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daw pc 's are bad systems for audio
Old 2nd July 2005
  #1
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daw pc 's are bad systems for audio

Hi all. I know everyone who uses a pc for audio will hate me for this , but here goes. I have to get this out there. I've been using my dual amd pc rig for a couple of years now and heres what I see is a definate problem with the way a this whole systems works. The audio process must pass through to many hurtles before it is written to the pc hard drive . I ve discovered this and this problem I don't thing will every go away with pc's. This is why pro tool hd systems are so expensive it doesn't write to the hard drives in the same way as pc do. There is never enough clean power coming through that master buss period . I have sx-nuendo- rme hardware- good console- good mikes- doesn't matter. Today we tested an older adat ran it through the console for playback it sounded great for what it is / Than we recorded it into nuendo and played that back to compare . All levels were set the same/ The playback volume was 30 to 35 percent lower than playback dirrectly out of the adat. I think I will buy a alesis hd24 and use nuendo and my pc for editing and call it a day. I bet there are alot of people struggling with the same lack of power I would call it . Would love some feedback on this
Paulieg
Old 2nd July 2005
  #2
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5down1up's Avatar
 

what ?

crank it up ... prolly the macs are louder
Old 2nd July 2005
  #3
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

my audio pc runs and sounds fine.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulieg
This is why pro tool hd systems are so expensive it doesn't write to the hard drives in the same way as pc do. There is never enough clean power coming through that master buss period .
mwaa?
Old 2nd July 2005
  #5
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max cooper's Avatar
 

What's the basic path the audio takes after the converter and before the hard drive?

There's a lot of pathways in a computer, but how many of them does the audio go through.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulieg
All levels were set the same/ The playback volume was 30 to 35 percent lower than playback dirrectly out of the adat.
Your DAW and/or DAC is broken.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #7
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paulieg's Avatar
 

As far as I know . When you record audio on your computer, you audio interface converts the analoge signal to ditigal form. than your computer stores chuncks of the digital data in a temporary memory buffer before passing it on to your software of choice for processing and than writing it to your hard drive. This process causes latency which is really not a problem anymore because of latency compensation in many programs. I will say that it was a problem before this.Because of the way a pc processes audio software companies patched it up by compensating for the latency . However the way audio is recorded to the hard drive is the real problem. Non native systems do not record audio this way .It is recorded dirrectly to the drives no latency or loss of anything totaly dirrect. Some examples would be pro tools tdm- Pyramix/Scope system and I think otari radar systems,also a stand alone recorder alesis hd24 would do basically the same thing. Unless there is something I'am totally missing here something is not 100% yet with a pc. I think thats why uad cards are so popular because they are able to boost the power somewhat; but they cost almost as much as a pc.
Paulieg
Old 2nd July 2005
  #8
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remo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulieg
I think thats why uad cards are so popular because they are able to boost the power somewhat; but they cost almost as much as a pc.
ummm? is this thread a joke? dude, from what you are saying about the audio passing through too many buffers etc.. a UAD card is only going to complicate the issue and introduce MORE latency and processor strain...

If you worried about power go buy a 500W powersupply for your pc...

(I still think this thread is a pisstake)
Old 2nd July 2005
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remo
ummm? is this thread a joke? dude, from what you are saying about the audio passing through too many buffers etc.. a UAD card is only going to complicate the issue and introduce MORE latency and processor strain...

If you worried about power go buy a 500W powersupply for your pc...

(I still think this thread is a pisstake)
Hey remo, I think you missed the point. The thread is about how pc audio has built in flaws which need to be addressed before it would be as good as a non native system.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #10
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paul....
i'm afraid i must comment on this. as i'm a computer engineer.
but i'll try and keep it simple.
Think of a "bucket of water". It doesnt matter whether the application is
an office app or audio....incoming data is just filling up the bucket and written to disk. In summary the PC is just a storage vault. Like a bank... data gets deposited and stored. The only way you might be hearing a difference is in the analog to digital convertors in the sound card or the overall sound card architecture.
Heres the rough chain of events thats probably happening in recording.
analog audio signal >>>A TO D>>>a temp storage area>>>store to hard drive.
In summary the pc itself couldnt care less what its dealing with.
For all the pc knows... to keep it simple.... it could be reading and writing cooking recipes to disk.
Now having said that - maybe the perceived differences in sound that some folks claim they hear from one sound application to another depends on how the
programmer of the sound app implemented his coding and/or convertors. For example - some programmers might choose to write the raw incoming digital data from the convertors as is (warts and all...including any noise from poor convertors in cheaper sound cards)...while another programmer might have some dsp algorithm in his/her code that does some "cleaning up" prior to writing to disk. But - bottom line...the pc itself does not affect the sound.
The only other possibility i can think of from a computer hardware engineering standpoint is if the sound card is not getting the power juice it needs - this might affect the performance of the sound card somehow. Which is why i always urge daw users to think carefully about power supply choice.peace.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #11
Deleted bd1be4f
Guest
Holy misguided, Batman! I'm not sure where to start. First, as far as your levels difference between Nuendo and the ADAT, it could be any number of things, from your converters to volume settings in Nuendo to your console, whether your audio connections vary between +4 and -10, etc. Did you run tones through the inputs and outputs of both Nuendo and the ADAT to match the levels exactly before doing any comparisons?

One thing is for certain, whichever method a computer uses to write info to disk has nothing to do with how "loud" the signal is.

Now onto the next issue, which is latency. First, you have two different kinds of latency on a DAW system. The first is recording latency, and the second is plugin latency. It seems you're confusing the two. Recording latency is not really "compensated for", rather most programs have settings whereby the incoming signal is re-routed from the converter's input back to it's output for monitoring purposes. Plugin latency compensation involves the computer delaying already recorded tracks to line up with the track with the largest amount of plugin latency. Two different issues.

UAD cards have only to do with the processing of recorded tracks, they have no bearing on the actual recording process. The only "power" they increase is the amount of plugins you can put on a session. They don't improve latency or change how data is written to disk.

Quote:
The thread is about how pc audio has built in flaws which need to be addressed before it would be as good as a non native system.
The only differences between most native and non-native systems are how latency is dealt with, and how plugins are run. The quality of the audio itself is not an issue.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #12
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Ruphus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by manning1
The only other possibility i can think of from a computer hardware engineering standpoint is if the sound card is not getting the power juice it needs - this might affect the performance of the sound card somehow. Which is why i always urge daw users to think carefully about power supply choice.peace.

While at it ... The PSU of my PC is big enough, but there seems some fluctuation with the audio ( less now than with my former system, but still.) One of the reasons that I´m planning on getting me stuff to condition and stabilize the rigs ( analog and ) digital sections current supply is the hope to get rid of subtle, but annoyingly enough inconsistancies in the audio. Sometimes even quite obvious with varied tails length from play to play.

When evaluating a small region for fine details it seems to not only need repeated playbacks for focussing purpose, but also for trying to get an average image from the differences in playback.

I would had never expected something like that from digital audio, but things seem to be reconstructed differently in the time domain.

Could be current quality / equability to be an underestimated topic for accurate studio conditions.
I have the feeling like if it was more crucial to digital media than to the former formats and that there will be consideration of the entire AC matter including the laughed at fuse box, AC cables and such.

... And it will make us fizzling more and more to get things truely.
The folks supplying the audiphiles with the corresponding devices seem to squeeze a ****load out of it. Enough to not even care. They hardly respond to one´s enquiries at all as it seems.

Too bad the market for it being so small that no broader competition of manufactureres and sellers could bring prices down to reason.

http://www.burmester.de/english/comp...948-infos.html
http://www.pia-hifi.de/Accuphase/netz/indexnetz.html

Ruphus
Old 2nd July 2005
  #13
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulieg
There is never enough clean power coming through that master buss period . I have sx-nuendo- rme hardware- good console- good mikes- doesn't matter. Today we tested an older adat ran it through the console for playback it sounded great for what it is / Than we recorded it into nuendo and played that back to compare . All levels were set the same/ The playback volume was 30 to 35 percent lower than playback dirrectly out of the adat. I think I will buy a alesis hd24 and use nuendo and my pc for editing and call it a day.
Paulieg

bwaahahahahahahahahaha omfg LOL ROFLOL
Old 2nd July 2005
  #14
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulieg
Unless there is something I'am totally missing here something is not 100% yet with a pc. I think thats why uad cards are so popular because they are able to boost the power somewhat; but they cost almost as much as a pc.
Paulieg

omg....omg.... (wipes tears away) ....... bwahahahaha.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #15
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruphus
While at it ... The PSU of my PC is big enough, but there seems some fluctuation with the audio ( less now than with my former system, but still.) One of the reasons that I´m planning on getting me stuff to condition and stabilize the rigs ( analog and ) digital sections current supply is the hope to get rid of subtle, but annoyingly enough inconsistancies in the audio. Sometimes even quite obvious with varied tails length from play to play.

When evaluating a small region for fine details it seems to not only need repeated playbacks for focussing purpose, but also for trying to get an average image from the differences in playback.

I would had never expected something like that from digital audio, but things seem to be reconstructed differently in the time domain.

Could be current quality / equability to be an underestimated topic for accurate studio conditions.
I have the feeling like if it was more crucial to digital media than to the former formats and that there will be consideration of the entire AC matter including the laughed at fuse box, AC cables and such.

... And it will make us fizzling more and more to get things truely.
The folks supplying the audiphiles with the corresponding devices seem to squeeze a ****load out of it. Enough to not even care. They hardly respond to one´s enquiries at all as it seems.

Too bad the market for it being so small that no broader competition of manufactureres and sellers could bring prices down to reason.

http://www.burmester.de/english/comp...948-infos.html
http://www.pia-hifi.de/Accuphase/netz/indexnetz.html

Ruphus
I think something might have gone wrong in the translation Ruphus, what exactly are you saying?

Ah, ok power conditioners. Ah yes. Sorry for the mis-understanding Good clean power is important to ALL, digital and analog. But that's definately a consideration.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #16
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I was trying to say that I do experience digital audio to be inconsistent in playback and that I´m wondering whether it might have to do with current.

My English is bad, especially with syntax, I know.
( Besides, I often see people write "definately". Where does that come from? I thought it would be "definitely". Not?)

Ruphus
Old 2nd July 2005
  #17
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neve1073's Avatar
 

Walters is back.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #18
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruphus
My English is bad, especially with syntax, I know.
( Besides, I often see people write "definately". Where does that come from? I thought it would be "definitely". Not?)

Ruphus
rofl! That comes from people who cannot spell, like me. Actually I'm not sure because if I was to write "definitely" down, I would spell it this way. This could be a thing from the "60's"
Old 2nd July 2005
  #19
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Paulieg, if I might offer a suggestion? There are a LOT of people here on Gearslutz with an extraordinary amount of experience and dare I say, expertise. You should really search the forums for answers to your questions before making a very broad and decidedly misinformed statement about PC's. There are people in these very forums making big...big records on PC's.

It sounds to me like you coud have a bunch of different problems which are leading to your current dilema. Don't slam the platform until you understand it a bit better. There are lots of threads that deal with troubleshooting...not only here...but over at the Steinberg site. Take full advantage of the sweat that others have poured over some of your issues (once you have isolated the true nature of the problem). Otherwise, this will turn into the kind of thread we've come to NOT expect on Gearslutz.

IMHO, 9 out of 10 times, it's operator error. even the big boys have a brain fart every now and again. Good luck solving your problem with your system.

Old 2nd July 2005
  #20
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Riad's Avatar
 

There are so many things wrong with this thread I would need charts to explain it all.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #21
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catfish11's Avatar
 

rme, nuendo, pc > good
adat > bad

my advise to you is before continuing nonsensical suppositions, and advocating bogus hypotheses and promoting disinformation...

would be to educate yourself - so as when given need, and opportunity to speak, you will be taken
seriously, and actually be an advocate for
truth and professionalism, in what ever you choose

i take it you are young, young is good,
but it takes commitment and endevour
to rise above its propensity towards the
idiotic
Old 2nd July 2005
  #22
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De chromium cob's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by catfish11
educate yourself - so as when given need, and opportunity to speak, you will be taken
seriously, and actually be an advocate for
truth and professionism, in what ever you choose
Thats like the famous quote- "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." heh
Old 3rd July 2005
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

I love my Carillon AC1. It is silent. It is stable. It works just like it is supposed to. Money well spent.

I also appreciate the way they treat their customers. Excellent support. I emailed them a question the other day and they replied after a few hours!
thumbsup
Old 3rd July 2005
  #24
Gear Addict
 

A power conditioner isn't going to do anything for a computer. PC PSU's are switched-mode. Any noise or fluctuations in the power coming out of the PSU is almost 100% guaranteed the fault of the PSU. Some switching PSU's are better than others in terms of noise, but don't look at pricing or brands to tell you which are designed for low switching noise - the market is driven by "bigger is better" mentality.

A power conditioner MIGHT help other audio gear (linear PSU's) if you experience regular fluctuations in your line voltage for extended time periods (like more than 3/4 of second). Otherwise the internal filtering and capacitors are still doing their job the same. Again, even linear supplies are more likely to cause noise in their internal power rails than be affected by outside noise. The PSU firsts converts the signal into pulsating DC - and it doesn't matter whether or not the resulting power is a perfect half-sine-wave or not. The caps filter it out.

If you want more solid power, look at actually upgrading the power filtering inside your gear first.
I would also question strongly if bad power is causing the "annoyingly enough inconsistancies in the audio" in the first place. I think you have something else going on. Maybe an improper/bad digital cable somewhere?

As for the original post...
Old 3rd July 2005
  #25
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someone please lock this thread its ridiculuos
Old 3rd July 2005
  #26
Gear Maniac
As someone who makes records for a living using pc's this post was utterly incredulous....and as an ex senior applications programmer just totally f'in mind-blowing!

amazing how people come to be opinionated and misinformed.

Old 3rd July 2005
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasbin
A power conditioner isn't going to do anything for a computer. PC PSU's are switched-mode. Any noise or fluctuations in the power coming out of the PSU is almost 100% guaranteed the fault of the PSU. Some switching PSU's are better than others in terms of noise, but don't look at pricing or brands to tell you which are designed for low switching noise - the market is driven by "bigger is better" mentality.

A power conditioner MIGHT help other audio gear (linear PSU's) if you experience regular fluctuations in your line voltage for extended time periods (like more than 3/4 of second). Otherwise the internal filtering and capacitors are still doing their job the same. Again, even linear supplies are more likely to cause noise in their internal power rails than be affected by outside noise. The PSU firsts converts the signal into pulsating DC - and it doesn't matter whether or not the resulting power is a perfect half-sine-wave or not. The caps filter it out.

If you want more solid power, look at actually upgrading the power filtering inside your gear first.
I would also question strongly if bad power is causing the "annoyingly enough inconsistancies in the audio" in the first place. I think you have something else going on. Maybe an improper/bad digital cable somewhere?

As for the original post...
Hey Dasbin,

Thanks a lot for the well informed post.
In fact that´s what I´m after, learning more about what could be crucial and how it could be solved.

Experiencing inconsistancy in the audio is an old hat to me and I´m wondering how it comes. Very evident first occasions have been with a PT rig when I would leave it set to external clocking while clock being off ( I used to gather that it would switch to internal by itself which it wouldn´t ), so that instability was obviously for wrongly handled clocking at playback.

However, eventhough at much lesser degree it still is that the audio isn´t really consistant. Eventhough through a better soundcard which is either being clocked internally or through a Lavry by a Sommer BNC cable ( recently even treated with stabilant to further improve connection ).

It appears like not being directly in conjunction with clock or clocking signal quality.

I came to think about current since I moved in here where the lights indicate current fluctuation ( industry near by ).
Then a while ago I spoke to a gear builder who told me how he had been thinking audiophile current concerns to be just esotheric spin until he experienced the relevance himself while installing rigs for mastering facilities.

He was talking about the analog side of things, saying that the gear would perform perceivably differently with steady supply delivering much more upfront / bold sounding, but the improvement he described made me wonder whether current fluctuation could too cause that timing thing in digital audio. In a way I was thinking that it shouldn´t as the clocking increments likely wouldn´t be influenced from my layman understanding, but then again ...

Besides, it would be very appreciated to hear of your impression about good conditioners. Would be great to hear of which device could perform fine while possibly being smaller and less expensive.


Ruphus
Old 3rd July 2005
  #28
Gear Addict
 

First, I'm no electrical engineer, only a wanna-be, so it's important to realize that I'm mostly just talking out my ass with stuff I've only half-learned. Anyone here who knows better please feel free to tell me how dumb I am.

This is what I'm thinking though...

If the lights in your studio routinely flicker from "nearby industry" (this really shouldn't be happening unless the industry is connected directly to YOUR AC mains... but that's the power company's fault... maybe talk to them about line quality?) then this usually a voltage sag rather than a lack of current. This isn't necessarily your biggest concern though. That kind of sag is usually caused by welders or other machinery that spits a bunch of crap noise back at the mains... and more important, drains a lot of crap noise into ground.
If there's a lot of noise on your earth line from you could have big problems. If you have access to an oscilliscope, or know someone who does this kind of stuff, you could maybe take a look at both the hot sine and the neutral and earth for any evidence of fluctuation or noise.

Potential band-aid solutions are a UPS or conditioner for voltage sags, and isolated ground transformers for any possible grounding problems. Don't just go buying this or doing crazy stuff to your power before you find out exactly what the problem is though; get someone in to look at it who knows what they're doing. No one should NEED any of this stuff if everything is functioning the way it should. Better to get the problem fixed at the source.
Old 3rd July 2005
  #29
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasbin
First, I'm no electrical engineer, only a wanna-be, so it's important to realize that I'm mostly just talking out my ass with stuff I've only half-learned. Anyone here who knows better please feel free to tell me how dumb I am.

This is what I'm thinking though...

If the lights in your studio routinely flicker from "nearby industry" (this really shouldn't be happening unless the industry is connected directly to YOUR AC mains... but that's the power company's fault... maybe talk to them about line quality?) then this usually a voltage sag rather than a lack of current. This isn't necessarily your biggest concern though. That kind of sag is usually caused by welders or other machinery that spits a bunch of crap noise back at the mains... and more important, drains a lot of crap noise into ground.
If there's a lot of noise on your earth line from you could have big problems. If you have access to an oscilliscope, or know someone who does this kind of stuff, you could maybe take a look at both the hot sine and the neutral and earth for any evidence of fluctuation or noise.

Potential band-aid solutions are a UPS or conditioner for voltage sags, and isolated ground transformers for any possible grounding problems. Don't just go buying this or doing crazy stuff to your power before you find out exactly what the problem is though; get someone in to look at it who knows what they're doing. No one should NEED any of this stuff if everything is functioning the way it should. Better to get the problem fixed at the source.
Dasbin, I don't think you are talking "out of your ass" , especially your last paragraph, which if you do a search will find more "expert" opinoin on exactly this.

Now, it's sunday and I need to do some re-wiring .....see ya's later!
Old 3rd July 2005
  #30
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Thank you, Dasbin.
I am not on the jump yet and still on the research for what could be what and whether or not which step could be doing good in my individual situation. ( Planing to move in some time and situation might likely be different form now again anway.)

Also thanks for the advice to not just invest, very appropriate to my skinny wallet.

So, you are saying that average managed current should be just fine ( probably even more in Europe where current supply is supposed to be better regulated than for instance in the US ). And what noise is concerned I really can´t complain aside from some RF from a nearby military radar ( which really messes the signal up, being received by some of my devices and guitar pickups , luckily it seems not to be running all the time ) there occures only low noise level apart from it.

However there is one small point that will be keeping me interested into the matter ...

I have been told ( by a neutral source, not selling any UPS ) that the majority of electrician geeks consider the topic of current quality to audio demands as superstition.
Very differently so from electrians specialized on studio installations.

From the interesting talk mentioned above I remember that industry near by would potentially be giving you disadvantages at a high rate of a possibility. ( Sorry for my English )

- And that stellar productions with similar high chance were coming in conjunction with ensured good quality of supply like big studios usually provide.

Don´t wanna sound like I had merely crappy sound here, it´s rather that I´m always eager to improve the basics. Admittedly being a bit fanatic ...

... and you know, according to the experience of the person who told me so ( and who should be understanding electronics / electricity very well ) the difference with optimal supply would be that things would come upfront in way that could not be equaled with compression or similar.
He said it would make the gear yielding remarkably better from start.

Might be I´m just too bozo, but that made the topic sounding very interesting to my ears.

Shall be trying to consult a specialized electrician one day to see whether something could be gained or not then.

Just like you recommended.

Ruphus
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