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Is there a sound difference in various DAW's ? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 11th September 2008
  #61
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Timur Born's Avatar
 

Here some screenshots that demonstrate how the plugin-engine and looping-method can have considerable influence on the sound. I really wonder that all discussions around comparing DAW sounds usually concentrate on the summing engines only?!

Ni Battery 3, original audio-clip looped as "Follow Action" vs original audio-clip looped with via Warp at original tempo (no timestretching happening! also Live's internal mono plugin on track 2 has no influence on the timing) vs same audio-sample via Battery VSTi:


NI FM8, 2 voices polyphony of the init sinus-tone, PEAK values:

1. after a few minutes in Reaper, 2. after a few minutes with 32 samples Plugin Buffer in Live, 3. after a few minutes with 1024 samples Plugin Buffers in Live


UHE Podolski, 1 voice monophone, PEAK values:

1. constant in Reaper, 2. after a few seconds in Live, 3. after a few minutes in Live (the peaks of around +2dB are sporadically happening and easily audible):
Old 11th September 2008
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
2. The one-man-band which I joined...
- strains of Steven Wright... heh
Old 11th September 2008
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyoteous View Post
- strains of Steven Wright... heh
Old 11th September 2008
  #64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
2. The one-man-band which I joined uses it for years for both recording and live performances.
This may be a funny question, but just how many people are in this "one-man-band?"
Old 11th September 2008
  #65
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I agree that different warp methods in live change the sound, all timestretching does. Realtime timestretch wont sound as good as off-line timestretch, but it will allways have a sound AFAIK. When I use Live I use pitch as warp method, then there is no timestretching going on at all.
Old 11th September 2008
  #66
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Fredrik, sorry but you misunderstood my post. I was not talking about timestreching, I was talking about looping. Live offers three ways to loop an audio-clip that do not involve any timestrechting at all:

1. Session View: "Follow Actions" allow you to have a clip restart after a set length of bars.

2. Session View: "Warp Loop" allows you to define a loop-region, either part of the clip or the whole clip to be looped. Eventhough you need to enable Warp mode for that there is no timestretching happening as long as your song-tempo equals the clip-tempo and you use any warp-mode except "Complex".

3. Arrangement View: Define a loop-region and enable the song-loop function to loop a part of the arrangement.

In my post I was talking about methods 1. and 2. compared to each other and compared to playing a sample-triggering midi-loop with Battery 3.

Additionally I demonstrated that VST synthesizers' output (not sample-related at all) are also affected by different DAW settings and different DAW engines.
Old 11th September 2008
  #67
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Ok, yes I did. But how do you know that it´s not the metering that is flawed or less than 100% accurate?
Old 11th September 2008
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik View Post
Ok, yes I did. But how do you know that it´s not the metering that is flawed or less than 100% accurate?
No offence meant about the warp thing, just clarification.

I know that it's not a flaw of the meters because the meters only acknowledge what my ears already hear!

Also any flaw of the meters should happen to any track the same as long as it measures the audio output of that track. Or at least mostly be down to track numbers/ordering if it's a problem of serial calculation and not to what kind of playback you use on that track.
Old 11th September 2008
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
No offence meant about the warp thing, just clarification.

I know that it's not a flaw of the meters because the meters only acknowledge what my ears already hear!

Also any flaw of the meters should happen to any track the same as long as it measures the audio output of that track. Or at least mostly be down to track numbers/ordering if it's a problem of serial calculation and not to what kind of playback you use on that track.
No problem,

I think that if there are any approximations or tradeoffs going on it´s more likely that it would occur in the GUI than in the audio.

Also, at 32 sample buffer it might also be artifacts resulting from the low buffer.

Why dont you just bounce the output, normalize all the files to the same value and try the old phase flip trick?
Old 11th September 2008
  #70
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I did all the tricks, these were the results. The engine produces timing-shifts which in result affect the sound. That was my whole point here:

Not only summing, calculations and pan-law stuff should be taken into account but also how the engine handles different playback situations and external plugins. If the same plugins can sound different when using different DAWs then it doesn't necessarily mean one DAW's mixer is different from another's. So only putting some audio-clips into different DAWs to compare their mixing might not be suffient to find out why one seems to sound different to the other in practice (I'm deliberately writing "different" instead of better or worse).

I also believe that the timing-problems I described can be far more audible (like with the 1/16 example) than any differences between 32 to 64 bit floating-point or 48 bit fixed-point engines. Some people even keep thinking that some DAWs sound better because they emulate analog mixing behavior (my own band-mate things so). There is alot of misconceptions in many people's head when it comes to digital audio.

Here's is a nice older thread that deals with the differences of digital engines (especially in plugins) when it comes to overhead/clipping/analog distortion and how DACs are linked to that as well:

Recording Signals, - 18dbfs??
Old 11th September 2008
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timur View Post
I did all the tricks, these were the results. The engine produces timing-shifts which in result affect the sound. That was my whole point here:

Not only summing, calculations and pan-law stuff should be taken into account but also how the engine handles different playback situations and external plugins. If the same plugins can sound different when using different DAWs then it doesn't necessarily mean one DAW's mixer is different from another's. So only putting some audio-clips into different DAWs to compare their mixing might not be suffient to find out why one seems to sound different to the other in practice (I'm deliberately writing "different" instead of better or worse).
I get your point. But to me it doesn´t matter. If there is an error that affect soundquality I don´t care if it´s in the summing or elsewhere. And any errors no matter where they occur would show up in the phase reversal test.

Why would timing shifts affect the peak value? How do you know that there is timing shifts?

Also could you post the session?
Old 11th September 2008
  #72
There are far more important things going on in the realm of audio engineering and production, to worry about the .000000000000001% difference between a digital mix engine. Your converters are FAR more important to the end result than the DAW is. Certainly there are differences in mix engines, and it does come down to the "sound" of the box, like anything in audio equipment, but I assure you, its the least of your worries.

With that said, that .000000000000001% difference in sound quality, is enough information for me to make my choice for "whatever works" and should be enough information for you to make your decision. Just make your decision an educated one, instead following instruction from the "sheepherder", who will more than likely send you out on the path to the "sheep shredder" in hopes of making some "sheep herding" dough off your well groomed sheep coat.
Old 11th September 2008
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
There are far more important things going on in the realm of audio engineering and production, to worry about the .000000000000001% difference between a digital mix engine. Your converters are FAR more important to the end result than the DAW is. Certainly there are differences in mix engines, and it does come down to the "sound" of the box, like anything in audio equipment, but I assure you, its the least of your worries.

With that said, that .000000000000001% difference in sound quality, is enough information for me to make my choice for "whatever works" and should be enough information for you to make your decision. Just make your decision an educated one, instead following instruction from the "sheepherder", who will more than likely send you out on the path to the "sheep shredder" in hopes of making some "sheep herding" dough off your well groomed sheep coat.
I´m well aware of that. But in respect to some tests that have shown that there are no difference at all it might be interesting for the sake of argument. But perhaps it´s better as you say to just leave it where it is and just move on. :-)
Old 11th September 2008
  #74
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Quite true Adam, but some thing in digital can affect sound even more than converters. At least I don't find any of my four audio-interfaces make a straight beat "swing" or modulate like I can make Live doing on my external plugins' audio-output so the digital messing is far more audible than the difference between the four converters.

Fredrik, I could provide you with all that informations, but we are starting to hijack the thread and I don't see much benefit in it. I made my point how sound can be affected within different DAWs from other sources than summing.

PS: The different peaks are not only due to timing-shifts, but also due to other errors happening (like I wrote before some methods cancel/phase-invert/nullify Hold, Sustain and Decay while showing different Attacks). Still some of the peaks happen because of the modulation happening from dynamically shifting attacks when playing a polyphone instrument like with the FM8 example. In these cases the polyphone voices are layered/summed differently because of the timing shifts.
Old 11th September 2008
  #75
Obviously any product can have bugs, and those bugs will 'affect' the sound, but I think that when we talk about differences in sounds between DAWs we'd normally be talking about intentional ones, not bugs.

If your DAW happens to have a beat machine or sequencer or something built into it, you could reasonably include that in the equation. But when people talk about the 'sound' of a DAW, I think that most people are looking at the parts of a DAW that correspond to a mixing console, and comparing that to the results gotten from an actual mixing console. They aren't including the various other accoutrement that might go with a DAW. A step sequencer or loop processor is really more of an add-on, even if it happens to be built into the DAW product.

Since EQs and compressors aren't built into a DAW as they are with a console (well, I guess in a non-modular console anyway), all you are left with is the summing engine really, in that comparison with mixing through an analog console.

Any reasonably competent DAW should perform so similarly that, as mentioned, it would be among the last things you should worry about, down below dandruff and whether your butt looks too big in those jeans.

The plugs and how they process the sound will likely have way more influence on the results. If you have a nice 64 bit summing engine, but some plug you use on almost every track reduces the data to 24 bit fixed point as it passes through the plug, then that's going to reduce the benefits. Products like Izotope that process data in that 64 bit format will be at the other end of the spectrum probably.

I guess Waves stuff bring it down to 48 bit fixed point? Is their stuff fixed point even when used on platforms like SONAR that have floating point engines?
Old 11th September 2008
  #76
I think we can safely say that it matters what you do with the engine and before it, not what the engine does itself. All digital mix engines add nothing, as far as I can tell, to the harmonic content of the audio.

Therefore you need to be aware of how you are mixing/summing/mashing/effecting/recording/and living inside your DAW, just like an analog console and a tape machine. Your Music belongs to you, not the digital summing buss.

This is a stupid thread and I'm done.
Old 11th September 2008
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
Obviously any product can have bugs, and those bugs will 'affect' the sound, but I think that when we talk about differences in sounds between DAWs we'd normally be talking about intentional ones, not bugs.
Question is wether you can speak of bugs when comparing how different DAW/plugin-engines handle plugin-latency differently?!

Using plugins is just one way of "plugging some instrument or effect into the console". In theory it should work the same with all DAWs since we have standards for that (VST/AU), but in practice it different with all DAWs. I am quite sure that the different ways of how individual DAWs handle plugins are among the major sources of why DAWs would sound different to each other at all. That is, if they do and if it's not because of the DAU in front of the DAW.
Old 11th September 2008
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Realtime, not bounce? Your reasoning?
This is where I hear an audible difference in sound

Also I should have said 24+ tracks WITH PLUGINS........
I notice a degrading sound quality the more plugins I add
within some daws.

Bugs? poorly written code? no matter I hear a difference
Old 11th September 2008
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
This is where I hear an audible difference in sound

Also I should have said 24+ tracks WITH PLUGINS........
I notice a degrading sound quailty the more plugins I add
within some daws.

Bugs? poorly written code? no matter I hear a difference
me too

but we´re insane, cause its all the same 0 and 1 code...
Old 11th September 2008
  #80
Quote:
Question is wether you can speak of bugs when comparing how different DAW/plugin-engines handle plugin-latency differently?!
SONAR seems to handle delay compensation correctly, AFAIK. It certainly seems to for any of my uses. I'm not sure what leeway there is on that front. It's either right, or it's a bug that should be fixed, isn't it?

Quote:
Also I should have said 24+ tracks WITH PLUGINS........ I notice a degrading sound quailty the more plugins I add within some daws.
There again, if that's true, it has to be a bug. The DAW passes the plugin to process and the plugin passes it back. If the same plugin sounds different on different DAWs, then something is broken.

If you aren't talking about the same plugins, then I'd imagine it's just the plugin. They all process the data in some way. Some do it better than others. If you have lots of ones that aren't doing it so well, it probably should be expected that it would degrade the sound.
Old 12th September 2008
  #81
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all feed foreward vca units sound the same, its just analog?
There´s no SR and bit depth difference?

sorry for sarcasm, but the mystery starts when you programm a simple filter.
A seroius recording/mixing/etc. software is a hill to climb.
Why is it common speech that they all sound same, cause they are 1 and 0s, while discussing the minimal differences in hardware, which is just x +y ?

please don´t take this as an attack, its just that i can´t understand it and i havent go tthe smartness of a native speaker

peace
Old 12th September 2008
  #82
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post

When you right code you assume in good faith that...

Warning: Genius on board.
Old 12th September 2008
  #83
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midy's Avatar
 

hello ,
can you read this post and tell what you think about :

Difference in sound of PT playback vs sound of PT input

thanks
thierry
Old 12th September 2008
  #84
Gear Maniac
 

just in case anybody hasn't mentioned it yet...

Pan Laws can be different from DAW to DAW, yielding slightly different mixes.
and whether or not there is delay compensation for plugins/how well it works.

But you guys have probably already covered this.
Old 12th September 2008
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
Once I read someone exclaiming how he had compared PT and Nuendo and thought Nuendo sounded lots better. During the course of several followup posts, it turned out that he had done a project in PT the year before in a different studio with a different band using different converters. Then a year later, he works on another project on Nuendo and thinks it sounds better.

When I hear people saying "A is better than B," I'm always reminded of that story.

It's hard enough, from a human standpoint much less an aural standpoint, to compare two things that are sitting next to each other and get meaningful results.

That's one of the reasons I'm still skeptical. The obvious questions, that some newcomers overlook, are:

Did you use the same converters?

Did you use the same clock?

Did you use the same sampling frequency?

Did you use the same control room?

Did you use the same monitors/power amps?

Did you use the same program material?

Did you compare them on the same day?

(The human element, including health and disposition, all come into play. No way around that.)
Very Very Very true. I have people telling me this sounds better than that when the only difference is a 2db drop in volume. This alone makes such a difference and can fool a lot of people. When two things were recorded in different environments with different converters etc. and someone claims that its the software ... umm ??? How do you overlook the obvious so easily?
Old 12th September 2008
  #86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhang View Post
Very Very Very true. I have people telling me this sounds better than that when the only difference is a 2db drop in volume. This alone makes such a difference and can fool a lot of people. When two things were recorded in different environments with different converters etc. and someone claims that its the software ... umm ??? How do you overlook the obvious so easily?
I'll see your 2 dB volume drop and raise you a 0 dB level difference. I've done presentations playing three supposedly unique samples (non-identical) and gathered feedback about the differences of the three. Much to the listener's chagrin, they discover that the samples presented were A, B, then A again. A slight difference in time of presentation or even just the contrast with another sample before or after can effect our evaluation. None of the listeners (about 30) had any idea that the first and third samples were the same.

These WERE summing samples, by the way.
Old 12th September 2008
  #87
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Anyone using a Vaio LT Series for audio?

While obviously I would never select this sleek iMacish design statement as the heart of a commercial studio, I wonder if anyone is using it and maybe an external firewire drive for lighter DAW work?

Basically I like to record some basic tracks (in my case I mean vocals and guitars or piano - not live drums!) myself, then go to a commercial facility for the rest.

I guess the tricky points are that it's a Vista Home Premium box and I don't know if it has a TI firewire chipset.

The new ones coming in October will have 2 hard drives, 4 gigs RAM, 9400 series processor etc. and I like the looks of them although I'm sure I'm gonna hear from people who don't!
Old 12th September 2008
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
There again, if that's true, it has to be a bug. The DAW passes the plugin to process and the plugin passes it back. If the same plugin sounds different on different DAWs, then something is broken.
Question is how "well defined" those standards are? Looking at how different DAWs work so differently with VST/AU plugins it seems that either there is alot of room for interpretation or the fact that there is no regulating authority leads to coders deliberately ignoring some standards.

Also when looking at the "bug" I demonstrated for Ableton Live you have to consider that thousands of users are using that DAW for months or maybe even years without recognizing that is messes with external plugin playback. Obviously those users have accepted the standard that Live brings them as a norm and don't identify any "bugs" with it at all.

To me it's a bug as well, but my oppinion is of no importance compared to the masses of other consumers/customers. There have been at least two other incidents where I have reported something as a "bug" because it shows behavior totally different and restricting compared to other DAWs and the answer was "It's no bug. It's running by the specs!" They mean their own internal specs which they don't even publish, but how can you argue against that? If the manufacturer says "It's no bug" then all you can do is buy something else and experience different problems with the other software. dfegad
Old 12th September 2008
  #89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
This may be a funny question, but just how many people are in this "one-man-band?"
Did I miss the answer to this question?

I'm dying to find out.
Old 12th September 2008
  #90
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First it was a one-man band, then I joined but it still was a one-man band, now it looks as if it became a two-men band, but the jury is still out.
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