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Thread: Comparing DAW Mixers

  1. #51
    Sal Vito is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    "Great minds run in the same ruts.

    I thought of that too. I just sent an email to someone about doing just that. But it wouldn't be a fair test because there would be an additional DA-AD layer in there, so the analog mix would be different before the summing even was considered. But it could be accurately calibrated and would be very close.

    Let me think about that one some more. Interesting it would be, no doubt.

    But then, I'd have to keep all the identities secret so no one would know which was which until after they mailed in their ballots. Which might be cool anyway. Anyone that gets the CD has to send in their ballot to get the answers. Hmmm. That would keep people really honest. Or scare them off completely.

    Interesting.

    --------------------

    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio Inc. "
    Yeah... keepin' people honest is the way to go

    While it's true there would be additional AD and DA conversions in the chain, I feel an accurately calibrated analog reference would be immensely valuable... just as that... as a reference...

    An analog mix would help you see how much detail (if any) is lost in the math and rounding errors by digitally mixing... Without an analog reference... how will you know how good your "best" digital summing really is? Maybe even with 48 bit processing, you are still missing a lot of low level detail.. or maybe it's better? Let's find out!

    Maybe a Dangerous 2 buss (designed EXACTLY for this kind of combining- the designers claim it is WAY better than going digital for the mix buss in PT-again.. let's find out...) or some real console like a neve or SSL or something might be a good choice for a reference...

    Also... to be fair... for testing purposes... all tracks should be set at unity gain on each of the digital mixers (and analog mixer) when the signals are combined...

    That way, who ever is doing the mixes does absolutely ZERO volume adjustment; all volume adjustment would be done digitally on the tracks ahead of time to create a mix, so the ONLY variable is the mix bus.

    Was that the plan?

    I BET you... the relative balances between instruments will be slightly different on each mixer... maybe there will be too much snare on one.. possibly too much bass on another... It will be interesting to see what happens...
    Sal Vito
    The Man of Sound
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    312-409-0176

  2. #52
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    Originally posted by Sal Vito:
    <STRONG>While it's true there would be additional AD and DA conversions in the chain, I feel an accurately calibrated analog reference would be immensely valuable... just as that... as a reference...

    An analog mix would help you see how much detail (if any) is lost in the math and rounding errors by digitally mixing... Without an analog reference... how will you know how good your "best" digital summing really is? Maybe even with 48 bit processing, you are still missing a lot of low level detail.. or maybe it's better? Let's find out!

    Maybe a Dangerous 2 buss (designed EXACTLY for this kind of combining- the designers claim it is WAY better than going digital for the mix buss in PT-again.. let's find out...) or some real console like a neve or SSL or something might be a good choice for a reference...

    Also... to be fair... for testing purposes... all tracks should be set at unity gain on each of the digital mixers (and analog mixer) when the signals are combined...

    That way, who ever is doing the mixes does absolutely ZERO volume adjustment; all volume adjustment would be done digitally on the tracks ahead of time to create a mix, so the ONLY variable is the mix bus.

    Was that the plan?

    I BET you... the relative balances between instruments will be slightly different on each mixer... maybe there will be too much snare on one.. possibly too much bass on another... It will be interesting to see what happens...</STRONG>
    I do have a friend with a Dangerous system. I'll ask if they want to participate.

    Yes, that was the plan. All tracks will be stereo "stems" and in case of several tracks they will be precombined (stereo drums, stereo horns, stereo choir). All tracks will be combined at the same level, which is designed to be unity gain. Tones will be included to make sure that the levels are the same regardless of fader settings.

    Good ideas. Keep 'em coming.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  3. #53
    Kevin Perry is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    So when participants set up the tracks in their system, basically all faders will be at unity?

    I was hoping to hear the infamous "fader damage" that occurs when you move a fader on some systems but not on others. Is that not part of the claimed "sound" of each system?
    Kevin Perry
    Chameleon Music
    Nashville, TN

  4. #54
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    Originally posted by Kevin Perry:
    <STRONG>So when participants set up the tracks in their system, basically all faders will be at unity?

    I was hoping to hear the infamous "fader damage" that occurs when you move a fader on some systems but not on others. Is that not part of the claimed "sound" of each system?</STRONG>
    A second pass will be recorded as well. The individual faders will be dropped by 3 dB and the master fader will be raised by 3 dB.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  5. #55
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    A second pass will be recorded as well. The individual faders will be dropped by 3 dB and the master fader will be raised by 3 dB.
    Lynn,

    Won't 3db result in gain multipliers of 2 and .5? I would think +/-1db would give you some nice, long decimals making quantization distortion (the "sound" of the digital mix buss) more obvious...
    Jim Dugger
    Poorhouse Productions

    At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

  6. #56
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    Originally posted by Jim Dugger:
    <STRONG>

    Lynn,

    Won't 3db result in gain multipliers of 2 and .5? I would think +/-1db would give you some nice, long decimals making quantization distortion (the "sound" of the digital mix buss) more obvious...</STRONG>
    Actually 3 dB was suggested to me by someone else. I will check with my very knowledgable friends and find out which numbers would be the most challenging. I'm all for testing under worst case conditions. I'll get back to you on that.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  7. #57
    Haigbabe's Avatar
    Haigbabe is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12
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    This just gets better and better.

    Keep going Lynn, this will be a valuable resource for many many people (as well as the inevitable firestarter for the 'ya shoulda dunnit this way' brigade!!).

    Best regards,

    Haigbabe
    Proud supporter of 3D as a 2012 3D VIP

  8. #58
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    Originally posted by Jim Dugger:
    <STRONG>

    Lynn,

    Won't 3db result in gain multipliers of 2 and .5? I would think +/-1db would give you some nice, long decimals making quantization distortion (the "sound" of the digital mix buss) more obvious...</STRONG>
    I got up early and ran some tests. I did versions at +-6, +- 3.7, and +-.1 in addition to the 0 ref mix. The 6 dB and 3.7 dB versions, when compared (I&C) to the 0 mix returned nearly identical results. Peak values in the -128.93 range. The .1 mix, however, returned a Peak difference of -120, 8 dB higher!. So it appears more is not always more. I may do a few additional tests, but for now a .1 dB shift in fader level appears to be the winner.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  9. #59
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    Well, ever the obsessive compulsive that I am, I did still more testing. Here are the results. All are peak values based on difference signals between the "unity gain" ref mix and the mixes at the levels listed below using a 14 second sample of the soundfiles that we will actually be using. These are all negative numbers expressed in dB values, relative to the -144 limit of 24-bit audio. I should also point out that these are the results of single iterations, except for the worst, .1 and 1 which I retested to confirm the results were not flukes. In case of differences between L and R channels, I listed the worst case value.


    +/- .1 120.41
    +/- .2 124.49
    +/- .3 124.49
    +/- .4 122.91
    +/- .5 126.43
    +/- .6 128.93
    +/- .7 124.49
    +/- .8 126.43
    +/- .9 128.93
    +/- 1.0 121.57
    +/- 3.7 128.93
    +/- 6.0 126.43


    I never would have expected these results. I don't think anyone has ever done this kind of test before. Good idea to check for stressers on the math.

    It seems we have a winner. 1 dB would be second worst, but .1 seems to be marginally harder, or at least slightly more different.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  10. #60
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    I forgot to mention that all tests were executed with Spectrafoo on my PT 5.1.1 Mix + system.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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