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PC based mastering?
Old 25th May 2003
  #1
Moderator emeritus
 

PC based mastering?

Are there any decent PC based programs that I can use as a 2 track recorder/editor? I'm looking for options other than bouncing to disk in Pro Tools.

Thanks!
Old 25th May 2003
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I use Sonic Foundry apps. Sound Forge is a nice editor.....but the real jewel is using it with CD Architect. It is THE best CD editing/mastering prgram out there IMHO.
Old 25th May 2003
  #3
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Roland's Avatar
Wavelab and Sound Forge at the lower end budget. Things like Sequoia are a more midrange solution, however if you want to go high end I would recommend that you look at possibly Sonic (not one that I would buy, but it is this area) Sadie or Pyramix.

Most depends on your budget and how high you want to go. The high end products will give you many options for DDP mastering and are capable of between 8 and 64 tracks. Personally I have the Pyramix which I would heartly recommend both for functionality and sound quality, though there are many fans of the Sadie too. These both start from around $10,000 upwards for sensible systems.

Regards

Roland
Old 26th May 2003
  #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland
Wavelab and Sound Forge at the lower end budget. Things like Sequoia are a more midrange solution, however if you want to go high end I would recommend that you look at possibly Sonic (not one that I would buy, but it is this area) Sadie or Pyramix.

I wouldn't consider Sequoia to be a midrange product. It certainly is in terms of price, but in terms of functionality, it is definitely high-end. There is a thread over in "So Much Gear, So little time" where this exact question was asked. (Here it is https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...&threadid=4481 ) I'm not going to rehash much of what I wrote there... Sequoia is capable of mastering, mixing, surround work, DDP generation, restoration, etc... The plugin implementation is much better in Sequoia than just about any other DAW out there... CD burning and most other functions are completely non-destructive.

Anyways, check out the thread.... If there are questions concerning Sequoia, I'll be happy to answer them.

--Ben
Old 26th May 2003
  #5
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by fifthcircle
I wouldn't consider Sequoia to be a midrange product. It certainly is in terms of price, but in terms of functionality, it is definitely high-end. There is a thread over in "So Much Gear, So little time" where this exact question was asked. (Here it is https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...&threadid=4481 ) I'm not going to rehash much of what I wrote there... Sequoia is capable of mastering, mixing, surround work, DDP generation, restoration, etc... The plugin implementation is much better in Sequoia than just about any other DAW out there... CD burning and most other functions are completely non-destructive.

Anyways, check out the thread.... If there are questions concerning Sequoia, I'll be happy to answer them.

--Ben
I would agree with you on most of the above points. Sequoia is a good system and great for the money. In my view it still is a mid range product partially because of its price point, but also because unlike Sadie, Pyramix, and Sonic it doesn't have its own proprietry hardware. Argueably that limits it to the available 3rd party hardware. I myself have tried out the demo of it and agree that it is a good system.

I still think that both Sadie and Pyramix are more professional in their implimentation and interface.

Regards


Roland
Old 26th May 2003
  #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland
I would agree with you on most of the above points. Sequoia is a good system and great for the money. In my view it still is a mid range product partially because of its price point, but also because unlike Sadie, Pyramix, and Sonic it doesn't have its own proprietry hardware. Argueably that limits it to the available 3rd party hardware. I myself have tried out the demo of it and agree that it is a good system.
That makes sense in your reasoning. I approached it in a different way, though... Dedicated hardware in the long run can actually be a detriment in terms of speed. In the PC world, CPUs have gotten so fast that they have presented a serious challenge to DSP chips. I like SADiE's implementation as the DAW is completely seperate from the rest of the computer. If the computer has a hiccup, the DAW will continue. It is the only rig on the market that is like this. Pyramix and Sonic both have dedicated hardware, but they rely on the computer for much of its work.

In the case of a hardware dependent system, what do you do when the hardware becomes obsolete? This is an issue in today's day and age. At least with a native system, you just have to replace a computer (and perhaps a sound card that is relatively inexpensive).

The 3rd party hardware thing was indeed quite a limit for a pro operation for quite some time. I ended up with a RME Hammerfall DSP interface here (which is ADAT only). To get my AES inputs, I ended up adding a RME ADI-8DD (which is a pretty awesome format converter). Now, though, there are great cards with whatever interface you want. On the AES end of things, Lynx Technologies and SEK'D have great 8 channel cards that can be cascaded for multiple inputs (both give you 192kHz capability). Sequoia will also work with a Mykerinos card using ASIO drivers, but it can't take advantage of the DSP, though...

As for implementation, that is very much in the eye of the beholder. Early on, I wasn't very in to SADiEs interface (I learned on Sonic and felt more comfortable with that). Now, I like it quite a bit, but don't have the $$ for such a rig. SADiE has a lot of great things going for it. I also seriously considered Pyramix. I played with one for a couple hours at AES this year and while I liked certain things about it, I felt it didn't work particularly well for my workflow. The weaknesses being particularly evident on the mix end of things. If I was only doing mastering, things may have been a bit different.

--Ben
Old 26th May 2003
  #7
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by fifthcircle
That makes sense in your reasoning. I approached it in a different way, though... Dedicated hardware in the long run can actually be a detriment in terms of speed. In the PC world, CPUs have gotten so fast that they have presented a serious challenge to DSP chips. I like SADiE's implementation as the DAW is completely seperate from the rest of the computer. If the computer has a hiccup, the DAW will continue. It is the only rig on the market that is like this. Pyramix and Sonic both have dedicated hardware, but they rely on the computer for much of its work.

In the case of a hardware dependent system, what do you do when the hardware becomes obsolete? This is an issue in today's day and age. At least with a native system, you just have to replace a computer (and perhaps a sound card that is relatively inexpensive).

The 3rd party hardware thing was indeed quite a limit for a pro operation for quite some time. I ended up with a RME Hammerfall DSP interface here (which is ADAT only). To get my AES inputs, I ended up adding a RME ADI-8DD (which is a pretty awesome format converter). Now, though, there are great cards with whatever interface you want. On the AES end of things, Lynx Technologies and SEK'D have great 8 channel cards that can be cascaded for multiple inputs (both give you 192kHz capability). Sequoia will also work with a Mykerinos card using ASIO drivers, but it can't take advantage of the DSP, though...

As for implementation, that is very much in the eye of the beholder. Early on, I wasn't very in to SADiEs interface (I learned on Sonic and felt more comfortable with that). Now, I like it quite a bit, but don't have the $$ for such a rig. SADiE has a lot of great things going for it. I also seriously considered Pyramix. I played with one for a couple hours at AES this year and while I liked certain things about it, I felt it didn't work particularly well for my workflow. The weaknesses being particularly evident on the mix end of things. If I was only doing mastering, things may have been a bit different.

--Ben
I agree with you in most senses. I also own the RME 96/52 which I must say is a very good piece of kit.

Before I owned my Pyramix I had Sadie and I have to say that there backup was excellent. Sadie is still probably the fastest system for creating a DDP and as you say very bullet proof. When I bought my Sadie the only other real contender was Sonic Solution. I took a dem with their UK distributers but was finally put off by the flakey nature of the software in those days combined with the need for drives burned with dedicated firmware. I remember reaching into my pocket for my chequebook to buy the system and my final question to the rep was when could I have a system. He told me that there would be a two week wait as they didn't have any drives blown with the firmware in stock. I thought to myself if I was in the middle of a job and a drive went down what would I be doing now? So I went home rang Sadie the next day and bought that instead.

I understand your point about speed of processors and the power of modern computers, but I bought my Sadie around 1993 and I swopped to Pyramix 2002. Thats 9 years and the system still worked well. My reason for swopping was that I am involved with a lot more surround sound and multitrack needs now and Pyramix was better equipped for this. I did look at all the other available systems, but Pyramix has their thinking right and as such this system will serve me for at least the next 5 years. I agree about the limitations of the mixer, though I have been told that this is aknowledged and is being addressed in the next major release. That coupled with Madi interface, very powerful noise correction tools coming online, great editing facilities, DSD, support for high sampling rates and bit depth and the machine control aspect made it ideal for my needs. If my budget had been a little more limited I probably would have looked at Sequoia as my solution, though I have to say from a mixing point of view Logic is by far the most elegant solution I have seen on computer.

I have considered buying a copy of Samplitude just to lay my hands on the convolution verb which by all accounts is fantastic. I would be interested to know how it compares with Altiverb and if it is capable of running 4 channel surround outputs. Perhaps you could let me know.

Regards


Roland
Old 26th May 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Sequoia's DDP implementation is quite new. It was released (partially) in 7.0 and fully implemented in 7.1. DDPs are an offline process that happens really fast. A standard hour long CD takes about 10 minutes to fully generate the DDP (2.0 to the hard disc). DDP loadback is almost instantaneous.

Sequoia has been capabile of 192K for a couple of years now. The amusing thing about that is there weren't any sound cards at the time that could do it. DSD won't be coming any time soon, I don't think. Now, the Lynx cards and the Prodif88 are both 192K capabile. RME now has a MADI interface as well that will be one of the options for the Sequoia turnkey rigs. (Imagine a tracking/mastering rig with dual MADI interfaces for recording a symphony orchestra on a sound stage)

Sequoia had major support issues for the beginning of its existance. Now many of them have been fixed with the new turnkey systems that are being sold. There is a 24 hour swap program where, if needed, any part or even a whole new system can be shipped to your doorstep within 24 hours via FedEx. I don't know if there are similar things available in Europe yet... The developers have also made themselves much more available via some online forums for users only.

The mixing in Samplitude and Sequoia has come a really long way in the latest version as well (not that I disliked it before). With plugins, latency is automaticaly compensated for on all tracks, busses, etc... (I have a TC Powercore where the latency involved is completely hidden) The only place it isn't compensated for is at the object level. Speaking of which, that is what I consider the most elegant aspect of the mix interface. The ability to apply an entire channel strip nondestructively to a small piece of audio in a mix is amazing. This is especially powerful when you have long mixes with an effect that only happens in a short time period.

When you run out of DSP, the freeze and glue functions help there. (Yes it is in Logic too, but it was developed jointly during the short "tryst" between Emagic and Magix regarding distribution of Samplitude and Sequoia)

The other very cool feature for mastering is that it can have multiple sample rates as well as bit rates in a single VIP (session). I've done mixes with 44.1, 48, and MP3s in the same mix. Everything was non-destructive and no conversions had to take place. If you want, you can capture a different sample rate with a second sound card. I've had 96K stuff come through here that I've captured and recorded back into the rig at 44.1 (same program, same session, same computer).

As for the room simulator... I haven't used Altiverb so I'm not sure how much I can compare. It is very nice, though. The best part is that it works at all sampling rates. I know some people have set up computers for using the Room Sim, but I don't know how well it really works. There is a sizable latency involved with it which inside the program is automatically compensated for. Using it as an effects box may not work as well for that...

I haven't done Surround work with it. Early on, I know there were a few surround impulses, but the ones we got with the rig were all stereo. It is a CPU hog, so I'm not sure how much you'd get out of a surround one.

--Ben
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