8 DAW in comparison - Sum Tracks
I'm crazy! My curiosity is leading me to a huge job but I don't stop, I want to satisfy and find MY answers. This comparison does not want to set itself to determine which is the best DAW, I don't even think about it. I rather try to understand if there are sound differences between the various offers and how much they affect, highlight aspects of the operational flow and more that will emerge along the way. One thing that intrigues me: but an amplification of 2 db at 5khz or a cut of 6 db at 430hz is the same for everyone? If I raise 2db to 5Khz on a DAW I will have to expect almost the exact same result on another, and on yet another, or not? The bits and bytes are the same for everyone, or not? Sure that those who work with the "ears" don't care about it, rule based on what they feel, rightly, but that's NOT what I want! I want to know if 2db at 5Khz are the same for everyone or not, I want to know if I put some settings on a DAW, they are practically equivalent to the "almost" same on another. Most likely they are different, but most of us feel these differences? Well, I approach differently without pretending to know whether it is correct or not.
At the end of the fair, will they sound identical for most listeners?
Will there be tangible differences? Will these differences be understood?
And much more.
I don't judge, everyone draws his/her conclusions.
I will make the test files available and everyone can make their own reason and have their own judgment.
Have a good time.
DAYS OF SAMARA
Maybe I like to complicate my life?
I could use one of my songs, I wouldn't have had any problems, but no.
There is a song that I really like and would have liked to use for this comparison.
No sooner said than done! Authorization received.
I can proceed.
Band on YouTube
Band on the web
SECRET SIDE is the Days of Samara song that I used for comparison.
It consists of 50 tracks at 24bit 44.1Khz and including drums, bass, guitars, keys-synths and vocals.
I want to publicly thank the whole band and in particular Mr. Reno Mellow for giving me the use of their song for the ongoing confrontation. I would also like to point out that what has been done is NOT representative of the band and will be unofficial but authorized by the respective copyright holders. See also the Disclaimer-Copyright section.
I do not know 100% all the DAWs, I have established that for the information I need I should not take more than 10/15 minutes to recover / understand the instructions for a given operation.
I expect that if I have to look for Trim I find it under the heading Trim or Gain, I also accept Volume, amplifier, reducer, but not under "CaioSempronio". I look for the information first on the online guide, then on the user manual, and finally on the web (site and dedicated forum). If I lose more than 15 minutes I find an alternative.
PAN LAW : All DAW are set to -3Db.
I imported the 50 tracks in the daw. I grouped similar tracks in a folder where this was possible. I lowered the volumes of all tracks by 8Db (trim /gain) to leave all the faders set to zero and not have distortion in the output, no clips, no red signal. Remember that professional equipment operates at + 4dbu so we will have: the fader match at 0 ---> + 4Dbu ---> -18DbFS.
Generally I want a level between -22 / -10 DbFS on average peak. Absolutely I do NOT want tracks with values at -3 / -6 DbFS if not occasionally peak.
Where could I have eliminated everything that was between the track and the master output, then a path as clean as possible. From these settings I created the audio file that you can listen to and compare. The audio file was created at 32bit floating point / 44.1Khz triangular dithering.
To complete this procedure with all the steps provided, the most comfortable and fastest daw was Cakewalk by Bandlab, really a missile, it took me less than 4 minutes, followed by Cubase 10 Pro, slightly more. Obviously meaning also with the creation of the folders because on some it is not possible to do this step. The fact of not being able to create folders to have a better view and project management can be an aspect to be taken into consideration especially when there are many tracks to work with.
Initially I wanted to identify the audio files without the Daw ---> audio files correspondence, but to make them anonymous so that you could judge which one seemed best to you, without having the possibility of combining it with a specific DAW of origin and having some influence in any way of judgment. Unfortunately I changed my mind because I'm not so expert in php, host settings and anything else to create databases on the site's servers and I was wasting too much time, so I left this path a little saddened. I would have preferred the initial solution. Patience.
You can download the .rar file containing the six audio mix in one way, push, 438mb+144mb. Extract and listen and then make a judgment. Considering that Pro Tools is considered a bit like the reference DAW, I will put its results first and then follow all the others simply by alphabetical order.
Cakewalk by Bandlab, Cubase, FLstudio,MixBus,Pro Tools,Samplitude
2 daw added
Reaper and Studio One
PRO TOOLS 12 Ultimate
CAKEWALK by BANDLAB
CUBASE 10 PRO
FL STUDIO 20 Signature Bundle
MIXBUS 32C v5
SAMPLITUDE PRO X4 SUITE
You can download the data table in Excel format (9.1kb).
Thanks guys for coming all the way here.
As for Cakewalk by Bandlab (abbreviated as CbB). Someone told me that I can't compare $ 600 daw with free ones. I want to clarify that CbB is the old Cakewalk Sonar Platinum lacking almost all VST plugins, instruments and effects. So it is absolutely correct to include it in the comparison as it is a professional daw that until recently cost $ 500. Now I don't want to go into the matter but I would like to point out that ImageLine's company policy has always provided updates for free to its daw. So it deserves a plus. Without having to pay $ 100 each year to update. Now I ask some questions:
Do all daws sound good?
Can they all be considered professional?
Are there daws that offer something extra?
Are there tangible audio differences between the various daws?
I would like to focus attention on one particular:
listen to the song between time 3.10 and 3.50, listen well to the instruments, the pan and the volumes and the sharpness. In theory they all have the same settings, it can be assumed that everything is the same. They actually sound slightly different. I have cataloged them as follows A) Pro Tools, Cubase and MixBux = very similar.
B) CbB, FL, Samplitude, very similar. But A and B sound slightly different. What do you think? Is it my impression?
However it always falls on its feet. All promoted?
We will see the next test, which will take a long time 12 full mix to the best of what the various packages offer. And yes, also based on my abilities !!!!
Test 2 should be ready by mid / end of June.
Pan Test & Pan Law
To see the video make sure your browser reads the .mp4 format.
Crhome basically reproduces it, hedge and internet explorer don't reproduce it.