MusicTech review: Live 6 lacks audio quality!!

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
tomperson
Posts: 1018
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:55 am
Location: MVD, Uruguay, South America
Contact:

Post by tomperson » Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:17 pm

dj superflat wrote: all that said, i think this is ableton's fault. they should make clear how users can avoid affecting audio quality when they don't need tempo changes but want loops and envelopes, because there seem to be a significant number of people who want to use live this way and are confused. i would think this would be covered clearly in the manual (it may be in there somewhere, but i don't recall seeing the issue called out or explained in a way that's satisfying, and all the questions on this issue suggest the manual isn't getting it done regardless).
:arrow: word!
Turn up the radio. Turn up the tape machine. Look into the sunset up ahead. Roll the windows down for a better taste of the cool desert wind. Ah yes. This is what it's all about. Total control now.

dj superflat
Posts: 1279
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:31 pm
Location: leadville, CO

Post by dj superflat » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:30 pm

people seem to be getting confused. we're not discussing the quality of live's pitchshifting or time stretching. the point is whether -- even without time or pitch shifting -- certain warp modes affect sound. one might think that, without changing tempo or pitch, warp would be transparent. but that's not the case with some warp modes (complex and tones, unclear re repitch (the latter has never come up before as one that changes sound, so i'm not buying it without more proof)). this makes complete sense. warp is designed to handle changes in pitch and tempo, and in realtime -- so it's going to have to affect sound -- we're trying to figure out which warp mode to use when you don't want any such changes, want transparency, but still need to enable warp to use loops and clip envelopes. to quote charlie brown: "sigh."

Tarekith
Posts: 17368
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:38 pm

Thank you superflat, sums it up nicely.

dj superflat
Posts: 1279
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:31 pm
Location: leadville, CO

Post by dj superflat » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:44 pm

i do what i can.

sweetjesus
Posts: 8803
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:12 pm
Location: www.fridge.net.au
Contact:

Post by sweetjesus » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:06 pm

Tarekith wrote:Thank you superflat, sums it up nicely.
depends

do you think he uses a 32 bit mixing engine when he sums things up?

headquest
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:32 am
Location: UK

Post by headquest » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:07 pm

If you don't want to timestretch or pitchshift a clip, turn warping off...!

And I agree that Ableton should do more to make that clear.
iMac Retina 4K 3.3Ghz i7, 16Gb RAM
Live Suite 9.7.1 + Reason 9.1 + Pianoteq 5 + Sibelius 8.5

Listen on Soundcloud

melocoton
Posts: 403
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 5:24 pm

Post by melocoton » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:13 pm

dj superflat wrote:unclear re repitch (the latter has never come up before as one that changes sound, so i'm not buying it without more proof)).
I made a video demonstrating the different warp settings and the fact that repitch doesn't always cancel. It's a little boring and maybe a bit confusing but I can explain what's going on step by step if anyone cares.

http://ultrashare.net/hosting/fl/a88b195057/

Tarekith
Posts: 17368
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:16 pm

headquest wrote:If you don't want to timestretch or pitchshift a clip, turn warping off...!

And I agree that Ableton should do more to make that clear.
WTF? Is no one reading this thread?

Tarekith
Posts: 17368
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:18 pm

melocoton wrote: I made a video demonstrating the different warp settings and the fact that repitch doesn't always cancel. It's a little boring and maybe a bit confusing but I can explain what's going on step by step if anyone cares.

http://ultrashare.net/hosting/fl/a88b195057/
WOW, that's a VERY interesting video Melocoton! I understood it perfectly, and am at aloss to explain what's going on! Thanks for sharing!

dCross
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 9:01 pm
Location: Ableton NY
Contact:

Post by dCross » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:28 pm

sweetjesus wrote:depends

do you think he uses a 32 bit mixing engine when he sums things up?
funny funny... :)

dj superflat
Posts: 1279
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:31 pm
Location: leadville, CO

Post by dj superflat » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:33 pm

i know you're joking, but as long as we're here, what do you all think about the whole summing outside the box thing? could it really be worthwhile? (there's the new neve thing, the shadowhillsindustries thing, etc.)

any excuse to have more gear to consider.

Johnisfaster
Posts: 7251
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:34 am
Contact:

Post by Johnisfaster » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:34 pm

for some reason it won't let me watch the video
It was as if someone shook up a 6 foot can of blood soda and suddenly popped the top.

Zerobae
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:17 am
Location: Vienna
Contact:

Post by Zerobae » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:36 pm

dj superflat wrote:i know you're joking, but as long as we're here, what do you all think about the whole summing outside the box thing? could it really be worthwhile? (there's the new neve thing, the shadowhillsindustries thing, etc.)

any excuse to have more gear to consider.
links please?

Tarekith
Posts: 17368
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:18 pm

dj superflat wrote:what do you all think about the whole summing outside the box thing? could it really be worthwhile?
I think it's simple really. External summing sounds "different", but I wouldn't say it sounds "better" or "worse" than keeping it all in the box. One of those pick your flavor things IMO.

I think this is funny, someone passed this on to me regarding this very issue. I believe it was written by Roger Nichols:
----------------------------------------


"I heard the mixing buss in Pro Tools is no good. Everyone says I should mix through an external analogue summing buss."

Someone asked Al Schmitt how he mixed a record. Al answered "I just turn the knobs until it sounds good." You can't argue with that.

The first thing I had to learn about audio engineering was signal flow. You have to know how to get the audio signal from the microphone to the recorder and back to the speakers so you can hear what you are doing. The second item is gain structure. At any point in the signal path you have to keep the signal higher than the noise floor but lower than the point of clipping and distortion. Everything else is going to be easy. Just twist the knobs.

Every console is designed to add signals together before they come out as finished mix. It is called a mix because the individual tracks are mixed together. I rather fancy the English term 'two-track reduction': it is being reduced from 24 tracks to two tracks.

Physical consoles usually have a stereo mix buss 'summing amp' for each group of eight modules. These summing amps then feed another summing amp connected to the master output module. During the mixing process the master fader is turned all the way up. As individual tracks are turned up their audio is heard through the master fader and the level is registered on the main output meters. As more and more audio channels are introduced to the mix, the overall master level starts getting high, so the master fader is turned down a little to compensate. This work flow proceeds in a loop until the mix is getting pretty far along.

At some point the engineer looks at the gain structure of the mix he has going on the console. He has learned that by running the individual faders high and pulling down the master fader he runs the risk of overdriving the summing amps with too much level and adding distortion to the final mix. The engineer will trim down all of the track faders by 6dB or some similar amount so that the master fader can be brought back up to zero.

This method has worked for decades to keep the audio quality as high as possible while remaining within the limits of the console's design, but for some reason engineers ignore this procedure when mixing inside a DAW (digital audio workstation). When asked why they don't perform this requisite task the answer is always "It's digital, you don't have to do that." All of the 78 track faders are up near zero and the master fader by now is down to -40dB. Soon the engineer starts to complain about how gritty and distorted digital sounds.

How do they fix it? They connect the DAW to a console. At the console they either trim down the inputs or pull down the track faders to prevent the summing amps from clipping, and they make sure that the master fader is all the way up. "Hear how much better the mix sounds through a console?"

Sound familiar? I know all of you have run across this situation from one end or the other. The smart guys who saw this wanton disregard for gain structure quickly designed 'outboard analogue summing boxes', charged a lot of money (because it can't be good if it doesn't cost enough), and made a fortune. Good for them. Too bad I didn't think of it.

Because Pro Tools was the most visible professional DAW, Digidesign took the brunt of the criticism. "Man, I can't mix inside Pro Tools, their internal mixer sucks." Although there were tons of good-sounding records made and mixed in Pro Tools by engineers who knew how to turn down a fader, the majority of the forums on the Web hosted tons of complaints. "It shouldn't do that, it's digital."

Digidesign have updated their internal mixer to 48-bit. This means that you can mix 128 faders at +12dB with the master fader down to -90dB without overdriving the internal mixing buss. There will not be much room for a final fade, but at least Pro Tools is now being idiot-proofed. Me, I prefer to watch what I am doing and trim all of my faders down so that my master fader stays at zero. It has worked for me since the '60s and continues to work for me in whatever digital DAW I mix in.

PS: Just so you know, I do tell my clients that "I only mix on dual 64-bit processors with a 48-bit mixer fed by 16 gigabytes of memory and an on-line RAID5 disk array of 8 terabytes and a 15 gigabit-per-second fibre-optic Internet connection. You do hear the difference, don't you?"

headquest
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:32 am
Location: UK

Post by headquest » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:18 pm

Tarekith wrote:
headquest wrote:If you don't want to timestretch or pitchshift a clip, turn warping off...!

And I agree that Ableton should do more to make that clear.
WTF? Is no one reading this thread?
Are you kidding?! More to the point, did anyone read the thread title recently?!

I understand exactly what you mean about Clip Envlopes requiring Warping (I personally wish they didn't - that would surely solve the whole thing)... but the point here is that MTM did not even mention that Ableton Live has clip envelopes!! They were talking about plain old audio files not sounding good in Live.

C'mon - this is the software we have all invested in. And we know that what they were saying is total garbage (assuming you did read the review... right?). Ableton may not have much recourse over this, but the least we can do as users is affirm right here the plain truth that Live's audio mix is fine.

As for the stuff about warp modes, etc - YES of course it's important and useful to discuss. I think we should have a seperate thread to debate that in detail and provide good information for other users. Let's even make it a sticky - it's REAL important.

But for the sake of casual readers who have seen the MTM review and are looking for a PLAIN answer about Live's audio handling, please let's all keep this On Topic and just give a straight answer.
Last edited by headquest on Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
iMac Retina 4K 3.3Ghz i7, 16Gb RAM
Live Suite 9.7.1 + Reason 9.1 + Pianoteq 5 + Sibelius 8.5

Listen on Soundcloud

Post Reply