Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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simpli.cissimus
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by simpli.cissimus » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:05 pm

nathannn wrote:why do you guys keep on bringing this up on the ableton forums? its like you guys are purposely trying to confuse the shit out of people. you say you hear something that most of us dont hear and then get pissy because we dont hear it. i have said this before, no one can tell you that you are not hearing something (maybe ableton does sound like shit to you) then stop using it or come up with a real example of it sounding like shit and then report it in the bugs section.
i just want to make music and not get side tracked on what daw sounds better because for me ableton live sounds better because i know it the best.

here is the only type of test i would want to see that would make me thinl OK maybe ableton does make some things sound like shit:
1. record all live instruments into two different computers/daws at the same time using the same audio card on both systems (this can be synth or classical instruments voice ect.)
2. record your self using a midi controller split that into two daws using the exact same vstis.
3.all settings on everything in the recording must be the same in each daw
4. make at least 20 tracks (we are talking about a real song here not recording white noise)
5. bounce it all down using the same settings in each daw and then we can finally hear if there is a real difference!

my bets are that most people will not hear anything different.
...and because you don't hear a difference it's not there ???

I am pretty serious about this sound quality thing and I did a test.
I tested Live, Cubase SX 5 and StudioOne using only VST synth and VST effects.
I used Superior Drummer and other software, all together with VST-effects in the mixer.
Did all tests without bouncing down anything, because I also wanted to test how much CPU will be used.

I started with Live and stopped when I hit 50% CPU.
I saved the project and went over to Cubase and then to StudioOne.

Cubase had almost the same CPU consumption like StudioOne.
It was 25% CPU drain in exact same set-up while Live was on 50%.
That showed me how bad Live handles VST's at all.


Now to the sound.
Cubase was not close to be grainy like Live sounds.
Cubase was sounding good at all testing and gave fine results.(still don't like the workflow)
Only StudioOne impressed me with it's crystal clear sound.(..and nice workflow)
I think it must be, because StudioOne internally works at 64bit even on a 32bit OS.
(and the programmers have programmed Nuendo3)

I know that my private test is not a scientific test, but I did a test for my work situations.
Mostly I use a lot VST's and need a stable efficient software for that.
I can make things sound good in Live too, but when I do the same in StudioOne it's better.

You'll see when Live 9 is out, that the sound engine will change and get better.
I think Live 9 will work internally at 64bit too.
Last edited by simpli.cissimus on Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
No! I'll never use the Push-App Live 9 !!!

newboss
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by newboss » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:06 pm

simpli.cissimus wrote:Add some third part VST's to it, not native ones.
Use distortion, chorus, reverb and compression along with EQ.
Keep the settings on a paper and do that in both DAW's.
Then test if it still sounds the same...by ear.
And also export both to do a phase cancellation test to proof if it's identical.

a real world mix ITB has many tracks, plug ins and automation going on.. its almost impossible that one daw sounds exactly like the other in such a full featured runoff..

So i already would be happy when we could get rid of the all daws sound the same myth.

Its however remarkable how often ableton lives audio quality gets attacked. or how often you find yourself in situations where the quicktime player sounds better than playing a file thru live.

In the past there was issues with the sample rate conversion.. still in the younger past.. When you hear all tracks with samplerate conversion you most definitely get an inferior sound in the mix and the harsh statements regarding lives sound quality might be related to such audio engine bugs. The last one officially solved in that direction was just 8 month ago or so when i recall it right... So the SOS article might still refer to that state

In any case other DAW´s dont have a samplerate conversion that can kick in at any time without notice.. There you just get real dropouts on samplerate missmatchings.. I would say there are more things that can go wrong in a daw like live. And as it looks they do go wrong occasionally.

simpli.cissimus
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by simpli.cissimus » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:13 pm

birdhouse19 wrote:
hmj wrote:Interesting to read a PROFESSIONAL completely bash Abletons sound quality. Mind you, this is not another guy on the forum, this is not a Ableton developer talking, this is a guy who actually makes hit records that millions of people consume...

"Everyone says that all DAWs sound the same, but that’s simply not true. I’ve done tests comparing the sound of the same session in different DAWs, and Ableton sounded terrible, Logic and Pro Tools were OK, and Nuendo sounded incredible. Editing in Nuendo is also really fast. Pro Tools is just a standard, it was the first to come onto the market and everybody uses it now, almost out of habit. People in the US don’t know about Nuendo, but I’m sure that if they did, many would switch.”

I could care less about Nuendo but I just wonder how much the all DAW's sound the same campaign is just companies trying to make up for their shortcomings. Marketing can be a very misleading art form, I hope Ableton partaking in it's ugly side.

So why not tell your friend David Guetta to stop using Ableton, since it won't produce any hit records...
Full article here - http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr11/a ... t-0411.htm
So why not tell your friend David Guetta to stop using Ableton, since it won't produce any hit records...
Did he finally learn to produce and now use Live because he read about other french producers do so...?
No! I'll never use the Push-App Live 9 !!!

simpli.cissimus
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by simpli.cissimus » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:26 pm

Tone Deft wrote:
levimoniz wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:if the difference is so obvious, post it.
If you're talking to me, I'm not going to do that simply because I'm not interested in convincing anyone. I may be totally wrong but I'm not afraid of being wrong. What I hear is what I hear.

Besides, the "message" of my post was really the last sentence; everything else is more or less introduction of context
nobody in-particular. FWIW I like your posts, very straightforward.

this isn't rocket science, we ALL have the tools to beat up on Live and we'd ALL benefit from showing Ableton how they can make a better product.
That is what I like to read, really !!!
I think all the critics here are not to hurt Ableton or Live users.
It's to make a good DAW better !!!
I wouldn't waste any time here writing that if I didn't like Live.
(that's why I'm not at the Steinberg forum..)
No! I'll never use the Push-App Live 9 !!!

pgmjsd
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by pgmjsd » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:36 pm

newboss wrote: In any case other DAW´s dont have a samplerate conversion that can kick in at any time without notice.. There you just get real dropouts on samplerate missmatchings.. I would say there are more things that can go wrong in a daw like live. And as it looks they do go wrong occasionally.
Aha! I'll buy that explanation. It's *sooo* easy to warp things in Live, and inadvertent warping would definitely make things sound 'bad' if you are not expecting / unaware of it. The warping does have a unique sound. I'd agree that tracks made with lots of untweaked warping will have that 'grainy' sound that people talk about. I usually tweak/tune/disable the warping during 'mix prep'. AFAIAC its part of the Live workflow.

So, what could be done to make Live better in this area? Hmm..
  • Have the warping status of the clips more clearly presented somehow, so when you're after a super-clean sound you can easily find where Live is sample-converting and warping. Maybe in the file management list? Not an easy feature to design, UI wise.
  • 'Channel strips' might be nice - basically audio racks tweaked to operate like familiar mixer channels. Something more than the 8 knob audio racks.

JimmySlizz
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by JimmySlizz » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:35 pm

my live has shitty sound quality because i'm not a good producer. new software isn't going to change that.

heavensdaw
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by heavensdaw » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:34 pm

poppycock... I think that's what they call it...

Oh well, never mind back to my 3rd rate, shite sounding DAW... now..self delusion is a thing of my rose tinted past...

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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by Rationalizer » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:14 pm

Just heard a good anecdote which may somehow be related to this the topic.

Couple of years ago one of my friend was a wholesaler for different kinds of sport clothing. He sold them directly to big shops as well as sport clubs, etc. He also had a friend who bought his merchandise from him in order to sell them forward on his own brand with a bigger prize - the only thing he changed was the tag on the clothing. They had agreed that they wouldn't try to sell to same places because obviously it wouldn't make sense. But this one time both of them accidentally offered their products to a sports team. My friend asked 60€ per tracksuit. The other guy asked 105€. The total quantity was around 300 pieces. So my friend got a call from the guy who was buying and he explained that they are going to go with the more expensive track suit. The reason for this was that the guy was convinced that the more expensive track suits were superior quality compared to the less expensive ones. And the only difference was the tag... :D

So yeah.
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poonti
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by poonti » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:26 pm

I think it boils down to what Robert Henke mentioned in the other thread. Computers/software have pretty well nailed the operations of multiplying and adding numbers on a given bit-length. I don't think you'll hear any difference between these operations from s/w A versus software B, unless one of them decides that addition and multiplication should not work the way we all expect them to. Eg, summing engines have to do the same thing, otherwise they're not summing engines...period. The diffs you hear are due to something else (EQ's, filters, VSTs, psychology) but not due to the summing engine.

Machinesworking
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:34 pm

simpli.cissimus wrote: Cubase had almost the same CPU consumption like StudioOne.
It was 25% CPU drain in exact same set-up while Live was on 50%.
That showed me how bad Live handles VST's at all.


Now to the sound.
Cubase was not close to be grainy like Live sounds.
Cubase was sounding good at all testing and gave fine results.(still don't like the workflow)
Only StudioOne impressed me with it's crystal clear sound.(..and nice workflow)
I think it must be, because StudioOne internally works at 64bit even on a 32bit OS.
(and the programmers have programmed Nuendo3)

I know that my private test is not a scientific test, but I did a test for my work situations.
Mostly I use a lot VST's and need a stable efficient software for that.
I can make things sound good in Live too, but when I do the same in StudioOne it's better.

You'll see when Live 9 is out, that the sound engine will change and get better.
I think Live 9 will work internally at 64bit too.
Live has had a 64 bit summing engine like Studio One since version 7, so you basically "heard" the information you knew at the moment, that Studio One had a 64 bit engine.

I cannot account for people finding faults with Live's mixing environment when using large 25+ track projects as I rarely mix down in Live. Not because I think it sounds bad, but because I think the tools available in old school DAWs like Digital Performer, Cubase etc. make it more fun to mix down than Live does. IMO this accounts for as much of the perceived problem as anything else. To me anyway this isn't a big deal, I don't want Live to be "the best" mixing and mastering DAW just the best live performance DAW. I hope Ableton don't waste resources on "fixing" myths like they did with the 64 bit summing engine in 7 and get on with making Live even better for live performance.

Rationalizer for the win with the best analogy by far! :mrgreen:

pencilrocket
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by pencilrocket » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:37 pm

Interesting thread. But it's not surprising to see these kind of reaction here who say "I hear sound different", "I believe my ear over the science". They Ableton have been sold their product to the noob people who are willing to obtain low spec products (except Mac Pro, this is genuine workstation) and low performance OS rather than higher end machine and higher performance OS because of the 'I feel one sound better' or 'I believe my feeling over science.' things. It's quite natural process for this community, and we don't have to supress those because it's useless for them, I think. They don't care at all how the truth is. They do care how they feel. This is most important thing for them.
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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by Komodovaran » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:44 pm

pencilrocket wrote:Interesting thread. But it's not surprising to see these kind of reaction here who say "I hear sound different", "I believe my ear over the science". They Ableton have been sold their product to the noob people who are willing to obtain low spec products (except Mac Pro, this is genuine workstation) and low performance OS rather than higher end machine and higher performance OS because of the 'I feel one sound better' or 'I believe my feeling over science.' things. It's quite natural process for this community, and we don't have to supress those because it's useless for them, I think. They don't care at all how the truth is. They do care how they feel. This is most important thing for them.
You know what they say: "if it makes you sleep better at night" :P

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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by hmj » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:45 am

Timing, latency, sample rate conversion, summing and overall accuracy. How the programs handles all of those things in a real mix session is what adds up to be the "sound quality."

Initially yes, ALL DAWS SOUND THE SAME but all programs DO NOT perform at the same level or value the same things. So at the end of the day, a mix done in Ableton WILL NOT sound the same as a mix done in _____________ (enter your favorite DAW). Whether the end result is good or bad depends on talent, skill and many other factors.

So here we have many VERY talented, very successful and proven professionals saying that Ableton sounds terrible. If those people can't make Ableton sound good then they're either stuck in the past or the program does in fact have issues with final result sound quality. That may not be important to some, it's everything to others. At the end of the day it's all about your preference, if you can't hear the difference then it's not a problem for you. If you can, like so many seem to say they do then produce in Ableton and mix elsewhere, it's annoying but it seems to make the most sense.

Ableton is made to be stable in live performance settings and it's got the most advanced production tools of any DAW. They achieve that by cutting corners in other places.

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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by Machinesworking » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:23 am

hmj wrote: Ableton is made to be stable in live performance settings and it's got the most advanced production tools of any DAW. They achieve that by cutting corners in other places.
I'm absolutely certain that you don't know this as a fact, it's pure conjecture on your part.

Just to be very clear about this, I mix in Digital Performer because DP has multiple mixes available in the same open project and it has multiple choices for automation types in tracks, not because the mix engine is in any way compromised. Ableton have suffered from this relentless attack on their mix engine to the point that they made the summing 64 bit in 7, and issued statements etc. It's all perception, not at all based on anything approaching rational thinking. When Logic became an Apple "Pro" application people skyrocketed it to #1 in sound quality, before that it was Cubase/Nuendo, before that DP. In every case it's perception, not critical thinking that wins out.

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Re: Katy Perry Mixer - "Ableton sounded terrible" (SoundonSound)

Post by Coupe70 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:50 am

hmj wrote:Timing, latency, sample rate conversion, summing and overall accuracy. How the programs handles all of those things in a real mix session is what adds up to be the "sound quality."
Wrong.
Timing and latency in worst case have noticable influence on the groove or whatever you call it,
but not on sound quality. I have no idea what you mean by "overall accuracy" - do you ?
Summing - as stated several times - is only adding and multiplying. No idea how this
should go wrong. That leaves sample rate conversion. There were reported bugs in the
past and it seems people suspect there are still problems with it. Don't know if this
might be true...
hmj wrote: If you can, like so many seem to say they do then produce in Ableton and mix elsewhere, it's annoying but it seems to make the most sense.
Wrong.
If you were right with what you say about timing, latency, sample rate conversion, summing and overall accuracy
then you would keep the potential problems with timing, latency, sample rate conversion and overall accuracy when
producing in Live and only avoid summing in Live.
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