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Ableton - sound quality DAW Software
Old 4th April 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

Ableton - sound quality

I been A/B Ableton 9 and 10 with Mixcraft 8 for days now and there is
a significant difference in sound.

Ableton 9/10 - Its overall more treble oriented with a lot of details in the mids.
Its kinda thin sound.

Mixcraft 8- Sound is much more fat-ish with more lows. Its overall sounds bigger
and better to my ears. This DAW got a new sound engine and its really quick to.

Another thing i recognise is that ableton 10 fires up is alot faster than the 9.
With maximum of clips its take me about 5 sec with 10 and 45 sec with 9. Big improvment there. Soundwise its hard to say.

My question: Is there possible to change presets in sound so that ableton sounds more thick and big, just like mixcraft?
Old 4th April 2018
  #2
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lestermagneto's Avatar
it's been pretty much proven that Ableton, used correctly, will null test with most other daws in most respects, unless you have the "warp" engine on, the audio should sound the same as Logic or whatever, I'm not familiar with Mixcraft 8 at all, but unless it's coloring the sound somehow, if you import another track or something, and aren't using any fx etc, they should be the same.
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Old 5th April 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 

same track and no fx. Still not the same sound.
The daw colors the sound, either mixcraft och ableton.

Warp mode is off so it must be something else.
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Old 5th April 2018
  #4
Maybe you are right... but I work to the sound I'm hearing in my monitors.
I just finished three mixes in Ableton Live 9 and they sound great (had a compliment from the label).
I can't tell you if Live 9/10 are thinner than another DAW, but I didn't heavily EQ anything in my mix.
I use a lot of hardware sound sources (samplers, synths and modular) and i use Softube Console 1 on every channel at mixdown.

I guess when you are making a track, you aren't comparing naked tracks between DAWs, you're just processing or sound designing with what you've got.
In conclusion, I've never had to heavily process anything in Live to make it sound right.
So, if you don't like the sound, use a different DAW.
(I have Logic 9 and Pro Tools too, but tend to work in Live and PT the most).
Old 5th April 2018
  #5
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login's Avatar
Do a null test and prove it, I am sure developers will be happy to correct any problem if there is one.
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Old 7th April 2018
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lestermagneto View Post
it's been pretty much proven that Ableton, used correctly, will null test with most other daws in most respects, unless you have the "warp" engine on, the audio should sound the same as Logic or whatever, I'm not familiar with Mixcraft 8 at all, but unless it's coloring the sound somehow, if you import another track or something, and aren't using any fx etc, they should be the same.
Main thing with Ableton is studying the warping modes.

Beats, tone, texture, repitch mode won’t color your sound until you change tempo or Warp audio.

Complex and pro always color but generally sounds better if warping or changing tempo, but it depends a lot on what you are trying to do.
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Old 7th April 2018
  #7
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlgrimes11 View Post
Main thing with Ableton is studying the warping modes.

Beats, tone, texture, repitch mode won’t color your sound until you change tempo or Warp audio.

Complex and pro always color but generally sounds better if warping or changing tempo, but it depends a lot on what you are trying to do.
yup.
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Old 7th April 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
Make sure the Pan Law values are the same in both programs before comparing.
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Old 7th April 2018
  #9
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alndln View Post
Make sure the Pan Law values are the same in both programs before comparing.
yup to that too, I believe Ableton 10 now incorporates multiple pan law options.
Old 7th April 2018
  #10
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sam c's Avatar
 

If everything is set right for the two files and there is a difference in sound, then Ableton is broke....cause I believe firmly that DAWs do nothing to sound. And they shouldn't. Pan laws, plug ins, warp...that's another story. So a null test is really the best way to be sure.
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Old 8th April 2018
  #11
Or......
You could just spend your time making some music.
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Old 11th April 2018
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Heard many many views on this.

There is a difference in sound, maybe it's just Pan laws etc, but between Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton each sounds a little different. There is a feeling of doubt about this and the tests never seem that conclusive - but I could be wrong.

MAybe pan laws are different, the main thing is out the box they are different, maybe they can be tweaked to sound the same but then there is a difference from the word go.


BUT


Why is this any different to a Neve sounding different to and SLL to an API console. They all have their own sound.

I use Ableton, I have heard tracks completely mixed in Ableton, mastered and released and I wouldn't have cared as a normal punter.


So yes, it's a debate that can be had (and should be) but it won't actually matter at the end of the day.
Old 11th April 2018
  #13
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login's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
Heard many many views on this.

There is a difference in sound, maybe it's just Pan laws etc, but between Pro Tools, Logic and Ableton each sounds a little different. There is a feeling of doubt about this and the tests never seem that conclusive - but I could be wrong.

MAybe pan laws are different, the main thing is out the box they are different, maybe they can be tweaked to sound the same but then there is a difference from the word go.


BUT


Why is this any different to a Neve sounding different to and SLL to an API console. They all have their own sound.

I use Ableton, I have heard tracks completely mixed in Ableton, mastered and released and I wouldn't have cared as a normal punter.


So yes, it's a debate that can be had (and should be) but it won't actually matter at the end of the day.
Because unlike consoles DAWs deal exclusively with maths, they sum numbers, they are basically calculators when reproducing digital files 1 in must be 1out, and when summing 2+2=4.

People think something magical happens inside, it doesn't, it just maths done by algorithms very well known and stablished decades ago.
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Old 11th April 2018
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Because unlike consoles DAWs deal exclusively with maths, they sum numbers, they are basically calculators when reproducing digital files 1 in must be 1out, and when summing 2+2=4.

People think something magical happens inside, it doesn't, it just maths done by algorithms very well known and stablished decades ago.
Not thinking anything magical happens, but here may be more it than just 1+1.

It doesn't bother me much, but there is a difference between the DAW's, not better just different, and too many engineers notice it. There might be an explanation, it might be simple, but it's there somehow. Ableton definitely sounds different to Pro Tools I have no doubt about it. I would love to be proven wrong, but I imagine there are just so many variables to consider.

And maybe I could be proven wrong... I wish the did all sound the same but when I know that for example Logic has my fav summing sound of all the DAWs there must be somethin even if it's just Pan laws.
Old 11th April 2018
  #15
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login's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
Not thinking anything magical happens, but here may be more it than just 1+1.

It doesn't bother me much, but there is a difference between the DAW's, not better just different, and too many engineers notice it. There might be an explanation, it might be simple, but it's there somehow. Ableton definitely sounds different to Pro Tools I have no doubt about it. I would love to be proven wrong, but I imagine there are just so many variables to consider.

And maybe I could be proven wrong... I wish the did all sound the same but when I know that for example Logic has my fav summing sound of all the DAWs there must be somethin even if it's just Pan laws.
Making claims doesn't work like that "I say X, so prove me wrong".

You have to present the evidence to your claim "DAW's sound different, here is the evidence" so we can take a look at it and evaluate it.

The fact is that over many years on this very forum people has made this claim over and over again and no one has presented evidence to support it.
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Old 12th April 2018
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Making claims doesn't work like that "I say X, so prove me wrong".

You have to present the evidence to your claim "DAW's sound different, here is the evidence" so we can take a look at it and evaluate it.

The fact is that over many years on this very forum people has made this claim over and over again and no one has presented evidence to support it.
I agree completely - my observations are just that - mine, but it doesn't really matter, I make music with them all and adjust accordingly.

It's a debate that no doubt will continue.
Old 12th April 2018
  #17
The only reason why things might sound thinner is because there is some phase cancellation happening in certain frequencies.
Ableton has the annoying habit of automatically enabling warping for recorded or bounced audio even if you turn if off under the preferences.

also it can add automatic fades which can be problematic if you drag in kick samples directly unto the grid (you can also disable this under preferences)
Other than that i cant think of any reason why ableton would sound "thinner".

Do you have any dithering algo enabled when you export the track?
Is there a change in bit depth or sample rate?
Old 15th April 2018
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Radical Cut View Post
The only reason why things might sound thinner is because there is some phase cancellation happening in certain frequencies.
Ableton has the annoying habit of automatically enabling warping for recorded or bounced audio even if you turn if off under the preferences.

also it can add automatic fades which can be problematic if you drag in kick samples directly unto the grid (you can also disable this under preferences)
Other than that i cant think of any reason why ableton would sound "thinner".

Do you have any dithering algo enabled when you export the track?
Is there a change in bit depth or sample rate?
This can happen using midi instruments as well.

Who knows why it is. I export the same way. It's not so much a compression or dithering issue, it's just not "summed" as well and feels slightly disconnected so it takes a little more work on mixing.

But it's not a problem as such just a different platform.
Old 16th April 2018
  #19
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Ableton will null down to -360dBFs with any other DAW which uses a 64 bit audio engine. It doesn´t hurt to control updates and plugins to see if PDC works properly.
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Old 17th April 2018
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

There are things potentially happening - or maybe it is just in the mind. It's not something I think that's easy to either prove or disprove - and perhaps there is a working/psychological perspective - if it could be shown to me I would probably get it. However I can make music with Ableton in a way that makes me happy so I am not complaining. Why Logic sounds warmer than Ableton in my mind? Why does Pro Tools sound like it's summing differently in a nice way? Who knows, I just adjust slightly to each situation regardless.

however I am not in denial that it's something simple and not a maths problem. Has anyone got links to anything conclusive (of recent) between the DAW's that they feel can be taken as a very real test?
Old 17th April 2018
  #21
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YouTube

Starting from 8:38 you will see how Reaper Studio 1 and Ableton cancel each other down to -300dBFs.
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Old 21st April 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Or......
You could just spend your time making some music.
Agreed.
Old 22nd April 2018
  #23
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sam c's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
There are things potentially happening - or maybe it is just in the mind. It's not something I think that's easy to either prove or disprove - and perhaps there is a working/psychological perspective - if it could be shown to me I would probably get it. However I can make music with Ableton in a way that makes me happy so I am not complaining. Why Logic sounds warmer than Ableton in my mind? Why does Pro Tools sound like it's summing differently in a nice way? Who knows, I just adjust slightly to each situation regardless.

however I am not in denial that it's something simple and not a maths problem. Has anyone got links to anything conclusive (of recent) between the DAW's that they feel can be taken as a very real test?
First, it has been proven...period!

You're not complaining but definitely perpetuating a myth.

Logic is not warmer, whatever that means...

Pro Tools does not, "sum in a nice way."

Please, just go record!
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Old 22nd April 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam c View Post
First, it has been proven...period!

You're not complaining but definitely perpetuating a myth.

Logic is not warmer, whatever that means...

Pro Tools does not, "sum in a nice way."

Please, just go record!
Even if there was a difference in sound, the difference would be so small that the slightest change in master chain EQ or compression would make more of a difference. The workflow, heck even the esthetic are going to make more of a difference in the way the music sounds.
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Old 22nd April 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardNolan View Post
There are things potentially happening - or maybe it is just in the mind. It's not something I think that's easy to either prove or disprove - and perhaps there is a working/psychological perspective - if it could be shown to me I would probably get it. However I can make music with Ableton in a way that makes me happy so I am not complaining. Why Logic sounds warmer than Ableton in my mind? Why does Pro Tools sound like it's summing differently in a nice way? Who knows, I just adjust slightly to each situation regardless.

however I am not in denial that it's something simple and not a maths problem. Has anyone got links to anything conclusive (of recent) between the DAW's that they feel can be taken as a very real test?
Perhaps Logic "sounds warmer in your mind" because it's...in your mind. Perhaps Pro Tools seems like it's summing differently because you are working differently within it.

You are just tricking yourself into thinking there is a difference in the sound, when the real difference is in how the DAWs are used. Pro tools lends itself to a different workflow than Ableton, as does Logic.

For instance, the lack of a single window sharing the timeline and the mixer within Ableton changes the way automation is usually done, thus making the mix sound different. I ride more in PT and draw more in Ableton, different results.


Go make music.
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Old 23rd April 2018
  #26
There are numerous threads about Ableton Live sounding dull and thin as compared to other DAWs. I noticed a huge difference between Maschine and Ableton Live 9. Maschine (2), sounds big in comparison to Ableton 9. But when it comes down to it, yea, splitting hairs. They both work great for what they do.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andfra View Post
I been A/B Ableton 9 and 10 with Mixcraft 8 for days now and there is
a significant difference in sound.

Ableton 9/10 - Its overall more treble oriented with a lot of details in the mids.
Its kinda thin sound.


My question: Is there possible to change presets in sound so that ableton sounds more thick and big, just like mixcraft?
You got me early good laughing. Not laughing at you per se i am laughing because you reminded me how i was thinking and forcing myself to believe exactly same thing around 10 years ago. I was under impression that Cubase engine is superior to Ableton or FL Studio. I can assure you and i swear i heard better track separation and more beef in Cubase.

Then i did one specific thing (bolded very important thing).

- I blind tested myself after i did PROPER testing between FL Studio, Live and Cubase. Their PAN law settings, you need exactly same velocity midi clips etc.etc. (not that important test but VERY revealing)
- i did proper phase revert test between DAWs.

My outcome came that all files are 10000% same - there was no difference i was imaging it. When you know what you are doing there was clearly no difference. Lo and behold after that somehow i did not hear superior Cubase engine anymore. It was very revealing in another aspect. I realized how much my mind and my perception to what i was hearing can be influenced by my bias and how i can hear what i expect (not what was actually there).

I wish you every bit of luck in your journey. Good luck.
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Old 23rd April 2018
  #28
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elektrovolt's Avatar
I always thought Ableton Live did not sound very good, but then I read about the warp funtions and turned them off where possible. This helped a lot.
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Old 23rd April 2018
  #29
Gear Addict
Reminds me a video of a guy tweaking bypassed compressor and being impressed by its transparency...
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Old 23rd April 2018
  #30
Gear Addict
 

About 12 or so years back, I changed from ensoniq Paris to pro tools HD.
The first pro tools session I did on that rig was mixing a session I tracked in Paris.
It definitely sounded quite different.... I did do a test back then too.no plugs, same volumes and pans etc.

Paris was a unique beast though. Very forgiving. Sometimes I still miss Paris. Great rig that one was.

Cheers
Dave
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