DAW vs DAW

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

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merlyn
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DAW vs DAW

Postby merlyn » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:23 pm

Have you heard of Admiral Bumblebee?

He's making videos comparing DAWs objectively :

Part One: Do all DAWs sound the same?

Part Two

Part Three Part Two (Yes, for some reason part two comes first.)

Part Three


The ideas are applicable to any DAW, and could be used to test the specific DAW you work with.

One thing I learned was that if you want a fast fade in Ardour use the gain envelope, not the fader automation.
Last edited by merlyn on Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:39 pm

It's a love letter to Protools from an Apple fanboy.

merlyn
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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby merlyn » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:51 pm

His bias appears to be towards Digital Performer. :) The interesting aspect to me was that DAWs may not all sound the same, and you could verify that yourself. Ardour comes out well in the comparison.

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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby CrocoDuck » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:03 pm

I did not watch the videos yet, but here two comments on "DAWs not sounding the same" that I want to do, straight from the top of my head.

I think the fundamentals of recording audio streams to disk are not gonna produce audible differences if properly implemented. Most likely, most of the audible differences spawn from the implementation of built-in plugins or other audio processors maybe at a more fundamental level. Perhaps, the DAWs that are gonna have a more characteristic audio footprint are those built to mimic analog audio equipment, like Harrison Mixbus does.

As such, I think that the sound of a DAW, or better the way it transforms a signal, has not much to do with quality, but rather on the design choices made by the different developers. As long as a DAW is not buggy and performs well under stress I would call it a good DAW in objective terms.

My personal subjective opinion on the matter is that I do not want my equipment to introduce any artifact which is not directly under my control, so my audio chain should be ultra-neutral and ultra-linear unless I say otherwise by dropping selected plugins into the chain. So, for me a DAW that, unless plugins are used, does not alter the sound in a audible way would be the best one. For most people, though, little coloration might bias subjective impression, unconsciously or not, and might create an impression of higher quality with respect a neutral audio chain. This subjective impression actually depends also on many more factors too, many unrelated to audio (GUI would be one example).
Last edited by CrocoDuck on Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby jonetsu » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:10 pm

Haven't watched these videos (did watch the one about Mixbus32 v5 some time ago) although I hope he does not include Bitwig in there. Because Bitwig is much more than a DAW, it's a set of creative tools for music creation.

I'm used to Ardour, Mixbus, and then Mixbus32C, and I find Bitwig is not good at mixing though. For starter there's no monitor bus, which is essential, unless your audio interface is a box with a big volume knob on top, and even then, it could be argued easily that it's preferable to have a precise monitoring level, which is the case with Ardour/Mixbus, and is saved on a per-session basis. So I create with Bitwig and mix with Mixbus32C.

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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby jonetsu » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:13 pm

CrocoDuck wrote: My personal subjective opinion on the matter is that I do not want my equipment to introduce any artifact which is not directly under my control, so my audio chain should be ultra-neutral and ultra-linear unless I say otherwise by dropping selected plugins into the chain.

It is indeed a subjective approach after all. Those concerns did not exist in the times of analog mixers of any kind. All mixers introduced some artifacts and some mixing consoles were of course favoured for their sound. Subjectively, I tend to go with that approach by using Mixbus32C. I do not see why it would have to be "pure" to start with. I see no practical advantage in that.

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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby finotti » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:14 pm

CrocoDuck wrote:I did not watch the videos yet, but here two comments on "DAWs not sounding the same" that I want to do, straight from the top of my head.

I think the fundamentals of recording audio streams to disk are not gonna produce audible differences if properly implemented. [snip]


FWIW, I've watched the videos... The author starts by saying that, if nothing is done with the tracks, all DAWs sound the same (except something like Mixbus, which, if I understand it well, is always doing something to the tracks via analog emulation).

These first videos see what happens when you add volume automation to a track. DAWs process this simple automation differently, resulting in different results.

Linuxmusician01 wrote:It's a love letter to Protools from an Apple fanboy.


I am not sure... Maybe you are right, but the author is very clear and do it all in a "scientific way". Moreover, he goes out of his way to say that you should not trust any video on youtube and should reproduce the experiment yourself. He also says that the difference won't matter if you like your DAW as is, but it helps you understand it better and so get more out of it, which I think is a very good point. So, I think your comment might not very fair...

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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby ufug » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:48 pm

I've been reading Admiral Bumblebee's stuff for awhile (not so much the videos). He writes detailed, exhaustive reviews which is pretty unusual these days. He wrote an especially good piece on Mixbus plugins (including a focus on x42's work) which I think is mostly spot-on.

The DAW vs. DAW series is fun but it's mostly click-bait for audio people (because they love to argue about this stuff on audio forums :lol: ), but there's a lot more interesting content on his site that worth looking at, including evaluations of Linux-native things like Ardour, Mixbus, Renoise, Tracktion, Bitwig and Reaper. I don't agree with all of them but they are good reads.

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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby CrocoDuck » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:42 pm

finotti wrote:
FWIW, I've watched the videos... The author starts by saying that, if nothing is done with the tracks, all DAWs sound the same (except something like Mixbus, which, if I understand it well, is always doing something to the tracks via analog emulation).

These first videos see what happens when you add volume automation to a track. DAWs process this simple automation differently, resulting in different results.


That's along the lines of what I would expect.

jonetsu wrote: Subjectively, I tend to go with that approach by using Mixbus32C. I do not see why it would have to be "pure" to start with. I see no practical advantage in that.


To me is not about the practicality, but about what I think of art as a whole. I cannot call something mine if I did not manage to control it to the highest possible extent in order to match as close as possible the piece I have in mind. In reality, many uncontrollable aspect will shape the result, making anything from your nervous system jitter to that whatever filter bank implementation "co-authors" of your piece. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I just not like it, and I want to minimize it.
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Re: DAW vs DAW

Postby jonetsu » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:48 pm

CrocoDuck wrote: To me is not about the practicality, but about what I think of art as a whole. I cannot call something mine if I did not manage to control it to the highest possible extent in order to match as close as possible the piece I have in mind. In reality, many uncontrollable aspect will shape the result, making anything from your nervous system jitter to that whatever filter bank implementation "co-authors" of your piece. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I just not like it, and I want to minimize it.

It's a different approach. As one could consider the grain of the canvas when painting as part of the painting itself, I tend to go that way with the choice of Mixbus32C. I will probably be never able to get a true "British channel sound" by plugging in a high-quality SSL console channel plugin, or at least it will be superimposed to the 32C layer, but that's OK. The nervous system is but a small part of other things that influences decisions during creation and mixing. The number of factors is extremely large all things considered.

There's perhaps a basic difference in approach other than DAW concerns. Up to now I tend to "flow with" in the process of creating. I do not have per se something in mind that I want to materialize as faithfully as possible. Less at the mixing stage though, as I might have by then a certain vision about how to make a composed piece sound once all tracks are imported into Mixbus32C. But it does start with the Mixbus32C sound and I 'compose' mixing with it.


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