more samples, sound shaping / sound designing, less melody and more about groove and progression, (house / techno ) etc. - When I want the focus to be more on melody, or perhaps when it requires less automation and less audio editing, and more just straight forward composition, performance, midi recording, I go with Logic. There's exceptions, but thats sort of how I'd break it down.

Logic has a much different work flow, so much that it's hard to go back and forth without slowing down and putzing trying to recall the shortcuts, and routines.
* One thing is for sure. All my soft synths sound WAY better in logic.
Ableton and Logic might output an identical sample and the end result may be identical, (test others have done), but there's big difference once you start layering the vsts together, adding compression, dynamics, etc. If you know the basics, Logic always ends up sounding better in my experience.

I've recently switched my main production focus to RetroWave/SynthWave/Outrun, whatever you'd like to call it. For this I'd prefer to have prestine clarity, clean mixes, highest quality sound. I'm going logic all the way. ableton will be there for pre-production tasks, jamming out, etc. Midi editor is still better in ableton, but I can do fine with logic.

to "Sum" it all up (pun intended), I find that working in ableton feels like I'm confined to a 2 car garage, where as when I'm working in logic, its like being in an olympic stadium. lol. weird analogy, i know.
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