Can you get a DECENT mix using just Ableton live?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
hat
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Post by hat » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:14 pm

Sound on Sound also had something to say about Live's overall sound quality. Add that to the other music magazine articles, online articles, and many Live users (including myself) who brought up the issue long ago. Can all these people be wrong? It is all subjective. Those who noticed usually are ones who have worked with other DAWs prior to entering the Ableton bliss. It is by far my most favorite program to just let loose and get tracks started quickly. I have done entire tracks in Live, mixed, mastered, etc...for tv, myself, whatever projects, I'm all about Live for the past few years.

That said, I still stand firm that the audio quality does suffer once you warp too much, have too many tracks playing at once in a particular segment of the song (I have a rather recent MacBook and my cpu pegs at 90%+ in some parts of the song, very annoying), too many plugins, it all starts to sound a bit mushy.

Yet again, I agree that the song prevails and that a stellar mix means something different for everyone. If you're into glossy pop or hip-hop where stuff needs to sound crystal clear and radio-friendly clean, then you might consider rendering all your tracks and using Logic or ProTools for your mixing. If your music doesn't get hurt by a bit of dirt and warmth, then Live works just as well.

All this to say I've gone past the audio quality issues and accepted it as is, and will still keep using Live for most of my needs. My only annoyance as mentioned above is how it's not as CPU friendly as my PT 002R rig. Plugins are becoming increasingly better sounding (ie: just demoing Waves API bundle now) but the computers can't keep up, there's always a disparity. I had to process some drum tracks with said Waves API demos, render and re-import in order to free up some CPU (not a big fan of 'freeze'). Otherwise, whatever, Live rocks. Maybe if I ever get around to dowloading the 6 upgrade I'll notice a difference in processing, but I'm still on verison 5.

noisetonepause
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Post by noisetonepause » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:10 pm

I know lots of people who can get a very good sound out of Live.

I am not one of them however... but it can be done.
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Angstrom
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Post by Angstrom » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:54 pm

hat wrote:Sound on Sound also had something to say about Live's overall sound quality. Add that to the other music magazine articles, online articles, and many Live users (including myself) who brought up the issue long ago.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov06/a ... /live6.htm

I can't see a mention of it.

Anytime I see a magazine review it usually mentions "there are often voiced concerns about the sound quality from some pro DAW user"
esentially mentioning the very thing we are discussing here. What in effect happens is this

Topic Thread : Live sounds baddd Not like cubase, I is da pro qual need!

Magazine Article : "concerns voiced about ableton quality by pro users"

Topic Thread : Article in magazine' disses quality of Ableton

Magazine Article Title : doubts still voiced about Ableton as we reported in March


Topic thread : magazine says ableton still shit - they know stuff!!11!

etc. etc.



Like I said - any article usually mentions any sound issues as "some users have reported" - IE, I'm not saying this myself, it's hearsay.

Most forum articles are by people who don't realise that warping or time stretching of any kind is never transparent.

Tests on output waves from Live and Cubase cancel out - they are bit for bit perfect matches. What does that say to you?

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Post by lunabass » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:34 am

hat wrote:That said, I still stand firm that the audio quality does suffer once you warp too much, have too many tracks playing at once in a particular segment of the song (I have a rather recent MacBook and my cpu pegs at 90%+ in some parts of the song, very annoying), too many plugins, it all starts to sound a bit mushy.
Theres that word again WARP. If you are mixing in Live and all of your trax are WARPED then degradation to sound quality occurs...end of story. Comparing a warped mix in live with an unwarped mix in pro tools is like comparing apples and oranges...they look different, they taste different, they are different.

If you wanna compare a Live mix with a Pro Tools mix then import identical audio files into both programs, ensure that all the live trax are unwarped, use the same set of plug-ins in both programs and ensure that the gain structure and panning are identical in both...then compare.

I've done this test and I cant hear a difference between the 2. (this could be due to the waxy buildup in my ears though). I know that there is a difference as I've phase reversed one mix and never gained complete phase cancellation (yes, I made sure both mixes were exactly the same level) but the differences were tiny. My logic on the difference is due to Pro Tools using a 48bit fixed internal engine versus Lives 32bit floating point...please correct me if that logic is misguided.
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Post by popslut » Thu Jul 05, 2007 3:23 am

I can't get a decent sounding mix just working "in the box" - my PC has 40 analogue outs and I use a 64 channel analogue mixer.

One day I hope to master ITB mixing - for many reasons - but until I can make an ITB mix sound as good as one from my current setup I'm stuck with a big, hot, fragile and expensive to maintain console in my life.

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Post by lunabass » Thu Jul 05, 2007 3:30 am

hey popslut. what type of desk are you using? do you use plug-ins or hardware comp, eq, fx etc?
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Post by popslut » Thu Jul 05, 2007 4:59 am

lunabass wrote:hey popslut. what type of desk are you using? do you use plug-ins or hardware comp, eq, fx etc?
It's a Soundtracs Solo Logic 32 - semi-in line with 64 channels on mixdown, onboard mix computer with VCA fader and mute automation.

I use a mixture of hardware outboard ['cos you just can't get that "crunch" with plugin compressors] and plugin fx, with Nuendo as my main DAW.

I would use Ableton Live but unfortunately [and somewhat inexplicably] it can't transmit MTC and my mixer needs MTC input to run the automation computer.

Hopefully Live 7 will sort this out.

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Post by lunabass » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:43 am

nice.

we've (the school i work for) just got a brand new Neve 8816 summing mixer. it's going to be interesting to hear the difference between feeding 16 seperate channels into it for (class a) mixing instead of using lives mixer... i haven't had a chance to play with it yet
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