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How awful is SoundTrack Pro?

Discussion in 'Legacy Logic Studio Applications' started by zerobeat, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. zerobeat

    zerobeat Senior member

    I find this program to be the scourge of the earth, yet for reasons beyond my control I have to use it. I hate that so many concepts have been reinvented (for the worse often, but at best just to be different and thus confusing).

    The whole destructive editing thing is quite good though, with all the undo layers PER file. That's the only thing I hope makes it to Logic.

    The program is riddled with bugs. For example, it switches to surround at random. And when it does, switching back to stereo doesn't fix the internal routing. One can't export the final stereo mix anymore (you just get silence).

    Crash crash crash (on 30 different machines).

    I don't know why Apple decided (after purchasing Emagic) to pursue this program. I've talked to various audio professionals who tried it and avoid it like the plague.

    I really did try to give it a chance (I started using it in depth August 2008), and at first thought it might be me (I know ProTools and Logic inside/out). But after figuring out a lot of stuff it just seems worse than ever.

    Was this program made by actual audio professionals who do actual work in the real world? Or was it all based on some theories of what ought to work? Even if there were zero bugs in this program I don't think it has a chance in the real world.

    Am I frustrated? Yes! I wouldn't be writing all this if I didn't absolutely HAVE to use it (there are plenty of things in this world I don't care for, but I'm not forced to use, so they can exist without my scorn).
     
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  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    I haven't done so much work with STP as I tend to rely on Wavelab for destructive and other audio editing functions - one reason why I still keep a PC around. Those times I have tried it, it did what I wanted, and it is a lot more convenient to have the KC to open it from logic as opposed to moving stuff from Mac to PC, but I do find it a bit wierd, and also to be less than stable on 3 Macs.

    Kind regards

    Mark
     
  4. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    So how do you really feel? ;)

    You mean "non-destructive" editing, right? The whole point of actions is that they are non-destructive. You can remove any layer from any position, etc. because the file itself is untouched until final rendering.

    The Soundtrack team was the Final Cut team in Cupertino, not the Pro Audio team in Germany. I know the guy who wrote the Soundtrack audio engine is the same who wrote the Final Cut audio engine. I think subsequently they may have hired a team of audio engineers to work on Soundtrack, but I believe that's Soundtrack's design philosophy was not a professional audio design.

    I didn't sit in the meetings of course, but I don't think they were considering audio professionals to be their audience, but rather video amateurs and professionals using Final Cut Pro who needed to edit together some music and audio for their video. When they were finished with Soundtrack Pro, I'm sure the developers felt that the Actions (non-destructive editing above) might be something rather useful in pro audio as well, but I'm willing to bet that pro audio was never the target audience.

    Remember, this was originally written as the audio-for-video helper application for Final Cut Pro; it's only in the Logic Studio bundle that they realized it might be value added for Logic as well.

    Soundtrack Pro is a pretty frustrating application. There are lots of little things about it that bug me, such as the fact that if you open an audio region from Logic in Soundtrack Pro, you lose the ability to reset the outputs of STP. And of course you pointed out the stability issues. As someone who doesn't do much video, I really don't use it much. I can see how it could become a great adjunct to Logic, but I certainly don't think it's there yet.

    OTOH, for straight music/audio/sound design use, DSP Quattro 3 just was announced, and that might be an alternative. I don't think DSP Quattro 3 is all that useful for audio post production, however.

    Orren
     
  5. leytonnz

    leytonnz Senior member

    i had to teach STP last year and i found it very frustrating.. whilst actions are handy, and the HUD showing the in and out handy .. and the autoconform looked interesting ( i only ever used the example that same in the training book).. there were lots of niggly little things that drove me crazy ( scrolling!!!!).. id love to see logic take up the cause and get STP features for post that work..

    PT has come over to the music production side.. id love logic to assimilate the post production side thus superseding STP...

    it feels too different to logic and not similar enough to Final Cut if you get what i mean..

    we ( the school) are moving back to teach more within FC about manipulating sound , rather than using STP ...

    L
     
  6. zerobeat

    zerobeat Senior member

    Correct. In fact, Opcode used to call this "Constructive Editing". I simply differentiate realtime DSP (effects on tracks) to what we're talking about here (a kind of important editing that used to be abundant in Logic via Audiosuite or Premiere plugins, but that has been diminished over the years and relegated to only the built-in stuff inside the Sample Editor)




    Gulp, well that might explain how it clearly exists from a perspective of a non-audio professional. Call it SoundTrack Bizarro, not SoundTrack Pro.







    No, it should not be an adjunct to Logic. The good stuff in STP ought to exist in Logic. Digidesign is doing a much better job at making ProTools more composer-friendly than Apple is at making Logic more post/mix-friendly.

    Imagine if Digidesign had come out with another application that was equally frustrating (but that had some missing music elements like score and Acid Loops) instead of making ProTools better at music.
     
  7. zerobeat

    zerobeat Senior member

    That's my situation also. ProTools LE + DV Toolkit would be the way to go (it's a post class for film/video students), but that's way more expensive than Logic Studio, even without DV Toolkit. I've proposed both options. Unfortunately, audio is treated as less important than video as reflected in many things. For example: The "sound system" in the classroom is a mono feed to ceiling speakers used for fire alarms and announcements. The room has zero acoustic or soundproofing treatment. It's hard enough just being heard in that echo chamber let alone trying to critically listen to anything, and adjacent classes and the library below can hear us.

    It seems that some forget that there are two industries:

    Audio

    Audio + Video

    There is no "Video" industry. It's a "Video and Audio" industry. Silent films don't sell any more, and even those had a piano player.
     
  8. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    I demoed STP at NAB when in came out 2 years ago and got to talk to a few of the people involved. It's definitely coming from the video guy's perspective. Orren's comments are pretty accurate, I would guess.

    Remember the first version was just Soundtrack - there was no Pro involved. It was set up for quick scoring for video people. Apple Loops debuted here, if memory serves. It was first bundled with Final Cut Studio. It was a late addition to the Logic Studio - which was nice, as it was unavailable outside of FCS at that time.

    It's come a long way. For the audio editor/composer guy, it comes up short on many things. But, considering it's bundled in Logic Studio, I'll take it!

    I still round trip things from Logic to STP to take advantage of the actions. It's also worth noting it had its version of take folders before Logic, and you can slip in STP - something Logic has yet to offer.

    I know a few people who use it for mastering - they prefer it to Logic.

    So, it's probably due for a facelift soon - let's hope the audio community is supported a little better. And, yes, I'd love to see Logic absorb a lot of the features. Maybe in version 9? (May I live long enough to see this....)
     
  9. mattrixx

    mattrixx Senior member

    I agree with most of the sentiments posted here so far, but have to say that if it weren't for one thing in particular, I would probably use STP more and that is the in-ability to turn off auto scrolling.
    This would be particularly handy for drawing out lip slapping in voice overs for example, when you are zoomed into sample level and wanting to hear your results in context of a whole sentence, or even just a word. At the moment, there is simply no way of disabling this rudimentary 'feature'.... In logic, we have the blue running man...errr.. or person, for the politically correct.
     

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