Which is it
This is a simple automation fade of a test signal in a DAW... which is it?

Last time I set out to show that DAWs are different in common use, and folks were curious about the automation part.

So let’s dive deeper and let me show you how to replicate (or refute!) my tests.

Other posts in this series:



This time I did the video first because I thought the text article would be boring. I think I made the right choice.

Test it yourself

Head over to grab Sonic Visualizer.

  • Drop your file in it
  • Right click -> Layers -> Add Spectrogram
  • Scale dBV
  • Window 8192 or 4096 (Frequency resolution)
  • Overlap doesn’t matter (93.75% is important for some other tests though! This gives temporal resolution relative to the FFT size)
  • Log bins

That’s it.

The File

Here is the test file that I used.

The Test

120bpm, 1 bar fade
120bpm, 1 bar fade

For my testing here I set the tempo to 120bpm and created a fade from the start of the project to bar 2. Then I rendered 2 full bars.

That’s it.


I’ve ordered my results from best to worst with commentary.

Test Signal

Test Signal
Test Signal (click for larger image)

Reference for you.

Digital Performer 10.0

Digital Performer (click for larger image)

Cleanest and fades to infinity nicely.

This isn’t necessarily a better fade to zero than something like Reaper. It fades to zero in a less-than-linear fashion which results in the FFT showing a prettier result.

Audibly, it does appear to be a nicer sounding fade to me.

FLStudio 20.1

FLStudio 20.1 (click for larger image)

Excellent result. That “poof” at the end is a result of the fade not completing within the FFT window.

Ardour 5.12

Ardour (click for larger image)

Excellent result. Slightly more noise than the previous results.

Note that there’s a fade at the beginning. That’s my fault.

Reaper 5.972

Reaper 5.972 (click for larger image)

Excellent result. The fade seems to drop to infinity rather abruptly.

Cakewalk 2018.11

Cakewalk 2018.11 (click for larger image)

Excellent result. Nearly identical to Reaper

Cubase 10.0.15

Cubase 10.0.15(click for larger image)

Excellent result, except for barely audible noise during the fade.

Pro Tools 2018.12

Pro Tools 2018.12 (click for larger image)

Would be a great result, but I consistently get these light bursts of noise during automation. It’s around -50dBFS cumulatively.

Ableton Live 10.0.6

Ableton Live 10.0.6 (click for larger image)

OK modulation, as it is a bit noisy, but Live applies fades by default to all audio samples. GROSS.

Live Fades
Live Fades

You can turn it off here.

Bitwig 2.5 Beta

Bitwig 2.5 Beta(click for larger image)

Some light distortion.

Reason 10.2.2d1

Reason 10.2.2d1 (click for larger image)

IMD. Clearly audible.

Logic 10.4.4

Logic 10.4.4 (click for larger image)

Disgusting. This has been around since Logic 9.

Studio One 4.1.2

Studio One 4.1.2 (click for larger image)

If you thought Logic was bad, just you wait! The folks at Presonus have some work to do.

EDIT: And work they did. This is fixed in 4.5.

Waveform 10.0.26

Waveform 10.0.26 (click for larger image)

As awesome as Waveform is, this was by far the worst DAW that I tested.


DO NOT TRUST ME. Try this yourself. The tools are free.

Should you care? Probably not. Is it interesting? I hope so.

Should you drop your favorite software over this? Very unlikely.

Some companies have some real issues though.

Support Me!

This post took 13 hours to research, test, write and post. The video took 8 hours. If you appreciate the information presented then please consider joining patreon or paying me for my time spent bringing you quality content!