Of ProTools, UD vs UDII, and other digital bits

From Edison cylinders to pre-amps to ProTools: talk about it here.
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lukpac
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Of ProTools, UD vs UDII, and other digital bits

Postby lukpac » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:16 am

I've been playing around with EAC a *lot* lately, and thought I'd have some fun with the "compare WAVs" function. Some notes:

- As I had previously suspected, based on listening and inversion tests, doing basic editing in ProTools (at least on the Mac) does NOT alter the sound files in any way. I ripped a song from CD, imported it into PT, edited the end, and "bounced to disk". Both the original and bounce were burned to CD, then compared in EAC. They were identical, other than the bit at the end.

That said, it seems as if converting the files in PT *does* change them. By default PT does everything in Sound Designer II format. I tried doing a bounce to WAV (it first bounces to SDII, then converts), and the file was totally different from an original rip to WAV.

- The UD and UDII of Tommy (and I'd assume all UD/UDII combos, based on other comparisons I've done) are identical. I ripped Tommy's Holiday Camp from both discs, edited them in PT so they matched in length, then burned them. Then ripped in EAC and compared. Identical.

For some reason EAC chokes when doing a comparison if the two files are offset by more than a few samples. Just ripping the UD and UDII into EAC and comparing doesn't get anywhere, as the track markers are so far off.

So, in conclusion, don't waste your money on UD copies, and think twice whenever someone tells you they won't edit something on a DAW because it will "harden the sound."
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Patrick M
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Postby Patrick M » Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:33 pm

Interesting, but aren't you using an inferior Macintosh computer?

I have performed similar tests on my Cray (resting on four isolation pods), and the results were always different. Maybe you need to upgrade your system.

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Postby Rspaight » Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:49 pm

Funny, they were different on my Sinclair ZX/81 as well. Of course, that might have to do with the fact that I had to transfer the WAV to cassette in order to interface it with my custom ZX/81 audio analysis utility, and that only 768 bytes of data could be loaded at any one time.

I have Shakti blocks sitting on top of the ZX/81 *and* the nine-inch black-and-white TV/monitor, and am very pleased with the smooth performance.

Ryan
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Postby lukpac » Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:01 pm

Rspaight wrote:Of course, that might have to do with the fact that I had to transfer the WAV to cassette in order to interface it with my custom ZX/81 audio analysis utility, and that only 768 bytes of data could be loaded at any one time.


Do you also transmit TCP/IP via bongo drums?
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby Rspaight » Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:37 pm

Do you also transmit TCP/IP via bongo drums?


That's very cool. Very very cool. Is this why the forum was so slow last night?

Ryan
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Postby lukpac » Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:42 pm

No, I upgraded to two tin cans and some fishing line.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby Rspaight » Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:58 pm

What gauge fishing line? I like the oxygen-free braided stuff with an argon core.

Ryan
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Postby Patrick M » Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:43 pm

I upgraded to 30 lb test and I have found that the forum has a bit more "air" now.

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Re: Of ProTools, UD vs UDII, and other digital bits

Postby thomh » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:02 am

lukpac wrote:So, in conclusion, don't waste your money on UD copies, and think twice whenever someone tells you they won't edit something on a DAW because it will "harden the sound."


In a review of the vinyl version of Beth Gibbons' (Portishead vocalist) Out Of Season disc, M. Fremer writes:

"The recording is clean, though appropriately distant and quiet, and though not "bright" per se, it's harmonically shadowy and lacking in warmth and transparency. It has that dry "Pro Tools" sound....."

As I remember from my recording days, a dry sound has more to with production techniques like close miking, etc.

Do you find that there is a distinct Pro Tools "sound"? I have always been of the opinion that good digital should be totally transparent to the source so how can it have a "sound"?
Thom

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Postby Ron » Thu Oct 02, 2003 4:36 am

What does any of this have to do with this forum providing the "odor of life"? [Or maybe I'm in the wrong thread altogether.]
Dr. Ron :mrgreen:TM "Do it 'till you're sick of it. Do it 'till you can't do it no more." Jesse Winchester

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Re: Of ProTools, UD vs UDII, and other digital bits

Postby lukpac » Thu Oct 02, 2003 7:36 am

thomh wrote:"The recording is clean, though appropriately distant and quiet, and though not "bright" per se, it's harmonically shadowy and lacking in warmth and transparency. It has that dry "Pro Tools" sound....."

As I remember from my recording days, a dry sound has more to with production techniques like close miking, etc.

Do you find that there is a distinct Pro Tools "sound"? I have always been of the opinion that good digital should be totally transparent to the source so how can it have a "sound"?


I honestly don't know if such a "sound" exists, but it's not something I'm ruling out. Obviously doing *processing* in PT will change the sound, and some people may or may not like that. I haven't noticed any ill effects in what I've done, but that's just me. My main point, though, was simply in regards to putting things on a DAW and editing them.
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Re: Of ProTools, UD vs UDII, and other digital bits

Postby krabapple » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:23 pm

lukpac wrote:I've been playing around with EAC a *lot* lately, and thought I'd have some fun with the "compare WAVs" function. Some notes:

- As I had previously suspected, based on listening and inversion tests, doing basic editing in ProTools (at least on the Mac) does NOT alter the sound files in any way. I ripped a song from CD, imported it into PT, edited the end, and "bounced to disk". Both the original and bounce were burned to CD, then compared in EAC. They were identical, other than the bit at the end.


I had a tragicomic email exchange with an online retailer of import CDs who kept advertising that the Japanese 'mini-LP' Led Zeppelin CDs sounded better than the 'standard issue' ones. I ended up buying not only theJapanese, but the British version, of 'Physical Graffiti' , just to test his claims, and of course, they all ended up being digitally identical to the standard version (in accord with the utter lack of reports that the Zep catalog has ever been remastered since the release of the 'complete studio box set' years ago) . Inevitably he fell back on the 'but there's stuff we can't measure but can hear' excuse. He didn't know much about digital audio or I'm sure he would have offered the slightly more sophisticated 'well, one version may have been recorded with more JITTER than the other' excuse , which seems to be becoming the standard hand-wave for those who are SURE they hear differences between digital copies.


The mini-LPs do *look* cute, though.
Last edited by krabapple on Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby krabapple » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:28 pm

Patrick M wrote:Interesting, but aren't you using an inferior Macintosh computer?

I have performed similar tests on my Cray (resting on four isolation pods), and the results were always different. Maybe you need to upgrade your system.


Bah. I do mine on the Earth Simulator. Nothing less will suffice. We are talking about the breath of life, after all.


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Postby lukpac » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:36 pm

Was that CVC/Greg Biggs, krab?
"I know because it is impossible for a tape to hold the compression levels of these treble boosted MFSL's like Something/Anything. The metal particulate on the tape would shatter and all you'd hear is distortion if even that." - VD

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Postby krabapple » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:49 pm

lukpac wrote:Was that CVC/Greg Biggs, krab?


No, it was Gary Davis of The Artists' Shop.
www.artist-shop.com