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Mastering Software for Windows Audio Interfaces
Old 21st May 2003
  #1
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StuartMac's Avatar
 

Mastering Software for Windows

Sorry if this is an incredibly dull question, but I could use some quickie advice.

I'm looking for a two-track editing and mastering package for the PC. I have a Radar and a Millenium Audio PC running Cubase SX. Generally, virtually all of my audio remains in Radar, but if I need extra tracks or the occassional plug-in I dump stuff into Cubase. I then mix the lot on a Ghost (I know, I know...), perhaps 4 - 12 tracks from Cubase running alongside the 24 tracks from the Radar.

I mix onto Masterlink at 24/96 and either burn CDs from there, or ocassionally through a Finalizer onto an HHB CDR-800 (usually if the client wants it stupidly loud and squashed).

I am not that sold on the "mastering" on either unit, and I usually tell people to take their mixes to a decent mastering facility, but often I have to try and give them a "finished" product.

I was considering running the finished mixes back into the PC from the Masterlink for editing and mastering through a dedicated programme. The question is, which one? Will Wavelab, Sound Forge, whatever give me better results than the Masterlink? Which programme, and which version?

Sorry for my sheer naivety!
Old 21st May 2003
  #2
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jazzius's Avatar
 

There is only one possible choice

Samplitude 7.1

you can download a demo version of it here .

The big brother of Samplitude (Sequoia) which is, in fact, extremely similar, is now used by the world's top mastering engineer, Ted Jensen

If you want, i'll email you the old 3 month FULL WORKING DEMO!!! of Samplitude 6.0.......3 months should be long enuff!
Old 21st May 2003
  #3
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius
There is only one possible choice

Samplitude 7.1

you can download a demo version of it here .

The big brother of Samplitude (Sequoia) which is, in fact, extremely similar, is now used by the world's top mastering engineer, Ted Jensen

If you want, i'll email you the old 3 month FULL WORKING DEMO!!! of Samplitude 6.0.......3 months should be long enuff!
Sequoia is very good indeed. Wavelab (also has DDP support) is probably a cheaper alternative (depending on your budget).
Pyramix (merging Technologies) and Sadie 5 (they also support SACD/DSD) are also very good but more expensive than Sequoia.
Old 21st May 2003
  #4
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I'm a user of Sequoia and I can certainly vouch for the quality of sound that you get from it.... Simply an amazing piece of equipment. Watch out, start using Sequoia (or Samplitude) and you may find yourself using SX less...

I'm quite impressed with most of the internal effects in Samp and Sequoia... POW-R dithering is native, there are multi-band comps, sound restoration/dehissing, eqs, FFT filters, Amp Simulation, Vocoders, Real-time Room Simulation (with lots of impulse responses) etc... I also have suplimented it with some Waves Plugins (NPP and Masters bundle) and a TC Powercore with the Sony Oxford EQs added.

Sequoia adds some pretty substantial functionality that Samplitude does not have. This ranges from beter support for other file formats (like SDII), an amazing cross-fade editor/4-point editing (a la Sonic Solutions, but IMO better implemented), DDP import/export with 2.0 support for CDRs... They have also teamed with algorythmix for a new set of high-end plugins that will be available at extra cost. reNOVAtor is already available (expensive, but really f-ing cool!), as is the Descratcher (DeClicker/Decrackler)... A new EQ will be coming from them soon as well...

For Sequoia turnkey info, go to http://www.sequoiadigital.com or for general info, go to http://www.samplitude.com

You can email me also if you have questions...

--Ben
Old 21st May 2003
  #5
Samp rocks...I've been using it for about 5 years. v 7.0 has really brought about a lot of really nice features.
Old 21st May 2003
  #6
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heinz's Avatar
 

I am also in the Samp 7.1 camp, been running it for a few months and am super impressed. Once you get in the German Mindset™ the workflow is awesome.
Old 21st May 2003
  #7
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

Another Samp slut here...even us low-people on the Totem pole get tremendous results with quality...speed....accuracy....CPU usage....and overall coolness...
Old 21st May 2003
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
dbluefield's Avatar
 

Sequoia as multitrack

Hey Ben,

Would configuring the turnkey system for a multitrack application work to sequoia strenghts. I've checked out the samp demo and I like its layout. I would want it to funtion like a 24 trk to start like the radar or genex.

Any thoughts on soundcard/converters, best quality for value?

Best,

Mack
Old 22nd May 2003
  #9
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Absolutely....

I usually use mine for mixing, but I track to it occasionally as well. Usually, I'm in the field or a different studio so I use whatever I have for recording (DA-78, MX-2424, etc...)

I've done 48+ track surround mixes in Sequoia. I can also edit across all 48 tracks in real-time. While it is playing, I can tweak the edit and hear the changes instantaneously. You can't even do that in Sonic Solutions.

The source-destination mode and 4-point editing would be wonderful for doing vocal comps, etc... Simply set up your takes in the multiple source mode and edit up to a single destination track. Tweak with the fade-editor and you're done.

The editing in Sequoia rocks. In my classical work, I routinely replace individual notes with ease as well as shave attacks that aren't together.

My I/O is a RME Hammerfall DSP Digiface. It gives me 26 ins and outs (14 at 96K). It is built like a rock and has made me quite happy...

As for converters/sound cards, you really have a multitude of choices out there. RME probably has the best drivers out there and that is what the developers use on their own systems. You'd get great results with ADI-8DS converters and perhaps a ADI-8DD format converter (so you can have some AES I/Os). Mytek Converters also have format conversion between AES-ADAT (with S/MUX) as well as mastering quality conversion. They cost about 4x as much as the RME, though.

Another way of going is getting the RME MADI card when it comes out (soon!). There are several AES-MADI converters out there that will enable more channels of 96K at a time in to your system. With an AES I/O, you'd be able to use really high-end converters if you please. (like Prism, Lavery, DCS, etc...). The Lynx 2 also offers some multi-channel AES configurations.

As I'm sure you know, the advantage of a native system is easy configuration for whatever you need it to do.

--Ben
Old 22nd May 2003
  #10
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by fifthcircle
Absolutely....

I usually use mine for mixing, but I track to it occasionally as well. Usually, I'm in the field or a different studio so I use whatever I have for recording (DA-78, MX-2424, etc...)

I've done 48+ track surround mixes in Sequoia. I can also edit across all 48 tracks in real-time. While it is playing, I can tweak the edit and hear the changes instantaneously. You can't even do that in Sonic Solutions.

The source-destination mode and 4-point editing would be wonderful for doing vocal comps, etc... Simply set up your takes in the multiple source mode and edit up to a single destination track. Tweak with the fade-editor and you're done.

The editing in Sequoia rocks. In my classical work, I routinely replace individual notes with ease as well as shave attacks that aren't together.

My I/O is a RME Hammerfall DSP Digiface. It gives me 26 ins and outs (14 at 96K). It is built like a rock and has made me quite happy...

As for converters/sound cards, you really have a multitude of choices out there. RME probably has the best drivers out there and that is what the developers use on their own systems. You'd get great results with ADI-8DS converters and perhaps a ADI-8DD format converter (so you can have some AES I/Os). Mytek Converters also have format conversion between AES-ADAT (with S/MUX) as well as mastering quality conversion. They cost about 4x as much as the RME, though.

Another way of going is getting the RME MADI card when it comes out (soon!). There are several AES-MADI converters out there that will enable more channels of 96K at a time in to your system. With an AES I/O, you'd be able to use really high-end converters if you please. (like Prism, Lavery, DCS, etc...). The Lynx 2 also offers some multi-channel AES configurations.

As I'm sure you know, the advantage of a native system is easy configuration for whatever you need it to do.

--Ben
Dear Jazzius, Fifthcircle and all of you:
aknowledged that Sequoia is very good, just out of curiosity, do you know about the existence of any alternative to Sonic Solutions? Meaning any serious mastering software with editing facilities, processing, DDP support, high definition support etc. on the Apple/Mac platform?
Old 22nd May 2003
  #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Riccardo
Dear Jazzius, Fifthcircle and all of you:
aknowledged that Sequoia is very good, just out of curiosity, do you know about the existence of any alternative to Sonic Solutions? Meaning any serious mastering software with editing facilities, processing, DDP support, high definition support etc. on the Apple/Mac platform?
Nothing....

The main contenders in the mastering world right now are Sonic HD (Mac), SADiE (PC), Pyramix (PC), Sequoia (PC), and AudioCube (PC- built on Wavelab or Nuendo).

Personally, I don't consider the Mac vs. PC issue to be an issue anymore. This is especially true since all of these systems can be purchased as turnkey solutions. Windows XP is fine for audio as long as you take out all the bloat that MS puts in and tweak the hell out of it. Every turnkey out there does this.

I like the Sequoia software solution because of what it can do for me, or rather what I can do with it. The ability to do object-based mixing/mastering is still not equaled in any other program. The cost is the best of all of them and to be honest, the speed of working on it for editing is the fastest as well. Every year, at AES, I've gone through extended demos of all the DAWs out there to make sure that I still have the best tool for my needs. Nothing comes close to what I get with Sequoia.

If you are worried about platform, get a demo rig. AFAIK, all of the major players will do demos or let demo machines out...

--Ben
Old 24th May 2003
  #12
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Ben,

I just upgraded from Sequoia 6.0 to 7.1 (I will receive the upgrade in about a week). I also have the RME Digiface, as well with a very nice XP system (2.5 GHz P4, 2-Gig RAM).

When I installed the Sequoia 6.0, the installation went fine, but the RME Digiface had problems. The drivers didn't install (it was strange, there was all kinds of garbage on the driver CD, including pictures of people at a tradeshow.....although the package was marked drivers, I had a feeling it was just a manual on the disc with sales data).

Since I wasn't really interested in Sequoia 6.0 (I only bought it because I knew the upgrade to 7.1 was free), I let it ride.

Now that I'm receiving the Sequoia 7.1 upgrade (hard copy with manual), I will need to correct the RME and other issues.

Problems I had:
1) My computers couldn't locate the RME drivers. In fact, when I installed the PCI card and drivers, I lost the audio on my computer which I haven't been able to reclaim.
I will be sending 24 channels out of the computer (thru the Digiface) via ADAT to the RADAR (into it's D/A converters) and summed in analog. Everytime I try to playback on Sequoia, I get an error message stating the system does not recognize the output interface.


2) When I copy RADAR recorded files (WAV files) to Sequoia 6.0 through a DVD-RAM disc, Sequoia identifies the files but will not put them in Sequoia for processing (which didn't matter since I couldn't get audio out anyways) unless I do it manually track by track (which is time consuming). Also, it appears Sequoia is comfortable with stereo tracks, where the RADAR records in mono tracks (obviously, you can use two mono tracks on the RADAR to record stereo). I should note that I would like to use BWAV, which I believe Sequoia 7.1 has (but am not sure).

Although I work in a technical field, I am a beginner when it comes to audio software and am only functional in the business aspects of running a computer. I've had no problem whatsoever understanding and utilizing all functions of the RADAR by just using the manual. This Sequoia/RME has got me stumped, though, and I'm afraid my ignorance is killing me.

Since you have a similar set-up, do you have any quick advice.....or know where I should go to get answers?

I'm very grateful for your help. I live in San Diego and am interested in attending your users group in LA.

Thanks.

Laser
Old 25th May 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Without seeing your system and how it was put together, I would venture to say that you have corrupted sound card drivers. Unfortunately, when this happens, it is a total bitch to try to fix.

Contact X-Vision and they can give you suggestions of which registry entries to take out. Uninstall the card and start over. Download the latest drivers (from www.rme-audio.com) and start there. Go to the advanced setup menu XP and click on "have disc" and you'll get to install new drivers. Otherwise, it just installs the old drivers.

I hate to say this, but you may find that it would be easier to start over with a clean install of the O/S.

Anyways as to your specific questions/problems-

1- Sounds like a sound card issue. If your card isn't working, Sequoia (and Samp) get unhappy. Also check things like clocking. If you are running word clock at the wrong sampling rate to the card, you may get this error (I see it when I forget to reset my AardsyncII) It is just saying that the program is trying to use the card and it isn't getting what it wants to see. You'll also want to check the Play Parameters dialog as well (shortcut "Y" then select play parameters). Make sure your drivers model is checked (I prefer ASIO) and all of your buffers work. The defaults are not necessarily the best to work with. For my rig, I use: 4000 VIP buffer, 6 play buffers, 0 ASIO buffer (others may work better but cause a huge increase in CPU), 24 bit device resolution, 32 bit internal.

2- I don't use Radar much so I really don't know the format that the files are coming off the disc. Sequoia can indeed deal with .BWF files. You'll want to open them and go to the options dialog in the open wav file box and tell the files to go to different tracks. Mono vs. Stereo shouldn't be an issue. When they are in the VIP, right click and go to the Move/Edit Objects--> Object to original time position. It will go to the timestamped position.

We'd love to have you at the User's group meetings. I wasn't at the last one as I had a gig out of town that weekend. I'll be at the next one, though.

--Ben
Old 26th May 2003
  #14
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laser's Avatar
 

Thanks, Ben.

Very good advice.

Laser
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