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Cubase vs logic... is hans zimmer right?

MarcelM

Senior Member

found this by accident on youtube and had a listen myself on osx. I gotta agree cubase sounds a bit brighter for whatever reason, and I don't think its the pan law ;)

but it might be just psycho acoustic.

well, its saturday so why not have a fun discussion? :)
 

StefanoM

Senior Sound Designer & Composer
There is a simple test. Create an example like in the video, create a bus rec and record the Midi Instrument in Audio, with an internal routing ( no bounce or export mixdown ). Consolidate the file in the same way on Logic and Cubase , the 2 file must be indetical. Then invert the phase of a file and sum with the other file.

If the sound will be cancelled .. the DAW, in this condition , sounds identical.
 
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MarcelM

MarcelM

Senior Member
There is a simple test. Create an example like in the video, create a bus rec and record the Midi Instrument in Audio, with an internal routing ( no bounce or export mixdown ). Consolidate the file in the same way on Logic and Cubase , the 2 file must be indetical. Then invert the phase of a file and sum with the other file.

If the sound will be cancelled .. the DAW, in this condition , sounds identical.
i know about null tests, but the test in the video isnt about audio files playing back. its about playing back a vst - in this case kontakt.
also even if you would do this test the files would never null because the library he is using (the orchestra) is using round robins for example.

whatever, in the video the audio sounds very different and all comments say the same. even the author of the video agrees that cubase sounds different.
 

StefanoM

Senior Sound Designer & Composer
In this case the different could be not in the DAW but in the different format of Instrument. Logic AU , Cubase VST, maybe.

I don't Know. But In this simple condition the DAWs sounds identical. I created many null tests.

The only situation when the DAWs sound different, is when the session will be complex, much tracks, much eq, delay compensation... etc etc
 
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MarcelM

MarcelM

Senior Member
In this case the different could be not in the DAW but in the different format of Instrument. Logic AU , Cubase VST, maybe.

I don't Know. But In this simple condition the DAWs sounds identical. I created many null tests.

The only situation when the DAWs sound different, is when the session will be complex, much tracks, much eq, delay compensation... etc etc
i made null tests aswell with audio files, and all my daws null.

still, i just made some playback test with play (hollywood orchestra) and kontakt 5 (8dio stuff), and indeed cubase sounded a bit brighter. maybe its even the pan law, iam not sure.

also an AU version and VST version of the same plugin should sound actually the same. i dont think there is any difference.
 

Guffy

Senior Member
Interesting.

Cubase definitely sounded brighter to me when i moved from Studio One 2 to Cubase 7.5

I always thought it was placebo, but maybe not.
 

Rctec

Senior Member
In this case the different could be not in the DAW but in the different format of Instrument. Logic AU , Cubase VST, maybe.

I don't Know. But In this simple condition the DAWs sounds identical. I created many null tests.

The only situation when the DAWs sound different, is when the session will be complex, much tracks, much eq, delay compensation... etc etc
...for your “Null Test”, how many complex tracks did you use? My suspicion is that it’s mixing and summing - and pushing the DAW engine really hard - creates differences in sound. And surely you want to have the possibility of complex tracks?
 
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MarcelM

MarcelM

Senior Member
well, i can only speak for myself but i always had the feeling that a high buffer darkens the sound a bit. there also have been lots of discussion about this and ofcourse people dont always agree, but it seems for some a large buffer size affects sound quality.

there were also discussions at steinberg forums where people said that they even got a brighter sound when they disabled asio guard and also the asio guard setting in the plugin manager.

who knows, it might be even related to what kind of audio interface people use, but there are so many discussions about this and i simply cannot think that all people are wrong. and yes, pure audio files will ofcourse always null - doesnt matter with which daw you export it. but using lots of vst is somehow a different beast, and they all use buffer etc.. oh hell, i dont know :)
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
well, i can only speak for myself but i always had the feeling that a high buffer darkens the sound a bit. there also have been lots of discussion about this and ofcourse people dont always agree, but it seems for some a large buffer size affects sound quality.
You can bounce the same tracks with different buffer sizes and compare them with the nulling test.
Of course, if you use samples, you should bounce them in place (and use the same file for all buffer sizes) to avoid different Round robins.
I did plenty of blind tests with audiophiles and they did several blind tests with me.
My main experience is that Placebo is really a mighty sword.
On several occasions i did the "spot the difference between two tracks" tests with playing the same file twice. It's amazing. Everyone hears differences when hearing the same track thinking those are different ones. There are some typical placebo phrases ("more depth", "more brillance", etc, etc).
Fact is: music consists of tons of information and the while the ear is extremely powerful there are myriads of details to focus on (Just think of a composition for a >120 piece orchestra).
Listening to the same recording twice always results in perceiving different details.
You simply have to be conscious of this.
If you focus on an element, your brain actually does a +3 (or even +6) dB boost. That's the cocktail party effect. So, focussing on the top end in fact enables an EQ in your perception.

However, there are always possibilities that real errors occur.
E.g. a insufficient latency compensation can do real harm. In the past, i had situations where logic did a wrong latency compensation on busses with bypassed plug ins (often, because i tried different reverbs on a bus and just bypassed the alternatives).
And this really resulted in a bad sound.

But in the end, even if there are differences in the different DAWs, you still have the possiblity to interact. (Missing brilliance -> add some brilliance)
But one has to be conscious of the fact that it's something like 99,98% about the qualities of composer/musician/mixer and only a tiny part of the DAW.
 
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MarcelM

MarcelM

Senior Member
You can bounce the same tracks with different buffer sizes and compare them with the nulling test.
Of course, if you use samples, you should bounce them in place (and use the same file for all buffer sizes) to avoid different Round robins.
I did plenty of blind tests with audiophiles and they did several blind tests with me.
My main experience is that Placebo is really a mighty sword.
On several occasions i did the "spot the difference between two tracks" tests with playing the same file twice. It's amazing. Everyone hears differences when hearing the same track thinking those are different ones. There are some typical placebo phrases ("more depth", "more brillance", etc, etc).
Fact is: music consists of tons of information and the while the ear is extremely powerful there are myriads of details to focus on (Just think of a composition for a >120 piece orchestra).
Listening to the same recording twice always results in perceiving different details.
You simply have to be conscious of this.
If you focus on an element, your brain actually does a +3 (or even +6) dB boost. That's the cocktail party effect. So, focussing on the top end in fact enables an EQ in your perception.

However, there are always possibilities that real errors occur.
E.g. a insufficient latency compensation can do real harm. In the past, i had situations where logic did a wrong latency compensation on busses with bypassed plug ins (often, because i tried different reverbs on a bus and just bypassed the alternatives).
And this really resulted in a bad sound.

But in the end, even if there are differences in the different DAWs, you still have the possiblity to interact. (Missing brilliance -> add some brilliance)
But one has to be conscious of the fact that it's something like 99,98% about the qualities of composer/musician/mixer and only a tiny part of the DAW.
yah, i get what you are saying and psycho acoustic can be strong. i also did some tests, and bounced files will sound the same. still, on live playback it might be different maybe because there is delay compensation going on and whatever else. i really dont know it might be just placebo.

on steinberg forums someone posted example files which were different though with asio guard on/off etc, but. its an old post and files have been deleted. whatever. i mean its not just me who hears differences sometimes. i mean the man in the topic of this post knows a little about the audio world, right?

some minutes ago between i tested the standalone versions of play and kontakt vs beeing hosted in cubase and logic pro x... and goddamn, i thought the standalone versions sounded better (what pan law do standalone versions use?) :)
might be placebon once again and iam sure my ears are fatigued by now after the whole day.
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
some minutes ago between i tested the standalone versions of play and kontakt vs beeing hosted in cubase and logic pro x... and goddamn, i thought the standalone versions sounded better
I guess there are possibilities to record the output signal of the standalone versions. In those discussions, empirical facts are absolutely mandatory.
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
If you want to, you could load the instruments as VSTs in VE Pro and connect to them from Cubase, and then Logic Pro. While they will be using a different format to connect, the instruments themselves will all be VST and so the libraries should sound the same.

Personally, until, you can prove to me that some clients complain about a mix done in one DAW but then like the same mix when you bounce it out from a different DAW, I don't give a big rat's hiney.
 

AlexRuger

Senior Member
...for your “Null Test”, how many complex tracks did you use? My suspicion is that it’s mixing and summing - and pushing the DAW engine really hard - creates differences in sound. And surely you want to have the possibility of complex tracks?
But "summing" in the realm of digital audio is literally "summing" -- addition, adding two numbers together. Perhaps it's not just summing, but specifically how the summing bus deals with redlining. That too should be the same between DAWs, considering that should be a function of bit depth, but given that most terms regarding the "sound" differences between DAWs tend to be words like "brighter," "foggy," stuff like that, my brain immediately goes to distortion.

FWIW, I too have noticed a very subtle sound difference between Logic and everything else. My success rate for being able to tell when someone is working in Logic is too good for it to have anything to do with me. It's gotta be something Logic is doing. Though, I admit that I noticed the difference far more with Logic 9 than Logic X.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
All of the major DAW's pass the null test which means their mixing engines are an equal playing field, they are transparent and the DSP involved in the basic mixing engine of DAW's is relatively speaking extremely simple and they are all shooting for nullness, meaning...transparency. They do not impart any tone to the sound in that area. Period.

Anyone that thinks otherwise should watch the one hour video I posted above, admittedly its a lot of deep engineering voodoo so you have to kind of wait through the nerdy parts to hear the summaries at each little segment, but essentially what Living Fossil said above is absolutely correct, our ears and brain are CONSTANTLY mucking with what we think we hear. Our ears are not reliable measuring devices for any of the attributes commonly put forth about frequency response, distortion and all the rest. You can trust scientific instruments to measure that sort of thing, but not your ears. It doesn't matter how experienced or GEB you think you are, our brain is designed on purpose to fake us out, on a regular basis, which it constantly does every minute of every day.

The transparency of all DAW mixers has been shown repeatedly to be equally transparent every time anyone tried to do scientific measuring with devices that are more accurate then our ears, and through various null tests. They are all equally transparent, end of story.

Now what you do with your DAW, can of course lead to different results. If you tend to notice that Logic projects from people tend to sound a certain way, that could be because they are using the built in instruments and FX a lot, which are imparting certain tone to the sound. In that case it was their choice to let it sound that way. not the fault of a "non-transparent" mixing engine. And they could easily choose to tweak the sound through EQ and other devices to sound the way they want it to sound! Or use other plugins.

I do not believe anyone that says they hear a difference in sound between the way Logic renders a certain plugin with the exact same settings and the way Cubase renders exactly the same plugin. That is malarky and their ears are not reliable measuring devices. I do not believe VST or AU are doing anything that would cause different tone. Its all the same digital numbers under the covers. Your sound card will effect what you hear, but it will not effect what you bounce to disk. So if your sound card imparts a certain tone it might effect the way you choose to EQ and mix, and thus end up with some tendencies...but again...those are your choices due to not being anal about getting transparent monitoring in your studio, etc.. not the fault of the DAW mixing engine.

Its humorous to me that this subject is still coming up after all these years, it has been proven over and over that the DAW's are all transparent, and our ears and brain are in fact not reliable measuring devices. Maybe in the old days with analog mixers and tape machines, we got used to the idea in the analog realm that different hardware could impart sonic artifacts (all measurable and known by the way), so we might choose favorites based on the way they would color the sound. But DAW mixers do not do that. Period. Its all in your mind. In that video above watch when JJ is pointing at his own brain with his pencil a few times while Nick's favorite buddy is talking. Digital audio simply doesn't work that way. But specific plugins definitely might color the sound, as you wish...but again...that is YOUR CHOICE, not something to blame the DAW mixing engine on.
 
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