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Sonar vs. Samplitude mix buss test
Old 3rd August 2005
  #31
Gear Head
 
leckieisagod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazinghammer
Hey JP,

There is a definite difference in quality. Mix 1 has richer low end and all around smoothness. Mix 2 lacks the same richness and sounds harsher, less pleasing.

My 2 ears,
What he said, to the letter.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #32
Here for the gear
 

#1 is the clear winner, more definition, more space. I bet it's Samplitude, with all the good reputation it has.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #33
Lives for gear
 

Thank you all for participating... thumbsup

To make this more of a contest, I decided to add a couple more contestants!!

The WAV snippets have been added to the original post, and the mp3s have been added to the post 7 down from that.

Hope you all can get a chance to compare those as well.

Thanks!!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11
Okay, I'm starting a new thread, I posted this in the Sonar colors recordings thread, but nobody noticed, or cared.

But anyway, which sounds better?

EDIT: I decided to add 2 more, to make this more of a contest. The 2 new WAV snippets are here, the 2 new mp3s are in the post 7 down.
!
#1 and #3 are my favorites. I prefer the dynamics of #1 but found #3 to be a bit more natural. #2 has a compressed sense of space and #4 is limited dynamically.

Chris
Old 3rd August 2005
  #35
Gear Addict
 
Durv's Avatar
 

this might be a little too late, i have both SONAR 4.02 and SAMP 8.2.
And one of the things in SAM that i USE is the stereo width dial on the master buss to give it a bigger feel.
Sonar doesnt have this built in to the app.
I honestly have to bite my tongue here and not say anything difinitive. i have a wierd feeling that #1 is actually SONAR....Sonar has that BASS, but its almost "enhanced" sounding. Samplitude, might be my mind playing tricks on me, has a brighter top end.
i honestly cant tell at this time. my ears just arent ready.

Durv

Last edited by Durv; 3rd August 2005 at 02:42 PM.. Reason: i cant type this early!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #36
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mr jkn's Avatar
My first post on this forum, been checking it out for a few weeks. Seems like a cool place.

I don´t work with music professionally, and my ears are not that "trained". But, these kind of tests always amuse me, and I felt I had to reply!

I listened to the mp3´s in realplayer and wmp through my adam anf 10´s in my not-so-tuned livingroom, and these are my results:

1. Dry sounding with good stereo imaging. Smooth and "tamed" top end and pleasantly enhanced low mid/hi bass. Cool "marrying" between kick and bass.

2. Hi freqs to harsh and "wild". Thin sounding. Bass a bit "card-boardy" if you get me. Stereo image artificial.

3. Somewhere in between 1 and 2, I found the top a bit digitally compressed-sounding. A bit flat overall, but in my ears more pleasing than nr 2.

4. Cool compressed vibe, although the bassdrum don´t marry well with the bass. Didn´t like this att all.

My rating: ex 1 first place, then followed by 3,2,4.

I have absolutely no clue which daw does what. I only work with cubase sx, although I suspect it´s one of the contenders. Now I want to know if it´s samp or dp in the first example! I really liked it...

By the way, I´m from sweden and my name is Jonas.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #37
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Oldone's Avatar
The only concern I have with the test is if you are using the demo versions off various websites, then all bets are off. Hopefully you are using full working versions of each of these. Sorry to be such a kermudgion.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone
The only concern I have with the test is if you are using the demo versions off various websites, then all bets are off. Hopefully you are using full working versions of each of these. Sorry to be such a kermudgion.
You think??

I don't mean to doubt you and I really don't know one way or the other but I would think that the software developers would want to put their best foot forward with their demos to entice people into purchasing them. Most of the demos I have seen can be unlocked with a proper key of some sort so that would lead me to believe that the demo has the same underpinnings of the real program and would sound the same.

Again I have nothing to back this up but I believe the fact that these are or are not demos is irrelevant. I could very well be wrong about that.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #39
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
You think??

I don't mean to doubt you and I really don't know one way or the other but I would think that the software developers would want to put their best foot forward with their demos to entice people into purchasing them. Most of the demos I have seen can be unlocked with a proper key of some sort so that would lead me to believe that the demo has the same underpinnings of the real program and would sound the same.

Again I have nothing to back this up but I believe the fact that these are or are not demos is irrelevant. I could very well be wrong about that.
Yes, I do think and you are indeed wrong. In fact the demo on the Sonar site is engine 4.0 and their current version is 4.0.3. This alone invalidates the use of the demo version.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #40
Fair enough....
Old 3rd August 2005
  #41
Lives for gear
 

It makes little difference.

This test is for fun anyway you slice it...The results are irrelevant and prove nothing, show nothing and have absolultey no bearing on the quality of either app or it's potential.

These were 'randon' files, placed in a DAW and 'configured' as 'best as the poster can' to be 'as close to the same as possible'.

Nobody has heard the original .wavs, nobody knows how anything was tracked and on which format. The test isn't scientific or worth any documentation.

Still clean fun.
P&B,
Old 3rd August 2005
  #42
Well, while I don't think the test conclusively proves anything, I think it offers some evidence which, when properly qualified, can add to the judgement matrix.

I think we owe JP a round of thanks for his efforts here. I think he's tried to set up an even playing field, I'm not aware of any bonehead gotchyas in his methodology. (I was concerned about the panning law implementations but it looks like he addressed them as best he could. )

I was also concerned about levels. But if he set v-faders to the exact same - dB level, I think he did as well as he could there -- and, after all, he said that he wanted a bit of 'real world' in his test -- and, for most projects, that would typically include setting individual track levels. (Clearly the decision to eschew FX and other processing was the only reasonable one. Although it would be kind of fun to run a series of EQ comparisons someday. But then, a lot of folks don't necessarily use their DAW's built-in EQ.)

While it would 'zero in' more on straight summing algorithm issues to restrict the test to unity gain on the tracks -- it likely would have resulted in a mix that was so out of balance as to be too distracting to use for our purposes.


I dunno, I think it's a good effort and while it's certainly not conclusive, it's a little more information than we may have had two days ago.


One thing, JP, have you told people what version of Sonar that was, yet? I don't think knowing that will contaminate people's testing.


Cheerio.


PS... I'll say this: whichever is which, this test doesn't undercut my confidence in my ability to get a good mix with my chosen software, even if I'm using the one I thought 'lost.' But it's something to think about. We'll know more when there are more tests like this to audit, I guess. The more data we collect, the better the 'resolution' of the picture we form... not to mix metaphors.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #43
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mr jkn's Avatar
I should point out that when listening to these files I found the differences between them very small and on another day I probably end up with another conclusion. Still fun!

Regarding demo/full version of the daws I find it hard to believe that there is any difference between them. I believe their sound would be identical if the versions are the same - I mean shouldnt they share the exact same audio engine? Correct me if I´m wrong, I´m no programmer yet very curious.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #44
Quote:
I should point out that when listening to these files I found the differences between them very small and on another day I probably end up with another conclusion. Still fun!
Same here. Not listening on my S2A's but in my cheap headphones and my laptop speakers there is little difference. There is a difference between them (at least I think there is, my mind could be making that up) but that difference is quite small and I don't have a preference as of now.

I might burn these to CD and check them out on real speakers just to see but I don't think this "unscientific test" would lead me towards or away from either platform.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #45
Gear Maniac
 

I've been told somewhere (might have been on the Samplitude user forum) that the Samplitude demo is exactly the same as the full version, with the listed restrictions. I don't remember if there were any restrictions or intentional degradation on bouncing, but whatever limits there are will be listed in the readme file. So I assume the OP is tracking that.

I listened through Wavelab and good headphones. The first file (.wav file versions) sounded a bit punchier and more open. The second file sounded a little flat by comparison. But I'm not sure I would have called it a "flat mix" if I hadn't heard the first version for comparison.

Differences this small would not lead me to choose one program over another, and (with all respect to the OP), I think we have to take all these comparisons with a grain of salt, since we can't verify the methodology 100%, all the way down the line. There are a lot of futzy settings in Samp that still throw me a curve sometimes, and I've needed some familiarity with the program to make sure I'm always recording in an optimized way. Anyhoo, it's an interesting project, but I'd suggest doing your own tests, with your own music, before jumping to too many conclusions.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #46
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thermos's Avatar
I'm not sure what 3 and 4 are.
I like 1 and 3 best I guess. Sound less blurry.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #47
Well, the Sonar demo is said to be 4.01 on the website (and the updates can't patch the demo). But, while there are apparently significant improvements in the performance of the audio engine and a lot of additional featueres with re smooth PB during various mods, plug in insertion, etc, (as well as a move from MPEX 2 to MPEX 3 for timestretching), I don't see where they've claimed an improvement in sound quality since 4.0.

(But reviewing the three updates made me realize one reason why I've been pretty happy with CW over the last decade. They keep up with solid incremental improvements in the UI and features and when things go wrong they fix 'em. [Took 'em a while on that mute automation. Maybe it was harder than it looked. ] )
Old 3rd August 2005
  #48
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"OP" here...I agree that the test is not completely scientific, it is not definitive or the end of the story. It's not supposed to be.

I'm basically posting what anyone might do in a real world situation when trying out a DAW or 2 or 3 to see how they sound. I know people do this because they post about it and say "this DAW sounds unbelievable!" How scientific is that? How scientific is it to have people all the time claiming one thing is better than another without sharing what they're listening to...

Well I'm sharing what I'm listening to!

I knew full well that some people would poopoo the whole thing, but I still think it's better and more useful than people just saying "this app is awesomely better!"

It's kind of funny that people except complete hype on a daily basis, but when someone does a test, all of a sudden it's got to be soooo scientific or it means nothing. And even if it is scientific it means nothing. Well it's all nothing, nothing means anything...

And at least I'm trying to be as fair as possible regarding the test..pan laws and such. In fact, I just saw some post yesterday on another board discussing Samplitude, and one Samp user was saying it has a superior sound, and another Samp user said they thought so too until someone told them about the different pan law, and when they switched it, they felt it wasn't much different than most other apps.

Someone might say, well, it doesn't matter anyway, it's about the song, the engineer, the this the that, so many factors...true, but people still discuss the notion that one app generally sounds better than another..and for me, if that's true, than I want that app!

I think theblue1 clearly gets the point and usefulness of the test, and I thank him for applauding my efforts! Yay!

It's interesting, because I'm with the few who feel the differences are nearly none. Yet most people are hearing such a clear difference between them, it's making me wonder about my monitor situation or my ears!

Oh, and no, it's not the latest 4.03 update version of Sonar in which they improved the audio engine. What can I do? I still think the test is useful. From what I understand, I'm not sure it's the sound that's been improved, but more that it runs better, smoother, without problems.

But, on the Sonar board, some are claiming a better sound! Hmmm, I'd like to hear a shootout of Sonar against itself. Wouldn't matter, I probably wouldn't hear the difference anyway!

Thanks.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath

Differences this small would not lead me to choose one program over another, and (with all respect to the OP), I think we have to take all these comparisons with a grain of salt, since we can't verify the methodology 100%, all the way down the line. There are a lot of futzy settings in Samp that still throw me a curve sometimes, and I've needed some familiarity with the program to make sure I'm always recording in an optimized way. Anyhoo, it's an interesting project, but I'd suggest doing your own tests, with your own music, before jumping to too many conclusions.
I did my best to go through all the futzy settings...

Sure, everyone should do their own tests, and post 'em up! I'd like to hear 'em!

The more tests we have, maybe the more definitive answers we'll have!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #50
Lives for gear
 

Keep it in perspective JP...Nobody 'poo-poo'd' your 'effort'...it is just too important to look at the reality of the 'test'.

If you can gauge the quality of audio processing and potential results (of these apps) based on this, then you have superior intuition and judgment...In which case you will be able to make either one sound great.

The truth is I have heard remarkable recordings with Sonar...and remarkable recordings with Samplitude.

My good friend and Producer (Magic) uses both. His production is the demo song that is shipped on the current version of Sonar Producer 4...yet his current primary DAW is Samplitude.

Why?...Cause they both sound great when HE is behind the wheel.

There are countless reasons why I personally find zero 'qualitive' or qualifying' support based on a sample like this...and it's not an insult bro ( I was one of the fisrt to support YOU by responding). I salute and support anyone taking the time to find that extra percentage... I do that all of the time.

I don't think you have even mentioned which is which have you? Based on your own way of thinking, the benefit would be to reveal your answer.What's up with the secrecy?
Old 3rd August 2005
  #51
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
I don't think you have even mentioned which is which have you? Based on your own way of thinking, the benefit would be to reveal your answer.What's up with the secrecy?
I believe he wants to avoid subliminally influencing people's opinions. Good call, I'd say.
Old 4th August 2005
  #52
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7 Hz's Avatar
Well, i don't hear that much differences at all with the first two files here at home (didn't bother with the other two yet). This may say more about my signal chain weakness (probably my 01V, update to 01V96 coming soon I think) than the files. So I did the subtraction thing in Soundforge... there is a very low level 'residue' left at about -60dB. this, when normalised, gave a suprisingly hi-fi playback of the music. Bass was weaker leading me to think that the bottom end is roughly the same on both these programs, but there is a rise in the upper bass and general bass ambience, making me think that the summing was revealing more detail in one of these two programs. (This was done on one side at a time (i.e. result was mono).

The thing is, there is a load of other stuff in the track that bothers me before I would ever be bothered about the summing audio quality of either app.
Old 4th August 2005
  #53
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
I don't see where they've claimed an improvement in sound quality since 4.0.
Cakewalk has not mentioned this but numerous people, including myself, have noticed a clearer and more defined sound out of 4.0.3. That's why I would be concerned about making decisions about software based on demo versions. It's not easy or convenient but hearing the real thing is a better way to make a decision.

So with that, here are some criteria I would want to see to make a test of applications unbiased.

Record a series of music tracks i.e. vocal, acoustic, bass and drums then convert it to WAV. 44.1, 24 bit. This is to obtain a good cross section of frequencies which represent a large part of the audible spectrum. Then use a neutral application not being tested to convert A to D. Also use a high quality sound card, Lynx comes to mind.

If you want to really get anal, you could create these files using 3 computers each with the same sound card, OS etc. and actually let your test applications do the A/D. Take a live feed and split it into each system. Otherwise you would only be getting the result of D/A summing for comparing applications.

Take these files and put them into actual working versions of Protools, Sonar, Samplitude etc.

- Check for panning laws.
- Check for characteristics i.e., wideners or other application specific potential variances.
- No plugs-ins on the files.
-Check for similar levels

Sum these to a stereo wave file in each application with the same meter readings for volume on each track.

Don't convert to MP3 because the algorithm could affect the variance in sound.

This would give you a proper test bed for comparing application summing. I think this would cover all the bases but others please comment if there is a hole in my method.
Old 4th August 2005
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Keep it in perspective JP...Nobody 'poo-poo'd' your 'effort'...
there was a bit of poopooing...

Quote:
Why?...Cause they both sound great when HE is behind the wheel.
I don't necessarily disagree, the thing is...many people, all the time, say this doohickey is better than that doohickey. I don't think I'm the only one who is curious if that's true or not. I do think some doohickeys are better than others, regardless of who's using it.

And the thing with this DAW deal, is because there are so many variables, from who's using it, to how they're using it, to the utter compexity of them, both using them and all the computer science behind them, etc. etc., it's easy for someone to say, oh this is better than that, without any proof.

Sure in the end, it may not matter much, and sure a talented person with a lousier tool can do great things...but this isn't about that.

This is simply about trying out some DAWs, and seeing if one or the other sounds obviously better, something we all do when shopping for a DAW...or do we all just ask what's better on these baords, or buy based solely on price (the more you pay, the more it's worth), or whether it comes with free softsynths...

Quote:
I don't think you have even mentioned which is which have you? Based on your own way of thinking, the benefit would be to reveal your answer.What's up with the secrecy?
What fraz said. I'll tell you all when enough people get a chance to listen...if it peters out soon enough, then test over, but people are still listening.

Plus, I added one more!
Old 4th August 2005
  #55
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Oldone, looking forward to your test!
Old 4th August 2005
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fraz
I believe he wants to avoid subliminally influencing people's opinions. Good call, I'd say.

Yes...I understand the original intent...

However...the opinions are obviously unanimous...so why the drama? Why the continued secret?...
Old 4th August 2005
  #57
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Note: I added 1 more because it was easy to do! So that's 5 apps (or is it *wink*)

Hopefully, you all can check out the extra files.

Thanks for all the feedback thus far. I, for one, have enjoyed this, I do recommend doing it, not just for the test itself, I've also learned my way around all these apps! thumbsup
Old 4th August 2005
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11
there was a bit of poopooing...

What fraz said. I'll tell you all when enough people get a chance to listen...if it peters out soon enough, then test over, but people are still listening.

Plus, I added one more!
I see JP...

Didn't mean to hurt your feelings by expressing my own experience and logic...that is just gonna happen sometimes....gotta learn to live with it.. NO harm to you meant.

Good luck with the rest of your experiment.
Old 4th August 2005
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Yes...I understand the original intent...

However...the opinions are obviously unanimous...so why the drama? Why the continued secret?...
Jeez, it's only been a day! It's not like I've been holding out for weeks, plus I added 3 more files.

And yes, it appears that file number 1 is the most popular, but it's not unamimous.

EDIT: You changed your post!

Okay, thanks.

EDIT: oh wait you added a post, okay, I need a break, talk to you all later
Old 4th August 2005
  #60
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

there's no difference among those files that strikes me as better or worse or even significant, and the things i hear are so barely perceptible that i wonder if i'm actually hearing it or making it up.

for instance, some of the panning sounds ever so slightly different in several of the files, and the snare freqs seem different in some vague but unmoving way in file 4. 3&5 sound the most similar to each other panning and freqwise. i'm on the road with 7506's on the laptop, maybe i'd hear more back in the studio, but i doubt it.

i guess what strikes me most is that i don't like the sound of anything, especially the vocal compression, and the balances distract me in a way that make it hard to do a/b stuff. it's nothing personal, this is just one of my least favorite styles of music. and that, i suppose, is the bottom line for me: tools tools tools, if i don't like the music all the gear in the world ain't gonna fix it.

thanks for taking the time to do this test, i know it takes a good bit of energy to do even simple file uploads like this one.


gregoire
del ubik
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