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Sonarman

Unlike Cakewalk S1 playback audio with Distortion!

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Hi, anyone remember we had a big thread in the old forum regarding s1 sounding different from Sonar. That was the time many where transitioning from sonar to s1 and many other daws due to Gibson abandoning us. Goodness! Bandlab saved us. And here I have discovered that s1 does sound different from cakewalk once again. 

Little history:
Here in this thread (http://forum.cakewalk.com/Comparing-Sonar-with-Studio-One-m3697861-p5.aspx) some of us folks that where trying s1 found that s1 sounded different from sonar. Few were trying to move their projects from sonar to s1 and was not able to create the the same mix despite having the same settings. Later in the thread 'Sylvan' made some inverted phase cancellation tests and posted the video. Many others including me did the same test and found that the audio from s1 and sonar didn't null despite having the same settings and mix values. We where puzzled, but later in the thread we found out that this was coz s1 by default uses a pan law that's different from that of sonar(for more details read the old thread). 
By rendering the same tracks with same panlaw we were able to create perfect nulls. And that scientifically concluded that s1 and sonar rendered the same and hence sounded the same if same pan law is used. 

However me and some folks still felt that s1 does sound different despite the null tests that proves otherwise. We kind of concluded the thread (or convinced our minds) that the rendered files form s1 and sonar does sound the same but whether the playback engine of s1 and cakewalk are same is questionable and couldn't be proved through any experiments known to us. 

And now, I was trying to master a track inside s1 and found some infos that shed some light on why S1's playback might sound a bit different from Sonar & CbB.

In CbB and many other daws the playback is always in 32bit engine or 64bit engine(correct me if I'm wrong). But in some daws like S1 the playback is presented in the projects resolution. So if your projects are set to 24bit the daw does its internal processing in 32bit or 64bit(all daws process the signals in 32bit or above by default) then convert the audio to 24bit for playback. This introduces truncation error and hence generates noise which leads to some subtle harmonic differences. To avoid this S1 has option in settings “Use dithering for playback and audio file export.” If enabled all your playback and exports will be dithered by default. This is an usual solution to avoid the truncation noise. But again this is also noise, and in my experience both dithering and truncation noise always affects the audio quality.(there are many people who believe the effects of dithering and truncation are not audible, but I got my ears to believe in this with certainty). This is why I prefer to keep the project resolution to 32bit. This way there is no noise in playback or render(if you render to 32bit). When I render to 24bit or 16bit its again the same story and I end up with less optimal audio quality). I really wish that people who set the standards for audio long back pushed 32bit as the standard, and we wont be having any of these problems.

As of S1, just set the projects resolution to 32bit and the audio playback wont be any diff from CbB playback . But's its just today I have come across this so for me its far to early to conclude. I will do a bit more listening with both CbB and S1 kept in 32bit and see if I hear any difference. 

Any stupid assumptions have I made or wrong abt any of these technical infos that led me towards this pls do correct me. Hope someone with more inside knowledge on how the playback engine of CbB and S1 works chime in here and enlighten us. 

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