1 2 3 Previous Next 98 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2008 12:59 PM by (jujufactory)

    The six million dollar audio question!!

    Level 1
      Our company is getting involved in the music production business. I have gone through great length in looking at different software for recoring, editing and mixing music. In a moment I will ask the six million dollar question.

      But first the intro:

      I was just amazed at the number of music editing solutions out there. From freeware to 2000 dollar packages, here are just a few names: Magix Studio 2008, Reaper, Auditions, Frooty Loops, Loop Laps, Music Pad, Pro Tools, Cubase, Traktor, etc... the list goes on and on.

      All these software programs allow for multi track recoring and mixing. I have tested Magix, Reaper, Auditions and Music Pad and they even look the same. Same timeline setup, same general functions.

      The only think that differentiates them is price. And that's where it get strange:

      Frooty Loops: Free!
      Magix Studio: 40 Euros.
      Auditions: 250 Euros
      Cubase: 1500 Euros
      etc...

      The software price range is incredible. Now granted perhaps Pro Tools gives you options some of the smaller programs don't have, but overall if you have a good audio card and mixing board with multi microphone in... well you are confronted to the 6 million dollar question:

      Why spend a fortune on the high end programs if you can get the job done for 50 euros or even less? I hate to bring this up, but even Auditions is is too exepensive if you consider 40 euro programs or even free software will do exactly the same job.

      May those who have the knowledge in music studios etc. please share their experience with us. This is really my big question of the day.
        • 1. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
          Cubase is the more advanced within the list that you have provided..

          I'd say it depends how proficient you are with audio mix software products..
          • 2. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
            Level 1
            Yes but can't you do it all with either software?
            • 3. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
              Well being a novice somewhat in video, I am a recording engineer by degree, and the double platinum as well as the 11 gold records should speak for my abilities.....

              I use SSL's Soundscape32. Never fails, NEVER crashes, does everything I could want. It is a PRO AUDIO recorder, editor and mixer. It is not a midi recorder, sequencer, nor a musician's playtoy. BUT it is certainly easy to use and unlike ProTools, never crashes....I have had mine since 91. I have grown thru the hardware and software changes and never once seen it crash. EVER!!!!

              BUT more importantly JUJU WHAT are you wanting to do exactly? Host based software packages, ALL the ones you mentioned except use the PC/MAC for processing and hosting of the software and drives. While ProTools does offload the Processing to a degree, the software and recording drives are still a part of the HOST's OS. Meaning your OS takes a dive so does your recording....

              I happy to report my SSL/Soundscape only uses the PC for the interface. The processing and drives and OS for the recording are all internal to the SSL. Meaning when a truck decides to take down the power pole along your street while you are mixing down that record for BMG Records (and the labels A & R dudes are there) and the UPS that is powering your PC can no longer sustain the PC, 2 track and AMP driving the speakers and gives out. What do you do? You turn around in the pitch black control room of your studio and thank GOD that you were smart enough to put the SSL on a seperate UPS and you see it'd HDD LED's just a blinking away, singing it's happy 10,000 rpm tune! Pro Tools for all its market share can't do that!

              Then the A & R dudes are like freaking crazy impressed when 2 hours later when you get power again, play back the mix and hear (nor see) any glitches! THAT's when you are glad you made the right decision on what to buy. Because in the next three years you have more work than can handle from those A & R dudes....
              • 4. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                Jim_Simon Level 8
                By the way juju, it's just one "Audition", no s.
                • 5. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                  Level 1
                  So you mean to say reliability is the only difference?
                  • 6. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                    Dan Isaacs Level 2
                    SSL/Soundscape... That's very specialized stuff. Probably way more than your average PPro user would need. (cool stuff, though).

                    I think juju was asking more about consumer vs. prosumer audio editors.

                    Differences between audio editing apps may also include:
                    1.) Supported formats, sample rates, etc.
                    2.) Precision of built-in filters
                    3.) Ability to use DXi and/or VST plugins
                    4.) Speed of processing
                    5.) Recording / monitoring options
                    6.) Multitrack capability
                    7.) audio analysis tools, such as spectrographs, phase analysis, etc.

                    Programs like Cubase, Cakewalk, etc. are have advanced MIDI capabilities, software synthesizers, can integrate with hardware mixing surfaces, pro audio gear, etc. This is probably stuff that juju (or the average PPro user) would not need.

                    I haven't looked at all the programs in question, so I can't say which meet which criteria. I can say that Sony SoundForge is much faster than Audition, and in many ways more convenient for down-and-dirty recording/editing. That said, I greatly prefer the interface of Audition, the options for spectral analysis, the built-in noise reduction filter, etc.
                    • 7. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                      Level 1
                      Have you tried Magix Studio 2008? From where I'm sitting it seems better than Audition and cheaper.

                      All these applications can go to 24 bits 48000mhz but isn' 16 bits enough? All of the can go to 48 tracks or more. All of them allow for recording. What do pros use?
                      • 8. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                        the_wine_snob Level 9
                        Jujufactory,

                        I've got Magix Music Studio and Music Maker. Both are nice programs. As it seemed that Music Studio had been discontinued (older version was really too close to Music Maker and for about US$35 more), I'd guess that Magix Studio '08 is the reincarnation. I'd also assume that it has been beefed up a bit.

                        I like the loopology interface of the Magix products and use them, in lieu of Audition, when I'm doing that. Otherwise, I'm mainly on Audition for single and multi-track work.

                        Probably the biggest complaint that I have with MY Magix products is total lack of a manual and a non-existant forum (well, virtually non-existant). Even if I read and spoke German, there is just not that much in the way of info on their programs. A lot is intuitive, but a decent manual would be greatly appreciated.

                        I cannot tell you how complete the VST support in the Magix programs is, but that is a very, very important aspect of any audio editor. I'd research that part of the program, before I plunked down the $. I'd gladly buy the Magix programs (even with their overlap) again, but if I had to give up Audition, no deal.

                        Hunt
                        • 9. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                          Level 1
                          Juju, for all my stories, I did ask...WHAT are you wanting to do? You stated your company is getting in the music production business....meaning what?

                          In addition the video editing you are going to create, record, edit, mix and master records? Or soundtracks for your videos? Or start another money making division to generate income from local artist and bands? All Three of these ventures have completely different outlooks in buying decisions. More importantly, if using a microphone(s) in ANY of the scenarios is in the equation, your acoustical environment is just as important as your gear, software...

                          Dude, help me help you. I need more info than your opening sentence. Quality Music production that people pay money for involves a HECK of LOT more money than 1500 euros.

                          If ALL you want to do is have some multi-track capabilities, just about anything out there will do. IF you want to run compressors, 4 band eq's, 12 busses to whole gob of effects processors on each channel of a 32 channel band mix, then stop looking on the web, your looking at high dollar stuff.

                          Of course EVERYTHING HAS to do with your market and what it is willing to pay for such services and whether or nor you can make your money back on your investment.

                          Personally for me and my humble opinion and my situation and needs, Audition is a joke as is most of what you listed except Pro Tools and Cubase. Cubase 4 will handle ALOT of stuff and use VST/i...there are a tons of free and almost free VST's to that plug into Cubase. But then if you are wanting to capture that headset mic you got with your webcam and that is your expectations of quality audio then everything you listed is fine.
                          • 10. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                            Level 1
                            Thank you Steve. We are doing a film projet with 13 songs in them. We have musicians who are composing the music. They deliver the music to us in wav form and we need to add the singing voices. Some musicians also need to be recorded. I want to do the final mix and music editing myself on my computer. The end product needs to be mastered and needs to sound 100% pro.
                            • 11. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                              Jim_Simon Level 8
                              It may be cheaper to rent studio time, juju.
                              • 12. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                Level 1
                                Are you insane? Renting studio time means spending more in one day than it would cost to buy everything I need to do it myself.
                                • 13. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                  Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                  > Some musicians also need to be recorded. I want to do the final mix and music editing myself on my computer. The end product needs to be mastered and needs to sound 100% pro

                                  Juju -- you're insane if you think you can accomplish that with your consumer sound card and Magix Studio :)
                                  • 14. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                    Level 1
                                    Juju.

                                    I do all my voice over and musical work in the studio and it really isn't as expensive as your making out.. I also think that audio at that level should be completed by audio specialists..

                                    Presuming your not a audio specialist.
                                    • 15. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                      Level 1
                                      The end product needs to be mastered and needs to sound 100% pro,

                                      Than it must be done by pro,what you are not at this time.
                                      • 16. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                        Level 1
                                        JuJu, I am afraid everyone here is correct. Consumer sound cards have such poor quality DAC/ADC and such slow latency issues to be able to sync (overdub) anything accurately. I won;t even begin to mention the accoustics of room itself are such important part of the recording process and mix or EQ/compression/limiting or foley techniques that set apart DIY, Consumers and those with Gold records.....

                                        I will handly admit my knowledge of video/film is limited and I need help, which is why I am here! But place me in any recording studio in the world and I will AMAZE your ears....

                                        If you have invested in any mount of substantial money into this project, recording your vocals in your video studio or lounge of the edit suite is going to sound exactly that. IF your are EVER planning to view/screen your film in a theatre (home or commercial venue), every nuance of the acoustics of your recording room is going to be blantantly obvious! It will stick out like a clown at a wedding!

                                        But again as I said before, if your 'film' is low quality then all the best soundtrack in the world is not going to make up for it. Everything is relative. Films are nothing more than emotional expressions. To get the most impact everything has to be at the same level of expertise.
                                        • 17. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                          Level 1
                                          But can I make the recording and music editing in my computer and the final EQ at the studio?
                                          • 18. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                            Level 1
                                            Do it the other way around. Record and edit in the studio. Tweak the sound master afterwards in your computer. All the studio toys in the world will not help a "Garbage In" sound file. The studio will have or can get quality mics and mixers and processors to give you plenty of signal to mix. The studio will have engineers who can get you set up to actually record something in a most efficient manner. You can still be the "ears", but let the people who do this for a living maximize your sound budget.
                                            • 19. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                              Level 1
                                              How much is a studio for a day? On average?
                                              • 20. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                Level 1
                                                Google "recording studio rates" for your location. It depends on what you want and when (AM/PM) you can do it. Reserving a week of time will most likely be cheaper than a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there. The clock starts running when you walk in, so it is in your best interest to have some planning done. Talk to some musicians who have recorded. They will certainly help you avoid "beginner mistakes". "Oh, man! We should've laid down the drums and bass first. The rhythm section couldn't swing with just a click track..." "The lead singer is really pissed - he/she sat around for two days before we were ready to record..." "We ran a line out of the guitar amp AND mic'd it before it sounded right..."

                                                It's a whole different world. It's like a location shoot within an acoustically controlled environment. Gaffers and bestboys and grips, oh my! You work with the engineer like you work with your DP.
                                                • 21. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                  >Renting studio time means spending more in one day than it would cost to buy everything I need to do it myself.

                                                  Not if you need it 100% pro. It would probably cost you in the six, possibly seven figures to get a totally 100% pro solution built yourself, including the recording studio.

                                                  By comparison, I have a local recording studio that offers sound recording at $375 for a ten hour day.
                                                  • 22. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                    Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                                    I remember when I was in college (Berklee) hearing all kinds of horror stories of "low budget" productions. Often, a producer makes the call to hire crappy musicians and rent out some bargain studio in an effort to save money.

                                                    In the end, it seldom works out: Time is money for everyone involved. They wind up hacking at it for days and weeks -- when a competent engineer and musicians in a well-equipped studio could have had it done (better) in a matter of hours.

                                                    The earlier advice to prepare well before going into the studio is exactly right. Leave nothing to chance and never rely on fools :)
                                                    • 23. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                      Level 1
                                                      You will also get access to the engineer's knowledge base. I got a 15-minute voice-over edited from two takes - with sub-syllable pitch and speed variations - in an afternoon. I got a stereo track (in case I needed it), a mono track (another option), and a "ambient studio silence" loop to run under the VO between sections - because dead signal is a noticeable drop-out to the audience. I got stuff I didn't even know I needed - but the engineer did.

                                                      I got to watch this guy fly with his equipment. I got to work with hardware I can only dream about. I would still be sorting out vocal compression/limiting/gating/thresholds if I had to do it myself. I'd get there, but way off budget/deadline.
                                                      • 24. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                        Level 1
                                                        "I remember when I was in college (Berklee) hearing all kinds of horror stories of "low budget" productions."

                                                        Certainly you are refering to the analog days. Up to the mid 90's, any low budget film would have muddy sound. This was due to the fact analog mag audio was a clumsy support. You would have to deal with signal degradation, bleed, hiss, transfer generation loss, etc. and no real affordable computer solution. The high budget features would spend upward of 100,000 dollars just for the audio. Then they had to pay license fees to Dolby to get the stuff out. The low budget producer could not compete. I remember being charged 500 dollars per hour to mix a feature in analog. I was scared to have a coffee as the technician would take 5 minutes to get it and this would cost 40 dollars per coffee if you consider the lost time. :) This nighmare went on for 4 days. Final bill: over 15 thousand dollars!! Then I had to do the M&E... another 5000 dollars. Etc... The end result not as anywhere as good as what I can do in Premiere today without spending a dime.

                                                        So when I hear people telling me I need to go to the studio to get my audio done, a chill comes up my spine. I never want to have to deal with these per hour rate do you want a coffee nightmare again if I can avaoid it.

                                                        Digital has revolutionized everything. You don't have to worry about generation losses or signal degradation or anything like that. You don't even have to worry about the equipment. A 50 euro off the shelf program can theoretically get the job done.

                                                        Now granted a studio technician knows his stuff, but if I have to mix and record 13 songs, I can just predict if I spend 1 day per song (best case scenario) at a 350 Dollar day rate (Best case scenario), I will spend about 5000 dollars. That's more than it would cost me to buy the top of the line audio software and all the trimmings and never have to worry about going anywhere else again. Food for thought.
                                                        • 25. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                          Level 1
                                                          Who's providing the mics and accessories, cables, patch panel, mixing board, compressors, limiters, equalizers, phantom power, DI boxes, and any other hardware interfaces to the computer? Got terrabytes of RAID storage for raw source? Got a big conditioned power source?

                                                          How much is your time worth? You can use a dinky 4-track digital recorder and bounce tracks and mix-down, but how long will it take you? Got drums? The drum submix alone - arghh! Will your set up be "permanent" until you are done, or do you have to factor setup and breakdown into every recording day? Do the musicians make a living from their music? If so, DO NOT use any of their equipment (excepting instruments) for recording. The mics aren't good enough. The mixer isn't good enough. The power amps are irrelevant.

                                                          You will do as you want, but I think your analog experience has put you off studios. My first ten days stuck in an old analog video suite had me (and my budget) flipping out. I can relate to your concerns. Good luck.

                                                          Edited to add: Can you get a firm estimate (and the studio sticks to that price)? Unlikely but worth a try. What about a substantial discount for a credit in your movie (advertising for them)?
                                                          • 26. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                            >if I have to mix and record 13 songs

                                                            Ah, but then you lose the "100% pro" qualifier you asked for. Because as stated earlier, you'd be spending in the six, possibly seven figures to get there with equipment.

                                                            So either it's a hell of a lot more expensive to get that same quality on your own, or you don't get that same quality. Take your pick, cause you can't have both.
                                                            • 27. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                              Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                              > I will spend about 5000 dollars. That's more than it would cost me to buy the top of the line audio software and all the trimmings and never have to worry about going anywhere else again.

                                                              Dude, that's not even close to what you'd spend on the trimmings. Add another two zeros.
                                                              • 28. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                Level 1
                                                                Dudes... what exactly are we talking about? Maybe 100% is subjective. There comes a time when the average person will not hear a difference whereas the pro will. If 80% costs me 500 Euros and 100% costs me 50 thousand Euros, I'll stick with 80%. Whatever I can achieve with Audition once I do my homework can't be that bad. Or can it? Do we have examples here to listen to?
                                                                • 29. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                  Well, if 80% is fine with you, go for it. Your previous post said 100%, which I why I suggested the studio solution. 'Cause you won't get there on your own.
                                                                  • 30. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                    Level 1
                                                                    Will audition and a pro microphone get me to 80%?
                                                                    • 31. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                      Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                                                      > a pro microphone

                                                                      Just one? To quote Jim: "Oh, juju" :)
                                                                      • 32. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                        I'd say maybe 10%.

                                                                        I'd further suggest that if you have to ask these questions, you're probably better off sticking with the studio solution.
                                                                        • 33. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                          Level 1
                                                                          10% Are you kidding? I think many people here are not aware of the software breakthroughs out there. This is 2008!

                                                                          I have never done it but after having seen all the software out there I believe if you're on a budget you can get it done as well as a studio (Provided you put in the time and effort).

                                                                          This calls for a bet:

                                                                          I bet that if I get a pro microphone, a pro music composition software, a pro mixing software and pro speakers, I can get the song composed, the song recorded and the final product mixed to a point where nobody here will be able to tell the difference between that and a studio made work. Who is willing to bet? What shall we wager? :)
                                                                          • 34. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                            Dan Isaacs Level 2
                                                                            Juju -- this is a joke, right?

                                                                            > I think many people here are not aware of the software
                                                                            breakthroughs out there.

                                                                            I am unaware of any software that can make a drum set recorded in an office with a single microphone plugged into a PC sound card by someone with no audio engineering experience sound like anything other than exactly that.

                                                                            > a pro music composition software, a pro mixing software, and pro speakers

                                                                            Useless in the hands of a non-professional.
                                                                            • 35. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                              Level 1
                                                                              Recorded drum set? Who needs to record a drum set? Use Frooty Loops to create your drums. Use the MIDI to create the music. The only thing you really need to record is the voices. Use a studio microphone to record the voice in a non echo silent environment (with headphones and beat). Set the volume. Do some general EQ on the voice, export to WAV, and voilà. What's the big deal? I just don't get it.
                                                                              • 36. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                                Level 1
                                                                                Guys I'm not trying to play wise *** here. I just don't get it. What exactly is the problem with the above solution? We're not talking about recording the London Philarmonic orchestra or the Rolling Stones.
                                                                                • 37. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                                  Level 1
                                                                                  Building a home recording studio has never been more popular with the advance in recording studio equipment. Home Music Recording has found a solid blend of digital recording products and music recording knowledge to help you start your own home recording studio.

                                                                                  Any computer purchased in the last couple of years has the basic hardware for recording music. Computers with a hard drive smaller than 2Gb and a CPU slower then 100mhz is going to limit you to a few tracks at best. The faster and bigger your home computer, the more powerful your digital recording capabilities can be. Besides your computer, all you need is a microphone and some software, and you're ready to create.

                                                                                  Multi-track recording software is fairly easy to use. You do not need a math degree to figure them out. Many programs are geared specifically for regular musicians, and most offer a minimum of 8-track digital home recording. Some programs come equipped with virtual drum features, full MIDI capabilities, and multi-effects.

                                                                                  Actually, home recording is as easy as loading your software into your computer, jacking your mic into the sound card, and playing. Soloists can record one rhythm track, then create another lead track while your previous track plays back into your professional headphones, then add vocals on a third track.You can continue adding as many tracks as your computer and software can handle.

                                                                                  Most software lets you add effects on all tracks. A word to the wise: even the fastest computers start slowing down with too many simultaneous effects in real time. Usually these 'bogs' will sound fine when you mix down, when the processor can handle more effects because it isn't fixed to real time.

                                                                                  Computer noise can be a pain when recording. The best thing to do is to put your computer under your desk. Even better, buy extra long cables for all you peripherals and put your computer in the next room.

                                                                                  Of course you'll want to pick up a few other cool things. Perhaps a better sound card, maybe a sound mixer desk, certainly a superior mic and preamp, and probably a MIDI keyboard. And then you'll need to burn your own CDs.

                                                                                  Keeping Your Gear Current

                                                                                  Most people know that good home recording studio maintenance means cleaning and dusting rack modules, de-fragmenting hard drives, calibrating recorders and effects, and other details that help keep your gear in top operating condition.

                                                                                  When you're performing your regular maintenance, don't forget the software part of your setup. Thanks to the Internet, updates, drivers for A/D converters, plugins and upgrades for DAWs and soft synths, and the latest operating systems for computers and keyboards are just a click away. These updates generally offer feature enhancements, bug fixes, and/or expanded support for additional gear, plus they are tend to be free!

                                                                                  Whatever you do, have great fun building and operating your home recording studio!
                                                                                  • 38. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                                    Level 1
                                                                                    Is it just me or does the Shure sound the best?

                                                                                    http://cgi.ebay.com/OSP-STM-1300-STUDIO-CONDENSER-MICROPHONE-MIC-W-CASE_W0QQitemZ370078241 942QQihZ024QQcategoryZ41466QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
                                                                                    • 39. Re: The six million dollar audio question!!
                                                                                      Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                                      You are continually confirming your lack of expertise in this area. Shure is marginally OK for consumers, but definitely crap for pro's. Start with DPA, Neumann, Sanken or Schoeps as good mics. Don't expect anything worthwhile below $ 2-3 K per mic. You need separate mics for different instruments, so start on figuring at least one each for vocals, acoustic guitar, cymbals, strings, brass, piano, woodwinds, saxophone, snare, drums, amplified bass, amplified guitar, etcetera. You need mic stands for all, your sound room needs full isolation, including shock mounts for the whole room. That's just for starters.

                                                                                      Forget this idea of DIY.
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