8 DAW in comparison - TRackS5 Mix
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.
Mixing with T-Racks5 Max Suite
For this comparison I used the suite of Ik-Multimedia T-RackS5 Max plugins. The audio files of the various tracks were treated exclusively with these effects in vst3 format.
Of the 50 initial tracks that make up the song, I removed 2 mono drum tracks and grouped the female lead voice on a single track that was previously divided into three tracks.
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 this basic setting I started to create the final mix that you can listen to and compare. The audio file was created at 32bit floating point / 44.1Khz triangular dithering.
I paid the utmost attention so that all tracks were identical. For example, track 1 related to "kick in":
in all daw the same identical values are set for all the parameters considered both as regards the mixer channel and the effects. For each effect applied, a relative preset has been created to avoid possible errors in setting the various knobs / faders.
On average, two plugins per track, a compressor and an equalizer were applied. On some tracks even more than two.
I didn't look for the highest quality in creating the mix, but I gave a lot of importance so that everything was identical and replicable on all daws in the same way, with the same values and that it sounded decent even if not perfect.
The result is listenable but above all it is set identical for each daw.
you must be honest with yourself.
Now I want to do a little experiment. I put the audio files of the 8 daw at your disposal but I won't tell you what they are, or rather, I won't tell you here but you can go and see the link below, however, first I invite you to listen to all the files with your eyes closed and with a hifi listening system, whether it is made up of loudspeakers or headphones, certainly not with the earphones of the smartphone or on the TV monitor speakers.
If you want to let me know on facebook in the group where we are registered or even on my site by sending me an email which version you prefer, I will eventually present what will be the report of your evaluations and preferences, all anonymous and in percentage.
You can download the audio files (472MB)+(154MB).
Cakewalk by Bandlab, Cubase, FLstudio,MixBus,Pro Tools,Samplitude
other two daw added
Reaper and StudioOne
Why are there two downloads?
It is recognized by multiple sources that an audio file tends to be preferred when it sounds louder. In fact the loudness race has led to the exasperation of the pumping of the audio leading to a flattening of the dynamic and to play a song almost at the same intensity from the beginning to the end.
Now at the international level rules have also been defined on the sound intensity, on the loudness that a song must have, or rather, that it should have a song. In trying to make this comparison as true and accurate as possible, in addition to exporting the mix in the second file the files have been normalized and therefore have been brought to the highest volume allowed so that they can be compared more precisely. The Sound Forge software on all tracks was used for normalization.
Below are the results.
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.
Well, what to say, in Italy there is a saying: however you fall you fall to your feet. I do not know if it is translated correctly for the connection it is that whatever daw you choose you have a professional product anyway. Is there one that sounds better than another? Maybe yes maybe no. For me the differences are subtle and on a couple of daws it seems to me to be clearer and more intelligible but it can simply be a consideration of mine that is worth a 50 cents laundry. Everyone draws their own conclusions, I reiterate the concept that the comparison does not have and had no intention of proving there was a better daw than another.
Now hearing something like this from many quarters, they all deal with bits and bytes, 2 + 2 = 4 both with a "xy" calculator or with a perfect "wz" calculator, so the subtle difference lies only in rounding the decimals? Another question, if this were true then mixing could be just a matter of mathematics here, fader levels are numbers, compression levels and equalization are numbers, and if instead of ears we learned to manage numbers? Moreover, another question arises. The online mastering services that are popping up like mushrooms, are "human algorithms" that create the best possible master, I almost found a new experiment.
The next test I will do will be exclusively a mix based on numbers, no ears, only theory on numbers and math, who knows what comes up! Hi guys.