Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

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Grim
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by Grim »

I concluded these converters must be the culprit
and now I believe maybe it's because of the lack of definition they impart, giving a perception of "lacking fidelity”
because of upper mid harshness. I don’t presume to know and simply ask, on a forum I've always known to be friendly,
"How do most of you deal with this?" If you are reading this, and you are someone who presumes to speak for everyone,

I may not have any use for that kind of response.
You already said that the mix sounds much better played back in Cubase or Wavelab even on these consumer converters.

So, no I'm not presuming to speak for everyone. I'm just stating the obvious conclusion to be drawn from your own testing.
If the mixed file is OK played in Cubase/Wavelab but not outside of them then converters can not be the problem.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by funkystrings »

KHS wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:11 pm
Are you using Crontrol Room in Cubase? What about your audio interface software, any effects applied there?
Someone else asked me that so I clicked on it and originally it said something like "Control Room is not active, would you like to activate?
I hit yes. I can't see any plugins active. Control Room is something I've never use! I'm not sure how to completely disable either. I have the button that says "Main" greyed to the off position, (it would be blue if engaged). Would that completely disengage Control Room? I don't see any other relevant Control Room setting menus that would indicate it's still on?

No, most of the time, it's just me with the laptop and headphones. None of the soundcard software is even running right now.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by funkystrings »

I was wrong about converters Grim, thanks for pointing out the deviations I make out of pure frustration. You don't miss a thing.
I apologize damn it! and congrats to the 5000 post you'll most likely reach by the end of the night. After initially starting this post
from a hotel room with just a laptop and headphones, I noticed the major sound difference between Cubase outs and exports on
my machine (and elsewhere). This is all I really know for sure right now. So anyway, I return home on the weekend, configure
to my soundcard and things naturally, start sounding better. I start suspecting converter differences. After all, someone did
ask me to try exporting while configured to my soundcard. If there were differences, I couldn't tell. Besides, exports remain
in the digital domain. Now I"m downstairs with just my laptop and headphones again. I'm switched back to built-in Audio and
the first thing I'm sadly reminded of, is the Cubase sound engine sounds so damn good on my laptop with *flower* DAs, it's almost
impossible to tell the difference between it and the HD DAs of my soundcard upstairs, but my exports only sound slightly
improved when I do this same comparison connected to my soundcard. My exports sound different no matter what they're played on!
If exports are supposed to sound like my Cubase outs, and I believe they are, then I need someone mac savvy to tell me why.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by Grim »

Mac savvy is definitely not me I'm afraid.
Re: disabling control room, the switch is in vst connections, studio tab. Don't think this is your problem though but worth checking with it disabled.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by planarchist »

Have you tried re-importing the exported file back into a new blank project in Cubase?

If so how does it sound (like it did in Cubase before export or like it does in the other software)?

...and further on KHS's point a couple of posts up, are you sure there's no headphone calibration/correction software, I got caught out by that once.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by peakae »

Doesn’t iTunes default to some sound enhancements, I remember I had to change that.
If you listen in the car, the export should really be 16bit. No way of knowing how 24bit are handled on consumer grade equipment.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by da10us »

peakae wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:45 am
Doesn’t iTunes default to some sound enhancements, I remember I had to change that.
If you listen in the car, the export should really be 16bit. No way of knowing how 24bit are handled on consumer grade equipment.
My thought also: Some Dolby enhancement or something. Which btw keeps on turning on after updates, especially on laptops....
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by titchyblackcat »

I've always thought this but. been rebuked by the crowd in the past.
I've learned to live with it.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by peakae »

Then the crowd is wrong, or you did misunderstand them.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by titchyblackcat »

I'm not mad it's everyone else.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by funkystrings »

titchyblackcat wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:15 am
I've always thought this but. been rebuked by the crowd in the past.
I've learned to live with it.
I was beginning to think I was all alone in this. Even after being quite sure I saw older posts from others, suggesting the same thing in which, the consensus was just to "think different while mixing" in order to counteract these hearable differences.

Are they hearable? Well after trying every greatly appreciated suggestion posted above, apparently I, and others can't resolve this.

It occurred to me that all I have to do, is try an export on my old laptop, so I pulled it out of the closet and fired it up after two years, launched its old version of 8.5, did an export and it reveals the same problem using a different machine, Mac OS and Cubase version.

The next test I'll be doing won't even involve Cubase, as I'll be reluctantly installing my old DAW, (that rhymes with Tacos Cheaper)
creating a temporary groove with multiple tracks using all the plugs and virtual instruments I currently use, (what a pain in the ass),
....and see if it renders the same results.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by Magnus_N »

This is verging on ridiculous now. It's like the emperor's new clothes. Noone dares to say the truth, that the emperor is naked. Is that what you believe?

/Magnus
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by mitchiemasha »

How loud is the track you've recorded? Do the same test with plenty of headroom and report back.

For others to consider... The room itself does more damage to the sound you're hearing but you're using headphones, presumably closed back so this shouldn't be an issue here. It will be for others making this claim!!!

And, never compare your mix you left last night after 10 hour session to hearing it fresh the next day. It's always different and no where near as good. It's purely psychology, do the test instantly, side by side.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by swamptooth »

I've been having issues lately with 9.5.3 and unprocessed audio tracks on export. Even a one track project I export the audio at the same bit depth and sample rate, then reimport it into the project and flip the phase on the new track I don't get nulling.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by djw »

This could all be between your ears, tbh.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by stingray »

swamptooth wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:51 pm
Even a one track project I export the audio at the same bit depth and sample rate, then reimport it into the project and flip the phase on the new track I don't get nulling.
Sorry to say it but this kind of thing is always human error.

Is the level of the master stereo output fader set at 0dB unity gain at the time of the export?

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by swamptooth »

Yes it is. What it comes down to is using audio loops with an algorithm that doesn't fit. I can walk you through the process if you'd like.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by meomarte »

Hello. I´ve had a somewhat similar experience years ago. Never did pursue the matter very far. Always assumed it would be because of Cubase internal processing having been 32 bit (now 64), making the project sound clearer and more "real" than the exported file. Never heard any EQ changes though. This in rock/metal and acoustic real instruments.
I would look at dithering or some more technical export parameters, to which I am not qualified to give advice. :lol:
This could be a case of some feature-type thing, just being so clearly audible that it registers as a problem.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by strummer »

One thing I owuld like to know is, how does the exported wav sound if you import it to cubase again?
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by stingray »

swamptooth wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:59 am
What it comes down to is using audio loops with an algorithm that doesn't fit.
What algorithm are you referring to? In your post above you said that you "export the audio" from a one track project, and you also refer to projects with "unprocessed audio tracks". Now you seem to be talking about something more complicated.
All I'm saying is: for a standard audio event on a single audio track, if you export this via the stereo out (set to 0dB unity gain) and re-import the exported file and phase reverse the new track... then it will null.

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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by planarchist »

strummer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:52 am
One thing I owuld like to know is, how does the exported wav sound if you import it to cubase again?
Indeed, i asked this a wile back but no reply as yet.......
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by strummer »

planarchist wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:22 pm
strummer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:52 am
One thing I owuld like to know is, how does the exported wav sound if you import it to cubase again?
Indeed, i asked this a wile back but no reply as yet.......
I saw that, figured I'd ask too, seems like an important clue...
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by planarchist »

strummer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:06 pm
planarchist wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:22 pm
strummer wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:52 am
One thing I owuld like to know is, how does the exported wav sound if you import it to cubase again?
Indeed, i asked this a wile back but no reply as yet.......
I saw that, figured I'd ask too, seems like an important clue...
Yep!
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by swamptooth »

stingray wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:10 pm
swamptooth wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:59 am
What it comes down to is using audio loops with an algorithm that doesn't fit.
What algorithm are you referring to? In your post above you said that you "export the audio" from a one track project, and you also refer to projects with "unprocessed audio tracks". Now you seem to be talking about something more complicated.
All I'm saying is: for a standard audio event on a single audio track, if you export this via the stereo out (set to 0dB unity gain) and re-import the exported file and phase reverse the new track... then it will null.
When you're using loops or other bits of audio samples, soemtimes it becomes necessary to time stretch them to fit the bars you want. I suppose this could be referred to as processing audio. The key here is you have to flatten audio processing first (which is very unintuitive).
The other factor is that loops at 24 bit sound, even ones supplied with cubase, are often clipping. take a look at loopmash 2 content and a loop called beat_dirt-x. import that to cubase and duplicate it 4 times then export and have the export reimport the file to cubase. do this without looking at the mixer. flip the phase 180 on the mixer for the imported track and play back. you'll notice the original loop track hits clipping and the exported audio only hits 0db. again, this is counterintuitive.
I suppose you could make a pebkac argument here, but it is not what the user would expect... especially not having clipping audio files included in a daw.
What I'm wondering right now is why if I export a clipping track at 24bit/48l it does not clip when the export is reimported.
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Re: Why do Audio Mixdown .wav files sound completely different then Cubase stereo outs?

Post by titchyblackcat »

Try playing the project and recording it with Wavelab.
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