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Sonic PMCD vs Peak Pro 5 vs Jam
Old 24th January 2007
  #1
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Wilburguy's Avatar
Sonic PMCD vs Peak Pro 5 vs Jam

Hi all,

I'm a recording guy who ends up doing some mastering due to small recording budgets. I have been assembling master CDs with Jam, which I find intuitive and very easy to use. Toast 8 now incorporates both Jam and Popcorn, but you can no longer print a playlist with PQ codes, etc. DOH!

So, I'm shopping for a replacement for Jam. What's the word on Sonic's Premaster CD vs Peak Pro? Which is better for a Mac user?
Old 24th January 2007
  #2
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilburguy View Post
Hi all,

I'm a recording guy who ends up doing some mastering due to small recording budgets. I have been assembling master CDs with Jam, which I find intuitive and very easy to use. Toast 8 now incorporates both Jam and Popcorn, but you can no longer print a playlist with PQ codes, etc. DOH!

So, I'm shopping for a replacement for Jam. What's the word on Sonic's Premaster CD vs Peak Pro? Which is better for a Mac user?
PMCD is a great choice. The editing is actually useful whereas editing in Peak leaves a bit to be desired. You get CD and DDP support, PQ log printing, CD text etc. You don't get plug-in support (I think you can buy the manual declick option though) or direct recording into the edl (timeline); for that you need to move up to Soundblade
(there is an upgrade path). PMCD is a wonderful tool for sequencing, assembly, and delivery.
Old 24th January 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Peak Sux... no other way to say it. Got it to try to save the money on PMCD and I used it a few times and ended up purchasing PMCD.

The biggest problems with Peak (besides not being thrilled with the way that you go about assembling a disc) was that roughly half the discs that I burned had a major error on them. The errors at their worst included PQ marks at the wrong point, cd length being off by 20 minutes in a CD player, tracks not playing, etc...

I've gone to PMCD for my PT rig and I have no complaints about it... Still using Sequoia at the studio for my main rig, but in the field, it is Sonic.

--Ben
Old 24th January 2007
  #4
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Coyoteous's Avatar
 

I'm a long time Peak user and while I wouldn't quite use the the term the last poster used, I am very dissapointed in it these days. It seems as though development at BIAS has kind of ground to a halt. I started using it as a Sound Designer II replacement about ten years ago, though I continued to use SDII, as well. I made it up to Peak 2.something and kind of hung there - did what I needed to do in the OS9 world.

In '05 I shelled out the seemingly reasonable (at the time) 700 or so bucks to upgrade to Peak Pro XT, just in time to get the $399 DDP extension for free. So, I could now use Peak with my then new little OSX rig. The XT plug-in suite is interesting, but still hasn't been upgraded for Intel or using outside of Peak (except the Sound Soap plugs). I think the whole UB transition caught them off guard and their hypey marketing is over the top.

I still just use it as an editor - mainly to prep stuff for ITB mastering in Waveburner. When I got Peak Pro XT, I thought it would replace WB for me, but after a few days, I was ordering Logic Pro - just to get Waveburner. So, for about what I spent upgrading Peak and buying Logic (at least I got a $500 rebate on it), I could be on the Sonic track - but it wasn't together when I was doing this (I think DDP was just out).

That's my slippery slope and I'm trying to stick to it for awhile! These days I'm kind of thinking of dumping the mac altogether and going with Wavelab, Samplitude/Sequoia or Pyramix Native. I do intend to get Wave Editor before I switch http://audiofile-engineering.com/wave_editor.php - think you can crossgrade from Peak for $150. No, I wouldn't recommend Peak - I really wish it warranted recommendation, though.
Old 24th January 2007
  #5
Well, all three of those have pros and cons.

Jam and PMCD don't record.
PMCD doesn't give you plug support.
Peak 5 Pro's timeline assembly is more fluid (IMO) than Jam.
Jam can't edit.
Peak 5 can but is a horrible editor. (What? You want to make a crossfade at that edit?)
I don't know a lot about WaveBurner other than it sounds like it's better than Jam.

If you only want to assemble masters and have a ton of flexibility doing it, PMCD is probably the best way to go. You have all the flexibility with ID's and the fade tool is fabulous. Sonic Studio's soundBlade pulls all of the features you'd want together but it's also a more expensive app. The good news, as Jay mentioned, is that you can buy PMCD and then upgrade to sB for the difference.
Old 24th January 2007
  #6
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Thor's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Hi Wilbur guy,

I was in a similar situation a while back. From my own testing and experience, I'd recommend you just say 'no' to Peak. It's not worth the headache, and IMO it does weird things to the audio, although I'm not sure I could pout my finger on exactly what.

While using OS 9 I used WaveBurner Pro. For assembly, PQ coding and burning RedBook it's quick, easy and intuitive. However I didn't like the idea of having to buy Logic just to get WBP for OS X. Plus, it won't edit. I've been using Nuendo as a tape transport and do all my processing on outboard.

Jam is nice for throwing together quick compilations, but it isn't supported since v6. The new Toast v8 has some (but not all) of Jam's features included. I don't believe it supports plugins, but I may be wrong. I don't know if I'd use it for assembly and PQ coding, as both WBP and PMCD are much easier to use for that IMHO.

After trying out DDP (and PMCD) I really appreciated the powerful editing features (WPB has none). It can be as quick and simple as WBP (CMD-drag n drop, burn) or you can dig in and really do some fine tuning that WBP doesn't offer. What I liked best was that (to me at least, and no I haven't run an ABX test to verify it) the Sonic apps sounded better (more open and detailed top, seemingly clearer transients, more 'punchy') than the other things I've tried. I know, it sounds weird, but you might want to demo PMCD and see.

As Jay mentioned, you can't record into it or use plugins. I did get the Manual DeClick option, which is really nice for cleaning up problem areas and is (to my ears at least) very transparent.

Lastly, being able to deliver DDP's is (to me at least) a big plus. Sonic also seems quite responsive as a company and dedicated to making a great product. Whenever I've contacted them for info or to ask about a feature, etc, I always get a prompt and informative answer.

So I'd say before you drop the Mac, have another look at PMCD and see if it fills your requirements.

Cheers,
Thor



Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilburguy View Post
Hi all,

I'm a recording guy who ends up doing some mastering due to small recording budgets. I have been assembling master CDs with Jam, which I find intuitive and very easy to use. Toast 8 now incorporates both Jam and Popcorn, but you can no longer print a playlist with PQ codes, etc. DOH!

So, I'm shopping for a replacement for Jam. What's the word on Sonic's Premaster CD vs Peak Pro? Which is better for a Mac user?
Old 25th January 2007
  #7
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
PMCD is a nice little application. Ilike it a lot

I finally got - after 3 months - a demo of Blade working (as opposed to quitting and beahving strangely). Only used once but looks promising.
Anybody using the 303/304/305 interfaces (the new ones) that can report?
Old 25th January 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Wilburguy's Avatar
Hi all,

So I spent most of the day getting to know Peak 5 Pro and Sonic PMCD. I downloaded demos of both and attempted to do the basic stuff I do when assembling a CD master, like rearranging track order, and basic fade in/fade out stuff between tracks. I am VERY surprised by the results.

Peak is WAY easier. I mean, WAY!

For instance, rearranging tracks. In PMCD, you need to define each "segment" with a track start and end, then grab a narrow gray bar and slide the track until you see a blue line appear between the desired tracks. If you don't put in the start and stop info, the moved track lays on top of the previous audio. You can kinda cheat this by holding the command key down when dropping the songs into the EDL. This automatically puts track start and end info in the right places. (but causes a headache later...) In Peak 5, you just drag the track to another location in a text based playlist.

How about another basic, pauses and crossfades. In PMCD, if you want to change the pause, you can click the title of the segment, grab a narrow yellow drag bar and reposition the beginning of the track. To overlap the end of a tune with the start of the other, you do the same thing, unless you did the trick to hold the command key described above in which case you have to manually delete the end track marker or else you PQ code gets all screwy. You also have to make sure you selected all the tracks that follow or else you ruin the time between the tracks that follow. In Peak 5, you just position the track wherever you want it in the waveform view and adjust the fades. And if you shorten or lengthen a pause it keeps the other intact automatically. it even has a crossfade preview button which is lacking on PMCD.

I do believe that if I needed to do some hardcore PQ editing that PMCD may have a better/deeper feature set, but It took a really long time for me to figure PMCD out, and Peak was just obvious.

So why does Peak suck again? I feel like I must really be missing something...
Old 25th January 2007
  #9
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Coyoteous's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
PMCD is a nice little application. Ilike it a lot

I finally got - after 3 months - a demo of Blade working (as opposed to quitting and beahving strangely). Only used once but looks promising.
Anybody using the 303/304/305 interfaces (the new ones) that can report?
What's the 305? The other two are rebranded Metric Halo, right?
Old 25th January 2007
  #10
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Coyoteous's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilburguy View Post
Hi all,
...
So why does Peak suck again? I feel like I must really be missing something...
For me it's awful compared to Waveburner for assembly - I can't compare to Sonic. I still use it to edit for Waveburner and it's fine for that. Most of the projects I do are a single long load-in from DAT, CD, tape, etc. which I do with PT. I dump these split files into Peak, edit, regionize and save as SDII. That goes on to WB, where each region shows up as a track - resequence (if needed), adjust pause gaps and fades, process globally and by track, bounce and burn parts for delivery.

If I start with hires and/or induvidual song files, I still trim and SRC in Peak, then on to WB. Sometimes my bounces go back to Peak for touch ups or if I get a replacement track, I trim it in Peak then drop it in place in WB. It's an evolved, fast workflow that isn't as messy as it sounds. At any stage, my best fix is usually dictated from previous experience. I used the same methodology and apps under OS9 and I've done several hundred projects this way.

I went from Masterlist CD to WB, so I never used Peak's playlist that much. Many that used SDII and then Peak for inter-cut playlist editing, lost features in Peak 5 that they had up to Peak 4 - these are supposed to return at some point. I know WB wasn't one of your choices, but for me it slays Peak for assembly, ITB processing and delivery (except it doesn't do DDP). Peak doesn't seem to be reliable for burning, either. I don't think Peak has had an update for over six months.

I'm stickin' with WB, PT, Peak and Logic (and adding Wave Editor) - cuz that's what I got, but I smell a PC in the future - even if it's a mac!
Old 25th January 2007
  #11
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilburguy View Post
Hi all,

So I spent most of the day getting to know Peak 5 Pro and Sonic PMCD. I downloaded demos of both and attempted to do the basic stuff I do when assembling a CD master, like rearranging track order, and basic fade in/fade out stuff between tracks. I am VERY surprised by the results.

Peak is WAY easier.
It's funny how different experiences can be. I found PMCD easy and Peak to a pain in the neck. The editing bugs me in Peak, and I like that you can overlap 2 audio files in PMCD, whereas you didn't like that. Also, you mentioned text mode in Peak - doesn't PMCD offer that too? Or am I just thinking Soundblade?
Old 25th January 2007
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
I finally got - after 3 months - a demo of Blade working (as opposed to quitting and beahving strangely). Only used once but looks promising.
Anybody using the 303/304/305 interfaces (the new ones) that can report?
You say 'the new ones'. were there old ones I should be aware of.
I purchased sb about 3 months ago. should I be worried about my interface?
Old 25th January 2007
  #13
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyoteous View Post
I'm a long time Peak user and while I wouldn't quite use the the term the last poster used, I am very dissapointed in it these days. <snip> No, I wouldn't recommend Peak - I really wish it warranted recommendation, though.
Yeah I really had high hopes for Peak, bought it when it first came out, been thru all the updates. It sounds good, has a zillion features (maybe too many)... but I just don't like the workflow rhythm of it for mastering and CD burning.

It works pretty good as a format convertor, repairs damaged audio files, a few other nice features. I'll probably keep buying the basic updates just to support Bias' continued development of audio apps for Mac.

On the other hand, Sonic PMCD has such a "pro" feel and design, it could be a little puzzling for a novice not familiar with the Sonic workflow... lots of key commands with specialized names & functions. But with a little daily practice over a few weeks, the logical workflow reveals itself... I like it.

WaveBurner is super easy and logical, once you find the "bounce project" button, get your preferences set right, & overcome any CoreAudio issues... save for an occasional bug that rears its' ugly head, and the putrid green & gray color.

JT
Old 25th January 2007
  #14
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Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
The 302 is the one that's been out for a while (based on the MH labs).
The new ones are the 303,304,305 (line in + aes - aes/digital only - mic + line + aes) to put it simply.

Hopefully I'll find the time to play with blade and pmcd a little bit more. Yes there are a couple of things that I felt were counter intuitive but it could just be that I am not used to the workflow.

I always like to have the "source" top and "destination" bottom screen but I guess I can get used to that...
Old 25th January 2007
  #15
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
I always like to have the "source" top and "destination" bottom screen...
ditto to that one.

JT
Old 26th January 2007
  #16
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Damn it, you guys had to go and get me interested in Sonic again! I hadn't checked in on it in awhile. They got rid of Sonic DDP, at some point - which is the only one I've demoed, so far. PMCD and SB look good. SB is what, $1500? It looks like you can't buy it online, but only from 3 or 4 dealers in the US. I'm going to demo them and then maybe go for the downloadable PMCD for $475 - then there is an upgrade path to SB for $1000?
Old 26th January 2007
  #17
Old 26th January 2007
  #18
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyoteous View Post
Damn it, you guys had to go and get me interested in Sonic again! I hadn't checked in on it in awhile. They got rid of Sonic DDP, at some point - which is the only one I've demoed, so far. PMCD and SB look good.
DDP is basically rolled into PMCD now. If you get the DDP loadback option for PMCD, you've got all the functionality of DDP, and they also added the ability to get the manual declick option on PMCD which had originally been just for DDP and sB. And yes, there is an upgrade path from PMCD to sB.
Old 27th January 2007
  #19
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Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundroid View Post
You say 'the new ones'. were there old ones I should be aware of.
I purchased sb about 3 months ago. should I be worried about my interface?
There is a new one now available - the 304. This extends the inputs and outputd to 8 channels analog and digital.

The 302 was the first unit available and I think the 303, which is like the 304 but without AD/DA converter will follow soon after this new 304.

see
http://sonicstudio.com/pdf/pr/8ChanPlus304Ships.pdf
Old 11th March 2007
  #20
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MatzeMillion's Avatar
 

I downloaded the PMCD2 demo yesterday and played around with some tracks from a recent mastering session. I'm really impressed!

If you don't read the manual you're lost. Just like with ProTools. But if you take a look at the manual, you get used to the interface very, very fast. After a few hours I felt at home.

Apart from the fact that you can't use plugins in PMCD, it feels a lot more "pro" and you have much more control than with the competitors. And I don't need any plugin in the step of arranging the cd, because my mastering projects require multiple tracks for fast comparision and extensive routing that neither WB nor Peak do offer.

I've never been able to create musical sounding fades with Peak. And those preset based fades are annoying or did I miss something? the fades in PMCD are easy to handle, flexible and sounded just like I wanted. In addition to that the gain overlay is a great feature in PMCD. You can change the gain as many times as you want within the whole project. In WB you only have an offset for the whole track. Or am I wrong?

And WaveBurner do not give you the option to export the final CD as an audio file. You have to bounce the Project and search for the SDII file inside the bounced project package which is without any regions. If you want to create mp3s from the tracks, you have to rip them from the burned audio cd or set all trackmarks again.

So I give PMCD a big

just my 2ct. And please correct me If I overlooked some features in Peak or WB.
Old 7th October 2008
  #21
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Verified Member
Just reviving a good thread that seems pertinent to some current Peak, PMCD, etc discussions.

JT
Old 7th October 2008
  #22
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Whitecat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Just reviving a good thread that seems pertinent to some current Peak, PMCD, etc discussions.

JT
Lots of changes though since this thread, version-wise... PMCD 3 is "imminent" and Peak is now on 6... any notes from anyone?

I use Peak pretty regularly. 6 is the best release they've done IMHO (I jumped in at 4).
Old 8th October 2008
  #23
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Was there anything new at the SF AES from Sonic?

I couldn't make it, but am curious to hear if they had anything new at the demo. Anyone?

Cheers,
Thor
Old 8th October 2008
  #24
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kbshowle's Avatar
 

I've found Sony CD Architect (Windows only) to be wonderful for the price. Only downfall is that you're limited to DirectX plugs. I prefer Waveburner on the Mac, but I'm a Windows user right now.
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