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Sonar "colors" recordings?
Old 30th July 2005
  #1
Gear Addict
 
wilkinswp's Avatar
 

Sonar "colors" recordings?

I was in a music store yesterday and met a guy who has his own project studio with PT and Nuendo. I asked him about Cakewalk Sonar and was told that this program is not "flat" and "colored" recordings whereas Cubase, PT and Nuendo are flat and transparent.

Is this true? Has anyone else heard this mentioned or actually experienced this with Sonar?
Old 30th July 2005
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Wilkins,

I use Sonar all the time and it's fabulous. There's a lot of snobbery in audio, so I'd chalk it up to that. The "sound" of a computer DAW is determined mainly by the sound card going in, and the sound card going out. If you want to prove this to yourself, either download the Sonar demo or find a friend who owns a copy, and record your favorite sounding CD to a stereo track. Then play it back and compare the recording to the original CD.

--Ethan
Old 30th July 2005
  #3
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinswp
I was in a music store yesterday and met a guy who has his own project studio with PT and Nuendo. I asked him about Cakewalk Sonar and was told that this program is not "flat" and "colored" recordings whereas Cubase, PT and Nuendo are flat and transparent.

Is this true? Has anyone else heard this mentioned or actually experienced this with Sonar?
He full of ****.
Old 30th July 2005
  #4
Gear Addict
 
wilkinswp's Avatar
 

Cdog,

that's what i was thinking too.

Ethan,

Thanks for your input. I figured you guys would have some perspective to provide. I have Sonar and think it's fine for what I want to do and have never noticed the coloration, though I've never used Nuendo and it's been ages on the PT front. With that in mind, thought I could be missing something. But my gut was telling me this guy was full of it. . . . or at least didn't know what he was talking about. . . Ethan, thanks for replying to many of my posts.

Thanks everyone.
Old 30th July 2005
  #5
One can certainly argue the merits of those platforms (and others) and there are a number of differentiations, features, etc. No one anwer is right for everyone.

But I haven't run into any comments I would consider credible that support the music store know-it-all's assessment.


Let's face it -- there are a lot of people out there who convince themselves they can hear tiny differences that quite likely don't exist at all -- even when they can't hear the 800 pound gorilla wheezing huskily next to them.

A couple times I've come across blind listening tests where people were convinced there was a big difference between files that ended up being essentially identical when given the null test.

People are funny. God love 'em. Can't live with 'em... can't eat them for dinner. In this country, anyhow...
Old 30th July 2005
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
-- even when they can't hear the 800 pound gorilla wheezing huskily next to them..
ROTFL
Old 30th July 2005
  #7
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7 Hz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
People are funny. God love 'em. Can't live with 'em... can't eat them for dinner. In this country, anyhow...
heh

Ok, so how does it 'colour' the sound then? this is digital we are talking about. It may sum the signals in a different manner, which MAY make a difference to low end detail, but colour? You have to PROGRAM digital audio to colour.

I have learnt over the years to never, never, NEVER listen to anything any audio salesman tells me. They are either repeating parrot fasion some chinese whispers they heard a guy in the pub say, regurgitating marketing hype directly from the company, or steering you towards the product they are making the biggest commission / percentage on.
Old 31st July 2005
  #8
He's right, SONAR does used colours (pastel, etc.) for your waveforms, whereas ProTools and Nuendo only use flat and dark colors for your waveforms.


Actually, the guy is your typical FOS GC perpetrated moron! Dumb and gullible bastards! Those guys will tell you anything to get you to buy the product that gets them a SPIF!

Sorry for the short rant.
Old 31st July 2005
  #9
I say "burn them at the stake!" for befouling beautiful artistic tools

stike
Old 31st July 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 
bunnerabb's Avatar
.wav is .wavs

The converters you use to get them there and get them out can colour the sound.. the processes and plug ins do.

The editor?

Nah. Baloney. It edits. It manipulates. It doesn't "colour" the waveform simply by opening the waveform or tracking it.
Old 31st July 2005
  #11
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wilkinswp's Avatar
 

This is all good to hear. Validates what I was thinking when the guy told me this. Thanks again.
Old 31st July 2005
  #12
DHD
Gear Nut
 
DHD's Avatar
 

I think that overall Sonar is neutral sounding but watch out for things like bounce to tracks where the gain structure is boosted as you will perceive tonal changes due to more volume and possible clipping and buss distortions. I'm sure this aint news as signal and gain structure is the primary thing! I'm not sure if there is anything in the code for sonar that adds colouration to the bus.

I use Sonar4 Producer and Sonar2 as well. Love cakewalk stuff since Home Studio8.

DHD
Old 31st July 2005
  #13
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catfish11's Avatar
 

i do not agree, at least when i had sonar 2.0 (i have 3, now)
i switched to samplitude from sonar (now i am protools hd)
same soundcard, and there was a huge difference, i am not the only one, many experienced this.
sonar had some brittle thing going on, acoustic guitars
especially, maybe they fixed it
i do not know

but i will tell you one thing that is for sure, software will have a sound

i do not care who you are, what you do or who your
mother is.

track something in sonar, download the samplitude demo, track it again, and you tell me if there isn't
a difference

like i said maybe the fixed it.
there was something about them "improving their audio engine" a while back, earlier versions

as i said i own sonar, samplitude, protools hd
this is my own experience

i first got into the daw thing w sonar, i liked it
very intuitive, but it was the sound that
made me drop $300. or whatever the crossgrade was to samplitude, this was a while ago though
Old 31st July 2005
  #14
I installed and played with the Samplitude demo.

It's a very interesting program. They do things their own way, and you have to kind of like that. But it's not for me.


With regard to software coloring sound in general, I think it certainly can -- and often times that's the point. How a given softare (or hardware for that matter) colors the sound when applying EQ and compression or other manipulative processes is crucial to its desirability and usability.


But, as far as differences between major DAW players when recording and doing simple summing, I remain extremely skeptical that people are hearing some of the differences they claim. Although -- I'll admit it -- some of the Pro Tools people are so convinced that PT's bounce to disk is problematic that I'd like to explore that. But I'm not a PT/Digi/M-audio guy, so I'll just have to view that one from the sidelines...

But, hey, it should be moderately easy to test whether or not there is a difference in the summing between Software A and Software B. Take two or more identical WAV or AIFF files, import them into two (or more) sequencers, do a straight summing and bounce or otherwise capture the results. Then take the mix files, line them up to sample accuracy and do a null comparison... whatever remains is the difference. That doesn't, of course, tell you which one is closer to 'right' -- but it should quickly settle the question of whether there is significant difference in summing algorithms.

This, of course, presumes a thoroughly rigorous methodology. I get the perception that that's something that's beyond the capabilities -- not to mention the interests -- of many of our fellow members, God love 'em. heh
Old 31st July 2005
  #15
... and then there are the pan laws applied inside each DAW.....

To make any DAW test accurate you need to make sure both are using the same panning laws. I would be wrong but I am pretty sure the thing that people notice between all the different programs starts with this and if you don't take panning laws out of the equation there will be radically different end results.....
Old 31st July 2005
  #16
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Coincidentally, I was just about to post a Samplitude vs. Sonar thread...I'm hunting for a new DAW, and I've sort of narrowed it down to these two.

On the one hand, Sonar seems very easy to use, and seems to be full featured, messing with the demo, I like it, or I shoud say I don't hate it.

Samplitude, on the other hand, is not so easy to grasp right away, which makes me not like it right off the bat, but...

a lot of people love Samplitude for some reason, and often mentioned is the sound...I was just at there website, check out this quote:

"One of the strongest suits in the Samplitude family is absolute sound neutrality –Comparable in fact with high end analog consoles. The sound always remains full and transparent, retaining its depth without tingeing.
The sound always remains full, transparent and deep. Highly-developed digital algorithms, absolute phase stability and constant use of floating point computation ensures that the sound retains its positive sound nuances during intensive digital editing. These are: transparency, neutrality, preservation of transients and stereo field, best possible receive of the signal form."

Tingeing, that cracks me up.

This whole thing of DAWs supposedly sounding different, or having a sound, or no sound, sure is a puzzle.

Whether a mix in Sonar would phase cancel with a Samplitude one would be interesting, especially one with plugins (the same plugins) and fader moves all matched identical and stuff (oh, and the pan laws, of course, I noticed in sonar that the default is 0, as opposed to most others, which is -3db, but you can change it, not sure about Samplitude, I'm sure you can change it though, cuz it's more better and costs twice as much!).
Old 1st August 2005
  #17
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Zooey's Avatar
 

The idea of a DAW adding color isn't entirely unheard of. Apparently, the PARIS system had some kind of analog emulation (I've never used it personally) that would come into play when you cranked a fader or used a lot of additive EQ. Steinberg's marketingese for several years had vague references to something called the "Truetape" system, but no documentation to describe exactly what that was supposed to be. I'm not aware of any current DAWs that specifically mention coloration in the mix engine as a selling point, and I don't hear a major difference between the mix engine of competing DAWs I've used.
Old 1st August 2005
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Hammer v2's Avatar
It's true, up untill SONAR V2 the audio engine was based off direct X. It sounded great....till you tried to mix something. Cakewalk acknowledged it and completely rewrote the audio engine for version 3. It sounds great now.
Old 1st August 2005
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooey
The idea of a DAW adding color isn't entirely unheard of. Apparently, the PARIS system had some kind of analog emulation (I've never used it personally) that would come into play when you cranked a fader or used a lot of additive EQ. Steinberg's marketingese for several years had vague references to something called the "Truetape" system, but no documentation to describe exactly what that was supposed to be. I'm not aware of any current DAWs that specifically mention coloration in the mix engine as a selling point, and I don't hear a major difference between the mix engine of competing DAWs I've used.
I really liked / like PARIS. It was/is a great sounding DAW, very..... errrrr.. "brown" is the word I often use to talk about it. It was a great sounding system and I would probably have bought one if... I ened up with Samp but I have not installed it yet so we will see.

Anyway I always kind of thought the "brownness" of Paris was from the A/D converters but I never tried importing a session..... no wait that is not true.

I did mix a session years ago that was tracked on DA88's and then was dumped into PT for some Amp Farm (trust me it needed it) and then the whole boat was brought into Paris for the mix.

Yeah it had the brown sound as well so maybe there is something to the idea that different DAWs have a different sound to them?? For the record Paris has had the most distinctive sound of any DAW or digital mulitrack I ever used so I think they built the sound into the system with a very direct idea in mind.

Not sure but I would love to get to the bottom of this question because I have often wondered....
Old 1st August 2005
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
... and then there are the pan laws applied inside each DAW.....

To make any DAW test accurate you need to make sure both are using the same panning laws. I would be wrong but I am pretty sure the thing that people notice between all the different programs starts with this and if you don't take panning laws out of the equation there will be radically different end results.....
An excellent point...

Of course a really rigorous and thorough approach would be to start with a very simple mono summing, say, two tracks, and then move up the ladder of complexity, comparing the subject DAW's using whatever panning laws they had in common.

Is it just me or does anyone else think that things like the ability to switch up panning laws is just... keen? I mean, to do that on a 3DW mixer you need to switch out a bunch of pots... a couple hours work... and kinda expensive, too...

Now if we could just get ULTIMATE KILLER SOUND to go along with all our ITB flexibility...

heh heh heh
Old 1st August 2005
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooey
The idea of a DAW adding color isn't entirely unheard of. Apparently, the PARIS system had some kind of analog emulation (I've never used it personally) that would come into play when you cranked a fader or used a lot of additive EQ. Steinberg's marketingese for several years had vague references to something called the "Truetape" system, but no documentation to describe exactly what that was supposed to be. I'm not aware of any current DAWs that specifically mention coloration in the mix engine as a selling point, and I don't hear a major difference between the mix engine of competing DAWs I've used.

And actually, CW/Sonar used to have (and I'm sure still does) an anti-clipping mode (I always had it turned off, since I'd rather know things are screwed up while it's still early enough to fix them, but there's a certain appeal, anyhow.) Obviously, any hard limiting will color the sound when it engages. It's fundamental.

I think the baseline we're talking about here, though, is whether the basic sound is compromised in some fashion by the simple act of summing multiple tracks.

After that, I think it's appropriate to weigh how well a given DAW intentionally colors the sound with built in FX like EQ, limiters, and the like, and, finally, how well it handles 3rd party plugs.

Frankly, I'm thinking there's not a whole lot of difference in basic sound handling in the majors. Beyond that...
Old 1st August 2005
  #22
Lives for gear
 

A year ago I went from Digital Performer to Sonar. I also downloaded a demo of Samplitude.

I had some tracks I recorded on ADAT XT20. I transfered them and listened to them at unity fader level and centered pan on Digital Performer, Sonar and Samplitude mixed to Stereo in the box.

While Performer and Sonar sounded indistinguishable Samplitude was stunningly better! I don't mean slightly it was quite evident. Now I didn't really do a test on individual tracks so it may have been the summing.

The thing is that I ended getting an analog console and will be avoiding summing in the box so I stuck with Sonar (I track on HD24XR then transfer to Sonar) and just use the automation and sum on my console mostly.

When I get the time I will be trying to see if there is any difference with the tracks themselves (I doubt it but I have to hear it for myself).

This doesn't mean that Sonar is bad sounding but in my opinion Samplitude has something I don't hear (or do hear) in the other 2 DAW I have experience with.

After I discovered that fact I read that others were also experiencing the same thing. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Try a neutral test as I did (OK its not a blind test). Load the same files and set all faders to same levels (calibrate if you must) and flip from Sonar (or Any other DAW) to Samplitude and post your impressions here.

Note that it was Sonar version 3 and Samplitude has a new version as well so maybe things have changed. Also Samplitude's version I tried had one lousy unfriendly interface. That is the main reason I stayed with Sonar.
Old 1st August 2005
  #23
Now y'all got me goin'...

Well, the great thing about Samplitude is that it's a mighty easy and clean install. (Their old-fashioned paradigm makes things nice and tidy in a way that our DLL crazy modern architecture software can never be.)


Hell... I was planning on doing some OTB and ITB mixing comparisons, anyhow.*

If I'm gonna do that, maybe I should DL the latest Samplitude and throw that in the mix of contestants...

____________________

* (And, for that matter, for my first five years of computer multitracking, I used my 8 ins and outs extensively. I typically mixed with live MIDI (kept the cymbals quite a bit more sparkly and kept my flexibility right up to the end) and subbed out a couple of stereo submixes and the rest typically solo mono channels.)
Old 1st August 2005
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Dragonfly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by glitch
He's right, SONAR does used colours (pastel, etc.) for your waveforms, whereas ProTools and Nuendo only use flat and dark colors for your waveforms.


Actually, the guy is your typical FOS GC perpetrated moron! Dumb and gullible bastards! Those guys will tell you anything to get you to buy the product that gets them a SPIF!

Sorry for the short rant.

He'd actually be making a higher commission selling Cakewalk software than anything from Digidesign, so if he was just trying to get paid, he's a poor salesman.

Dante
Old 1st August 2005
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
He'd actually be making a higher commission selling Cakewalk software than anything from Digidesign, so if he was just trying to get paid, he's a poor salesman.

Dante
Is that true? I find that... intriguing.
Old 1st August 2005
  #26
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Another thing to watch for when loading in the files is whether they are being converted at all. In trying out Sonar, I believe that it converts a 32 bit float file to 24 bit (unless there's a setting in Sonar for 32 bit that I haven't found), whereas Samplitude will just load the file in without converting it. So maybe for the test to be fair, you'd have to start with files that neither program would have to convert.
Old 1st August 2005
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
Now y'all got me goin'...

Well, the great thing about Samplitude is that it's a mighty easy and clean install. (Their old-fashioned paradigm makes things nice and tidy in a way that our DLL crazy modern architecture software can never be.)


Hell... I was planning on doing some OTB and ITB mixing comparisons, anyhow.*

If I'm gonna do that, maybe I should DL the latest Samplitude and throw that in the mix of contestants...
If you do do this, I, for one, would be mighty grateful!!
Old 1st August 2005
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
He'd actually be making a higher commission selling Cakewalk software than anything from Digidesign, so if he was just trying to get paid, he's a poor salesman.

Dante

Can you substantiate? My source has stated it very clearly... also, please don't confuse commission with a SPIF. Commission is what he earns from the employer - SPIF is what the manufacturer pays the sales person for selling their product instead of a compeditor's product. Lastly, margin does not necessarily dictate the commission amount either.
Old 1st August 2005
  #29
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I'm surprised no one's mentioned this, but Cakewalk did something with their Sonar soundengine from version 3 to verson 4. I'm not talking about just the panning laws, but the overall sound is improved. At higher samplingrates this program now sounds GOOD. More clear, more hifi. Version 3 didn't sound 100%, v4 does.
Old 1st August 2005
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by juicemaster1500
I'm surprised no one's mentioned this, but Cakewalk did something with their Sonar soundengine from version 3 to verson 4. I'm not talking about just the panning laws, but the overall sound is improved. At higher samplingrates this program now sounds GOOD. More clear, more hifi. Version 3 didn't sound 100%, v4 does.
My tests were done with version 3 of Sonar. Maybe someone else can provide comparison of v4 to Samplitude?
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