avatar

trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since: 11/10/2013

Lead

Apr 5 17 10:25 AM

Tags : :

I've been trying to figure this out for a while now, maybe my ears have gotten better, who knows.

I use cubase 9 on a mac. I have an apollo twin now, and had for years an apogee symphony. I have a decent room, and decent speakers. but here is what I am hearing and wondered why.

inside the DAW, while recording, or mixing stuff up, it sounds really good, deep rich etc. whatever you want to call it. when i mix down demos to listent to i select 320 whatever it is for the highest quality MP3 (also have tried WAV) and when it appears on my desktop and I play it back, thru the same apollo or apogee, same speakers, same volume its just so collapsed and differnt, so much....less. even with a WAV file.

why is that? is my question. I am not sure what my pan law is? does that make a diff though in mixdown? i think its -3 something. 

I would be really happy with the sound in the DAW, out of the DAW, but it never happens. 

Now having worked with some really good mixers/producers/mastering folks here i KNOW they get a great out of the DAW sound, but for me, its jsut totally different and was just wondering what could be done or looked at?

thanks!
Quote    Reply   
avatar

morespaceecho

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,304 Member Since:29/01/2011

#1 [url]

Apr 5 17 11:13 AM

are you playing the mix through itunes or some other program (other than cubase)? not that that should really make a difference, but just asking.

the mixed file should be exactly (and i mean EXACTLY) the same as what's playing in your DAW. if it isn't, there is something seriously wrong with your DAW, which is unlikely. 

try this:

render a mix. 24 bit (we will leave 32 bit float out of this discussion!), whatever sample rate you're working at.

make a new stereo track in your multitrack session and import this mix. make sure the mix is lined up exactly sample accuate. 

flip the phase of the mix. press play. you should hear nothing. if you had time-based (reverb, delay) plugins running live in the multitrack session then you might hear a bit of that, but basically you should hear dead silence. if you don't then there is a problem with cubase's summing, which in 2017 would really be something remarkable. 

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

Quote    Reply   
avatar

jesse decarlo

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,515 Member Since:24/03/2013

#2 [url]

Apr 5 17 12:05 PM

Sample rate may be an issue here. What sample rate is your session, and what sample rate are you bouncing to? If (for example) your session is at 96k and you bounce to 44.1k, and then play back from Finder or iTunes immediately after bouncing, your song is going through SRC at bounce and is then getting resampled by Mac OS during playback because your interface is still set to 96k.

Pan law is not relevant to this situation, BTW.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since:11/10/2013

#3 [url]

Apr 5 17 1:25 PM

Hi Thanks guys

I work at 44.1/32 in cubase. I am not playing it thru itunes, when i export it as an 320 MP3 it goes to my desktop on the imac and i click the arrow on that file and it plays. its instantly noticeable. I tried then with a wav, its better but def different and not as good. the best way i can describe it is in cubase, say i have a rhythm acoustic all the way R and another acoustic all the way left, in cubase you can hear them very clearly and distinct and sounding good, bass comes in up the middle, rich and deep and sits well. when i listen to the MP3 on the desktop, again thru the same speakers and same volume, its very different, it loses the spread and sounds just less. even vocals in cubase that are sitting well in the mix might be to loud in the new mix file.

Im not sure what sample accurate means, I'm sorry about that. do you mean export as a wav, then add a stereo track to the session with all the tracks?

I also don't knwo what the file is playing thru? if i double click the mix down file it will open in itunes and play, but there is an arrow as well and i can click that and it plys but doesnt open itunes.

alot of times to listen in my car i will import to dropbox and play it in my car and it also doesnt retain the charateristics of the session itself. I thought maybe that hey its an mp3, but i thought at 320k it should be pretty close, and a wav exact. but its honestly very different. to the point i dont even like listening to it. i've been fiddling with stuff but its always the same. I knwo it sounds like I'm crazy or jsut plain wrong but its honestly what I am hearing.

thanks for the help!

Quote    Reply   
avatar

jesse decarlo

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,515 Member Since:24/03/2013

#4 [url]

Apr 5 17 1:49 PM

That's pretty weird! The WAV should indeed be identical if you're not doing sample rate conversion.

Have you tried the real-time export? And you could also try checking the box that imports the bounce as a track in the project, so you can play it back right away from within Cubase... but if you have inserts on the master fader you'll need to bypass those to listen to the bounce.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since:11/10/2013

#6 [url]

Apr 5 17 1:59 PM

Thanks Jesse, thats exactly what i thought. wav should be identical, believe me I am SURE I have done something wrong here, but i just cannot figure it out. cubase is a good daw, and the rest of the setup is good as well. i record in well, levels and all that. i do simple mixes because they are essentially demo's, but honestly if you were sitting in the seat and listened to the mix you would say ok sounds good or decent, then we would export and you would say WHAT DID YOU DO lol

I have not tried real time export but thats a good idea and I will and report back.

I do have inserts on the master because I have sort of always recorded, mixed and mastered at the same time, i usually always have ozone, a UAD tape thing and the waves NLS console on the master. however they have been there years.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

morespaceecho

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,304 Member Since:29/01/2011

#7 [url]

Apr 5 17 2:27 PM

try what jesse said, import the mix wav into your session and play it back there (with master effects bypassed). it should sound exactly the same.

by sample accurate i just mean if you rendered your mix starting from 0:00:00, make sure when you drop the mix back into the session you put it at exactly 0:00:00. if you do that and then flip the phase on the mix, it should cancel out everything (except time-based stuff, as mentioned) perfectly and you should hear dead silence (and see it on the meters as well).

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

Quote    Reply   
avatar

trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since:11/10/2013

#8 [url]

Apr 5 17 2:49 PM

Very Good, understand now, I will give it a try tonight and report back.

I'm very interested to hear this, if i take the exported wav from the desktop, re import it to cubase, mute the master effects and listen if its good again or the bad export! thats interesting, never thought of that

thanks!

Quote    Reply   
avatar

extrememixing

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,320 Member Since:02/02/2011

#9 [url]

Apr 5 17 3:44 PM

...Except for the stuff on the master bus. The Mix will be making two passes through there so it will not even come close to cancelling.

Bounce the mix without the stuff on the stereo bus. Then bring that back in and try to see if it cancels. It probably will.

Steve

Quote    Reply   
avatar

John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,226 Member Since:31/05/2015

#10 [url]

Apr 5 17 5:26 PM

First, an MP3 will NOT sound the same as listening to the mix straight out of Cubase, but a Wav should. That the MP3 sounds better to you is strange - the MP3 should sound different from the original, as detail is lost in the conversion to MP3. Some people these days are so used to listening to music degraded by lossy compression that they have come to prefer it, but the Wav should sound the same as your mix anyway.

What's coming to mind here is this - are you using dither when printing your mix? If not, you should.  If you're workinhg at 44/1/32 it's going to be converted to either 44.1/24 by your converters (because converters can't output 32) or 44.1/16 if you've selected CD quality. There are different types of dither available - I really don't know enougth about the subject to know what's best, but I do know that you need to dither when reducing your bit depth.

Dither SHOULD be applied automatically, but it's possible that it might not be.

Last Edited By: John Eppstein Apr 5 17 5:29 PM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

staticbetween

New Forum Friend

Posts: 9 Member Since:05/04/2017

#14 [url]

Apr 5 17 10:08 PM

Long time lurker.  Signed up to answer, as I fought this Cubase battle, lost, and switched DAWs as a result.

I ran into some weird rendering issues and some other audio issues with Cubase.  I did a bunch of tests on a complex project, making sure that I took out any plugins that had randomization.  I was listening to hear that they didn't sound audibly different, not looking for bit accuracy.  Though I wasn't able to pin down the cause for sure, I did prove the following to myself:

  • The rendered file sounded noticeably different whether I did an offline render or realtime render
  • The rendered file sounded different if the Cubase control room feature was enabled when I rendered as opposed to the control room being disabled when I rendered
  • Pressing the mono button in the control room severely dulled the high end.  A stereo->mono plugin on the output bus didn't do this. 
  • I did a test where I had a two track project with the same audio file on the two tracks.  I flipped the phase on one channel, and they nulled, as you would expect.  If I put one of the same plugin on both channels, they didn't null.  There was this grungy noise artifact only 40 db down.  8 out of 10 of the Cubase supplied plugins I tried had this issue, and we're talking simple EQs (no analog emulations with non-linearities) and the like.
I've got my theories of what was going on, but I'm not a fan of dumping unproven theories on the interwebs.  But I just wanted to let the OP know that he might not be as crazy as he thinks.

BTW, this is my first post.  I know that real names are used here.  Haven't totally figured out the Leflora config yet, but I'll take care of it.

Last Edited By: staticbetween Apr 5 17 10:12 PM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,226 Member Since:31/05/2015

#16 [url]

Apr 6 17 3:16 AM

I just did a little checking around and it appears that Cubase relies on ditherting plugins inserted into the output chain rather than automatically dithering by itself. I don't know if this is true of all versions but it definitely was mentioned in a couple of tutorials I found.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

demiana

Gold Finger

Posts: 478 Member Since:18/02/2011

#17 [url]

Apr 6 17 3:46 AM

Does the same thing happen if you play back other audio files from the Finder (eg commercial tracks by other artists), or only ones that you have rendered in Cubase?

Quote    Reply   
avatar

trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 343 Member Since:11/10/2013

#18 [url]

Apr 6 17 7:58 AM

Hi All

Thanks for all this, I will try to cath up everyone and give more info

1) John - The WAV sounded better than the 320k mp3, sorry if that was written wrong
2) I just use whatever process cubase has to dither down to 44.1/16, i do not add any dither plugs etc so whatever cubase is doing thats what is going on.
3) Songs not mine, and not from cubase, but say part of my itunes library sound right, and really good. these are played thru the same OPAL speakers, same volume and the apollo twin is the Imac's soundcard
4) @Static - Thank you SO much for writing that, I am relieved to read others may have heard this and that i wasn't crazy. I also could not at all figure out what was going on. i still dont but at least there seems to be some sort of history with this. Any info woud be great, i love cubase and know it pretty well but i cant stand the diff going on here
5) One thing to note, when i was having my project before this stuff mixed for me, i would export each track individually as WAV's to be sent to be mixed. the final product from Kyle and Terry sounds fantastic. So i don't think exporting tracks that way are being affected. I haven't tested that lately but when i was doing that project i would export say an acoustic guitar that i knew the sound of in the project, then play that file on the desktop and it sounded the same.

I was messing around with a new idea for a song when i just got fed up with this latest example. i have that file on Dropbox but i have no way of then showing anyone the sound of whats in the daw. all i can say is that this 320k MP3 is very different than whats in cubase. so what I hear is playing thru the same plugs i always have but this file sounds much worse.

Quote    Reply   
avatar

morespaceecho

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,304 Member Since:29/01/2011

#19 [url]

Apr 6 17 9:53 AM

cubase might not be dithering at all to 16, it might be truncating. which, even truncated 16 bit doesn't sound as bad as what you're describing, so i doubt this is the problem, but for now i would look at your export settings (or wherever the dither settings are) and set it to 24 bit, straight TPDF dither. 

i would then take all the stuff off your master bus. just for now, to eliminate variables and make testing easier. 

rebounce the mix, with 24 bit dither. save as a 24 bit wav. reimport that mix into your session, listen and try a null test.

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

Quote    Reply   
avatar

jesse decarlo

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,515 Member Since:24/03/2013

#20 [url]

Apr 6 17 9:55 AM

I can't imagine that lack of dither is going to make as big a difference as you're describing.

One way to show us what the DAW playback sounds like (more or less) would be to use a couple of patch cables and loop a pair of analog outs back to inputs, then play the song and record to a new stereo track in real time. That does of course introduce another DA/AD step, but anyway if you get better results with the loopback then something is definitely screwy with Cubase's bounce process.

Quote    Reply   
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help