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Apogee Symphony/Logic Problem - it doesn´t run "tight" Digital Converters
Old 28th November 2009
  #1
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Apogee Symphony/Logic Problem - it doesn´t run "tight"

Hi everyone!
We did encounter a severe problem with Apogee Symphony / Maestro / on two separate systems in 2 different studios:
1) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee AD 16x / Snow Leppard / Logic 9
2) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee Rosetta 800 / Leppard / Logic 8

We flew in an excellent prerecorded drum track (Will Kennedy, Yellowjackets) from a PT Session into the Logic / Apogee system and A/B ed in both studios with the original track played back on a CD Recorder. The test was done by 4 well respected engineers with name credits.

The result was, that the track played back by the Apogee symphony system did not match up to the original track. Although it comes very close, it seems to loose
the fine inner sub-divison, preciseness and overall "sexiness" of the groove.
I.o.w. the musicality, the forward moving pressure, the overall feel of this world class drummer was noticeably gone compared to the original track!!!
We didn´t yet have a more scientific way of measuring it, but the simple poor feel of it says it all, if well respected ears tell the truth already.

When the track was played back through I-tunes through the symphony card, it was ok, but neither the audio files of the individual tracks, nor the mixed stereo track played back through Logic were satisfactory.

For us as producers, this is not acceptable at all.

Apparantly, there have been problems with the symphony card before - I was unable to reach ANYONE at Apogee, neither by phone (4 x´s - no callback) nor email. You figure, what this says about their customer service.-

So, does anyone else experience and HEARS the same phenomenon?
Any ideas, as to what to do?
I really appreciate your help, since I´m looking at possibly having bought a system, that is unusable for a professional studio.
All the best from VIBE TRIBE

Last edited by Vibe Tribe; 28th November 2009 at 05:21 PM.. Reason: mistake
Old 28th November 2009
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Hi everyone!
We did encounter a severe problem with Apogee Symphony / Maestro / on two separate systems in 2 different studios:
1) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee AD 16x / Snow Leppard / Logic 9
2) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee Rosetta 800 / Leppard / Logic 8

We flew in an excellent prerecorded drum track (Will Kennedy, Yellowjackets) from a PT Session into the Logic / Apogee system and A/B ed in both studios with the original track played back on a CD Recorder. The test was done by 4 well respected engineers with name credits.

The result was, that the track played back by the Apogee symphony system did not match up to the original track. Although it comes very close, it seems to loose
the fine inner sub-divison, preciseness and overall "sexiness" of the groove.
I.o.w. the musicality, the forward moving pressure, the overall feel of this world class drummer was noticeably gone compared to the original track!!!
We didn´t yet have a more scientific way of measuring it, but the simple poor feel of it says it all, if well respected ears tell the truth already.

When the track was played back through I-tunes through the symphony card, it was ok, but neither the audio files of the individual tracks, nor the mixed stereo track played back satisfactory.

For us as producers, this is not acceptable at all.

Apparantly, there have been problems with the symphony card before - I was unable to reach ANYONE at Apogee, neither by phone (4 x´s - no callback) nor email. You figure, what this says about their customer service.-

So, does anyone else experience and HEARS the same phenomenon?
Any ideas, as to what to do?
I really appreciate your help, since I´m looking at possibly having bought a system, that is unusable for a professional studio.
All the best from VIBE TRIBE
That's an interesting problem. I have never had a timing issue with our system, unless it was configured incorrectly. Personally, I use Quicktime/Mac Preview to listen to my audio outside the workstation, as I think Itunes does not sound ___. You might add what the other engineers describe the problem to be, which would indicate what has occurred a little better? Its a little hard to understand/speculate about what is exactly going on in these systems with your comparisons. We have two multi-track systems, one of them being a 64 Channel Symphony Rig on a first generation 8-core Mac Pro. We have 2 AD/DA16x's all in Advanced Routing connected, and I have the system configured so tightly that I can achieve FRAME ACCURATE SMPTE lock between this machine and RADAR. There are the usual concerns with Logic, as with any DAW, but I have never experienced a single aspect of what you describe with our properly configured Logic/Symphony System. While I would certainly concede there are differences found with software packages, same as hardware choices, I would suggest there is something definitely wrong in your configurations. Perhaps it could be a software problem. For the most part digital interfacing hardware and software related mixer systems stay completely out of the way, but all of these DAWs definitely have a sound.
Old 28th November 2009
  #3
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
Post a bounce of each without telling us which is which.
Old 28th November 2009
  #4
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Is this a MIDI or Audio recording?

Is Flex/Elastic Audio enabled or not? (On either PT or Logic)

There is no way 24 bit audio that has not been flexed/elasticed could play back differently, it would be physically impossible. Unless the master clock was operating at different speeds perhaps. Or the hardware buffer was so low samples were being dropped frequently (though you'd hear that).

MIDI of course could have different timing.

I'd suspect sample rate issues...e.g. playing back at 48KHz instead of 44.1.
Old 28th November 2009
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Hi everyone!
We did encounter a severe problem with Apogee Symphony / Maestro / on two separate systems in 2 different studios:
1) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee AD 16x / Snow Leppard / Logic 9
2) Mac 2.26 8-core / Symphony 64 / Apogee Rosetta 800 / Leppard / Logic 8

We flew in an excellent prerecorded drum track (Will Kennedy, Yellowjackets) from a PT Session into the Logic / Apogee system and A/B ed in both studios with the original track played back on a CD Recorder. The test was done by 4 well respected engineers with name credits.

The result was, that the track played back by the Apogee symphony system did not match up to the original track. Although it comes very close, it seems to loose
the fine inner sub-divison, preciseness and overall "sexiness" of the groove.
I.o.w. the musicality, the forward moving pressure, the overall feel of this world class drummer was noticeably gone compared to the original track!!!
We didn´t yet have a more scientific way of measuring it, but the simple poor feel of it says it all, if well respected ears tell the truth already.

When the track was played back through I-tunes through the symphony card, it was ok, but neither the audio files of the individual tracks, nor the mixed stereo track played back through Logic were satisfactory.

For us as producers, this is not acceptable at all.

Apparantly, there have been problems with the symphony card before - I was unable to reach ANYONE at Apogee, neither by phone (4 x´s - no callback) nor email. You figure, what this says about their customer service.-

So, does anyone else experience and HEARS the same phenomenon?
Any ideas, as to what to do?
I really appreciate your help, since I´m looking at possibly having bought a system, that is unusable for a professional studio.
All the best from VIBE TRIBE
It can be vexing trying to suss out a perceived problem like this.

You don't say what level of rigorousness you used in approaching the initial diagnosis but this is really the type of situation where ABX testing can help sort out actual perception and preference from what we think we're perceiving.

While many get tired of hearing about cognitive bias in perception, the phenomenon has been recognized in perceptual testing science for over a century -- and the latest studies using brain scan technology have only helped reinforce the notion that what we expect deeply influences what we think we perceive. (Recent studies suggest that the brain actually seems to, in a sense, attempt to shut out cognitive dissonance. The brain wants certainty and that often means that contradictory evidence is unconsciously ignored or rejected -- and that that process can apparently be observed in its physical aspects by using brain scan technology. That said, there has been some suggestion that a certain over-eagerness in interpreting brain scans has led to some conclusions that were not ultimately defensible when subjected to peer review and further study.)

ABX double blind testing is not a panacea or universally useful and it can only tell us very limited things about individual perception (or individual perception in aggregate, as in baseline studies) -- but for sorting out actual preference from presumed preference, it can be invaluable within those narrow boundaries.
Old 29th November 2009
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Smile

Hi everyone!
Firstly thank you all so much for your feed back.I think that as this seems at first most certainly to be a perception problem, I will try to post asap the files of the bounces we listened to. That way you can judge for yourself.The material is an audio recording and the flexed / elastic audio options were switched off(Not availiable in logic 8 anyway ). There was no Midi involved, nor a sample rate issue. We will try to get a scientific measurement, if at all possible.
Roc, how precisely did you install the system in your case?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
All the best from Vibe Tribe
Old 29th November 2009
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Roc, how precisely did you install the system in your case?
To the point where there are never any issues. At least, when I use the box. Other engineers have issues that arise because they configure our systems incorrectly.
Old 29th November 2009
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Elevteros's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
I was unable to reach ANYONE at Apogee, neither by phone (4 x´s - no callback) nor email. You figure, what this says about their customer service.
I had a (different) problem a few months ago with their converters and had to be quite aggressive/threatening before they reacted to my mails, but it worked and when they did finally get in touch, they were quite efficient in solving the problem.
Do insist!!!
Old 29th November 2009
  #9
Gear Head
 

Thumbs up Apogee is great.

I have been using an Apogee Symphony System everyday for about a year and a half now. I have not had any major issues. When minor issues did arrive a call to Apogee cleared the problem right away. I love the sound of ASS. "Apogee Symphony System".
Old 29th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Hi everyone!
Firstly thank you all so much for your feed back.I think that as this seems at first most certainly to be a perception problem, I will try to post asap the files of the bounces we listened to. That way you can judge for yourself.The material is an audio recording and the flexed / elastic audio options were switched off(Not availiable in logic 8 anyway ). There was no Midi involved, nor a sample rate issue. We will try to get a scientific measurement, if at all possible.
Roc, how precisely did you install the system in your case?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
All the best from Vibe Tribe
There are timestretching of whole regions facilities in Logic I'm not expert enough yet to say how easy they are to fall into, but you may have stretched a region thinking you were trimming it (like using the wrong tool in PT).

There are a host of different factors that can affect your perception of groove and tempo, from the sound of the converters, monitors, and room, to effects including compression. Blaming the DAW's digital streaming is picking the least likely culprit as tempting as it may be.
Old 30th November 2009
  #11
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synthoid's Avatar
 

is it possible that Logic is silently sample-rate-converting the audio files when you import them? that will happen behind the scenes if the sample rate of the imported audio mismatches the sample rate of the project. there is a quality setting to control the quality of the sample rate conversion algorithm too, I think.

-synthoid
Old 30th November 2009
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
There are timestretching of whole regions facilities in Logic I'm not expert enough yet to say how easy they are to fall into, but you may have stretched a region thinking you were trimming it (like using the wrong tool in PT).

There are a host of different factors that can affect your perception of groove and tempo, from the sound of the converters, monitors, and room, to effects including compression. Blaming the DAW's digital streaming is picking the least likely culprit as tempting as it may be.
Hi everyone again!
There actually may indeed happen some stuff behind the scenes Logic-wise, we´ll check on that. But since we use Logic all the time, beeing quite knowledgable about it, this is pretty much out of the question, Im afraid...
Regarding the perception of the groove, we LIKE the sound of the Apogees´s,
but we are well trained enough to really tell, whether a drum groove is played
great first of all, and then played back exactly the same way from whatever medium you use, or not.- This is simple producers brain 001, if that is not happening, one is in the wrong business, I dare say.
I agree with blue1, there may be problems with ABing, but after doing it for a while, we were sure about the result - sadly enough, since we would love to get the apogees working!!
Thanx again for all your input, please keep good ideas coming!
All the best from Vibe Tribe
Old 30th November 2009
  #13
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Uhhhhh

Last edited by glissando; 30th November 2009 at 08:42 PM.. Reason: i was wrong
Old 1st December 2009
  #14
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valis's Avatar
In addition to resampling, Logic can also freewheel sync to an external clocksource (like tape) that isn't 100% 'stable'...? It's just a thought, you likely know your sync modes better than I and this post is half ******** since I can't recall what this is called atm (but it's 3am so cut me a bit of slack...)
Old 1st December 2009
  #15
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
To the point where there are never any issues. At least, when I use the box. Other engineers have issues that arise because they configure our systems incorrectly.
Hi Adam!
It sure sounds like you have a clear picture as to what order, and utilizing exactly what drivers, software versions e.t.c. are the way to go - would you be able to share it with us, so we can get our systems working as nicely as yours?
That would be great - since I´m overseas. I can´t invite you over...
Thanx for your input and help! thumbsup
Vibe Tribe
Old 1st December 2009
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Hi Adam!
It sure sounds like you have a clear picture as to what order, and utilizing exactly what drivers, software versions e.t.c. are the way to go - would you be able to share it with us, so we can get our systems working as nicely as yours?
That would be great - since I´m overseas. I can´t invite you over...
Thanx for your input and help! thumbsup
Vibe Tribe
I wouldn't be able to speculate on the issues you are having, since A) I have never had the issue you are having with our system, and B) I have yet to understand what the real problem is with yours. Perhaps you can upload the comparison files that prove what you are talking about? I am good @ troubleshooting, but I'm not a mind reader.
Old 1st December 2009
  #17
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
I wouldn't be able to speculate on the issues you are having, since A) I have never had the issue you are having with our system, and B) I have yet to understand what the real problem is with yours. Perhaps you can upload the comparison files that prove what you are talking about? I am good @ troubleshooting, but I'm not a mind reader.
Hi AdamThanx for your reply - the issues we are having, are fairly clearly explained at the top, I thought...if you didn´t have any issues in your system, perfect - but it doesn´t mean, they don´t show up someplace else, or perhaps are not yet perceived by others...
Hopefully we will be able to upload files within the next days, as well as ideally some scientific way of approaching the problem, or at least measuring it.
These days, it is quite often, that socalled improvements of a program like Logic f.e. lead to ever so subtle problems, that only are noticeable to a few, sometimes
especially well trained ears. I don´t mean this in an arrogant way at all, but certain edit funktions in Logic g.e. have drastically become slower in higher versions, probably in exchange for some plugin-functions taking higher computing priority. This has been - and still is - an advantage of PTHD, were the
eveness and tightness of the pure audio recording leaves no doubt...at least to
my - and probably many other - ears in the industry.
Anyway, my question to you was very specific: if your installation gave excellent results, I would really appreciate to hear from you, how you did it, that´s all...
I had the installation done by a respected company here in Hamburg, but hey, we are humans and may be wrong at times, right?? So, sometimes one is just the more thankful for the small, but important tip, to make your way through the digital djungle these days...
I´m in it for the sake of great music, that´s what I´m primarily concerned with, and there is no great music without excellent timing, and that in turn starst with the talent of those creating and HEARING it in the first place. We shouldn´t forget that. A good recording should reflect just that, and nothing else...
The timing issues we perceive are admittedly of subtle nature, but noticeable enough to needing to start the investigation, and the search for people willing to help - for the sake (and survival) of great music.
To make a long story short, bear with me...I think you get the idea.
Looking forward to your route...
All the best from
Vibe Tribe
Old 2nd December 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibe Tribe View Post
Hi AdamThanx for your reply - the issues we are having, are fairly clearly explained at the top, I thought...if you didn´t have any issues in your system, perfect - but it doesn´t mean, they don´t show up someplace else, or perhaps are not yet perceived by others...
Hopefully we will be able to upload files within the next days, as well as ideally some scientific way of approaching the problem, or at least measuring it.
These days, it is quite often, that socalled improvements of a program like Logic f.e. lead to ever so subtle problems, that only are noticeable to a few, sometimes
especially well trained ears. I don´t mean this in an arrogant way at all, but certain edit funktions in Logic g.e. have drastically become slower in higher versions, probably in exchange for some plugin-functions taking higher computing priority. This has been - and still is - an advantage of PTHD, were the
eveness and tightness of the pure audio recording leaves no doubt...at least to
my - and probably many other - ears in the industry.
Anyway, my question to you was very specific: if your installation gave excellent results, I would really appreciate to hear from you, how you did it, that´s all...
I had the installation done by a respected company here in Hamburg, but hey, we are humans and may be wrong at times, right?? So, sometimes one is just the more thankful for the small, but important tip, to make your way through the digital djungle these days...
I´m in it for the sake of great music, that´s what I´m primarily concerned with, and there is no great music without excellent timing, and that in turn starst with the talent of those creating and HEARING it in the first place. We shouldn´t forget that. A good recording should reflect just that, and nothing else...
The timing issues we perceive are admittedly of subtle nature, but noticeable enough to needing to start the investigation, and the search for people willing to help - for the sake (and survival) of great music.
To make a long story short, bear with me...I think you get the idea.
Looking forward to your route...
All the best from
Vibe Tribe
Well, What I am suggesting is that it is not clear, given my understanding of this system, and its relation to your problem. You mentioned things that I cannot understand. I hooked up our symphony system, and it worked. I made sure all the drivers and cards were up to date, recognized and read by symphony. Then the clock path was configured with the First AD16x connected as the master of all others using BNC "T" connectors in daisy chain.

Then I set up Audio/MIDI to stream audio to a pair of outputs so we can monitor Itunes and Mac/preview through Digital Outputs to our Crane Song Avocet's AES Inputs. Then I taught the interns how to use the computer and our RADAR together. Digital Audio taken from RADAR sounds identical playing back though Logic. It did not suffer pitch or timing issues at all when working on audio that is well known and under the microscope. Then I proceeded with my busy day here at Mercenary. Perhaps you are using broken hardware with a problem. For that you should take it up with the dealer you purchased the systems from and see if you have defective hardware.

1) From your words above, it seems you are comparing the Logic Playback of a multi-track session with a CD player, listening to some 2-track mix? This rings bells, though since I have no clue how to interpret your words and conclusion though the internet, I choose not to speculate on your testing procedure.

2) You mention other aspects of editing modes, stuff that should be out of the question for any PCM data playback comparison between DAW's. If you are talking about those functions of the system, that is a different issue, which might not be a problem with your hardware, but a problem of how you choose to use the system.

3) Proper test would dictate the same exact audio files, in as many DAW's as you want, listening to the audio on a switch. Then to prove to us there is an issue, by bouncing the said mix in each software program which would establish some kind of audible comparison [hopefully not an MP3] of the exact same audio files being mixed together with the exact same panning and volume positions. Then we can hear if the DAW is shifting the tracks or not.
Old 25th December 2009
  #19
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Final decision

Hi everyone!
Just wanted to let you know, that we finished the tests acurately with more engineers - the problem zone is the very fine sub sample area, where unregularities makeup for slight shifting. The results are noticable to trained ears, especially any good drummer or producer will hera it no sweat!
You can also see it in the files, were the zerocrosinng positions are NOT 100% identical all the time, like they should!!tutt

We gave back the Apogee card, the RME RDSP AE card worked much better, while still not running as even and grooving exactly like the track was played, as in PT.

I thank you all for your input - it is now a problem to be solved by the manufacturers, I have to get to work, keep on using PT 7 / Logic 7 for the time beeing!!!

Thanx again, and Merry X-mas to all of you!
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